I’ve been there too. There was that client that exhausted me so much that when they finally bought a house I was so happy to give them the key and say “buh bye” and take off. My tension grew smaller and smaller as I drove away and saw them grow smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror. I almost cheered when I turned right at the end of the street and could no longer see them. But almost all of the time I’m genuinely sad when the purchase or sale is over and I know I will miss them. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very satisfied after another successful close of escrow but I know I will miss my clients and I’ll especially miss the kids. By the time the transaction closes, I’ve bonded quite a bit with the kids. They’ll tell me about the games they’re playing and their friends, demonstrate the new dance routines they’re working on in theatre class and pretty much every girl asks me about my heels. That’s how much time I spend with my clients and that’s how much time you’ll spend with your Realtor.
So let me tell you now. Picking a Realtor is like picking your new S.O. Of course they need to be competent and need to be a skillful negotiator but you need to really, really like them because you’ll be spending so much time with them. When you like your Realtor you’ll be able to open up and have frank conversations. You’ll be able to trust they’re looking out for you. You’ll know that of course they need to be payed for their work but they’re not just thinking about their commission and pushing you for their gain. You’ll be able to confide in them, tell them what you’re really dreaming about and hoping to achieve. You’ll be able to tell them what that second bedroom really is for. But if you don’t like your Realtor, you’ll be vague. You’ll wonder if they’re pushing you towards a particular house so they can collect their commission check quickly. You won’t tell them what the second bedroom is for and they’ll assume you’re trying to have a baby and push you towards homes with yards and good schools. And you hate gardening. And you don’t care about schools, you care about restaurants and coffee shops. What is that second bedroom for, by the way?
Instead, think of it like dating. If you’re old enough to buy a home, you’re old enough to have been on dates so you know what I’m talking about. When you go on that first date, you meet for coffee or drinks, not a full dinner. Same with your Realtor. Meet at their office or a coffee shop and get to know each other a little. Ask questions about their background and how they work. When you’re ready for that dinner stage, go see some houses together. Again, talk with them about the homes you just saw. See if you feel comfortable sharing what you really think. And just like dating, you’re free to see multiple people. You’re not in a committed relationship. But just like in dating, it’s not very polite to talk about the other people you’re seeing. After you’ve spent some time together, you reach a point where you’re ready to make some sort of commitment. With your Realtor, that point is when you’re getting serious about writing an offer. At this point, you need to stick with one person and break up with the rest. It’s not only polite but also in your best interest. Now you can expect them to bust their ass for you. There’s enough give from you to warrant a take from them. But just because you’ve made a commitment doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind later and break up with them down the road. Hey, if you can get a divorce, you can definitely break up with your Realtor.
And this is how you break up with your Realtor. Once again, same rules as dating apply (am I repeating myself enough here?).
Don’t be that jerk that stops returning phone calls or emails.
Don’t use a Post-It. Haven’t you seen that episode on Sex and the City way way back? Okay, this doesn’t really apply to real estate but it’s too good to not bring up.
Don’t lie and say you’re no longer interested in buying. You might later want to write an offer on the Realtor’s listing and they will remember you. Trust me, they will! And you’ll look bad. If you think it’s only the Realtor’s problem, not the sellers, think twice. It’s easy to think “once a liar, always a liar”. Basically, it’s tainting your reputation and your promises will seem less promising.
Instead, here are the magic words that will get you out of your relationship with your Realtor:
“I’m sorry but I’ve decided to work with someone else.”
Those ten words will get you out of your relationship quickly. Unlike dating, email & text are both fine. 99% of Realtors will actually appreciate your honesty. It’ll still sting, but we appreciate it nonetheless. If you’ve signed a contract with your Realtor for them to be your buyer’s agent, well, why did you do that? Most agents will graciously let you go from that contract and if they don’t, now you should be even more confident that it’s time to say bye. If they ask for feedback because they have the growth mindset, it’s nice to tell them why. But if it feels too uncomfortable or they’re just trying to “overcome objections” and convince you to stay with them, don’t feel obligated. If they keep pressing on, now you have my full blessing to just hang up.