In my first week as an estate agent back in 1991, my old boss Peter Toben took me to a little brasserie on Lavender Hill, Battersea for lunch and gave me two excellent pieces of advice which have always stayed with me all these years on:

1 Buy ‘People Watching’ by Desmond Morris

2 Always give best and honest advice, keep your integrity and you will always be able to look yourself in the mirror.

Both have been invaluable not only in my career in property but also in life in general.  Peoples body language speaks far louder than words, especially when it comes to property.  Sometimes a house can appear to tick all the boxes on paper, however it is all about how you feel when you walk through the door – does it give you goosebumps or does it leave you cold?  Often, it’s the ones that don’t work on paper that are the ones that make your heart beat a little bit faster and feels like a home from the minute you see it.  That is why we often like to go ‘off plan’ and throw in a few curve balls when taking clients out viewing. It doesn’t always work, but once we are ‘in tune’ with our clients, we can see what the most important ‘non compromise’ needs are over the ‘wants’ and take it from there. Often you will see couples turn to each other, checking each others reactions to see if they are feeling the same – if they are in harmony when it comes to house hunting, then they often are.  Of course, you will sometimes get couples who want different things – it can feel like doing two different searches at once but there will always be a house they can both agree on in the end. This is where using a search agent is invaluable as it saves so much wasted time.


I credit the other piece of advice as to how I have lasted over 20 years in such a transient and often frustrating industry – giving best and honest advice, even when it sometimes costs you immediate business, is the best advice ever.  That and having a great sense of humour of course!