5 tips for handling difficult real estate clients

Any time two or more people interact, there are bound to be personality clashes. This is true in business as well as private life. While you might be blessed to have found your soul mate as a partner in life or to work with colleagues who are like-minded and as motivated as you, chances are you’ve also encountered people you didn’t get along with so well.  As a real estate agent, you might face challenges if you have a difficult client.

The best way to avoid this, of course, is to pre-screen your clients to determine if you’re a good fit for each other. In other words, you can avoid difficult clients by not taking them on. Assuming a few will slip through the cracks on occasion, it’s best to have a plan of action in mind to maximize professionalism and resolve any problems that may arise.

Add these tips to your real estate agent skill set

Difficult clients can become loud, argumentative or aggressive. They might be rude, indecisive or overly demanding. Difficult clients often consider even a most minor issue an urgent matter, which means your phone will blow up with text messages or calls, often late at night. By making the following skills part of your regular real estate regimen, you may be able to diffuse problematic situations:

  • Always be professional in your disposition and actions, responding respectfully and politely, even if the client is not doing the same.
  • Conduct a thorough interview at the start to ensure the client understands what services you’re offering, what fees you will charge and other information about your business to determine compatibility, avoid confusion, and manage expectations.
  • Document all communication and correspondence, even text messages.
  • Develop excellent listening skills and be empathetic to the client’s needs.
  • Be prepared to end the client/agent relationship if it becomes apparent that continuing is not mutually beneficial.

The best real estate agents are skilled negotiators. They also educate their clients on the real estate process from start to finish.

Clients need to feel that they can trust you with their goals

When clients feel informed and cared about, they’re more likely to trust you as a real estate agent. You don’t have to become best friends with every client you have, although the home sale or purchase process will run more smoothly if you get along well with your sellers and buyers. If a difficult client comes your way, don’t panic.

Determine if you want to give working together a try, then keep the helpful tips mentioned in the blog in mind if trouble arises. Most issues can be peacefully resolved if all parties are willing to cooperate and compromise, as needed. However, don’t be afraid to tell a client that another agency may better serve his or her needs if a situation feels like it’s getting out of hand.

Which part of the real estate exam will be most challenging?

After completing pre-license education in accordance with South Carolina requirements, you will be eligible to sit for the state license exam. There are multiple components to the test. Most people have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to studying and taking tests. Determining which part of the real estate exam will be most challenging for you depends on several factors.

If you consider yourself an organized person with good study habits, you will be well-prepared for the state exam. If you rarely study and have had trouble mastering numerous concepts during pre-license courses, you cannot expect the state exam to be any easier. The good news is that a failing score on your first attempt does not preclude you from taking the test again.

The real estate exam includes nationally based and state-based questions

The South Carolina real estate exam can be separated into two main categories. You will answer questions based on national real estate information, as well as questions regarding state facts. The national portion of the test asks general questions, such as real estate terms or how to calculate interest rates.

The state questions are much more specific. These questions pertain directly to South Carolina real estate laws and regulations, which may be different from those in other states.

Which type of information is easier for you to recall?

Either section on the South Carolina real estate exam may be challenging for you. However, if you usually have trouble recalling general information but do well with details and specific facts, you might find the state portion of the test less daunting. The math section of the exam requires basic math skills, so there is no need to fear it.

To pass the South Carolina real estate exam, you must score 70% or higher. As mentioned earlier, however, if you don’t pass your initial attempt, you can try again. In the meantime, it is a good idea to review the questions you answered incorrectly on the exam so that you know what you need to study before taking the test again.

How long should it take to be ready for the state exam?

It is often possible to complete pre-license courses and pass the state exam in 18 weeks or less. You can take the test as many times as needed within one year of your initial exam. In South Carolina, you must pass the exam within five years of completing your course work.

Choosing a quality real estate school with experienced instructors and mentors on staff will help you master the concepts and prepare to be successful when the time comes to take the state exam.

3 ways to generate referrals in real estate

When you’re selling homes in South Carolina, you must market yourself, whether you work by yourself or as part of a team. The most successful agents are those who understand that every new client brings not only an opportunity to sell a house but to build a connection and lasting relationship that can help boost your business. When a client walks away happy with your service, he or she may be willing to give you referrals when they meet someone with real estate needs.

Generating referrals is just as important to your real estate business as gaining new leads. There are several things you can do to increase your business through word-of-mouth from others. It all starts with building community and connections.

