Resilience in Real Estate: Bouncing Back from Setbacks & Rejections

Real estate is, and always has been, a competitive industry. It can feel like success hinges on every deal, and while it isn’t quite that dramatic, the unforgiving market can exacerbate your need to complete transactions. Between inventory shortages, interest rate fluctuations, and an uncertain economy, you’ve got to be resilient to survive in the real estate industry. 

Setbacks and rejections are inevitable, and a ‘thick skin’ is a tremendous asset. Let’s take some time to examine examples and insights to give you the strategies you need to build professional (and personal) resilience so that you can tackle and overcome any obstacles that stand between you and prosperity in the real estate sector. 

The Reality of Setbacks in Real Estate

If you want to succeed in real estate, you have to make more deals than you lose. Because that’s the reality of real estate: you will lose deals. It happens to everyone, and frankly, it stinks. I’ve been in the industry long enough to know that it’s not if you lose a deal; it’s when—and it’s how you react that will define your next steps. 

Why do real estate deals fall through? Here are some of the big reasons: 

Financing Issues:

  • Inability to secure adequate financing or sudden changes in lending terms.
  • Financing appraisals falling short of the property's agreed-upon value.

Title and Legal Concerns:

  • Unresolved title issues, such as undisclosed liens or boundary disputes.
  • Legal complications, including zoning violations or outstanding legal claims against the property.

Inspection Red Flags:

  • Discovery of significant structural issues or code violations during property inspections.
  • Environmental concerns, such as contamination or hazardous materials, are uncovered during due diligence.

Market Fluctuations:

  • Unforeseen changes in the real estate market affect property values.
  • Economic downturns impact the overall demand for real estate in a particular area.

Unmet Contingencies:

  • Failure to meet contractual contingencies, such as the inability to sell an existing property before closing.
  • Unresolved issues related to the property, such as outstanding repairs or unmet seller obligations.

Alongside these reasons, you could also lose a deal to a higher bidder or have a property yanked off the market right before you’re about to propose a deal. But do you notice something? None of these potential dealbreakers say, “The real estate agent messed up!” Because these concerns aren’t your fault, although I know that doesn’t entirely take the sting out of losing a deal. That’s why we need resilience. 

Building Resilience for Real Estate and Real Life

Real estate is a demanding business, and cultivating resilience isn’t just a good idea; it’s almost fundamental if you want to find any sustained success. Because the market can be so volatile and competitive, you must equip yourself with the emotional tolls to take on challenges and bounce back from setbacks and disappointments. That doesn’t just apply to your professional life, either. Being resilient in all aspects of your life can help you be a more positive, successful human being. Let’s take a look at some steps you can take to build up your resiliency. 

In my course and in my book, I talk about the five critical aspects of building resilience, which are: 

  • Recognizing emotions
  • Regulating emotions
  • Building or seeking a support system
  • Overcoming obstacles, and
  • Bouncing back from defeat

Recognizing emotions means that you can take a step back from your feelings and put a name to them. When you can recognize your emotions, you can reconcile your emotions. So, you lost a deal…how does that make you feel? Are you angry? Sad? Disappointed? Giving your emotions a name gives you somewhere to start with the next step, which is regulating your emotions. 

Regulating your emotions is something we’re all supposed to learn when we’re young, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re angry or hurt. Deep breathing exercises are great for an initial calm-down from negative emotions. For building better self-regulation over the long term, mindfulness and meditation, as well as journaling, can help you become a more regulated person, even in the face of disappointment or challenges. 

Building or seeking a support system is critical to your mental and emotional well-being. When you have people you can rely on to be safe space to share your feelings and challenges, it helps shore you up during tough times (and also someone to celebrate success with!) You should also seek guidance from trusted mentors who can walk you through similar situations they may have dealt with to help you understand how to overcome setbacks. 

When you learn how to overcome obstacles, much of it is about your mindset. Having a growth mindset can help—seeing setbacks and rejections as opportunities to learn and improve. Be objective when analyzing your perceived “failures,” and identify lessons you can take from each negative experience. Focus on the solutions, not the problems, and figure out ways you can do things differently to produce more positive outcomes. 

Bouncing back from defeat sounds so dramatic, doesn’t it? But it really is the last factor in building resilience. When you can take the lessons you’ve learned and can apply them new situations, you’ll find success where once you felt disappointment. This can help you set clear, achievable goals that will help carry you into the future. If you can define your path now, you can use the energy produced by setbacks to propel yourself forward. 

Moving Ahead with Resilience

Resilience is more than a skill, it’s a character trait that you can carry with you, practice regularly, and build upon as you grow as a real estate agent or broker and as a person. When you devote time and emotional resources to building resilience, you can find the inner strength and calm to overcome any challenges, whether it be losing a deal or managing concerns in your personal life. So, the next time there’s a rejected sale or the “deal that got away,” dig deep, explore your emotions, learn from the experience, and bounce back stronger than ever.

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