Before you get too concerned about the title of this post, let me say that I am still with Realty World, Rubbico Real Estate. I was fired by a client.
I guess it was inevitable. Sooner or later there will be someone who doesn't want to work with you and that's what happened to me. As some of you who read my blog regularly know, I always make sure to have a Buyer's Agency Agreement with all of my clients on the first day we meet. While some in my market think this is suicide, I like the idea of having a contract to make my relationship with my clients real...for both of us.
I do, however, not want someone to think they are stuck with me as their Realtor if they don't trust in our relationship and feel that I'm looking out for their best interests. Let's face it. The reality in all facets of society these days is that loyalty is no more than a dead concept, tossed aside at a moment's notice when it get's in the way of convenience or personal gain. It's right there in the trash alongside commitment and honor, most days.
With this in mind, I always give my clients an out. I let them know that they can fire me at will. Yes, I actually put it into the contract that they can fire me with written notice. If they don't want to work with me, I don't want them feeling badly about it when, for whatever reason, they decide to use another Realtor. I know. I've heard it before and I'm sure I'll hear it in some of the comments here. Protect yourself. You're devaluing yourself when you do this. You don't really have a contract, if it's written like this. I disagree. And, since it is my business after all, I will continue to do what I feel is right for me. Until today, I've never had a client fire me. Never. Until today...
A few weeks ago, I had a young couple contact me through my website, www.wilkesbarrehomesales.com. I invited them to the office so I could go over their situation with them and we decided that they were good candidates for Luzerne County's Growing Homeowners Initiative Program. I gave them the info they needed to get started and then we signed a BBA. I was their Realtor. I was looking forward to working with them, but we knew it would be a while before we actually started looking at houses. This program is 3 months at least. I put them on a buyer drip from my website and sent them some houses from the MLS to start looking at, but other than the weekly e-mails we didn't have a lot of communication.
Then, I got the e-mail. The first one said that they didn't want to waste my time and would most likely be using another agent when the program was over. I was concerned and asked what was going on. I've never been fired before. This is the reply I got.
Andrew, It's not so much that we are firing you, we need to wait for the state grant and that won't be avaiable to us until feb,08 if we meet all the requirments. We also need to save our money adn get some things in order. That's why we don't want anyone wasting any of their time right now. We'll probably stay with our other realtor because I work with her on an everyday basis and when we're ready I know she'll be avaiable. Sorry but we didn't want to waste anymore of your time while we were stuck waiting. Thanks for understanding.
I wondered if I didn't communicate enough. Should I have called instead of e-mailing? In the end, I believe that this is what happens when people find out that their friends or co-workers are Realtors. I understand. I know I can't control it and I'm not upset. I'm glad I could help get this young couple started with a program that will give them the means to buy a house in February. I'm also happy that they let me know. I run into people all the time who tell me that they don't want to work with their Realtor any longer, but are afraid to say anything about it. They just run around with another Realtor, hoping that nobody finds out. At least this couple gave me the respect to let me know what they are doing.
It doesn't take the sting away. Getting this e-mail felt like getting slapped in the face...hard. I can no longer tell people that I've never been fired by a client. Does that make me human? Imperfect as I am, I guess I need these reminders from time to time that I am, indeed, human. One thing I've learned through my trials in life is: if you fall down in the mud, don't spend all day lying in it. Get up, wash yourself off and move on.
I'm moving on.
Until next time...