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When to Break Up With a Client: Tales of the Indecisive Buyer

Brooke Wolford

Brooke Wolford

By Brooke Wolford

I recently decided to let go of a client. It was a really hard decision for me to have to tell a buyer that I couldn’t work with them anymore. In all, I had to weigh my options.

When I had initially starting working with this buyer, it was after a big dispute with another agent in my office.  (See my previous blog posts  Learning Valuable Lessions and Learning Valuable Lessons, Part II )

This was the buyer involved. I spent almost four months working with him.  In that time, I had showed them 106 homes and most were 20 miles or more away from my office. This person would call me and stop in my office randomly and want to look at home now!  This person also stopped by my house one day, as well. He ended up deciding to move out of state. A month later, he decided he was going to stay in state and start looking again.

I ended up showing the client a few homes again. Still nothing. He really didn’t know what he wanted. I started to get pretty frustrated.

I decided to tell him that I could no longer work with him. I stated that I needed to really know what type of house he wanted. Until he could figure it out, we needed to take a break. I hated to have to let him go, considering all I went through for this buyer but I could no longer be a glorified chauffer.

It’s hard to make decisions like this, as I worry about the buyer possibly spreading the word that I dumped him or the fact that he could go with someone else. But if it’s not going to work, it’s not going to work.

Not every client is going to be right for you. It’s OK to let a buyer go when you get to the point where you can no longer satisfy them. It’s all up to you. No matter how hard you try I think it’s clearly impossible to satisfy someone when they don’t know what they want.

Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Edina Realty, Hastings, Minn.  Follow her blog at adventuresinrookierealestate.blogspot.com.

Comments
  1. It is OK to stop working with a Buyer or a seller. “I just fired Me” When you have been in Real Estate Sales for as long as I have you just about have seen it all.

  2. Brooke, this sounds a little too indecisive to be what it appears on the surface. An ex-school associate who looks you up at your office, uninvitedly visits you at home, and then goes on to look at over 100 houses with you?

    This guy may be in the market for you, not your listings. Watch yourself.

  3. You don’t mention if this Buyer was qualified by a lender. This is the tip off right there! Qualifying the Buyer for a loan shows if they are motivated to move forward.

    If they are paying cash and can show proof of funds is another motivator.

    You could’ve avoided a lot of frustration and gas had this person been qualified and approved by a lender.

    Good lesson!

  4. I’ve read your first blog post on this and still, this Buyer only had a pre-approval…not good enough in this market. Sounds like he never had any intention, only looking for a tour!

  5. You did the right thing. Showing up at your house is somewhat creepy, iMHO. Always factor in opportunity cost. The time you spent with him is gone, but every minute you were with him was a minute you couldn’t be with another buyer or seller.

  6. Brooke, you did the right thing. I just fired a buyer after one meeting, he was prequalified for a VA loan however seemed very angry with the World and did not believe he should pay one penny in earnest money or anything else. I felt that it would only get worse and decided to tell him that I was not the right Realtor for him. I then called the lender and asked that he be referred to another Realtor that may be a better fit.
    We only have so much of our most valuable commodity-time!
    Happy Selling
    Helen

  7. Did you have a signed Buyers Agreement? Reseach shows a higher commitment and focus with about a 68% success rate when using a Buyers agreement. Our Central Virginia Agreement also includes a section on what the BUYER’S duties are, including being reasonable about what they are looking for. I use it to emphisize that my time is worth $175 per hour. I let them know that they are highering me to find them a house, not tour the country. I also use it to cover different types of agency. They also know that the process does not start until I get a letter from thier mortgage lender stating exactly what they are qualified for.
    Next, I send them houses online and ask them to do a drive-by on their own. This way, we don’t see houses that do not appeal to them from a curb appeal standpoint.
    It’s all about time utilization and resource conservation for them and me.
    They also fill out a questionaire including there top 5 must haves. They don’t get to see anything that does not meet their criteria, and as we look at homes I ask them to tell me if they were to compare the house they just saw with the last prior one, which would they eliminate. It works for me.

  8. Jesse

    Try to take control of the situation a little more next time and make sure that the homes you have picked out are narrowed down to the final choices. After that, he’s done. I just had buyers try to take me all over the opposite side of town and said no. You must always sell from a position of strength.

  9. I fired a client (nicely) and felt very empowered in doing so. It was clear within a few days there was no way this person was going to trust me. The buyer hadn’t purchased in 30 years and had too much of a learning curve for my patience. That was four months ago and he still hasn’t bought….so glad it isn’t me….

  10. Brooke Wolford

    This buyer was prequalified and completed approved, all we needed was a PA and he could close whenever. Thats what made the whole ordeal so hard. It could have been so easy.

    I can tell you that my hubby was a little thrown off when he showed up at our house one night…he was worried about this guy. I may have done it differently if I had not know this guy since we were kids.

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