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3 Ways that Real Estate Agents Moonlight as Therapists

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Real estate agents must wear many hats for their job, and “therapist” is certainly one of them.

Buying and selling real estate is an inherently emotional business, and for good reason. When buying a home, your clients are making the single biggest financial decision of their life; when selling, they are effectively severing ties with that same investment, one that they’ve poured years of their life into.

So it makes sense, given the stakes, that emotions can run high during the real estate process, and that agents often operate as ad hoc therapists to cool emotions and usher the process along.

Here are three areas when such skills are necessary:

1. Outside Frustrations – It’s truly amazing how many small, complementary things can affect your job as an agent. For instance, your client may have difficulty finding parking in the area you agreed to meet, and may approach the meeting angry, frustrated and unwilling to cooperate with you. They may spill coffee on their favorite pair of pants. They may be running late. They may have gotten into an argument with a child or spouse. Whatever the cause, it will be your job as the agent to not only deflect those frustrations, but to simmer down the waters and render them feasible for the real estate process.

2. Real-Life Crises – Of course, we shouldn’t make light of the problems that clients can bring into the real estate process, because some of them can be quite substantial. We’ve heard no shortage of stories regarding divorce, death and unfortunate accidents (job loss, especially) that befall clients when they are engaged in buying or selling a home, and all can prove quite tricky for agents to navigate; after all, you need to keep the client focused on the process, but not alienate their emotions or come across as insincere. But as we’ve written before, navigating such issues is what ultimately allows certain agents to reach the top.

3. The Dreaded “Home Crush” – Finally, there is the dreaded “house crush,” when, despite glaring issues and costs, clients become hung up over a specific home. Such infatuations are not rare – a whopping 69 percent of realtor.com users, a recent study found, suffered from “home crush.” Again, it’ll be your job to meet the client halfway. Understand why the home appeals to them like it does, and then explain to them, empathetically, why the home has problems – and then find them a house with the same positives, but not the same issues.

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