By Laurel Price

We aren’t Realtors (that’s why we’ve hired you), so we don’t always understand the process of buying or selling a home. We need you to explain what’s going on, so we can make better decisions and keep perspective in this stressful process. We want you to tell us how things work including commission and what real estate contracts really mean…not just “sign here”.

You aren’t entitled to our trust…you must earn it. We’ve heard all the nasty stories about unethical Realtors from our family, friends and co-workers. There are a lot of people out there who have been harmed by the bad apples in your business, and we don’t want to be another sad story. That means keeping your word, showing up on time (or calling when you know you will be late), saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Please be honest with us even if it’s something we don’t want to hear…we may not like what you have to say, but it enables you to sleep at night knowing you told us the truth.

It also means owning your mistakes. We understand you’re human (or if we don’t we should), and it helps to build trust with us when you take responsibility when you’ve erred. If you must hide your mistakes, something is seriously wrong.

The phrase, “Buyers are liars” is offensive. Stop it right now. It means that you didn’t take time to help us determine our priorities or refine them as time goes on. We also need to feel comfortable telling you when our circumstances or finances have changed. If you are unapproachable, we are embarrassed to be honest with you.

Please don’t spend time telling us how great you are…it’s arrogant and we can decide that for ourselves.

We need to know you are on our side, not your side. We can smell self-interest a mile away. It’s wise for you to set good boundaries, we get that. But we also need to know in the end we are a priority for you. For example, we really don’t care when your split with the brokerage or your Visa bill is due…we want to set the closing date that works for us. We know you need a pay cheque like the rest of us, but when you put your own needs ahead of your clients, it tells us who you really are.

Please lay out expectations clearly in the beginning regarding when and how you are accessible to us and what to do when you are away or unavailable. We want to know how you intend to handle complicated situations. For example, what will happen if we put an offer on one of your own listings? What should we expect in multiple offers? How will you guard our privacy?

We want our families involved in the process, especially when we are first-time home buyers. Our families are protective because they love us…remember all the bad stories about unethical Realtors? This is a great opportunity for you to show them real estate is full of ethical and hardworking Realtors who take their responsibility seriously and care about their clients. Welcome our parents to join us and invite their opinions good and bad. It will earn credibility for you and you may learn something. You may even earn their business too.

We need you…but you also need us. We are the best and most reliable source of referrals for your future business. We want to show off our new home, but we also want to praise the professional who helped make it happen. We understand you’re busy but staying in touch with us occasionally helps us know we were more than just a pay cheque to you. If you want us to call you in a few years when we are ready to move up, make sure we remember your name.

And finally, please say thank you for allowing you to be part of this exciting experience with us…it doesn’t need to be a big expensive gift, just recognition that we’ve been successful together.

Laurel Price is broker of record at Price and Associates Realty in Sarnia, Ont. “We believe in a non-traditional approach to our business of supporting buyers and sellers through the exciting and stressful process of buying or selling a takes more time, but we want our clients to understand and enjoy the process,” she says. “Referrals are always welcome, but we would also be happy to share our experience in a non-traditional real estate practice. Call 519-383-5050.


  1. A great reminder to us all no matter how long we have been in the business of selling real estate. Thank you for sharing.

  2. This was a very timely and insightful article. Thank you very much for writing it and sharing it. I just got a listing after a seller listed with another Realtor and didn’t sell. The number one reason why the seller wanted a change was because the other Realtor did not communicate regularly. The seller did not feel valued nor did he see the value in the services he was being provided with. In this technological age we often forget about the basics of human interaction and relationship building. Thank you for bringing us back to the basics. We need to ask questions, listen to our clients, meet their needs, act in their best interest and counsel them through the process. That is why they hired us. That is what they expect. That is what we should do. Thank you for the inspiration.

  3. Fantastic article…. the approach that all realtors should take to their practice to be truly successful, and raise the bar in the profession. Following these practices will reduce the need to be doing as much marketing, cold calling etc… A must read for any realtor. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Laurel. It was nice talking to you on the phone describing your “non-traditional real estate practice” I agree with you to ask the why questions to know more what clients are looking for and why it is important to them. Looking forward another outstanding year for you.
    Have an inspirational year!

Leave a Reply