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Opinion Editorials

Real estate agents wax sentimental about client withdrawal



My buyer just closed on her house last week. It’s her first place, so she is thrilled. It’s a paycheck, so I should be elated (cha-ching). Another satisfied customer, right? Well, what ought to be a joyous moment for me often ends up being bittersweet.

This always happens, especially with clients I adore beaucoup. We get keys, we do the happy dance. Once the giddiness subsides, we exchange handshakes, a pat on the back (maybe a hug), trade cliched farewell pleasantries and finally part ways. For the next week, a familiar feeling of void undoubtedly creeps up on me.  It’s what I call client withdrawal. No, not the kind where they back out of a transaction. It’s the kind where we miss them.

Us real estate agents are in a funny business. We spend massive amounts of time with clients and get to know everything about them. We know what turns them on, what turns them off, their work schedule , their days off. We are privy to information even their own families don’t know about, from intimate financial details, FICOs, to their private lives.

We educate them about the market. We hold their hand through the emotional roller coaster. We are therapist, confidant, protector, chauffeur, real estate agent (usually in that order!). We become so deeply entrenched in their lives… Then one day, POOF! It’s over. They move in and we move on. That flurry of activity, that sense of closeness suddenly gone. There is no weaning off period. Keys get exchanged, and in an instant these people who we have tended to almost daily vanish from our lives. I wonder if this is reciprocally felt?

I got my answer this morning. The aforementioned buyer popped me a text “this is the 1st wkd in months I have not seen you. I need my Herman fix! :-)” If we truly have done our job right, they miss us too.

Watch Real Estate Expert Herman Chan put the REAL back in REALTY. In his show Habitat for Hermanity, Herman skewers the real estate business and pokes fun at his fellow agents, all the while empowering buyers & sellers with behind-the-scene tips & secrets of the industry! Get a glimpse beyond the glitz & glam of real estate. It's a hot mess! Featured on HGTV, House Hunters & other media outlets, Herman is the undisputed Real Estate Maven whose helpful & hilarious commentary you just can't live without! In fact, his real estate TV show has just been optioned in Hollywood!

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  1. ross therrien

    January 12, 2011 at 11:38 am

    There are time we a glad to part ways but those are quickly forgotten by the ones we establish good relationships with. Hopefully their still local and the connection remains.

  2. Sheila Rasak

    January 12, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Well said, my friend, so well said! My clients symbolize a relationship of trust and unity that doesn’t dissapate with a hug or handing off of the keys. Each client takes with them a small piece of my heart as I’ve journeyed with them through their transaction. Getting to know them is almost always a pleasure and if it’s not, I don’t take on that client.

    I tend to keep the relationship alive with a note or an email here and there. I don’t believe in checking out when the transaction is over as checking in is far more fulfilling.

  3. Fred Romano

    January 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Maybe agents are getting “too involved” in their clients life?

  4. Erin Golding

    January 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    So true! It’s so nice to make a great connection with clients and miss them after closing. This is after all a people business

  5. Laurel Jack

    January 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Written to perfection, could not have said it better. We really are in a funny business. The different amount of hats we wear is endless. Keeps us on our toes for sure! Nicely done Herman.

  6. Matthew Hardy

    January 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Your answer to keeping the relationship going? CRM.

    Some people say that most agents don’t follow-up after the transaction. Some have told me that they’d be tickled pink if they had the data on every buyer and seller they ever worked with as a resource for additional transactions. Some agents do this. Most don’t. While the concept of “agent-for-life” can be proffered as marketing, the functional underpinning to make it a reality is CRM.

  7. Coleen DeGroff

    January 13, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Herman – you’ve got me all verklempt over here! I have a closing this afternoon with some very sweet buyers that I am really going to miss. It is such an honor to walk within our clients’ lives, even if for such a short time. Great article. Thanks so much for posting it.

  8. Matt Thomson

    January 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Matthew hit it on the head here…Hermann, I agree with your post almost whole heartedly, which makes follow up so important.
    My daughter had her 3rd bday party this fall. One of my current clients were there with their 3 year old. The wife asked for an introduction of who all was there. It was at that point that I realized 7 of the 11 families there had been clients of mine.
    Nothing wrong with keeping in touch, though certainly not as frequently as when the transaction is brewing!

  9. Agent for Movoto

    January 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Awww, this is such a sweet post. And you’re so right – agents do wear a lot of hats, but all those hats are about earning a person’s trust.

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Opinion Editorials

Will shopping for that luxury item actually lower your quality of life?

(EDITORIAL) Want to buy yourself a pick-me-up? Have you thought of all the ramifications of that purchase? Try to avoid splurging on it.



shopping bags

In an era of “treat-yo-self,” the urge to splurge is real. It doesn’t help that shopping – or what ends up being closer to impulse shopping – provides us with a hit of dopamine and a fleeting sense of control. Whether your life feels like it’s going downhill or you’ve just had a bad day, buying something you want (or think you want) can seem like an easy fix.

