I turned down a listing today... because it was the right thing to do...

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Results Realty GA RE Lic # 282060

I just got back with a meeting with a potential client.  We had a great time chatting about the market, her house, the area and where she wants to move back to.  We shared stories about family and friends.  In fact, it was less a meeting than a long awaited meeting between friends. 

She was referred to me by another Active Rainer.  She had contacted the other person through her blog, but had a need to sell here before moving.  But she has only been here a year and a half, and she is upside-down on her property. 

We talked about her options:

  • Trying to convince her lender to do a short sale.  She isn't in any sort of financial crisis, but couldn't hold this property, and would really like to move back to where her family is because they could use her help.  
  • Coming to the closing table with enough money to buy a small new car.  Another option that didn't look at all attractive.  It might be swingable, but would take a LONG time to recover from. 
  • Finding a renter for the property.  Since she doesn't have a lot of equity, she doesn't need to pull it out in order to buy a house elsewhere... but she isn't comfortable renting out her property, especially since she would be 7 hours away.  
  • Staying put.  She loves her job, her child is doing well in school, and she likes living here... It is an inconvenience to not be near her family, but with the money she would be saving by not having to pony up the cash to get to closing, she can afford to make a few extra trips to see them each year. 

In the end HER decision was to stay put and see where the market goes.  There are a few foreclosures in the neighborhood, depressing prices, but the neighborhood is pretty stable. 

Now, possibly, I might have been able to convince her that selling would be in her best interests.  I could certainly have come armed for the arguments that she might have had.  After all, I make money selling houses... and to sell houses, I need to have houses to sell.  But that wouldn't have been honest or ethical.  The person that referred her to me did so because she trusts that I will look out for her potential client's interests.  She has talked with me about this over the last few months because she felt I would look out for her interests and speak honestly and candidly. 

I could NOT sit in front of her and tell her that I thought she should do something just because it was in my best interests.  Most of the agents I know would have done the same thing... although, not all.  That is obvious from the thousands of listings that are at prices that are simply unrealistic... listings that were often taken by agents that were afraid to tell their client the truth. 

I value each client and potential client.  I think that this person will use me when it IS time for her to move back home.  In the mean time we will stay in touch.  She appreciated that I was willing to be honest with her and give her an honest assessment of the market.

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Wanda D. Lovelace

Hey Lane, Can I get that lady's number?

Feb 07, 2009 02:54 PM #26
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Wanda - No. 

Everyone else...  Thank you very much.  I know that most agents would do what I did... and now consumers that read this will know that too.  There are a few bad apples out there, but the majority of us really do feel that looking out for our clients and potential clients is THE biggest part of our job.

Feb 07, 2009 03:46 PM #27
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Nice post.  It's great to see ethical behavior in action.

Feb 07, 2009 04:41 PM #28
Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor


Telling people what they need to hear is often more difficult that playing along. Good job, :)


Feb 08, 2009 03:17 AM #29
DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones
Home Buyers Marketing II, Inc. - Manassas Park, VA
The NorthernVARealEstateLady & DMVRealEstateChick

In the last few months, I have talked more people out of selling.  You would think I was in the unrealestate career.  But selling is not a great idea for everyone and If I see it is not in their best interest Ill let them know.  Ultimately its up to the client to decide what they want to do.

Feb 08, 2009 04:33 AM #30
Danell Merren
Providence Home Mortgage/ICCF - Grand Rapids, MI

Lane, I like your perspective. I've been known in this market to talk some clients right out of buying for similar reasons, especially when they're young, they may want to relocate for jobs (Michigan is a very depressed job market), and I don't want to be part of the problem when they can't sell in 2-3 years. Those same clients have thanked me and told me that when/if they buy they will come back to me if they are here or refer friends who stay here!

