“Hello Tina speaking,” I answered.
The male caller said, “Hello, My name is Mark. My wife and I want to see your listing at 123 Country Rd. outside of Winnipeg tomorrow evening. This is exactly what we have been looking for. Your list price is $600,000. We are pre-approved for $650,000, but we really don’t want to spend that much.”
I was pleasantly surprised by his self-awareness and willingness to be open about details.
He continued, “I own 160 acres of land in a completely different direction but I don’t have to sell it to buy. Scotia bank pre-approved us without having to sell first. We would like possession in about six to ten weeks, but we are flexible.”
We parted with my promise to confirm arrangements after I speak with the seller.
The caller was definitely familiar with the questions real estate agents ask. He had been quick to qualify himself and had told me everything an agent wants to hear.
One of the most difficult things to do is qualify a buyer who calls because they saw my sign. Typically, the buyer wants to withhold information. Usually people don’t offer this much information to a stranger on the phone. He’d made it easy.
“Tomorrow evening will work for the seller,” I told him when I called to confirm our appointment.
He asked, “Is it okay if we bring our Real –a – tohr?” I gritted my teeth at the mispronunciation.
“Mark,” I began, “you never mentioned that you are working with a Real-tor.” I made sure to pronounce the word properly and very clearly. “I co-operate with other agents. Please have your agent contact me to confirm arrangements.”
“Oh, well, our real-a-tohr is too busy. He does not have time tomorrow evening.” Something smelled fishy. “Can’t you just show it to us?” He asked.
“Let me ask you something Mark. If I showed you this property and you were interested in writing an offer, which agent would be writing the offer?”
I was a little surprised when he replied, “I will be writing the offer with ABC Realty. I have signed a buyer contract with that office so I have to write the offer with them.”
My spidey-senses were tingling.
“I am very familiar with ABC Realty. I like doing business with them. May I ask which agent you are working with?” I probed.
“John Smith and Jim Tayler.” The names rolled off his tongue effortlessly.
I did a quick mental inventory and realized that both of the named agents did, in fact, work at ABC Realty.
“Hey, I know John Smith!” I said excitedly. “I just did a deal with John recently. He is a great guy.”
“Well we actually have been working with Jim. He has just been so busy. Do you know Jim?” he asked.
“I have never met Jim but he has a good reputation in real estate. I will be happy to co-operate with either Jim or John. Please give one of them a call and have them show the property to you. The agent who is being paid should be the agent introducing you to the property.”
Mark never did come look at the property. In fact, neither Jim Taylor nor John Smith had ever spoken to this caller before this day and neither of them had a buyer agency agreement with Mark.
Mark knew a lot about real estate. He knew that if he told me that he was under contract with another agent that I was forbidden to pursue writing an offer with him.
Mark also knew that if he told me that he and his girlfriend just liked looking at nice houses together, and were not actually wanting to buy, that I would not drive out and spend my evening away from my family just to let them see it.
So Mark lied.
Some people – even some real estate agents – think that every Tom, Dick, and poodle with a whim to see a house should be entertained.
I disagree. For a few reasons.
It’s disrespectful to me and my family for one thing.
I value my time and family. I’m all for charity and generosity and sharing, and definitely give until it hurts. But I don’t fill the tank with gas and leave my family for hours just to humor a browser with no intention of buying – especially when they’ve spent a good deal of time lying to my face. Sorry, no. I will not enable that.
It’s also disrespectful to sellers.
If it was your house for sale, would you want to change your plans for the evening and rush to get cleaned up and out of your own house just so someone could view the house for something to do?
If you knew the people viewing the house were not in a position to buy a house, would you want me to bring them by anyway?
My sellers appreciate their time being respected, so I continue to guard them as much as I can from browsers, looky-loos, and anyone else who just likes to poke around in people’s houses for a good time.
They are free to do so at open houses.