Three ways any real estate agent can improve their chess game:

Buying houses, selling houses, coordinating clients … realty can be an overwhelming business, especially for a newcomer. It’s a delicate balancing act of networking, advertising, socializing, and lots of telephone calls all rolled up into one. However, using principles of chess, we can actually create a certain harmony out of that perceived chaos. Here are three simple guidelines that any real estate agent can follow in order to strengthen their game.
1. Develop your pieces before attacking
You need to have a strong foundation before you set out to accomplish any goal. It’s imprudent to show a client ten houses before they’re even pre-approved or have had their credit checked. Even if they love a certain house, they might not qualify, and it will have been a waste of time and energy for both parties involved. Likewise, attacking with one or two pieces in chess is bound to fail. Having all of a client’s paperwork and approvals in order will go a long way towards making a decision on a house when they finally find one.
2. Activity over material advantages
Sometimes we can play creatively and use piece activity to win – even when we’ve lost a pawn or two. There are many ways to be creative in realty, and even if a client doesn’t currently have funds to close, there are unique ways to close the deal and get the job done. A seller’s concession is an innovative way to make buying a house easier by allowing the buyer to borrow the closing costs from the house itself. This way, even if they couldn’t afford the actual funds for closing, they are now able to close on the property. Using this form of activity even over “material” money is a great example of what happens on the actual chessboard when someone is able to win even while down on material.
3. Centralize your pieces
Just like in chess, flexibility is a key variable for good players. A knight in the corner has only two squares it can go to. A knight on a central square, however, can go to eight different squares! This is why centralization is so important. Flexibility is also crucial in real estate. Many times, when someone is looking for a five-bedroom house, they realize that four bedrooms is perfectly sufficient for their needs as well. Or, there might be a house with four bedrooms and a large office room, which can easily be converted into another bedroom, changing the house to what they desired. Having multiple options in multiple situations allow you to adapt to many different scenarios, and ultimately finding a perfect match between a client and their dream home.
Realty, just like chess, requires time, dedication, and practice! Using these principles will allow you to enhance your game and make winning “moves,” whether it’s on or off the chessboard.
Abe Lewinson is a tournament chess player and realtor in New York. You can contact him at Rodeo Realty at 845-538-0039 or by email at

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