We just successfully concluded a negotiation and exchanged contracts on a very special house in Notting Hill Gate. Our client had waited over 2 years for a house of this calibre to materialise and we moved quickly to secure it “off-market” before any advertising was put together and the wider public got to hear of its availability.
These are troubled times in the UK.
It takes a brave buyer to commit to buying a house when they are reading Armageddon headlines in the financial press sections around the UK economy, Brexit, the likelihood of a Corbyn Government etc. But the bravery of my client was not the stand out feature of this negotiation.
What was more surprising was how we communicated with each other while negotiating the house purchase
90% of all communication via WhatsApp. One of the lengthiest and most dramatic WhatsApp correspondences my mobile phone has ever seen.
My clients are both multilingual, international, highly successful, very wealthy, extremely well educated and seriously smart individuals. They own one of the coolest apartments you will ever find in Notting Hill. Before they found us, they were well connected. All the right Estate Agents in the relatively small area of their search courted them. As a result, they had seen most, if not all, of the on-market houses to come up for sale in the right postcode.
So why choose to work with a property finding agent?
Even the smartest, most articulate, most successful of people appreciate that the knowledge, experience and advice of a trusted “industry specialist” professional is always a good thing to have on your side. Even the most knowledgeable of buyers can use a little help.
My WhatsApp was literally red hot with every doubt and fear my client had on his mind at any one moment of his day when his mind drifted from everyday work to
“Am I doing the right thing?”
Doubts that would not merit a phone call, perhaps, but doubts, nonetheless. For this reason, I needed to handle each and every one of them in a delicate, succinct and intelligent manner, negotiating this house purchase.
It’s the same psychology as sending a text when you don’t really need to talk. I am as guilty as the next man mainly because my day to day job involves a lot of phone calls to a lot of people. At the weekend I would rather give my voice a rest. If I can text, WhatsApp or Facebook message, I usually take that ‘path of least resistance’.
I had to deal calmly with each and every one of my client’s WhatsApp messages.
I had to reassure them and address the “what ifs”.
Actually, I loved receiving each message: this particular test of my knowledge and expertise. Was I on top of my game?
Buying a house and making a serious financial commitment is a scary business.
What if Corbyn comes to power? How will that affect house prices? What will the Brexit process do to our economy?
Am I paying too much for this house?
Will I do a better deal if I wait?
How much more am I going to need to spend to make it “My house”?
The list of doubts and fears can sometimes be endless. Particularly during times of economic stress. It is only by going through the house buying process many times that we can truly advise our clients on the rights and wrongs of buying a house right now.
We have seen what happens to the property market during periods of great political unrest. For example, we witnessed what house prices did during the Gulf War. We were there when Lehman Brothers collapsed and saw the property market make a big bounce back not long afterwards. Right back to the late 1980s when house prices were spiralling downwards at a rate of knots.
We understand completely what is going through a clients’ mind at the stressful time of moving home. And new technologies such as WhatsApp can be extremely useful in fostering a trusted relationship between a client and their adviser. I have to say, negotiating this house purchase, I really enjoyed trialling this relatively new process of communicating with my client. Sometimes you just do not want to call a client at work. Instead, they can answer a WhatsApp message exactly when they have a few spare seconds. Interruptions can be annoying, after all. Likewise, my clients were not to know how busy or otherwise we were at all times of the day.
During this WhatsApp correspondence, we built confidence and this added millions of pounds to our initial offer price to close out the deal.
It was a different style of communication and one that I have not used so extensively negotiating any other house purchase I have been involved with. However, it worked for my client and it enabled us both to do the job most efficiently and effectively. It’s not going to work for all my clients but I am happy to report it worked brilliantly with this particular one.
Contact us for a chat about your property search. We would love to help if we can!
Negotiating a house purchase in 2019
I just finished negotiating a house purchase. What was most surprising was how we communicated with each other: 90% of all communication via WhatsApp.
Cliff Gardiner Property Search Agents London