Real Estate by Debbie Reynolds: Some Lessons Learned are Forever

Some Lessons Learned are Forever

Some Lessons Learned are Forever

Early in my real estate career I thought I had most of the selling techniques mastered. Be friendly and all will fall into place. Not so.

I had been showing homes to a single lady military officer. She had determined she wanted a medium priced because she had saved money and was proud to be buying her first home. We had narrowed it down to a couple of all brick ranch style homes with garages. She also wanted 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. None of her wants was a problem and in fact we found a few homes that we were going back to look at for the second time and final decision.

Oops Now my Lesson Learned. As we were driving to one of the homes on the short list I had become chatty. Do you ever feel so comfortable with a buyer that you start expressing your personal opinions about things? Well I did.

We were passing a 2 story house with a stone exterior with a lot of out of character additions. The homeowner looked like he had added on and had even installed a full wall of sliding patio doors across the second story but had not yet added any deck or balcony. I thought it looked grotesque.

So what did I say? I said “Look at That!” My inflection definitely was conveying something to take a look at which she did. Then my surprise came and my Lesson Learned. Her response was “ I love it, do you think they would sell it?”

How could she like it? It wasn’t anything like she said she wanted. Besides it was Ugly. My response to her was I didn’t know if they would sell and besides she had to wrap something up that afternoon because her flight was leaving in a few hours. She agreed and she went on to select her first home. My heart was still beating fast with my near slip.

Whew! I escaped a bullet. Some Lessons Learned are Forever and mine was to not insert my personal opinion about homes in my general conversation when it wasn't necessary. This goes for other touchy subjects as well. I almost said how ugly that house was. I could have offended her and damaged my sale because her tastes were different and she liked it. We may have had to start over looking for something out of the ordinary to meet her newly discovered desire for something strange to me.

Never again would I intentionally overtalk just to be chatty and friendly. I have been able to keep that promise to myself for 25 years. Some Lessons Learned are Forever.

 Centruy 21 Platinum Properties2130 Wilma Rudolph Blvd.

Clarksville, TN 37040

When you need Real Estate services in Clarksville TN

                  it would be my pleasure to assist you!                             

Debbie Reynolds
"The Real Debbie Reynolds"

Check out all Clarksville TN Real Estate on My Website

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Comment balloon 35 commentsDebbie Reynolds • February 12 2013 12:37PM



So true and a great lesson learned.   It's OK to be friendly but there is friendly wear your heart on your sleeve with family and friends, then their is business friendly.  Sounds like the lesson learned served you well.


Posted by Carmela Jacobs, Ventura Co., Los Angeles Co., CA, & Global Realtor (Cornerstone Community Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Oh boy oh boy do I know this. I sometimes hear my Agents on the phone and my hair stands on end.  I have on some occasions walked over and put my index finger up to my lips in the be quiet sign.

Posted by Liz Wallace, Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N (Century 21 Sherlock Homes) about 6 years ago

Yep you always have to watch what you say. I did that once with a hideous blue on blue on blue room. The buyer loved it & was one of those, what I call, blue people. ;-)

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 6 years ago

Carmela, I almost messed up big time. As I said, never again.

Liz, Talking too much can really get us into trouble.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

Lyn, I bet you haven't done it again either. Those near misses really stick with us.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

Letting the buyers buy and the sellers sell is a lesson hard learned sometimes we muddy the water with our words.

Posted by Richard Burge Realty/ Burge Homes, Broker in Charge/Owner (Richard Burge Realty/Burge Homes) about 6 years ago

This is SUCH an important post and I wonder how many people this has happened to! I know that I have been in this situation before and really, unless asked, I do not offer up my opinion when it comes to taste/style/decor. Sometimes it's hard, but (and as my wife tells me) it's always better to keep your thoughts to yourself!

Posted by Kevin P. Walor, Esq. (Exit Realty Partners) about 6 years ago

I am working on this as well. Perhaps it's because I was the oldest child, but I'm use to sharing my opinion :)

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) about 6 years ago

WOW! Debbie, You almost talked your way out of a deal. That was some lesson learned, and I am sure many of us have had that same experience. It't a nice reminder to keep our conversations down, and not be so quick to give out our opinions.

Posted by Jerry Newman, Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation (Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, about 6 years ago

Debbie, what an excellent post! This should be part of Realtor Training 101 for new agents. I've had to work on this in situations like the one you describe. I also have had several occasions when the seller needed a social worker and I have to remind myself that that's not the job I'm in. This is a lesson that most of learn eventually.

Posted by Nina Rogoff, Sells Real Estate! (RE/MAX Executive Realty) about 6 years ago


Sometimes our words take on a whole different meaning when they fall on the ears of others.

Featured in the Group "Whacked!!!"

