While I am generally pretty trusting of clients that I have dealt with over an extended period of time, I might have to get back to some rules that served me well when we saw more potential clients.
I have been very lenient about taking my online customers on a neighborhood tour of our area in the hopes that they could make a quick decision as to whether we are the right area for them or not. In general it has worked well. Most like what they see and end up buying in our area.
Recently I had a visit from a couple with whom I had been working for over eighteen months. There was a fair amount of communication that went back and forth over that time. I was well informed when the closing for their home got postponed.
When they finally stored their stuff and made the long drive down from the northeast, they were good about getting in touch with me. They ended up staying in another village about 45 minues from our area. They apparently had relatives in the village.
I agreed to show them our area one afternoon. One of the first questions I asked was why they were not locating close to their relatives. I was told that there was no way they would locate there because there was nothing to do there, and their son would be terribly bored.
So I took them on a trip of a few hours through our area. I showed them enough neighborhoods to get an idea what they liked, and at the end I showed them one unoccupied house so they could be familiar with a typical home in the area. It seemed like we had got along well, and I did not sense any problems. They appeared in no rush. They told me they wanted to be careful since this might be their last home.
I was pretty busying working on two closings so when they called to see some homes, I quickly agreed without my normal "if I am going to spend this much time with you, we need to have an agency agreement speech.
They got real serious about what they wanted and over the space of a couple of days, I found them two homes which they really liked. They liked them enough to get the name of a banker from me and get pre-qualified. They wanted to do some serious thinking before making an offer so we agreed to talk the first of the next week.
My wife and I were going to be out of town for the weekend so I made arrangements with the two sellers' agents in our company who had the listings to show the homes if my buyers had any questions or wanted to see them again. I was a little surprised they did not take me up on the offer.
I called to check on them during the weekend, and I was told that things were still on track, and they were just trying to decide which house.
One of the homes is a particular favorite of mine and the other is just across the street from where I live.
When I got back in town, I called to see if a decision had been made. I was told that neighter home excited them now, and they were considering a job in another state. I was certainly surprised, but this is real estate and anything can happen with today's buyers.
They asked me to call them back in a week or two, and what they were doing might be a little clearer.
The fact that they all of sudden stopped loving these two homes smelled like a red herring to me. I was very suspicious as to what was happening.
When I called back in a week, I missed them. The wife called back and said they had decided to buy a home down the street from their relatives, and they were taking a job out of state. It would work well for them.
I was happy to have the honesty from them, but it was a good reminder that I should never put someone in the car for serious looking unless they have signed an exclusive buyer agency agreement with me.
The reality is that when yoiu smell a red herring, something is likely rotten.
I would rather Carpe beach diem than waste my time with someone who is going to buy in another area.