How to build community and connections to generate referrals in real estate

The internet is a valuable tool that you can use to build community and connections with your real estate clients. You will get more referrals if you make sure that your name and business stay fresh in your clients’ minds. In fact, with the right approach, you can even connect with people in your area who have never hired you as a real estate agent but might still recommend you to others.

For example, consider launching a podcast that’s a go-to for information regarding all aspects of the real estate industry, especially current market trends and interesting news about home sales in your community. Include the URL for your podcast on your business cards. In addition to this, you can create a website, blog and various social media accounts where you actively engage with followers online. The more people who click like and follow your platforms, the better. This is a highly effective way to get referrals.

Jump on the holiday events bandwagon

Another great way to generate referrals in real estate is to host fun events for your community. You can invite current and past clients, as well as all the foot traffic you can muster in the area. With the holidays just underway this year, it’s the perfect time to host a holiday open house at your real estate office.

Is your town hosting a tree lighting or holiday festival? If so, consider hosting a hot cocoa or coffee bar inside your office, and be on hand to converse and answer questions about real estate. As the public mingles with your clients, you’re bound to get referrals. You can host exciting events throughout the year, not just during the holidays. Why not create a wine or olive oil tasting event or host a raffle with tickets to a major sporting event?

Keep the lines of communication open

Once a client, always a client—at least, that should be one of your primary goals as a South Carolina real estate agent. Stay in touch with clients by sending greeting cards or bulk emails about interesting real estate news in your area. Always include a reminder that you are available to service their real estate needs and that you’d appreciate it if they’d keep you in mind when friends, family or colleagues ask them for referrals.

5 obstacles to a successful real estate sale


Whether you are a buyer or seller in a South Carolina home sale, you understandably want to do everything possible to get the best return on your investment or generate a high profit. If you are working as a listing agent for a seller or are representing a buyer, you will want to be aware of issues that can cause delays or altogether impede the sale.

There are often solutions available if an obstacle arises in a home sale transaction. In certain cases, legal action may be necessary. You can protect your clients interests by carefully reviewing a proposed deal to ensure that it is free and clear for closing.

These issues will delay or prevent a real estate closing

The following list shows five issues that create obstacles to a successful home closing:

  • House appraises for lower than listed price
  • Tenant occupying the home is refusing to vacate
  • Seller is not legally able to sell the home
  • Buyer cannot get mortgage loan approval
  • Seller files for bankruptcy

Even if a solution exists, each of these issues takes time to resolve, which may inevitably cause significant delays to a closing. As an agent, you can provide guidance and recommendations to help avoid some of these problems from the start.

What you can do as an agent to prevent delays

If you are representing buyers, it is in their best interests, as well as your own, to recommend that they obtain loan approval before submitting an official offer on a house. This is also a good idea because it may make their offer more attractive if there is a bid war going on, meaning that more than one buyer has made an offer on the same house.

As a seller's agent, you can help your client start off on the right foot by sharing your knowledge and expertise regarding list prices. You know that pricing a home too high or too low is counterproductive. However, you also understand that many sellers place an emotional value on their home, which is not the best way to determine a list price. By using comparative analysis and other tools of the trade, you can recommend a price that attracts offers and shortens the time a home will spend on the market.

When a delay involves legal issues

If you are working on a home sale that hits a roadblock because a seller has filed for bankruptcy or a tenant is living in the house, etc., these are legal issues that may require outside support. For example, in some cases, a bankruptcy court judge can allow a closing to take place even if bankruptcy proceedings are not complete.

As a real estate agent, you must always be prepared for delays and have a plan in mind to resolve specific issues. It is not uncommon for obstacles to arise before closing, and most issues can be peacefully resolved in a fair and agreeable manner.

4 options for careers in the real estate industry

If you’re feeling stuck in your current career path and want to explore options to help change the trajectory of your future, you might want to investigate industries that have multiple job styles available. It’s helpful to compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses to help streamline your search. It’s also a good idea to list your goals—what are you hoping to achieve by switching careers? An example of an industry that has several careers to offer is real estate.

The real estate industry has numerous careers available, all of which typically intersect in one way or another. In fact, it is possible to obtain licensing or certification in more than one real estate job, which many people choose to do to expand their skill set and increase job opportunities. You might also want to speak with people who are currently or have in the past worked in the real estate niches you’re considering as a career to learn more about each job and which ones are the best fit for you.

