Absorbing the Brunt of Frustrations

Real Estate Agent with Liberty Homes RS-#62825

There's  a sense of accomplishment as each one of these short sale transactions makes progress.  There are quite a few emotions flying in the wind throughout this process and we surely feel for our clients as they go through the inner turmoil and frustrations that goes along with EVERY short sale.  They did their best and had great credit but when it came time to move and sell their home they were.....stuck.

I keep reminding myself to not take things personal.

It's hard to decipher the client's feelings when there are written words through email or abrupt phone calls with harsh words included.  Are they blaming me somehow?  I keep asking myself, "Why am I the recipient of their frustrations?".

Because I am the closest one to them during this time that actually listens.

Listening to my client's needs will continue to be the best quality I have as a real estate agent.  It's actually the best quality I have as a human being.  It doesn't take much to care and to listen.  Don't get me wrong, I am assertive and don't let anyone overstep my boundaries but I also understand that some people just need someone to listen.  How else will I know what their needs are?

Come to think of it, every transaction is a stressful time for both home buyers and home sellers.

We are there to answer questions, guide them and direct them....

But most importantly....


Posted by



Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman  is a Realtor-Associate® and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) with Century 21 Liberty Homes in Mililani, Hawaii. With a sharp understanding that a listening ear is the key to a client's needs  she serves the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) and all Hawaii Military Relocations, Hawaii Retirees, Hawaii Job Transfers and Hawaii Residents, Home Buyers and Sellers.


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Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I have said to many clients over the years... about inspections, negotiations, underwriting issues, appraisals, attorneys, closings ect...  "I worry about that for you, so you don't have to".  I have always worked well with pressure.  I worked under daily deadline pressure for a newspaper for 7 years before my real estate career... it was great training.  Listening is a wonderful skill and so is allowing clients and even co-workers (or agents (if you are the broker)) to vent vent vent and get it out and then deal with it.

Jun 26, 2010 08:37 AM #4
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Sally - listening, not hearing, may be the most important thing we do. If we don't really listen, we can''t then effectively help them with all the information, knowledge and experience we have to help solve the problem.

Real estate is often very emotional, with short sales perhaps being some of the most difficult. it is no wonder folks can get very emotional andneed to express their feelings.


Jun 26, 2010 09:25 AM #5
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Tammy: I understand completely..but it doesn't stop me from asking questions after to make sure it's not something I can help them with.

Jeff: You got it Jeff. Some people pretend to listen...and then just keep talking talking talking lol

Jun 26, 2010 09:36 AM #6
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX


You'd think any thing so basic would be common.

Sadly few actually listen.

Good post! Thanks.


Jun 26, 2010 09:36 AM #7
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Stressful for buyers, sellers and agents involved.  Stressful for everyone involved but the banks because they, the banks, have nothing to lose.

What a nice place to be. 

Jun 26, 2010 09:57 AM #8
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

"frustrations that goes along with EVERY short sale."


Sally, I hear you and I am just very happy that our market is not inundated with short sales like many other areas! Hang in there my friend!


Jun 26, 2010 12:12 PM #9
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

I agree, Sally, but I also agree that you have to set limits.  One couple whose home I have been trying to short sell was getting increasingly rude and demanding, and yet when I tried to reach them for something I needed or just to give them an update, they were too busy to talk to me. 

Finally, a few days ago, I went to get signatures on some papers and was met with a barrage of obscenities - the worst - directed at the bank and then directed at me.  I felt angry but also a bit frightened by the husband, and I fired them.  I had tried to be understanding for months because of the stress I knew they were suffering, but they reached my limit when the husband was yelling obscenities, pacing around and slamming doors. 

It was scary and I don't need to be treated like that when I've been working so hard to help them.  I prepared a cancellation of the listing for them to sign, and I asked for no part of any commission and didn't even ask for reimbursement of any expenses.  I just don't want them in my life any more.

At the same time, I have been working for another short selling couple who are constantly telling me how appreciative they are.  The opposite extreme.  We just closed on theirs, and we have become close friends during the 13 month process. Too bad they all aren't like that.

