Interesting how many impromptu multiple choice tests get conjured up during the everyday dance of real estate. Certain common situations require our clients to hone their ability to hold two opposing thoughts in their heads at the same time and find a way to be live comfortably in the moment with both. It isn’t easy to simultaneously act as a rational advocate and a dedicated contrarian – specially when your guts are busy sending a steady stream of messages to your head about what feels right.
What am I talking about? One of the most common counter-intuitive experiences in real estate comes when you decide you want to buy a house and sell a house at the same time. Which do you do first? Do you go out and spend lots of time looking for a house in the beginning before you actually put your existing house on the market? Do you take the chance that you’ll lose the perfect house you found because Sellers aren’t accepting too many contingent offers these days?
Or do you put that scary sign up first before you have it all figured out? Before you know where you want to go exactly? That’s a choice that can make you feel like you are taking a giant leap into the unknown – with no way back. Fearful images well up. Notions that you’ll somehow end up homeless if you dare to list your home without knowing where your dining room table is going to fit and what your new bedroom is going to look like.
And yet…unless you are one of the few fortunate souls out there with the ability to float the purchase of a new home without the immediate help of the proceeds from the old one, there you are – left with very little choice but to stick your big toe into the deep end of the abyss as a prelude to taking a full-fledged plunge.
Now I’m usually the first one to leap to the defense of the emotional when it comes to most things real estate. I don’t care how much you know about purchase contracts, title searches, market statistics or any other left-brained details – most important decisions in real estate are born in the belly and rise slowly up through the heart chakras and on to the head. People who start backwards, completely in their heads and out of touch with their own emotional bodies, often become lab rats for that ultimately unsatisfying bardo known as analysis-paralysis.
I could work the rest of my life in real estate without knowing the exact number of square feet in an acre (43,560) but I wouldn’t last another day if I didn’t understand how terrifying it is for first time buyers to write an offer on something that in the moment, feels like it is the biggest thing that will ever happen to them in their lives
One of the best roles that a Realtor can play for his/her clients (although it isn’t necessarily the most lofty sounding role) – is to become their emotional ballast. Almost every adventure in real estate comes with a free ride on the roller coaster of emotion – up, down, over, under, sideways – through all the perambulations that can pop up and be alternately fun, adrenalin-producing, rewarding, frustrating, dizzying, exhausting, and crazy fear-inducing.
It is our job to make sure our clients are properly strapped in, while we set about making their personal roller coaster ride as smooth and as even as possible. Every journey is different and there are always going to be ups and downs, but there are also some simple strategies that can make the high’s feel not quite so high and the corresponding lows feel not quite so low. A real estate transaction shouldn’t be an engraved invitation to embark on a close encounter of the bipolar kind.
Becoming emotional ballast means honing and using our ability to empathize with our clients. To intuit with them. To understand them. To respond to them. To help catalyze them. To anchor them. It requires a keen sense of timing and innate talent for knowing when to say when and shift your weight back to the other side of the boat and then sometimes back again. Ultimately our job is to help create a holding place of balance, a temporary home of safety and refuge and comfort for those that we have a trusting relationship with, that are looking for a permanent home of their own.
The inner ear is the place where smooth sale-ing comes from. It is where the ride gets stabilized. We need to harmonize our own voice with our client’s resonant inner ear. And that comes from using both sides of our brains, every logical, rational, intuitive, counter-intuitive, emotive tool at our disposal that we learn and assimilate through years of experience and thousands of rides on the roller coaster.