When to cut the "buyer" loose!

Posted by: Concepts05

When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/03/06 09:05 PM

Someone said on a thread here somewhere, that we have to know when it's time to cut the buyer loose.

Honestly, I'm trying to find the answer myself to this. It's a buyer's market here and I'm treking all over the place, week after week, with the same buyer. Today we saw our 20th property. She always sees one she likes "mostly" but is just waiting for the perfect property - on the very lower end of the market, I might add.

What bothered me today is in the car home , she wasn't even talking about the properties. Stories of her youth, her grand daughter...etc. Every time I brought up the market, or the house she liked today, she changed the subject.

I'm getting the feeling she just enjoys being with me and driving around. I'm not a new agent with nothing else to do - I have listings and other leads I can be following up on.

Don't want to lose a potential sale - but really, where the heck do I draw the line?
Posted by: TopSeller2B

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/03/06 09:17 PM

Twenty properties and she hasn't put in an offer yet? She's not serious about buying. Does she have to sell her house first? Draw the line, cut your losses and get on with your other clients. She isnt buying anything. Let her contact you, and don't make yourself so available. She'll take the hint and either get serious or get gone.
Posted by: Greene

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/03/06 09:45 PM

I agree with TopSeller2B. Concepts05, I had a similar issue, but felt obligated because this buyer was a lead passed along by my primary lender.

I am a relatively new agent and learned my lesson, only mine was after around 60 houses over a few weeks. She was looking for the perfect house in Atl with a budget of only a $100K. You couldn't describe foreclosure better if you'd said the word. But she couln't get past the current condition of the property and wanted something move-in ready. Believe it or not, we were still able to find properties that were, in-fact move in ready and she had expressed interest in them. But there was always some excuse for not buying.

I finally called her one day after having spoken with my lender and said that things were really picking up and that it would not be possible for me to get back over to see her any time soon, but to continue looking (I had her under a buyer brokerage agreement) and let me know if I could be of further assistance. I don't think that she ever imagined that she, the buyer, could be fired. Non-the-less, I haven't heard from her anymore. Surely, there was a better way to handle it, but this is all that I could do.
Posted by: PA/NJ Agent

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/03/06 10:01 PM

I hope you guys had your buyers pre-approved before you even showed them the first house. Thats one way i weed out the lookers from the buyers, for the most part. If I cant find them something after 10 different property viewings then i turn them loose or refer them out.

Im not saying 10 is my magic number but if i can send 30 or more properties in the mls and help a buyer pick out the top listings that fit what theyre looking for and if they dont make an offer or get serious about putting an offer together that isnt low balling then Im moving on.
Posted by: Tanya

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/03/06 10:17 PM

I agree..if she's looked at 20 homes & hasn't found what she's wanted then:

A.. She isn't serious
B.. There might be a misunderstanding as to what she is looking for

You can try going over again what she is looking for in a home

Statistics say that on average a buyer looks at 8-10 houses before buying so it seems something is up wih her.

Maybe she is just lonely & wants company going by what you are telling us about the car ride.
Posted by: Maryknoll

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/03/06 11:37 PM

You better WATCH it, Concepts05. You're gonna be getting COMPLAINTS soon from the Massachusetts Board of TourGuides. You're cutting way into their business.

So WHO paid for the wear and tear on your tires and piston rings? Let alone the skyrocketing price of gasoline? Oh, I know, YOU did. Mr. Impromptu Volunteer TourGuide.
Posted by: AgentinMA

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 12:19 AM

Seems like she's a tire kicker. I've been dealing with a few buyers that want to "See everything" lately. The one thing they have in common after we go out is that the let me know what they liked and didn't about what we saw and ask numerous questions about the properties. We even had one of these buyers finally make an offer today.

Buyers are taking their time these days and I don't mind showing them everything but if they don't seem totally focused on looking for a home I would cut them loose. It's all subjective.. The buyers that made an offer today had seen 50 or so places before they made the offer. They are also 20% down full doc etc etc.. picture perfect 1st time buyers. I'm willing to spend more time with them than someone with a more risky financing situation.

It's all in the vibe trust your instincts.
Posted by: ronsmith

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 01:25 AM

Buyers are either ready to buy and have it narrowed down to a few neighborhoods, or their not sure yet. If they are of the second kind, it's best to just work with them over the phone and using the mls search. They're wasting their time if they want to see every home in 10 different neighborhoods. That's what I'd tell them, and I wouldn't waste my time along with them.
Posted by: East Texas Realtor

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 02:37 AM

Trust your gut on this one. After 20 showings you've spent enough time with this client to know whether or not she's an actual buyer.
Posted by: Jennifer Allan

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 09:50 AM

Check out my blog on Active Rain about Screening Your Clients...