The most obvious career in real estate is sales

When you think about starting a career in real estate, becoming a sales agent likely comes to mind. If you would rather work in a private setting where you do not have to interact with others during the day, then this career path may not be for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy meeting new people and helping others achieve their goals, then you might want to take classes to earn your license to sell homes in South Carolina.

A key benefit to a career in real estate sales is flexibility. It is work that you can do part-time or full-time. If one of the reasons you want to leave your current job is that you’d like to have more control over your daily schedule, then a career in real estate sales might help you accomplish those goals.

Property management is another real estate career option

Perhaps you’re not keen on selling homes, but you think you might like to manage other people’s properties. In South Carolina, you must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent to become a property manager. You must also be age 18 or 21 (depending on the management track you wish to pursue) and complete the required number of pre-license education hours to work in the property management field.

Home inspections and appraisals

These two careers are available in the real estate industry and are a good fit for people who prefer to work more behind the scenes than dealing directly with clients. As a home inspector, your job would include examining the material condition of homes and writing detailed reports. You would carefully survey each property and make note of any structural, electrical or plumbing problems, as well as other minor or major issues that might delay or impede a home sale.

As a home appraiser, you’d be working more in the financial realm of real estate. Instead of assessing the interior and exterior of a property to reveal potential damage or repairs that need to be done to bring a house up to code, you would survey a home to assess its current market value. If, for instance, a seller is asking more for a home than your appraised value, the buyer may renegotiate his or her offer to align with the appraised value of the home.

Choose your real estate school carefully

When it comes to enrolling in a South Carolina real estate school, one size does not fit all. It’s best to consider all options to determine which school has the instructors, financial packages and style of learning to help you accomplish your real estate career goals.

3 habits to boost productivity in real estate sales

Once you complete pre-license education and pass your state exam, you can obtain your license and start selling homes in South Carolina. Building a successful and profitable real estate business takes time and effort. The houses aren’t going to sell themselves. Productivity is a top priority when it comes to staying ahead of the curve and making your business stand out from competitors. 

Being busy does not necessarily mean you are being productive. In fact, sometimes busyness suggests the opposite. Learning how to streamline your efforts, stay organized and make the most of your time are keys to success in real estate sales.

Real estate sales are more productive if you use a schedule

You obviously must schedule certain things like home tours when you’re working as a real estate agent. If you want to boost productivity, however, consider developing a thorough and detailed schedule for each day of the week. Schedule time for tasks such as replying to text messages, emails and phone calls. Block out a specific time for filing paperwork.

If you have clients waiting for you to carry out certain tasks, schedule time each day to focus on these issues. Working from a detailed schedule helps you avoid multi-tasking and distractions. Just don’t forget to schedule time to create your weekly schedules!

Make use of modern technology to simplify your work day

There are many cell phone apps and other advanced technology tools and software that can help you become more productive as a real estate agent. For example, by using customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can easily track and store information regarding new leads, as well as contracts and data concerning current clients.

Becoming active on social media is another example of using modern technology to boost productivity as a South Carolina real estate agent. You can market your business and advertise special events at the click of a button. Creating content on social media is also beneficial to help you establish your brand and expand your reach within your target audience.

Taking breaks can help you become more productive

There’s a misconception about busyness throughout the business world, not only in South Carolina real estate but elsewhere, as well. Many businesspeople mistakenly believe that if they work non-stop, they’ll move ahead of their competitors. You might be surprised to learn that data shows that people who take frequent breaks throughout their workday are often more productive than those who don’t.

By taking time to eat a healthy lunch, go for a walk and get some fresh air and sunshine, you strengthen your body and clear your mind. In turn, when you head back to work, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated and better able to focus on the tasks at hand. Taking breaks should be an integral component of your daily work as a real estate agent if you want to be as productive as possible.

Local knowledge is vital to your real estate business

To be successful at selling homes in South Carolina demands a unique skill set. During pre-license education, you will learn the ins and outs of the industry. The school you attend will hopefully also provide mentorship based on real-life experience to help you lay the groundwork for a lasting, profitable business. A good mentor will no doubt teach you that local knowledge is a key factor to building a real estate business that stands out from your competitors.

