Connect with us

Real Estate

Expert Tips For Designing A Summer Tablescape



A citrus themed tablescape on a wood table

Summer is almost here and after not seeing friends and family for a long time, you’re probably ready for barbecues, dinner parties, and homemade outdoor brunches. After a long period of social distancing, many of us are looking forward to socializing again. There’s no better way to do this than serving a delicious meal on a beautiful table that’s properly set, accessorized, and frankly Instagramable.

Whether you’re having a small backyard soiree or your extended family over for lunch, designing a tablescape that reflects your style and personality is a great way to start making new memories now that we are all moving towards better times. Whether you’re got great DIY skills or want to know some quick shortcuts to create an elegant look, here are the best tips and ideas for designing tablescapes this summer.

Where To Begin 

Designing a tablescape can feel complicated, but it’s easy once you choose the basic elements. According to Chrissy Horton of Horton Lane, you only need a few things to get started. “The basics of any tablescape start with the dishware and flatware. Neither have to be expensive,” she says.

Horton likes the minimalist yet chic Corelle White Dinner Plates. “They are the same plates I use daily for every meal. I don’t believe you have to have a particular set of cutlery or dishware dedicated for hosting.” she explains.

However, she suggests swapping out standard silver flatware for gold. “I feel gold gives the table a pop of elegance even in the most casual settings. Again, these do not have to be expensive.”

Horton likes disposable gold hardware from StockYourHome. “They look real and make clean up much easier at the end of the day.” However, if don’t like disposable utensils or your meal requires something more substantial, CB2 makes a reasonably priced gold flatware set. 

As for the basics, Horton says you can’t go wrong with a plain white table cloth and three different types of cloth napkins. “Choose two different solid colors and one set in a print reflective of your style. I purchased this blue and white gingham napkin set for myself.”

For an extra special look, use a charger under each plate. “Chargers are a great way to set the tone for the event. I use these gold chargers for more formal events, and for my more casual occasions, I use these rattan ones. Out of all the tablescapes I have created, I only use these two types of chargers,” shares Horton. 

Add Decor

Lastly, add a centerpiece and or plate garnish. “This doesn’t have to be expensive. One of my most popular tablescapes involved a centerpiece made up entirely of natural items.”

“I created a garland using branches from my citrus tree and decorated it with various cut-up citrus fruit. I then used the remaining fruit as a plate garnish to give each place setting a unique pop! I used this same method over Christmas with grocery store poinsettias and holly!”

Invest In A Few Key Table Staples

If you’re getting ready for a summer of parties, you may want to invest in a few key pieces to use at every event. The two best examples of this are linen napkins and napkin rings which automatically make any table look more sophisticated. “I always prefer a linen napkin with a napkin ring, as opposed to a disposable napkin. A napkin and napkin ring can tie the entire look together because it sits on the center of the plate,” says artist and designer Elizabeth Sutton.

She suggests investing in one staple napkin ring set that’s neutral, and rotating out different napkins for fun, from colorful to patterned to white. “That’s precisely why I ended up manufacturing my own. I’m a napkin ring collector, but they’re all novelty. My gold and silver butterfly napkin rings serve as a perfect staple, and I play around with colorful napkins. They literally match everything. I mix and match the gold and silver together as well. For me, they complete all of my tablescape looks,” she says.

While you can buy inexpensive linen napkins from places such as Wayfair, you may also want to opt for having them monogrammed or embroidered to create a look that’s truly unique to your home. Coley has a variety of napkins with different embroidery options, styles, and thread colors. This allows you to create a signature go-look every time you have guests over.

Make A Statement

Candy artist Robyn Blair Davidson recently launched the by robynblair Hostess Collection, which is her first foray into table decor. This line has a beautifully packaged Cake Serving Set as well as candy-colored placemats and coasters.

These are the perfect way to bring color and personality to your table. “I’m all for making your dinner party vibrant with a splash of color. My new favorite way to add some whimsical fun to your tablescape is with my colorful placemats and coasters in a chic abstract lollipop pattern.”

Filling vases with your favorite candy is a great way to bring your personality to the table. Davidson likes the vases from Ann Sandra. The swirls on the Orrefors Graphic Vase coordinate with the swirls on the placemats. The Simon Pierce Highgate Heart Bud Vase is another option that can add a touch of sophisticated whimsy.

