The Holistic Approach to Real Estate

Learn how some brokers and agents are taking their clients’ mind, body, and soul into account—and gaining more business because of it.

Although the word “holistic” is usually associated with health and medicine, real estate professionals can apply this philosophy to their business. Some are even adding it to their professional title.

Holistic real estate starts with the agent, says Kristy Woodford, broker at Windermere Real Estate/Olympia in Olympia, Wash. “Clients often seek me out because of my approach,” she says. “As I focus on my own mind, body, and soul’s health, I create a calm and healthy atmosphere.”

Woodford says her holistic style helped a recent seller get through a rocky deal with a spirit of love and peace. A structural problem that was discovered during the inspection and an unreliable lender created challenges for both Woodford’s client and the buyer. But all parties collaborated well together. Although the seller didn’t get his asking price, he was still able to maintain a sense of wonder and appreciation, Woodford says. Her client recently wrote a note to the new owners sharing his love for the home and wishing them well. “That’s the magic of holistic real estate,” she explains. “It’s joy in the journey.”

What does it mean to be holistic?

It’s about recognizing the interconnected aspects of a person or situation. A holistic agent is someone who guides their clients through the real estate experience while taking the well-being of the whole person into account, Woodford explains. The goal in holistic real estate is to go through what can be a very stressful process with special care for the physical, mental, and emotional health of all concerned. Through this awareness, it is possible to find joy and greater health in the experience, she says.

For those who want even more guidance, holistic real estate pros can use concepts such as feng shui to help identify the perfect home and bring extra comfort and peace to the whole family.

“I help my clients figure out what their best life looks like,” says Lorraine DAversa, broker and lifestyle consultant at LifeStyle Realty and Consulting in Golden, Colo. With degrees in psychology and nutrition, her background helps her more clearly understand her client’s vision. She believes you can’t serve your client well if you focus only on finding a home in their price range. It has to be about more: Do they need a big backyard to plant a garden or to put a fire pit to make s’mores with their grandchildren? She takes a few hours during the initial consultation to get to know her clients’ hopes, dreams, and fears.

How do holistic practitioners integrate mind, body, and soul into their business?

Mind: Holistic medicine is known for taking the traditional use of intellect, facts, and figures, and incorporating other elements of life into the process, Woodford says. Holistic real estate does the same thing. She still runs comparative marketing analyses, urges clients to have inspections, keeps up on legal updates, does due diligence, and encourages buyers or sellers to do their tasks. “We are making the most of our mind’s potential by coupling the wisdom of our body and acknowledging the unknown (the spirit or soul),” Woodford explains.

Body: Woodford teaches her clients “body intelligence.” For instance, if her buyers are about to make an offer on a house, she tells them to think of the price they’d like to offer, and then take a breath and sense their physical reaction to their thoughts. Is there a tightening in their chests from stress? “Something may exist in our mind, but it might take just a minute to ask what your body thinks of it. Our bodies know,” she says.

Soul: Woodford believes holistic real estate is about less stress and more joy and good health. Wonderment and awe are the keys to health and peace in this process—so work toward making the process fun and as stress-free for clients as possible. Woodford says some kind of faith is essential to making a holistic approach work—even if it’s just faith in the statistics. Things often work out outside of one’s own control, she says.

What does holistic real estate require?

DAversa tries to go a little beyond what other brokers do. Buyers from San Francisco chose her as their agent after researching her online. She showed every room of a house to them over Skype, answering all their questions as they took the tour together via their phones. “I even went down the block and met neighbors for them on Skype. That sold it for them. They loved the neighborhood and how caring the people were,” she says.

DAversa says she becomes friends for life with most of her clients. For instance, she helped a young couple with two children move to a remote area. “I was really concerned about them. I wondered, ‘Is this the right thing for them?’ But we have become like a surrogate family for them. We celebrate their successes,” she says.

Not only has she gained many new clients and friends since advertising that she is a holistic broker, but she also tripled her revenue last year.

Is there a designation for holistic real estate agents yet?

No, but both DAversa and Woodford say they hope to work on building something soon. Woodford hopes to pitch Windermere’s education department and the National Association of REALTORS® with the idea of a certification or training for agents who want to understand the holistic approach.

“I recognize that there are many agents already living these principles without the label of ‘holistic,’” Woodford says. “I like to shine a spotlight on the joy and the positive, and I know I’m not alone.”


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