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b-LOG: Empathy and the Real Estate Negotiation

b-LOG: Empathy and the Real Estate Negotiation
Date Posted: 19/05/2017

One of the biggest mistakes made by both REALTORS® and their clients alike is the inability to put themselves in the shoes of the other party.

The lack of ability to apply empathy to the situation can prove costly.

Empathy, according to Wikipedia, is something similar to this:

It is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person's frame of reference.

Why is that important? Think of a negotiation as conflict resolution. There is a solution in the distance but to reach it, you need 2 (opposing) parties to come to an agreement. If both sides simply dig in their trenches and try to hammer away at each other you end up with either a stalemate or a situation with casualties and some kind of fall-out.

It’s quite simply the human element of the home buying and home selling process. Take humans out and things would get quite a bit more straight forward but as of now, humans are still a bit part of the process

Let’s consider a 1962 built bungalow being sold by its original owners. Clearly they have quite a lot of emotional attachment built into the process. Family raised, history, memories, babies born, graduations, grandchildren, retirement, renovations, anniversary parties, landscaping, new kitchen, neighbours come and gone, trees grown from 5 to 55 feet, leaky basements, fixed basements, tears and joy. That plus much, much more wrapped into those 4 walls.

Along comes the buyer. A brazen guy in his 40s driving a Ford F350. He sees this home as a place to smash apart, put back together again and squeeze out $75 or 100 grand. The family raised, the renovations, the tree and all the associated emotional baggage is a nice story but irrelevant to his narrative.

He is going to smash a deal together at their dining room table. The same table they have enjoyed a few thousand family dinners at.

Here is where empathy, or lack of empathy, is likely going to dissolve any potential negotiation into frustration and hurt feelings. The buyer’s lack of capacity in understanding what the seller is experiencing from within their frame of reference.

With trenches dug, the fall-out will be a lost opportunity and an upset seller.


Not in a capitalistic, slime bag, ‘tell them what they need to hear’ type of way. Empathy with a genuine effort made to understand and figure out where the other party in the negotiation is coming from.

That is where real, fully engaged and experienced representation comes into play.

If you would like to get together to discuss your home, the market, empathy or real estate in general, please feel free to reach out to us anytime.

We are here when you need us. And thank-you for visiting.

Photo credit goes to: Garth Pratt.