Lastly, Davidson suggests placing beautifully packaged bottles of refreshments and pre-pouring everyone a glass before the party begins. This cuts down on needing to leave the table to get drinks and adds a pop of color. Davidson’s favorite bottle is her Spritzy Rosé.

Add Old Fashioned Charm 

No one knows more about adding a dose of old-fashioned charm to a table than Ariel Davis who the founder of The Brooklyn Teacup. Does this by combining the familiar and the unexpected or intriguing. “This way, guests feel at ease but also have something to ooh and ahh over to make the occasion feel special. For the holidays, for example, my mom always uses the family china but changes up other aspects of the décor, like chargers, napkin rings, runners, candles (you name it, really!)—to keep the table feeling fresh and exciting,” she says.

Another way Davis likes to add something new to a tablescape is to incorporate seasonal elements such as a sprig of fresh herbs to drinks or creating centerpieces using local flowers from the farmer’s market. 

Additionally, she is a proponent of place cards. “Place cards are another good area for adding seasonal flair. For fall holidays and gatherings, our family creates ours using leaves, acorns, pinecones, mini pumpkins (and more) to make individual guests feel welcome and to get them in the spirit of the occasion” she explains. Place cards are also a stealth way to introduce guests that may normally not have an opportunity to get to know each other.

The Brooklyn Teacup’s cake stands which are made from upcycled China make a great addition to any table. These stands aren’t just for cakes. They’re also useful for appetizers and amuse-bouches.

Add Plants

Plants have been a major design trend in recent years and are a cool modern addition to any tablescape, whether the event is large or small. Plants were a key decor element used during the recent Caliwater Escape event which took place at the Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree, California. 

Founder of The Influence, Alexandra Lasky designed the tablescapes and decor. She used plants to capture the essence of the location and Caliwater’s cactus branding. “Being that Caliwater’s main ingredient is prickly pear cactus, utilizing succulents, greenery and cacti was a natural choice,” she tells me.

Lasky also notes that plants are great for warmer climates and a far better alternative to flowers which will easily wilt in the heat. This makes plants a particularly good way to accessorize any table in the summer. You can also opt for faux plants and re-use them in your home as decor. For example, Terrain has a lovely potted faux succulent that’s fairly inexpensive.

Once you’ve chosen your plants, use the pots as a guide for the colors of the rest of the decor. “We created tablescapes with a variety of ceramic and clay pot planter designs in grays, terracottas, and neutral tones, with rotating green plant styles for both symmetry and eclectic mixture.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real Estate

How to Find Real Estate Comps in My Area



Find real estate comps on Redfin

Whether you’re selling your first home or you’re a first-time homebuyer, finding comparable sales of homes in your area is much easier than it was even ten years ago. Back then, it wasn’t easy to find publicly available data online – you needed the help of an inside connection like a real estate agent or home appraiser to pull comparable sales off of the MLS (multiple listing service). Today there’s much more information available to the public, and you can now access comps with an online search. Let’s explore how to find real estate comps for your area.

What are real estate comps?

When you start researching for real estate comps in your area, it helps to understand what comps are and what information they can tell you. Real estate comps, also referred to as “closed comparable sales,” are completed home sale transactions that have taken place within a specific area and where the homes share similar characteristics with the home you’re selling or considering for purchase. However, you should be aware that a home in Vancouver, BC will list for a different price than an exact replica of the same home listed in Birmingham, AL. Although they are the same house, just listed for sale in different geographical areas, the value of each home is largely influenced by individual housing market conditions.

5 Ways to Find Real Estate Comps in Your Area

When searching for local comps, the first rule of thumb is to find three or more similar properties to ensure that any comparable property isn’t an outlier in price. For example, one home comp in your area may be lower than what you should list your home for sale because it was in poor condition and needed work, or another property may have a high comp because it was the best house on the block. Having at least three property comparables should give you an average price point to start with. Here are five easy ways to get those real estate comps.

1. Use a reputable real estate website to find local comps 

Comps are an essential part of listing your home and the home appraisal process. One way to find comps in your area is to use an established real estate listing website for your research. Redfin offers an easy way to identify recently sold homes in your neighborhood quickly.

