Using Sound Judgment is Different From Being Judgmental, Especially When Dealing with Buyers

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

flowers in land park sacramento

I don't know about you, but it's not always easy to figure out which flowers are ready to be deadheaded and which are babies. In the past, I've felt pangs of guilt after I've snapped off a flower head believing it was dead, only to discover after the flower was in my hand that it was a new baby trying to emerge from its bud, and I had snatched away its life.

Many new flowers resemble those that are spent. It's hard to tell the difference. It's better to let them be for a while to see if they open up into a new flower.

And it's the same way with people. It's hard to tell the difference sometimes between a bona fide buyer and an unqualified buyer. As agents, we can be quick to judge because buyers might dress a certain way, drive a certain car, live in a particular neighborhood, speak in a different manner, suggest certain price points or otherwise give the appearance that they are not really a buyer.

I've learned long ago that immediate judgment should be reserved, although I can't say it's not tempting at times to jump to conclusions, yet I absolutely refuse to go down the road. Because you never know. Some real estate agents are extremely judgmental, and it typically comes back to bite them.

When a buyer contacted me about buying investments, she was shocked that I picked up the phone within seconds of receiving her email and asked if I could help her. She was asking about buying rentals in a Sacramento neighborhood that has watched values fall over the years -- an area of town where many agents refuse to work. I had no such reservations. All areas are the same to me. It's real estate.

One associate asked me if I was wasting my time because she would never work with a buyer who was looking below prices of $200,000. When did we become so choosy and snooty about selling real estate, I wondered. What difference does it make if you're selling a $40,000 house or a $1.4 million-dollar home?

Maybe I won't earn a big commission check, but I'll be performing a service, one that I am paid to perform over and over. That was my thoughts. Well, yesterday this client asked me if I would also consider working with her loan officer as he wants to buy investments, too.

Using sound judgment is different from being judgmental. I suspect we can all learn to be less judgmental.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

Photo: Big Stock Photo

The Short Sale, by Elizabeth Weintraub, coming from Archer Ellison in January 2009


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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


Re-Blogged 2 times:

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  1. Colleen Lane 10/25/2008 03:40 PM
  2. C Tann-Starr 10/26/2008 03:05 AM
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Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Elizabeth - Amen!  I'd actually like to thank all of the snooty, judgemental agents that refused to work with my clients first because they were low-medium income first timers.  Because of the snobby and judgemental attitudes of these particular agents, I had to opportunity to work with some of the best people I have ever known and continue to work with to this day.

I have one particular client who I have put into three homes in the last eight years and they came to me after a few stuck Realtors refused to work with them because they were looking to buy a small one bedroom condo.  In the eight years I've known that couple, I have done two home loans for them as well as a refi and they have sent me numerous referrals.

I have so many stories like that and most of them are from my low-medium income buyers who are in the low end price range.  Yes, I've had the million dollar buyers too, unfortunately, most of them ended up being what I now call the million dollar monsters or maniacs.  I'll take my little low end buyers any day of the week over the million dollar monster.

Oct 25, 2008 05:15 AM #31
Julie Dumaine-Russell
RE/MAX Alliance - Branford, CT

Elizabeth - This is the first time I've had an opportunity to read one of your posts it's a definite keeper!  My most valued clients have been first time buyers have who brought me repeat business from their referrals and when it was time for them to move up to a bigger home.  Agents who prefer to be judgemental are missing the boat when they think more of their pockets than living up to the the true spirit of our profession.

Oct 25, 2008 06:47 AM #32
Maria Morton
Chartwell Kansas City Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Elizabeth, using the analogy of dead heading the flowers was brilliant! I agree with the non judgemental approach and I like your mindset of serving the public. Helping people is what I'm all about too.

Oct 25, 2008 07:03 AM #33

That's a great principle.  I know agents that are struggling now because they have been of that mindset.  The property that is moving in my market is many of the homes these agents refused to sell in the past.

Oct 25, 2008 07:22 AM #34
Judy Peterson
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox&Roach Realtors - Tredyffrin, PA
"Superb Service, Superb Results"

Elizabeth - Great post! Best not to jump to conclusions ever. Every sale adds up especially these days. Oh and don't dead head those flowers at the end of the season. Let them go to seed for the Winter. At least in my area the Godfinches will treat you to quite a show as they feast on the seeds.

Oct 25, 2008 08:12 AM #35
Marian Goetzinger
Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000 - Pine Knoll Shores, NC
Crystal Coast Real Estate NC

Good for you Elizabeth.  We're all in this to make money but if we treat people the way we'd like to be treated, we will make money while we're providing a service and developing relationships that will be with us for years to come.

Oct 25, 2008 08:52 AM #36
Ronnie Margolis
KW Kauai - Kapaa, HI
Kauai Realtor - CDPE, ABR, RA - On Top of the Aloh

You never know what's behind the door Elizabeth. I say serve honestly, follow the code of ethics, and good things will come to us. Right now on Kauai where the median price of a home was almost 700k, the bulk of the sales are between 350-450. I know that sounds high for most areas, but relatively speaking, it's the entry level of our market. Aloha from Kauai...



