Missed opportunity.. learn from it.. next!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

I messed up today. There, I admitted it, I made a mistake.

Surprised Face

This morning at a business meeting, I was approached by one of my new referral partners. He told me that he needed some information on finding some properties. It was the conversation I hear all the time. Seems like everyone is always looking for an investment property or something for a family member. In this case, his son was in the Navy and about to go on one last tour of duty for 8 months. He is in town today and wants to look at some properties. He hasn't talked to a lender or other realtor yet. The red flags were up that this person wasn't really looking to do anything today. I told him I would get him some MLS briefs of properties he might be interested in. I do take one day off out of the week, Friday, and this happened to be Friday. I do go to my early morning business referral meeting (BNI) and then take the rest of the day off to spend with my 3 year old. I told him this but asked him to call me if he needed anything. I bet you can guess what happened. I gave him the MLS properties, and went on with my day. Twelve hours later, and well into the night, I come into my home office and there was a message from him, wanting me to call him. I bet you can guess what happened. Yup, they bought a condo! The son had cash and it should close in a few weeks. They wanted to buy it now while it is such a great buyer's market. They want to rent it out until he gets out of the Navy.

I am a firm believer of learning lessons from every bad situation. What are some take aways from this situation?

  • You never know where your next transaction will come from, therefore, pay attention. You never know when you are talking to your next paycheck.
  • Don't assume. I assumed this person wasn't serious. I assumed that I had time blow him off for the weekend. 
  • I made the mistake of calling him from my home office number. I don't ever check that message machine because I don't give the number out. I have it listed as a fax number. I forgot that a lot of people just hit call back on their phones. The lesson learned here is, change the message to reflect that this isn't my main number and provide an alternate number. 
  • Make the most of the situation. When I called him and found out what happened, I was not happy, but I realized that it wasn't his fault. I made the mistake and admitted it. As it turns out, he felt bad that things worked out the way they did. He did try to reach me. He did what he should have done. I talked to him about the offer that was made, and helped him feel comfortable with everything. At this point, this sale is lost, now I need to work to nurture the next one. By not getting upset and losing my cool I helped insure that this individual will want to give me more referrals in the future.

I write this story in the hopes that I help someone else down the road. I am sure that there are more lessons to be learned here. I welcome the comments of anyone with similar stores and lessons learned. 

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Kate Wheeler
Country Homes and Land Murphy NC Realtor - Murphy, NC
CCIM - Murphy NC Real Estate for Sale

Unfortunately some lessons come with an expensive price tag, Chris.  But maybe the lesson for you here isn't to take away from family time to do another deal.  Maybe it's that ultimately you have your priorities right - you put your family first.  There will always be another deal but that little guy will be gone before you know it.  So I say "congratulations."

Nov 13, 2009 11:03 PM #13
Dawn Nuzzi
'Til Dawn Real Estate - Raleigh, NC

Sadly, I think we have all been there before.

My biggest mistake has been not staying in contact with clients who come to town considering relocating here and then "change their mind" about moving to the area "for now." I have missed the "for now" part and written them off. Only to find they ended up moving here a year or two later. How hard would it have been for me to still send a card here and there just to keep them posted of new developments in the area, just to say Hi and see how they're doing, just to stay in touch! I've made that mistake a couple of times before and I believe I have finally learned my lesson!!

Nov 13, 2009 11:31 PM #14
Jeanne Gregory, RE/MAX Southwest, Sugar Land, TX

There are other condo sales, but you can't get back a Friday with a 3 year old. 

Nov 13, 2009 11:49 PM #15
Lorraine or Loretta Kratz
Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions. - San Marcos, CA
Certified Negotiation Consultants


Hopefully, you might get referrals from this person, and there will be a silver lining.  As stated above there are so many opportunities that we all miss, its what we do about the lesson that matters.

Nov 13, 2009 11:53 PM #16
Kerry Lucasse
eXp Realty - Urban Nest Real Estate Group - Atlanta, GA
Your Urban Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant

It is a double-edge sword -- you try to be there day in, day out for your clients (and potential clients), but you need that personal time each week! 

