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All I Ever Needed to Know about Real Estate I Learned in Kindergarten

Okay, so the title above is not entirely true.  There are legal technicalities, contracts, agency issues, and more.  None of that stuff was covered in kindergarten - at least not in mine.  However, I would like to talk for a second about basic manners and how they have helped me in real estate sales over my 12-year career.

Remember when you were a kid, and you learned about the "magic words"?


If not, allow me to remind you: "please" and "thank you" have long been considered to be powerful phrases when dealing with others, both as we are growing up and once we start in our chosen profession.

These two already seem obvious, right?  I hope so.

Here's another (somewhat less popular) statement that can help you to earn and retain lots of business:

"I'm sorry."


The humility contained within this simple phrase carries a lot of weight.  It shows that you care about the other person enough to apologize for your actions.  It also demonstrates that you are not afraid to take responsibility when you mess up.

This past week, I was very much looking forward to meeting with some new clients who are looking to relocate from Brooklyn.  I managed to catch him on the phone rather quickly after receiving his initial email, then we had a few email exchanges.  We were scheduled to meet today and look at about 10 homes.  I promised to email him before we met, to let him know the details (time, place, etc.). 

Then, I dropped the ball.

With the influx of relatives, the new year, and my 16th wedding anniversary (which was yesterday), I simply forgot to get back in touch with him, although I was still blocking out this afternoon for our outing together.

Last night, while I was enjoying dessert with my wife as we celebrated, it struck me that I had messed up.  I wondered if they found another agent to show them around today.

When I got home, there was an email from 7 hours earlier:

"Jason, please let me know where we are meeting tomorrow.  Thanks!"

It was about 11:30pm, so I sent a humble email, apologizing for my mistake.  Did I make any excuses?  Not really.  I did explain about my week, and the fact that it was my anniversary, but in the end, I took responsiblity for making things more stressful for them.

We had a great afternoon of home viewing today, and they may have even decided to accelerate their relocation plans, since they saw 3 or 4 homes that they really liked in their price range. 

I'm not saying that I necessarily would have lost them had I not apologized, but it did set the right tone today and cleared the air.

Don't be afraid to accept responsiblity when you make a mistake.  None of us are perfect, and I have found that people are much more willing to forgive and forget and move on when I do this.  That goes not just for small errors (which this was) but for larger ones, too (such as some of the things I have dealt with as a broker with 16 agents).

Thanks for reading!

Image source: Library of Congress

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