The following is a true story about a prospective client of mine, a married couple living in the Midwest. We've emailed each other for about 6 or 8 weeks about their desire to buy a foreclosure home in Arizona as an investment. I usually avoid writing about clients and prospective clients online, because it's just a little weird & squicky to expose private conversations in a public forum. However, I couldn't resist posting this gem.
What follows is a snapshot of my Friday afternoon and a lesson in how to make a Realtor very, very angry.
10. Fly to town unannounced. Call Realtor Thursday evening to say "We'd like to go out looking at homes all day tomorrow and Saturday too."
9. Act exasperated when Realtor apologetically says that since she didn't know you were coming, her calendar is pretty booked... but she can shift a few things around to show you homes from 3p-7p on Friday and get a colleague to show you around on Saturday.
8. Present a list of 8 homes in the North Phoenix area which you found online. Explain that you've "done the research," these are the homes you feel are a good bargain, and generally ignore the Realtor's attempts to recommend additional areas.
7. Midway through the first showing, insist you don't want to see condos or townhouses (even though 2 of your original 8 picks are condos).
6. Become frustrated when Realtor says that of the original 8 properties you asked to see, 2 are sold or under contract, 2 are condos (which you don't want to see), and 1 we can't see without 24 or 48 hours' notice to the tenant living in it.
5. Let Realtor drive you to the remaining 3 properties on your list. Describe the 1st as "acceptable". Decline to go inside homes 2 and 3 because you don't like the look of the neighborhoods.
4. Announce that you want to call it a day. While Realtor drives you back to hotel, lecture her about your extensive research into foreclosures and the real estate market in general. Explain to the Realtor that it will take 20 years for the Phoenix market to get back to normal, "there are no buyers today" and "we know these desperate sellers will be happy to get our offer, even though we won't offer higher than 60% of list price."
3. Listen while your Realtor notes that:
- While Phoenix has tons of foreclosures for sale, we're selling an average number of homes monthly (about 5,000 each month)
- While outlying towns are down 40% or more from peak prices, central and North Phoenix are generally down about 12-15% from the peak
- The North Phoenix home you said was "acceptable" is located in a ZIP code that's actually turned into to a Seller's Market in past weeks, since there's now only 5 months' supply of homes for sale (6 is considered balanced, higher than 6 a buyer's market, lower than 6 a seller's market).
Listen quietly to Realtor's statistics, but ignore her information.
2. Tell Realtor that:
- "We're ready to buy today. We have money in hand and are serious about buying. We want to sign a contract today."
- After 2 or 3 sentences of polite chit-chat about your lives in the Midwest, tell Realtor "We aren't in a hurry to buy. If we can't find a great home at the right price, we'll just wait these sellers out. The prices are going to drop, they'll see and they'll be sorry."
- Realtor assures you that the ideal home you've described is available, is in your price range, and located in a part of town you drove through this morning and said you liked. Perhaps North Phoenix just isn't the right area for your needs.
Realtor takes a call from a partner agent. She hangs up and says none of her 5 partners are free to show you homes tomorrow but she will cancel her personal plans for the afternoon and meet you again at 2pm to look at homes in the other neighborhood we've agreed is good for you.
1. Twenty minutes after the Realtor drops you off, call her and leave this voicemail message: "We're sure you're a very nice person, but we just don't feel that our time is being well utilized. We only have 2 days in Phoenix and we can't afford to waste our time. So we just wanted to say we don't want to work with you anymore."
I should add that by the time I went to sleep that night, I was over it. In fact, the sheer absurdity of the whole thing made me giggle. Just another day in the life! At least my job is never boring.