Jun 26, 2010 01:58 PM #10
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Sally it can be very satisfying when we get a Short Sale to finally Close, they are not easy.  I have one right now going on 100 days and time is running out on their Tax Credit.  I have the Loan all set to Close but the Bank has not signed off on the Short Sale yet.  Hope they get it done before Wednesday.

Jun 26, 2010 02:14 PM #11
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

I have only worked the buyer side of a short sale and sometimes forget the pain that the Seller must be feeling, especially when faced with the new owners of the house they put their hope and dreams in.  They do need extra care and attention, and a lot of understanding.   However, there is never an excuse for them to take it out on the person trying to help them.

Jun 26, 2010 03:20 PM #12
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Jane: No one can overstep ones boundaries unless they let them. Listening is key here.

George: I hope yours and your client's luck runs in  your favor on that one George!

Susan:  And that's why I said.....

Don't get me wrong, I am assertive and don't let anyone overstep my boundaries but I also understand that some people just need someone to listen.  How else will I know what their needs are?

Russell:  Believe me, I've done only a few in the last year. I've respresented both buyers and sellers and it isn't easy. No matter what.....it's stressful to sell or buy a home period...and we are there to help.

Lenn:  And that's a fact for sure...it's a roller coaster ride for all and when all participate to make it a smooth transaction I am grateful...Just seems every one with a bank involved produces more anxiety than is needed.

HI BILL!  Listening is key to communication...to success...to everything when it comes to relationships with another human being.

Jun 26, 2010 04:20 PM #13
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Sally, thankfully, I am not on the real estate side of the transaction. If I were, I would probably look at short sales much differently than I do now...

Jun 26, 2010 11:33 PM #14
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Sally, this was a nice post.  We are part of very crucial times in people's lives and that requires a lot of empathy and some good listening skills.

Jun 26, 2010 11:51 PM #15
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Sally, I wonder about this many times, I have come to believe we are the ones they can touch and talk to and vent.

It is hard and we question ourselfs too.

When it is really going south we cc ALL parties on every email.


Jun 27, 2010 01:21 AM #16
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

"Because I am the closest one to them during this time that actually listens."

Perfectly put, Sis.  That's a fact in my book.  I believe bedside manner is just as important as competence at the end of the day.

Jun 27, 2010 04:33 AM #17
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Michael: No matter how we look at it...the short sales are more stressful...but when I look at the big picture alll transactions are....there are no two alike and all have bumps and curves...

Kathryn: Sure does!

Missy:  Yes...I really question myself...but I also speak up too.

Jason: I was told i would be a good nurse when I was 18.....but get squeamish at the sight of blood...so my bedside manner in this industry is one of skill, caring and productivity :)

Jun 27, 2010 06:23 AM #18
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

I had a client throw up on me during a home inspection on a short sale last November.  That will go in my books of forever remembering that transaction :)

I do have a rule when I counsel my clients at the beginning of their search.  I call it the "two cry rule".  They are only allowed to cry to me twice during the entire process and I tell them that they want to save it till the bitter end.   So when I feel their frustration building I smile and ask them if they are going to use one of their two cries and then they laugh :)  Borrow it if you would like!

Jun 27, 2010 07:47 AM #19
Lizette Fitzpatrick
Lizette Realty - Richmond KY - Lexington, KY
Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes

Well said Sally!  We have to have great empathy in this business with Great Big Ears!! You should be proud of yourself.  You can vent here on the RAIN and everyone here at least completely understands.

Jun 27, 2010 09:53 AM #20
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Woo Hoo, Well said as always. Sadly as helpful as the short sales to seller's, banks, buyers and real estate , there can be many obstacles that can occur and it does require tons of patience, good communication and discipline to the process and that is just on the Buyers side. Multiply that by the number of parties involved and it is easy to see and even understand the frustration levels. Nerves get irritated and may be soothed with a dose of good information and great big swallow of empathy. We are writing lots of real estate prescriptions these days.

Jun 27, 2010 02:32 PM #21
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Renee: I'll use it indeed ...thanks!

lizette:  I have huge ears....they should call me dumbo lol

William: No kidding....and those prescriptions are hard to fill sometimes....and we keep doing it...

Jun 27, 2010 03:16 PM #22
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Short sales are indeed stressful for ALL involved in the process!

Jun 28, 2010 10:33 AM #23
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