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) about 6 years ago

Debbie, being the Chatty person that I am, I've come close too. WE are not the ones buying and WE need to listen more and talk less!

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) about 6 years ago

Richard, Let them do their own thinking and deciding. Answer questions when asked.

Kevin, You have a very wise wife.

Doug, I assume they are better off knowing my opinion. That is not the case.

Jerry, I came mighty close on that one.

Nina, Nobody told me it was just one of those life lessons.

Richard, That is so true. The less said the better for me.

Connie, You chatty? I have a whirring mind and I try to keep the chatter inside there.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

Thanks for the reminder. Open mouth preceeds the foot!

Posted by Stacey Mayer, ( about 6 years ago

Stacey, My mouth can now stay silent but sometimes my eyes give it away.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

Debbie, Suggested!! I once made a negative comment on a house and that was the house they ended up buying!! Lesson learned, must keep some thoughts to ourselves.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) about 6 years ago

Hi Debbie, guilty of the same kind of thing-you never know what someone's taste really is-and yes, my eyes will also give things away, I don't have to say a word!

Posted by Joanna Cohlan, Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes (Fresh Eyes For Your Home) about 6 years ago

Beth, Did you have to do some backstepping?

Joanna, The eyes can be almost as bad as the mouth. I really have to watch it.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

This is a lesson I need to learn once and for all! 

Posted by Francine Viola, REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs (Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA) about 6 years ago

Hi Debbie, and wonderful lesson learned! I think we've all been tempted and perhaps have been down this road. Whenever I'm showing homes to clients for the first time, I'm very cautious about this type of thing until you get the feel of their tastes and know they are going to hate the flower power wallpaper and not think it's cool retro!

Posted by Cindy Westfall, ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate (Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon) about 6 years ago

Hi Debbie - I have also caught myself falling into this trap - when asked I share my opinion but do not go overboard. Regards Dave

Posted by David Grbich, Orange County Real Estate - 949-500-0484 (Realty One Group - about 6 years ago

Francine, Surely you don't have that problem.

Cindy, I know what you mean. We have to be very careful.

Dave, Even when I am asked I am cautious on the way I answer.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

Great post, Debbie.  Oh Boy ... we've all found ourselves in those 'Open Mouth/Insert Foot' situations.  Sometimes, less is definitely more.  And often times, we have to learn that lesson the hard way.  Glad your story had a happy ending!

Posted by Carie Shapiro (North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Hi Debbie -- I can't imagine there is anyone in sales(hey, probably no one alive) who hasn't experienced this --- it's a great reminder why we have two ears, one mouth(insert other things each of our Mothers told us when we were five years old)

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 about 6 years ago

Carie, I was a young unknowing agent that needed to learn a few lessons.

Michael, Our Mothers were wise and the older I get the wiser mine becomes.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

A very good friend once said something to me about politics. This was a long time ago. She actually told me if I disagreed with her, she would have to rethink our friendship. Well over the years distance has seperated us and I no longer have to worry about political issues doing that. But I did learn something. I keep it neutral. I'm OK at doing that. I have a tendency to get comfortable and chatty, and then I mentally slow myself down and remind me of what I'm doing.

Posted by Debbie Laity, Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO (Cedaredge Land Company) about 6 years ago

Debbie: Ah, that is so important. But you can't be like the boutique salesperson who LOVES everything you pick up. That's the opposite of what you are talking about. Both are BAD. I like to stay neutral, and just talk about the positives rather than personal likes.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) about 6 years ago

Lesson learned and glad  you caught yourself before sharing too much of your personal opinion.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 6 years ago

Debbie, I will talk frankly with very close friends when it is appropriate but not my clients any more.

Hella, I agree. If asked an opinion I will tender the pros and cons. But I don't bring anything new to the table to muddy the water.

Margaret, Me too. Or before I alienated a buyer.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 6 years ago

Oh Debbie, I can so relate to this.  I've found a few times that I opened my mouth when I should have....and a few times when I didn't and was thankful I learned my lesson.  I've gotten better about how I've phrased things to get their reaction before inserting my opinion.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 6 years ago

That's a great lesson.  There are some very different tastes out there and very few match up with my ideas.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) about 6 years ago

Debbie, Great lesson learned. so many times we do want to express our personal option on things. unfortunately we do not have the luxury of doing so.  

Posted by Frank Laisch, "The Insurance Guy" about 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing your post with all of us. I can tell you that I have learned my more from my failures and screwup, than I ever did from my successes.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) about 6 years ago

That's a lesson I can actually use to learn myself. I tend to be a little too opinioned about our educational system. Sometimes I come very close to getting myself in trouble. 

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) about 6 years ago

Debbie~ My "chattiness" (is that a word?) is my downfall. It's gotten me in to trouble more times that I care to admit!

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Agent (HomeSmart Realty Group) about 6 years ago