Buyers and Agents….The Tipping Point

An Agent called the other day asking about a new listing. A problematic property – failed septic, tree roots pushing up the foundation and well issues – low GPM’s and a high coliform count.

Of course, given all of the above (lying below the surface) I’d priced it accordingly. To the uninitiated, on the receiving end of  all those search engine funnels, the price seemed mighty attractive – at first glance.

So, I was getting lots of calls from Agents with clients looking for one of those proverbial million-to-one-shots. The diamond in the rough that would scratch their champagne itches in spite of their red bull budgets.

The Agent was energetic. Asked the right questions. Wondered if I could e mail 160 pages of inspections, so he could review them.  Said it sounded like something his clients might like and declared he was going to show it.

Standard real estate conversation number #37.  Right out of the Agent’s Handbook.  So far so good.

But before he hung up, there was a long pause.  The timbre of his voice changed. A strange alternate personality seemed to emerge out of nowhere.

Unbeknownst to me, we had reached a tipping point.  Suddenly he confessed that he had shown these same clients 67 properties in the last year and he didn’t have a clue what they wanted.  He said he felt like he was driving them randomly around the County.  Chasing his tail. Hoping to impress them with his willingness to commit lots of time to their increasingly vague cause.

Wow.  My first thought was: This guy’s in trouble.  Not a good sign when an Agent counts the number of properties they’ve shown clients or keeps track of the number of months it’s been.

Something’s seriously out of whack.  Either the clients don’t have a clue what they want,  Or they are trying to work out deep-seeded relationship issues by looking at houses. Or the Agent has drifted into a role as codependent enabler of the dysfunction.  We’ve all been there, done that.

Oddly, my second thought was:  Maybe this is why the traffic on Hwy 1  keeps getting worse even though there are less jobs and a lot less people shopping and spending money. All of those cars are full of Agents driving people around looking at properties they aren’t going to buy!  Mystery solved.

A few months ago,  I published a list entitled: As a listing agent you know you are in trouble when…

Perhaps it’s time for another.  Here goes. As a Buyer’s Agent, you know you are in trouble when:
– Your client doesn’t want to waste his time getting pre-approved.

– Your clients buy you a case of wine before they’ve actually bought a house.

– Your clients insist you should only show them houses  they want to buy.

– Your clients have been looking at houses for 2 years and now they want to buy land and build for $500k.

– You are only a week into the short sale and your clients are already climbing the walls in frustration.

– Your client is pulling the same properties off the search engine that you looked at together a year ago.

– The husband refuses to look at any properties until the wife finds one she might like.

– The parent providing the downpayment gift lives in Iowa and will make the final decision.

– Your client keeps calling listing agents directly telling them you are too busy to show the house.

– Your client wants to quadruple app and squeeze the lowest interest rates out of an unsuspecting loan broker.

– Your client immediately wants to offer $100k less on any property just reduced by $50k.

– You find the perfect property but your client refuses to enter a multiple offer situation on principle.

– Your clients argue about who is going to sit in front every time they get in the car.


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