GUEST COLUMN: Lessons in Real Estate
Kenyatta Jones-Arietta | May 31, 2023
As a broker and coach, I often share that the best lessons in real estate come from an agent’s own transactions. No, not the ones in which you are representing your buyer or seller clients. I’m talking about the ones in which you, yourself are the buyer and/or seller, or even the landlord or tenant.
It’s one thing to learn sales techniques and strategies in a classroom. It’s a totally different animal to have experienced them firsthand. The ability to fully understand and relate to what your clients go through comes from the emotions you experience when you, yourself are the star in the middle of your own home sale or purchase.
I have personally had some doozies! “Did I ever tell you about the time we got kicked out of the house we were buying in the middle of our inspection and told that the sellers no longer wanted to sell the house, even though we were already under contract to sell our existing house? Or what about when we ended up houseless for three weeks, living in a residence hotel with our three kids and granddaughter in a one-bedroom unit after we closed on the sale of our house and couldn’t close on the purchase until our sellers were able to close on their new house a few states over?”
For my investor seller clients, “Did I tell you about when we were trying to sell one of our rental units post the pandemic, but our month-to-month tenants wouldn’t vacate because they couldn’t find another apartment?”
Yes, all true stories! And at times, super stressful. Hopefully, your real estate experiences aren’t quite as dramatic as mine have been, but the bottom line is we made it through all of them with lessons learned and some entertaining stories to share along the way. And when my clients are having a rough go of it, for the most part I am able to be empathetic, having walked in their key-seeking shoes before.
You were “As cool as a cucumber when you purchased,” you say? Aside from your home sale or purchases, you hopefully have learned quite a bit refereeing your clients’ transactions, which may have given you a certain level of confidence moving forward with your own real estate purchase or sale. For the most part, unless they are repeat or investor clients, your clients have little to no experience with the buying and/or selling process. Therefore, patience and empathy are a must.
How can you show empathy for your clients?
• Be present and listen—be sure that you fully understand what the challenge is.
• Acknowledge their pain—let them know that you can see how the current situation is causing them stress.
• Share how you feel—this is where having some sales/purchases of your own can come in handy. You have a better ability to relate to what they are going through.
• Be encouraging and offer some potential resolutions—there is always a solution, though sometimes it’s hard to see when you are in the middle of the situation. How did you handle any similar situations when you were buying or selling? Open up to your clients about your experiences. Guide them to the light at the end of the tunnel.
As a real estate professional, I would encourage you to buy and/or sell properties more than once during your real estate career. I think you should buy or sell at least every five years for refreshers. As with your individual clients, every transaction will be different, and some processes change over the years. I personally have experienced some smooth, almost flawless transactions, residential as well as commercial. For the most part, there has always been something to learn and grow from whether it be on the financing end, the negotiations, the home inspection… and even the final walkthroughs.
Purchasing and selling real estate is not only a great investment to assist you, as a real estate professional, in building wealth. The real-life lessons that come with each transaction are invaluable tools to help you fully understand the process and be a better partner to your clients.