Oct 25, 2008 09:18 AM #37
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I couldn't agree with you more....It's not dollar signs it's people we're working with. I a working pretty much with anyonebreathing including rentals. I fact I worked with over 30 remntals last year and 6 came ond bought this year. I find also that they are often very appreciative and can be a fantastic source of referrals.

Oct 25, 2008 09:27 AM #38
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Nice featured blog.  Working with all price-range people is the way to go.

Oct 25, 2008 09:56 AM #39
Jill Wente
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Gary Greene - Spring, TX
Realtor, CRS, MCNE, CHMS

Elizabeth: If I only worked with buyers only over $200,000 I would be missing out on more than 50% of the buyers because our median home price is $144,000.  First-time home buyers are my favorite client to work for not because of what I earn which isn't much but because they are just appreciative of my time and knowledge.

Oct 25, 2008 10:40 AM #40
James Wexler - Scottsdale, AZ

It about doing the right thing by people, those 100K buyers become the 250K buyers who refer you to the 350K sellers and so on and so forth

Oct 25, 2008 05:18 PM #41
Kathy Carson
John Stewart Walker, Inc - Lynchburg, VA
Realtor, Lynchburg, VA, VA Homes - Lynchunberg,Bedford, Campbell

Elizabeth - Great Post!!  I too work with every price range and in our market you would be showing $50,000.  A pretty common saying in our office is "give me 3 $100,000 1st time home buyers in exchange for the over $300,000 new McMansion buyer everyday!"  I've said it many times!  My market was and is now back to the 1st Timers - I love to educate them.  Now, guess what,  after 6 years in the business, of the 5 closes I have coming up 2 are from my blogging, 1 from phone call on prop, and 3 from past clients or referrals from clients.  I just closed one of my first timers on her 3rd deal.  I am very proud of my clients and the education I give them and they way they are so eager to learn.  It's paying off in the long run!!!

Thanks and have a great day!

Oct 26, 2008 12:10 AM #42
Marcia Kramarz
Re/Max Executive Realty - Medway, MA

I LOVE your metaphor!  Makes it easier for me to think about buyers and flowers - Already more appealing!

Oct 26, 2008 12:56 AM #43
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Elizabeth - great post.  We work with a lot of investors - is our bread and butter per se.  It is a nice mix to work with investors and then have some homebuyers and a lot of listings, again in different price ranges.  We like the fact that we have this mix - is one of the reasons we are having a great year !  Without the diversitiy in our business, our production would be a lot less !

Oct 26, 2008 01:50 AM #45
Sheila Moran
RE/MAX Access (Garden Ridge, San Antonio, New Braunfels) - New Braunfels, TX, RE/MAX Access, 210-32


Wow, what a great post. 

Thanks for reminding us of how our judment and perception precludes others!

Oct 26, 2008 04:13 AM #46
Sandy Nelson
Riley Jackson Real Estate Inc. - Olympia, WA
your Olympia area Realtor

What a fitting analogy. I have learned not to make assumptions about any buyer's value to me. There's incredible value in each and every one, even if it's just in the relationship.


Oct 26, 2008 05:46 AM #47
Patti Kam

Touche!  My thoughts.  Exactly.

Oct 26, 2008 07:05 AM #48
Colleen Lane
Kennewick Richland (and West) Pasco WA Homes For Sale - Kennewick, WA
Realtor(r) 509.438.9344

I left a comment yesterday (I think!), however, I was on ActiveRain's home page and I noticed how nice your avatar is.  Your smiling face is very warm and inviting.  I just thought I would pass that on to ya!  ;)

•:*¨¨*:• Colleen Lane •:*¨¨*:•

Oct 26, 2008 09:21 AM #49
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Wow, I leave town a ton of comments on this post. First, I want to thank everyone for stopping by and leaving their thoughts behind. Second, I wish there was a button that I could push to recommend each of you! I love reading all your stories and experiences. It reminds me of an old Candid Camera show (Smile, You're on Candid Camera) where this woman in curlers and scruffy clothes took a cab to her home. She then asked the cab driver to wait while she went inside to get some cash. (Some of the cab drivers followed her up the stairs.) They also filmed a woman dressed to the nines who performed the same skit with the same taxi cab drivers. 

That show made an impression on me, and I was probably all of 9 or 10 when I watched it.

I purposely dress down when I spend a lot of money.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

Oct 26, 2008 12:29 PM #50
Jimmy Johnson, REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc.

Great points.  A lot of buyers at the "low" end are first time buyers or buyers that are struggling.   Helping somebody get their first home or helping somebody struggling to get a home, often leads to a client for life!  Those folks are often more apt to refer somebody to you as well.

Oct 27, 2008 02:34 AM #51
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