Increased demand, strained work schedules and low inventory are pushing agents to the breaking point. Here are a few tips for dealing with difficult situations and setting healthy boundaries with customers, colleagues and vendors. 

Working in the housing industry has always been challenging, but one could argue that current market conditions now rival any other market that agents have ever seen. 

Increased demand, strained work schedules and low inventory are pushing agents to the breaking point. Here are a few tips to help you deal with difficult situations and set healthy boundaries with customers, colleagues and vendors. 


Consumers are stressed, frustrated and pushing their budgets to the limits right now in an attempt to keep up with hot purchase markets. 

Appreciation in home values and intense offer competitions are tricky waters to navigate even for seasoned agents. Many consumers are jumping ship and changing agents during their purchase process in hopes of meeting their end goal of finding their perfect home faster or getting a better deal.  

So, what do you do when you find that a consumer has dumped you for another agent? Attempt to make friendly contact with the customer, and ask what happened. 

Talk with your supervising broker about the situation to ensure no legal issues surround your client’s agent change. 

As far as preventative measures go, don’t beat yourself up. These things happen, and in the long run, it’s for the better for both parties. A common theme in these situations? Sometimes pressures from family, friends or even local politics can play a role in a client changing direction. 

Lastly, if you still have any documents or important information that the client might need, be sure to return it or send it to the new agent.


How is it that someone is ready to buy a home one moment and then disappears the next? Any number of things can happen to disrupt this process, and it’s essential not to take it personally. 

For example, your clients could be actively seeking a home, and then they lose their job or their relationship falls apart. Things can change instantly, and your clients might not want to share the reasons for their decisions.  

Stay in contact, but don’t harass the client like a collector. You might never hear from the client again, or you might be surprised when they pop up months later. The most important thing you can do with prospecting is to make sure you provide clear pathways for communicating with you.

Make sure your voicemail is empty (this is a big complaint), and that your office hours are clear. And if you have assistants or a larger team, ensure that there is a system in place to make sure the entire team knows what is going on with transactions. Trello is a free tool that’s perfect for team organization and communication.

Missed text messages and emails are also a real problem. Asking clients their preferences for contact method and time should be first priority when working with clients right now.

Bad behavior

The worst of the three that many agents are encountering right now. Poor attitudes, questionable ethics and even adults throwing tantrums in public over seemingly minor incidents. 

Simple things that we have taken for granted in the past are now complicated, time-consuming and bogged down with additional steps, which has left everyone’s patience thin. 

If you come across bad behavior, I recommend a few things. 

First, remember that more than likely, the bad behavior is not about you; it’s more likely that it is about something else entirely.  

Try to take the high ground and be the voice of reason, but remember to set boundaries and let the offending parties know that it’s not OK. Intimidation, racism, fair housing violations and scare tactics are never acceptable in transactions. Report these immediately. 

Just because someone is having a bad day and 2020 has been tough does not give anyone the green light to impede transactions progress. Stay calm, seek help from your brokers, and continue to encourage respect and professionalism in all transactions. 

The wrap-up

Difficult situations are uncomfortable, but remember to look twice before reacting. Take additional steps to slow down your thought processes, and prepare clients for potential pitfalls during fast-paced transactions. 

Self-care has almost become an overused term, but it’s important to destress and care for yourself so that you can be your best self for your family, friends and clients. 

One final word of caution: Do not vent private financial or transactional information on social media, uninvolved parties, etc. Journal it out, talk to your broker, but do not throw clients under the bus publicly. It’s unprofessional and could potentially deter referrals. 

Do you have any tips or tricks for coping with difficult situations? Share them below!

By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting and blogging. Feel free to tweet her @rachaelhite.

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