HELP! Flaky buyers? Rude? What's up with these folks?

Real Estate Agent with Frank Howard Allen Realtors

Long ago when I was young(er) and  (more) foolish and was then, as I have always been, hopeful and optimistic about just almost everything, I remember stopping into a real estate office in a town in the south Bay known for very expensive homes.  I saw a brochure about a house in the window that I liked (of course there was no price on it) and I strode confidently into the office.  I did not know then that agents had "floor time" or, in fact, anything about real estate organizations and how they work.  I only knew that I had seen something that I liked, and hoped I could afford, and went in to learn more.  I also remember that the company name was one I knew and thought well of...but not after this visit.

Now, granted, I couldn't afford the home I had chosen and I was not sophisticated about real estate things I perhaps should have known.  I needed to be educated but when I think of where my earning potential went from that day, I was a great prospect!  Instead, I was looked down upon, not to mention talked down to - barely talked to at all, as I recall.

Since that day, I've bought 11 homes - 10 in the Bay Area totaling over $10 mil. (that may seem big to you, but it's Calif. after all)  The only home I didn't sell for a nice profit, regardless of how long I owned it, was the one in MA.

All the above is just to say that, I too, have been a "potential client" standing in a real estate company somewhere wondering what I could afford.

That knowledge to this day informs and guides the way I treat people who come into our office.  Often our walk-ins are visitors from other states and towns.  They are always shocked (the out of CA people) by our prices for what you get.  A part of my role as the person on floor duty is to educate.  If they are still laughing about the prices after a few minutes, I know they'll not be moving to this area.  (Frankly, I don't know how people from other areas ever get to move to CA unless they are independently wealthy of their company is helping.)

So here is my question...with all the empathy and understand of how things are expressed in my previous 4 paragraphs - and I am REALLY a nice person, a well-educated real estate professional and someone who is willing to provide service beyond what might be normally available...Right!  So the question: Why, after several great phone conversations, or face to face conversations in which everyone is seeming to "get along" and feel comfortable with one another discussing needs and wants and abilities, do the potential clients just disappear? 

By "disappear" I mean that they (suddenly) just don't reply to new emails, don't reply to phone voice messages, etc.  What happens?  I don't get it.  They can't not like me yet, we've not even met!  I have, in the meantime, made appointments for the homes they want to see on the day they want to see them, googled them, created packages of local information, put gas in my car and discussed their upcoming visit with my Brokers.  But they don't show...and don't call and don't reply.  I think it's rude.  Unless someone is violently ill -  or dead - and even then, just leave a message!

Many in this industry tell me the answer to all this is "NEXT!"  Sure, that is possible for me to just move on to the next client, but I sure don't get it.  The other thing that "other" realtors say is that "buyers are liars" and you just have to get used to it.  I don't think I can work in an industry where that is really the norm.  I just don't believe it, I've met too many great potential clients.  It does, however, leave me with the previous question...WHY?

Any ideas about this?  I always want to do my part better, so I'm really open to anything I'm doing wrong, but how can such a non-pressure, non-offensive, kind person like me have such seemingly strange experiences with potentially wonderful buyers?

Signed:  Puzzled


Comments (4)

Sheri Sanders
Berkshire Hathaway C Dan Joyner Realtors - Easley, SC
Realtor/Broker - Easley, SC Real Estate
I try to call before the appointment to make sure that they are coming. 
Sep 23, 2007 04:11 PM
Joe Zapata
Keller Williams Realty Media World - Burbank, CA
Your Burbank Real Estate Expert

Maggie - I am so sorry to hear that this has happened to you.  While I have never had this type of situation occur before I know of others who have.  It really is just a big mystery.  I too call ahead to verify the appointment with the client and let them know that if I do not hear back from them within a few hours prior to showing that I will need to cancel the appointment.

Sep 23, 2007 04:15 PM
Maggie Bafalon
Frank Howard Allen Realtors - Sonoma, CA
e-Pro, CHMS, CNS
Thank you, sheri and Joe.  I didn't explain that well...while on the way to our 1st arranged appointment with 4 homes to see, one half of the couple became ill - and they called to say (apologetically) that they had to return home.  I was concerned - but about them, not having to reschedule.  it was following that and their comments that they wanted to reschedule the next weekend, that they stopped replying to my emails and voicemails.  that's why it seems so strange. Thanks for your comments.
Sep 23, 2007 04:50 PM
Barry Shapiro
Broker-Associate - Camarillo, CA
It's all part of the job.  We all experience ups and downs.  Thanks for sharing yours.  Good luck!
Sep 23, 2007 04:57 PM