With all of the challenges involved in real estate what a client really wants is someone to hold their hand through the process. Your realtor has to be someone you trust implicitly to look out for your interests as well as someone who truly listens to your concerns and does their best to address and hopefully alleviate them. Imagine if your realtor could be the perfect blend of a sales agent, marketer, counselor and teacher? Kind of like Mary Poppins with a bag containing something to address every need! And if they don’t have expertise in an area or know something first hand, they have a lengthy list of resources for you so there is always a plan. What you are really looking for is a real estate therapist!
I do in fact hold a master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy and I have come to realize that my training is not only a benefit, but in some cases the reason why I am able to truly help my clients. The reason why people seek therapy is change, pure and simple. Change can be positive, negative, by choice or forced upon us – but any kind of change requires some adjustment. An outside person who can guide you, point out the upside as well as the pitfalls and support you through the change can make all the difference. Most importantly therapists are trained listeners and both buyers and sellers need to have their needs heard in order for their needs to be addressed. Every single client has a story and unless you know and understand that story you are not doing your job as a realtor.
In real estate every transaction inherently involves change, and just like life, change happens for many reasons. Starting out on your own or with a partner, having a new baby or more babies, new jobs and new locations can all bring about the need for a new place to live. Conversely, downsizing, divorce, illness, death and financial difficulties can all place a person in a situation where they need a realtor to assist them as well. Considering that change can be scary, the idea of selling, buying or renting a home can be scary and the stereotype of a realtor can be scary it makes sense why many approach dealing with a realtor with the same excitement reserved for a root canal!
What I have found in both therapy and real estate is that most of the fear comes from not having enough information, the correct information and a game plan of what to expect. When I first speak with someone about their real estate needs I try to understand why they are making a move and what their goal is, once I have this information I can help them structure a plan and help them to understand what to expect. Simplifying the process is so very important and educating along the way is vital. When someone knows why something is happening and what to expect next the process makes sense.
It is equally important to have someone on your side when a deal doesn’t happen, when offers don’t come and when you find yourself in a position where a short sale may be your best option. As a realtor I see it as my responsibility to help you move forward and regroup. At the very least my role as a realtor is to remind you some things just weren’t meant to be and perhaps there is something better in store for you – part cheerleader, part coach. My client mantra in those frustrating moments is “just keep packing and think positive thoughts”.
I truly see an opportunity for each experience in real estate to be an opportunity to help, to support and to assist the client as they work to achieve their goals. I believe that it is my responsibility to treat each person with respect and integrity and to provide stewardship, confidentiality and professionalism in each transaction. While my approach may take more time and effort it provides me with tremendous satisfaction and a sense that I was truly able to make a difference. I believe in the power of positive thinking, I have a passion for real estate and I have the training to help people move toward positive change – the real estate therapist is in!