If you know the address of a recently sold property in your area, you can simply enter the property address in the search bar see all public information about the home, including what the home last sold for. 

Scrolling down slightly on the same page will also show the most recently sold homes in the same neighborhood. If you scroll down even further to the bottom of the page, you’ll see a heading titled “Nearby Recently Sold Homes,” and a “View More Recently Sold Homes” button right below. Clicking on this button will bring you to a map populated with homes sold in your area, and you’ll be able to see details like sold price, the number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, price per square foot, and how many days the home was on the market before it sold. 

Alternatively, you can view sold properties by searching for your city in the search bar of Redfin’s website. For example, to see comps for a home in Cleveland, OH, type in your city name into the search bar.

Search for real estate comps on Redfin

  • Click on “More Filters.”
  • Scroll slightly down and under “Listing Status,” click the toggle that says “For Sale.” This will effectively replace homes for sale with sold homes in your search area.

Find comps in my area

For a better picture of recent home sales and what you can consider as real estate comps in your area, you can narrow down your search further by restricting the time frame to a specific month and then setting the filters to see recently sold homes that most closely resembles your home. Such as:

  • The number of bedrooms
  • The number of bathrooms
  • If your home is a house, condo, multi-family, etc.
  • Square footage of your home
  • Your lot size
  • Year built
  • And HOA fees, if they apply

You can even go more in-depth and identify specific amenities or home trends that could increase the value of your home, such as being a waterfront property or having a view. Keep in mind that if you get too specific in your searches, you might not find enough recently sold homes in your area that you can use as reliable comps. Here’s an example of how you can filter for real estate comps based on a three-bedroom house with two bathrooms and which were sold within the last month.

4 5 Ways to Find Real Estate Comps in Your Area

Recent data is the most useful, so start with one month to see what pops up, then widen your time frame to transactions completed in the past three or six months. In a busy seller’s market, you can even look to see comps in your area within the past week. Once you’ve nailed down your search criteria, you can zoom in on the map and look at all the recently sold homes in your neighborhood and find the ones that are the most comparable to yours.

estimate real estate comps based on your local housing market

This is valuable information whether you’re buying or selling a house. From here, you’ll be able to estimate a reasonable starting price that reflects the current housing market. While this method doesn’t necessarily include other variables that could impact your home’s value, such as its current condition, or if there have been any property improvements like a new kitchen or deck, it can be a good way to get an idea of what you can expect.  

2. Use an online home valuation tool 

Another valuable tool when searching for real estate comps is a home valuation tool to help you understand what your home is worth and provide a good starting point to determine the fair market value. Because Redfin uses complete MLS data on recently sold homes in your area, we offer a couple of different ways to access an online home valuation.*

  • Instant home-value estimate and free home report: This a fast way and easy way to see what your home can sell for. Simply type in your address, and instantly see Redfin’s estimate for your home based on recent home sales in your area. It’ll even show you comps in your area just below the estimate.

use a home valuation tool

  • A professional estimate prepared by a Redfin Agent: This is a free, no-obligation property estimate prepared by a Redfin agent that knows the housing market in your area. Though you won’t get the estimate back instantaneously, you’ll receive an estimate within an hour that’s more comprehensive. 

*These estimates are not intended as an appraisal and are not a substitute for the services of a professional, licensed appraiser. 

3. Ask your real estate agent to procure MLS comps

One sure-fire way to get accurate real estate comps is to work with a local real estate agent. Local real estate agents are experts in their market and can give you sound advice on how to price your property, as well as help you understand data in MLS comps. Only licensed agents have access to the MLS, which is the most up-to-date and accurate tool available. 

Real estate agents pull comps from the MLS in their daily work to provide clients with a reliable price range when listing a home for sale. For example, agents know if properties have likely increased in value, if the fair market value is accurate, or if a property’s price is out of line with other homes in the area. 

4. Research public property records

Another valuable resource for homebuyers and sellers is your county’s public property records. Unfortunately, public property records can be a hit or miss when it comes to comps, as you’ll only be able to find the last recorded sales price, which may be from ten years ago. So if the area market has few or no recent transactions, you could be stuck with property comps that don’t reflect today’s market conditions. Public property records can be a good place to start, but you’ll need additional research to find accurate numbers. 

