Rescue Pets - Real Estate Clients - and Expectations

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

I had an ah-ha experience this morning while feeding the clan at the Cooper Pet Rescue Hotel. One of my rescues, Max, is always ready for food and treats. He has learned that if he goes outside, supposedly to the potty, that he will get a treat when he comes back in. He will act like he is busting to get out and then go stand on the edge of the stairs and eventually turn around and come back in expecting his treat. Of course, we caught on early and now he has to earn it, but he occasionally still tries to fool us.

He also has a pattern of asking for a treat when I get up, come in from work, come out of the shower and just about any other time he thinks he can con me out of another treat. I'll admit, I'm greatly responsible for his sneaky cons. I've given him far too many treats over the past four years and he has come to expect them, but for his health, I've had to cut back. He doesn't like it either.

Ashlyn, the first feral cat rescue has become my cat. I've always said if she was 40 lbs, we'd all be dead, but she has mellowed out and changed a bit. She didn't like anyone for the first year or two, but eventually she snuggled up to me and now we are buddies. If I take a nap, she is right there beside me and snuggles up under my left arm for as long as I'm wiling to stay there. She also has discovered meat. If I'm eating a sandwich with chicken, turkey or ham, she wants some. She has gotten to the point where she will come, grab my sleeve and try to pull me to kitchen. 

The third critter in this crazy compound is Sarge, another feral cat. He has learned a great deal from Max. He will go out periodically, turn around and come back in and head to the kitchen for a treat. I'll typically go along with him once or twice, but then I ignore him. He's fine with that. Of the three, he's the least annoying when it comes to treats. He's happy to just get along and once in a while, he wants a treat, but he's pretty laidback about it. The bottom line on all three of these furballs is I created three little homeless acting scammers who try to wear me down daily for extra treats. I can only blame myself.

What does all of this have to do with real estate? A lot. How you deal with clients can be very much like these three. If you have a Max style client, every time they have an idea or want to consume your time, they will if you let them. They will want to see one house twenty miles away at 7:00 pm three to four times a week, and if you don't take them, they will sulk and go looking for another agent. It's critical to set Max boundaries early. 

Ashlyn type clients can be your best friend when you are doing what they want, but if you are busy and can't take a call, or your schedule is filled when they want to look at 10 houses on your day off, or you discourage them from trying to make an offer 20% below list in an "on fire" market, you might see them get a little aggressive and demanding. Here again, just like with Max clients, set boundaries early. I just had a wonderful couple who looked at what seemed like 100 homes over six weeks. Their budget was limited and they had few resources to sweeten the pot on things. I was also working with nine other clients at the same time. When the Ashlyn clients would text asking to see a house in another state forty-five minutes away, and I was already with clients, they would go silent. 

I wasn't sure if they were seeking other agents, pouting, or put that showing aside. I finally had a talk with them and asked them if they knew how I get paid. They didn't. I explained that we had been working together for about 6 weeks and had looked at dozens of houses. Then I asked, "How much money do you think I've made?" They had no clue. I held up my hand in the shape of a zero. Then I explained I can work with them, but I also need to work with clients who are more likely to buy and close sooner. They got it. They bought the next house we looked at, and I got paid. 

My Sarge clients are the ones I like. They aren't too demanding, but they want to get to the finish line and I want to help them make that journey. They tend to be more patient and willing to accept busy schedules and they will adjust to get the job done. My most recent Sarge clients just moved into their new home and it couldn't have been a bigger celebration. We established a great relationship and I'm sure it will continue for years. 

All three of these types of clients, like my rescues, want the same thing. How they get there is going to be different, but if you set parameters early and help them understand you are on their side and you want to see them get across the finish line as much as they do, they might just become more like Sarge and less like Max. And hopefully, you'll have new friends and referrals for life.


Comments (15)

Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Spending time with the furballs is expected but wasting time with customers that want to just brose need to be defined as time is money in our business

Jul 31, 2022 02:42 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Well Mike this is one of the best analogy's to real estate in awhile!  It's so true.  We've got 2 rescues, one is a treat hound, the other not so much but likes the new game he's learned from his much older brother this past 6 months!  And oh..... so spot on when 'training' clients how things works and what to expect.  Yes they two get treats at the end - a new home! 


