Are you good at Reading people?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with RICOASTALLIVING.COM

I am honest I have always been a very good judge of people.  Until I got into Real Estate, that is. I don't know if it was because of intuition or not, but lately, my judgement seems to have waned.

In this business we meet all kinds of characters. What I have been finding is that many of them lie, outright, staring you in the eyes while they do it. When someone is telling you something, your brain immediately assesses whether or not it is the truth. You use all your experiences, gut feelings, etc. to come to the conclusion of true or false. You use what you know about the other person to decide where they are coming from. Sometimes you know in your gut that they are not being honest, but you are not in a position to call them on it.

In Real Estate, we have to assess people very quickly. What we don't get to see is the "other side". We also do not get to see the other side of people here on Active Rain or in any other blogging venue. (Well on occasion, we do), but for the most part, people write the way they want us to perceive them.

And they write what they want us to know.  The dark side Or what they want us to buy!

So, how do you judge? What criteria do you use? In person, you have to rely on your gut, but when you are reading the written word, what do you rely on?  I have seen people lie. I have read posts and many comments that were blatant untruths.  I have seen many readers believe these things.

I have spoken with buyers and had them outright lie. Why? What purpose does it possibly serve? I am representing you, I need the truth, or I cannot do it properly.

I guess what I am really asking, is, how do "you" tell when someone is not telling you the truth?Mindreader pill




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Comments (66)

Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!

Jackie, I'm so glad you have not had a "first major letdown", because it's definitely sobering! I tend to trust people a little too much, but it's also an innate personality trait which I am not sure I can change.

Don Davies, I'm sorry your first impression of me was defending myself! I am normally very easy going. That is not to say that I cannot totally relate to "moving out into the country to avoid human contact". Hubby says the only trustable creatures are animals. All they want to do is eat and survive the elements, no cageyness there. However, I am not ready to do that quite yet:) I appreciate your comment.

Daryl,Thankyou for reading.

Ginger!Hello! long time since I've heard from you! I agree about losing the connection. I actually have not written that many posts, what with all my groups needing attention daily, but I am still here. The weather yesterday was a fast moving snowfall which because of the time of day it showed up, almost paralyzed the state! Children were still arriving home on their buses at 9pm last nite!!! Not sure what happened but I was only in it for a short time. Another one coming this weekend. So, do you miss New England? ha ha

Andrew,You're too young to have a fritzed out truthoscope! My take is to assume honesty first, but keep your guard up.

Dec 14, 2007 04:14 AM
Chris Lengquist
Ad Astra Realty - Olathe, KS
Kansas City Real Estate Investing
Fortunately or unfortunately after spending 9 years as a PI I've learned to read peoples eyes and body language.  But be careful what you ask for. Sometimes it is no fun when out with friends and you know they are lying to you. 
Dec 14, 2007 12:20 PM
Ginger S
Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC - Wilmington, NC
Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~

Karen, LOL, Joan Mirantz and I have a running thing about the weather.

Let's see. This week We spent all of Sunday afternoon on the beach,  then Wed. night we went to the beach after dinner. Last night we walked the dog at 10pm without a coat.. ditto tonight. 

Yeah, I really miss the Northeast... LOL!  It was after I had my spin out car accident, sliding backwards down a hill into the opposite lane (during rush hour,) that we made plans to move....  Car was a mess.  I was saved from hitting a giant oak tree by sliding into a 2 foot drainage ditch...


Please stay safe


Dec 14, 2007 01:11 PM
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!

Chris, lol! Yes, I understand completely what you are saying! And there's not much you can actually say to them when it's happening.

Ginger!  That's it, get off my blog!!!! Only kidding:) I am here in the latest snow event waiting for the Patriots Game and wondering what a mess it will be because of the weather!!!  Thank God you were okay after THAT incident! Talk about a Sign. I don't think I am meant to leave just yet. Although I have been occasionally looking at the Southern States for the winter. But we just bought a boat this year, so it will have to wait.

I bet you miss the "peaceful" snow though! It really is beautiful, sigh, if I stay in the house:)

Dec 16, 2007 02:31 AM
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Karen - Great post!  It's given me some ideas for my own posts on Psychology of Real Estate as there is some research on the behavior of people who are lying.  Only psychotics and psychopaths can lie without giving some behavioral indication.  We usually analyze these signs on an unconscious level and that gives us a "gut feel" as to whether to trust what the other person is saying or not.

One thing I try to do is to not put people in a position where they feel they need to lie.  For example, I never give friends a hard time when they choose to use another agent.  Of course, I'd like my friends to choose me, but I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable around me because they didn't choose me.  Many times people lie because they don't want to face the uncomfortable consequences of telling the truth. 

Dec 20, 2007 02:24 AM
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy Karen

Sorry for not checking back soon'er.

It's a little like useing a lie detector, as the person is breathing they have little chagrines in their voice as they talk. You need to ask pin point questions. As to the written words of a person. Yes it can be done. More along in someones comments and not the blog. It's a little tricker to do.

