It is really important to for buyers and sellers to look for real estate agents who will represent their best interest, but it is also very important for the buyers and sellers to get along with their REALTOR.
Recently a friend of mine told me about a book that he read that was about choosing your customers instead of having them choose you. He said the name of the book is “Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port. I just purchased the book, and I am about half way through. The premise of the book is to work only with the clients that are a good match with your skill set and personality. Refer the rest to other people who might make a better match. This way, both the service provider and the client are happy.
I recently talked to a REALTOR® who interviews buyers and sellers before accepting them as clients. I must admit that I shocked. He was actually limiting the number of clients that wanted to use his services in order to give his undivided attention to the clients that were a good match for his skill set. In other words, he was turning away the difficult clients and the clients that clashed with his personality.
I have been selling real estate since 2003, and I have had a few difficult clients over the years. For the most part, I love my job and I enjoy the business and personal relationships that I have developed with my clients. However, once in a while, I run across some very difficult clients, and I have learned the hard way that it is better to let them go early instead of suffering through a long and difficult transaction.
I went to a listing appointment a few years ago, and the seller told me that she did not think that she should have to pay her mortgage. She said it was unfair for the bank to charge her interest. That should have been a red flag for me, but I was somewhat new to the Real Estate business, and I took the listing. A few months later, after I had spent many hours working for the seller, she decided that she should not have to pay her… you guessed it… real estate commission. After some difficult conversations and threats of lawsuits, I ended up closing the transaction, but at a severely discounted commission.
Another difficult client was a buyer who looked at over 130 houses with me. We looked at homes over a period of 3 or 4 months, and we wrote two offers. When he backed out of the second offer, for no reason, I told him that I could no longer work with him. I could not in good faith continue to work with a buyer who had such unrealistic expectations. Another client who really tested my patience was very controlling. He wanted to micro manage the entire process. Every document that I sent him and every suggestion that I made was looked at with extreme suspicion. Trust is essential to a business relationship.
I have put a few example above of clients that really tested me, but in the past few months I have closed transactions with some of the best clients ever. One client had a very low price point, so she was challenged to find a house that was in OK condition. I set her up on an automated email program, and she would drive by the house before requesting a showing. This eliminated at least 50% of the houses on the market due to condition or location. This was an important factor because she wanted to look at houses one at a time, as the new inventory came on the market. If the house looked OK from the outside, she would request a showing, and I would meet her there as soon as possible. We looked a quite a few homes before finding the right one, but we worked out a system together that worked well for both of us. She got an amazing value on her house, about 15% below appraised value... in this market. Wow.
Another amazing client was selling a property in a short sale. These transactions are never easy, but this one was harder than most because it involved 2 banks, and the second bank was in no mood to negotiate. This transaction took almost 6 months from the time that we received an offer, but we were able to close the deal. We were able to keep the buyer from walking away by allowing him to rent the property for a few months while the bank wasted time. The seller was willing to take the steps that were necessary to close the short sale transaction. She took my advice about the rent-back and other creative solutions. We had great communication, and she wrote me a glowing review.
Choosing the right REALTOR is all about teamwork. Get to know your real estate agent before you get too involved in the process.