• While data is helpful when buying or selling properties, real estate professionals cannot ignore the x-factor of human emotion.
  • Because there is no search function for humanity on any real estate website, agents bring real value to the real estate process via human connection.
  • Unlike big tech companies, real estate brokerages have not yet harnessed human emotion into profitability.
  • Combining data-driven metrics and emotional intelligence will help agents close more deals and lead to happier clients.

There is so much chatter in the real estate industry today about data-driven metrics: price appreciation, year-over-year sales volume, absorption rates and so on.

I understand that this information is helpful to agents and their clients when it comes to buying or selling their properties, but relying solely on numbers is a missed opportunity.

There is a certain x-factor that real estate professionals cannot ignore — and that is the element of human emotion. Believe it or not (and you should believe it for the sake of your business!), real estate is probably the most important emotional asset class in the world.

Whether it’s a luxury chateau or a modest one-bedroom, there is a reason the saying “home is where the heart is” resonates with so many.

You can’t search a feeling

Go to any real estate website in the country and you’d be hard-pressed to find a search option that allows for emotion. You can’t enter “nostalgia” or “childhood memories” or “romantic kitchen tiles from Italy that remind me of my spouse” in any meaningful way. There’s no algorithm for humanity.

How many times have your clients gone into a home and ended up buying not based on whether it was a good price or a great neighborhood, but because they simply “had a feeling”?

In addition to presenting numeric information, you must be willing to listen to your clients and think outside of the box. It’s okay to connect on a human level; it’s probably the most important asset agents bring to the real estate process.

Real estate is unpredictable — and that’s okay

Like any emotional transaction, real estate can be extremely unpredictable.

Your client may tell you that they simply want a three-bedroom with a big kitchen in a certain neighborhood because of x,y,z.

But read between the lines and you know that what they really want is a certain aesthetic that exists in various shapes and forms well outside of their “desired location.”

Urge them to go beyond their own preconceived notions. It’s surprising to see how many people buy exactly what they don’t want in the end.

Technology targets emotions

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat — all very popular forums for real estate professionals and their clients on both business and personal levels.

What these social mediums have in common is they are places to forge shared connections and the creation of communities.

Big tech companies have found lucrative ways to harness human connections and profit from them. While the real estate industry isn’t quite there yet, agents are an integral part of turning the emotional x-factor into a successful business transaction — and a happy outcome for their clients.

Combine, combine, combine

Don’t be a slave to the numbers. Your best approach when dealing with your clients is two-fold: data-driven metrics and emotional intelligence.

The minute you treat the process like a science project, you lose that human touch which is so unique — and important — in the real estate process.

Aggregators will only take clients so far; it’s the emotional drive that closes the deal.

Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan is the President of Stribling & Associates, a family-run business and New York City’s premiere boutique residential brokerage specializing in the sales and marketing of exceptional resale properties as well as new developments.

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