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Tricky Situations: Advice for Handling Recently Divorced Clients

Posted by Wil Jackson on March 3, 2016 at 2:15 PM

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Divorce-In-Real-Estate.jpgNo one gets into the real estate business looking to specialize in clients who are buying or selling as the result of recent divorce. The idea of selling a home for a couple that is parting ways, or finding a new one for someone who is recently single, sounds better suited to a therapist than a real estate agent.

But you also don’t want to ignore a very big market segment just because the situation requires a bit of extra effort and tact. Recent or pending divorces are the motivating factors in a large and growing segment of real estate transactions across the country.

By fine tuning your interpersonal skills for this special situation, you can set yourself up to work well with clients who are leaving their old lives behind and starting out on a new journey.

Don’t Take Sides

The first rule of working with divorced clients is to focus everything you say and do on the property. No matter what either party says about their former spouse, your best bet is to avoid taking sides and steer the conversation back towards getting the property sold.

Any perception that you are taking one side or the other could definitely come back to harm you down the road. And having a reputation as a stand-up agent that remained neutral during a difficult situation will be a valuable asset in the long run.

Separate Divorce From Real Estate

One of the easiest ways to avoid taking sides in a divorce situation is to completely separate the divorce from the real estate transaction. This will also benefit the clients as any hint of divorce will always encourage low-ball offers from sharks looking for blood in the water.

Staging Tip: If one of the spouses has already moved out of the house, make sure that it is not obvious during any showings.

Document All Communication

Depending on how hostile the divorce proceedings have been, you might find yourself dealing with two clients who refuse to speak, or are actually out to get each other. In order to protect your ability to stay neutral, you should make every effort to document all communication between every party involved.

One great way to ensure that everything is documented is to stick to email and text messaging as your preferred method of communication. If you do have a discussion with one of the clients over the phone, send a follow-up email to both parties detailing whatever was discussed on the call.

Listen Closely & Remain Patient

In many divorce situations, both sides will likely have a whole lot to say about their former spouse. They will also be going through a very emotional time and having to sell their house because of a divorce can be very traumatic.

During this emotional time, you will have to listen very closely to determine exactly what the clients are expecting from you, and it will probably take some extra effort to remain patient with them.

Stay Positive

While you don’t want to get in the middle of a tough situation by taking sides, you also don’t want to act as though you don’t care about the emotional roller coaster that recently divorced clients find themselves on. Staying positive during all of your interactions with them is a critically important thing to remember.

Divorce is never easy. And you almost certainly didn’t think about these types of situations when you set out to become a real estate agent. But if you can focus on the task at hand, you might actually be a blessing in disguise to divorced couples, and can help both parties begin to move on with their lives in a civilized manner.

Topics: Agent Resources

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