OK, so this is how it goes.  Two Alaskan fishermen go out onto a frozen lake with their brand new 4X4 utility vehicle.  In order to reach the water below and be able to ‘fish’, they first need to break the ice, and create an opening in the surface of the lake.  In order to do this, due to the thickness of the ice, their normal practice is to create an explosion.  Therefore, to bring about this explosion they light a stick of dynamite and throw it as far as they can.  At this point I should mention that one of fishermen has brought along his dog. Hmmm! You may now be two steps ahead of me, but for those of you who are not, I will continue with the account!

As soon as the dog sees his owner hurling the stick of dynamite, he hurtles after it, tail wagging, ears flapping, skidding on the ice yet covering an impressive distance and leaving the two men shouting and jumping up and down in panic.  Seeing the dog take the ignited stick of dynamite in his mouth and start running back in their direction with impressive speed, one of the men picks up his gun and aims in the general direction of the dog, firing a couple of ‘off-target’ warning shots.  Thinking the pair had gone barking mad, the confused dog seeks safety and protection underneath the brand new 4X4 utility vehicle.  Now, no amount of wild gesticulating can convince the dog of the gravity of the situation.  The stand-off finally comes to an end when the flame of the fuse touches the dog’s nose.  Making the split-second assessment that the shot gun in the hand of his seemingly insane owner is less of an immediate threat than the flame licking his nose, the dog decides to drop the stick of dynamite and make off at breakneck speed in the opposite direction.

Two minutes later, the bemused and frantic fishermen are horrified as they witness their brand new 4X4 utility vehicle explode and get flung in every conceivable direction.  For his part, the dog momentarily turns around to see the cause of the noise, before continuing his escape resolutely in the opposite direction.

Now, the law of unintended consequences rears its head in all sorts of situations, including the housing industry.  In recent years, property search portals have become a major element of an estate agents’ service offering.  They have enabled potential buyers to browse the property market from the comfort of their own sofa without speaking to a single soul, whilst becoming self-proclaimed property experts!  They have fuelled the aspirations of a generation, but also allowed us to become bitter and enraged, producing in us a sense of inferiority as we pour over endless photographs and realise just how imperfect our own home is, when compared to that of our social rival across the road.  Their plush furnishings, outrageously luxurious floor coverings and drapes, ‘celebrity chef style kitchen’ and ‘orangery to die for’, are all paraded in front of us, viewed in high definition through a moody fisheye lens!

The unintended consequence of the advancement of property portals has been the gradual breakdown of the relationship between client and local estate agent.  If lockdown has taught us anything, it has shown us that we are relational beings.  Communication technologies have served as a useful alternative to face-to-face contact, but have not fully scratched the itch of our built-in desire to interact with people on a personal level.  So, as we look to the future and dare to imagine the way things could be once more, we are not harping back to an irretrievable model of engagement.

As local Estate Agents in Bridgwater, Taunton and Wellington, Gibbins Richards longs to meet with you once it is safe to do so; face-to-face and over the phone.  To understand your needs and aspirations and to provide you with a deeper, richer home-moving experience.  We long to engage with individual characters - those memorable clients who make our day a pleasure and to whom we desperately want to offer a service, second to none.  We look forward to renewing your acquaintance as we enable your ‘move’ toward the next stage of life.

So, when that day finally comes and we can meet again, put the lap-top down, leave the iPad at home, consign your Zoom-wave to the distant memory of the year that was 2020 and come in to the branch to see us!  Share with us your dream of a new home and then, our valued client, just you watch as we rise to the challenge of making it become a reality!

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