We like to think that if we do a great job and stay in touch with our past clients that they will hire us again.

Sometimes they do and sometimes they do not. Doing an amazing job and staying in touch with past clients is important, but certainly no guarantee of repeat business.

There are so many people who can provide a similar service, and we are all so friendly. I have had several clients throughout my career who were very satisfied with their previous Realtor, but worked with me instead.

Buyers and sellers have friends, relatives and neighbors who get real estate licenses. They will dump the best agent in a heartbeat — even after receiving excellent service and a decades worth of keeping in touch — and list with their newly-licensed friend or first born child.

To think I used to blame myself when a valued client moved away without so much as a goodbye.


Not only do we as agents need to learn how to handle rejection but we need to learn to move on and to say “NEXT” with gusto and enthusiasm, like we mean it.

We need to think about all of the people who loved working with us, and forget those who dumped us or who cheated on us or who lied to us.

We get dumped or rejected for all sorts of reasons. After it happens a few dozen times — or in my case, maybe a hundred times — we toughen up. People are unpredictable and at times unreasonable. Sometimes they dump us for good reasons, and sometimes for silly reasons.

Regardless, we say “NEXT!” and sometimes, “OUCH!” But we have to get to “NEXT!” quickly.

I remember a couple of buyers who dumped me one busy spring. It wasn’t until I showed them a few houses that I realized that if she liked the house, he hated it. If he liked the house, she hated it.

During the couple of weeks I worked with them they darn near wore me out with last-minute requests to see one or two houses that one of them wanted to buy on the spot and the other passionately hated.

It was the Mr. who sent me the email telling me that he did not want to work with me anymore, which makes sense because it was the Mrs. who chose me in the first place.


Once there was this man who wanted to buy a short sale. We made an appointment and looked at the home. the next day we talked on the phone for at least half an hour. I answered every question I have ever heard about short sales.

He decided to make an offer on the home, but wanted to do so through another agent. He asked me if I would cancel the contract he had with me and give up any “procuring cause” (which he called “procuring clause” because that is what the new agent his friends recommended to him told him to say). I never saw it coming.

OUCH! You would think he would have consulted his friends before choosing an agent. NEXT!

There was this woman who interviewed me to sell her home. I went to her home and looked it over and gave her an estimate of how much I thought it would sell for. I thought the meeting went well, and she contacted me a couple of days later.

She wanted to know where the money she would pay me in commissions would be spent if she chose me to sell her home. She did not want to spend money with any person or business that might give money to a political cause that she does not support.

I explained to her that most of the money that is paid to me goes right back into the local economy and is spent on food, clothing, housing, taxes and insurance. Ultimately she decided that I was not a worthy recipient of her money. Or maybe I stopped answering her questions when I decided it wasn’t going to work for me. I may have sounded a bit cranky in my last email to her.

OOPS! Am I bad? NEXT!

There was this buyer who had a long list of requirements in a home. After a long and difficult search I found his house.

What he did not tell me is that his parents would have to approve what he bought, and they would decide how much he could offer, because they were going to give him some money.

The parents had not been in on the home search and apparently did not understand the housing market and did not seem to like me. Totally understandable. They wanted to make an offer that was significantly less than the home was worth, and pretty much ignored anything I said.

I let the buyer know that the offer was a long shot. But he wanted to make it so I wrote it.

He did not get the house. Three were multiple offers, and the house sold for significantly more than what my buyer offered. When he contacted me to help him find another house I said no, and cancelled our contract.


Over the years I have dumped buyers and sellers and have been dumped by them for various reasons. Some of the worst experiences I have ever had as an agent have been from working with people who were referred to me. I swear I would never find these people on my own.


I need to remind myself that most of the time I work with really amazing people. I need to stay focused on that fact and to everyone else, I need to just say, “NEXT!”

If all goes well, I will get to say it to them before they say it to me.

Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.


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