As you prepare for a real estate career, it’s important to understand the concept of local knowledge as it relates to selling homes. This type of knowledge can help you on both sides of the sales process, whether you’re working as a listing agent or buyers’ agent. If you’re currently still studying to complete your pre-license hours, it’s a good idea to start now to develop your local knowledge skills so that you’ll be ready when you transition from the classroom to the field.

Stay updated on the market in your real estate sales area

Knowledge about your local real estate market should be a central focus of your efforts as you gain experience as a sales agent in your community. However, it’s also important to understand how specific local details can affect pricing. There might be two houses of similar size, age and features in your sales region, with one selling for a much higher price than the other. The key factor that explains the discrepancy between the two might be location.

To be a successful real estate agent, you must understand that a seller whose home is situation neared local amenities, such as highly rated schools, access to interstates, shopping, etc., might sell for a higher price than a similar home in an out-of-the-way location. Therefore, it’s not only important to be aware of local market trends, but also the relationship between pricing trends and local amenities.

Improve your knowledge about South Carolina local history

Many South Carolina real estate areas, such as Columbia or Charleston, have historical value that you can use to attract buyers’ attention. For example, Columbia is known for having the first textile mill in the country to be run by electricity. Architects and engineers may love the fact that Columbia is home to numerous historical buildings designed by the famous architect, Robert Mills.

The more you know about local history and facts that make your community unique, the greater “interest factor” you can offer your clients. If you’re working with buyers, it pays to get to know them, so that you can match their needs and interests to homes in a particular neighborhood.

Knowledge that can help you as a listing agent

Besides understanding pricing and market trends, there is additional local knowledge that can help you stand out as a listing agent in South Carolina. Throughout the sales process, your client may benefit from connecting with local professionals, such as real estate photographers, home stagers, landscapers, home upgrade contractors and more. Know who the best professionals in your area are and keep a list handy to provide recommendations to your sellers. As in many aspects of life, in the real estate business, knowledge is power and a key to success.


4 helpful tips to stand out as a real estate agent

It’s never too soon to start developing skills for success. Perhaps you just recently enrolled in classes to obtain your sales license. Maybe you recently passed your South Carolina license exam (in which case, we congratulate you!) or, perhaps, you’ve been working as a real estate agent for several months now but feel like something is missing—like you need to do more to stand out from your competitors.

This blog post provides several helpful tips for real estate agents, whether you’re just starting out or simply looking for new ways to boost your existing business. Experienced agents understand that building a successful business means building relationships. You don’t just want to generate a lead, close a deal and be done with it. You want to stay connected to your clients, so they will refer others to you and will return to your business when they have real estate needs in the future. These tips will help you stand out as an expert in your field.

Become a go-to real estate agent for information about the local market

How many houses have gone under contract in your local sales area in the past month? Of those, how many went to closing? Approximately how many homes are for sale in your area in specific price ranges? These are basic market questions that an experienced real estate agent should be able to answer when prospective buyers want to know.

In addition to listings, market trends and sales data, if you want to stand out from other agents in your area, become as knowledgeable as you can about the history of your community, as well as its current amenities. A buyer might want to know how well a local high school football team has done in the past five years or what the political demographic is in a specific neighborhood. Your goal is to be a go-to for information, which means you should always be researching, studying and learning as much as you can.

Be a good listener and act on what you hear

The most successful real estate agents usually sit down with new clients to discuss their needs and goals. If you want to establish a superior reputation as a sales agent, develop your listening skills. Take notes and create a bullet point list of each client’s needs, hopes and goals. Then, construct a home-search that aligns with those details.

Learn to get it right the first time

If you’re working as a listing agent, you will stand out from competitors if you excel in getting list prices right the first time around. This helps you build a successful track record. If your sellers are always over-pricing or underpricing their homes, prospective clients are less likely to entrust their homes to you to sell. Learn to use comparative analyses and other available tools to assess the fair market value of a house and price it accordingly.

Your appearance, demeanor, confidence and communication style

You can master all the real estate agent skills relevant to listing and showing homes, as well as negotiating offers. However, if clients do not find you personable, it will be difficult to achieve success. If you want to stand out, it’s imperative that you present yourself in a memorable manner.

 The best agents exude confidence, they smile and make direct eye contact with their clients. They are courteous and helpful and willing to go above and beyond to help people achieve their real estate goals. Think of the qualities you would want a real estate agent to have and develop these attributes as you take the necessary steps to build a successful real estate career.