Posted by: Concepts05

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 02:28 PM

I actually had her get her pre approval long ago so she's definitely credible. What bothered me most this weekend is that she wasn't even talking real estate on the car ride home.

As far as a misunderstanding on what she wants - well, I know what she wants.... a house at the very bottom of the market that needs absolutely NO cosmetic work.

AgentinMass - almost the same market as myself. Wow, 50 showings with one client...you do have patience.

Sometimes I think setting the buyer up on our MLS nightly notifications are overwhelming them. My fear is that, after all this time I've put in, I'll cut her loose and then she'll buy the first house she sees with another agent!

But I think I'll tell her we need a break over the holidays to re-think what she is looking for and if she is ready to commit.
Posted by: Concepts05

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 02:30 PM

And Jennifer, I was initally a little annoyed you referred me to your blog but it was actually a good read. My husband is a builder and has dealt with many "energy vampires." He likes spec building much better than custom building (tho it's riskier) just because arguing spouses and crying kids drive him crazy while he is trying to go over plans. He always asks "do we have any advil?" when he walks in the door....
Posted by: Jennifer Allan

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 02:41 PM

Oh! I'm sorry! Did I breach some blogging etiquette? I'm new to blogging, so if I did something inappropriate - please set me straight!

Glad you found it useful.

If your buyer is working with a lender, she probably is For Real. She's just unrealistic probably. This is such a tough call. It's unlikely she's going to find a perfect house, and when she does, she'll be competing with every other first time buyer in town.

My first year I worked with a guy for nine months, showed him 90 homes and wrote 7 unaccepted offers. And learned A LOT. I wouldn't have traded that education for the world. Wouldn't do it again, though...

Posted by: Concepts05

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 03:05 PM

Originally posted by Jennifer Allan:
Oh! I'm sorry! Did I breach some blogging etiquette? I'm new to blogging, so if I did something inappropriate - please set me straight!

I have no idea about blogging etiquette. I just figured it was a ploy to get more "clicks" to your site. I'm glad I clicked it on though...so forget I mentioned it.

Anyway, that's exactly what I've been telling her about the perfect house. And I think (I hope) the market has stablized and the buyers are starting to come out of hiding. I've been getting more calls in the last few weeks than I did all summer. And obviously, the good properties are going to get scooped up first.
Posted by: Mr. Foreclosure

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 09:47 PM

Sure glad I do more listing than selling! I've long said that I have no intention of competing with the Chamber of Commerce for showing someone new the town. In general when working with a buyer I will review what they have selected as listings they want to look at. If they vary widely I will tell them they need to get more focused on what they want. If they are fairly similar then they seem to know what they want and can usually make a decision in 6 properties or less.
Posted by: super realtor

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/04/06 11:44 PM

I focus mainly on the listings now.The reason concepts 05 is it sounds like your buyer is very unrealistic and uneducated about your market.If every qualified buyer in that range is looking for a finished home and only about 10 percent of those exist in that price range in your market the listing will be gone or have multiple offers in 24 to 48 hours.So even if you do find her the perfect home the chances of beating out the other buyers is slim!

That's why I love the listing side,you are not praying your offer get's accepted so the that you don't have to start the homesearch all over again.Whatever offer the seller chooses if it closes the listing agent will get paid.

I think buyers have a preconcieved notion of what the buying process is and some don't know.I actually tell them usually you go look at 5 to 10 homes and then you put an offer on one.It is amazing how many people will follow your lead instead of leaving them guessing about what they should be doing next in the process.By having a replicatable system each and every time you run an effecient business and put your clients into a mold that fits your business and goals and not there way of doing things.

It sounds like this lady is qualified but there is very little available and she is unrealistic as to the inventory available in her price range.After 5 homes or so we have a "coming to jesus" meeting basically going over what we are missing in there home search and to refine it.

Usuallu when I talk to people over the phone I say usually people will have something picked out in the first 5 to ten homes.If the buyer mentions I want to look at at least 50 or more homes I simply tell them that is not a smart thing to do as most of the first homes they will have looked at will be taken off the market,sold,or already under contract.I tell them there will never be a 100 percent perfect home for them but there will be one that meets most of there needs and that you have to have realistic expectations in your home search.

It is pretty easy If I set up a homesearch for a buyer int here price range and there is limited to no inventory I will try to get them to up the price.If they cannot afford to go higher in price I will refer them off as I know it will be a slim chance of finding them something.
Posted by: deu12000

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/05/06 12:41 AM

I've had a couple of buyers like that in the last couple of months. They both closed.

The first one was a couple and we saw at least 30 houses. I didn't rush them since we were going to areas I wasn't really familiar with and was getting to know the area (it's not far from me so it wasn't bad). They wanted just the right house. There were quite a few that I thought they should buy, but at the end we found the perfect home. We wrote up a contract for one and it ended up in a bidding war and they won, but the seller's ended up not selling. So we continued. At least I new they were serious, this was at about the 20 house point. It was a long process showing them all the houses, but they were happy with my patience and I still speak to them and they are going to be using some of the other services I offer very soon. They got a great house for a great price. This was a good story.

