What I learned in Real Estate this week - 8/2/2015

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Zion Realty

I've been working with a buyer for the past seven months. It seems like much longer than that actually since I was first contacted by this potential homeowner. She is a young, single mother who is putting herself through college. She is of Native American descent and would be the first of her generation to live outside of her Reservation. If all goes according to plan she would also be the first person in her family to complete a college degree. She is a very driven individual in almost all aspects of her life but when it came down to purchasing a home there was a large dent in her otherwise stout armor. 

Since she had never lived anywhere other than the Reservation she was eager to explore all parts of the greater Phoenix area to determine what would be the best fit for her, taking in to account her commute to school and proximity to where her family would still be living on the Reservation. She had also given me a rather rigid and strict set of "must-haves" in a home in which she was not willing to compromise in the least. Willing and able to take on the challenge of finding her the right home I gladly started researching properties immediately.

When we first started viewing homes she was excited to jump out whenever a house came up for sale that fit her criteria no matter what time of day it was. I found several homes that she absolutely loved but for various reasons was not willing to place an offer just yet. I've been an agent for over 17 years and I realize that sometimes it can take a buyer a little time to get their feet wet and warmed up to the idea of purchasing a home before they start to make offers so I understood her hesitation. Taking her out to view dozens of properties over the first few months proved futile as home after home in her price range that met her criteria went by, one by one, without her willing to place any offers. 

We continued to pound the pavement until we finally found a house she just couldn't let pass by. We reviewed the comparable sales in the area to form our asking price, however, in spite of the fact that the home was priced well she wanted to offer a full 25k under list price. Against my advice and better wishes she requested I put in the rather low-ball offer which was predictably roundly rejected by the seller.

Over the next few months she was starting to get harder and harder to get a hold of and was becoming less responsive to houses that came on the market which were a good fit for her wants and needs. Reasons such as family vacations and school projects would be given as excuses for not being available to look at properties. There were starting to be weeks at a time that would go by in which I would not hear from her at all. 

I received an email from her this week that she wanted to temporarily suspend her home search. School and family was making it too difficult to continue at the moment. I understand that finding a home can be a process. I wrote a blog post earlier this week titled "Five signs you aren't ready to buy a home just yet". This client was pre-approved, willing to search for homes in numerous areas, and was very present early on for viewing properties. However, she experienced what it's like when timing just isn't lining up for you and you aren't ready and willing to listen to the professional advice from your real estate agent. 

So what did I learn in real estate this week? As agents we can work very hard to find our clients what they are looking for in a home. We can put in hour after hour of research, drive hundreds of miles to show our clients houses for sale that meet their requirements, and give them the best possible advice on how to place a winning offer on a home. But if the client just isn't ready to pull the trigger, there's nothing we can do or say to make their home ownership dream a reality.

Clients have to be fully vested in the entire home buying process in order for them to achieve success. Unfortunately, this particular buyer is in a pre-approved price range that is one of the most competitive in Arizona. Over the last seven months and until she is ready to resume her home search, prices have been and will continue to increase. Homes that may have been affordable to her when she first started down this path will no longer be within reach if she waits much longer. Timing is crucial in purchasing a home and I only hope this client's schedule and affairs can get back in order to resume her home search as time may just be running out. 


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Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Sybil - I have kept in touch with her this week and hopefully in a month or so she'll be ready to start looking again. 

Aug 02, 2015 08:56 AM #4
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Nicole ... that sucks and you did your best and sometimes there are clients out there that just want to use us for our knowledge, etc.

I hope she calls you back and pulls the trigger on a home 

Aug 02, 2015 09:24 AM #5
Betsy N. Robinson - Serving the Sandhills, NC
Everything Pines Partners, LLC. - Whispering Pines, NC

Have patience.  But be sure to stay in touch sending her frequent tidbits of information that are informative but not pushy.  In the end you will have a very appreciative client and who knows how many future referrals!

Aug 02, 2015 09:54 AM #6
Tom White
Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com - Franklin, TN
Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN

Hi Nicole, I think you nailed it when you said she just wasn't ready. Unfortunately on the great home she lost, it sounds like she may have been getting bad advice from some other person. Bummer. When she starts up again you might ask her if she "learned" anything from the first go around. If she is going to approach things the same way, I think you are wasting your time. 

Aug 02, 2015 09:57 AM #7
Randy Hilman, Associate Broker
Randy Hilman Homes - Moultonborough, NH
What Matters to You, Means Everything to Me!

Hi Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert.  You're making the argument for concentrating your efforts on listings. You did your absolute best in this case but you were working with the textbook individual who is unable to commit.   You said it: What you learned in real estate this past week is that you cannot make the horse drink.

