Have you ever had to fire a client? I fired a client this week.

Real Estate Agent with Home Real Estate

Today was a sad day because I had to fire a client. I spent a lot of time working with him to help save his house from foreclosure and he decided to kill a deal because he didn't want anyone to make money off of his house. You see there was a cash investor who made a fair offer on the property that would have been accepted by the bank as it was close to the Bank ordered BPO and my seller killed it.

He was being a bit unreasonable about the whole thing and said that he was having second thoughts and decided he only wanted a person who was going to live in the property to buy it. I told him that was novel, but when you have a foreclosure sale date on your house, you may want to consider all offers. On top of that he accused me and the investor that I was working with of being predatory. That was the last straw for me, I will not allow someone to attack my character, no matter what their circumstances are. All we have as Realtors is our reputation and we need to guard that with our all. My reputation is far more valuable than gold to me.

He called me today and asked if I would be willing to help him because he changed his mind and wants to try and sell it now. The kicker is that he says that he spoke with another Realtor that said she had a buyer (there are a few ethical issues there but I won't go there). I told him that he is released from our agreement and may pursue a real estate relationship with the other Realtor. I can no longer work with him because I have some trust issues now that I cannot overcome. I value my time and I cannot afford to waste it with someone who is playing games. I work with a lot of distressed homeowners so I know how to deal with them. Typically I am very sensitive and accommodate them whenever I can, this time was not that time. I spent a lot of time explaining the process and answering his questions so that he was not in the blue. He appeared to be very clear about what his role is and what needed to take place in order for his house to sell.

You see, one of the pitfalls we Realtors fall into is the pitfall of not having enough self respect to only work with people who fit our business model. You can't work with everyone, there are time constraints, we sometimes don't have time and sometimes the people are not prequalified. There are a host of other reasons, but my main point is that we are not here to be whipping boys and girls for the public. I know that some of them don't think we do much, but that is probably more our fault for not going into more detail of the countless hours we spend for each of our clients. If you divide our commission by the number of hours spent on any given deal,  they quickly see that the more time we spend the less we make in Corporate America terms.

This technology age is wonderful and it will drive some of us out of business if we don't get up to speed. But it will not take the place of a seasoned Realtor. A website can provide you with lots of helpful information and lots of book knowledge, but it won't help you navigate a sticky deal. There is a lot of psychology in the game that we play and it is a game. A game that requires us to be very savvy and on our toes. Some are better at it than others, but we all have to play. Personally, I find the game to be very satisfying and I enjoy it immensely. It is not for the inexperienced or the week of heart.

I would be interested in hearing your responses to this post. Do you agree or disagree with me? What would you have done?

Steven Wright
My Website (I just did a lot of work on my website, I would be interested in getting your input)

Short Sale Experts Found Here


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
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  2. D B 03/19/2009 03:45 PM
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Barbara Delaney
Park Place REALTORS, Inc. - Roanoke, VA

Dear Steven,

You definately did the right thing!


Mar 20, 2009 01:13 AM #86
Mark MacKenzie
Phoenix, AZ


In order for a real estate transaction to be successful there needs to be mutual respect and trust from both parties.  If this respect and trust is absent, the sooner you can cut them looses the better.

Mar 20, 2009 01:27 AM #87
Paul McFadden
Paratex - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Steven: Good for you! I may need to tell a good friend to take a hike. She's a little bit of a ball-buster and I don't go for that. Have a great day!



Mar 20, 2009 01:49 AM #88
Ritu Desai
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949

Steven, I stand by you on your decision. I have fired/let go buyer & seller due to similar situation.

Mar 20, 2009 02:15 AM #89
Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

I told one to find someone else recently because she was being unreasonable, too demanding, and a general pain in the butt.

Life is too short to put up with unnecessary aggravation.

Mar 20, 2009 03:17 AM #90
Sharon Paxson
Arbor Real Estate - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate - Arbor Real Estate

Sometimes we have to make decisions that are reflective of our character. I think you did the right thing here.

Mar 20, 2009 03:18 AM #91
Joy Curry
Keller Williams Realty - Gainesville, FL

WOW. I am very proud of you. I read a couple of years back that their are enough people who will do business the way you want to. You just have to say no to the wrong people. I started working with people I wanted to work with and I make more money, have more time to myself and life it better. I encourage all of us to stand up for what we belive in.

Joy Curry Gainesville, FL



Mar 20, 2009 03:30 AM #92
Dawn Offerman- Credit Doctor

i worked on my sellers shortsale for 18 months

didnt make a payment  for 18 months

i post poned auction 3 times

finally had a buyer - seller walked/ and talked  the buyers during home inspection

even talked about selling furniture

week of closing she state she didnt want to sell- that she was told she could get loan modification

all that time my commission of only $1700 which is my million- gone

buyers out of spent money




Mar 20, 2009 03:30 AM #93
Jeanne Gregory, RE/MAX Southwest, Sugar Land, TX

There is no greater, freeing power than pushing the "delete" key in your data base. 

Mar 20, 2009 03:31 AM #94
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Steven:  I'm presently going through something similar, only on the mortgage end.  Don't like it one bit.  Absolutely nothing about it feels good or completely right.  But, it doesn't change that once is a very great while, it happens ... and it has to be done. I can take some bumps and bruises during the process, but will not take someone coming for my jugular.  Been in the industry for 30 years and feel like my reputation speaks for itself.  Just unwilling to take that type of abuse.  I've learned too, that ultimately most of these transactions land on my doorstep down the road again too.  In the majority of cases, they learn that the information or actions I was taking on their behalf were truly in their best interest or the right thing to do and they return to ask for help.  

