So you're on one end of a real estate transaction, and the Realtor on the other end hits you with an off-the-wall, irrational, and offensive email or phone call. You shake your head in disbelief and wonder, "Where did that come from?"
If you are in the business for a long time, you will be confronted by the unprofessional Realtor. They are out there. So what do you do? How do you respond? Having practiced real estate for 37 years, including 20 years as a real estate attorney dealing with the periodic unprofessional or incompetent Realtor, I have a few suggestions that may be helpful.
First, don't respond in kind. Pause. Take a deep breath. Consider what the other agent has written or said. Could there be some truth to it even though the agent may have been less than articulate? Self reflection is an important part of growing personally and professionally. Pride will steal your growth, so my suggestion is that we never shy away from the truth. We should listen and look in the mirror for flaws in our behavior or in how we handled a relationship or transaction.
Second, after some reflection, if we conclude we did handle a situation competently and professionally and correctly, then take what the other agent says with a big grain of salt. Don't let an unprofessional agent ruin your day. If you have confidence (not arrogance) that you handled the situation in a reasonably correct manner, then you can go to sleep with a clear conscience. Let the other agent have a sleepless night dealing with his or her own bitterness and dysfunctional behavior. As for you (and me), we can rest in peace and know that "someone" has issues.
Third, it is okay to set the record straight, but do so very diplomatically and choose your words carefully. Be especially cautious that you state or re-state the facts accurately. If you slip and mistate the facts or inject opinion that offends the other agent, you have just given him or her ammunication to shoot at you. This is like fanning flames that would otherwise go out. Be accurate, be articulate and to the point, and be kind.
Fourth, assume that everything you write in that email will be on the front page of your local newspaper. That should help you tone it down and be objective and professional, even in your response to a Realtor who is being unprofessional.
Fifth, these tips will guide you in all your professional relationships. Remember, it's not who wins an argument that counts. It's who honors all their relationships and lives with integrity, extending grace and mercy to everyone in every transaction. After all, someday you may need a little grace and mercy from the other agent.