Most counties allow you to search property records online at no cost – although you may need to pay for printed documentation. Visit your county or city website and search for “property records.” The house’s street address should allow you access to property tax information that will show the last sold price and the current taxes. 

5. Request a comparative market analysis (CMA)

Real estate agents and brokers use CMAs* to give sellers all the details they need before listing a house for sale. Finding the listing price sweet spot is essential to a quick sale. The best listing price is the one that’s not too low where you end up leaving money on the table or not too high where the home doesn’t sell at all. And for buyers, a CMA can help verify if a home is a good deal and pinpoint a competitive offer that will be taken seriously—without going overboard.

A CMA also provides the most accurate data and details about the home and surrounding area. However, an agent’s CMA is more than just the numbers. The agent provides expert advice to help you assess the home, the current market, prices, and other factors that could affect your list price.

Many real estate agents and brokers have software they use to generate comprehensive CMA reports. If you’re creating your own report, it would be best to use a spreadsheet to keep track of your research.

A typical CMA will include:

  • The address of the property and three to five comps in the area
  • Description of each comparable property, including elevation, floor plan, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • The square footage of each property
  • The sales price of each comparable property
  • Dollar adjustments will be made for any differences
  • The adjusted sold price per square foot of each comp

*This is not intended as an appraisal and is not a substitute for the services of a professional, licensed appraiser. 

How do I use comps to price my home? 

Real estate comps help you price your home accurately by giving you a range for its “fair market value” based on recent market activity. Then you can add or subtract from the fair market price based on the home’s condition, special features, and other characteristics that buyers will likely consider. 

What goes into a comps analysis? 

To be considered a comparable property, a property should ideally match your house in:

Location:  Location matters. In some areas, a property’s value can change from neighborhood to neighborhood, from block to block, or even within 100 yards. Start by looking for comps within a 1-mile radius and move out to 5 miles if necessary. Expert knowledge can help you understand nuances in a neighborhood, so take your time or ask an agent to help you. 

Neighborhood: Real estate comps should have the same neighborhood features, such as distance to schools, stores, hospitals, waterfronts, parks, and views. Also, keep in mind access to public transportation and walkability.

Year built: Consider houses built within a 5-year range of your home being built. It’s often assumed that an older home needs work and hasn’t been updated. While this isn’t always the case, a newer home will initially have a higher fair market value. 

Size of the home: Square footage plays a significant role in comparing home values. After all, if one home has 1000 square feet and another 2000 square feet, you are buying a larger home, and it should cost more to purchase. Square footage will raise or lower the value of the real estate comps you’re looking at. The best comps for you will be properties that are comparable to yours.

Layout: If the home has a strange layout or is partitioned into smaller, separate rooms, it can bring down the value and the sales price. 

Price per square foot: Calculate the price per square foot by dividing the home’s sale price by its square footage. Price per square foot is always a good yardstick for neighborhood comparisons.

The number of beds and baths: A home’s value typically increases when there are more bedrooms and bathrooms. This translates into a higher sales price and considering higher comps. 

Condition: If the house was in disrepair and needed a lot of work and investment to make it livable, the price the home last sold for may reflect a fixer-upper. However, on the surface, these deals would show up in comps the same as if the house was move-in ready. It’s important to dig further to see what any unusually high or low sales prices might reflect and help put these comps in perspective. 

Upgrades and renovations: When a homeowner updates a bathroom or renovates a kitchen, their home value typically increases. Consider any renovations or upgrades you see in your real estate comps and how those compare to your home’s features. Does your home have a new kitchen or a deck that needs fixing? Either of these will undoubtedly have an impact on your home’s value.

Timeframe of when the comps sold: Focus on homes that have been sold within a 3- to 6-month period. In a hot market that favors the seller, you may want to focus on an even shorter timeframe.

Who uses real estate comps? 

Real estate agents and brokers use real estate comps every day to do their jobs. An agent or broker will use comps to suggest a listing price for a home that’s about to go to market and represents a fair market price. Agents also have access to any pending sales, which would affect real estate comps and CMA reports. The sales volume in your area will also drive the fair market price on any home being listed for sale. For example, if your housing market is currently a seller’s market and homes are selling quickly, buyers may be making higher offers than they would be in a market that’s not so competitive.

