Not my circus…

One of the very best things about our business is that we get to work with and to serve other people. That is also one of the most challenging!

My “specialty” has always been working with sellers, and my geographic area of expertise (and choice) is a rural area, and my “niche” is unique or unusual homes. All of this to say that days on market is typically 30+ and it would sometimes seem that themore unique the property, the more unique the situation … and often the more unrealistic the seller!

No matter your area of focus in your business, we all deal with clients in difficult situations from time to time. Many times not their “fault”, oftentimes the result of their own poor choices, in either case that problem usually leads to unreasonableness and unrealistic expectations of value based more on what they “need” than on the market conditions.

One thing I’ve often struggled with is separating myself from my client’s personal drama. I remember once many years ago a client who was recently widowed and in financial distress. We worked like crazy to prep her (very messy) home for sale, spending hours myself and several of my colleagues organizing, cleaning and staging. She would call me anxious almost daily about selling the house, then would decline showings. A few weeks into the listing we scheduled a sit down meeting at the house; she was angry with me that the house hadn’t sold and I couldn’t understand why she was declining half the showing requests … if you don’t show it, you can’t sell it. As soon as I walked in I realized why … against my advice she had decided to repaint one of the rooms in her house by herself. The room was full of a ladder, paint, drop cloths, etc and she had undone a good portion of our staging.

It was maddening. I could see so clearly what she needed to do and be focusing on, and no matter how I explained it she just couldn’t get it. Out of complete frustration during our heated conversation I started to cry … and I never cry! (Okay, obviously not never, but most certainly rarely, and not in front in clients) We parted ways the next day, she relisted, and the house finally sold months later as a short sale (which is wasn’t when we started). I was so sad for her, she couldn’t see how to help herself, and wouldn’t allow those who could to do their job.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? I like this quote, “not my circus, not my monkeys”, but putting it into practice is often easier said that done.

When you are dealing with challenging situations how do you handle it?

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