I received a call from a dear friend who is a Realtor. She said, “Tallie, I need to talk to you about an important business matter.”
We met soon after that call at a locally owned tea/coffee house. She explained to me that among the many clients she has who are listing their homes, she has several who are listing their home because they are divorcing. She was very committed to providing the utmost service to all her clients and felt that when it came to those who are divorcing, there seemed to be different, complicated and sometimes emotional issues that would arise. She asked me for my help in understanding them better, so as to provide her service with real care.
I’d like to share what I offered her. Here are a few keys to implement when dealing with real estate clients who are divorcing:
1. Compassion. This may seem like an obvious one; however to actually practice this way of being in reality takes some conscious effort. It includes imagining being in someone else’s shoes, while at the same time never assuming that you know what it is really like to be them. You are affording them the respect and appreciation they deserve for what they are dealing with in their life at the moment. This practice also requires acknowledging that your divorcing client is going through a phase that sometimes has them acting in ways (sometimes even irrational, emotional ways) that are not typical; and this phase will pass. Treat people as the mature adults they are, who obviously had enough of what it takes to purchase their own home to begin with.
2. Ask permission. Sometimes you, as a Realtor, can become somewhat of a confidant for your clients. When people are selling and buying a home Realtors know how emotional it can be for any client. With your divorcing clients you may be someone who can listen to what they are dealing with – without being a therapist or counsellor, but rather a confidential listening ear who is supporting them in this transition. Be open to being in that role, but always ask permission first before you discuss or ask questions about their personal affairs.
3. Review options. As a Realtor you know that the more time you have to properly stage a home for sale, the higher the likelihood for higher offers. For some of your divorcing clients, that could mean living under the same roof for longer than they would prefer! Discuss the options so that they are clear about implications of a quicker sale versus taking the time to “do it right.” Let your client choose what will work for them and bring your compassion and respect to their choice.
4. Evaluate & Elevate. After you and your client have evaluated all options and have made all necessary decisions, it’s time to move forward. Through the process, like any life situation, there may be some difficult times. Keep Elevating the C.A.R.E. principles to be more superior than the frustration that can often arise. This takes practice. So please, don’t only bring compassion and respect to your divorcing client, but also bring compassion and respect to yourself: someone who is choosing to practice new principles for making a difference for your clients.
If you have any stories to share, either as a Realtor or a divorcing client, please do tell!