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Last updated: June 11, 2020 • Marketing Tips

Dealing with Unreasonable Home Buyers and Sellers

Every real estate agent knows how hard it can be dealing with unreasonable home buyers and sellers who seem to not understand the process at all. And even fairly in-the-game seeming clients can fall into one or more of the four categories we’re about to go over in detail. The truth is that difficult real estate clients, their expectations, and mannerisms, can make the life of a real estate agent even more hectic and sometimes miserable, so we’ve decided to list the types of difficult real estate clients a real estate agent might bump into during his/her career. Since knowledge is power, learning to recognize those difficult real estate clients early on can save you a number of headaches and time (which equals money, never forget!).

The Smart Mouth Know it All

Dealing with unreasonable home buyers and sellers who think they know it all can be a nightmare for a real estate agent. They make it clear that they are tolerating you at best; they think that your job is something anyone could do. And the problem is not only the fact that they are annoying: the problem is that it is a lie; they cannot possibly know the bits and bolts of this industry – not to mention of the real estate market they’re in – better than you. The amount of real estate deals they make in their lifetime is the same a busy real estate agent does in a month.

But what’s the best way of dealing with unreasonable home buyers and sellers that think they know it all? First thing is to NEVER turn this into a pissing competition. Reality will always kick in sooner or later for these difficult real estate clients and their pose will start to fall apart. Sometimes they will be in so much denial that they will claim it’s your fault that something happened and they should have gone the For Sale by Owner (FSBO) route but you can prevent from getting there. Here’s what you should do: endure the obnoxiousness and politely educate them. Have brochures and online articles written by reputable forces ready to refer them to and maybe (just maybe!) bring them around to a more reasonable frame of mind. It’s important that the sources of this information – which needs to contain cold, hard evidence data – are reputable, so when they say that it doesn’t add up because of this or that, you can just point out how full of themselves they are, by light-heartedly saying “well, okay; I’ll tell Forbes/ The New York Times/The Department of Housing and Urban Development you said so…”

Yes, Sir, No Sir, Three Bags Full, Sir

What? I thought this article was about dealing with unreasonable home buyers and sellers… how is an amiable, ready to agree, military-grade obedient client a problem?

Listen, we know this might sound great, but having a client who simply says what they think you want to hear can lead to big problems and provoke utter disasters. On the home buyer side, these are often the types that you think are fine and about to make an offer when they disappear with no warning, and you never hear from them again. In all likelihood, they were simply too afraid to say anything negative and didn’t want to buy a house that you assumed they liked. Make sure your difficult real estate clients know that you are not personally invested in any home you show them – they can say whatever they want and you aren’t going to take it personally! You want to go after what they like, and, for that to happen, they need to tell you like it is.

And when it comes to home sellers who act like that, it might be pretty much that they are not 100% invested in selling the house. You don’t want that; you don’t want to put in work only to, months later when the offers start to come in, hear “you know what? I think I don’t want to sell anymore”. Sure, you are a smart real estate agent and probably had them sign a contract that assures you still get money out of this, but this is not why we’re in this business right? Trick them a bit; make it even more difficult for the difficult real estate client. Ask them something and when they say “ahem, yeah, ok”, counter it with “because you know what… I think that’s a really bad idea. But if it’s what you want…”. If they say “no, then do it the other way” stop them for a moment and talk about how this is serious and you’re afraid they are not invested as they should, and maybe it’s a good idea to call the whole thing off. You’re bluffing here. It’s a way for them to wake up and for you to tell them they have to speak their mind in order for you guys to sell the house. But if he folds and says “You’re right; truth is that I’ve been having second thoughts and I don’t think I really want to sell the house”, then you saved yourself some time and money. So it’s best to act on it sooner or later.

Lastly, those are only applicable to home buyers, but boy-oh-boy are they obnoxious:

The I’ll Know it When I See it Home buyer

People with a negative outlook will tear down every part of the process, from griping about the documents required and paperwork to be filled out to groaning over every house they see and nitpicking every tiny thing. When dealing with unreasonable home buyers that can only tell you what they don’t want, you should try to turn the situation around with a little trick – have them vent about the house all they want, but then ask them to tell you three things they DO like. Keep a running list, rinse and repeat, and you’ll soon have the beginnings of a picture of the home they might actually end up in. Those types of clients end up actually being grateful that you took the time to do that and will feel as though you helped them see something that they couldn’t do it for themselves. Some of them even raise your commission. How do you know which of them are most likely to do it? You’ll know it when you see them…

The Zipped Lipped home buyer

Worse than the people pleaser or the constant complainer is the home buyer who says absolutely nothing. This may be the most difficult real estate client there is. The reason why they are like that is because they think that showing any enthusiasm means not getting the best price on a home, and will remain mute at all times so as not to “give themselves away”. But they only hurt themselves by doing this. Say you’re in an open house and a zipped lipped home buyer enters… now you have to play charades with them to discover if there’s one feature of the house that might not be as apparent but can attract them.  When dealing with unreasonable home buyers like these, assume things out loud – like “I guess you guys eat in the kitchen and don’t need a dining room, huh?”-  and see if they confirm or deny your assumption. Then, go closing the gap until you get a clearer assumption of what they are about.

Dealing with unreasonable home buyers and sellers require, above all, a lot of patience and empathy, two of the most vital and greatest features a real estate agent can have. So, while we recommend you always be aware of your difficult real estate clients so you can escape them as soon as possible, don’t go hard on yourself once you’ve realized you’ve spent too long of your precious time with them. Think of it as training! You don’t want to be one of the worst of the real estate agent types: the narcissist apologizer.


4 Responses to " Dealing with Unreasonable Home Buyers and Sellers "

  1. That is true. It’s not that I don’t want to deal with those clients, it’s a challenge to sometimes figure out how to deal with them. People are just people, like all of us, we all come with one or two loose bolts:))

  2. Robin Burnes says:

    What a great article. It’s nice to know I am not alone.

  3. Melissa says:

    “clients who seem to have a few marbles loose – or worse, appear to have not been taking their anti-psychotics!”

    This is discrimination

    • SarahGrace says:

      Dear Melissa,

      We reviewed the sentence you mentioned, and while it is definitely not discrimination (that would only occur if we at REA tried to deny service to someone based on their having a medically diagnosed condition), we have been enlightened that this kind of joking language is considered insensitive to those with mental health issues or who take medication for such issues. We wanted to remedy this immediately!

      We have corrected the text so as not to cause any hurt or offense to those who read our blog, and appreciate you bringing it to our attention! We never want to make any group feel marginalized. Mental health is a serious matter and all those who suffer from any related issues should be respected as humans and not demeaned.

      Thank you!

      The REA Content Team

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