From the Star Ledger:
Emotions run high when buying or selling a house, particularly in today’s real estate market. Sellers feel like they’re practically giving away their houses and may not have the finances to meet a buyer’s demands for repairs. Buyers feel they are the brave ones and should be getting their money’s worth after making such a major financial commitment.
As a result, real estate agents say, their jobs are as much therapist and life counselor as it is staging and showing a property.
“It used to be a tell-and-sell attitude versus the listening and educating and guiding that we do today,” said Roberta Baldwin, an agent-owner of the Keller Williams NJ Metro Group in Montclair. In the height of the market, an agent would host an open house and offers would be in by the end of the weekend. Realtors and clients didn’t develop as close a relationship with each other. Personal finances were not discussed because it was assumed people would make a profit if they were selling and were flush if they were buying.
Now, that has all changed.
“Most of my time is spent fielding phone calls and also calling other people and making sure they’re okay — emotionally okay — and making sure their financial situation is holding,” Baldwin said. “It’s very, very different.”
Baldwin said her heart sinks when someone calls and says a spouse lost a job. “They literally ask you, ‘What should I do?,’ ” she said. The questions come so often, she now brings up the issue at staff meetings with her team and discusses how best to handle the situations.