A driving force in the real estate industry is communication. For a REALTOR®, communication is key, frequently being a liaison between the buyers and sellers, the other agent, the title company, etc. Communication is really the backbone of the Real Estate business and a real estate agent who can communicate clearly and effectively will find success in the industry.

Andrew Siefers is a Licensed Professional Counselor with My Rooted Soul Counseling. He received his Master’s Degree in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University and has a decade of counseling experience in the DFW area. We sat down with Siefers to get some expertise about basic communication skills and how this applies to real estate.

I’s and You’s
One of the first things Siefers mentioned was watch your I’s and You’s. For example if you say, ‘Do you think this is a good idea?’ This can be seen as passive. Instead say, ‘Hey, I think this is a good idea,” which can be seen as more direct, action oriented, and less attacking.

“If I’m taking responsibility for what I control or influence, then I’m not pointing out what I don’t control,” Siefers said. “So many times I think we become disconnected toward clients, because we’re not listening to the control or influence they want us to hear. So, as a professional you may be saying something one way, and the client interprets your words a completely different way. Also, watch your ‘Feel Likes’.”

For example, have you ever known yourself to indicate you are feeling “like”? Individuals express emotions by saying they ‘feel,’ and then it is followed by a feeling word immediately after. If the real estate agent is paying attention to a potential clients feelings at an open house or listing appointment, it gives her the ability to have a deeper connection to that potential future sale represented in the individual they are conversing with. Paying attention to the clients feeling words will help the REALTOR® to interpret the client’s feelings in the right way. Siefers indicates he sends out a free guide explaining emotion words and definitions on his website for those who request the info.

Siefers suggested a practical application for fixing this for yourself. Experiment with how many times one might hear oneself say, “I feel like…” throughout the day. The phrase “I feel like… “ when not followed by a feeling word means “I think…”. Correcting your feel and thinking words will increase your emotional maturity and acuity zeroing in closer to the truth. One can videotape or record herself in a normal conversation and then go back, listen to it, and critique herself on the way she speaks. Or simply try to make a mental note every time she says “feel like” rather than “I think” and make an effort to express the correction out loud. Before long you will be doing great at this.

Emotion Does Not Equal Logic
“A common mistake a REALTOR® may make is to communicate with his emotions, rather than his logic,” Siefers said. “Sales is all about creating a felt sense of what the client does not realize they need and providing the solutions and answers for their need.”

A REALTOR® may walk into a potential deal desiring success, but the client still has a lot of questions. If the REALTOR® does not pause, stop or understand the clients questions, he or she is facing a potential communication disaster if the REALTOR® interprets the situation on his own desire to move forward, rather than listening to what the client is saying. If the agent is not listening well, there won’t be as much opportunity to close the deal.

“Clients’ expectations of Realtors being experts may be true or false,” Siefers said. “So, indicating a sense of transparency or openness about what you are an expert in and what you are not an expert in is ideal. This increases the client’s trust over time by building trust. Trust equals saying what you’re going to do and doing it. Consistent integrity will breed success over time. There is much effort having to keep up with incongruence than simply allowing yourself to make mistakes and admit your deficiency.”

Boundaries 
“Boundaries are like property lines,” Siefers said. “You can have a stone wall, you can have a picket fence, or you can have no fence at all.”

The stone wall analogy partly is illustrated from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Gottman’s research on marital relationships. The Four Horsemen are the following: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling. Stonewalling means building a wall in between the real estate agent and the client, not attending to a customer needs because you don’t like the client, aren’t making a profit, don’t connect or don’t want to give them your time, etc. are all causes of stonewalling.

The picket fence analogy has a gate and this gives the REALTOR® the optimal ability to open and close the communication gate as she wishes. This means laying out times when she can focus on her clients, and then saving other times when she can be with her family.

