In Memoriam: Charles Chatham, S.E.C.

C. Charles “Chuck” Chatham was born February 15, 1913 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and died January 17, 1996 in Glendale, California. Married to his wife Goldie for 61 years, they had 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

In 1945, at the age of 32, Charles Chatham inherited his mother’s residential real estate office and ran an operation of 20+ agents. Over 20 years later, in 1966 he attended Richard Reno’s grandfather of all exchange courses “Modern Real Estate Exchanging and Counseling” which totally changed his approach to real estate transactions.

Chatham began to do research and study which eventually evolved into his own brand of counseling. There was a learning process that cost Chatham a price. After falling deeply into debt from numerous failures during the testing process, he was ultimately able to perfect his concept and make enough money in one year through client representation to pay off his debt and turn a profit.

Exchangors began to take notice and asked him for advice; thus spawning his nationally know seminar “The Art of Real Estate Counseling.” The first such seminar was held in 1969 in Oxnard, California. He soon became known as “Mr. Counselor” in many real estate circles.

Charles Chatham revolutionized the concept of professional client representation in real estate. In his residential real estate sales office, Chatham observed that the average broker lacked a high regard for himself and often the desire to complete a sale did not keep the client’s interests paramount. He felt the industry lacked the professionalism of other disciplines and saw counseling as the avenue to elevate the profession.

Chatham’s training course uniquely included a live counseling session with a student-provided client. Those who attended remember Chatham as being very serious when he taught, with a stern face and always on a 1½ foot raised platform using a high backed chair similar to the setting for a judge. He felt this “performance ” was necessary to make his points. Those who only knew him professionally saw him as one unable to relax, but those who knew him offstage thought otherwise.

For more than 20 years Mr. Chatham taught salesmen the art of listening. His literature stated, “our Father gave us one mouth, but two ears. That should have told us something!” He defined Listening as “to listen, to concentrate, to open your mind, to absorb, to become one with the speaker, a giving of oneself wholly, completely; the giving up of one’s own desires, fears, goals, responsibilities and objectives for the duration of the counseling period.”

Chatham stressed that in the ideal counseling session, the client is led to discover the solution for himself. He stated that counseling does not attempt to overpower anyone, influence anyone, persuade anyone. In counseling, the salesmanship attitude is evil for what it does to the atmosphere of counseling.

Chatham’s course literature defines Counseling as a real estate practice on a professional level, designed to guide a client or customer to a better understanding of his real estate ownership problems and their probable solutions, utilizing modern principles and methods of questioning and listening to establish client management. He defined Client Management as a “relationship on a partnership basis.”

Chatham’s contributions to our industry were significant. Over 10,000 students graduated from Chatham’s seminars. It is said that everyone got something from attending a Chatham seminar and some had a life changing experience. Appreciation for his contribution was frequently expressed by seminar students with statements such as:

“The seminar was the finest investment in time and money that I have made in nearly 22 years in the business.”

“If everyone could really grasp the principles of counseling, how easy it would be to transact business with others.”

“My most important teacher, in many ways… was exceptionally important to real estate counseling and cared for people compassionately and helped in more ways than just business transactions.”

Mr. Chatham’s accomplishments included:

  • Realtor of the Year, Glendale, California – 1966
  • SEC Counselor of the Year – 1970
  • California Real Estate Associates Most Outstanding Exchange – 1971
  • Listed in Personalities of the West and Midwest – 1971 & 1972
  • Pacific Coast Exchange Counselors – Charter Member and served as President

Mr. Chatham authored two books: “Winning the Love and Loyalty of Your Children” and “Secrets of a Lucrative Real Estate Career”

Mr. Chatham’s sons M.E. “Rocky” Chatham and Charles Norton “Chuck” Chatham joined him in the Chatham Educational Corporation and they together formed The Research Institute for Counseling, Inc. and Norton Publishing Company, which produced three sets of cassette tapes:

  • Very Important Principles from C. Charles Chatham’s The Art of Real Estate Counseling
  • Home Study Course 110 (Chatham’s One Day Counseling Seminar on tape)
  • Home Study Course 120 (for residential practitioners)
  • Words taken from Mr. Chatham’s obituary summarize his contribution to our industry – “The founder of The Chatham Method of Professional Client Representation left a legacy which will live on for the benefit of real estate practitioners and clients for many generations to come.”

    Comments are closed.