An estate agent’s guide to body language

An estate agent’s guide to body language

While there are a number of successful estate agents out there, the people that are really making inroads to the agent world know at least a little about the subconscious expression through non-verbal cues. Those that have done a bit of research into this are far more likely to succeed in selling a home to a potential buyer. This is because the agent will be able to decipher what the buyer is thinking before the buyer themselves know what they’re thinking!

The psychology behind being a good estate agent is such an exciting topic because you’re able to read people as if they were a book and counter their potential issues with the home. This can also help to develop your personal life because the better you are at reading body language, the better you’ll be in social situations.

A common misconception is that 93% of communication is nonverbal, however, this isn’t actually true. The number for this is actually a little lower but still high enough to warrant a bit of research! What’s more, there is no set rule for the ratio of any verbal and nonverbal communication. This means that it varies depending on the person and even external stimuli.

So, here are a few of our favourite nonverbal cues that you might encounter as an estate agent…

Facial Expressions

Facial expressions can be one of the best ways to read a person’s mind. Most people have less control over their facial expressions and so they convey a lot of emotion through that medium. These are often called micro expressions, a small and very brief facial expression that can appear without the person even realising.

The eyes

Your eyes say a lot about you as a person…The idea that they are the window to the sole might not be something that you believe in, but they are great storytellers. Anything from the direction that they’re looking in, to amount of strain they’re under.

Blocking or covering of the eyes may mean that the buyer doesn’t like what they see. It might mean that they literally don’t want to see the space, or they feel uncomfortable in a particular room. Similarly, if someone is squinting, they might have a negative opinion of the space too. Squinting might indicate that the person doesn’t like what they’re hearing or feel suspicious of something around.

Eyebrows are one of the most obvious ways to read facial expressions. They are also often used to draw the attention of others. For example, if you’re walking past an acquaintance, without thinking you’ll often quickly flash your eyebrows to get their attention and engage with them. In terms of a property setting, you can watch the eyebrows and recognise them rising. Raising both eyebrows often means that they understood something or even congeniality. So, they might just like the space that they are seeing.

The mouth

Expression through the mouth and its movements can have a dramatic effect on the way in which we read a person’s face. The smile is one of the most obvious nonverbal cues that you could see. But the quality of a smile is completely dependent on the intent behind it. With a genuine smile, you should be able to see the smile travel up to the eyes with a slight squint. It will also show in the corners of the mouth too. If the corners of the mouth are peaked and the cheeks are perked, it’s more likely to be real.

Pursed lips are also a great way to read someone’s feelings about a house. This is because tightening the lips will often mean that the person doesn’t approve of what they’re looking at or hearing.

Lip biting is also a tell-tale sign of worry, anxiety and even stress. If you see a potential buyer doing this, it might just show you that they’re not that interested, and the space makes them feel rather stressed out.

The jaw

Watching someone’s jaw might sound a little strange but in fact, you can learn a lot about their thoughts from just one involuntary action. Clenching of the jaw or tightness in the jaw should tell you whether or not a person is stressed. This stress could be due to the property that you’re showing that which would tell you whether or not they like it.


Looking at someone’s arms can tell you more than you might think. When the arms are in certain positions, they might be able to tell whether the person is defensive or even aggressive.

Having crossed arms is one to the most obvious, this will mean that they feel defensive or protective of themselves in this particular situation. This could be due to them feeling uncomfortable or taking a dislike to the way that you’re selling the property to them. All of this would indicate a need for a change in style and approach.

If the potential buyer has their hands clasped behind their back, they might be exhibiting a number of different emotions. One of which might be confidence, this is because they are revealing and vulnerable part of their body; their face, chest and body. In doing this, they could have found a property that they like. However, this position could also show that they are bored too.


Taking a quick look at the positioning of someone’s feet could mean that you get an insight into their opinions on the conversation that you’re both having. Often, if a person’s feet are pointing away from you and it’s just the two of you talking, this could mean that they don’t want to be a part of the conversation anymore. This could also mean that they’re wanting to leave the property because they don’t like it.

However, if their feet are pointing towards you or the centre of the conversation, this might indicate that they’re interested in the conversation and want to hear more from you.


Posture is a big part of body language because it can completely change the way in which we interpret actions and other elements of body language too. Posture is basically the way in which you hold yourself up from a physical perspective.

A closed posture is something that you don’t want to see in a potential buyer. This will often mean that the person is in a hostile position and unwilling to conform to your words. Closed posture will have arms and/or legs crossed and a slight or even obvious hunch forward.

Open posture will have the opposite meaning to closed posture. If a person has an open posture, they’re more likely to be in a friendly mood with a willingness to listen to what you have to say to them. This might mean that they are more open to the property you’re showing them too.

The takeaway

All you need to do now is take these little tips and tricks and apply them to your everyday activities as an estate agent. You should be able to read people a little better than before. But, don’t be discouraged if you find it tricky. This can take years of practice and so you should realise that you might not be an expert right away. You just need to keep at it and remember the different factors of a person’s body language. What’s more, don’t take each item in this as gospel. Everyone is different which means that they might exhibit different actions that you’re expecting.

This guest post was contributed by Aaron Cambden from Fairview Estates.

Photo by Mitchell Griest on Unsplash


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