Home Selling in Cincinnati>Question Details

Michael Mcca…, Real Estate Pro in Cincinnati, OH

At what point does a professional Realtor "fire" their impossible-to-satisfy listing client?

Asked by Michael Mccarthy, Cincinnati, OH Wed Dec 1, 2010

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Please don't take offense, but a professional realtor would have no reason to ask such a question. I typically fire only one client per year and I've never had to ask others when they think I'VE put up with enough.
Web Reference: http://www.phgbrokers.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
At the point you are fairly sure that you would not be able to get the property under contract.
Web Reference: http://www.321property.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
At the point you determine that they are impossible to satisfy....

FYI, when it comes to firing a client I always used to seem to fire them too late. Over the years I've learned to cut ties, rather than hang on for dear life until things end up imploding anyway and I ended up wasting even more of my valuable time. My philsophy these days: it's better to fire them sooner than later.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010

Why are you asking for our permission for you to end a relationship that is not working for you? We have no idea of what the problem is. If you don't know that the time has come to pull the plug we can't help you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
Michael: Just by the tone of your question it sounds like you are ready now. Sometimes it's not worth the hassle and for once I agree with Mack!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
It is so great to see a consumer response, so often we agents chatter among ourselves. Thanks for taking the time to contribute Martin.

I think we've all run into a seller to two that have been difficult or impossible to please - keep your eye on the end game, helping them successfully sell their home. If through their lack of cooperation or lack of realism, you see no opportunity for that to happen, then it is surely time to talk it out. I'd approach it that way - this is business, nothing personal. You've been hired to do a job, and if you have set expectations properly and the seller is not cooperating, then explain that unless he adjusts you can't do your job. But one caution, if you have "bought" the listing, ie accepted a listing that you knew was way overpriced, bets are off, in my mind, agents that do this have invited their own trouble.

I had one seller that was really impossible - and I hung in there but it weighed heavily on me and dragged me down. I would also use the impact the situation is having on your overall business - sometimes situations like this can be so overwhelmingly negative and time consuming that they drag down your business overall which is really a bad outcome.

There may also be positives that come from it - in my case, though I didn't sell the home, I met a wonderful couple in the process of trying. And they were the source of my largest transaction and then referred me to a family member that beat bought a high priced home as well.

Good luck,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
Hi Michael.
I disagree with some of the comments. This business is a business of professionalizm, and ethics while I agree that the listing does belong to a broker, your obligation to the seller as their lister is to represent them and that is where your fiduciary responsibilites lie. However, if you have a seller that is unreasonable and does not respect you, I do believe you have the right to release them and allow them to go elsewhere. We do this business because we like it, we like to help, and we like the money. Some people, no matter what you do will not think it is enough and I personally believe if you are an agent and a reputable respectable agent, at some point you will end up firing some sellers and you will even release some buyers. I believe it they (the seller and buyer) do not respect you as a professional and will not take your professional advice it is time to release ( fire) them. You are working free until you sell.....so I do not believe working free entitles any person whether it be a buyer or seller, to disrespect or undermine your professional career ethics as long as you are like I state ethical and reputable.

I fired a seller. I did everything I could, brought them an offer the first 2 weeks on the market explained the situation entirely and she still decided to take the offer against my recommendation. After 1 month the deal fell apart which I knew was a plausibility, yet, the sellers had the rudeness to tell me I did not want to sell their home and they did not think I was working hard enough. The seller called me, spoke rudely to me, and hung up on me. Her husband was twice as rude, saying that when an employee of a company does not work the president along with the company is fired. That night, I made a trip to her home, explained to her that under no circumstances would I allow anyone to talk to me in that fashion. I kept my coolness, and I was polite, I showecd them everything I had done, and I said here is a release, I no longer wish to help you sell your home, you are free to find another agent whom you think will work harder and do more than I have and I wish you much luck. I did;say to her, I work free until I sell so ask yourself, why any agent would want to spend money on advertising and promoting a home and end up with -0- return. Im sorry, I no longer wish to work with you I have never spoken to anyone in the fashion you have spoken to me and I certainly would never hang up on someone when they were trying to explain to me. So we are not compatible. I pulled my sign and gave her her keys. She did not sign the release but I did explain to my Broker, and we pulled the listing. You have to work for a Broker, that stands behind you 100% and that is the only kind of Broker I would work for or with. So, Yes, sometimes you have to seperate your self and better sooner than later.
Call me I would love to chat with you....and don't worry about it.....fire them if they are not treating you right. Just because you in this business does not mean we have to be treated like doormats......you have the right to be selective of whom you work with, and most good agents are.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
Frankly, replying from the client-side. I wouldn't even say after you did the impossible.
When you feel that there will not be a deal coming from the client. Or that he is not giving in as much as you are. Then I think it's time to call it quits on both sides.
A real estate deal has to be a mutual compromise in which everyone is satisfied and where everyone has given in his/her share.
If you cannot realise this, then you should walk away.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
Hi Michael, quick suggestion to you: Place questions like these as a blog in the Trulia blog section and you will get more and better responses from agents....

