24 April 2016
Sunshine and torrential showers 16 degrees
When is a partnership not a partnership? At the start of 2015 it was suggested by my agency that we work in collaboration with a local woman who has just started her own set up. Someone with whom I had been in competition for the last twelve years. Someone who worked closely with a guy who I have had numerous run-ins with over the years and whilst I didn't regard him as competition, I knew he had spoken badly about me to buyers and sellers. So I thought about it long and hard but 2014 had been the worst of my many years in real estate, so what the hell, I would give it a go and indicated I would not block such a partnership.
It started off well - after four years of being completely on my own, it was lovely to have access to properties which I hadn't had to go out and find, to have visits on my properties and just to have someone to have a talk to. They did a few visits on my houses and I did a few on theirs and they sold one of mine where I gave them the very interested buyer because I was on holiday.
Then things started to unravel this year. The other agency has made comparatively very few sales - three people have sold the same number of properties as I have managed on my own. It used to be that if we went to a house and found it was with the other agency, we walked away. I had carried on in this fashion, blissfully unaware that the rules of the game had changed, until, on the ferry back from the UK, I was enraged to see that they had taken on a number of my mandated properties. One of which I had actually introduced them to. I emailed the woman and she denied any knowledge of the house. I complained vociferously by all supports available to the agency and was asked to go and see the other woman so emailed and fixed up an appointment to talk about it.
I may not like confrontation but one thing I did take away from eight years with a French national chain is that if you do not stand your ground, you will be tramped on. You need to shout if necessary. French do shouting. I learned how to arm wave and be outraged. I learned how to go on and on and on and keep repeating myself (the French do that too). Fortunately, I worked for someone who was very fair and didn't let outrageous behaviour be rewarded.
OH loves confrontation and, when he had recovered from his sea sickness and had had a good night's sleep, bounced out of bed at 8 am and started role playing me. So, fully role played and with a headache and feeling queasy because it was Wednesday and normally a day I have off and instead I was heading for an unpleasant appointment, I went down town.
She arrived late and I asked her why she had started taking my houses and she said the people had contacted her. I said that I hadn't been taking her houses, whether or not they had contacted me and she said that was very nice of me but I didn't need to do that and she wanted as many houses as possible in our town. She said she didn't do prospecting but later said she had a woman that did so essentially it will be a free for all. I said she needed to have all of our properties on her site and she said my agency didn't want to pay for it. If she has all of my properties and I introduce her to all of my sellers, then she cant take them. So that is how we left it. She also said she is opening a shop. The bottom line is that she is not showing my properties and when I asked why she had not been doing this, she said none of her clients were interested in seeing any of my 80 plus houses. This is total bollocks. They have my agency name on their letter heads and are purporting to be in partnership but actually are just paying lipservice to the agreement.
I rang back the agency and told them the results of our conversation. I dont trust them any more and I would rather be on my own and facing them rather than having them supposedly at my side and working with me. OH feels it is unlikely that the agreement will be ended but we will see next week when agency gets back to me.
Back to my original question - a partnership is not a partnership when it is unequal and when one partner is being abusive.