You can not separate Your "Professional" You from Your "Personal" You

Real Estate Agent with Better Properties Seattle

There are several posts floating around ActiveRain recently, pondering whether or not your personal life is any of your clients' business.

Should we ONLY and EVER blog about "the professional services we provide", and how we conduct ourselves as "professionals", but never about the "Who We ARE" in our personal life and life choices?

The truth of the matter is...WHY should anyone TRUST someone who will NOT reveal the "Who They ARE", outside of the scope of their professional dealings?

The #1 reason people hire THIS Real Estate Agent

vs THAT Real Estate Agent

is that they choose the one they TRUST most

with the well being of their family as to home choices

and the financial impact of those choices on their family. 

Knowing can you even THINK, for one moment, that the REAL YOU is of "no-nevermind" to your clients? 

It doesn't really matter what you think you are not the one who gets to decide how people choose their Real Estate Agent. It's already a proven fact that it is the one they TRUST the most. 

Read this story...and then decide for yourself what matters...and what does not matter.

Seattle Real Estate - Best Real Estate Agent

Once upon a time...I knew an agent very well "online" in his business dealings. He clearly "Talked the Talk". In fact I idolized his "message" and he has clearly influenced the way I do I chose to "walk" his "talk".

Much of his "talk"

had to do with how "ethical" he was

in his business dealings.

Then I finally met him, in person, at a NAR Convention. Now you be the judge. He was targeting married women at the convention who were there without their husbands. He was primarily at the convention to seduce married women, by his own admission, because they never bothered him when he went home from the convention. 

That was far as I was concerned. I never again believed that this person was actually "ethical" in their business dealings.

Was I wrong?

Can someone who is so obviously unethical

in their personal dealings with people...

turn that "ethical" switch on and off when "doing business" with people

vs their personal choices of how they interact with people?

As I said really doesn't matter WHAT you think about how someone SHOULD choose their Real Estate "Professional". People will do as they choose, and the will choose as they "trust", or don't "trust" you.

But the next time you see someone the point of RANTING...about why their personal life is NOT their client's business

...ask yourself WHY they feel so STRONGLY about that.


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Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

I think there is a fine line between what should be shared and what should not.  I also believe that the way people behave in the personal life is reflected in their business life.

Sep 19, 2011 03:03 AM #51
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

I'm with you.  How you do anything is how you do everything.  What a scumbag that guy is.

But there are still a lot of people out there who don't seem to care if someone is a scumbag in his personal life.  They seem to only care if they can get the job done.  It's almost as if they want to keep on believing the fantasy no matter what.  The prime example of this is Bill Clinton.  Didn't he teach us all that our private lives can be separate from our business lives?  That job performance shouldn't be associated with our personal lives.  I've heard many argue that point. 

Maybe this guy could really benefit by being totally open about his womanizing.  He might be seen as being a big alpha male type which could be seen as a big positive.  Many seem to think that they need a clever, tough guy negotiator to get them the best deal.  If he can seduce these women, he might be able to seduce a buyer into buying a home.  There's an agent for everyone.  Just go with who you are.

Sep 19, 2011 03:04 AM #52
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

I just realized what part of the difference is in opinion. When I am representing buyer and seller clients, to do that well, I usually need to know a LOT of personal things about my clients.

Sellers: Are they getting a divorce? Did he take a new job out of state? Is the wife happy or not happy about that? 

How sellers will act when an offer comes in is closely tied to whether they want to sell or "have to" sell. It's important for me to know not only the "what, where and whys" but how they feel about those things as well. 

Buyers: Why do they want "that"? Schools? To live near family or friends? Because Joey plays soccer and it's near the field?

I don't give my clients "the 3rd degree". I engage in personal conversations. NOT so they know me...but because I need to know THEM to serve them really well. 

Sometimes the best way to get information is to give some. We often need to know if they have children...are planning to have long they have worked in their current they have other sources of the wife planning to work, etc.

If you are more than "You like this house? Do you want to buy it?" then personal conversations are the norm, vs the exception to the rule. The better we can relate to our clients, and vice versa, the better we can assist them in meeting their goals via which where they should buy in and which what they should buy.

For sellers, coordinating the final details, knowing they are not moving to the same place, as example, is often the key to a smooth transition from seller to buyer and a whole lot of snafus come closing day.

If you are sitting in a new construction office and only selling that where and that what, for the builder, then the people who buy those new homes don't need to know much about you or you about them. But if you are doing regular, residential real gets pretty darned "personal".

As shown in the link above, my post on "Sex and Real Estate", discussing the right floor plan...and the wrong one...can get REALLY personal. :)

Sep 19, 2011 05:09 AM #53
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

I think you are right Tim...most who don't want to share personal are trying to be the right agent for all people. Better to be who you are, as Tammie pointed out in her original post that started some of this "professional" vs "personal".

In my world one cannot BE the best professional for people who are buying and selling "personal residences" without including the "personal". 

Commercial? Investors? Maybe not. But I am primarily in the business of people who are buying and selling their  PERSONAL residence. No way to strip the "personal" out of THAT. :)

Sep 19, 2011 05:13 AM #54
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Michael...I the extent that building rapport lays the groundwork for helping my clients make good choices. There is no one good choice of house or price or closing date for all people. The more I know about  my clients, the better I can fine tune the smallish details for a smooth transaction.

