A big reason many people sell and buy houses is divorce. This can be beneficial if you’re a realtor, but you’re dealing with clients in distress. People going through divorce are going through a lot of stress and emotional upheaval, especially when children are involved. There are good reasons why realtors should know therapists to refer clients to
Having to sell your house due to the breakup of your family often brings grief and depression. Couples buy their house believing it’s the home they’ll raise their kids in and grow old in together. When they have to leave this home and move into something smaller and cheaper, they can feel angry, hurt, and worried about the future. The problem for realtors can be spending too much time providing informal counseling to these clients. Sometimes, you become the primary support for their emotional needs which can use up your available time to help other clients, or even your own family.
As a realtor, you may be okay with this, but some realtors are uncomfortable with all the emotions and find these clients draining of both time and energy. You may find yourself fielding multiple calls a week with these clients, listening to them vent about personal problems. These calls are more about their personal problems than real estate concerns. While you want to be sympathetic, you’re not in the business of helping with their family or relationship needs; you’re there to help them sell or buy a house. A therapist will have specific training and experience in counseling your clients through these difficult times.
Reason #1 Realtors Should Know Therapists
For this reason, it’s a good idea to know some therapists you can refer clients to when they have trouble separating your role as realtor from that of a therapist. If you know a therapist who does good counseling, you can say something like, “You know, it seems like the divorce and the aftermath are really taking a toll on you, I know a good therapist who works with divorce cases and he may be able to help you get through this better than me. Let me give you his card”. It helps if you know the therapist from your networking groups, or if you’ve at least met them for coffee a few times. This way, you can describe their personalities and how they work with clients. You wouldn’t want to refer your clients to a therapist you don’t know much about.
You may also want to give clients names of several therapists to choose from. Knowing a few therapists who work with children and teenagers is also helpful since many of your divorcing clients are worried about their children’s mental health and coping during divorce.
Reason #2 Realtors Should Know Therapists
A second reason to get to know some therapists in your area is so therapists can refer to you when they know their clients are going to sell or buy a house. As a therapist, I often refer clients to doctors, attorneys, and other service providers. I try to refer to people I know will treat them well because I don’t want to add to their stress levels by going through a bad experience. For example, when I know someone is going to file for divorce, I try to refer them to attorneys who will keep the best interests of the kids and family in mind, rather than those that may want the client to “get all they can get from their spouse”.
Reason #3 Realtors Should Know Therapists
A third reason to have therapists in your contact list is that therapists also have to buy and sell their own homes and find office space. We do a lot of networking amongst ourselves. We often work together in group practices, go to conferences and trainings together, and refer clients to each other. Therapists talk on Facebook groups and try to stay connected with doctors and lawyers for referral reasons. We often ask each other for recommendations for professional reasources, but personal ones as well. These connections can be useful to realtors who want to get good word of mouth referrals.
The number of therapists in Grand Rapids has more than doubled in the past 8 years. As new therapists hang out their shingles, they need office space to rent. As a therapist grows their business and hires more therapists to work under them, they need to move into larger office spaces. They may even branch out to several other locations within their local area, meaning the need to buy or lease additional space.
And Finally Reason #4
A fourth reason to know a therapist is for your personal and professional growth. As a professional, you may want to work with a therapist to maintain your sense of work/life balance, to cope with the stress of building your business, or you may want to consult about ways to manage employee situations or conflict in the workplace. You may just want someone to bounce ideas off to gain clarity about what your professional goals are and how you want to proceed with your career.
These are the four solid reasons for getting to know a therapist in your area. If you want to start learning more about local therapists, a good place to start is the Psychology Today website. Most therapists have a profile listing on Psychology Today and you can do a search by your city. You’ll find lots of basic information about the therapist and their practice and usually a link to their website. When I meet a therapist, I usually want to know how they work, and ask them to explain how they generally take a client from point A to point B. They should be able to explain this is a way that makes sense to you. If it doesn’t make sense to you, it won’t make sense to your client either.
I would also want to know what kind of clients or situations they most like to work with so I can keep them in mind when those clients come up. And of course, I would want to know what their rates are and if they take insurance.
For more information about Gary Watson and his practice, visit his website at www.turnaboutcounseling.com.