Yep, I did it. I fired a seller.
It wasn’t really as harsh as it sounds but it needed done. Let me explain…
I currently have 24 listings (23 sellers since one has two properties) that I’m in charge of handling. I also have 6 listings that will be added over the next 7-10 days and 4 properties that are pending sale & should close in the next 2 months. Each week I try to touch base with each current seller, change-up Craigslist ads, follow-up with showings for feedback, print off flyers, repair signs, answer other Realtors questions, check print ads, send out mailings, etc. Pending sales require a lot of calls & checks ups to the client, the other Realtor, the closers on both sides, the lender on top of inspections & mounds of paperwork. There is a full-page check list of items to be done for a new listing that I won’t bore you with right now. Sounds great to be busy this time of year, right? It is great but its a lot of work and each client expects & deserves my complete attention.
Now rest assured the seller I fired is not a Facebook friend, they don’t follow me on Twitter or anything like that and I’m not telling this story to vent on that seller. I’m telling you this story because I think its important that people think about what Realtors do and what they can/will do if given the chance. The seller in question had been with me for several months and had chosen me to represent them because they liked the information they found on the internet. Now is when I turn a little bit negative… since the day I listed the property getting any useful information out of this seller was like pulling teeth. We didn’t have many showings but had a few and actually got two offers on the property. Every time I gave the other agents feedback, every time I suggested a price reduction, open house or other idea, every time I had an offer on the property… I got little or no reaction. I tried calling, nope… I tried… email and text, nope… I even went to the seller in person. If I called & left a message, “We have an offer! Call me!”, I could wait hours until I called several times again and actually got them to answer. “Did you get my message about the offer?” and all I would get is “yes”.
After the second offer was rejected (no counter-offer by the way) I asked the seller, “I’m a little confused… Do you want to sell the house?” and the answer? “Yes.” Wow, ok, deep breaths… what to do? I can’t help them if they won’t help me! I asked all kinds of questions hoping I would find the inner problem and we could fix it or work around it. Still nothing.
So then it hit me. I’ve been spending hours thinking about this property, this seller, this deal… I’ve got fellow agents ready to pull out their hair because I can’t explain what my client is thinking… I have no idea what to do or try or what is holding my seller back… I work for free until a property sells & this one will likely never sell… I have 23 other sellers who expect & deserve my utmost attention & marketing dollars and I’m spending all of my time & effort on this deal that’s probably not going anywhere. It all goes back to that 80/20 rule.
So, three messages, one text & two emails later I finally spoke to this seller. I nicely explained that I think the best thing I can do for them is to cancel the listing and allow them to find another agent. I explained that I honestly feel that I’ve done everything I can do (paused to see if they’d argue with me or suggest anything else… nope) and maybe another agent would have a fresh outlook and approach to selling this property. The seller’s response… “Oh…ok.”
You win some… you lose some.