critical thinking for real estate agents
June 16, 2023

The Power of Critical Thinking in Real Estate

In real today’s real estate industry, agents need to hone critical thinking skills, especially when it comes to “rules,” “laws,” and “norms.”

In the dynamic world of real estate, success is often hampered by misinformation, and real estate agents’ livelihoods may depend on their ability to challenge authority, rules, and opinions that hinder business growth. However, it is essential to approach this process with respect, authenticity, and a commitment to substance and truth. We want to share the significance of respectfully challenging opinions and offer valuable insights to real estate agents and leaders on navigating this art effectively. 

Knowing When to Challenge the Rules 

It’s all too common to hear a real estate agent say, “You can’t do that!” but we are discovering that this belief isn’t always true. Many of the “rules” in real estate have been twisted or contorted from the actual rule of law, so find the law books so that you can determine what the true laws are. You might be surprised to find that the “rule” doesn’t actually exist! 

Problem Solving and Negotiation 

Critical thinking gives you the power to approach challenges with a logical mindset, enabling you to create innovative strategies to address the needs of your clients. Whether negotiating terms with buyers or resolving conflicts between parties, the ability to think critically allows you to find win-win solutions, fostering trust and satisfaction among your clients.  

Assessing Risk and Mitigating Uncertainty 

You must be able to evaluate potential risks and consider ways to mitigate them. Critical thinking skills help you analyze legal documents, contracts, and financial information, identifying potential pitfalls and safeguarding your client’s best interests. By anticipating any risks that might pop up and proposing risk management strategies to head those risks off at the pass, agents can instill confidence in their clients, ensuring a smoother and more successful transaction. 

Ethical Decision-Making 

Let’s face it, Real estate is a profession where ethical dilemmas can arise often, and seemingly out of nowhere. Critical thinking skills equip you with the tools to prevent or navigate these situations ethically and responsibly. By considering different perspectives, analyzing the potential consequences, and adhering to legal and ethical guidelines, you can uphold your professional integrity.  

Embracing the Power of Perspective 

One of the greatest strengths you have as a real estate professional is your unique perspective. Challenging opinions and rules enable you to bring fresh insights to the table and foster innovation within your business and the real estate industry. By respectfully questioning the status quo, you can uncover new opportunities, identify potential risks, and make informed decisions that drive growth.  

Cultivating a Culture of Open Dialogue 

An environment that encourages open dialogue and the exchange of diverse opinions fosters a collaborative and thriving real estate business. Leaders should create a safe space where you can feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and challenging established norms. By valuing differing viewpoints, you are empowered to think critically and contribute your expertise to the collective success of the team. 

Engaging in Constructive Debates

Unfortunately, we live in a time when debates are often viewed negatively, as is disagreeing with an established narrative like what the “rules are in the real estate industry. Challenging opinions should not be seen as an act of defiance or conflict, but rather as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Engaging in constructive debates allows you to refine your ideas, challenge assumptions, and explore alternative approaches.  

Participating in an open-minded discussion around issues in the real estate industry fosters growth in perspectives on both sides, unlike shutting down debate because both parties are too focused on “winning.” By presenting well-reasoned arguments supported by substantial evidence, you can influence positive change and drive your business forward. 

Authenticity Breeds Respect

While challenging opinions, it is crucial to maintain authenticity and genuine respect for others. Disagreements should be approached with an open mind, focusing on the substance of the argument rather than personal attacks. You must strive to build relationships based on trust, even when challenging authority or deeply ingrained beliefs. By demonstrating authenticity and respect, you can forge stronger connections with colleagues and industry leaders and emerge from the experience better prepared to serve your clients. 

Fact-Based Decision-Making

In an era of abundant information, it is essential to base decisions on substance rather than conjecture. Just because you find something on the internet doesn’t make it true! Articles can be written using incorrect information, just like an author’s opinion might not be based on fact or law, and when these are taken as “truth,” problems arise.  

Challenging opinions and rules require a commitment to data-driven analysis and well-founded arguments. Real estate agents must conduct thorough research, gather relevant data, and rely on market trends and insights to support their assertions. By presenting a solid foundation of evidence to either prove or disprove certain rules, agents can gain credibility and influence others effectively.  

The Courage to Challenge

Challenging opinions that hinder business growth requires courage. You must be willing to step outside your comfort zones and advocate for your ideas and the best interests of your clients. It may involve questioning traditional practices, challenging industry norms, or suggesting innovative approaches. By embracing this courage, you can become catalysts for change and stand out among your peers.  

Related reading: Conflict Resolution 101: A Real Estate Leader Checklist 

“Show Me the Rule!” 

Do you remember the game “Telephone”? One person whispers something to the next, then they whisper it to the next, and that whispered message goes until the last person says it out loud. What the last person says is never the same as what the first person says! Much the same thing happens with real estate “rules.” One person gives their opinion or develops a belief about something, and before you know it, that opinion is cited as a hard and fast rule that must never be broken. The sad part is this misinformation often hinders agents from doing their job.  

As real estate agents, particularly as POWER AGENTS®, we need to go above and beyond when serving our clients and building our business. It pains me to hear agents say “But we aren’t allowed to do that,” because often, that isn’t true. That’s when you must respond with, “Show me the rule in writing!”  

Related reading: Calling FSBOs and Expireds On the Do Not Call (DNC) List 

The Consequences of Ignorance 

The problem with blindly believing all these “rules” is that it hurts you. While many are well-intentioned and aim to err on the side of caution, these “rules” prevent you from making a living. They keep you from picking up the phone, and they keep you from doing things to help your clients.  

When you hear someone say, “This is the rule,” don’t believe them. Don’t take their word for it. Don’t believe articles or blogs, don’t believe the news. Don’t even believe us! Go to the legal books and the actual housing laws to look it up. What is the actual wording?  

What you don’t know CAN hurt you, and it can hurt your clients. By trying to follow these rules and protect yourself, you may be inadvertently hurting yourself or your clients by breaking the actual law. Are you prepared to lose your license because you didn’t know? We have enough challenges as real estate agents to invite more due to ignorance. This is a WORK market, which means you need to get out there and shake the trees to find business. How can you do that without being crystal clear on what you can and cannot do? 

Related reading: Forbes – Why Your Business Needs Critical Thinking 

The Takeaway 

Challenging opinions respectfully and authentically is a powerful tool for real estate agents and leaders. By conducting research for evidence, embracing different perspectives, fostering open dialogue, engaging in constructive debates, and basing decisions on substance, agents can drive their businesses to new heights. Remember, the true measure of success lies not just in challenging authority but doing so with respect, authenticity, and a shared commitment to advancing the industry as a whole. 

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