The Worst Kind of Client - A Parable

Real Estate Broker/Owner with New Paradigm Partners LLC EB #1326335

BrokeYour client is in deep trouble.

He's been living way beyond his means for a long, long time. He has a mountain of debt, maybe more than he could pay off in his whole lifetime. True, he has some nice things to show for it, but much of the money was spent on frivolous or wasteful items that never provided any real benefit - maybe they seemed like a good idea at the time, but now they just look dumb.

His income is down because his industry isn't competitive anymore - they were lazy and complacent and have lost their market position. They were slow to read market trends, because they thought they were the ones setting the trends, and they missed a lot of opportunities. Their focus continues to be on executive compensation packages and stockholder benefits - they could care less about the backbone of the business: their employees (who, by the way, have a union, but it isn't a very good one - their leaders are also more concerned about executive compensation and personal power than the people they represent.)

His assets are a mess, too. A lot of the hard assets are suffering from major deferred maintenance issues, and there is no way he can take on those obligations at this point. His paper assets are a shambles - accounting trickery, overvalued junk, and worthless blue sky that once was valuable but has been degraded by the public nature of his profligacy.

Your client doesn't have any credit left - he's maxed out all his credit cards, used up his heloc, and even has a couple of "payday" loans nagging at him. And he can't make the payments on what he owes without borrowing more. If there were a way to do that, it's obvious that he would only be digging a deeper hole.

AngryMaybe the worst part of the problem is his attitude - he feels "entitled" - none of this is really his fault and what's happening to him isn't fair. He just wants to get back to his comfortable life. As a matter of fact, he's even angry that he has to deal with this stuff. He's in denial about the seriousness of it, and has become evasive, untruthful and self-serving in his attempts to avoid confronting it.

Your client wants you to solve his problems. But there are some conditions - any solutions can't really be too painful. They can't seriously affect his lifestyle and he doesn't want to make any real sacrifices. So forget about credit repair - he's not ready for that brand of tough love. He's convinced that there is an easy way to fix these problems and make this annoying situation just go away. He would settle, however, for just deferring it into the future for a while - maybe things will somehow magically get better if he can just buy a little time. So he wants you to help him get more credit.

He's your client. What do you do? Do you even want to help this guy? You've done really well by him over the years. Are you going to walk away? Do you have a miracle ready?

Posted by
Mary & Dick

Mary & Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC
2601 S. Lemay Ave. #41
Fort Collins, CO 80525


Data Source: IRES MLS


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Marco Giancola 08/01/2011 12:24 AM
  2. Winston Heverly 08/05/2012 03:14 PM
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Thomas Haught
The Russell Realty Group - Saugus, MA

Thomas Haught

Hmmm....The first thing you need to ask is if this guy really wants help or if he just wants more money to be stupid with.

As a trusted confidant or friend, it would be hard to advise this person to extend himself even more.  And lets not forget we have a responsiblity to do RIGHT by our client and HELP them, not make things worse for them. 

Could you figure out a way to get him what he wants, absolutely.  Is it in his/her/their best interest? Probably not.

Aug 02, 2011 03:55 PM #121
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

The difference between most people that could be our clients and the federal government is that only the federal government can buy it's own loans and print money from thin air - all the while racking up more debt. We can make a huge mess of things but run into certain walls that stop us - at least for a time. 

Aug 02, 2011 04:54 PM #122
Flavia Brown
310-374-9093 - Manhattan Beach, CA
Realty One Group United

A thought-provoking blog. However, it wouldn't apply to a real live buyer client because most Realtors would qualify the prospective buyer before working with him/her.

Aug 02, 2011 05:35 PM #123
Michael Singh,Broker
Singh Real Estate - Corral de Tierra, CA

no responsibility 

Aug 02, 2011 05:51 PM #124
Becca Stradling
Desert Heritage Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

I knew it was our country from the very beginning.

I also agree about the problem of "entitlement".  That is a problem with the country as a whole as well as individual citizens.

The time is long since past for us to take responsibility for our problems and make some hard decisions.

Aug 02, 2011 06:13 PM #125
Eugene Adan
Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710 - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate

Too, too clever!

Aug 02, 2011 06:14 PM #126
Ruby Lee Sweeting
Darville Wong Associates Realty Bahamas
Your Bahamas Agent for Relocations & Second Homes

Dick I don't even know what to say! Broke and Angry...(I just can't stop LOL). Thanks - I needed that!.

Aug 02, 2011 07:48 PM #127

RE: Parable


Oh, I knew the whole time, Dick!

nu, dave

Aug 03, 2011 03:04 AM #128
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Well not this one exactly.  I often talk to people in bad shape and I just point out they are not alone.

