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CEO Comments May 30, 2024

Navigating the roller coaster of business ownership

Recently, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, Iain McKenzie was joined by Wendy Peterman, Managing Director of Petermans Estate Agents on The Home Stretch podcast to discuss what it has been like to be in estate agency over the past five years, mental health and Wendy’s experience as a female leader in the sector. 


Established over 65 years ago by her father, Peterman joined the family-run business 20 years ago. She notes that the past five years in the sector has been a roller coaster, when compared with the initial 15 years she has been involved with the business. “We had to deal with recessions in the past, however, comparatively I think these past five years have been more difficult. We were fortunate enough to be set up to work remotely during the pandemic, but there were challenges that we had to negotiate. When we were allowed to go back out, the market boomed and we were extremely busy, which was great, but it also meant dealing with very high expectations from vendors who were eager to move and move quickly, especially when they were up against the clock to meet the stamp duty deadline. A lot of people were stressed and seemed to treat agents badly as a result. I thought we would come out of Covid with a different mindset having all been through this terrible thing together, I thought people would be kinder to each other. However, it seems like the opposite has happened. People seem to be a lot angrier, which had a negative impact on our negotiators,” adds Peterman. 


McKenzie responds, saying: “After the pandemic, we had the cost-of-living crisis and the aftermath of Trussonomics, which resulted in a tough market for the past 18 months. From a mindfulness perspective, how has that been?”


Peterman notes that as a business, they had to take a step back and reassess their direction of travel. “It has been a matter of going back to basics and back to the way we use to do things. Mentally, it is like you have to keep resetting, which is very unnerving. As a business owner it is important to have a vision in order to push the business forward, however, that is not always easy,” she comments. 


Speaking about what it has been like as a leader in a business, Peterman says that the readjustment from the working environment during the pandemic to being fully back in the office has been challenging at times. “During the pandemic, it felt like many of the agents were working together to help and learn from each other. The Guild was an amazing resource during that time, and still is. When the world went back to normal, I found it very difficult to focus and keep my staff motivated,” she adds. 


Peterman openly expands on her struggles, as well as the steps she took to overcome them through the help of organisations such as Agents Together. 


McKenzie and Peterman go on to speak about being a woman in estate agency, as well as what the next five years could possibly hold for the sector. 


To listen to the full episode visit The Home Stretch podcast.

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