Sep 19, 2011 05:15 AM #55
Maria Morton
Chartwell Kansas City Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Ardell, I have found that I am happier doing business with people I like and vice versa. The first hour or two I spend with a client, I share a little about me and they share a little about themselves. As time goes on, we share more. Clients who are reluctant to share usually have something to hide and I would think that agents who are reluctant to share also have something to hide.

Sep 19, 2011 05:32 AM #56
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

I agree Maria. Clients who don't share don't give me what I need to do my job well. Just doesn't seem fair to ask them all the personal stuff but not share some of my own.

Sep 19, 2011 05:35 AM #57
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


What a sleaze bag that guy is.  I agree actions speak louder than words.  i also agree that revealing something of you and your personal life is OK.  But we should be selective about what we reveal.

Sep 19, 2011 06:05 AM #58
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA


I'm originally from Philadelphia where it's OK to tell your life story to the bus driver. :) I never fully comprehended the West Coast and their being more reserved in that regard, even though I have been living on the West Coast for over a dozen years.

Sep 19, 2011 06:09 AM #59
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi  Ardell,  Not sure any of us can ever completely be just one or the other!  I do agree with you that the best relationships are those born of trust !

Sep 19, 2011 06:25 AM #60
Nick Smith
Silvercreek Realty Group - Boise, ID
Boise Idaho Real Estate, We Love Boise

Thanks for your post. I'm a person who mixes the two. 

Sep 19, 2011 06:26 AM #61
The Real Estate Professionals
Real Estate Professionals - Salt Lake City, UT

I took a social media class in college and learned that when blogging and tweeting in business it should be 95% business and 5% personal. While people like to know you're a real person, they don't want to know the intimate details of your life. Disclosure brings trust, but too much disclosure may turn people away from doing business with you.

 I do agree, however, that it is difficult to separate a person's actions from their business dealings. We cannot be dishonest in our personal lives and expect it not to have repercussions on our business. 

Sep 19, 2011 06:32 AM #62
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Dear Mr. Utah,

Not sure how good that "Social Media Class" was if it didn't teach you that someone needs to know at least your first name to respond to your comment! Really!

OK...I'll just call you Mr. or Ms Utah...since you give me no other way to respond without clicking on links.

I agree that a NEW blogger should start out at 95% business to 5% personal, as long as the "business" part isn't an obvious commercial. But once you have a large and loyal following...that 5% usually gets a boost, and is not a hard and fast all the time "given".

Personally I think 90% business to 10% personal works better. 1 in 10 posts more personal...and more personal does not need to be about you personally. It can be about an event you attended, or some other local point of interest you visited. It can be a personal experience AT somethng in your market.

For those who do a lot of "hyper-local" blogging, 60% agent advice type posts to 1 personal and 3 local restaurants or parks might be a good rule of thumb. When someone only writes about "points of interest" it may get people to your blog...but leavees one wondering if you know anything about real estate when they get there.

Sep 19, 2011 07:19 AM #63
Mark Boyd
MarQeteer - Lancaster, PA


First of all, thank you for a wonderful post.  This is right on with what I teach my clients with regard to social media.  Social media has really magnified how many people are afraid to share who they are.  My clients all know me, warts and all, and my relationships with them would not be possible if I did it any other way.  You have a great, insightful post here that I will be linking to.

Secondly, you handled Mr Utah wonderfully.  When someone doesn't put their name behind a comment, I'm immediately leery...especially with such outrageous statistics as his 95%/5% rule on blogging and tweeting. I don't know who gave him that advice, but I sure hope he didn't pay for it.

Thank you again for this post:)



Sep 19, 2011 07:51 AM #64
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Mark...maybe revealing the first name of who is speaking is "too personal". LOL!

Sep 19, 2011 08:20 AM #65
Chris Butaud
Chris Butaud, CPA, MS Taxation Guild Mortgage Company - Kirkland, WA
CPA, MS Taxation,Guild Mortgage Company NMLS #3274

Like my good friend Yogi once said, wherever you go, there you are!  And the corollary - You are who you are wherever you are!

Sep 20, 2011 07:46 AM #66
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Chris! Love that answer! Yes...I can't seem to peel the ME off of me. :)

Sep 20, 2011 08:03 AM #67
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

I certainly agree that who someone REALLY is matters. But what would someone like that in your story  have put into a blog or website or social media which would have tipped you off? You had to see it in person.

What I don't like is when someone tells me way more than I need or want to know about their personal life, when I want to know how they will be to do business with. Maybe its a generational thing- I am uncomfortable with people who tell me their life history when they don't know me from Eve. I just don't want to hear it, and frankly I don't often care if its a purely business realtionship only.

Sep 20, 2011 09:40 AM #68
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA


But is Residential Real Estate EVER really PURELY a "business" relationship, given the client's family needs are at the forefront of the discussion? Buying a home? PURELY "businesss"? Not that I have experienced.

Sep 20, 2011 09:44 AM #69
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Who I am is who I am.  I really have trouble hiding who I am.  We all have our good momements and we have our rough spots.

Oct 15, 2011 02:15 PM #70
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