Jim Spencer – THE man
Funny things, Dads.
Only today one of my best friends said that she was meeting up with her “soul mate” for a brew, and yet she wasn’t talking about her husband. Girls have an automatic respect, unconditional love, and desperate need to please their fathers, which I am sure only Freud would try to explain. So it is with an equal measure of all of those things that I write this blog about mine, Jim Spencer.
Jim was born in Gleadless, Sheffield, when the area fell into the Derbyshire county boundary; a massive disappointment for his father who had rather hoped he would play Cricket for Yorkshire. After nomad-ing around a little moving here and there, he came back to Sheffield to study a Diploma in Estate Management at Sheffield Polytechnic in 1967 with his girlfriend, Anne, and they have remained here ever since.
Having always worked in property and having always studied buildings you could say he is a bit of a property-bore but until you have seen how excited he can get about dry rot, you probably wouldn’t quite understand. Holidays growing up normally incorporated a number of stops walking through towns, villages, and cities where he would have to point out to us his fascination with the cracking of some mortar, the tilting of a gutter, the slanting of a roof, or the marvelling of a construction. He doesn’t walk fast; he ambles, mainly because he is always looking up!
It comes as no surprise then that property has been his life, as much as Manchester United, and as much as his family (note the order of these two things). I know the pride that he feels when being asked his opinion, as it shows the level of respect that people have for his knowledge, and respect is a word that those who have met him will always mention.
As “estate agents” we are always in the line of fire for being in the top three most hated professions so it won’t surprise anyone that often the agents turn on each other to win business. We have known of agents putting notes through vendor’s doors saying that other agents are going bust just to try to steal their clients! Dad, though, has never entered into these games. When other agents are fighting each other tooth and nail to win business and using politician tactics to outdo insults about each other he always stepped back and watched the fight ensue. To his benefit, this has always actually meant that when an agent “loses” a job, they have never been too offended that he has won, or have never been too frightened to recommend him if someone needed to swap and move on.
I am honoured to have been trained by him over the last 15 years and thank goodness he will still always take my call going forwards when I’m stuck. He fascinates me how he works out yields and percentages and values and prices per square foot (Imperial ‘til he dies), how he remembers which builder built which site when and what their troubles were in the process. He remembers addresses before he will ever remember names, so never be offended by him calling you by your address from 1975.
He is a great man my dad, he is my legend. I look up to him and respect him and admire all of his accomplishments, all of which he has conquered with my mum right by his side, of course! He is dignified and respectful, honest to a fault, and will always take a secret to his grave – doesn’t sound much like an estate agent, does he?
Jim retires at the end of October this year, and will work going forwards as a consultant by request. We at Spencers would all like to say a MASSIVE thank you for always showing us the way, for being our guiding light, our benchmark, and our mentor. I, as his daughter, thank him for all of those things, plus a million others.