One morning, Manhattan real estate broker Mitchell Hall was supposed to pick up a signed listing from a client. When he got word that his father had passed away, he headed to the hospital instead.
Apparently unconvinced that this was a satisfactory excuse, the client, who had already told Hall of The Corcoran Group he would be getting the listing — decided to go with another agent.
The client never contacted Hall; he simply listed the property a few days later for $200,000 more than the price they’d previously agreed upon. In a textbook example of poetic justice, the property never sold, and a year later the client called Hall begging him to take the listing.
In comments to Inman, Hall said that the loss of the listing gave him a better perspective on what’s important in life. “It’s just a listing,” he said. “It’s not life or death.”
Hall shared his experience on a thread posted in the Raise the Bar in Real Estate Facebook group. The group’s stated purpose is to raise awareness of issues that affect the level of professionalism in real estate.
This particular thread — which asked real estate agents for the most surprising reasons they have lost listings — revealed that even if you’re doing everything right, a shocking array of client issues can derail your best efforts.
We’ve taken the liberty of extracting the 10 weirdest reasons Realtors have lost listings, in no particular order:
1. The Realtor was busy on her wedding day
As illustrated by Hall’s experience, some clients cannot imagine that anything could be more important than their listing.
One Realtor’s client insisted that she come over one morning to photograph their property and sign documents. The catch: It was 9 a.m. on the Realtor’s wedding day.
She offered to send a colleague in her place, but the client wouldn’t hear of it and she lost the listing.
2. The client had superstitious or supernatural reservations
In a couple of cases, clients’ metaphysical beliefs unraveled potential partnerships.
One Realtor noted that a client refused to hire him because he had not kissed the blarney stone. Another said she lost her listing because her client’s psychic took issue with the Realtor’s aura.
3. The agent or his/her employees were too attractive
In one case, a Realtor said she lost a listing because the client thought she was “just too nice and pretty.”
Lamenting that her attractiveness would distract potential buyers, the client reportedly told her: “The agent we chose is old and ugly.”
Another Realtor said he lost a listing because the client was too enamored to think straight when he was around: “The owner didn’t hire me to sell his apartment in New York City [because] he said he had a crush on me, and wouldn’t be able to make clear decisions about the sale! He was in a famous Broadway musical. Oh Broadway, what drama.”
Still a third said his showing agent’s beauty drove clients away: “I would never trust my husband around her,” his client reportedly said.
4. The agent refused to be seduced by the client
Similarly, two women recalled times when they lost listings because they rejected the romantic advances of potential clients. “He wanted to date me, and I said ‘No,’” one said.
The other noted: “Got the listing but was fired for not letting him kiss me.”
5. The heart wants what it wants
To the contrary, one Realtor reported losing a listing because of his relative lack of appeal to the client’s wife.
“Your presentation, marketing plan and experience was better, but my wife felt that this other female broker understood her better,” he said, quoting the client.
In a soap-opera worthy twist, the Realtor said he later learned that the wife and the broker fell for each other, and the wife left the client.
6. The client believed pregnancy and property sales to be mutually exclusive
Two Realtors said that they lost listings because they were pregnant.
According to one, the client told her he feared she would get distracted with nesting. She was 11 weeks pregnant at the time.
Another chimed in that a client fired her for similar reasons: “I was [five] months pregnant and took only [one] week off work after the baby. The baby is now [nine] months old and the listing is still not selling with that other agent.”
7. The Realtor’s competitor threw in some creative perks
In one case, an agent said she lost a listing because her competitor lived on the same street as the client and agreed to walk the client’s dog every day.
“Not just for showings. They wanted someone to walk the dog every day while they were at work,” the Realtor added.
As it turned out, a skilled dog walker does not a skilled Realtor make. “The house never sold. [Five] or 6 years later I still drive by it and smirk,” the Realtor wrote.
Another commenter speculated that perhaps the client never actually wanted to sell the house; maybe they just wanted a free dog walker.
8. The client didn’t want to work with a woman
A few female Realtors described occasions when they lost listings due to their gender.
One noted that after the client told her they had “decided on a man,” she followed the listing to see how it did: “It was on the market for over 200 days,” she said, “and sold for $42,000 less than asking price. (At a $250,000 price point.)”
9. The client believed the agent was in a cult (or otherwise religiously lackluster)
A few respondents cited various religious issues that cost them potential listings.
In one case, the Realtor was accused of being a cult member: “I went to meet a seller with an agent who was at my brokerage at the time. Seller was quite nice, but when agent followed up, he said the church I go to is a cult (I had a long sleeve shirt on that had the church logo on the sleeve) and that he never wanted me back in his house again.”
In two other cases, agents were rejected in favor of members of the clients’ churches.
One quoted a client as having said, “We need to use someone in our church so they will do things our way…our people understand us.”
Another said a seller whose house had been on the market for a year contacted her for help. Examining the property listing, the agent found “terrible pictures, no brochures, no one keeping an eye on the lawn mowing and snow plowing guys.”
She then learned that the seller had hired an agent who lived an hour away from the property “because she was the daughter of their pastor, and they felt obligated to use her.”
10. The client wanted someone a bit edgier
One Realtor, who noted that he has facial piercings, highly visible tattoos, a shaved head and a marketing strategy anchored in unconventionality, said he was rejected for being too conventional.
“We just think you came across as too conservative. We’re looking for someone who is a bit more edgy to represent us,” he quoted the client as having said.
Ingrid Burke is the international editor at Tranio.com.