The "Catch and Release" Client

Real Estate Agent with Utah Homes 9334967-SA00

Charlie and Billy were excited to join their father on the first fishing trip of their life.

They attached the worm to the hook ("gross", said Billy) and they cast their lines.

Within 15 minutes Billy's bobber sunk below the water.

Charlie, Billy and Dad assisted in landing the fish.

Dad said, "this pond has too few of this type of fish; This little guy needs to grow. We need to throw him back." 

"You may not understand the concept of catch and release now... but some day you will." he said

Billy and Charlie were crest fallen; "why would we go fishing if we aren't going to keep the fish?" asked Charlie.


No matter what job we have, I have the sense we all go fishing.

We fish for clients.

We fish for influence.

We fish for success.

So, when we fish, do we ever throw back the catch?


Eric had been contacting Farmer Scott for quite some time now.

Eric had always thought Farmer Scott's land would be perfect for a small subdivision.

It had a view of the mountains and a small fishing pond that was fed from a charming stream.

Or... the place would make a nice retirement ranch... or a horse stable & rider training business.

Eric had heard that Farmer Scott had grown tired of farming.

His land was too small to be profitable and, after all, wouldn't Farmer Scott want to finally retire and see the world?

And so began a courtship.


With much effort Eric finally managed to land a face-to-face meeting with Farmer Scott.

They got along.

They got along real well actually.

And thus began a dance between potential client and potential agent.


Eric instructed Farmer Scott about the selling process.

He explained that it was his duty to represent the best interests of the client.

He also vowed to try to find the best possible buyer in hopes that Farmer Scott's interests could be achieved.

Eric was a good agent and Farmer Scott decided maybe it was time to sell the place. He asked for a few days to get everything in order. They'd sign the papers, most likely, by the end of the week.


Eric told a few people that he might be listing Farmer Scott's place.

The buyers started to line up... waiting for their opportunity.

With each purchase there are clients with dreams.

And this place had so much potential.


Farmer Scott got cold feet.

It's understandable.

This place had been a part of his family for ages.

"But, you don't have any kids to will it to." Eric stated.

Farmer Scott replied, "I like you Eric. But I'm just not ready to sell."


Eric kept Farmer Scott in his calendar.

Every few days he'd check in.

Then every few weeks.

Eric's phone continued to ring as buyers would ask if the place were up for sell yet.

Every once in a while Farmer Scott would say, "maybe it's time."

Eric would prepare papers and then Farmer Scott would ask for more time.

He wondered if maybe this were a game of catch and release.


Eric finally told Farmer Scott this: "It has been a pleasure to get to know you. You have a great piece of property here. It obviously means a lot to you. It's also obvious that there are quite a few potential buyers who see potential here. However, I want you to know I'm taking my name out of the hat. I'm an agent but I'm also a friend. And if I owned this place I'd hang onto it until my dying day."


Agents who knew Eric were conflicted.

Some admired Eric's tenacity. However, they were disheartened that Eric "gave up."

Others felt that Eric had wasted his time. He should have dropped this client months earlier.

Some felt that Eric had gone soft. He had let his emotions trump the agent/client relationship.


Farmer Scott eventually passed away.

Eric was named in the will.

He still practices real estate. 

But he also spends a great deal of time maintaining the beauty of the place that Farmer Scott had managed through the years.

When people call him and ask if he ever thinks of selling the place, his answer is simple; "not in this lifetime." 

And Billy and Charlie love the fishing pond.


Chuck Willman is a family man who also happens to practice real estate.

He can be reached at 801.810.7770

If you have a Utah home you'd like to sell, he can help you.

If you want to stay- he fully understands. 

After all, home is where the heart is.



Comments (20)

Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
Sunset Properties, Powered by Movoto - Laguna Niguel, CA

Chuck Willman - I love that story.

Pitching someone for a listing and being nice and friendly about it is far different than being authentic and building trust and friendship. 

Apr 18, 2015 12:16 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Great story.  Good enough for a few goose bumps.  Thanks for a little pick me up.  Mark

Apr 18, 2015 12:25 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Chuck - now that is a story.  Sometimes doing the right thing is throwing the fish back or leaving the farmer alone.

Apr 18, 2015 12:45 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I do some catch and release of potential clients all the time.  Some just are not in the right place to move on.