The second one was someone that told me they were big investor's. I showed literally 100 houses, wrote up about 10 contracts per week (totaling about 40) and at the end of the whole ordeal sold them one house (which wasn't used as an investment property like I thought but used as a primary residence). Of course I'm skipping out on a lot of the drama that was involved with all of this, but I can honestly say after closing I never called them back, even though they were claiming they wanted to buy more. It wasn't worth my time to have marathon days with one buyer from 9:00AM to 9:00PM.

I have a patience with clients that is incredible, but the last story really did test my patience.
Posted by: Concepts05

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/05/06 02:43 AM

Super Realtor and Deu12000 - 2 very different perspectives here. And I'm right in the middle of both of them!

Right now, I'm leaning more towards what super realtor is saying for a couple of reasons. First of all, I've got some listings I need to spend more time on marketing (including our own spec). I also want to focus on getting more REO listings as I'm starting to think I like that "niche" better than buyer's agent.

Super Realtor you said - "I actually tell them usually you go look at 5 to 10 homes and then you put an offer on one." I LIKE that! It may not work but I'm going to use it in my preliminary talk next time.

To top it off, this client made a racial comment after leaving one of the properties that has been gnawing at me and bothering me the more I think about it. Perhaps it's being foolish to take that into consideration, but I just can't see myself spending much more time with her. When I follow up tomorrow with her, if an offer isn't forthcoming, I'm "cutting her loose">
Posted by: Jerry W

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/07/06 05:06 PM

Concepts05: You could go out with her one last time. Show her 4 homes she hasn't seen, and then for the 5th and final stop, go back to the house that she indicated she liked the best out of the 25 that she's seen. Tell her: "We've seen the best 25 homes for sale that meet your general criteria and budget. There doesn't appear to be any home better than this one in your price range. Would you like to own this home?" If not, refer her to another agent in your office.
Posted by: MaxReferrals

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/07/06 07:14 PM

Sounds like the "buyer" really wants a friend rather than a home.

Posted by: Concepts05

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/07/06 07:32 PM

Jerry W - thats what I've decided what to do...one more time, then she will need to "pull the trigger" so to speak.

Yea, Max, thats what I'm thinking! There may be something said for taking separate cars...
Posted by: RESTEVE

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/07/06 09:39 PM

Get a name of one of her grandkids or family when shes talking and give them a call. Explain to them that you are trying to find a home for her and that you could use some help. If nothing else that might get you a listing or buyer later on. Usually I tell people to drive by and see if they even like it before I show it to them. Explain you are busy.
Posted by: Concepts05

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/07/06 09:58 PM

Posted by: CliffB

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/09/06 02:15 AM

You know what the funny thing is? Because you've decided to cut your losses and not work with her anymore, she'll complain about you to all her friends and family and now you're the typical "lazy" real estate agent wanting the client to do all the leg work.

Go figure huh?

Posted by: Stacy La Mar

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/09/06 03:21 PM

If I have a buyer who wants to "See the Town" I simply make that buyer a referral up for grabs inside my own office. If the buyer is sending all the signals that tell you your time is being wasted.....let them go to another agent using a "more time to dedicate to the buyer" line!

I usually always have another agent who has little going on volunteer to take the difficult buyer off my hands for a 25% referral fee. Sometimes a deal gets done, other times the buyer gets the point and stops wasting everyone's time. Either way, I get rid of the problem and sometimes make a little money in the process.

The referral is always handled professionally from the buyer's stand point and I explain to the buyer that my schedule is so tight that I can no longer have enough time to give them the service they deserve...so I have another agent who can give you the service and time you need. I do this face to face with the buyer and immediately introduce the agent who wants to work with the buyer. The buyer usually understands and moves forward with the newly introduced agent.

When you are in a pinch with a buyer....refer, refer, refer! We can not possibly click with every buyer or even get them to "serious up". Besides, the buyers who are time wasters can make you look bad to other agents when you actually do get them under contract and they flip-flop all over the place making a transaction stressful and irritating for all involved. Go with your gut feeling....you are feeling this way for a reason...refer it!
Posted by: newatlagent

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/11/06 07:48 PM

I'm new to the biz and i'm unsure whether I should start with buyers or sellers. It would seem during this slow market that buyers would be the best option since there are already more houses on the market than there are qualified buyers...
Posted by: Montanaland

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/11/06 09:40 PM

Here's the scoop on buyers...and its placing them into a system that consistently follows up w/them on a weekly basis. Obviously you work the hot buyers one on one, but I find that 80% of all buyers you generate are not HOT or act similiar to everyones complaints. I don't exactly agree with my own dad who is a 20yr vet but he has always stated that you have nothing with a buyer.. as with a listing you control both sides of the transaction.

