What It Takes to be a Realtor Who Specializes in Divorce
A house is the physical embodiment of the hopes and dreams of a couple, and of their family… the American Dream. That’s why we call it a “home,” once they’ve moved in and it has made that transition. When the couple later divorces and sells that home, it is not a joyous occasion. They’re not doing it to buy a bigger home, a better home, or a different home for their family; they’re doing it to finalize the dissolution of that relationship. And when you are the realtor for that couple, selling that home is a demanding, “high touch” task.
When divorce is the motivating factor, emotions come into play far more often than they do in the normal residential real estate sale. As the realtor walks through a couple’s home to discuss its features and benefits so that he can be a better sales agent of that home, one spouse is especially liable to become emotional about all of the fixtures that they picked out together and the reasons that they bought this particular home in the first place. The level of stress is likely to spike, especially if both spouses are in the room, and the realtor cannot ignore the volatility, as well as the intimacy of the moment.
It’s important to bring a certain level of authenticity to the table with clients such as this. They need someone who is not just understanding, but who is empathetic, as well, who is actively listening to them, so that they feel truly heard.
Believe it or not, a good realtor in a situation like this is much like a coach or a counselor. The client requires reassurance that the future will look brighter, that the decision to divorce is a good one. Change is hard and someone in the throes of divorce often loses sight of what the future might look like, especially if he or she is the partner who did not want a divorce. But a good realtor, having asked all the right questions at the beginning of this process, will paint a picture for this client of what his or her life will look and feel like in a year, in two years, or perhaps in five years.
And that picture will be rosy.
Huffington Post recently asked Is Divorce a New Beginning or an Ending? The author posits “. . . Or can it be both? For me, so many years ago, my divorce was exactly that. An ending to a not-so-great marriage but simultaneously . . . a beginning – a fresh start – to creating the kind of life that I really wanted to have for myself. I could finally live my life on my own terms.”
There are pros and cons in every divorce. A good realtor who specializes in selling the homes of divorcing couples will help his client focus on the positive aspects of getting that divorce.
Remind her that the house she is selling is now only that, not a home anymore, but simply . . . a house, a physical structure, made from material goods. Remind her that her family will move forward and that she will take her family with her wherever she goes. She will create a new home for them, and create new memories, too. Remind her that dwelling on the pain that her reminiscences evoke is not healthy, and that it’s crucial to remove the Band-Aid quickly. It’s imperative to move on.
Sometimes it helps to tell stories about other couples whom you have helped to sell their homes, stories with happy endings, or stories with funny punchlines. Sometimes, taking the focus off of her own story is helpful. Sometimes, it is not. A good divorce realtor will sense when the appropriate time for a story arises, and will have one ready to hand.
A good divorce realtor will spend a great deal more time with the divorcing home seller than her lawyer or collaborative divorce team ever will. Furthermore, that time is far more intimate; the realtor meets with the clients in their home, in their personal, safe space, in their privacy.
On top of that, the additional time that the realtor spends with the client(s) brings him much closer to their issues. If they’re contentious at all, the realtor can’t help but see it. A good realtor will help move the divorcing couple away from their conflict and back to their agreement, to sell their house for the best possible price. This realtor will to keep the focus on the agreement and on how to obtain the best possible price for them, which includes not fighting about it.
So how does one find a realtor like that? We’ll share those secrets in our next blog.
About this week’s featured authors: Rande Friedman and Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law while also serving as a full-time professor in law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.
Rande Friedman, a White Glove House Realtor, is an accomplished real estate agent. He has over 10 years of experience in the industry, with a strong focus on helping divorcing people with their real estate needs. Being an affiliated member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association allows Rande to attend significant classes, workshops, and training seminars which are not available to general realtors. The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals is another important organization into which Rande has been accepted. The IACP and our local Next Generation Divorce practice group both provide ongoing training in the collaborative divorce process, which is essential when dealing with couples going through this transition. Contact Rande! Rande@whiteglovehouse.com