Have a good one


Dec 20, 2007 03:31 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Karen, I used to believe I was good at my instincts with people although often now I doubt myself.  I'm not sure why.  I like to THINK I have a pretty good handle on the people that I meet....
Dec 21, 2007 10:42 AM
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!

Cheryl, I agree, words can make or break a situation or relationship. People tend to use words indiscrimately and don't think before they do. Thanks for stopping by.

Gail, I like to think that my "friends" do not lie to me because they know I completely accept them for themselves. Acquaintances, now that is a different area altogether. I usually have my own gut instincts and I am usually right. Clients, to me, are totally different because now we are talking "business". I think people lie more in this situation for some reason.

Hi Dale, I have to admit, I have never conciously noticed a difference in someone's voice. But I will pay more attention! Usually, their eyes give them away, unless they are a pathological liar, then I'm not sure if there is any way to tell. I actually know a pathological liar. I have learned to not give any credit to anything this person says. They are usually very likeable people and great socializers and fun to be with. However, I can't trust them, and trust is of major importance to me. Happy Holidays

Carole, I guess we agree... the reason I even wrote this post is because I feel I am in the company of more liars than honest people lately. At least I know who I "can" trust and I have enough of these people in my life that I am happy:) 

Dec 22, 2007 12:55 AM
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy Karen

Trust is also a major importance to me about folks also. What I was telling you about does not happen over night. I learned how to do this from doing interrogations in the Military.

Have a good one


Dec 22, 2007 02:25 AM
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Karen - The popular expert on this matter is a scientist by the name of Paul Ekman, who has written 39 books on the subject that are very readable.  For example...

Emotions Revealed, Second Edition: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life (Paperback)

Fascinating reading!

Dec 23, 2007 03:03 AM
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!

Dale, Wow, that must have been interesting! I'm not sure if I could handle that sort of thing, myself. Guess you really do have to know how to read people!


Gail, Thanks, I am going to order that. It can only help:)

Dec 23, 2007 10:50 AM
Todd Clark
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

I wish I could tell you why people lie, but almost from the time we learn to talk we also learn to lie. I wish it wasn't so, but I've been burned many a times because I'm the kind of person that always did deals on a hand shake and took people for their word. Twice in my life I have been taken for a lot of money because of it, but I don't want to change. I would rather try to change the world and bring it back to the point where the handshake means something.

Jan 23, 2008 04:56 PM
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!

Hi Todd,

With your new "experiment" I will not be able to accurately judge you by your face!!! Maybe this is why it works so well. People have preconceived opinions about others. Sometimes is simply because they either look like someone they knew years ago and had a bad experience, or just share a name. Kind of scary.

I think a handshake actually will mean something in the years to come. Things always change.

Jan 29, 2008 09:45 AM
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX
Karen, I'm like you in the sense that I go with my instinct. If it doesn't feel right it probably isn't. I've had people try to scam me, I've been lied to, stood up, accosted and confused. Now that I'm getting older I don't like to spend time spinning my wheels so to speak. #%$* or get off the pot! Ha! I hope you and yours are doing well. Life doesn't get any easier does it? The affects of the moon have been weird lately. Later in the rain, Deb
Feb 15, 2008 05:25 PM
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!
Deb, Glad I stopped in here and saw your comment! I haven't been in the Rain too much lately. Am extremely busy. I think as we get older we tend to have less patience. I'm getting much better at reading people though:)  Guess it takes practice, along with gut feelings. Hmmmm, so I can blame this week on the moon? Good! 
Feb 15, 2008 11:42 PM
Latonia Parks
Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV - Fayetteville, NC
Certified Military Relocation Expert
I don't read them well until after that fact.  When I have left the situation and begin to think about some of the things they said, I start to question everything their story.
Feb 16, 2008 12:04 AM
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!
Latonia, I have read some books lately on the subject and I am making a concious effort to watch body language where before, I simply went on gut and later questioned myself.  You would be amazed at what you notice once you start doing this. I think, in this business, we tend to hear WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR! Questioning people thoroughly, helps also. People tend to contradict themselves sometimes. Also, if you are interviewing a couple, sometimes they are saying one thing when they are alone and something else when they are together. A whole different challenge. I think all Realtors should have mandatory courses on people!!!
Feb 23, 2008 02:52 AM
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

Great post Karen.  Very thought-provoking.  You know, I've read some posts here which I completely disagreed with.  I felt like yelling "STOP TELLING PEOPLE THAT!!"  You know how you read something and you think, I can't believe people are falling for this!  But they write very compelling blog posts and people are swayed by the writing.  I can't do anything except express my own opinion in the comments section.  I think it all just comes down to doing the best you can to determine the truth and going from there.


Feb 23, 2008 12:13 PM
Mark Horan
Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC - Saint Cloud, FL
"The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
Karen- If I am working with buyers, I bring them to my office and sit them down for about an hour and a half to get to know them. Then I break out the exclusive buyer broker agreement. That usually brings out the truth.
Feb 25, 2008 12:45 AM
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!

Renae, Sounds to me like you are good at Reading People!!!:)

Mark, I agree, most times it cements a relationship, but I have to say, twice I have been burned and I had an exclusive buyer broker agreement!!!

Feb 25, 2008 02:21 AM