How Motherhood Prepared Me for Real Estate
Years ago when my daughter was little, we would use a vaporizer to help relieve coughs and congestion. The first time I set up the vaporizer to make the bedroom steamy she raised a finger to touch the steam flowing out of the machine.
“Don’t touch the steam – it’s hot!”
She quickly took back her little hand, “Okay mum.” I left the room. Twenty seconds later, her scream shot through the house. I ran to her side.
She had taken my advice, and not touched the steam… with her hand anyway. Instead, she had sat on the vaporizer, the poor thing. And she had a great big blister for her efforts.
(Don’t worry, she survived and is all grown up and just fine.)
Being a REALTOR® is a lot like being a mom, I’ve noticed. As a caring guide, I want the best for my child (or client), and work to protect her and help her avoid consequences of poor decisions. In the end though, it’s still her call. And it’s not as though the caring stops after a poor choice either –it often requires more work, like emergency response and damage control.
I’ve seen real estate deals – mine and others’ – fall apart for lots of reasons. Some were unfortunate happenstance, like unexpected job loss, but others – most, actually – were the direct result of dumb decisions. I can warn, advise, guide, and equip clients so they can make the most informed decision possible… but the decision is ultimately theirs. Like a mom, I can advise and then watch them do what they do.
One client listed with me, asking me to please give him feedback and guidance so he can adjust course for a great result. This guy’s smart, and wants to base his decision on professional fact-based intel.
These are the ones you dream of.
Many others are like the eighty some year old man I once house shopped with. He had been a real estate investor decades before. When he saw a house priced under $100K – less than half of the average price for its size – he couldn’t believe it. “Who on earth will pay such a high price!?”
“Actually, this is a low price for its size. You can’t get houses for less around here.”
“Aw, sure you can!”
What was he basing that on? Opinion. And a severely outdated one at that. Back in the 1970’s sure, $100K would have been a high price for that house. He may have known the market well at one time, but is now out of touch. And here’s the kicker – he doesn’t know it, and doesn’t care. I keep my finger to the pulse of the market, current up to the week – not month or season, the week. Still, he guffawed current, professional, factual intel. He knows what he knows. The end.
Remind you of anyone? A stubborn child with hands over his ears perhaps?
Luckily, motherhood has trained me well.
The toughest thing about it is watching. Buyers and sellers have the right to make their decisions. I completely respect that, and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just hard to watch them suffer, especially when it’s so avoidable.
I can wave warning signs, jump up and down crying, “NOOO! Not that way!! You’ll go bankrupt!!” But that’s all I can do. The rest is up to them. Bankruptcy, family splits, and loads of heartache can be the fallout. I’ve seen it.
I approach my job the way I approach parenting. I care. The advice I give is for their benefit, not mine. I’ll give them guidance, equip them with everything they need (including feedback from buyers and other agents), to make an informed decision. REALTORS® care – that’s why we coach. It’s why I’ll sit with a client for an hour and half and talk before we go shopping. As with parenting, the advice given is for the client’s benefit.
I respect that clients (and children) are ultimately the ones who make their own decisions, and it’s not on me. I’m not the one who will suffer the consequence, I can only tell them what the consequence will be. I really, really don’t want people to suffer loss and damage. That’s why I work so hard to be Attentive From Sign Up to Sign Down®. It’s why I coach people through the process. It’s why I started doing this job in the first place!
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