When to Just Say NO

Real Estate Sales Representative with Remax Results

Did you ever hear your mouth moving without your brain being present? Someone just asked for a totally unreasonable request and you are there nodding your head, while your brain screams, “What the Hell, I told you not to do that again!”

It’s too late, we’ve already committed, and we know we are going to hate doing that thing. Women are more culpable of giving in because we try to please. It’s in our DNA and controls the tongue. A sales coach explained the difference between men and women in selling. Men say, “Here’s the thing. The thing costs $xxxx. Are you interested in the thing?” The customer will say yes or no. If it’s yes, they hand over the requested amount, the man says, “Thank you, here’s the thing, have a nice day.”

Saleswomen say, “Here’s the thing. It costs $xxxx. Is that too much?  Is it the right color? Maybe you’d like a bigger one? Would you like me to gift wrap it?” Women in the audience roared with laughter. We all do it. After 20+ years of selling I STILL DO IT! It became a topic in my own mind because of particular incident with an acquaintance.

An acquaintance that I’ve known for years, but never made a dime on any of his fanciful flights that never landed, called on a busy Monday. He wants to downsize, buy a smaller home that he can rehab for his family, and sell his current home. This would be wonderful, but we’ve had this conversation 5 times over the years. He tells me that he’d never use anyone else, I’m like family. That means he wants something for nothing. I email him a list of homes. He says it didn’t arrive. I resend to 2 emails he’s given me. Still no arrival. Then I sent the list to myself and forward to him, the 3rd time is the charm. The next day, he calls to say that I have an eye for what he wants, there are a lot of possibilities on the list. THEN, he says, “I’m willing to put down 50% of my own money if you find me an investor who’s willing to put in the other 50%. I don’t want to risk my own money. And, I don’t have a crew, I really need a plumber, can you send one over?” Then you say, “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the dumbest Realtor of all?  Why did I answer the phone?”

It’s not only clients, sometimes it’s us. A new agent asked for my help. Aren’t we always willing?  She was in divorce, devastated, and starting over. It was a struggle even though she had been selling before. I must interject that she was a tiny blonde Barbie with huge sad blue eyes. She said she was having a tough time with a client, could I help? Sure. Then she called back, “Good news! I’ve booked us to show four houses to one client, and then we’re going across town to spend a couple hours with another client all day Saturday.” After I caught my breath I choked out, NO! With a totally milk toast excuse. “But, “she whimpered blinking feverishly, “you promised to help me.”

I’m sure that we’ve all had clients who complain about never having money. They seem to live a pretty good life, but it’s never up to their expectations. I had a client’s house listed who found an opportunity to travel to Africa for 10 days, but someone needed to take care of her dog. That would be the Realtor, who loves all critters. She had broken up with one boyfriend, was travelling with another which isn’t any of my business. So, I took the dog for 10 days with directions that the ex-boyfriend might want to see the dog. That was ok because the dog needed more exercise than I did. Sure enough, the ex-knocked on my door for visitation rights, “I need to see her, we’re really close and she’s used to walking with me. You can’t keep her away from me.” I handed him the leash with dog attached. Jog on. The house eventually sold, except that the seller, back from Africa mentioned, “There might be a lien because I borrowed a little money from my boyfriend.” She had FOUR mortgages, and not enough money, so she wanted part of my commission. Need I say where this is going?

Sharing lunch at a conference, another agent was recounting her difficulty with a client she helped find temporary housing,  showed him 40+ homes, but he was cancelling a contract over a fixable repair. I found myself pounding the table, “Just tell him NO! He’s being unreasonable, just spinning wheels. No, no no.” 


It’s so easy when it’s not your client, friend, or even family.  Just say NO!

Posted by

Mary Jo Quay

“That’s what I do: I move people—H O M E.”

 Phone: (612) 384-1360


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Erika Rae Albert, Austin Real Estate Expert
E*Rae Real Estate Group- Brokered by eXp Realty LLC - Austin, TX
Exceeding Expectations in Every Transaction

Good advice!  I can't believe you watched the dog.  Although, I've found myself in similiar situations where I should have just said no!

Feb 09, 2018 02:29 PM #1
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

It is amazing to me when our mouths don't listen to our brains. Even more amazing how brazen some people can be with their requests!

Feb 10, 2018 06:23 AM #2
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Saying "no" just doesn't come naturally or easily for most of us. We need to sometimes learn the hard way just how important to our well being using that word can be!

Feb 10, 2018 08:56 AM #3
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Mary Jo

I often find saying NO hard, in all kinds of situations business and personal. It's work in progress.


Feb 10, 2018 09:09 AM #4
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Mary Jo,

Selling real estate is good at teaching us to say no. Eventually, everyone gets to the end of 24 hours a day & cannot pack in any more helpful favors. That is the time to prioritize some sleep, food, laundry & other necessities & schedule how nice you can afford to be, while staying alive otherwise.

Feb 10, 2018 11:30 AM #5
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Very true - we are GUILTY!  I can so appreciate that.  It happened just today.  I closed a sale 10 days ago. I gave the buyer a gift certificate to cover extra repairs the seller wouldn't make.  I sent over a handyman, but the buyer paid for it. The buyer didn't fully explain her repair issue and the handyman got it wrong.  Silly me.  I offered to send over another handyman and pay for it.  Thankfully, the buyer agreed to cover it herself since she had miscommunicated the repair item.  UGH!  We keep trying!

Feb 10, 2018 12:22 PM #6
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I have often said that real estate agents do too much talking. Ask a simple question then shut up and pay attention to the answer.

We need more information when working with the consumer who calls us.

Are they serious, are we able to work on the same page, etc.

And then we must be prepared to say NO when the situation is not right for us.

Thanks for sharing.

Feb 10, 2018 01:29 PM #7
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Oh those are quite the stories!!  We all want to help but yes there are limits!  The tricky one for me is those out of towners who call and say 'we are thinking of KC and want to come in and look at houses for the weekend'. 

Feb 12, 2018 01:38 PM #8
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I think we all get caught in similar situations and then think, why did I do that? I now am more willing to speak up as I have so much less to lose.

Feb 21, 2018 06:23 PM #9
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Mary Jo Quay

I Move You Home
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