Understanding real estate comparables and the state of the market in your local area is essential. It can help you make an informed decision about buying or selling a property. 

Home sellers use comps to understand what similar homes in the area are selling for, allowing them to set a list price they feel confident in. Comps also help home sellers clarify their home’s selling points which will be highlighted in the home’s description when it’s listed for sale.

Homebuyers use accurate real estate comps for making an offer. By researching similar properties in the area, buyers can verify that the listing price is fair, or if the price is too high or low. Comps are also helpful in creating a strategy for negotiating a home sale. 

Home appraisers perform  home appraisals as one of the most important steps to completing the sale of a home. First, the buyer’s mortgage lender usually initiates an appraisal. Next, they call a professional appraiser to determine the value of the house in question. The appraiser relies on real estate comps and several other factors in determining an accurate property value that can make or break a sale. The cost of the home appraisal will be covered by the homebuyer.

Finding and analyzing comps can be tricky. However, you can always work with a local real estate agent or broker with expertise in your market. They can help you nail down a good price to list your home.

Are you curious how much you can make from selling your home? Check out Redfin’s home sale calculator to see what your estimated home sale proceeds could be.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

New York’s Residential Market Is Poised To Rebound In A Big Way. Here’s Why.



Aerial view of the Upper West Side

As New York’s residential market heats back up amid the easing of commercial restrictions and lower Covid rates, questions remain about what the recovery will look like and how soon investors can expect the market to return to pre-pandemic levels or higher. Much of this increased demand is due to a sooner-than-expected return to relative normality for New York residents. All the reasons people love New York are getting back into full swing, from theater, museums and music to restaurants, bars, comedy clubs, as well as unique experiences like cruises around Manhattan, archery lessons in Gowanus, distillery tastings in Red Hook, just to name a few. Events are back as well, such as the Tenement Museum’s recent Reopening Party on the Lower East Side. Whatever one’s favorite city activities, the excitement about getting back to them is driving residential real estate demand in the five boroughs.

Thus far, the recovery has not looked like previous recoveries. Typically, distressed assets (buildings that are performing below market value) start to sell before better-performing investment opportunities because of the lower prices and less expensive debt, but that has not been the case during the current recovery. Investors are acting decisively across the board.

This has been due to solid underlying real estate fundamentals and the downturn being largely the result of the pandemic. However, New York’s residential real estate market was also not entirely rosy before the pandemic either. The city has been in a residential recession since 2016, a prolonged period of reduced activity exacerbated by the HSTPA which impeded landlords’ ability to raise rents and pay for maintenance and upgrades. (See the chart from the Q1 Elliman residential report below.)

Still, though the HSTPA remains in place, the current market recovery presents investment opportunities for growth. Here’s why:

COVID 19 Residential Recovery

The worst is behind us as of the end of 2020. Vacancies are down, which is also causing concessions to be far less ubiquitous in recent months. (Concessions typically involve incentives owners and brokers offer to prospective tenants during a downturn, such as free months of rent, reduced rent and waived fees.) Rental prices are also stabilizing and back on the rise.

One wrinkle in the rental market is that there’s evidence of more demand for smaller units compared to larger shared apartments. Seemingly, renters are less interested in having multiple roommates and are looking to live by themselves or with just one roommate in the wake of the pandemic. (Relatedly, the profile of renters is also getting younger, due to suburban flight by middle-aged renters and cheaper rents during the pandemic.) As a result, units catering to more shares are showing higher year-over-year discounts. The lingering lower prices on multi-bedroom units may be more attractive to families looking to rent, especially as many families will likely move back to the city with the return of in-person classes in the fall. This trend is particularly pronounced in Brooklyn and Queens, which are highly attractive to families due to lower costs per square foot, less dense environs and more kid-friendly open spaces.

On the investment sales side, Q1 2021 has shown that the Manhattan market is resurgent, particularly toward the end of the quarter. Anecdotally from brokers, even the luxury and more expensive end of the market has been doing well with some opportunistic buyers. From Ariel Property Advisors’ own multifamily data, overall contract execution across the multifamily sector during the first quarter increased significantly, which implies a higher volume of transactions to be expected throughout 2021. While this is partially due to the drop in prices, it still speaks to investor confidence in the long-term strength of New York City.

