I've come across many types of buyers in my 15 years as an agent but these buyers are wearing me down; what's worse is that these are very lovely and loyal people.
I sold this family a home two years ago. They were relocating to Nashville and had to purchase a home by a specific time. They spent an average of 40 minutes at each property. After 30+ showings, they made their decision and bought a home at retail price.
Last summer they decided they needed a larger home on a larger lot. They're pre-approved to buy without selling. They will list their current home with me after they move. This said, they have no deadline and all the time in the world...but I don't and it's taken MUCH longer than I could have ever seen coming.
I have other clients! Still, every week or two they find a home or two online they'd like to view including homes that are under contract, FSBOs and auctions that I have to look up and respond to. I've suggested seeing a few at once (as is the norm) to save time and we have a couple of times but now they've seen them all and we're down to new or reduced listings...one at a time. I have a standing search set up for them but I hesitate to send any more listings; I'm afraid to add to the information overload. They do daily online searches and upcoming (possible) foreclosure research which must be exhausting for them! The homes may be a 15 to 40 minute drive for me. They spend an average of an hour (larger homes than last time) examining the property, looking under carpet, taking tens of photos and I'm not sure what else other than that they go through each room a number of times and walk the lot. They've viewed a few homes twice, spending a second hour. I'm always thinking they're ready to make an offer but...they don't. I've thought that they were about to move on a few that they had me research history, do CMAs, collect disclosures and ask questions (what's that hose for?). Each time I think they're ready to make an offer...they email me other properties to look into!
They've passed on homes because of stucco, sloped lots and other issues that are imminent without entering. They still spend an hour inside and I realize that it's because they're afraid that there may be something so amazingly spectacular inside that the exterior issue won't matter. They made an offer on one foreclosure a few months ago but lost the bid. We found a PERFECT one on Sunday...a recently reduced foreclosure in a high end neighborhood. On Monday morning the L.A. responded that there were multiple offers and the seller had already selected one (over list price). The buyer had sent me an email after I did all the research Sunday night (proving that the house was a great deal), instructing me to write an offer at $30,000 below list price because it was a foreclosure. (I've addressed/handled that part with the outcome as proof).
In an effort to move things along (we've been looking since June when I picked up fleas from one property which prospered and multiplied on my cat and in my home for 3 months), I've explained about the multiple offer situations I've been experiencing with buyers and sellers and that they shouldn't wait much longer to make a decision. There was a slow couple of months but It just turned out that I've spent an enormous amount of time and money driving, researching, answering questions and finding links to train schedules, noise ordinances and what-not. At what point do you dismiss a client who has become a regular part of your life and who you actually like? Perhaps when it occurs to you that you may be losing new business. If each showing takes 2-3 hours in the car, alone. Multiply that by the number of homes and add up time for all the emails and phone calls.
It seems the time to bring on a newer agent who needs showing experience. But I keep thinking that, after all of the time I've invested... they'll like the next one...1/10/14 update: These people never bought a house, were given a place to live by his employer and then listed their home with another agent! All of the hours, gas and time I gave them and I didn't make one dime. Thanks Friends!