Prospective buyers look and look and look. Then the criteria changes when they find what they say they want.
Buyer: No, it has to be near the ocean.
Broker: But you said you didn’t need to be near the ocean.
Buyer: This only has three bedrooms.
Broker: You said three bedrooms was all you needed.
Buyer: Well, my sister- in- law plans to spend time with us, so we need more space.
Broker: Ok, so now we’re looking for four or maybe even more bedrooms? Right?
Buyer: This has no pool. We said we had to have a pool.
Broker: Well, actually you said a pool wasn’t necessary.
Why do we brokers get involved in these arguments?! We should know when a prospective buyer says what he wants and we show him five houses that meet his requirements, and THEN he changes the criteria, we have a problem. Someone needs counseling. If we persist in trying to meet his mutable needs, then WE need counseling.
A friend and colleague worked with a customer who had been his very first customer, on and off for 15 years, all the while hoping the customer would finally find what he was looking for; but then the broker ran out of houses and, finally, ran out of patience. The customer is still looking. He is by now well-known among brokers. Most of whom refuse to work with him. He’ll probably never buy. The man has the money, just not as much as his Wall Street colleagues. They all have houses in Southampton, south of the highway. He can’t afford south of the highway in Southampton. Tragic but true.
Another broker dealt with a couple who thought they wanted to buy until they found what they wanted (after looking for over a year at more than 100 houses). They put in a low bid, thus assuring themselves of losing the house, and were never heard from again. The broker assumes they told their friends they found the house of their dreams, but what the seller was asking was outrageous. They put in their low offer, and the seller turned them down.
The best broker I ever encountered was a man from whom I almost bought a piece of land. I loved the land. It had a small view of the bay. I would build my house, which would have a small view of water. I agonized over an offer. Finally I made a bid, but before the broker passed it on to the owner, he sat me down and said he had something to tell me.
“It’s gone?!” I said, fearful of having lost it.
“No,” he said, “it’s still available, but the truth is… you can’t afford it. You can buy the land, no problem there, but you won’t have enough money to put a house on it. How about if we look for a nice piece of land, without a water view, something less expensive, but affordable enough to still enable you to build a house.”
“But it won’t have that view!” I wailed.
“No” he said, “but you’ll have a house. And you need a house more than a waterview. You’re going to have to compromise.”
So I bought another piece of land, and put up a house, and though I didn’t have a view of the water, I had a big deck and it looked out over a nature preserve and everytime the broker, who became a friend, came for dinner, we sat on that deck and looked out over the land, and I had a new friend and everything I wanted. And more to the point, everything I could actually afford.