Dangerous Liaisons In Real Estate

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Providence Group Realty TREC# 0608931

An often retold story in our circle of friends centers around one of our college companions, Charlie. He had been dating his girlfriend, Linda,  for years. They worked together, lived together, and even attended the same classes together.  negative influenceTheir final year in college, they decided to celebrate their anniversary by hitting a local dance club.  While they were there, a "friend" who recognized Linda pulled her aside to "advise" her that Charlie had brought another date to the club that evening, and that he was, in fact, spending time with her as well. 

Sadly, Linda believed her "friend's" counsel -- in spite of arriving with Charlie that evening, and in spite of spending every moment together with him except for that toxic side conversation…

She acted on the information immediately, storming back to Charlie to confront the situation. Charlie and Linda were blindsided that evening, and things did not end well between them. Linda refused to believe the truth of her experience over the lie designed to manipulate her emotions. 

drama triangleCharlie never figured out the motive behind the lie, but he still talks about this experience to illustrate how influence is such a powerful force in our lives. The wrong influences can quickly derail  our relationships and plans. 

While it might be tempting  to dismiss this scenario as juvenile,  one of the reasons it comes up so frequently in current conversations is because we see it play out daily in the world of real estate. 

Ridiculous, right? 

The relationship between real estate clients and their agents is a delicate one. Although based on business, it is usually fast-paced and intense. Buyers and Sellers alike tend to feel vulnerable and often seek reassurance from friends, family members, and even other Realtors® regarding decisions / transaction process, which has potential to create a similar 'drama triangle'. 

How Buyers / Sellers Contribute

    • Seeking advice or input outside of the professional they have hired.
    • May unintentionally bait 3rd parties into the 'rescuer' role by inviting opinion or direction with vulnerable 'am I being hurt' or 'does this sound right to you' questions (playing the victim role)
    • Giving more weight to advice or direction from 3rd parties who don't have all of the facts or knowledge of the transaction

How 3rd Parties Contribute

      • Unintentionally fall into serving selfish emotional motives (need to feel important, valued, or to have control in the relationship)  by acting in a supportive or altruistic manner
      • Malicious intent: contribution designed to tear down client / agent relationship, often with ulterior motives for financial gain or control


How Realtors® Contribute

      • Forgetting to discuss 3rd party influencers at the onset of the relationship.
      • Not offering the opportunity to include other key decision makers in the listing appointment or on showings, bringing everyone involved on the same page
      • Failing to timely recognize or confront divisive influences before the relationship becomes sabotaged by toxic interference



While most Buyers and Sellers are able to recognize that advice from Uncle Joe dating back to his agent days 25 years ago may be both well-wishing and obsolete, it can be more difficult to tune out conversations from those deemed to be more reliable sources. 

Trial by public opinion is damning, no matter whose head is on the chopping block.  As they say, opinions are like belly buttons -- everyone has one. 

The solution? Follow the golden rule.  

In the client role, love the one you're with -- or if your heart isn't in it, act honorably and honestly. If you give your agent a chance, you may be surprised to learn about everything he or she does behind the scenes to bring you success. You may also gain valuable clarity about something that has been misunderstood between you. Don't allow your mind to be poisoned by someone who may not have your best interests at heart. 

In the 3rd party role, MYOB. Or at least, do no harm -- particularly if you are a licensed agent or in an affiliated line of business.  It is said that Karma bears a pretty strong wallop. As a friend or family member, keep in mind that your real estate experiences cannot be directly compared to anyone else's.  All real estate transactions are unique to the parties, the propert(ies) and the markets involved.  

In the Realtor® role, nurture, over-communicate, reassure, manage expectations up front and be accountable. Recognize that one person cannot please all people, try as they might. Know when to set healthy boundaries for your business needs, and don't tolerate abuse or vilification.


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Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Amanda, this is a great post and expertise is now freely embraced by many buyers to the third party in the form of the online websites that in most cases give such atrocious estimates of a home's value.  You have already written a post on that subject.  Love your advise to all parties on how to follow the Golden Rule!

Aug 31, 2014 02:46 AM #1
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Amanda-I like the Golden Rule and the MYOB. They go hand in hand for me.

Sep 12, 2014 10:31 PM #2
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Amanda Thomas

​Broker, SRES®, BPOR, MCNE, ​Certified DRS Agent™
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