Are You Talking Over Your Client's Head?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty


Hot Air Balloon over Valley Creek Park 

Realtors interface in the real estate business on a daily bases.  The process of selling a home, contracts, mortgage responsibilities, etc. should be second nature to us.  Like the horse out for a ride and as you get close to the stable it kicks into automatic and heads home. 

An agent in my office called asking if I knew of a survey company she could contact.  She was concerned that her clients may have to pay for a new survey as their existing one did not have the pool reflected.  She went on to explain that her clients just had not read the contract well regarding the survey options and what the buyer indicated was the seller's responsibility to provide a new survey should the existing one not be acceptable.  I told her to put all that aside and lets take one big step backwards and look at this picture she painted.  "Her clients had not read the contract well ..." so I asked who is representing her clients?  Well I am.  Enough said ... I launched into a 101 on representation and responsibility and points to better assist her clients in the future. 

Do we take for granted that our clients understand the contracts, the process?  Should we just adopt the attitude that our clients can read and therefore they understand?  It is up to us, their representative, to educate and guide our clients with clear unquestioned understanding what they are signing and how this will impact them. 

After I finished my conversation with the office associate I walked out of my home to see this hot air balloon drifting across the sky.  Perfect ... just brought a visual to sum up my whole point.  We need to make sure our clients fully understand what is taking place and not let the process of selling go right over their heads. 


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Bob Foster
Century 21 Lanthorn R. E. Ltd. Belleville, Ontario - Belleville, ON

Well said, Connie. Each profession has its own knowledge domain and langauage. Our clients need to have the knowledge we share translated into terms they understand. This isn't an option; it's a requirement for professional service. We need to stop the "speil" and retrace our steps until real communication and undertanding are shared.

Apr 14, 2009 03:39 PM #1
Sylvie Conde
Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Broker, Toronto Real Estate

So, how quickly is that associate going to get a new survey, and pay for it out of her pocket?

I can't believe she said that.  I can't believe she didn't explain everything in detail, and ensured the clients understood EXACTLY what they were getting into.
When in doubt, have the client repeat back to you, what you just explained to them, to make sure they go it. 

I also write things down and make sure they are understood.  Sometimes saying it is not enough.


Apr 14, 2009 03:47 PM #2
Toula Rosebrock
Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ - Lacey Township, NJ
Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township,


Hi Connie:

Great Shot, what timing!  Perfect photo for this situation.

I always walk my clients through the process, step by step.  It's a must!

Apr 14, 2009 11:30 PM #3
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

GOod post and timely too...just the other day I was at a listing appt of a nice home...I suggested staging. The client seemed to understand and when I met with him a couple days later..he admitted he never had heard of a stager and had to look it up....I should have explained it right away.....

Apr 15, 2009 12:50 AM #4
Allison Stewart
St.Cloud Homes - Saint Cloud, FL
St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904


Timely refreshers make better agents.  Too often one can become side tracked and forget that the public at large is missing key information which is why they hired us in the first place.

Good job!

Apr 15, 2009 01:09 AM #5
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

Most of our clients have "no clue" when it comes to real estate transactions.  We do this day in and day out(and even in our sleep).  We need to think like a teacher introducing a new subject to our class.  Explain in simple English, ask for questions frequently and review what we covered. 

Apr 15, 2009 01:59 AM #6
John Cannata
214-728-0449 - Frisco, TX
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance

Its sad, but that sort of thing happens all the time.  You should never assume a buyer KNOWS anything.  Sure, you will have some that understand the process and pay attention to detail, but those are far and few.  Most need guidance, as you pointed out.

Apr 15, 2009 04:37 AM #7
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

Nice analogy Connie ! and what an inspiring sight to see the ballon right there. Handy that you had your camera at the ready !!!! Good job :o)


Apr 18, 2009 01:47 PM #8
Sandy McAlpine
Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC

It's hard to teach our clients what they need to know without talking too much or being outright boring with the real estate terms. Great Post and I like the Hot Air Balloon!

Apr 22, 2009 12:57 AM #9
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

I work under the assumption that all my Clients have no more than a first-grade education. It's the only way that I can truly manage their expectations because I can manage first-graders very easily. It's served me well throughout my business career.

Apr 28, 2009 10:01 PM #10
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Connie Goodrich

CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas
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