With listings you can deffinetly reduce the time that it takes to make money in this business.

Therefore your supposed to NEVER let buyers interrupt your fsbo,expireds,divorces,seller ads campaigns.

Here's the system:

Posted by: super realtor

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/12/06 02:34 PM

Start with regular buyers,sellers usually when your new either don't want to list with you or want a reduced fee based on your inexperience,at least that is what alot of the sellers perception is.Make sure you qualify your buyers,it is better to be doing NOTHING and controlling your costs,then it is to take out unqualified buyers all over the planet sucking what little money and time you have to grow your business.Maybe you could co-broke another agents listing where you represent the buyer for the listing agent and you pay a refferal fee to the listing agent,at least you will start to bring in income.
Posted by: Jennifer Allan

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/12/06 06:04 PM

"Make sure you qualify your buyers,it is better to be doing NOTHING and controlling your costs,then it is to take out unqualified buyers all over the planet sucking what little money and time you have to grow your business"

I must respectfully disagree with the above... I think new agents should work with almost any buyer they come across because you never know what it will lead to. If nothing else, they will have increased their market knowledge which is critical for a new agent. They will also have made a new "friend" who can certainly be a good referral source and may even buy a house someday. New agents need to keep busy and what better way to master their craft than to be out in the thick of things?

Posted by: savvyrealtor07

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/12/06 11:57 PM

New agents need to keep busy and what better way to master their craft than to be out in the thick of things?
Busy work does not make money.

I just dealt with busy work with an unmotivated buyer. So what if they were pre-approved? They changed their criteria several times, visted numerous homes, ignored my suggestions while I wrote up bogus offers that were rejected.

I don't believe busy work helps one master a craft. It will depress a new agent. Whereas, taking the approach of qualifying all buyers and sellers before working with them will reduce wasted gas, time and energy that could have been used on prospecting for more serious clients.
Posted by: super realtor

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 12/13/06 02:01 AM

I can appreciate that opinion........However as agents started out you are an independant contractor running your own business.Over 80 percent of agents fail in the first year and it's not because they have a lack of desire to succeed........it is because they are undercapitalized which is why most businesses fail.Having owned multiple businesses before you learn that every cent that is spent goes for maximum return on investment.

These companies out there prey on the newbies to buy every little gadget out there to increase there business,but most of it couldn't pass for toilet paper.Even if newbies go for a listing you have to qualify the seller,are they really motivated?Is there price realistic?

I believe it is good to get experience but if you have limited funds to start out with(this is usually most new agents)then get plenty of business off of a top producer and pay the referral fee,you will probably get a mentor out of the deal and they can show what mistakes NOT to make.

I love this board and it is interesting to hear how everyone runs there business.We all have a different style and way of doing things.It is like martial arts you can learn many things from many masters,some will work for you and some won't but you will meld it into your own style of doing things.

I hope the new agents stick with it.This is a very tough business but the rewards can be amazing!
Posted by: stevee

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 05/04/18 09:29 PM

There was a time that I had 9 buyers and they were crazy. They lied, never follow through with my lender, they told me this much $$$ and tell me to make an offer a lot more$$$, they were working with more then one agent (include me), the homes were not facing the right direction (religious thing) and they want part of my commission. I started to drop them, one by one. Now, I have none! I dont tolerate this behavior with any buyers. You have to put your foot down and set rules.

I feet like I wasted my time and now I feel lost.
Posted by: VABroker

Re: When to cut the "buyer" loose! - 05/06/18 04:01 PM

I've been full time for 17 going on 18 years (although I hope to "retire" next year to part-time (in other words, work when I feel like doing it)). Years ago, when I first started, after a hurricane swept through the area, I had a buyer (overweight - we took her vehicle. I wasn't going to have my gas mileage drop to 10 miles an hour (LOL!) from 33). And, she was a nervous Nellie for sure. It seemed like she could barely handle life in general; yet, every house we looked at (many properties had been flooded and owners just walked away from it and the mortgage), she kept thinking she could "fix" this one or that one (she'd had NO experience in repairs). Plus, it had to be in a certain county. Then she decided on the next county 2 counties south of this particular county b/c she could then be 'near' her sister (who was married with kids and owned a house - never mind the fact those folks could get up one day and sell theirs). Her sister would come with us on some occasions and I just blew up one day. Her sister was a bit shocked by it...until I told her we'd already seen over 65 homes! I walked away from that buyer. She did buy about a year later in the same neighborhood as her sister. I sometimes regret walking away (because she did eventually buy) but I also did not want to go through any more time coddling, listening to her 'dreams' of what she could do (which were unrealistic) and this would have taken, what, another year?!!!!.