Agent helping couple

4 things your clients want you to know 

It's not always easy to juggle your clients' emotional and transactional needs, but remembering these points can help.

December 18, 2022
4 minutes

Key points:

  • What’s routine for you can be a big deal to buyers or sellers, especially if it's their first transaction.
  • Empathy can go a long way — real estate is a people business, after all.
  • Community involvement can signal that you care about more than just the sale.

Everyone can benefit from a little constructive feedback. Real estate agents who want to better serve their customers could simply ask for that feedback — but some clients may be hesitant to criticize the person who just helped them through one of the most important transactions of their life. 

That's why we did some querying of our own. 

We talked with folks who've recently bought or sold homes and asked, "What do you wish real estate agents knew?" Some themes emerged, and upping your service game may be as simple as remembering these four key points:

1. Buying and selling a home is stressful

As an agent, you prepare for showings, negotiate closing dates and deal with low appraisals. It's part of the job. But for clients, any one of those routine-to-you things can be a very big deal. 

Yes, you explained the whole process and possible pitfalls when you first met, but that doesn't mean your clients remember or fully understood what you were saying. Complicated processes can be stressful. Staying organized so you can leave the house at a moment's notice is challenging. 

"A lot of people have deep, emotional attachments to their homes," said Kristin Luippold, whose family recently bought and sold houses in Tacoma, Wash. "When you have that attachment and you've worked really hard to get your house in the best possible condition, it can be stressful to hear that buyers want you to do even more. Having an agent acknowledge your feelings can go a really long way."

2. Everybody's circumstances are different

Real estate is a business, but it's a people business, and figuring out where your buyer or seller is coming from — on a personal level — can make a world of difference. Does one of the family members have a disability or illness you should be aware of? Is your potential client downsizing because of divorce or a lost job?

When Kris Baldyga's father-in-law passed away in 2021, she and her husband were tasked with clearing out and selling his 3,500-square-foot home in Peoria, Ariz. 

"We met with agents who certainly could have done the job, but they were kind of insensitive. We ended up choosing the agent who came in prepared. She knew the house was in a trust and she was attuned to our grief. She acknowledged what we were going through and wanted to lift that layer off us."

3. Your community involvement matters

With so many agents to choose from, sometimes it comes down to your community ties or involvement in a specific area or cause. Those connections signal to consumers that you care.

"Our agent donated $500 from every sale to a nonprofit of her client's choosing," said Melanie Swiftney of Grand Haven, Mich. "Did we do business with her solely because of that? No, but it played into our decision. It reenforced our impression that she cared about our town and it signaled that she was a decent, compassionate individual."

4. Don't take it personally

With more than 1.5 million licensed agents across the United States, most buyers and sellers have at least a couple of real estate professionals in their circle of friends.

You can't take it personally if a pal from church or the family two streets over decides to list their home with another agent. Buyers and sellers a making a major financial commitment, so choosing an agent is an important business decision (that doesn't mean you shouldn't put yourself out there — building a reputation as a local market expert can go a long way). 

Additionally, agents must remember that it's natural for emotions to run high as buyers and sellers deal with the frustration that accompanies many transactions. 

People handle delays and complications in different ways, and occasionally that includes vocalizing their dissatisfaction to their agents. The clients we spoke with want agents to remember that those frustrations are typically directed at the situation — not the person championing their sale or purchase.

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