The question now is just how quickly rental and sales prices can recover—and how high they can go this time. Back-to-work policies will be a major factor. Many prominent firms have mandated employees to return to the office full-time or at least in a hybrid work-from-home capacity, but it remains to be seen how many small- to mid-sized companies will return or, in the long term, renew their leases over the next several years.

It is true that some people, particularly parents, may find that working from home in the suburbs, the coast or the country is easier, but it is a foregone conclusion that younger professionals will want to be in the city, especially now as the city’s myriad activities and cultural offerings are back on track. Families are anticipated to return to New York with the resumption of in-person school, but how many still remains a question. This will impact the residential market and there are no clear answers at present.

Supply Constraint

Residential rental development and deliveries of new residential units have gone down drastically since the heights of 2015. A major pre-pandemic factor affecting the residential market continues to be the unintended yet inevitable consequences of the HSTPA on free-market pricing. The housing law removed incentives to keep the assets from depreciating in quality and value, as well as prevented rent-stabilized units from becoming free market, as was the norm previously. As a result, this has lowered the amount of available free market units overall and driven free market value higher than it otherwise might have been, which means less accessibility for middle-income renters.

Meanwhile, the property tax abatement 421A (known as Affordable New York), is about to sunset in the middle of 2022, with no solution or guidance on what will replace it. Essentially, the law provides tax exemptions for new residential construction that delivers affordable components for low- and moderate-income tenants. Without a clear and predictable tax abatement, there is much less economic viability to develop rentals in New York City, especially buildings with significant affordable components. The lack of guidance on tax abatements will likely cause reduced residential rental development to persist in the near term. 

Investor Appetite

Despite this lack of clarity for new development, notable investors have shown an increasing appetite for multifamily properties over the past several months, from small- and mid-sized offerings to mega-deals. Some examples include 196 Elizabeth St & 240 Mulberry St in Nolita, which just recently sold for $17.8 million, signaling renewed confidence in Lower Manhattan, while 85 Jay Street in Dumbo is in contract for $220 million and 15 Park Row in the Financial District recently sold for $142 million. In a blockbuster deal, Moinian Group is acquiring SL Green’s 20% stake in the Sky Apartments at 605 West 42nd Street for a $858.1 million valuation.

However, if history is any evidence, growth is accelerated following a crisis because there are lower interest rates and prices are more attractive to investors. New York, which has been historically attractive to investors and is already showing signs of rapid rebirth, is likely to help lead the country’s recovery, even with headwinds from the HSTPA and Affordable New York. Cities like Nashville and Denver are seeing aggressive growth, and in New York City, even sustained mid-digit rental growth will go a long way to creating happy investors. 

A number of ancillary market trends will likely further drive New York’s residential recovery. Tech companies are continuing to take office space in the city while life sciences expansion continues, meaning a growing workforce is going to need somewhere to live. In turn, living in New York is one of the primary reasons these firms want to come to the city in the first place. Additionally, campuses will fill up with students this fall when classes resume. This not only bodes well for student housing but the residential market as well, as New York offers many inducements to stay after graduation.

Those incentives are bringing back people who left during the pandemic. While it was buzzy to say that New York was dead during Covid, the smart long-term bet was always on the city’s comeback and the first half of 2021 is bearing that out. Investors, meanwhile, are taking note, because the five-year outlook is overall bright, though investors do need to take note of how public policy may impact their bottom line over the next few years.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

13 Ways To Have Difficult Conversations With Clients



Photos of featured members.

Real estate agents know they’ll have to have tough conversations with clients from time to time, especially when events in the world affect the industry. Having these conversations in a professional manner is key to maintaining a good relationship with clients in the future.

Feel prepared to handle sensitive subjects with your buyers and sellers with the following tips from Forbes Real Estate Council members. These suggestions can help you build trust and confidence among your clients.

