One misconception about real estate is that hard skills are all you need. Things like cost estimating, knowledge of intricate building codes, evaluating markets and other related financial skills are certainly valuable attributes to have. However, you also need to be in tune with your “soft” skills – skills that help you get along with coworkers, clients, colleagues and vendors. These interpersonal skills can help you immeasurably as you move through the real estate world and meet a variety of different people as you pursue your goals.
Table of Contents - These Soft Skills Will Bring You Real Estate Success
Be an active listener
The talking side of real estate is self-evident. You need to be able to chat up the appealing aspects of properties, of your company, of your peers and of yourself. However, too many aspiring real estate professionals forget that they should be good listeners as well. All people want to be heard, and they value someone who is a good listener when they’re entering a business arrangement. Practice your listening skills by concentrating solely on the speaker, maintaining eye contact, nodding and paying undivided attention to what your counterpart is saying. They will feel respected and appreciated, making it much easier for you to arrive at a mutually beneficial understanding.
The world of real estate can sometimes move very quickly, especially in hot markets where buyers and sellers need to act fast on commodities that can be listed and sold in the course of a weekend. However, real estate does not usually move this rapidly, so patience is key to your success. You want to project a sense of calm and confidence with your colleagues, requiring plenty of patience. There is also much to unpack in terms of figuring out zoning, building codes and the like and you want to maintain a professional sense of courtesy and patience while these details are finalized. The people you are dealing with will be much more likely to help you out when the time comes if you’ve demonstrated the maturity and perseverance that real estate can require.
Work smart at the negotiating table
Negotiating is a side of real estate that surprises no one. When large amounts of money are involved you can always expect a significant amount of back and forth. The important part here is again to treat your counterparts with respect and patience. It’s very easy to have a deal fall apart due to ego, temperament or a multitude of other rash factors. This should not, and cannot, be your experience. You should be focused on arriving at a mutually agreeable outcome that works for all parties. Effective negotiating is absolutely a practiced skill but going into every deal knowing that you will act with integrity, ethics and a healthy respect for your fellow negotiators can help assure a favourable result.
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Effective communication creates beneficial deals
Strong written and oral communication skills are a must for anyone aspiring to a career in real estate. Everyone you cross paths with should know that you are someone who says what they mean and means what they say. Your reputation is your greatest asset in this business, and you want everyone to know that you can communicate clearly and concisely about anything related to your dealings.
A key aspect of good communication is ensuring that you acknowledge the contributions of everyone involved. If you had a colleague provide a key piece of assistance on a deal, make sure that you thank and credit their work. This type of respect takes virtually no additional time and helps burnish your reputation as a fair business person who understands that real estate success is the result of the hard work of many, not just the people currently talking.
Brush up on social cues
Social cues are the little things that make up the tapestry of courtesies in our social life. They vary across cultures and it’s crucial to brush up on them if you will be working with people from other communities. For example, if you are to meet with people from a country that you are not familiar with be sure to do your research on what they expect at business meetings as it can vary significantly. You can save yourself a lot of embarrassment and heartache if you are prepared with their expectations of things like gift-giving, manner of greeting and punctuality. These gestures can go a long way towards your counterparts feeling respected and welcomed, helping them to negotiate favourably with you.
Tactfulness goes a long way
Every businessperson knows that a deal can go the wrong way for any number of reasons. Changes in markets, finances and sustainability can all contribute to a transaction not making sense anymore. However, one way you can stand out from the crowd is to act with grace and tact when these situations inevitably arrive. It’s easy to cut ties with little to no consideration for the feelings and perceptions of the other side, but this is not how successful businesses are built. Be prepared to offer a thoughtful explanation of the situation and your reasons for your decision and be ready to answer any questions that they have. This will ensure that no bridges have been burned and no future dealings are affected by collateral damage if bad blood lingers from unceremonious endings to real estate arrangements.
Working through real estate transactions can be a test of anyone’s patience and perseverance. It can be all too easy to forget yourself and act abruptly or rudely with another party. While this might feel momentarily cathartic, the long-term damage can be significant. Your reputation can take a real hit, which can have a sizable impact on future dealings with old and new colleagues. It’s far more beneficial to work on your soft skills and become a real estate businessperson of tact, patience, grace and courtesy. Your reputation will precede you, and you will become known as a fair businessperson who is easy and painless to work with as you embark on your real estate career.
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