Real Estate Agents Reveal the Toughest Home Buyers They’ve Ever Met

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Real estate agents have the pleasure (or sometimes the misfortune) of working with a range of homebuyers – some good, some bad, and some that drive them completely crazy. Of course, like most obnoxious people, these buyers may have little self-awareness of the pain they are causing. Since it’s not wise to stand up to your agent – after all, you want this professional to have your back 100 percent – here’s a wake-up call about the wrongdoings of real estate agents, as told by four professionals in the field. Don’t become one of these people!

The jilted lover

Joe Manausa, a real estate agent in Tallahassee, Florida, remembers working with a buyer whose love life was a roller coaster ride and whose home search had steep ups and downs.” Manausa recalls, “My client’s boyfriend gave her $20,000 cash for a down payment so they could buy a home and live together. They signed a contract and were ready to close the week before Christmas, but three days before they were about to close, he got a call saying the couple had broken up and she was moving to Orlando.” I tried to ask her to give me a day to cool off,” he says, “but she had already contacted the lender, terminated the application and insisted that we break off the relationship.

Lesson: Make sure your personal affairs are on solid ground before you begin your house hunt. Once you’re in contract, backing out could mean you’ll forfeit your earnest money deposit, which could leave you with tens of thousands of dollars down the drain.

The serial lowballers

There’s nothing wrong with buyers being budget-conscious – after all, the goal is to get the best house at the best price – but Rachel Foy, a Newton, Massachusetts, real estate agent, recently had some clients who took that a little too far. “They wanted to offer 20 percent below the asking price, even though we explained that the market was a seller’s market,” Foy says.

The couple found a home they liked, but insisted on making an offer $150,000 below the asking price. When the sellers accepted another offer, “they cried that they could pay full price, or even cash,” but it was too late and they didn’t get the house.

Lesson: Consider the potential consequences of making a lowball offer on a house that you love, because you could wind up losing out on your dream home. When in doubt, ask your agent for advice, since he or she will know which gambles are likely to pay off, and those that are just not worth risking.

The fickle shoppers

Julie McDonough, a Southern California real estate agent, says the toughest homebuyers she has worked with have a very specific list of criteria. They want a house big enough to raise their children and accommodate their in-laws. That means a house with at least four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage, and it has to be close to shopping, schools and public transportation. On top of that, they had a host of other requirements: no stairs, no pool, not a lot of extra land to deal with, and a house that hadn’t been inhabited by any pets.

After showing the family a large number of homes that met these criteria, the buyers did a 180.” McDonough says, “They found a two-story, three-bedroom and one-bathroom home with a carport, situated on a large lot with a pool and fairly far from the nearest shopping center or school. In other words, they purchased the opposite of what they initially said they wanted!” .

Lesson: Before you begin looking at homes with your agent, make sure you know what you’re actually looking for, so that you don’t waste the agent’s time. This checklist for first-time home buyers gives you step-by-step instructions on how to get started.

The conspiracy theorist

“I knew something wasn’t right when the client walked into my office. Maybe it was when he asked me to take the battery out of the phone before we talked,” says New York real estate broker Fred Davidson.” This client was the conspiracy theorist you see in the movies,” he recalls. He set several restrictions for the properties he was looking for. There couldn’t be anything within 400 yards of a cell tower or on city water, but there needed to be a line of cedar trees around the property.” Suffice it to say,” Davidson said, “those conditions were difficult to meet.”

Despite his misgivings, Davidson accepted the client, who had recently received an inheritance and said he wanted to buy a property “because it was the only thing he owned after the ‘crash.'” (Davidson thought it wiser not to ask his client further what the “collapse” was he was referring to.) The man ended up buying a $400,000 home, but it needed some work.” The visit with him was interesting,” Davidson recalls.” As I drove him around town, I couldn’t use my cell phone or GPS. i guess the benefit was that I learned how to use a map!”

Lesson: We all have our quirks and it’s fine (politely and apologetically) to request that an agent work within your comfort zone. But just make sure to lay out all your cards up front—that way, agents can decide for themselves whether it’s worth their time and effort.

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