Yes, there ARE good reasons to turn down real estate clients

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Some say you should never turn down real estate clients, but I disagree. The wrong clients can do you harm.

The wrong clients can eat up your time, preventing you from working with clients who are right for you. They can also cause you mental and emotional stress, which further impedes your productivity.

If you feel that you “need” more clients and more closings, it isn’t easy to say no. That’s especially true if you’ve spent time and money sending prospecting letters and they’ve responded. But still… there are people you should turn down.

Lack of finances is a valid reason…

If a person wants to buy a house but has no money, no credit, and no job, you have to turn them away turn down a real estate buyer for financial reasonsbecause you can’t help them. You CAN point them toward counselors who can help them work through those obstacles, and you probably should. If you were helpful when they couldn’t buy, they may come back to you when they can.

But don’t make assumptions.

Some people with money don’t advertise the fact.

For example: We have a friend in California who owns a sizeable vineyard. One day he was working outside when he decided he wanted a new truck, so he stopped work and drove to town to buy a truck. He was wearing an old t-shirt, shorts, and muck boots.

At the first dealership, the sales people barely spoke to him. He drove on to the next dealership, where he found someone who was glad to help him. They had what he wanted, so he wrote a check for the full amount.

An agent here in the Rain told the tale of a man who came in shabbily dressed and asked if she would help, as he’d been brushed off by 3 other agents that day. He not only bought a house from her; he sent her several other clients and became a repeat buyer a few years later.

Sometimes you should turn down real estate clients while they’re still just prospects.

Which prospects should you turn down?

  • Prospects who want to buy or sell a type of real estate that is clearly outside of your area of expertise
  • Prospects who want to buy or sell far from your home base
  • People whose needs are not a good fit for you
  • People whose personalities clash with yours
  • People who are personally offensive to you
  • People who are rude, abrasive, or vocally bigoted
  • People who want you to violate the Fair Housing or ADA regulations
  • People who expect you to do anything you feel is ethically, morally, or legally wrong.
  • People with unreasonable expectations

Turn down real estate clients who want to buy or sell a type of real estate that is clearly outside of your area of expertise:

It’s far better to refer your prospective client to a specialist if you can’t give them professional representation. For instance, when:

  • You’re a residential specialist and your customer wants to buy or sell industrial or commercial property.
  • You specialize in condos and your prospect wants you to help with farm and ranch land.
  • You specialize in assisting first time buyers and a prospect wants you to handle a short sale.

You’ll earn a referral fee and your prospect will get the expert help and guidance they need. Meanwhile, you’ll gain their respect for knowing when to step away.

Say no to prospects who want to buy or sell too far from your home base…you don't want to spend all your time driving

Taking on a listing or showing properties far from home is generally a poor idea. You don’t know the territory, so don’t know pricing or even where to stop for lunch. You also don’t already know any of the community details such as taxation, cost of services, etc, so will spend extra time researching.

In addition, you’ll spend hours on the road and dollars on fuel. Take time to locate an excellent agent in the community that interests your prospect. Then collect that referral fee.

Turn down potential clients whose needs are not a good fit for you

Some real estate clients require more time and/or more hand-holding than others. If providing that time and hand-holding doesn’t fit with your personality, refer those clients to someone with more patience.

For instance, some elderly people who live alone like to talk a lot. They might enjoy telling you stories about the early days in their home, or telling you about their grand-kids. If you enjoy that, use my Senior Relocation letters to prospect for their business. Otherwise, refer seniors in your territory to someone who will enjoy helping them.

First time buyers might also require more time and more education. If you don’t enjoy providing that, refer them to a first time buyer specialist.

My own story about a client who talked too much:

One of my favorite long-time clients and business partners was a man who talked too much. He started coming in to our office to talk about a wreck of a house that he was about to repossess, and he became my client by default.

