It made me think about the windows of opportunity we have throughout our lives: the stick or twist dilemma. I’ve heard it said that there’s a time when people switch from the proverbial red to green light and decide it’s time to get married. Could it be that it is as much about timing, age and being psychologically ready as the actual person in question? I’d like to think not but perhaps we met a soul mate at eighteen and were too young to recognise it so didn’t take the plunge, whereas by thirty five we’re certainly older, hopefully wiser and probably more prepared to compromise. It seems we change our wants, needs and desires as the passage of time progresses in both property and people terms.
In negotiations there are those that try and play the game – and use the windows of opportunity to their advantage – and those that see, like and act. In an ever shifting (spiralling upwards) market, my advice would be to take the plunge swiftly and decisively, put your best offer forward and not to play a waiting game. The window may suddenly close and you’ll have missed out. It’s probably my advice in life as well.
Certain clients will only offer when someone else has. They need the validation of others desiring the same property as them. It’s their aphrodisiac. I’m on the hunt for a client – not the type that needs validation – but one who wants something quite special and unique (a dangerous word in property terms) because he owns something quite unique. I’ve been working the phone, hunting, digging and scrambling to find something of interest. It’s not easy as he is specific and there’s so little that’s actually really good out there.
By the third hour of calling, and boring myself repeatedly asking the same questions, I’m losing what I call my Dale Carnegie ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ voice; the relentlessly up-tempo tenor to my enquiries has diminished somewhat and assuming a polite but no-nonsense tone. I describe quite clearly what my client wants and am met with ever more desperately inappropriate responses. In one conversation with a famously pushy agent I find myself morphing from Carnegie to Meryl Streep in ‘The Devil wears Prada’. I’m offered flats in soulless modern developments, basements in unrequested areas, walk-ups to attics when I’ve clearly stated a lift is required. As soon as one of these attributes is mentioned I simply state ‘no’ and the resilient agent tries again with another way-off-the mark hideosity.
I think of the scene when Meryl Streep, as a thinly veiled Anna Wintour, is in an editorial meeting and offered a litany of ideas; ‘Florals for Spring, how revolutionary’ she comments witheringly and then, as I have done, simply states ‘no’ before the idea has had a chance to become fully formed on the lips of the offerer. I’ve got to that point and realise it’s time to change tack and focus on something else for a few hours before returning to the search. I also know I’m right to dismiss the ones I have dismissed. The window hasn’t closed for my clients yet and we’ll find the right thing; it will just take a little more tenacity than normal and some Dale Carnegie style charm.