As much as it hurt to do so, the action you took was best for you.  Congrats on having the courage to do it, especially in the present market.  Best of luck to you in the future!

Gene Mundt, Professional Mortgage Banker                                           www.genemundt.com        Chicago Bancorp

Mar 20, 2009 03:35 AM #95
Michael Clarkson
Snow Coast Real Estate - Littleton, CO


Congrats to you!

At the risk of sounding like a snob, we Realtors® generally lack leadership skills and often act like ambulance chasing lawyers. People abuse us.  They don't respect us, because we don't [very often] respect ourselves. 

That's why we suck at trust with the public.

In a recent Harris Poll, we had a rating of 7% of folks "completely trusted" our profession. See the poll here: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?pid=661.

I remind clients whom I have fired: The only true real estate emergency you will encounter is your home being on fire.  If it is, you better be calling 9-1-1, not me.  Other non-emergencies:

  • Getting that CMA at 8:17 PM is not. 
  • Indulging your "surfing for homes on the internet" is not an emergency. 
  • And, exporting your boredom into my schedule to show you homes when you have no "intention" nor effective ability to purchase is also not an emergency, nor a priority.

I left a big firm to start my own firm in September.  I export all of this "dead weight", which includes people like Steve encountered, to those firms and brokers who aren't as disciplined.  If you wish to go out of business, I will help you.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to see/hear how many of you are true professionals who chose not to be abused nor forced into endentured servitude.  Seriously, the postings of those before me really give me hope for what is a surprisingly undisciplined industry.

Thanks for re-instilling my faith.


Michael Clarkson



Mar 20, 2009 03:48 AM #96
Robin Turner
Happy House Real Estate - Cocoa Beach, FL
Robin Turner

We're used to buying and selling, with big dollar amounts, on a daily basis. It's what we do and we don't get too emotional about it.

This clinet, however, is losing his home and it's making him unreasonable and crazy.

Mar 20, 2009 04:13 AM #97
Kathy Carson
John Stewart Walker, Inc - Lynchburg, VA
Realtor, Lynchburg, VA, VA Homes - Lynchunberg,Bedford, Campbell

Steven - I have been a REALTOR for 7 years and have fired several clients.  The best one though was a guy who was a Mortgage Lender - and not one of the good ones (I found out later)!  I had his house listed - way overpriced - and every Friday afternoon he would call and yell at me!  This went on for about 2 months and as soon as the listing expired.  I called him and said "I just wanted you to know I pulled the lockbox, the sign and left your key - Thank You and Good Luck!  He just started stammering and I again said Thank You and hung up - I felt like a million pound weight had been lifted for my back.  As a result of that experience we have a rule - if you make "Mama's" stomach hurt - you are outa here!!!!

Now you have room for a great client - Good Luck!

Kathy Carson - RE/MAX 1st Olympic -Lynchburg, VA

Mar 20, 2009 04:13 AM #98
Peter Tamura
Coldwell Banker Select - Tulsa, OK

Dear Steven,

I agree with what you did.  I also think it was good that you stood your ground when he came back to say that he changed his mind and wanted to sell his house.

There's a vision statement that talks about core values and only working with people that share your values.  People like this client only drag you down and make the job miserable, time to move on!


Mar 20, 2009 05:05 AM #99

I fired a customer and he wouldn't leave. It's always good practice to fire your worst customers, so you can focus on the best customers. There is a difference!

Mar 20, 2009 05:24 AM #100
Peggy Wester
Realty Executives Integrity - Grafton, WI
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County

Hats off to you, Steven. I've only "fired" a client one time. They told me a couple of months into their listing that they really didn't care if the house sold or not. It was priced well above where it should have been and needed work -- lots of work. I finally gathered up the courage to tell them that I really didn't think there was anything more I could do for them. Very difficult decision, especially considering they were family friends. But I'm hoping they respect me for it and are able to see my point of view on it.

Mar 20, 2009 08:48 AM #101
SarahGray Lamm
Allen Tate Realtors Chapel Hill, NC 919-819-8199 - Chapel Hill, NC
Realtor - 100K Hours of NC Real Estate Experience

Steven, I've done it too and you are spot on with your assessment of the whole situation. Kudos to you and thanks for a great post! 

Mar 20, 2009 09:42 AM #102
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Steven Wright~Home Real Estate~720-989-5283-Congratulations to you Steve on doing what just about every real estate professional wants to do to some of their clients but was afraid of doing and that is FIRE THEM! If I was you,I would've done the same thing too.

And I saw your website and noticed that it is a Point2Agent website. I had one for years and about a month ago decided not to renew it. It doesnt rank high in search engines but just about every real estate agent who uses the website use the same template. Many real estate agents here have told me and a someone here on www.realestategeeks.com told me that blogs are much better than websites because they rank higher in search engines. And I am going to get one through Wordpress since it seems to be one that many people use.

Congratulations on your Gold star Superstar. I really liked this blog. Much success to you. Have a great weekend. Great post.

Mar 20, 2009 09:48 AM #103
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Steven - I once fired a client in the middle of showing them properties!  He received a call from another agent....on MY cell phone!  I was nice enough to take him back to his vehicle before parting ways.  I wrote about it here on AR, and someone said I should have "tazed" him!

Mar 20, 2009 04:34 PM #104
Larry Bettag
Larry Bettag - Cherry Creek Mortgage - Saint Charles, IL
Regional Vice-President

Liberating home boy!  Liberating indeed.  I've done it a few times too little.

Mar 23, 2009 04:22 PM #105
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