Polk Properties offers over 30 yrs of Real Estate Vision and Expertise you can trust and depend on. We focus on long-range portfolio value.

Brokers in the real estate industry hold their client lists dear. Relationship-building is our bread and butter. We tailor our activities to enhance and grow that list. We advertise, cold call, attend professional events, broaden our knowledge base and hit the mixers.

You might think you have covered every angle to ensure your relevance to your clients. One situation in which your projections on client retention could fall short is if a client should unexpectedly pass away. What happens to your client’s business in that case, or if they become otherwise unable to act? In that event, who do you represent? I’ve had a client pass away during a transaction, and know that this is a very unsettling occasion to say the least — certainly for the family, first and foremost, and for you as the broker standing by. It does happen in real life. In that case, who’s next in line with the authority to represent the property and convey or otherwise dispose of real property interests?

I think it’s time for brokers to meet the kids.

We spend a great deal of time cultivating trusting relationships with our clients. As such, an extension of our responsibility to our clients and protection of our own income would be served by educating the client’s children about the properties they will soon possibly become responsible for.

Of course, I don’t expect you to be so forward as to show up at your client’s children’s school for a meet-and-greet. You will need to use common sense. I recommend broaching the subject with your client about what their intentions are regarding estate and succession planning, and inquiring about whether you could provide information that can be shared with their children. If they agree, work together to compile appropriate literature on the type of holdings they possess or will soon possess.

As the baby boomers on your client roster age, an estimated $30 trillion of wealth will be conveyed to new entrants into the economic stream. Imagine how much of the total is in real estate. These entrants with inherited wealth will need a guide. If you represent their parents or guardians or other predecessors, you should begin educating and building a relationship with the heirs.

I suggest that you discuss with your client long-term planning (paywall). Ask whether they have given any consideration to the matter. If not, take the opportunity to provide material to develop that thought in your client’s mind. Encourage your client to have and, if appropriate, include you in discussions with their accountant and attorney regarding the matter.

If this can be arranged, suggest to your client that they include the child of age-appropriate understanding to attend or sit in on a conference call. The topic of money is always difficult to approach, and children do have questions in regards to economics and how these matters affect them. This is not a subject that can be conceptually grasped without some real-world exposure.

You can surely put together a short, polished presentation or locate resources to pass along to your client and their family. Offer this as a vehicle to field questions. If your clients use this information, you may help them bring up an uncomfortable area of discussion. Your client’s family may be aware of you, but that doesn’t mean they will stick with you or that you will be called on to continue the work you helped your client start. Educate them to the degree your abilities allow and be a conduit for other needed services.

The basic pleasant encounters are nice, but if you teach the next generation how best to handle this great transfer of wealth, you can be busy for years to come with the same clients you’ve built relationships with for years already. Then one day, your kids can take over.

Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?

If you represent their parents or guardians or other predecessors, you should begin educating and building a relationship with the heirs.If you represent their parents or guardians or other predecessors, you should begin educating and building a relationship with the heirs.

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