I Refuse to be Treated Like a Doormat

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Kirby Fine Homes

For the first time in my real estate career I had to fire a client. It made me physically sick to my stomach, but it had to be done. I strive for 100% client satisfaction with every transaction, but on this one, no matter what I did, the client would lash out at me in a way I have never experienced.

The first red flag was before the listing agreement was even signed. The real estate agent son, who I had never even knew existed, decided to tell his parent that I needed to give him a referral fee, even though there was no referral. Since he was "giving his parent to me", I needed to pay him. Are you kidding me?This is exactly the kind of behavior that makes me hate real estate agents.

What was my solution? I told the client that I would not pay the son a referral fee, and that they could list with him instead. The client sent an email yelling at me and that they were going to find another way to sell the home. Strangely a week later, they called to say they were ready to list with me as they knew I could sell their home.

The second red flag was a couple days after the home was listed. I had just spent a few hours taking photos of the home, as the professional photographer wouldn't arrive for a few more days and I wanted to get something into the MLS. The next morning I woke up to a barrage of emails sent in the middle of the night yelling at me. The photos and description were horrible, according to the client, and I had better change everything and make it better "or else".

What was my solution?I told the client that they needed to let me know right away if they wanted the contract canceled, as I was about to spend hundreds of dollars on a photographer, and time putting together all the marketing. They decided they wanted me to proceed. What I should have done was listen to my gut and cancel the listing.

The final straw came two weeks ago.

After being on the market 30 days, I brought the client a buyer who was offering an almost full price offer, with no closing cost requests. Both sides agreed to the contract. Because this was a long distance offer (the buyers lived out of state) I had not received the escrow check, but it was being put in the mail the next day. Late that night after my family was in bed, I received a call from the seller yelling at me about not having the escrow check (even though they had been told it was being put in the mail). The next morning I woke to another barrage of emails yelling at me, telling me the contract was void since there is no escrow check, that I am a horrible agent, that I have handeled their home sale in the most unprofessional way they have ever experienced, etc, etc, etc. The seller demanded that I get them out of the purchase agreement "or else".

What was my solution? I sent an email that I would not be treated in such a manner, and attached was a listing cancellation, as well as a purchase agreement cancellation. I told them that in all my years of selling real estate I have never had a client treat me with such disrespect as they had. I had fulfilled all my promises to them, but all I was getting for all my hard work was grief. Late night phone calls and emails at 4 in the morning were unacceptable and I was not going to put up with it anymore. They were fired!

I wondered later if I had made the right decision, but after learning from the buyer a few more things the seller had done behind my back, I knew firing this client was the correct one. It really sucks as the buyer liked this home, but they didn't want to put up with any BS from the seller.

So I get to mark this one down for the real estate history books. I have learned to listen to my gut next time, see the red flags, and not take abuse from a client. While earning a commission would have been nice, the money is just not worth being treated like a doormat!

Comments (5)

Michele Miller ~ REALTOR®, LMC, HSE, CHS, SRES, CMRS
ERA Key Realty~Worcester County Realty Group - Worcester, MA
'Helping You Make the Best Move"

Wow, Jennifer, in a down market, I am seeing odd behaviors from all parties involved. So sorry to hear this about your past client.?

Hopefully there is a more respectable client right around the corner that needs your services.


Jun 21, 2011 03:30 AM
Cynthia Grimes 443-506-0359
BHHS PenFed Realty- Office 240-815-9040 - Frederick, MD
"With You Every Step Home!"

Good decision!!  They were not worth your time!

Jun 21, 2011 03:32 AM
Terri Stephens
CIR REALTY - Calgary, AB
REALTOR, Calgary & Airdrie 403-827-4663

Enjoyed reading your post.  Yes, for some strange reason PEOPLE or (IDOTS) think they can treat us like doormats and such.

You did the right thing.  Those folks are lucky they didn't get their butts sued.  Glad to hear you walked away...actually ran away.

Stick with your gut.

Jun 21, 2011 03:34 AM
Kristin Hamilton CA REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway California Realty - Beaumont, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

I think you made the right decision. This must have been a nightmare for you. I think the son probably filled the parents head with all this garbage. Why didn't he list the house? You are better off moving on.

Jun 21, 2011 03:37 AM
Pam Holzem
The FireStar Realty Group - Hastings, MN

 Abusive people don't deserve us. Good decision on your part to walk away and at t least you can sleep through the night.

Jun 27, 2011 03:42 PM