Apr 18, 2015 01:43 PM
Neil Pluister
RE/MAX Property Pros Minocqua Neil Pluister (715) 367-7270 - Minocqua, WI
Realtor Up North


Great post and very true as to fishing, we all have done catch and release.

Apr 18, 2015 02:14 PM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Wonderful story Chuck He finally woke up and saw the real meaning of the property...

Apr 18, 2015 08:16 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Chuck, great story of understanding! Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your day!

Apr 18, 2015 09:07 PM
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!

Chuck, This story gave me chills! Why? Because it is a story of basic good and not just about the next deal. I am still searching for basic good in people. Sometimes its not readily apparent. Thanks for the uplifting post!

Apr 18, 2015 10:51 PM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Chuck, I agree with the others!  What great stories!  We've all been in similar situations but you have a beautiful way to frame them in words! Thanks!

Apr 19, 2015 09:41 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Jill Murty, Realtor - Serving Orange County, CA thanks! There *are* varying ways to approach the relationship. I think we, as agents, need to be atuned to what the buyer or seller is looking for in the process.

Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint That's quite the compliment. All too often we look at what we do for a living as a job. Yet, after all is said and done, we reflect on those opportunities that create a bond with the client.


Apr 20, 2015 02:17 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Grant Schneider I'm the type who is more inclined to release the fish. I would rather the client be "all in".

William Feela Exactly. I guess the question here is regarding the approach. An eager agent my look to create a client based on a perceived opportunity. If the potential client is not ready, how does one proceed?

Apr 20, 2015 02:23 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Neil Pluister we sure have! I've not had a transaction quite like this - I have wondered though, what I would do in such a case.

James Dray Precisely. Sometimes we are so much about the deal that we fail to see the bigger picture.

Apr 20, 2015 02:24 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Wayne Martin Thanks, that's what I was hoping to achieve when I wrote it.

Karen Hurst Your reaction makes me happy. I too am on that same wavelength. There's a basic good to everyone. I'd rather have a relationship business than one built on swimming with sharks.

Apr 20, 2015 02:46 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Silvia Dukes PA, REALTOR, CRS, CIPS, SRES I'm humbled that some people enjoyed this. I've written quite a few stories like these over the years and I'll have a few more very soon. Here's one that is somewhat similar. There is a Bridge - unlike this story about Eric (based on an event) most of my stories come from my own experience.

Apr 20, 2015 02:50 AM
Dale Bledsoe
Crown Key Realty - Tracy, CA
Realtor in Tracy, California

Great title and a blog of wisdom. Hard to throw one back, but sometimes it is for the best. Nice post.

Apr 20, 2015 04:10 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Dale Bledsoe thanks- I totally agree. I try not to think of compensation and instead think of any listing or purchase as a joint partnership. It helps to make the fiduciary duty aspect of the agent responsibility rise to the level of importance that it should always have.

Apr 20, 2015 04:49 AM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Beautiful stories, Chuck Willman.  This morning in response to a notification you were following me, I went as you say 'fishing.'  I checked into your profile and guess what?  I believe I caught a 'big fish!!'  Guess what a 2nd time: this one I am not throwing back in either - it's a 'keeper,' for sure.  Deciding to know more about my big fish, I read your suggestion: There is a Bridge and after reading thought, this may also be an author; I went back to the profile to check.  I did not see author listed in the Biography or under Specialties.  As I continued with Certifications, Skills, and value placed in Education, I could not help but jump with glee. I just 'caught a big fish that had jumped up in my direction and no, this one I was not going to release - this one I would 'FOLLOW.'  THANK YOU, CHUCK WILLMAN! and congratulations on the info on your daily list of wholesale and auction properties  - being part of  8,000 properties sold with a portfolio value of over $900 million.  Great Service - Good Work!!  The best to you in Alpine, Utah. 

Apr 27, 2015 02:26 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Well, Jane Chaulklin-Schott thank you so much for your incredibly complimentary comment. I hope to live up to your praise.

Apr 27, 2015 08:13 AM
S. Leanne Paynter ☼ Broward County, FL
United Realty Group, Inc. - Davie, FL
Davie, Plantation, Cooper City & Weston Specialist

What a beautiful story.  There are some places that should just remain as is.

May 08, 2015 04:09 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

Leanne: Thanks. My thoughts as well. We just don't want our humanity to be the cost of salesmanship.

May 08, 2015 06:47 AM