The Short List: Melanie Stone’s Tips For Holding Yourself Together When a Deal Falls Apart

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Melanie Stone is a broker with Coldwell Banker in the Gold Coast.

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Melanie Stone, a broker with Coldwell Banker in the Gold Coast, on how to hold yourself together when a deal falls apart.

After a very busy weekend of showings and open houses, I woke up feeling empowered on Monday morning. The sun seemed to be shining just a little bit brighter, the Keurig brewed my favorite brand of coffee and my oats-to-water ratio was on point. I did a quick scroll through the MLS, then headed down the street to my yoga studio — it was the perfect start to what I thought would be the perfect week.

I arrived home one hour later and checked my phone: missed calls, missed texts, missed emails for a deal that would have been closing soon. My stomach dropped.

Just like that, my perfect week fell apart.

This is real estate. One minute, I’m soaring, and the next, I’m holding back tears. You need a thick skin, my mentor told me when I got started in the business. You can’t take things personally, and you’ve got to keep things in perspective.

He’s right. Perspective is huge, and without it, our emotions will run wild. Sometimes, what’s best for us is not best for our clients, and a deal will die simply because it wasn’t meant to be. We have to remember that it’s not about us — it’s about them, it’s about service, it’s about doing all we can for our clients.

That said, it’s always helpful to have a few tips to latch on to. Here are five ways to hold yourself together when a deal falls apart:

5. Call For Help – If a situation is out of your control, then reach out to the people you trust — consider your attorney, managing broker, lender or colleague.

4. Take a Break – Sometimes, the healthiest thing you can do is step away from your work. Go for a run or drink a mug of chamomile tea. Do what it takes to reduce anxiety.

3. Make a Plan – Come up with another idea or strategy, and your clients will appreciate the thoughtfulness.

2. Get Real – Life is full of ups and downs, and a botched deal is bound to happen at some point during your career.

1. Grow – I learn from every single transaction, whether it’s a sale or rental. When a deal dies, look at it as a step instead of a failure. It all comes down to perspective.


Melanie Stone is a licensed real estate broker with Coldwell Banker. Hailing from Hinsdale, Melanie lives in Lakeview, and when she’s not selling real estate, she contributes articles to the Huffington Post, PBS Mediashift and Business Insider. Part of the membership committee for the Chicago Chapter of the Women’s Council of Realtors, Melanie is also involved at Park Community Church.