Feb 08, 2009 06:51 AM #31
susan gough

Lane, I had a very similar experience over the week-end except this was to be a sale for a rental my client owned. We discussed the CMA I did for them and they decided to wait and continue to rent. We discussed both options BUT they were the ones who had to make the choice not me. I know they will call when ready and/or refer others to me as they have done in the past. Trusting the agent is the best way. Susan

Feb 08, 2009 08:29 AM #32
Kelsey Barklow
Hurd Realty - Johnson City, TN

I always say "listen to your gut" and you did. Feels good doesn't it? Great post.

Feb 08, 2009 08:42 AM #33
Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women - Portsmouth, NH
Home Tips for Women

Thanks for sharing & reaffirming that we should always do what is right for our customers, and it will be right for us in the end.

Feb 08, 2009 09:24 AM #34
Gloria Soria

I am agreed with you Lana. All  People in real Estate , must be like you  and this way our profession  will be really appreciated.

Feb 08, 2009 10:29 AM #35
Alexsandra Stewart
Remax equity group - Portland, OR
Broker - Portland Oregon Real Estate

Good work, putting the client first is what our ethics tell us to do! Laying out as many options as you can find is tops! thanks for the good news.

Feb 08, 2009 03:58 PM #36
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Good for you Lane for putting her above your own needs.  Most of us do it all the time, but it's nice to know isn't it?  She will come to you when she is ready to sell.

Feb 08, 2009 11:58 PM #37
Mark Artesani
Keller Williams Realty - Fountain Valley, CA
Huntington & Newport Beach, Fountain Valley Homes

Lane, A southern Gentleman does the right thing. Good Job


Feb 09, 2009 12:00 AM #38
David Smith

Bravo, Bravo Lane:

Doesn't it feel good to know that you gave the best advice you could without regard to personal gain? Ilearned a long time ago that honesty is the best policy in life, but also in business. Bad advice can haunt and hurt your business in ways that you may not ever know. It's like the saying I have seen when pulling out of my local car wash..."If you are satisfied, please tell your friends and come back soon. If you are not satisfied, PLEASE TELL US, NOW so we can fix it". Sure don't want those unsatisfied customers spreading negative words about you! Keep up the good work.

Feb 09, 2009 12:44 AM #39
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Thanks folks.  We need to let consumers know that we ARE on their side.  I know that there are way more ethical and responsible agents than dishonest unethical ones. 

Feb 09, 2009 12:35 PM #40
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

I did the same thing last week.  Husband had left, kids wanted mom to sell the house to 'stick it' to dad. After we talked for an hour, it became really clear that she wanted to stay and that she could handle it.  I agreed completely and left feeling like I'd made a new friend.

Feb 09, 2009 04:07 PM #41
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

I'm going to jump in here and say that I'm the one that referred this potential seller to Lane, because I KNOW that he is honest and ethical and does the right thing for his clients. 

Thank you, Lane.  You not only helped her make the right decision for her, but you gained 2 advocates.  The client for giving them the real skinny, and me - cause I look like a genius for knowing and referring you :)

Feb 09, 2009 11:08 PM #42
Scott Taylor, REALTOR, P.A.

Good for you! I don't think short sale was an option anyway, banks generally don't let a seller short sale just because they'd "like" to move. There has to be some finacial hardship there.

Feb 10, 2009 06:53 AM #43
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Lisa - As an agent that sends out referrals, I know that how the person I send it to deals with it reflects on me.  I would NEVER want to do anything that would reflect poorly on someone that trusted me to take of their friend/family/client.  I had a thought for about 3/4 of a second that you would want to get her down there to buy a home there... but I also knew that you would want her to do what was right for you.  Like I said... the other thought was fleeting. 

Thanks again everyone...   I think this is my busiest non-feature post.  I'm always surprised at what gets comments.

Feb 11, 2009 12:37 PM #44
Logan_Utah_Real_Estate_ Cache_Valley_Homes_for_Sale
RE/MAX Excel - Logan, UT

You may not be able to sell her home right now, but if you keep in contact with her, she will call you when she is ready to sell. You never know, you might make more not selling her house then if you had listed it. I helped a lady in a similar situation a few years ago. She is still in her house, but I sold her neighbors house and her moms house. She has become a great source of referral.


Feb 12, 2009 10:18 AM #45
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