The no wall at all analogy means that anyone can come and go on my property, time, and feelings as they please. This may mean clients think they are allowed to call the REALTOR® late at night or early in the morning, potentially ruining sleep or complicating the morning routine of the agent to provide balanced service.

“You want to value yourself, and take care of yourself, promote healthy living and model these behaviors for your client,” Siefers said.

High-Stress Transactions
When asked about tips for dealing with high-emotion or high-stress transactions such as death or divorce, Siefers chuckled and suggested seeing a counselor.

“At least have a counselor handy in those situations to answer your concerns,” he said. “Utilize your network in order to maintain your sanity.”

Also, be sure to get adequate sleep, rest, relaxation and exercise. Physical health and nutrition are very important in this situations. Siefers also advised the agent to know limits. Don’t advise clients with expertise he can’t back up, and don’t get into the intimacies with your clients who are hurting and vulnerable.

“Crossing physical or emotional lines to make a sale isn’t worth it,” Siefers said. “Maintain your rational sense of professional rapport paying attention to where you meet, take notes before, after, or during conversations to stay on task, guide the process and focus on the goal rather being caught up in decisions that are not yours to make.”

Success
“As a lay person, I think Realtors generally believe communication is answering phones, answering emails, funneling facts from fiction and being a conduit for the process,” Siefers said. “And those might be the functions and behaviors of communication, but the rote behavior may not mean that you’re paying attention to the body language, tone, and professional idioms you use.”

The last bit of advice that Siefers gave for the REALTOR® is to simply say what she means. Also, knowing the definitions of words that the agent uses will help her be more confident in her day-to-day conversations and decisions. The REALTOR® should not be afraid to do research or ask questions and stay within the boundaries of integrity and excellence that she strive to exude.

You can contact My Rooted Soul Counseling by going to https://myrootedsoul.com/home/. As a title company, we partner with the real estate agents to ensure s/he and the buyers or sellers feel comfortable going into closing. Do not hesitate to call your local First International Title office with any questions or concerns you may have!

For real estate agents, there are countless programs and charities available nationwide for you to give back to your communities. If you’re looking for a more local program, Lead the Way Home Savings, founded by Jeff Parkerson, gives back to the people who serve their communities on a daily basis.

After settling down in Texas with his family, Parkerson began searching for ways to give back to his community. As a former Marine, police officer, and air marshal, among other positions, Parkerson decided this was something he needed to do.

“I looked at some other programs,” Parkerson said. “But I wanted to do something a little differently.”

So, in 2015, Parkerson started Lead the Way – Home Savings Program. His program offers qualified applicants 25 percent of the realtors’ commission on real estate sales. Those eligible are active military, veterans, law enforcement, firefighters, teachers, professors, doctors, nurses, ministers, and all supporting personnel.

One important factor Parkerson noticed about other programs similar to Lead the Way was they did not include supporting personnel or ministry. For example, police dispatchers and admin personnel did not qualify. He wanted to be different. Lead the Ways Home Savings not only includes all folks who serve their communities with the above careers, but their entire supporting staff as well. 

“These people behind the scenes are very crucial,” Parkerson said. “Even though they don’t qualify for those other programs, I felt that they deserve it.”

He said the program has evolved a lot since its inception. At first, he was the sole realtor offering Lead the Way and it was a local program, serving the Dallas, Houston, and Austin areas. Now, he works with realtors nationwide that also have a passion for service. Additionally, many mortgage and title companies have joined the network of Lead the Way to offer even more benefits.

“We started working with agents outside of our area,” Parkerson said. “We’ve had great success but we’re still getting the word out.”

Any real estate agent from any brokerage is able to take part in Lead the Way. Parkerson’s goal for the program is to have agents, nationwide, that are ethical, and passionate about serving – no matter which brokerages they work for.

Parkerson also hosts a radio show called “Lead the Way Radio,” at KVGI Studios in Frisco, Texas. The show airs nationwide and is broadcasted live every other Thursday from 1-2pm CST and he said it’s not focused only on real estate, but that it’s just another way to focus on people giving back to their communities.