Here are my treat hounds!


Barney is the white Treat Hound!  Norman is the Treat Hound in Training!

Jul 31, 2022 02:51 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Anna, I took one of my other rescues to Lowes a few years back and he left a deposit. I did dutifully clean it up, but the store staff was so awesome. They kept telling me they would get it, but I just couldn't. That was his last trip to Lowes. 🤣

Jul 31, 2022 04:23 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten

Whoops!  We haven't had that issue with the boys.  We do bring little mats to put in the cart and they like that.  We're so well trained, aren't we!

Jul 31, 2022 04:59 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I like your analogy of training for pets and clients, Mike!  So much truth in your words.

Jul 31, 2022 03:37 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Mike, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Jul 31, 2022 03:38 PM
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-801-5525

Mike, adorable post on your pet rescues. The pet lover buyers and sellers are listening and headed your way.

Jul 31, 2022 08:07 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

What a great analogy, Mike... but I'll admit to being very much taken with your story before you got to the real estate analogy portion of the post. I'm a pet lover and pet mom and have been my entire life. I'm all about anyone who does wonderful things to support shelter animals, homeless animals, etc.

Aug 01, 2022 04:32 AM
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.

Nina Hollander, Broker 

My reaction to this post is identical to yours.   I was enjoying the doggie stories and knew Mike would transition to a real estate, but I didn't want him to.   I wanted the entire post to be about the antics of his doggos.

There is indeed something wonderful about those who support animules in need.   They are a different breed.  ;-)

Aug 01, 2022 04:52 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Carol Williams good morning again, Carol... my recommendation for your Second Chance Saturday post.

Aug 01, 2022 04:33 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent analogy, and I love the stories of Max, Ashlyn, and Sarge and their treats. Once a pet gets to the point where they expect a treat at a certain time, they want it! And once a client gets to the point where they expect certain behaviors, they want them. Both need to know their boundaries!

Aug 01, 2022 04:51 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Good morning, Mike.
Analogies to life and real estate are everywhere, aren't they?  Your post reminds me of the trainer who said the training sessions are just as much about training the owner as the pet.  

Happy Monday and welcome to August.

Aug 01, 2022 06:31 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Mike= pets do rule the roost. Besides being likened to clients they're also like children...each with their own personality. You have to figure out what it is that will get them to do what you want. 

Aug 01, 2022 12:06 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Kathy, they are like kids. I've always said, "Hi, kids," when I walk in at night. 

Aug 01, 2022 02:38 PM
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Great post Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD!

I formally absolve you from aiding and abetting your menagerie.  It's almost impossible not to with those sneaky, manipulative adorable devils.   Whoever invented puppy dog eyes knew what they were doing.

The analogy to real estate is well taken.   Although, as I commented to Nina, I didn't want the pet part of the story to end.   Very enjoyable read!

Aug 01, 2022 05:06 PM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

It is amazing how animals are able to create routines with humans . We have two cats and a black lab who all get along .

Aug 02, 2022 05:28 AM
Jeff Markell
Empire Home Loans Inc. - Tustin, CA
Sr. Mortgage Consultant - Forward & Reverse

Thanks for adopting, Mike. It is the best thing we all can do for the animal world.

Aug 02, 2022 01:05 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

My sister was a librarian in LA PL.  She found Muffy as an abandoned white haired cat. The fair skin and sunning result in cancer on his ear so he had 1 ear. She met her husband at the library. She found moms books were discarded from lack of circulation so she reenlisted the book checked out 20 times to show it was a popular fiction. During lunch she went grocery shopping and put them in break room frig and took them home after work.


Aug 04, 2022 08:48 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

Mike,  I enjoyed reading about your pets too.  You told a wonderful story.  But, unlike you, I've experienced the occasional person who hasn't a clue how we get paid and will work with you for a long time and when you mention it, they take off.  

Aug 07, 2022 08:11 AM