Unfortunately, it might not be so great when it comes to long-term happiness.

As you might have already guessed, purchasing new goods doesn’t fall in line with the minimalism trend that’s been sweeping the globe. Being saddled with a bunch of stuff you don’t need (and don’t even like!) is sure to make your mood dip, especially if the clutter makes it harder to concentrate. Plus, if you’ve got a real spending problem, the ache in your wallet is sure to manifest.

If that seems depressing, I’ve got even more bad news. Researchers at Harvard and Boston College have found yet another way spending can make us more unhappy in the long run: imposter syndrome. It’s that feeling you get when it seems like you’re not as good as your peers and they just haven’t caught on yet. This insecurity often arises in competitive careers, academics and, apparently, shopping.

Now, there’s one big caveat to this idea that purchasing goods will make you feel inferior: it really only applies to luxury goods. I’m talking about things like a Louis Vuitton purse, a top of the line Mercedes Benz, a cast iron skillet from Williams Sonoma (or is that one just me?). The point is, the study found that about 67% of people – regardless of their income – believed their purchase was inauthentic to their “true self.”

And this imposter syndrome even existed when the luxury items were bought on sale.

Does this mean you should avoid making a nice purchase you’ve been saving up for? Not necessarily. One researcher at Cambridge found that people were more likely to report happiness for purchases that fit their personalities. Basically, a die-hard golfer is going to enjoy a new club more than someone who bought the same golf club to try to keep up with their co-workers.

Moral of the story: maybe don’t impulse buy a fancy new Apple watch. Waiting to see if it’s something you really want can save your budget…and your overall happiness.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer got you down? Does it make your job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment without budget worries.



better equipment, better work

Aside from bringing the boss coffee and donuts for a month before asking, what is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes. In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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Opinion Editorials

Minimalism doesn’t have to be a quick process

(EDITORIAL) Minimalism is great and all…but how do you get started if you’re not sold on getting rid of basically everything you own?



minimalism desk

Minimalism. This trend has reared its head in many forms, from Instagram-worthy shots of near empty homes to Marie Kondo making a splash on Netflix last year. If you’re anything like me, the concept of minimalism is tempting, but the execution seems out of reach. Paring down a closet to fit into a single basket or getting rid of beloved objects can sometimes seem too difficult, and I get it! Luckily, minimalism doesn’t have to be quite so extreme.

#1 Digitally

Not ready to purge your home yet? That’s fine! Start on your digital devices. Chances are, there are plenty of easy ways to clean up the storage space on your computer or phone. When it comes to low stakes minimalism, try clearing out your email inbox or deleting apps you no longer use. It’ll increase your storage space and make upkeep much more manageable on a daily basis.

It’s also worth taking a look through your photos. With our phones so readily available, plenty of us have pictures that we don’t really need. Clearing out the excess and subpar pictures will also have the added bonus of making your good pictures easily accessible!

Now, if this task seems more daunting, consider starting by simply deleting duplicate photos. You know the ones, where someone snaps a dozen pics of the same group pose? Pick your favorite (whittle it down if you have to) and delete the rest! It’s an easy way to get started with minimizing your digital photo collection.

#2 Slowly

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you’re hesitant about taking the plunge, try dipping your toe in the water first. There’s no shame in taking your time with this process. For instance, rather than immediately emptying your wardrobe, start small by just removing articles of clothing that are not wearable anymore. Things that are damaged, for instance, or just don’t fit.

Another way to start slow is to set a number. Take a look at your bookshelf and resolve to get rid of just two books. This way, you can hold yourself accountable for minimizing while not pushing too far. Besides, chances are, you do have two books on your shelf that are just collecting dust.

Finally, it’s also possible to take things slow by doing them over time. Observe your closet over the course of six months, for instance, to see if there are articles of clothing that remain unworn. Keep an eye on your kitchen supplies to get a feel for what you’re using and what you’re not. Sure, that egg separator you got for your wedding looks useful, but if you haven’t picked it up, it probably has to go.

#3 Somewhat

Sometimes, minimalism is pitched as all or nothing (pun intended), but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because I want to purge my closet doesn’t mean I’m beholden to purging my kitchen too. And that’s okay!

Instead of getting overwhelmed by everything that needs to be reduced, just pick one aspect of your life to declutter. Clear out your wardrobe and hang onto your books. Cut down on decorations but keep your clothes. Maybe even minimize a few aspects of your life while holding onto one or two.

Or, don’t go too extreme in any direction and work to cut down on the stuff in your life in general. Minimizing doesn’t have to mean getting rid of everything – it can mean simply stepping back. For instance, you can minimize just by avoiding buying more things. Or maybe you set a maximum number of clothes you want, which means purchasing a new shirt might mean getting rid of an old one.

The point is, there are plenty of ways to start on the minimalist lifestyle without pushing yourself too far outside your comfort zone. So, what are you waiting for? Try decluttering your life soon!

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