Assisting Clients Through Emotional Transactions

You may have read some of my columns where I list what REALTORS® do for clients. In a recent column, I mentioned that a REALTOR® does not have to be the subject matter expert in each area. Rather, he or she needs to know a good bit about everything but ultimately is your quarterback who coordinates with the subject matter experts, whether they be loan officers, inspectors, attorneys, etc.  Well, I actually left out something which comes up frequently. It’s something we do not study for nor are tested on when obtaining our licenses. For that matter, I’ve never even encountered continuing education which addresses this.

Many sellers as well as buyers are often dealing with major emotional issues in life when they come to us. These issues can range from financial woes and low credit scores to family deaths or divorces. When this happens, it truly helps if their REALTOR® has the emotional intelligence to simply listen.  That’s a quality I need more and more in military leadership. Listening, understanding and conveying empathy are quite important, but they’re qualities not everyone possesses.

Imagine a couple going through a divorce. There are raw emotions based solely upon the relationship. There may be anger, shock or betrayal. Then, there’s the stress of determining child custody and what to do with the previously shared home. So, when they meet with a REALTOR®, they may have a need to simply talk. We’re not trained counselors, but we sometimes find ourselves placed in a position where a client needs emotional support.

A death of a parent is another common scenario.  That will often be more expected than the death of a spouse, a divorce or a job loss, but do you know what can make the death of a parent a lot more difficult? Siblings in disagreement on how to settle an estate can cause tremendous stress! Hopefully a Will is in place with an executor designated, but even in that situation, emotions can still run high. Once again, a REALTOR® may find themselves in a challenging spot as one or more siblings will lean for support.

Another problem revolves around one’s financial status. If a buyer has a low credit score or does not have enough cash for a down payment, he or she may feel the need to explain all the reasons which led to this situation.  What a mature REALTOR® who has the spirit of being an advisor or teacher will do, after listening, is suggest a way to move forward. That may include connecting the client with a loan officer who will show them how to boost their credit score. Maybe it’s exploring loan options where a bad score or lack of a down payment can be worked around.  Maybe the client hasn’t yet gone through the Probate process and needs to be pointed in the right legal direction.

REALTORS® are often called upon to fill many more roles than is commonly realized. Sometimes, a REALTOR® can lower a client’s stress, simply by being a good listener.