Most drivers can unequivocally agree that backseat directors are the worst. These confident talkers usually have their head turned towards the map app on their smartphone, barking out directions and criticisms at a non-stop pace. This, reasonably, stresses the driver and makes it more, not less, likely that they will make a wrong turn and devolve the trip even further. All told, the sour communication between driver and passenger makes for an unsatisfying, unenjoyable, and remarkably unproductive trip; by the time the doors finally open at the destination, tempers are short and neither person is particularly pleased with the other.


Selling a house can be a lot like being on a particularly extended and financially significant road trip. Both realtor and seller have the same end goal and need to work in tandem to achieve it. However, without proper communication and established expectations, this professional relationship can sour into unproductivity and leave the two as mutually sullen and unsatisfied as two people stuck in a car. Below, I’ve laid out a few expectations that realtors should discuss with their clients before beginning their sale efforts in earnest.



Unfortunately, the price that seems reasonable to a seller may not be accurate to a property’s true market value. For the most part, this is due to factors beyond the seller’s control; the market may have changed, neighborhood values dropped, or the property’s features fallen out of fashion. This can be especially frustrating for sellers who paid far more more money buying the property than they can expect to receive when selling it – and real estate agents must be empathetic to those frustrations. That said, sellers who insist on setting an overly high price tag on their home may find themselves waiting for months in vain before ultimately dropping the listing price anyway. In the end, it is always best to work with a client and quote a cost near the home’s true value.


Expected Time Frames

All agents need to stress the fact that some sales will take longer than expected. This, as with prices, is often due to factors beyond the seller’s control and can be painfully frustrating for clients who simply want to be done with the process regardless of whether or not their goals were met. In order to avoid this, real estate agents need to establish clear timelines and reset unrealistic expectations before the sales process begins.


Untargeted Marketing

More isn’t always better. When marketing real estate listings, it is always best to keep the copy to a reasonable length – enough to pique interest, but not so long as to drive away buyers with short attention spans.


Hasty Negotiation

As in the car metaphor, it can be stressful for real estate agents to achieve desired results at the negotiating table with the client pushing for hasty results. All deals require patience and – above all – trust. When entering into a professional relationship with a client, building two-way channels of communication is a must for setting the foundation for a productive sale. Without trust, open communication, and thoughtful selling strategy, both realtor and client will be left to flounder in an unproductive and unhappy professional environment.

*Originally published on Linkedin