A Word On Waiting

05 Aug 2022, Harcourts Admin

A Word On Waiting

Have you ever gone past a line of people and wondered what exactly they were waiting for, especially when the conditions for waiting were uncomfortable?

It was either unbearably hot or inclement, yet the line continued to grow, confirming the belief that some things are worth waiting for.

There’s a psychology to waiting and it’s been studied as part of business management and client services, with some of the most significant findings coming from Harvard Business School professor David Maister.

I’m interested in his studies because one of the most common statements I’m hearing in the current market is “we’re waiting” … for the right home, right time, right price, the right circumstances. Everything has to be perfect and yet the chances of perfection, I’ve learnt from experience, are rare and that wait can become an infinite one.

Waiting is one of the most dominant of human frustrations, so it makes sense to identify what makes the wait more acceptable.

Here are some of his findings:

1) The more valuable the service, the longer you’ll wait.

An easy example of this is that people will wait longer for a doctor to attend to them than they would a shop assistant, perceiving the doctor’s service to be more valuable and deeply integral to their wellbeing.

Equally, in real estate clients will wait for the right consultant to manage their property needs in the knowledge that this could give them an advantage by reaching more buyers, having their price expectations upheld through superior negotiation skills and giving their properties a better profile. There’s literally a ‘waiting list’ of clients for consultants of this calibre, and it makes sense to want to work with them.

Some factors make waiting feel even longer and this realization gives the service industries – and real estate is one of these – a chance to rectify this inconvenience.

2) Uncertain waits are longer than quantified ones.

Someone who knows that their wish list home is coming to the market in approximately one month’s time is more likely to wait knowing this is definitely happening versus never having an actual timeframe communicated to them. The lesson here is consistent communication by an agent to keep in touch with their clients around timeframes – and for those clients wanting to be notified to show loyalty and commitment to that consultant. It’s a two-way street with significant benefits to both parties.

Here’s a final ‘waiting’ scenario that also gets played out regularly and affects most of us:

3) Unfair waits are longer, much longer than equitable ones. Here’s the scenario. You’re waiting to be attended to and the service you receive (or hope to receive) is interrupted by someone’s phone call. The sense of unfairness this engenders can make the wait intolerable and I wonder how much business is lost chasing the call over helping the actual person standing in front of you. I personally struggle with this the most and will usually move on if I find myself in this situation.

So, what are you waiting for? What lines are you physically or figuratively standing in? I’m currently waiting for spring; I’m waiting for a full office without the burden of excessive illness. I’m not waiting for the market to change greatly for some time, but I am working with the awareness that it will, as they always do. So you’re aware of the most recent market statistics, I can tell you that 491 properties sold in June, averaging 33 days on the market and for an average price of $700,000.

If you’re waiting for that right time, place or home, know that it’s out there and the right person will guide you to it.