Comment: They call me the House Whisperer

PUBLISHED: 14:39 05 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:53 05 January 2018

'The House Whisperer' Trevor Abrahmsohn at Glentree Estates.

'The House Whisperer' Trevor Abrahmsohn at Glentree Estates.


Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of north London agents, Glentree Estates, writes about his special skills for closing a deal, which, he says, include “psychotherapy, extreme cajoling and applied salesmanship”. We’re intrigued...

for sale stock for sale stock

You would think that the process of selecting a buyer for a particular property is important. You would also think that an appointment for them to inspect the property, is crucial. But, how many estate agents know how to get a deal across the line? This is a vital science, which is so important to the success of the process, yet many of them are clueless as to how to master it.

Over 41 years in the residential property business, I have been brought into ‘problem deals’ as a ‘Mr. Fix-It’ and we have the highest success rate of any agent in business. More often than not, it is at a crucial time where intransigence and obstinacy of buyer and seller, is at its peak and where the closing of the last 10% of the price gap, between offer and acceptance, is most difficult.

It involves a mixture of psychotherapy, extreme cajoling and applied salesmanship, all being driven by an assertive, well-intentioned desire to get people ‘out of their own way’. By this I mean that, instinctively, human nature is such, that agreement between parties only occurs in the minority of cases by natural gravitation. If you are looking for a much higher success rate, you need to call in the ‘house whisperer’ – enter Trevor Abrahmsohn, stage right!

Invariably, I am invited to create ‘strategic meetings’ in order to close difficult deals. But, I insist on all the decision makers being present. These can last several hours and are probably closer to the ‘peace summits’ that you see on television when a mediator is trying to ‘bridge the gap’ between two warring factions. The rules are simple, nobody leaves the room without an agreement.

Neither buyer nor seller wants a meeting and to agree to one is already a sign of tacit acquiescence. It is therefore, a struggle to get all the decision makers there, in one place, at one time, but the meeting cannot start without them all being present. Their reluctance is partly due to this method being considered too confrontational, as most people would far prefer to ‘hide behind the skirt’ of the agent, on the telephone or email, where there is more camouflage and protection.

Once everyone is together in the room, the process starts with a preamble, when all the parties get to know each other and discuss any topic that pleases them, usually not about the property. During this vital stage, I am seen but not heard! Then, when I feel the time is right, I introduce the subject of the ‘filthy stuff’ when I direct them to talk about the financials. I invite the prospective buyer to either submit an offer or, increase the offer they have already put forward, prior to the meeting.

This process continues until we, usually, get to a figure which is approximately 10% short of the common ground and from this point it could be uphill all the way.

I usually take the purchaser out of the room, in order to bombard them with my potent mixture of psychology and applied salesmanship which allows me to ‘reset the software’ of their minds, with a view to getting them to offer a price, far greater than they would have ever done unassisted.

The objective here is to increase the level of drama to artificially create a crescendo or, as I call it, a quasi ‘auction environment’, but with only one bidder. This is never easy, but without heat and light, one can never get fusion.

I bring the purchaser back to the meeting room and then take the seller out into a private area in-order to give them the same treatment, in reverse, and to prepare them for a potential agreement.

With both parties now back in the meeting room, I endeavour to reach the ‘middle ground’, which is the most difficult territory to traverse. I am used to ‘tantrums’ and where, spoilt, self-assured people can often ‘throw their toys out of the pram’ but I am not usually ‘phased’ by this. As the ‘conductor of the orchestra’, I am in charge and if ‘head bashing’ is appropriate, so be it.

When agreement is reached, I outline the details of the terms, with references to goods and chattels and the time lines for the conveyancing process.

As a vital part of the procedure, I then ask both parties to shake hands, if not embrace, on the ‘moral contract’ that they have just exchanged. This hopefully covers the vulnerable ‘cooling off’ period, until the formal exchange of documents, organised by the respective solicitors, are completed, which could take weeks or months.