1. Prepare For The Conversation

A seemingly difficult conversation with a client can be successfully broached first and foremost by properly preparing for that discussion. Whether it’s a pricing discussion or discussing the need to unclutter or stage a home, make sure to bring facts to the table to support your reason for broaching the subject. In addition, be sympathetic but do not waiver on your strategy and have a goal prepared. – Stephen Glen Kliegerman, Halstead Property Development Marketing

2. Be Honest And Address Concerns

Make sure you approach the conversation with upfront honesty that is backed by facts and data if applicable. Also, ask what their concerns are and address those concerns directly. A business relationship stems from honest, professional conversations about the topics that are most concerning to your client. – Galit Ventura-Rozen, Commercial Professionals, Inc

Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?

3. Hold A Strong Code of Ethics

Continuously employing a strong code of ethics throughout your career will be reflected in your clients’ trust. An “honesty above all” approach always wins, and you may start by quoting Article 1 of the Realtors Code of Ethics: “We pledge to protect and promote the interests of our clients.” – Rodolfo Delgado, Replay Listings

4. Have An In-Person Or Phone Conversation

An in-person or phone consultation is the best way to discuss important issues with a client. It is useful to see or hear a client’s reactions to the message you are delivering. You can follow up with an e-mail to restate key points. You should also include data to back up your information. Managing expectations is a matter of clear communication and trust between you and the client. – Melinda Estridge, Estridge Group

5. Be Informed, Empathetic And Inclusive

It is important for agents to be informed, empathetic and inclusive. Being able to acknowledge world events that are impacting their clients and/or their community demonstrates respect. Creating space for open dialogue and active listening is the cornerstone for managing difficult conversations. – Michelle Risi, Royal LePage Connect Realty

6. Build A Track Record Of Success

The best thing you can do to broach difficult subjects with your clients is to not have them at all. Instead, work on your skill sets. Become incredibly valuable. Get to the point where you have so many great clients that trust your judgments as a result of having a long track record of success. Let your track record do the talking. – Demetrios Salpoglou, Boston Pads LLC

7. Listen To Client Concerns And Needs

Ask questions and listen first to understand the clients’ unique criteria, needs and preferences because not all factors impacting the market may be relevant to them. This way what you discuss regarding the industry and market is relevant to them. Don’t just lecture and assume something you haven’t discussed. After listening, be honest and transparent to address their concerns and manage expectations. – Catherine Kuo, Elite Homes | Christie’s International Real Estate

8. Consider Their Expectations

My brokerage sells homes to Americans living in the U.S. who are weighing the pros and cons of moving to a new country. It’s a little different than selling to buyers simply moving to a new city or state in the same country. We broach their expectations by having a lifestyle conversation with them. What do they like, what do they want and what do they feel are critical lifestyle requirements? – Gregory Gunter, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colonial Homes San Miguel

9. Leverage Your Experience And Expertise

It’s actually simple: find out what the client is focused on and answer questions honestly with your experiences. When asked how anything impacts a market or a property, remember that some events don’t impact everywhere and every person is different. We have seen much more than our clients, and they hire us for our expertise and honesty. – Nancy Kowalik, Nancy Kowalik Real Estate Group

10. Maintain Regular Conversations With Clients

The best way to avoid difficult conversations is to have constant dialogue with your clients. Make discussions intersect when you feel that the client may be affected. If you know that some topics could get heated, send an article on it and start that way. Be an active listener. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties / Matrix Properties

11. Communicate Expectations Upfront

The key is to communicate all expectations upfront and keep it real. Not doing this is exactly how business dealings and relationships go sour. Have the important conversations from day one with full honesty with your clients and continue on that path to maintain expectations. It will make everyone happy by creating a mutually valuable relationship between clients and real estate professionals. – Pamela Bardhi, The Mosche Group

12. Educate Yourself On A Variety Of Subjects

Knowledge is power. Being fully versed in a broad range of subjects will be key to approaching any conversation. It is also important to always be honest and straightforward. Clients will immediately realize that the relationship is trustworthy. – Marco Del Zotto, LIV | Sotheby’s International Realty – Breckenridge CO

13. Be Direct And Transparent

The best way for agents to broach difficult subjects or have difficult conversations regarding expectations with clients is to be direct, clear and transparent. In order for agents to be effective, the clients need to be armed in advance of market conditions so that they can make decisions that will produce fruitful outcomes. – Cheryl Abrams, Re/Max United Real Estate

Continue Reading