Anyone who has been involved with real estate for any length of time has encountered time wasters. They might be people in your office. They might be loan officers. They might be title company reps.
AND - they might be people pretending to be sincere buyers or sellers.
Denise's article is about buyers, and how you can protect yourself from the time wasters. But remember sellers can also waste your time, so beware!
Is Your Prospect a Time Waster?
How do you tell the difference between good and bad prospects? One will waste your time, dragging you from house to house-getting all kinds of information from you-only to end up dumping you right before writing an offer.
You also have clients who seem like time wasters, but they're just very analytical and thorough in their search. These are people who have concerns that cannot be addressed quickly - and that's fine.
Don't be tempted to put everybody in the same category. Just because you've showed somebody 20 houses and they haven't bought doesn't mean they are a time waster. The 21st house may be their dream home. Knowing how to spot the difference between the two can save you a lot of time, money, and energy.
There IS a simple way to tell the difference. And it's all about ACTION! If they're not willing to take actions to work together with you, then you know they're a time waster.
For example, let's say you have a couple you've shown a few houses to. They haven't budged and you suspect they're time wasters. You don't want to drop them completely because you don't want to miss out on the next house being "the one".
What do you do?
Give them a "homework assignment". Something simple. Maybe provide them with a list of homes and ask them to rate them. Ask them to write down what they like and don't like about the properties.
If they're not willing to take this little effort to help you find what they're looking for, guess what? Yep! Chances are they're a time waster.
Be careful. Don't let time wasters vacuum information out of you without some kind of "commitment" to working with you.
Other telltale signs that someone is a time waster:
They will not come to your office for a meeting.
Red Alert! If they're not willing to get in their car to meet with you, they might be a time waster.
They don't want you to get too close to their personal space.
If you suggest dropping by with some information, but they insist on coming to your office instead or they say, "Oh, just throw it in the mail," they might be a time waster.
They don't want you to meet the other person involved in the transaction.
"My husband is out of town" or "My partner works until midnight" or "I'm making all the decisions for my mother," all of these smell like a time waster.
They don't return your phone calls.
Or your texts, or your emails.
And perhaps most importantly, your gut feeling tells you, "This person is not sincere."
Something about them just doesn't add up. You can't put your finger on it, but from all your human experience you can tell - this might be a time waster.
The old cliché, Time is money, was invented for real estate agents (OK, I made that one up, but it fits). Your time IS your money. If you suspect someone is wasting your time, listen to the sound of money falling out of your bank account because that's exactly what's happening.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.