I Should Know Better

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

I sat out in front of a house for 20 minutes today, waiting for a buyer that I have never met.  One of the hard and fast rules in this business is never meet a person for the first time at a house. After 12 years driving the streets selling houses, you would think that I would have learned by now not to do it.  First meeting with a client has to be in the office.  Has to be.  I got a refresher course today.


The first issue is safety.  I ignore the safety angle pretty much all the time.  I believe that our streets are much safer than we believe and that we terrify ourselves unnecessarily about each other.  I don't look or act like a timid person which usually results in people on the street reading my body langage as that of a "victim".  And, I don't do things that invite others in an urban enviroment to mark me as a target.  I don't confront strangers.  I pay attention to where I am in relationship to other people on the street.  My handbag is not necessarily where I keep my money.

However, the first contact I have with someone needs to be done at the office and not out on the streets.  I know that.  I had forgotten.  Check with me in 6 months and see if I still remember how to do this...

The other issue is my time.  Time is the resource we are all given in equal measure, the resource that, once spent, none of us can ever get back.  None of us.  It doesn't matter if you are the Queen of England or a Real Estate Agent in Dallas, both people have exactly the same amount of this irreplaceable resource.  More precious than gold, more precious than any THING else there could possibly be described.  Time.

This morning, sitting in front of that house, waiting for a total stranger to show up, by that point, I already had invested about 3 hours into the meeting.  I have had multiple contacts with this buyer, by phone and by email.  I spent about 45 minutes setting up the appointment to show the house.  It wasn't an easy thing to set up.  People don'[t realize that for every hour we spend on the street looking at houses, I have usually spent an equal amount of time in the office setting things up.  Then there is the time it took to drive out to where the house is located.  Then I waited.

I confirmed the appointment yesterday.  I phoned multiple times this morning.

Oh well.





*** photo cuourtesy of red twolip via flicker creative commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/25182350@N03/

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Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Judith, I'm so sorry you were stood up.  Very inconsiderate on the part of the prospective buyer.  I don't always meet at the office first, but I do make sure that the buyer has spoken with and been prequal'd by a lender.  :)

Jun 14, 2011 04:31 PM #1
Judith Abbott
Coldwell Banker Residential - Dallas, TX

This buyer has a lender.  This buyer is real.  I confirmed the appointment last night, a trick I learned from my dentist.  For whatever reason, she just didn't show up.


Jun 14, 2011 04:34 PM #2
Stanley Stepak
Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH - Avon Lake, OH
Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake,

Oh I have been there and I too have learned my lessen.  A serious buyer is going to commit to get there.  Interview them on preapproval and see that as your measure of seriousness and commitment

Jun 14, 2011 04:35 PM #3
John Manuwal
Keller Williams Northwest Montana - Kalispell, MT
Kalispell Montana Agent and Photographer

That's always a hard call now a days. I often meet people for the first time at a house. But I let others know where and when I meet people just in case. I always have a book to read to pass the time and no shows. Good Luck!

Jun 14, 2011 04:37 PM #4
Melanie Ross
Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific - Benicia, CA
Benicia CA & Vallejo CA Real Estate, 707-319-2828

That is disappointing and I hope the person has a valid reason, one never knows what might have happend for them to not show.

Jun 14, 2011 04:42 PM #5
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale


The loss of time and wasted effort without a cancellation frost me too. Be safe out there though. I try to make some calls or work on drafts for future posts if I have to wait, so the time may not be totally wasted.

Jun 14, 2011 04:53 PM #6
John Michailidis
Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee - Sarasota, FL
Real Property Management of Sarasota & M

The question that comes to mind is, "Why did you do it?"

Jun 14, 2011 05:22 PM #7
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Unless there is a valid, provable excuse (flat tire, arrested, fainted and was hospitalized, etc.), then be glad that they stood you up.  

This person was not serious; they would most likely waste more of your time riding around, writing low-ball offers, then weasel out of the deal.

And don't beat yourself up,  Judith.    It happens to the best of us!    :)

Jun 14, 2011 05:26 PM #8
Kim Carnes
Licensed - Certified Home Inspectors (317) 753-7098 - Indianapolis, IN
Carnes Home Inspections - Indianapolis Metro Area and beyond -

Hello Judith

Sorry about the redo on your lesson...I hope you had a good book with you!

I think you need to stay with that first rule.

Jun 14, 2011 05:28 PM #9
Kathleen Vetrano
RE/MAX Gateway - Falls Church, VA
Helping YOU Achieve YOUR Dreams

Judith,   That is correct....next.  A reminder and lesson for all of us.  We've all been there and have had that happen.  The good news is you know from the get go what you"re dealing with instead of half way through a transaction.  You know you are wished a wonderful and great day!  Thanks for sharing your story.

Jun 14, 2011 05:41 PM #10
Steve Stenros
Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula - San Diego, CA
CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego

Judith: Irresponsible people are one of my pet peeves! How could they do that to you?!

Jun 14, 2011 06:57 PM #11
Judith Abbott
Coldwell Banker Residential - Dallas, TX

Why did I do it?  It fit into my schedule better than doing it the "right" way.  I have a listing in that part of town.  I was going to be there anyway.  Factoring in drive-time is a large part of the daily planning process.  But, don't worry, this most recent "inoculation" will help me remember for a period of time.  The first step with all Buyers needs to be that they come into the office, we sit down and talk about their needs.  We review paperwork.  I remember now.....

Jun 15, 2011 02:50 AM #12
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Hate it when this happens.  And do keep your first meetings to the office.  I'll remind you if you remind me.  :)

Jun 15, 2011 08:52 AM #13
Judith Abbott
Coldwell Banker Residential - Dallas, TX

Chris Ann, that's a deal.  I'll remind you...you remind me!

Jun 15, 2011 03:23 PM #14
Barbara "Barb" Bodnar, Licensed Associate RE Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Yorktown, NY
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Judith..we all learn safety first, respect first.  Anything can happen once, there may be a valid reason, but we learn it is often a predictor of someone's core value in respecting time.  I rarely meet people that I haven't first had a meeting with in the office.  There is that one occasion that I have done the same, but, it is so rare now especially with all the things we hear about.  We'll be checking up, let us know if the client ever called you again.

Jun 18, 2011 01:52 AM #15
Judith Abbott
Coldwell Banker Residential - Dallas, TX

Barbara, no response from the person who didn't show.  I have phoned and left a daily message on her machine ever since she stood me up.  No response.  I closed out her page in my notebook yesterday.

Jun 18, 2011 02:56 AM #16
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