Aug 03, 2011 05:58 AM #129
Michael J. Maher
The Maher Team, LLC & Realty Executives - Overland Park, KS
#1 National Best-Selling Author

If the consequences of your actions are somebody else's responsibility and you are using somebody else's assets to fund a business, you have no ownership in the results. That is our Congress today. Pass the buck, spend the buck, don't give a (heck). There are currently laws with amendments that counter the original law! We have laws of laws of laws and yet we have a more poorly run country than ever before. The rolling stone is too massive to stop and in the end, what we just experienced with our country nearly defaulting is merely a precursor - a foreshadowing - of the craziness that is to follow in the near-future. Nobody even thought twice about the country defaulting - everyone knew it wouldn't happen. But the fact that it even went that far shows the near-sightedness that exists in Washington. What is the solution? I don't know. I hope the leadership starts to lead rather than follow. Thought-provoking post Dick. 



Aug 03, 2011 06:20 AM #130
Steve Earnshaw

As professionals, we can only help those who want to help themselves.  His situation is not uncommon, and I am sure there are many Realtors in the same boat.  I would refer him to a competant bannruptcy seem to be describing the US Congress!

Aug 03, 2011 10:05 AM #131
Scotti Jowers
CENTURY 21 Shackelford French, Search West Monroe Homes - West Monroe, LA
Realtor - West Monroe, Louisiana Homes for Sale

I'm definitely in the business to help people, but this guy may be way beyond help. In fact, he doesn't REALLY want the help he NEEDS. Thanks for the post and for sharing on Active Rain!

Aug 03, 2011 10:39 AM #132
Sean Williams
AcklesWilliams of Semonin Realtors - Louisville, KY
Your Louisville Realtor

Cant help those who wont help themselves

Aug 03, 2011 10:49 AM #133
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

LOL.  Clever writing.  Yes our country is in real trouble.

Aug 04, 2011 11:25 AM #134
Dale Taylor
Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois - Frankfort, IL
Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos

Yea a lot of Realtors are also in this same financial shape.  I tell these clients I am uniting them with a really thorough Loan Officer who will give them a plan of action to follow.  If they follow this plan of action and stay on the path they will be positioned to purchase a home.  When they sincerely make an effort by giving the Loan Officer updates on their progress, I give them continued encouragement!

Aug 04, 2011 04:21 PM #135
Ellen Kippel
Weichert Realtors - Suffern, NY
Licensed NY and NJ realtor 914-588-2365

After reading this, I am exhausted.  I think I need a nap.  I can't imagine working with this person - real or fake.  It's time to move on!  Take care and enjoy your day, Ellen

Aug 05, 2011 10:00 AM #136
Judy Graff

Dick and Mary, WE are the government.  We started two wars without thinking how to pay for them. We told wealthy people that they don't have to pay their fair share.  We voted -- twice -- for a Republican (George Bush) who squandered a surplus.  And now "we" want to "cut up the credit cards" and live within our means.  Here's the question: what should we stop paying for? Your mother's social security?  All the federal funds your state gets? The FAA?  Yes, we have lots of easy solutions, as long as somebody else is being hurt.

Aug 06, 2011 11:04 AM #137
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

I realize your intention is to put a spotlight on the problems with our government BUT I just have to say I know this guy you speak of - intimately!  

"....he feels "entitled" - none of this is really his fault and what's happening to him isn't fair...... he's even angry that he has to deal with this stuff. He's in denial about the seriousness of it, and has become evasive, untruthful and self-serving in his attempts to avoid confronting it....."   

As a matter of survival we must learn how to deal with people like this.   They can be very charming - that's how we get sucked in.  This guy who "wants YOU to solve his problems" more than likely has addiction issues as well.  He's a bottomless pit - nothing you do for him will ever be enough.  What should you do?  Detach.  Run.  Save yourself!  

Unfortunately I have enough on my plate dealing with this guy - so I have little time to focus on trying to find the solutions to the problems our country faces.....sorry.  [Now there's an indication of a bigger problem]  Your parable is profoundly meaningful on so many levels....certainly more ways than you had intended.  Well done!  

Jan 27, 2012 02:55 AM #138
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

A parable?  That describes every client I have!  LOL.  Yes, I help him out...but just because he makes up 50% of the market, and if I don't...I'll be in his position soon. :-)

Jan 28, 2012 04:08 AM #139
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

 I just had a nigh mare working with.....sociopath. She was very sweet to a certain point, but soon she had tantrum after tantrum. It was time for her to shine: she created a problem after problem complaining, blaming everyone, enjoying all attention........

Mar 05, 2014 04:14 PM #140
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Dick Greenberg

Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate
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