It’s called the “Inner Jerk”. My husband and I first heard this term while attending an Asperger/ Autism seminar a few years ago. While we all have an “inner jerk”, most people try to keep it bottled up inside. But people with Aspergers, like my son, have a harder time keeping it under wraps. Their inner jerk, we learned, comes to the surface more often because they aren’t able to easily understand how their words affect other people. Drew has a hard time grasping that the way he says certain things comes across a lot differently than what he intended.
There are other things, too, that bring out the inner jerk. Certain situations, certain conversation topics, and specific pet peeves all contribute. But the older he gets, the better he is at recognizing these triggers, and we have refrained from pushing them.
Dealing with this at home has helped me with my career in real estate, too. Every association has a handful of agents that no one likes dealing with. Whether they are terrible at communication, are always trying to pick a fight, or just flat out mean, no one wants to work with them.
Unfortunately, we can’t (or shouldn’t) steer our clients away from the transactions that involve these agents. Instead, we have to figure out a way to navigate our way through it with our sanity intact. Of course I grumble and complain to my colleagues about these jerks. That’s normal. But what isn’t normal is when you allow their personality to completely destroy yours.
I have this saying “Expect, Accept and Move On”. For example, years ago there was a secretary at a real estate firm in town who was just vicious. Her antics are legendary. The joke was that the Broker was too scared to fire her. When you called there, you expected to be greeted with rudeness, curtness, and abrasiveness. She treated everyone this way and we all expected it. Over time we all learned to accept it. Her comments no longer made an impact, and we just stated our business and moved on with our day.
Accepting a certain behavior doesn’t mean liking the behavior. It just means we acknowledge that they are a certain way, it’s not our fault, and we aren’t going to take it personally. We can’t change how people treat us. We can only change our reaction to them.
One agent I know sends emails and texts with questions and statements ending with !!! and ???. It’s annoying. I’ve come to expect it. Another agent loves to pick fights. She will make a mountain out of a molehill in two seconds flat. I know certain agents who take a week to respond to a good offer, and others who are so invested in their client’s problems that you question their ability to function.
You also know agents like this. And I know that when you have to work with them, you are expecting them to behave a certain way. So why do you get bent out of shape when they meet that expectation? Don’t go toe to toe with these people. Instead, focus on the details of the transaction and ignore the emotion.
If the emotional agent tries to suck you into the drama surrounding her buyer’s requests for a shorter possession time than was agreed upon, sure, ask your seller if they’d be willing to change it. They don’t need to know the reason why unless they ask. Just see if they’d be willing to renegotiate, and if the answer is no, then it’s no, and move on. Not your problem, not your concern.
If an agent writes a really low offer on your listing and then gets angry because your seller rejected it, don’t let his/her fighting words get under your skin. Just tell the agent that the offer doesn’t meet the seller’s expectations, and thanks for writing. Then move on. Defending your stance doesn’t do any good with this type of agent. They are looking to fight. Don’t take the bait.
With all the different types of people we encounter in this business, it’s hard to stay rational and focused. It’s easy to get caught up in all the problems and emotions that appear in almost every deal. Don’t allow their inner jerk to unleash yours. Expect the reactions, accept the results, and keep moving on. Your sanity will thank you.
Amy Gilpin, Realtor, Associate Broker, Manager, ABR.
Fourteen years of helping clients. Six years of helping agents. All for this crazy thing we call real estate.
Production Realty 517-879-4141 Jackson, MI Amy@ProductionRealty.com