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Brian White, 2am Club, It's ok to say I don't know

It’s the question that we all get asked – “What is going to happen in the market?”

Invariably sellers are keen to know the price they are going to get for their home will not increase dramatically after they’ve sold and purchasers are just as keen for the reverse not to happen. In my entire career (which now spans a considerable time!) approximately 40% of that time has been in a situation where it is not possible to forecast the likely situation of prices in 12 months time. No one knows. In only 60% of my career could one be confident that the prices would either increase or decrease in 12 months time.

What makes one a member of the 2am club is how to handle the shifting sands of real estate language. It’s a language which is constantly shifting because business cycles are inbuilt into our real estate careers. Why should we be surprised and shocked when the property market turns downwards? It’s as if the sun had forgotten to rise one morning! Shock horror! “This should not be happening.” “Someone should be held to account. Someone should go to jail.” Real estate should only ever be going up.

But that’s not the reality. The reality is that there is a huge chunk of our real estate careers where anyone expressing confidence in what will happen in 12 months time will very quickly be shown that they had no idea (and yet could talk with such authority!). To have obviously shown complete inexperience or, worse, be deliberately misleading.

The reality is that it is okay to say “I don’t know”. It still makes sense for people to sell and for people to purchase, even when there is uncertainty as to what is going to happen. The fact that one does not know does not remove the advantages or benefits in acquisition or disposal.

It’s too easy for us to believe that people either sell or purchase real estate only due to the anticipation of favourable future market movements. The need to buy and to sell often overwhelms any fundamental considerations of the future. A true real estate professional understands and is comfortable with adopting correct language.

If agents spent more time understanding the real reasons why someone wants to purchase or sell, it would become a lot easier to be truthful to one’s clients and say, “I don’t know”.

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Brian White 2am club