What makes a great estate agent?

PUBLISHED: 09:12 11 September 2014 | UPDATED: 09:12 11 September 2014

Matthew Ryde

Matthew Ryde

Rikard Osterlund

Tonbridge-based expert Matthew Ryde on the importance of empathy, knowledge and keeping apace of change

It was 20 years ago today…

Actually it wasn’t, it’s nearly 
30 years ago that I started my career in estate agency in a world where the internet was a close-kept secret for academics and computer industry wizards only. A mobile phone was something that had a lead long enough to allow you to move from your hall to your sitting room chair and as for photography, well, I spent many a cold winter’s moment warming a polaroid film under my arm to make sure the image developed properly.

Today around 80 per cent of people start their property search online and some 40 per cent also spend six months searching for property online before contacting an estate agent. We should be overrun with online agencies then, shouldn’t we?

Lots of things have changed in the world of estate agency in the last 30 years. I check both my mobile phones regularly through the day (the only leads in sight are from chargers) and the internet seems to rule 
my life as I prep tweets at 5:30am and finish my evenings with more in mind.

I’m a trained photographer, producing images I once could only have dreamed of, and I carry a laser tape to measure people’s homes. Long gone is the 6ft 6in folding wooden rule; wield one of those round someone’s house today and their kids would think you were Darth Maul.

A lot has changed in our industry but 
one thing I don’t think has is what makes a great estate agent. When you’re showing a young couple around a property that will be their first home and you see that glint of excitement in their eyes; the pleasure that gives you is what makes a great estate agent. The day you hand them the keys with a smile on your face and that glow in knowing they’re starting the next chapter in their 
life shows you’re a great estate agent.

When you’re sat in front of them a few years later discussing how they need more space and where they will move to next, that’s great estate agency. When they ring you and say “can you help, we need to move mum or dad closer,” well, you know the rest.

A great estate agent knows property, knows their area and what’s happening 
to the market, not just around them but further afield; a great agent knows where their buyers move from and why.

Estate agency is a people business and that is the one thing that has never changed in my 30 years in the industry. People 
buy from people and what has kept me passionate about my work is knowing that each day there is a new challenge to face.

To find that young couple their first home; to get ‘Mum’ the bungalow she desperately needs because the arthritis 
is making stairs unbearable; to find that escape from the city where the kids will have a much better upbringing.

A great estate agent meets and greets people every day, is part of the community, takes time to learn what people need and, most importantly, is there in person to 
see people through the whole process.

Wherever you are in the country I’m sure you have at least one great estate agent near you so, if you’re thinking of moving 
or have a property question that needs answering, take a look on your High Street and seek one out. If you need help let me know, the chances are I can help you find someone to talk to if you’re struggling. After all, I know lots of Great Estate Agents.

A great estate agent is not always perfect but always seeks to do their very best for the people they deal with. They move with the times, adapt to market conditions, never know when to give up but most importantly, care first and foremost about people.

My personal goal is to be a great estate agent and I hope I am for as many people 
as possible. I’m not perfect. but I’m working on it! n

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