Any time someone looked out the window and saw him coming, they’d say “Oh oh, Bill is on his way in.” Then whoever else was there would disappear out the back door. He did talk too much – sometimes for hours. But he became a friend to me and to my family, and we missed him greatly when he passed away. My husband renovated that wreck of a house, then I sold it. Then we became partners in a few other houses that needed renovation. Any time he had to repossess a property, I was his listing agent.

Say no to prospects whose personalities clash with yours

It happens. Sometimes you meet someone and just don’t like them – or you can feel that they don’t like you. You’ll have a hard time pleasing them and you’ll dread spending time with them – so just don’t do it.

Remember that your time and your emotional well-being are important. Protect both.

abusive real estate clientTurn down real estate clients who are rude, abrasive, or vocally bigoted

You don’t need the aggravation, so don’t even begin the relationship. If they’re rude at first meeting, they’ll only get worse as time goes on. Just say no.

Run away from people who are personally offensive to you

If your first conversations tell you that this is a person you will not want to associate with, don’t do it.

I’m thinking of a client I once had that I could barely stand to look at after he told me about his “hobby.” He enjoyed shooting dogs. Had I known that before I took him on as a client, he wouldn’t have been a client.

Turn down real estate clients who want you to violate the Fair Housing or ADA regulations and people who expect you to do something you feel is ethically, morally, or legally wrong.

Some will tell you up front, so you can just say no and walk away. Others will bring it up later. At that point you can either educate them and gain their cooperation or fire them.

Turn down people with unreasonable expectations

I should have had this post to read years ago – before I took a listing that was 30 miles from the office, belonging to sellers who insisted that I had to accompany every showing.

The thirty miles weren’t unusual – that’s how it is when you sell in a rural community. But accompanying every showing that far from the office was a true burden.

What else is unreasonable?

  • Insisting that you advertise somewhere that’s expensive and proven not to work.
  • Insisting that you hold an open house every weekend, even though open houses are not well-received in your community.
  • Expecting you to answer calls at 11 p.m. or 5 a.m.
  • Expecting you to kennel their dog before every showing.
  • Expecting you to provide baby-sitting services during showings.
  • Expecting you to show them 15 homes when they refuse to get pre-approved for a loan.
  • Expecting you to drop everything and talk with them for an hour or two any time they call.
  • Insisting that you list their home for 20% over fair market value.

Remember that it is always unreasonable for a seller to expect you to find a buyer without a signed listing agreement. You do not want to spend what could be weeks or months of your time searching for a buyer, only to have the seller reward you with nothing more than “Thanks” at closing. (And yes, I’ve seen it happen.)

What if you have a very good reason for turning down a real estate client who might later claim discrimination?

You obviously know about the Fair Housing and ADA regulations – and know you should never turn anyone obey the equal housing lawsaway for reasons that fall under those rules.

If you’re turning down someone whose situation places them in a protected class, be sure to document your reason.

Keep notes on all of your conversations, keep copies of all emails or text messages, and tell your broker why you’ve chosen not to work with them.

 

Bag of money & danger gauge images courtesy of stuart miles @ freedigitalphotos.net
Highway Image courtesy of missisya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
shouting man Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Another version of this post first appeared at: https://copybymarte.com/the-right-reasons-to-turn-down-real-estate-clients/

 

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Rainmaker
421,493
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Marte Cliff , so much great advice and food for thought > it's a good post to bookmark and revisit at times.

Sep 01, 2019 09:54 AM #49
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Steffy Hristova - we do need to remember to protect our time and our emotional well-being.

Sep 01, 2019 11:04 AM #50
Rainmaker
60,279
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-507-7510

Thanks Marte, thanks for this post.  I would not work with someone who did not listen to the extent it called their motive or agenda into question.  I was happy to return them to the referral source.

Sep 01, 2019 07:00 PM #51
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kris Collis So... "Return to sender" is your cure. That's good, except that those referral sources might stop sending people - even the good ones.

