I have been a REALTOR® for more than 11 years now. If I told you that I sold a house to every buyer I worked with, I would be lying. There are many reasons why a buyer doesn't end up buying with me, and the biggest reason is that some buyers just like to rent. They like to know if something goes wrong, they can call the landlord or management company and have it taken care of. We call those people, "the eternal renter".
There have been a handful that went another direction for other reasons, like personality conflicts. If someone tells you they get along with everyone, they're lying! We all have different personalities, and there is nothing wrong with not getting along with everyone. If everyone always agreed on everything, life would be boring.
There is one particular client that I sometimes wish I didn't let go. I was working up in Dallas at the time, and they were relocating to the area. They wanted to be in a price point that I had never worked before, up to $500k, so I was very excited to work with them! I was drooling over the potential commission since my average sales price at that time was just below $200k.
The wife was here in town with her two teenage boys, but the husband was not. That meant I had to show her houses and then later show him after she narrowed things down. This never works, and it didn't work this time either. She wanted one thing and he wanted something else. They couldn't get on the same page. He was writing offers just for the sake of writing offers. They were low offers and they were on houses she didn't like. She didn't understand why he couldn't like any of the houses she liked. She would get very upset.
After working with them for about 4 months and writing at least 10 offers, I finally told him that if he actually wanted to buy a house, he needed to have an actual conversation with his wife. I told him they were on two completely different pages of two completely different books. He didn't understand. I decided to be very blunt with him. I told him he was treating his wife horribly and he needed to be less overbearing and controlling, and actually listen to what she was saying. I also told him that I wished him luck because I was not going to be working with them any longer.
He got very quiet. He thanked me for my candor and that was that... so I thought...
A couple of days later, I got a phone call from Mr. Buyer. He apologized for his behavior. He asked me if I would work with them again. I asked a few qualifying questions to which he failed the answers to, so I stuck to my guns and said no. He offered me a $1000 retainer fee to where I would get to keep it if they didn't buy a house within a specified period of time. I turned it down. We talked for over 30 minutes. He literally begged me to work with them again. I just couldn't.
A few months later, I received a call from his wife. She thanked me for talking with her husband. She said that whatever I said to him must have worked because after several more months of looking at houses (with a different agent), he finally bought a house she loved. She said they went through so many offers that she had basically given up finding a house and was very unhappy every time he suggested they look at more houses.
Am I disappointed that I didn't get that commission? Sure, it would be silly to say I wasn't disappointed. Am I disappointed that I didn't get to sell them their house when they finally bought one? No, not at all. I canceled so many plans to work with these buyers. I even canceled a trip out of town because the husband just had to see this one house and that was the only time he could fly in for a couple of more weeks. I busted my hump for these guys, but they just weren't serious buyers. It took several more months and several more low-ball offers to get them to be serious, and that's not time I would have had patience for, and I have a lot of patience when it comes to helping my buyers buy a house they love.
This is a true story and it happened back in 2004. It's 7 years later and the conversation with both the husband and wife go through my head at least once a month. I replay the conversation, and I sometimes change the conversation to where I say yes to working with them... and then I play out the scenario in my head... I get frustrated every time, so it's good to know that I believe I made the right decision to not work with these buyers.
It's not all about the commission with me. It's about helping people who want my help, and even though the wife really wanted my help, the husband wasn't on board.
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Copyright© 2011 By Donna Harris, All Rights Reserved. You may re-blog with links back to this post.
* The Buyer that Got Away * was first published on donnahomesblog.com.