real estate agent dealing with difficult clients

Difficult Real Estate Clients: How to Break Up with Them

real estate agent dealing with difficult clients

As the old song says, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” Of course, the writer of that song never had to break up with difficult real estate clients who have unrealistic expectations and a bad attitude. Because if they did, the song would have been called “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do – But Necessary for My Mental Health.” 

As a real estate agent, you spend much time growing your client list. The goal is to give such stellar service to your clients that they will offer you repeat business —and great reviews. So, we understand that the thought of breaking up with a client probably feels like a mistake. 

But you may find that it is sometimes necessary. If you don’t have a solid, working relationship with a buyer or seller, you may be forced to cut ties with them. It’s the best thing you can do for your client – and yourself.

Here’s what people with industry experience say are valid reasons to end a client relationship and how to do it. 

Reasons to End a Relationship with Your Real Estate Client 

Are you at your wit’s end dealing with a difficult buyer or seller? Here are some reasons why real estate salespeople have cut ties with clients.

Rude and inconsiderate clients

Real estate transactions are stressful for many. Buying or selling a home is a huge financial and emotional decision. So you may encounter a wide variety of emotions as you interact with clients throughout your career.

However, if your client is continually rude, dismissive, abusive, or disrespectful – you may need to break ties. And, of course, if you are physically threatened or abused, you need to call the police – and dismiss them as your client. 

Time wasting clients

Some clients want to “test the waters” and expect you to do a lot of busy work even if they aren’t sure they will go through with the transaction.

Time-wasting clients may take days to respond to your messages. 

Time-wasting buyers may look at dozens of properties that meet their criteria but refuse to disclose solid reasons why the homes you showed didn’t suit their needs. They may also balk at the clause in your service agreement that stipulates that they should be preapproved for a mortgage before going out on showings.

And time-wasting sellers are those who refuse to follow your advice. For example, they may refuse to declutter or clean or set a reasonable listing price. 

Unrealistic clients

Part of an agent’s job is to manage expectations. Difficult real estate clients are often unable or unwilling to understand or accept the realities of the market.

In real estate, sellers hold control over three crucial factors: marketing, property condition, and price. Agents should recognize the significance of these elements. If a seller has unrealistic expectations about the condition or market value of their property, it may be beneficial for the agent to end the partnership in the long term.

How to Break Up with Difficult Real Estate Clients

Once you’ve concluded that your relationship with your real estate client will not end successfully, consider ending the relationship. 

But how can you fire a client without burning bridges? In most instances, it’s best to be honest, concise, and firm. Any conversations that you have verbally should be documented in writing as well. 

Here are some examples of how to start a break-up conversation. 

“I’m not sure that I’m the right fit for you. In fact, I’m not sure you are really ready to sell because you don’t seem serious about getting your property ready for viewings. Best of luck!”

“The service agreement you signed stipulated that you would be preapproved for a mortgage (or be able to show proof of cash) before going out on showings. Because you have not been able to complete this step, we are going to have to sever ties.”

In these examples, the client learns why you have chosen not to work with them. This will help them recognize the poor behaviors that may hinder them from being successful with the next agent.

Breaking up a relationship can be challenging, especially when only one person is ready to end it. This applies to both personal and professional relationships. In the real estate industry, your credibility and reputation are crucial for success. Every moment counts, and being able to identify serious clients from those who are just exploring options can make a significant difference in your earnings. It can determine whether you settle for an average income of $36,000 or achieve a six-figure salary.

Seek Advice from Professionals in the Industry

You will encounter many unique scenarios that require knowledge and finesse throughout your career. To learn how to handle these sometimes-difficult situations, seek the advice of mentors and other experienced professionals. And find a quality continuing education provider to help you grow and advance your career.

Purchase a CE PLUS Membership from McKissock Learning. Our Real Estate Continuing Education package offers courses you need to renew or upgrade your license. You’ll also receive free access to sales and negotiation training to help you – and an Educating Sellers Toolkit, which will allow you to manage your client’s expectations about the buying and selling process from the start of your relationship.

Stand out in a crowded space by purchasing a CE Plus Membership from McKissock Learning today.