Aug 02, 2015 09:59 AM #8
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

How frustrating, Nicole. I feel your pain. Unfortunately, "it" happens.

Aug 02, 2015 12:42 PM #9
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hopefully all the hours you spend investigating and showing property paid off for you with other clients, Nicole. You're right; we can't make buyers pull the trigger--only they can do so.

Aug 02, 2015 01:13 PM #10
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

working with buyers who are not willing to offer market or close to it is so frustrating. 

Aug 02, 2015 01:30 PM #11
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

VB - You and me both VB! You and me both!

Betsy - I'll absolutely keep the door open by still sending her houses that fit her criteria.

Tom - You are exactly right. I found out later that she had a boyfriend who she was confiding in each time we got done looking at homes. I've always thought he had something to do with that low-ball offer. 

Randy - I led her to many streams but she wouldn't ever lean down for a drink.

Pat - It will happen again. We just keep on working. That's real estate. 

Lottie - I honestly feel she'll be back to looking at homes in a month or two but I could be wrong. 

Tammy - It's not 2011 anymore. Prices and sellers have changed. Very few people are in a position to need to sell. It's taking buyers a little bit of time to realize that. Most of them are getting it. 

Aug 02, 2015 02:55 PM #12
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Rogers, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good morning Nicole.  I think most of us have had those clients.  It happens, but I hope she comes back around and you can finalize the deal

Aug 02, 2015 08:23 PM #13
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Nicole.  So did she get cold feet or decide to stay on the reservation?

Aug 02, 2015 08:48 PM #14
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Nicole, I have been in your shoes and it can be very frustrating. With the way your market is going she may find that when she resumes her home search she is very disappointed in what is available. Rising prices don't leave much leeway for buyers to postpone their search when they're in a tight price range. I sure hope she gets back in touch with you soon and is really ready this time.

Aug 02, 2015 11:48 PM #15
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

James - I worked really hard for her these past seven month so I hope she recognizes that. 

Conrad - She still says she wants to buy a home off of the Reservation. I really don't know exactly what the problems were but I think the boyfriend had something to do with it. 

Amanda - I did warn her that she's in danger of being priced out of the market but it didn't seem to light any fire for now. 

Aug 03, 2015 12:28 AM #16
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

Nicole, I do like your what I learned this week type of blog. Some buyers do take a long time before they can pull the trigger. I did work witha young guy for over 2 years before he bought a home. You never know .. 

Aug 03, 2015 06:42 AM #17
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX


 You can lead a horse to water but.....you were very patient I hope she comes back before it is too late sometimes by not making  a decision you make one because it is made for you.

Aug 03, 2015 07:21 AM #18
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Bob - Two years! Now that's a test of patience right there!

Yolada - The market is about to make the decision for her in the coming months.

Aug 03, 2015 07:42 AM #19
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives


First of all, she's an amazing woman who has met and will continue to meet many challenges in her life. It's written in her stars. The Native American Indian descendants have every reason on earth to be skeptical. I would be too. You have been and you shall be a continuous Beacon of Light for her and I know you'll do an excellent job guiding her back on path, back on track, when she's ready. As time goes on, she will continue to think about that low ball offer. I have feeling she won't do that again. 

This was just the first chapter. I feel confident there are many more chapters to come. This would make a great novel with many lessons for others to learn. I think she's still learning. There's something restless going on - trust, ambition, a vision.... Only time will tell and again, I really do believe you'll be with her again on her journey. I can't wait until I get to the ending of her story. For me, this is one of the most important lessons we learn as Real Estate Agents - it's about their journey, not ours. If we are lucky enough to accompany them and get them to the summit someday, we've earned our Realtor wings and their trust is testimonial that we reaped more then just compensation. Rewards will be many and I'm very interested to know how it all turns out. Best wishes to both of you!

Aug 04, 2015 02:13 AM #20
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Patricia - You are absolutely right! It's about their journey not ours. I've guided her and given her all the information she needed. I just hope she doesn't wait too much longer as the market unfortunately waits for no one. She's already been priced out of a few of the areas she was looking at when we first started and there's a very real danger she could be priced out of other areas soon as well!

Aug 04, 2015 07:16 AM #21
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Nicole - sounds like she starting questioning here commitment to her goal.  Perhaps she did not want it bad enough.

Aug 04, 2015 08:18 AM #22
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Grant - I think there are a lot of factors at work with her but I'm keeping in touch regularly so that hopefully she re-engages sooner rather than later. 

Aug 04, 2015 08:32 AM #23
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