At what point is your question.... well it depends how long you had the listing, how long the listing agreement is for, and do the sellers cooperate with YOUR suggestions or do they tell you WHAT to do.....
Discuss with your broker and then yes you can cancel your listing agreement with them.....

Good Luck!
Edith YourRealtor4Life and Chicago Connection
Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
I think it is different for each situation but when they refuse to listen to your lawful instructions and never take to heart any of your suggestions and they refuse to believe in the market stats which are fact, then it is time to cut the ties and it feels so good when you do. We all want to work things out for everybody but there are always some people out there that we will never satisfy and can never help to sell a house. Concentrate your efforts on those that appreciate your efforts and are motivated to work with you to get the job done!! I think when I was new to real estate that this was the hardest thing to do but it is so liberating once you do it.
Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
Immediately. You can fire them, just like they can fire you. Find Buyers and Sellers who want your help! Having said that it does not mean that you are not going to bump heads with any of your clients. Many folks don't know how to respectfully handle challenges and work through them, so you do have to be firm at times. It will be nice when you are at a place business wise that you can say "no thank you" when you come into contact with a potential client and learn quickly that it probably will not be a good working relationship. Best Regards.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
If you have a listing contract you're kind of obligated to stay through expiration. That is what you told them you would do in the listing presentation right? You should have enough report built up with your clients to have a "Let's get on the same page" conversation. If you are thinking about "firing" them, why be scared to speak candidly with them.

Ultimately, they control the decisions, you should be controlling the process. What do you want their reference to you be like when their neighbors ask, "Hey, who was that agent you used? Would you recommend her?"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2013
When it no longer is fun, when you dread the phone call and when they ask the impossible.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 18, 2013
If you have to ask, it's probably time! LOL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 12, 2010
Before you execute a contract with them. We have a natural instinct when a deal is going to be difficult. We can npt work with everyone. When you present your plan is they don't agree to a process then don't sign them up.

If they agree with the process and don't support your efforts. Remind them and if you still get resistance, part company! Let someone else deal with the people who really don't want a solution to their problem! After all it's there problem not yours if you tried to help them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 8, 2010
When they realize that the client is getting in the way of the rest of their business.

In my office, we don't have to ask permission to fire a client. All we have to do is get the client to sign a rescission agreement, and they're gone.

The way I do it is to tell them, after I've heard their complaints, is that I'd be glad to continue to market the property until they have found another broker that is more to their liking, at which time they can call me up, I'll take the sign down and the keybox off, and we'll go our separate ways. I've only had to do it three times, and we're all the better for it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
It is best to determine this up front. I have refused to take a listing, but I have never had a listing client I would fire.

I am very up front and realistic about the market and what I will do for the client. I do what I say I will do. I set expectations up front so. If I get a bad feeling at the listing appointment, I don't take the listing.

If I do get a client that I wanted to fire, I would discuss the issues with them and if we could not get them resolved. I would say that I may not be the best agent to help them and would bring out the cancellation form.
Web Reference: http://JimSellsHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
First of all a listing is not yours, it is the Broker in Charges or the Principal Brokers or the firms listing. You are just the agent dealing with the seller. You better speak to the true owner of the listing first since they might reassign it to someone else in the company. This is real estate 101.

Next, you better understand that a listing agreement is a contract and you just can't say I quit. If the seller agrees and the Broker or owner of the listing agrees then a document can be drawn ending the listing agreement but it is not just able to be dismissed unless there is terminology in the listing agreement saying either party can cancel at anytime. I like to add this clause to listings that I feel might become trouble in the future. A seller can require a listing to run its term, but most sellers will release an agent if the problems are really bad.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 1, 2010
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