Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: I'm Sorry, But I Won't Work with a RE/MAX Agent

I'm Sorry, But I Won't Work with a RE/MAX Agent

I got a call yesterday evening from a gentleman saying he was given my name and information as a referral from one of my past clients. Yeah!  We all love referrals and strive to receive them.

I spoke with this gentleman for about 10 minutes about what he was looking for and time frame and price range and everything of the sorts.

Then, the word RE/MAX comes out of my mouth, because, yes, I'm a RE/MAX agent.

"I'm Sorry, but I won't work with a RE/MAX agent."

What does me being a RE/MAX agent prevent you from working with me?

"Sam spoke very highly of you and said I would be crazy to use anyone else, but he never mentioned you were a RE/MAX agent.  I had a bad experience some umpteen years ago, and I'll never work with a RE/MAX agent again!"

Wow, that's some anger this guy has.  From what I gather, he was under contract with a property using a RE/MAX agent. Then the Seller decided not to sell so he couldn't buy the house.  Also, something about the Earnest Money wasn't returned to him because it was never put in escrow and that he had no recourse in getting it back.  Huh?

First, if a Seller backs out, the Buyer has A LOT of recourse!  Second, Earnest Money MUST be deposited in a separate account, in Texas we use Escrow Accounts set up by the third party Title Company, and the funds are not allowed to co-mingle in any way with anyone party to the contract.

I'm thinking his agent messed up royally on helping him get his money back, but why take it out on all "RE/MAX" agents?  Each office is independantly owned and operated, and each REALTOR® runs his or her own business under the office's umbrella for marketing purposes.

I was highly referred, and this guy was ready to get in my car immediately to look at houses, and he let one bad experience ruin a new one.

For all you buyers out there, interview your potential Buyers' Agent on their own merits, and don't put someone else's mistake onto them.  He said it himself, I came very highly recommended.  His friend had an awesome experience, why wouldn't he?  His interview skills got him a bad agent in the passed, you would think he would run wild with excitement with a referral!

Comment balloon 41 commentsDonna Harris • March 22 2009 04:17PM


Ther is and old sales persons mantra . Part of it says Buyer, I had a bad experience with some one from your company years ago. It goes on and on listing reasons not to work with some one. Most as sill as what happened to you. IN  the end the "buyer" says , Do you have any free samples? That makes me smile and when I run into these situations I think of this joke and get a smile instead of agitated

Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros ( almost 12 years ago

Oh that is sad.  Maybe its a blessing.  You do not know the other side of the story.

Posted by June Tassillo, Let me help you with the next phase of your life! (Owner/Broker RE/MAX Elite Realty) almost 12 years ago

Wow Donna, usually being a RE/MAX agent, and being affiliated with a huge national franchise is a GOOD thing. That sense of being burned and blaming it all on the name RE/MAX is so unfair, but emotions run deep with people some of the time. Especially since you were highly referred for great service in the past, he should have taken the time to meet with you.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 12 years ago

I can't understand just because you work for a company doesn't mean everyone is like the agent he had a bad experiment with. You may be lucky he didn't want to work with you.

Posted by Pat Champion, Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs (John Roberts Realty) almost 12 years ago

Such are the whims and waves of consumers! Too bad you were not able to convince him otherwise. Most definitely his loss!

Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) almost 12 years ago

I'm sure there are folks out there who will never work with XYZ or ZYX companies.

It happens.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

I agree with the other comments that perhaps the fellow is better off with someone else.  However, I'd give a great big thank you to the referral friend and let them know that even though this didn't work out due to a "fear of franchise" issue, you appreciate the referral and hope there may be someone else you can help.

Posted by Wanda Thomas, Billings Montana Real Estate (Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN) almost 12 years ago

I bought the company I own 14 years ago.  There are still some folks who didn't see eye to eye with the man I bought the company from who choose to take their business somewhere else.  By the same token, a national department store left me feeling they were not customer friendly and I still don't shop there.  So I see this issue from both sides.  But I agree you should thank your friend for the referral and talking so good about you.  Chances are it will work out next time.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 12 years ago

Wow I am sure it happens but it has not happened to me, as far as I know anyway.  What an odd situation.  Extra strange since you were refereed by his friend.

Posted by Vanessa V. Simmons, Realtor (Real Living HER) almost 12 years ago

You have to put yourself in a typical buyer or seller's shoes as you would if you were shopping for something.  You had a bad experience at a restaurant and you say "I will never eat at that restaurant again".  Is it the restaurant or who was serving you?  I've done it, so I truly can relate with that person.  That why it is imperative that you BRAND yourself and you put your broker brand in the back ground.  I am with Keller Williams, but I never ever brand Keller Williams as it is not Keller Williams they are buying from or selling with......It is me or my group.  Now if they say they will never work with Tim Moncrief again, it is probably time for me to take them out to lunch.  BRAND Donna, and that comment will diminish.  My office is next door to Re/Max so we love Re/Max agents.

