Category Archives: Psychology

Christmas can be a GREAT time to sell, however humble your home may be.

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Many people delay putting their home on the market prior to Christmas in the mistaken belief that they are:

a) unlikely to find a buyer “it’s the wrong time of year”  or,

b) going to be snowed under with viewers over the festive period (excuse the pun)

In fact, the run up to Christmas can be one of the best times to have your home up for sale. 

“It’s the wrong time of year” – Certainly, there are less buyers looking for and viewing homes in the run-up to Christmas BUT, those who are, are deadly serious. If someone calls our office in November December and says they want to find a home, we know they are very likely to actually buy.

The surge of buyers looking on our website year after year from December the 26th is profound. If you wait until the New Year to put your home up for sale, it will miss that surge of motivated buyers and will just become one of the many homes coming onto the market in the New Year. Smart sellers know this and put their home up for sale before Christmas; avoiding the competition and adding rarity value to their property.

As for being bothered over the festive period? Less but higher quality viewings that have been vetted by a good agent will mean you are very unlikely to be bothered by hordes of viewers (and, if you are, the resulting likely higher sale price will help cover those Christmas extras on your credit card!). Additionally, a 3D tour, such as the ones we use at PDQ, by Ocean3D is perfect to allow potential buyers to see if your home is going to match their requirements before physically viewing; meaning that those who DO view are far more likely to buy and, be far less likely to be wasting your time.

“Domestic abuse. It affects everyone”

In my Twitter feed this morning, I received the following link and excellent article about domestic abuse which I share below, along with some thoughts and advice of my own.

Domestic abuse: not just a tenant issue From Inside Housing @insidehousing ABUSE-MIN

The above article is a powerful and pertinent piece that is, statistically, almost certain to affect or have affected everyone at some point in their careers (even if they may be unaware of it) either directly or, via a family member, colleague or friend.

“Domestic abuse will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime.”

Every victims’ experience will be unique but there are some common factors they may well experience. It is a deeply humiliating, often terrifying and usually dis-empowering act/ pattern of behaviour perpetrated on the victim that often leaves long-lasting emotional and physical wounds. It happens to men and women almost equally and people in same-sex relationships.

If you recognise the behaviours listed below either as someone on the receiving end of abuse or, as a perpetrator, seek help. It is out there.

Some facts surrounding abuse in the UK

Source ‘Living Without Abuse lwa.org.uk

Domestic abuse:

“Will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime

Leads to, on average, two women being murdered each week and 30 men per year

Accounts for 16% of all violent crime (Source: Crime in England and Wales 04/05 report), however it is still the violent crime least likely to be reported to the police

Has more repeat victims than any other crime (on average there will have been 35 assaults before a victim calls the police)

Is the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless (Shelter, 2002)

In 2010 the Forced Marriage Unit responded to 1735 reports of possible Forced Marriages.

In addition, approximately 400 people commit suicide each year who have attended hospital for domestic abuse injuries in the previous six months, 200 of these attend hospital on the day they go on to commit suicide”

What is abuse?

Official UK government definition:

Domestic abuse in a relationship: recognise it

There are different kinds of abuse, but it’s always about having power and control over you.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship.

Emotional abuse

Does your partner ever:

  • belittle you, or put you down?
  • blame you for the abuse or arguments?
  • deny that abuse is happening, or play it down?
  • isolate you from your family and friends?
  • stop you going to college or work?
  • make unreasonable demands for your attention?
  • accuse you of flirting or having affairs?
  • tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think?
  • control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?

Threats and intimidation

Does your partner ever:

  • threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • destroy things that belong to you?
  • stand over you, invade your personal space?
  • threaten to kill themselves or the children?
  • read your emails, texts or letters?
  • harass or follow you?

Physical abuse

The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways.

Does your partner ever:

  • slap, hit or punch you?
  • push or shove you?
  • bite or kick you?
  • burn you?
  • choke you or hold you down?
  • throw things?

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, whether they’re male or female.