Sep 01, 2019 09:07 PM #52
Anonymous
RoseOReilly San DiegoHomeSmart

I had a buyer that was nasty when her busband was around.to look at homes. I found out she was bipolar. I drop here as I decided it wasn;t worth the stress.

Sep 03, 2019 06:05 PM #53
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Rose - you can have sympathy for a person with an illness, but you never need to put up with people who are nasty.

Sep 03, 2019 08:37 PM #54
Rainer
479,189
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Great post, unfortunately, many agents won't learn the lessons you've illustrated until they gain some experience, confidence and skills. 

Sep 04, 2019 02:22 AM #55
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kimo Jarrett So true - sometimes we humans must learn from experience.

Sep 04, 2019 08:34 AM #56
Rainer
4,439
Edward Yarbra
Newrepublicfunding.com LLC - Boulder, CO
Private commercial finance

Alot of these key points hit the private finance clients as well when they come through the door with their investment properties etc and things mark red flags. Sometimes its always best to take a hard pass and continue forward rather than let hinderances be added to your businesses. But we've also had the clients that seemed like the file would have went more smoothly taking a hard pass on and turning down the clients but still worked themselves out for the best in the end therefore it does become difficult to make that decision although many key factors usually present themselves in helping come to this conclusion of a turn down

Sep 04, 2019 09:01 AM #57
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Yes, Edward Yarbra The fact that it might be difficult to help someone isn't always a reason to say no. You need to weigh all the factors.

On the other hand - If they're rude and nasty, it's always a good reason.

Sep 04, 2019 09:28 AM #58
Rainer
4,439
Edward Yarbra
Newrepublicfunding.com LLC - Boulder, CO
Private commercial finance

Yes Very, very true indeed. As mentioned there are usually a meriod of factors that lead to having to turn down a client or potential client.

Sep 04, 2019 10:18 AM #59
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree, Edward Yarbra.

Sep 04, 2019 12:12 PM #60
Rainmaker
441,142
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

My biggest pet peeve are clients that always want to steal something! They want to offer way below market, thenget mad at you when their offer is turned down. I don’t care how many times you tell them the offer is too low before you make it, it is still the agents fault that it was turned down! To me these types are worse than sellers that over price!

Sep 04, 2019 12:38 PM #61
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Tom Bailey That type of buyer is just wasting your time - while annoying the heck out of you!

Sep 04, 2019 04:00 PM #62
Ambassador
3,338,726
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh, definitely true, Marte! I'm not above saying 'no,' in fact, I just did. It was a high-drama former client that I would not wish upon my worst enemy! I know everyone recommends referring them out but, as I said, there are agents I dislike in my area but, none that much!  🤣 

Sep 08, 2019 10:13 AM #63
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debe Maxwell, CRS You are indeed a kind soul. That must be one beast of a client!

Sep 08, 2019 11:02 AM #64
Ambassador
3,338,726
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

LOL Yes, I have unlimited patience but, boy, when they're rude, JUST to be rude and create drama when none is necessary (is it EVER necessary?), that's another story. In my humble opinion, it's time to either get some medication or seek psychological help! 

Sep 08, 2019 11:06 AM #65
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debe Maxwell, CRS Thanks for the chuckle - I agree that some of those folks need help! I have known a few people who thrived on creating drama where none should have existed. Some were sneaky about it - just dropping a little gossipy lie here and there to see what they could stir up.

I'm very glad those people are no longer in my life.

Sep 08, 2019 11:16 AM #66
Rainmaker
521,514
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

This is a lesson especially difficult for newer agents to learn...b/c they are so hungry for experience, money, cleints.  It can be very easy for a prospective client to take advantage of you...believe in what you are worth and try to sniff out the freeloaders!

Sep 18, 2019 12:27 PM #67
Rainmaker
1,542,806
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR - sometimes you have to learn by experience - and even then it can be hard to turn down what "might" be a good commission.

Sep 18, 2019 12:48 PM #68
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