“It’s all about charities and nonprofits and great people doing great things for the community,” Parkerson said. “Our show demonstrates that the world is made up of good people, and we love being able to share those organizations and those people to the world.”

“We’re just passionate about giving back about those who protect us and add value to our community,” Parkerson said. “These are the types of people you want as neighbors.”

For more information about Lead the Way Home Savings Program, to join the program as a realtor, or to apply as a home buyer go to www.LEADTHEWAYhomes.com.

 

Questions? Comments? Reach out to your First International Title rep today!

Newlywed couples are wonderful. They’re full of life, energy, excitement, and passion. They’re quick to forgive and easy to please. However, it does come with new challenges as well. Moving into your first house together can be daunting. Whose stuff do you keep? Whose do you throw away? How do you decide which way the furniture should face?

Although every couple and every home is different, here are a few easy steps to get started in your new home together.

Plan Ahead
Don’t get stuck the week before the wedding to start packing and planning for your move. Give yourself plenty of time to pick your house and sign the documents well before the best day of your life. Weeks, or even months, in advance, start packing up boxes with items you don’t use every day.

If you’re able to start moving in boxes, a couple at a time every single day, at least two weeks in advance then by the time it comes to officially make the move, it won’t feel like so much work at once. Weddings can be stressful enough on their own. You may also consider hiring a moving company to do all the heavy lifting for you. Literally.

Also, make a list of important tasks, like changing your mailing address, to get done and cross them off as you go along. Make another list of things you’ll need to buy for the house that are non-negotiable. Don’t forget the little things like toilet paper, nails to hang up photos, and coffee for the first morning in your new home.

Maximize Your Space
Whether you buy a 4,000 square foot house or a 1,200 square foot house, a house that’s cluttered still looks small. Maximize your space by, first of all, getting rid of things you don’t use anymore. That stack of newspapers may be helpful to wrap fragile items while you move, but once you’re in, toss them out.

Look over your area and play with the furniture until it looks right. Every house is different and you may need to move the couch two, three, or four times until it fits just right without taking up too much space. Utilize the space in the corners with a tall DVD rack, side tables, or a dog bed. Not only do you save the precious space in the middle of each room, empty corners usually look odd anyways.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of shelves. You can add extra shelves in your living room, dining room, or office to store knick knacks, kitchen tools you don’t use often, decorations, and other random items.

Create an outdoor space for yourself on your patio or porch. If you have a covered area, consider placing padded chairs and a rug outside with a table and outdoor utensils. It serves as an extra place for you to go and relax.

Combine Your Things
It can be bittersweet getting rid of household items that you’ve used for a long time. However, there is really no point (and, most likely, no space) for you and your new spouse to have two blenders, two toasters, and two cheese graters. Get rid of the things you won’t need.

If you’re having difficulty choosing who should let theirs go, try to make the most logical decision by choosing the newer of the two and set feelings aside. Choose the toaster that will last longer and prolong you having to buy a new one.

On the other hand, if one spouse has an item, say a special recliner or area rug, which has been passed down in his or her family, it has a sentimental value that no amount of time can take away. Consider keeping these unique pieces. After all, you will want your house to feel personal.

Make Your House a Home
You and your partner are going to be spending a lot of time in this space. Create an area that is special, cozy, and a place that you want to spend time together. Candles, blankets, old family photos, reading books, and rugs are just a few of the many things that you can use to make your home feel comfortable.

Keep things out that are special to you, such as a candle that was used during your proposal or a framed letter that you sent to your partner while you were apart. It also reminds you of your unique relationship, especially when you have friends or family over and it creates a topic of discussion.

Although hotels are nice to stay in from time to time, you won’t want to feel as though you live in one. Proudly display the items that are special to you and make your relationship unique.

 

Questions? Comments? Reach out to your First International Title rep today!