Does your partner ever:

  • touch you in a way you don’t want to be touched?
  • make unwanted sexual demands?
  • hurt you during sex?
  • pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom?
  • pressure you to have sex?
  • If your partner has sex with you when you don’t want to, this is rape.

Have you ever felt afraid of your partner?

Have you ever changed your behaviour because you’re afraid of what your partner might do?

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, there is help available.

English National Domestic Violence Helpline

0808 2000 247

Estate agency – purpose built for manic-depression

Following the tragic suicide of one of my favourite comedians, the comedic genius Robin Williams, I decided to publicly come out as someone who suffered but had sought treatment for depression in the vain hope that I might encourage others who have, or thought they might have depression, to seek the help that can be lifesaving in some cases.

I should say at this point that I don’t have bi-polar disorder as manic depression is now often referred to and I am not in any way qualified to give advice on depression or any mental disorder or illness. However, I have received treatment for and do suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder*) and depression and what follows is written in good faith.

Mental health used to be very much a taboo subject but is now, thankfully, becoming more widely understood and sufferers receiving better understanding. So why do I say that estate agency is purpose built for bi-polar?

Estate agency, as with many sales related jobs, is one of targets, pressures, endorphin fuelled highs when a sale comes together and, often crushing despair when it falls apart. It can be a cruel career choice and destroyer of nerves on occasions.

For anyone who has ever wondered how they are going to feed their children, pay the mortgage (or your colleagues) simply because, through no fault of their own, a buyer has changed their mind, a customer neglected to mention the property has no building regulations approval until ‘now’ or, a solicitor has simply ‘forgotten’ to send the commission cheque in time; estate agency can be a veritable roller-coaster of emotions.

Throw into the mix that estate agents are often dealing with people who are themselves going through other highly stressful life events that have triggered the need or desire to move (marriage, divorce, pregnancy, death etc.) and agents are having to do so with sensitivity and, often, great patience. It can be a recipe for depression. No one is immune.

No one with depression has it easier or harder than anyone else and everyone deals with it differently. As an estate agent, I’ve battled the black dog for many years as both an employed agent and a business owner. As an employee, I had the ability to take time off had I chosen to. However, as a negotiator on a low basic and commission and as a father of two small children within an unhealthy relationship, I did not feel that this was a realistic option for me so, I had to work through it at the time (storing up more problems for later as it transpired).

As a man, you often feel additional social and self-pressure to be a provider, be strong and to “man-up, knuckle down and just get on with it”. As a business owner, you may also place additional pressures upon yourself to set an example to your colleagues, earn a living and to keep your business in profit and so, on occasions, I have often quite literally shouted at myself to get out of bed as I would have done at a recruit when I was an NCO; when all I really wanted to do was crawl into a ball under the covers and cry. 

Depression is not easy to deal with. It can affect anyone and in many different ways. At its least severe, it can be a general feeling of unworthiness, failure or inability to function at a level you are used to. Depression at its worst, can become a debilitating illness with a total inability to function normally, get out of bed, work effectively, be a good father, mother, wife, husband or partner. Dark thoughts can become the norm rather than an easily dismissed and ridiculed. For some, this sometimes leads to self medicating with drink or drugs, self-harm or attempted suicide. However, if you recognise any of these feelings, can I assure you that people do care about you, you have a value in this world and are valued and, that seeking and accepting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Its’s rarely easy but it will and it does get better. Speak to your GP. There is some excellent advice from the mental health charity ‘Mind’ here.

Good luck

Chris.

*My PTSD is not combat related as some have thought due to my time in the reserve forces.

About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall and was included in the Daily Telegraphs’ list of the UK’s top 20 best small estate agents “who go above and beyond to help their customers” in 2013. He is currently championing the fight against #PortalJuggling in the media along with a number of other agents, journalists and agency suppliers.

He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco.

A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK.
No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter
Chris has previously competed in the National Laser sailing championships and, as a Sabreur with a top 300 UK ranking in fencing. A long-standing member of the Territorial Army; in 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade but was medically evacuated back to the UK before deploying to his forward base with his unit and is now medically discharged from the army.