Numbers may be at the forefront of the real estate discussion, but emotions are just as prevalent.
Any good agent knows that real estate is an emotional game. Buyers and sellers play it with themselves and each other. Listing agents play it with prospective homeowners. It is delicate to find a balance between being genuine and being conscious of the role emotions play in the decisions your clients, and even other agents, make.
Consciousness is, however, the most important component of this emotional sphere. You are not responsible for your clients’ emotions, but it will serve both of you to be aware of them and to know how to respond to them most effectively and pragmatically.
The psychology of language
The way we refer to things shapes our view of them; in a way, language constructs our world. This is no less true for real estate agents and their clients, and in an atmosphere of fast-paced negotiations and heightened hopes and emotions, you should think twice about the words that you choose and why.
For example, many agents, when working with sellers, will refer to the property as a “house,” which is the most technically correct and concrete term and ties in connotations of its value as a property and its potential to net them a good sale. On the other hand, when working with buyers, agents will often refer to a property as a “home.”
Using the term “home” is an example of employing more conceptual than concrete language. “Home” means something, and the best part is that the word means something different to each person, so the term can be applied with a lot of versatility to great success in almost any interaction with a buyer.
The term “home” also connotes a degree of familiarity. To call a place home, you must feel at home there. Thus, the use of the word subtly implants in the mind of the buyer a premature and aspirational sense of familiarity, which can blossom into an attachment to the property that they can’t quite explain.
The power of the personal
Both buying and selling a home are very personal, very emotional endeavors. For the seller, the personal value they place on their home is tied up in memories and nostalgia as well as a fear of the unknown to come. For the buyer, their hopes for the future are inextricably linked to the homebuying choice that they make.
This is why home staging can work to such a great benefit; it makes the space feel more personal, more inhabitable, and more intimate. It helps people place themselves in the reality of a new home before it even becomes a reality. It gives people a chance to consider what their own personal image is and whether the home they are considering coincides with it.
Values are fundamental to the emotional undercurrent of the real estate industry. And this does not hold true for clients alone; real estate agents, as well, must be conscious of their own values and the personal history they bring to the table. They must consult their beliefs about certain kinds of people and ways of living; they must rise above local and national stereotypes while keeping an eye on real data; and they must use their personal knowledge for the benefit of themselves and their clients.