This week, I heard from two different colleagues that they had 'let their buyer client go.' In both cases, they had spent substantial time and resources to showing houses, writing and submitting contracts (yes, multiple) and generally being available to them.
So why would a Realtor® 'fire' a client like this? After all, aren't doing these things our job? Here are a couple of reasons that a Realtor might 'fire' a client.
1. The Client is never going to buy a new home in the near future. We don't get paid until a client settles on their new home. If it appears that the client will never find that home, at some point, we need to make a business decision. Could this time be better spent with more motivated clients? Often, the answer is Yes. Could it be that this client is unwilling to pay market value for a home? If the answer is yes, that is also a reason to move on.
2. The client is not respectful of time and other commitments. Most clients are, but every once in a while one comes along whose needs are always more important than the Realtor®'s other obligations. Sometimes a Realtor® is willing to push their own obligations to the back for a little while, but it is not sustainable. Realtor®s cannot work around the clock and they do have other professional and personal commitments.
3. The Agency relationships is not solid. Here in Virginia, we have a buyers agreement contract that must be signed to represent a buyer. Sometimes people balk at signing contracts (and, yes, that is what this is). If we do not have a contract from you to represent you and, ultimately, get paid, we are not going to continue working for you. We are not supposed to show homes without this contract. Even with this contract, there are those buyers who continuously stray...a buyer needs to understand what the contract means and how to operate under the terms. It just makes everyone's lives easier...and it is the law in Virginia!
4. The scope of the search changes. Sometimes a client who started out looking for a home in one area will completely change the location. Depending on how challenging this client is to work with, a different location, further away could result in the Realtor® 'letting the client go.' We get it--the point of looking is to help you refine your needs and sometimes the scope changes. The relationship must work for both of us, and we will be more than happy to find you another Realtor® in your new location.
5. Sometimes, it is just not a good fit! We all have different ways of doing things and personality traits that come out in different circumstances. The person that we might like to chat with at dinner might not be the same one that we work well with in a business setting. And let's face it, we all don't get along with everyone. Sometimes, the fit between Realtor® and Client is just not a good one. It is better to move on and have eveyone get what they need from the situation.
In a business like real estate, where the Realtor® is not paid until the end, it can be pretty frustrating to feel like you are spinning your wheels. Most of the time, we can recognize that there will eventually be a contract and a closing--and that is always our goal. Sometimes, however, working for free seems to be the end-game (the definition of working for free includes finding and showing houses to someone who never purchases a house).
Remember that hiring a Realtor® is not the same as finding someone who wants to spend the weekend looking at houses with you. This is not a television show where looking at and evaluating homes seems to be the point. We are professionals whose job it is to help you find and purchase a new home. If you keep that in mind, your likelihood of being 'fired' will go way down!
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