I got fired today!!!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with ADT Real Estate

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 got fired by a client todayI 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.

What did I do wrong? 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...

Comments (31)

Elizabeth Nieves
The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group - Durham, NC
Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team
Awwwwwwwwww...know what? They lost...NOT YOU! You are incredible...and I'd pick you as my agent...IF I were not already an agent. ;-) Blessings!
Nov 23, 2007 03:35 PM
Jeannie Kontis
Lancaster, PA
I agree, a lot can happen until February!  They might decide they made a mistake after spending spending some time with a part-time agent, and could end up wanting you back!  At least they were upfront about it, which says a lot more about them and shows that they at least have respect for you.  Never burn any bridges - you just never know!
Nov 23, 2007 03:42 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Elizabeth,

Thanks for that. I imagine they feel the same about the friend they work with and who can be upset about that?

Jeannie,

I will try to leave all bridges intact at all times. Thanks for the words of advice.

Nov 23, 2007 03:46 PM
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life
Andrew - Freaking A, I had written a quasi-astute comment and for whatever reason, it now rests in the purgatory of cyberspace.  None the less, I will simply say that the fact that they followed up with you the way they did says wonders about you!  By the way, it's great seeing you back man!!
Nov 23, 2007 09:58 PM
Suzanne Sands
Pavao Real Estate - Somerset, MA
Somerset MA Real Estate

Andrew,

I know this doesn't take the "sting" away, but some would have just walked disappeared without a trace. The next one will be bigger and better! :)

Nov 23, 2007 10:13 PM
Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island
ANDREW:  It sounds like you didn't do anything wrong.  Truthfully, the fact that you use an agreement is probably the only reason that they contacted you instead of just moving on with someone else.  Most of us have been through this at one point or another.  You have the right attitude.  Move on to bigger and better things.
Nov 23, 2007 10:20 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Jason,

I know how that is. Your mind reacts to what you've seen and you type out the perfect comment, hit submit comment and...it disappears. Don't worry. The proper people have been notified and the comment will be found out in cyberspace, safe and sound.

In the meantime, I'm content with your comment as it is. I'm still around, don't worry. I just don't spend the hours here that I did before. I'll see if I can contribute more now that it seems I have a bit more time on my hands. LOL Thanks for commenting.

Nov 24, 2007 12:33 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Suzanne,

I can always hope, right? Thanks for dropping by.

Adam,

I'm sure you're right about their motivations and the contract. Another good reason to have one. Thanks for commenting.

Nov 24, 2007 12:36 AM
Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375
Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions" - Grand Rapids, MI
Real Estate Services You can Trust!

Hi Andrew, it is a bit of a let down....I may also add you provided them with something their "everyday" Realtor had not, financing information.  Yes they have to wait on the program....why don't you contact them back and let them know you will wait together!  Since you are so familiar with the program you may be able to walk them through it easier and create a smooth financing process.  Nice post Andrew.

Nov 24, 2007 10:34 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Gary,

Thanks. That's a good idea as well. I'll wait and see what happens. As others have said, a lot can happen before Feb. Thanks for the comment.

Nov 24, 2007 12:50 PM
Universal Funding Partners
Universal Funding Partners - Scranton, PA

I'd also say that it's not too late.  This has happened with me before.  Buyers are gracious for your help but they get enticed by other loan offers or advertisements.  Eventually they realize that we are all using the same bucket of loan programs, so service is the difference.  Many times, they come back.

I don't like that they were dishonest with you from the start.  If they had an "original" Realtor, why would they sign an agreement to work with another? 

In any case, a simple call in January to check in and see how they are processing through the program would be a good way to show that you still care.  You could just ask for feedback on the Luzerne County program.  If they are unhappy with their Realtor, they'll bring it up.  You may not be able to say that you were never fired, but you may still be able to say that you never lost a client!

Best of luck!

Nov 25, 2007 02:17 AM
Barbara Stafford
Main Street REALTORS - Long Beach, CA

Thanks for sharing Andrew.  It helps all of us to know we are not alone in this situation. 

NEXT!!!  I also had a client "fire" me after an unethical agent promised the client he could sell their duplex for more. (the property ended up expiring and going into foreclosure).  I believe everything has a reason and this "firing" probably saved me a lot of headaches.

Nov 25, 2007 02:36 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Hey Kevin,

You know, I haven't really thought about the fact that she might have had the other Realtor from the start. I thought she found out that her co-worker was a Realtor and decided to work with them. Either way, I guess it doesn't matter much. but we'll see if they change their mind. I won't count on it.

Nov 26, 2007 01:06 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Barbara,

It's even worse when one Realtor steps into an arrangement another Realtor has with their client. I feel that this is the type of thing that happened to me, but I don't even want to start thinking that way. Don't worry, though, I can't imagine we're the only ones this happens to. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Nov 26, 2007 01:19 AM
Adele Irving - Easton Area Homes
Prudential Patt, White Real Estate - Easton, PA

Andrew, Thanks for sharing your experience.  These things happen a lot.  It's more common than you think.

 

Nov 26, 2007 12:03 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Adele,

I guess it is, it's just not been my experience so it was a bit of a downer. I'm past it now and it won't be such a hit the next time it happens. Thanks for the comment.

Nov 26, 2007 11:57 PM
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains
Well Andrew, under the circumstances, it sounds like using the term that you were fired is a bit harsh.  But if they were wasting your time and that's not just an excuse they are trying to use, then I would be thankful that they were thoughtful enough to just be upfront about it and move on.  Like you said, it is your business and you run it the way you think is best.  I do the same with my business and quite frankly, I do not want anyone wasting my time.  I've even included on my website that I am a serious and motivated Realtor ready to work with a serious and motivated buyer! because it's gotten to the point of ridiculous with some people simply wasting time (my time which costs me money).  Sounds like you gave it a fair chance.
Dec 09, 2007 07:39 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Donna,

I am thankful they told me what they were doing. I make sure that I express to my clients that I am serious about helping them and I hope they are serious about sticking with me. I did give them a fair chance. Maybe they'll be back to give me a shot again. I won't be holding my breath, though.

Thanks for the comment.

Dec 11, 2007 09:45 AM
Steve Shatsky
Dallas, TX

Andrew... people often pick their agents for seemingly the wrong reasons.  I recently wrote a Blog posting on that topic: Be Smart: Make the Right choice, not the Easy one 

It always stings a bit when you are rejected by a client, whether it be that they fired you or simply chose another agent for reasons that do not seem logical based on the available information.  I never get used to it, but I believe that when one door closes, another one opens and the time you would have spent helping that client may now be spent on others that may come along today or tomorrow.  Hang in there!

Dec 11, 2007 10:11 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Steve,

Thanks for the great comment. The sting is all gone now, but it still hurts not to be able to say I've never been fired. You're right. When one door closes another one opens. Now, if I could just find the lighht switch.

Dec 11, 2007 01:10 PM