My wife has recently became a real estate agent, and since we've been flipping houses for some time now. She got really good referrals to get into this business. She is working with really bad brokerage house (in terms of training/leads etc), but they're paying really good commission and offer some independence.

I have a slight problem with her approach though, and since I'm not a real-estate agent I can't really offer a credible advice.

Here is what is going in on. There are some clients who call 20 times per day (literarily), scheduling to see 10 houses or so. And just demanding attention all the time. There is one lady who called here 7 times today and it's 2:20 PM only.

She has seen about 9 homes so far, none of which she likes or finds something wrong with it.

My wife answer to this is that every client is a potential source of income. And I agree with that. But where exactly do you draw the line, how do you to a client. I'm usually showing 5 homes per client or something like that.

To somehow in advance you announce to the buyer, that the realtor time is valuable too, I mean they could be selling houses to someone else. To say it nicely and professionally that is. There must be someone out there with the same issue.

What's the industry practice in this case? Anyone with enough experience here to advise?

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    This might be a good question for startups.stackexchange.com – Rocky Jan 26 '15 at 19:27
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not directly related to personal finance, but rather a question about the practices of a particular profession or industry. – Chris W. Rea Jan 27 '15 at 0:22

This question is a bit off-topic, might be better moved to another SE site. But I'll answer anyway:

Sounds like the problem is that your wife is potentially being taken advantage of by people who may not really be prospects.

Keep in mind no one can take advantage of you without your permission. There are also some things you and she can do to reduce the amount of wasted time while minimizing the risk of giving up on a potential sale.

  1. Qualify your leads: make sure these potential clients are really, truly potential customers. Ask whatever questions you have to ask in order to qualify them as real house hunters. It doesn't have to be binary: you can have hot leads ready to buy now, and lukewarm leads who may not buy for 12 months or more. Treat each one accordingly.

  2. Set limits: a lukewarm lead is not allowed to call you 20 times a day. Answer their calls just once per day. By answering the phone every time they call you are training them to call as often as they like! If you only return calls once per day they'll quickly learn to save their questions up and ask them all at once.

  3. Showing 10 houses sounds a bit silly. How can you remember any details after seeing 10 houses? By asking more questions and learning more about what your clients want in a house, you can reduce the footwork. Me, I'd flat out limit it to three houses per outing, and I wouldn't even hesitate to tell the client why.

I think all these things will come in time. Like any new venture, she needs some experience to learn how to maximize her efficiency and effectiveness. Keep in mind it's better to have the phone ringing too much than not at all!

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    +1 - definitely off topic, but as a recently graduated real estate agent (just over a year)I think your advice is great. I'd add to (1) - I'd ask to see a bank's prequalification before showing even the first house. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jan 26 '15 at 22:35

There are people that make up a small segment of the population that have an unsatisfied need to see the insides of other people's houses. There's also a segment of the population that don't quite understand the "big picture" of how service professions work... for example, any group of friends going into a restaurant and requesting a table and sitting at it for over an hour, but feel they don't need to leave a tip because they only ordered espressos or shared a desert. Sure, you're paying for the service of a service professional, but it should also include their time and resources you consume outside of the actual service but many don't have that perspective. Why should I pay you if you aren't providing your actual "service" to me even though I'm consuming your time and resources that would be earning you your expected salary otherwise, is their justification. So when you encounter an individual from both small segments of the population mentioned above, the result is the problem your wife faces with perspective buyers.

I look at the Agent / Buyer relationship from a different perspective when I encounter these no-harm intended individuals. I don't see it as the buyer is hiring the agent... for if that was the case, a contract of some sorts would be involved detailing the menu of services provided by the agent with associated costs, the buyer would make selections from the menu, pay the costs, and services rendered. but that's not how it works. so its important to understand the perspective of the agent looking to hire the buyer.. you're not paying the buyer to be your client, but you are looking to select the prospective buyer that's going to generate cash flow. In a commissions based work force that is also your main source of income, you have to look at prospective clients as that.. simply prospects..but who are a vital component of your salary. So when allocating your time and resources, especially if you're dealing with several prospects, you literally have to turn away these cold leads who are just looking for design tips and paint color pattern suggestions and you as their escort. If I was in the shoe-making business, i wouldn't hire a walk-in, give him access to materials and work space with the assumption that if its to his liking, it'll generate profit towards my salary needs, if the only thing he's interested in doing is looking around at all the other shoes, a behavior that requires my presence, time, and resources. You almost can't even justify it as "looking at it as possible income in the future" if it's costing you revenue now, whether its in the form of having to neglect actual buyers or you could be investing your time in things that would impact salary needs, such as advance course work (attending optional trainings offered by your broker), or investing time finding more serious leads.

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  • On the other hand, service providers need to understand this and consider baking it in to thier fees. – acpilot Jan 29 '17 at 18:02

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