Key to Conflict Resolution: Check Assumptions

Being a good Realtor doesn’t mean you never have disagreements with clients (or they with third parties — see below); it means you’re good at resolving them (even better: avoiding them).

Looking back over 8 years of real estate practice (and the occasional conflict), it’s startling how often the source of the problem is an invalid belief or assumption.

Here are three examples:

One. A client needed extensive electrical work done to comply with Minneapolis’ point-of-sale inspection requirement. I provided three, reputable names — my standard practice — and let her follow up.

A week later, the client called me up in arms over the ($900) bill.

I asked her to fax me a copy of the bill, which she did, then reviewed it with her (it was three pages, single-spaced).

As I reviewed the work performed, I inquired whether the electrician did the work described, satisfactorily completed it, had been on the premises three straight days, etc. Check, check, check.

It quickly emerged that the problem was the electrician’s hourly rate: $80. My client thought the going rate for electricians was half that. I wish.

Two. I am a full service Realtor, and my commission reflects that (in fact, I pride myself on charging less than other Realtors delivering similar service).

Which isn’t to say commission never comes up.

One client was under the impression that a full service commission in the Twin Cities was in fact half of what it currently is (and therefore thought my rate was unreasonable).

I told them to check it out, and get back to me.

They did . . . and hired me later that week. I subsequently sold their home in nine days, for 98% of their asking price.

Three. Another client was adamant that I run photo ads of his parents’ home in the Star Tribune (the parents had passed away, and he was handling the estate sale).

The reason?

He’d found his home that way.

It turns out he’d bought his home in 1988.

I explained that real estate was now advertised almost exclusively online, and that rather than waste money on declining print ads, Edina Realty had wisely chosen to put its resources into creating the Twin Cities’ best real estate website.

Which it did — and has.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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