Nov 14, 2009 12:12 AM #17
Robert Savage
Bakersfield Property Solutions - Bakersfield, CA
Bakersfield Short Sales, Property Management, Cash

I feel your pain. I am sure most of us have made similar mistakes. Nothing you can do now except learn from your mistake and get back into the game.

Nov 14, 2009 12:51 AM #18
Lani Sussman
Max Broock Realtors - Birmingham, MI
MI. Specialist - Oakland County

Sounds like you missed out on some income - but you can never have the time you spend with your children back - you may be kicking yourself, but would you have forgotten your child for the "chance" to make some $?  Sounds like you have your priorities right.

Nov 14, 2009 01:00 AM #19
Dave Humphrey, Broker
RE/MAX Marketplace - Celebration, FL
Real Estate Advice You Can TRUST!

Chris, unfortunately this happens to all of us. I say you've got it right. Learn what you can, and then move on.

Nov 14, 2009 01:41 AM #20
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I disagree mostly because I have set a perimeter along time ago and that is Wednesday after my Rotary meeting I take off, like you to spend with my 10 year old. I pick her from school sometimes she has lots of friends that come or not. But if I lost a Million and probably have through the years it wouldn't matter.

My life is not for everyone but it works for me and that and Sunday is appointments I don't miss.

Nov 14, 2009 02:24 AM #21
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

But you have to have some time to call your own -- you can't be everything to everyone -- don't kick yourself - it happens.

Nov 14, 2009 02:58 AM #22
Shana Haugen
Century 21 - Gold Key - Fargo, ND

It's all about timing!  I commend you for your strict schedule of spending time with your child.  In five years, that will probably mean more than one lost sale.

Nov 14, 2009 03:34 AM #23
Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker GRI, SRES

You did the right thing, spending the day with your child. You can't get that time back. You have balance in your life that I wished I had found sooner.

Nov 14, 2009 03:36 AM #24
Alexander Harb
Knights Investing - Mesquite, TX
Dallas, Texas Real Estate Investing

Everyone makes mistakes................. at least yours was on the side of your family, being with your 3 year old....

I would NOT call this a mistake, just a GREAT reason to be glad you choose to value your family above $$$..

I am sure if you think of it this way, in the end, you will be rewarded in life......





Nov 14, 2009 04:14 AM #25
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Hey Chris,

Yes, you missd out on a transaction, but more important than any $ you could have gotten was the fact that you spent time with your son. That's a tradeoff that I would make anyday, and I wouldn't feel bad about it at all. At least you acknowleded your "error" and have learned a thing or two from it.

Nov 14, 2009 05:02 AM #26
Chris Brown
Keller Williams Realty - Knoxville, TN

You guys are all great. Thank you for helping me see what is important. This is a strong work / life balance that we all struggle with.

Nov 14, 2009 05:12 AM #27
Carol Hamilton
Prudential Ambassador - Omaha, NE
Prudential, Real Estate, Omaha, NE

Good point about not assuming.  It can be second nature to think we have felt out a potential buyer and know what and when a transaction will or will not take place.  But truly we don't know because we are not the client.  What we can do is follow through and see where the road takes us.  Thank you for the reminder.  

Nov 14, 2009 06:13 AM #28
Elliott S. Topkins
Topkins & Bevans-etopkins@topbev.com - Boston, MA
Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty

Chris--This is everymans's story just like Bill Clinton was everyman's president. We shoot, we miss, we get better. Nothing worng with that.


Elliott Topkins


Nov 14, 2009 07:34 AM #30
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Chris - I would call this a missed opportunity, but not a mistake.  Setting boundaries and sticking to them is very important.

Nov 15, 2009 09:10 AM #31
Peggy Chirico
Prudential CT Realty - Manchester, CT
REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate

This is a great post.  Yes, you missed the sale, but it sounds like you have all your ducks in a row.  Will it never happen again? Probably not! But it's important to put everything in perspective,  keep your life balanced, and move on.  I bet you get referrals from him.

Nov 15, 2009 10:03 AM #32
Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen
That home office phone really bites! Time after time I have said don't call this number, call my cell. I can't TELL you how many people don't listen!
Nov 17, 2009 04:32 PM #33
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