Posted by TIM MONCRIEF, Over 2,000 homes sold….. (Tim Monciref) almost 12 years ago


It is unfortunate that the situation  happen to you. Did you try to explain to him about how you conduct business?

Posted by William German (NetWorks Real Estate LLC) almost 12 years ago

Some folks are hard headed. The best thing I can say, if he dosen't understand the real way things work, you don't need an idiot like this.

Posted by Terry Miller, Miller Homes Group and Tyler Apartment Locator (Miller Homes Group) almost 12 years ago

Donna, It doesn't really pay to waste your time trying to change their mind. Next! Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 12 years ago

That's too bad. It is unfortunate that some people can't see past an individual bad experience.

Posted by Tina Maraj, Celebrating 30 Years of Real Estate Sales (RE/MAX One) almost 12 years ago

It happens as we all know.  I learned in my first 6 months that I had to brand myself.  There was too much baggage within our office and the small town I'm in.  I had to set myself apart from it all and now my business is 97% referral based - YIPPEE!

Posted by Susan Emo, Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area (Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage) almost 12 years ago

Some people just can't separate a company from the business person.  That's too bad.  Especially since you came so highly recommended by someone the guy trusted.

Posted by Heather Chavez, Real Estate Virtual, Assistant (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) almost 12 years ago

I agree with Lenn Harley....there are those agents/companies that I don't work with for certain reasons.

Portsmouth NH Real Estate

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) almost 12 years ago

That's one narrow minded individual to dismiss entire group of Realtors because of his one particular bad experience. I hope he doesn't color his view of a particular color, creed, religion, race, or national origin based on one bad encounter with an individual of any of the aforementioned.

Posted by LYDIA LAMOREUX (ZipRealty) almost 12 years ago

If I go to Wendy's and get a lousy sandwich or bad service then I never go back to that location.  This guy seems like somebody that wouldn't worth the trouble.

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) almost 12 years ago

Donna -I'm sorry to hear that he wouldn't work with you because your a Remax agent. Just because he had a bad experience with an Remax agent in the past doesn't mean they are all like that. With you being highly referred he should have at least given you a chance.

Posted by Robert Schwabe, Orange Park Real Estate (EXP Realty) almost 12 years ago

It may be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes it's a two-way street in that the client was at fault too. I'm sorry to hear about your experience but for every one that isn't right, there are several that are. Good luck!

Posted by Paul McFadden, Pest Control, Seattle, WA. (Responsive Pest Control) almost 12 years ago

Charlie, Good that you can put a positive spin on situations like these.

June, True, and he didn't really want to explain the other side, except the brief summary that didn't quite make complete sense.

Gary, No joke! Thanks.

Pat, I tried to explain that...

Rich J, I definitely tried, but he wasn't having it.

Lenn, But each office is a different "company", but I understand your point.

Wanda, I definitely sent a Thank You email to the guy who referred him.  Referrals are the lifeline!

Tammy, I sure hope so.

Vanessa, I know!  It's strange that he trusted the friend enough to call me, but was then turned off...

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

Tim, Yes, I d brand myself. Everything is

William, Yes, I tried, and mentioned how each office is independently owned and each agent runs his/her own business and no two are the same, yadda yadda...

Terry, I wouldn't go as far as calling him an idiot, as he seemed intelligent. I just think he was trying to do something out of principle, but it might backfire. I told him to call me if he couldn't find an agent he liked.

Rich I, True, to an extent.. if he's told all his friends his "bad" experience story, it goes on and on to more people.

Tina, I know, but to each their own.

Susan, That's a great business to have so much referral business!  I wish I could duplicate that!

Heather, Yes, it's a shame.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

Patricia, Thank you.

Lydia, I would hope not!

Greg, I agree! Like, Rudy's BBQ in Waco is bad, but the other Rudy's we've been to are go, so we just never stop at the one in Waco anymore.

Robert, I agree, thank you! And it's also about getting an agent who is educated, and maybe he just picked a not-so-smart one last time.

Paul, From your lips...

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

This guy needs to let go of his anger. Maybe it's best you don't work with or for him.

Hopefully he'll come to his senses and realize that it's YOU he should be hiring regardless of your company.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) almost 12 years ago

Donna, what a bummer!  It must have been a really bad experience, but geeze!  He should get over it!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Hi Donna - Whoever that other agent was, and whatever the facts were, I hope he (the client) took the time to contact that agent's broker and/or the Dept of Real Estate in your state to see if he had recourse or if he had simply misunderstood the situation. 