I endeavour to strike an arrangement where, hopefully, both sides are equally happy or unhappy, for that matter. I am not fussed which way this results. What I don’t want is a lopsided deal, where one party has a face like a ‘bull dog chewing a wasp’, whilst the other is ‘kicking their heels in the air’ with excitement. A fragile agreement like this, usually never ‘makes it to the altar’.

This ‘summit meeting’ method has resulted in the most extraordinary success rate for Glentree where I have beaten world precedents and achieved values of up to £200million (in today’s money) for a single, flagship property in London. It is, afterall, our USP and why people come to us.

This closing method is considered highly unorthodox and far too confrontational, by the cognoscenti. They would prefer to rely on the telephone or emailed correspondence, instead.

Any usual apprenticeship for the Industry, would specifically avoid this highly charged, ‘touchy feely’ method which, technically, could be explosive, if it goes wrong.

Never having been formally trained as an estate agent, allows me to adopt a ‘blue sky’ approach to this subject, which is why they call me, the ‘house whisperer’.

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

Seven tips for creating a wellbeing boosting garden

Matt Keightley, the designer behind the Feel Good Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, reveals how to make your own outdoor space more soothing. By Hannah Stephenson

Nine ways gardeners can be more waterwise this summer

Want to save your plants and save water? Go easy with the sprinkler and embrace these expert suggestions instead, says Hannah Stephenson

For sale: New show homes open at Highgate development

Two new show apartments have opened at a luxury development in Highgate.

Elegant cottage formerly home to renowned poet, A.E Housman, now for sale in Highgate Village

A cottage in Highgate Village where the renowned poet A.E Housman once lived is now available to buy.

Comment: A War of the Roses? The challenges of dealing with property and divorce

Trevor Abrahmsohn, MD at north London agents Glentree, writes about his encounters with divorcing couples selling the marital home

Home of the week: Handsome 5 bedroom property in Hampstead perfect for a family

On the market for the first time in many years is this attractive, substantial detached double fronted family house located in a prime location.

Fancy owning a Picasso? It’s not impossible says Belsize Village gallery owner

Emma Rice talks to Andrea Sylvester about art and how we could all potentially own a Picasso or a Chagall, if that’s what we love

Callender Howorth interior designers transform Grade II-listed home in Hampstead

Mark Howorth, the founder of luxury interior design firm Callender Howorth, tells us how he brought elegant Indian influences to a period property on NW3’s Heath Drive

Primrose Hill artist Michal Cole on transforming her paintings into woven masterpieces

“It’s actually bringing these paintings back into what they used to be in the Renaissance times – as tapestries.”

Home improvements: How to make a rustic hanging rail

Fancy getting stuck into a creative project? Try your hand at woodworking and hang your coats on this minimalist marvel.

Home of the Week: Handsome four-bedroom Victorian terrace in Dartmouth Park

An attractive four-storey Victorian family home on the upper slopes of peaceful Dartmouth Park

King’s Cross area guide: shopping, culture, eating out and the station

Your guide to all the things to do in King’s Cross, including the best shops, cafes, pubs and schools. Plus our guide to property in N1C

Three properties for sale in King’s Cross

Here are three properties you can buy in King’s Croos, from new builds to conversions

1930s garage transformed into 10 luxury apartments in Belsize Village

A Belsize Village car repair and parking depot dating back to the 1930s has been transformed into a luxury apartment development.

Escape to the garden: Primrose Hill home gets a new luxury retreat

Chalk farm engineer and treehouse specialist talks about co-designing a new Escape Pod that can sit at the bottom of your garden

Home of the week: Room for all your earthly possesions in sought-after Hampstead enclave

An accommodating and beautifully presented, five-bedroom family house, set in the desirable South Hill Park Conservation Area.

Gardens: How best to stock your pond with fish

From picking suitable species to ensuring your pond is safe, Hannah Stephenson runs through some key points to consider before you start.

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2018 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant