To fight or not to fight in real estate -- that is the question
Let’s face it: real estate can make you go crazy. The greedy seller, the cheap buyer, the deal-breaking attorney, the ridiculously conservative bank appraisal, the aggressive co-broking agent and even. . .the damn economy. They will all be out to get you at times. Wherever you go there is a fire to be put out. Even in your sleep. You can never rest and you can never really guarantee a successful outcome of anything real estate-related. You are constantly fighting and when you don't -- you are stuck in quicksand and can't move.
Sounds scary? Yes, it is to a lot of people. I've seen many promising agents get out of the business because of the uncertainty -- and friction -- of it all. It does get better with experience, but the fundamentals of real estate sales will not change: it's an erratic ride. You will fall to the ground a lot, and in the first couple of years it will be hard to pick yourself up (because no one else will) and dust yourself off. But you need to get back in the saddle again and start over. And over. And over. It sucks, it hurts, it can be humiliating and it can even cost you money. But you know what? It does slowly get better.
This episode is a good example of exactly this.
I always say: the highs are high and the lows are low. The roller coaster is extremely stressful for all of us. The high when you make a deal is incredible, and you feel like the master of the universe -- or an Olympian. The contract is signed by the buyer! HIGH-KICK! You tell everyone in your family about this accomplishment and even get a standing applaud in the office by your colleagues who commend you for this big deal so early in your career -- only to get a text message from the seller the morning after that he is not countersigning, and in fact isn't selling at all anymore. The low! His plans have changed and he is taking the property off the market immediately. And you fall deep down into a hole of darkness. . .
Now, these bumps create a lot of frustration, and in some cases anger. A friend of mine (one of the biggest downtown brokers) told me once: the problem with being a real estate agent is that you are always someone's bitch. Is he right? I guess it depends on how you look at it, and how you define being someone's bitch. I choose to see it differently. I am a servant of my clients. Always. If you want to beat a client that treated you badly, just don't. The client IS in fact always right (even when he or she isn't) and you are working for him or her. Don't forget that. Bite it together, listen, say you are sorry and don't show your emotions to the client. Take a cold shower, eat some ice cream, or do a high-kick by yourself in a dark alley and you will feel better. But whatever you do, don't lose a client. If you disagree, don't be in real estate.
Fight for your deals to happen, work tirelessly and aggressively and never give up. BUT, try doing it without emotions. When you know your worth, and that you are loved, that you are good at what you do, that the future is bright, that the world is a lot bigger than this particular deal and does not depend on it, then it is easier -- and healthier -- to see the deal for what it is: a deal. One of thousands in your long career. You can afford to lose one, as long as you learn from it, and keep the client happy.
In the early years of my career in real estate I was way too emotionally attached to my deals. It’s good to care, to want the deal to happen, but the more emotionally invested you are in the deal, the less it is likely to happen. Why? Because an inexperienced agent is emotionally attached. If you are ever going to find a way out of the maze, you need to focus and not cry. If you seem stressed, annoyed, angry, or sad -- never good energies coming from a real estate agent -- you show inexperience. You have clearly not done enough deals because your emotions depend on this very deal. When the client can smell any of those emotions, and it always can, it thinks you are only in it for the commission check and not the client itself.
We have to try to detach ourself emotionally from every deal. Let there be a couple of feet of air between us and the deal. When the client attacks you, the attorney laughs at you, when the co-broker irritates you: let the emotions go through your body. Don't give them the power. It is the only way to become a super agent. And if you do get irritated (we are humans), don't ever show it.
Let me explain it in another way. Being emotionally attached to your deals is like being emotionally attached to driving. It’s dangerous. We all know those people that just loose it out on the roads; I believe it's call road rage. They let the anger totally consume them, and they lose grip of space and time. They swear, they point finger, they roll down the window and try to get you with their fist, and yes, they even get in physical fights on the side of the road. What good has ever come out of that?
Don't ever fight in real estate. Real estate is a game of chess, where you sit back and strategize into the future, and manipulate your opponent into defeat. You never raise your voice and you never touch your opponent. You can have enemies, but don't let the enemy know that. Why? Because anger is a map to your weaknesses.
This episode is stressful, its emotional, and it is becoming very confrontational. I like Luis, I like him a lot. His energy is contagious and there is an innocence about him that I miss within myself –- and in there is a lesson. But, what happens here and the sale of the last unit at 50 Lispenard Street is a problem on more than one level. I only work for my client, always and above all. I have a fiduciary duty to my seller, not to Luis. My job is to get the highest possible price, in this case FULL ASK and ALL CASH and quickly.
What is about to come down is ugly regardless of how much I want to be friends with Luis. See you next week for a my view on it.
Love you all!