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) almost 12 years ago

Well you just heard his side of the story.  Who know how he acted during the transaction.  Probably best he went someplace else.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker almost 12 years ago

The public doesn't understand that the name RE/MAX is franchised.  To the public RE/MAX is RE/MAX.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Donna, unfortunatley this happens, we get associated with out brands and if the consumer has a bad experience then they dig their heels in. I had a listing once where they told me NOT to let anyone from XYZ company show it. They had a bad experience with them when they listed their house.

I told them that I would not be able to list their home if that was a requirement. I also told them the GOAL was to sell their home and we didn't care who brought us an offer.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 12 years ago

Craig, Easier said than done for many...

Pat K, Holding a grudge could be good, maybe?

Susan, That's why he feels burned. He was told he had no recourse, and left it at that.

Pete, Thank you.

Richard, Possibly.

Lenn, I tried to explain it to him...

Missy, I've had that also, and said I would not restrict brokerages either!  Great minds!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

I guess some people really know how to hold a grudge.  Perhaps you should have some reservations about RE/MAX (not that RE/MAX is to blame) but as you mentioned, you came hight recommended.  Interesting.  Well, thats his loss.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 almost 12 years ago

Hi Donna... I think that you have hit on a fundamental issue here... reality versus public perception.  I think sometimes we do ourselves a disservice by not drawing a more clear picture in the public eye.  Despite saying the each office is invidually owned an operated, that "disclaimer" is often in the "small print". 

Posted by Steve Shatsky almost 12 years ago

hi, Donna:
At the risk of being called Narrow Minded or a Dolt, I have to admit that I understand where this guy is coming from.  And that's in no offense to you or your services.

For example, I have been mistreated, mishandled, overcharged and lied to by The Phone Company.  And by the phone company, I mean, in one way shape or form, the current AT&T and its former subsidiaries. I could go on for hours about my wranglings with The Phone Company over the last 10+ years.  But one of the few things I can control is where I spend my money.  And I will never spend another dime with AT&T. Period.

Frankly, most of my friends are like this. Whether it's a restaurant they received crappy service at or an auto shop that could not fix their car. A bad experience is really hard erase.

Point of my story: Don't take personal offense to his refusal - it's part of the "Grumpy-Old-Man-DNA" that he was born with.  Instead - look at the flipside: his distaste with ReMax may have made pleasing him as a client that much harder on you.  And more likely, there may have been no pleasing him at all.  Again - the DNA. :D

Have a good week!

The Stage Coach Austin Home Stager


Posted by Michael Fontana, @ The Stage Coach (Round Rock Home Stager Austin Home Staging) almost 12 years ago

John, Yep, grudges can take over sometimes.  I did call him today and ask if I could give him a referral of a non-RE/MAX agent so I can help ensure he uses a respectable agent.  I have not heard back from him yet.  I even gave him a choice of a couple of companies to choose from!

Steve, To an extent the disclosure shouldn't be needed.  Each agent should be running an ethical and legal business to where problems like this shouldn't arise... but if I like Toyotas and have a bad experience at one Toyota dealership, I just go to the next one because I know Toyota is a good car.  Oh well...

Michael, I understand that some people have very deep principles when it comes to some issues. I would never use Comcast/Time Warner again as I had a horrible experience with them, and I cringe when I find out people use them.  To each their own.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

Donna - I guess it goes to show how little consumers know about how REALTORS work. I'm sorry you had that experience!

Posted by Kim Dean, Simply Texas Real Estate - Broker/Owner ( almost 12 years ago

Years ago Pizza Hut ticked me off.  I tried to resolve the issue and kept escalating it and finally said 9 dollars for a burnt pizza is not worth the weeks off aggrevation.  I wrote Pizza Hut out of my life for ever.  To this day, I will not order a pizza from them (I'll eat one if its free and I did not order it). 

Unfortunatly the Pizza Hut was a franchise, independantly owned and opertated, but I still stick my guns with them.  I will buy a frozen pizza before I order from a Pizza Hut.  Its my one man protest. 

Posted by Chad Baird (Re/Max Spirit) almost 12 years ago

Kim, And that more education is still needed.

Chad, I don't like Pizza Hut, and I understand your analogy.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

Hi Donna, Don't be surprised when he calls you back.

Posted by Teresa Harris, Denver . Lake Norman . Charlotte (Lake Real Estate, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Sometimes these things are a blessing in disguise! If he grudgingly agreed to work with you, you have to know he would be "waiting" for the trip up. Some folks shoot themselves in the foot...better his foot than yours!

Posted by SarahGray Lamm, Realtor - 100K Hours of NC Real Estate Experience (Allen Tate Realtors Chapel Hill, NC 919-819-8199 ) almost 12 years ago


I agree with Sarah.  If he had worked with you he would be constantly second guessing you

and waiting for the "I got you."  NEXT!

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) almost 12 years ago