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How to

The Real Estate Agent or The Friend ?

You can Become Too Emotionally Involved

Building Relationships is key when establishing trust and rapport with clients whether buying or selling a home. Unfortunately, it is easy for this relationship building to be misconstrued as a friendship being formed. It’s easy when the real estate transaction is not a “happy” occasion, but that of sadness, to cross over between the professional to the friend.

Five Situations to Keep Yourself in Check

  • Divorce: Usually you act as a middleman in between the two spouses, and when it is an amicable split – it can work without too many glitches. However, usually one party or the other will have to relieve some of their steamed up frustration and tell you what the latest “tuff” is about between them.
  • Relocation: Moves to an unfamiliar place can be very difficult. Whether working with buyer or seller, you have to deal with the unknowns many times – which is always difficult to accept; establishing new relationships; jobs; neighbors. It could very well be that you are the first and only new connection that the client has in their new town.
  • Short Sale/Foreclosure: The financial strain is a heavy thing. People often experience high feelings of failure and they look to you to balance out the negativity they are faced with.
  • Death: The loss of a loved one creates a gap in lives. You may be seeked out to fill it – at least temporarily.
  • Downgrading: Sometimes when people decide to downgrade they are very emotional and can attach to you for validation in their decision to move. This can be because of many different reasons from financial to health. If you are working with a seller, you’ll find situations where they need help letting go. When working with buyers, they could be having a hard time realizing what they can afford isn’t quite what they had in mind.

Stay Focused on the Transaction

Because of the frequency of communication with clients, it is easy for them to think of you as their friend that they can unload on. In each of these situations, remind yourself to keep them focused on the house and transaction, continually bring the conversation back to the facts at hand. I’m sure we’ve all had the phone call to the client that never lasts longer than an hour, when you call you have to have “an appointment” you need to hang up for. Sometimes you have to resort to the bold truth, “I can not work on building a friendship with you at the same time we are building a professional one.”

Warning Signs

Pay attention to the Warning Signs of friendship seekers: telephone calls just to say hi, going/meeting for drinks, tears through phone calls, home tours that seem to be for ‘talk time’ instead of house hunting time, asking for money, or invitations to parties.

Build One Relationship at a Time

Many times good friendships are desired and are formed. It happens easily because a lot of the time the people you work with will be very compatible to your personality. It’s usually best, however, to work on one relationship at a time. Wait until after your transaction is complete before jumping into a personal relationship with your clients.

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Written By

Kim resides and works selling Real Estate in Chester County, PA. She is a blogger and also writes for her own blog, West of Philly Burbs and Mothers Fighting for Others. Kim is a Social Networking Junkie and you can connect with her in many places including Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr.



  1. Brian Block

    November 12, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Kim, certainly there’s nothing wrong with becoming friends with your clients… Just make sure that the real friendship begins after the transaction and the settlement is behind you. You are correct — it is important to focus on the business at hand. Friendships can naturally develop.

    On the other hand, one of my greatest pleasures has been helping those who were friends first with their real estate deals. I’ve heard some horror stories about mixing friendships with business, but I’ve always had good results.

  2. Missy Caulk

    November 12, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Only had one of those, it was a one way thing as she wanted friendship and we wanted to sell her a house. Too many calls were draining us and she flip flopped all over the place with her needs, wants etc…

    My goal is to become friends with them during the transaction and become a trusted person for future transactions.

    Some of my clients have become life long friends.

  3. sheilabragg

    November 12, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    The Real Estate Agent or The Friend ?: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PROMI..

  4. Paula Henry

    November 12, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Kim – Often we must disconnect from the circumstances so we can perform our job. It is rarely easy, however, when we set the limits in the beginning,(nip it in the bud) we can usually complete the transaction with our sanity in tact.

    Along the way, we will make some great friends of our clients, just not all.

  5. Mark Eibner

    February 9, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    we’re at it again The Real Estate Agent or The Friend ?: Get out of your feed reader an..

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