How do you tell your buyer clients that their dream home’s Seller’s Disclosure Notice includes major plumbing issues the sellers refuse to fix? What do you say to your seller clients when the home appraisal comes in $25,000 below the buyer’s offer price?

Katrina Barnes has 20 years of experience working with buyers, sellers, investors, and renters. The Bellaire-based broker with Century 21 Exclusive teaches courses for the Seller Representative Specialist and Accredited Buyer’s Representative designations. She says agents and brokers should remember these three things when delivering bad news:

Bring solutions. Before you deliver the news, brainstorm ways to address the problem. That way, when you share what happened, you offer some possible paths forward. Your preparedness will help lessen the blow of the bad news, and your client will appreciate it.

Don’t beat around the bush. Be direct, upfront, and open about everything. Tell the client exactly what happened and how it affects them. Present the facts and be professional and ethical.

Have empathy. Buying or selling a home is not only one of the largest financial transactions people make but also often an emotional one. Your client may get angry or upset after hearing the bad news. Listen and be respectful when discussing the issue at hand.