All real estate agents have at least a couple good stories of weird client interactions that caught them off guard. Some clients, for one reason or another, insist on asking overreaching questions or making extravagant requests. And since it’s a broker’s job to guide their clients through the process, realtor.com asked four brokers about the strangest questions clients have asked.
Here are the stories of four brokers and how they dealt with their weirdest client interactions:
Theft Paranoia – Baltimore-based broker Jeff Miller worked with a seller who was so paranoid about having strangers in her home, she camped out in her car during showings to watch buyers go in and out. She even asked if she could have surveillance cameras installed to keep an eye on buyers.
“I was first surprised by the request. But then I took a moment to stand in her shoes,” Miller said. He asked her if there were any specific items she was worried about, to which she responded her late mother’s jewelry collection and grandfather’s military heirlooms. Miller immediately offered to cover the security deposit on a safety box at a local bank. His client gladly accepted and no longer felt the need to stalk potential buyers.
Extravagant Expansion – Most homeowners who are considering an expansion will usually ask about installing upgrades like a pool, barbecue area or home gym. The Clients of North Carolina-based broker Mark Steward had a different idea in mind.
In the middle of looking at an 11,000-square-foot house, his clients asked about installing a home gym. Steward noted that the house already had a 1,000-sq-ft. gym, but they said that wasn’t enough.
His clients wanted to build an additional 10,000-square-foot gym and an outdoor pool. Although their plans were extravagant, they ended up buying the property and following through with their grand renovation.
Divorce Dilemma – California-based broker Brian Perry has the sell the home of two clients who were not on speaking terms with each other. A prospect contacted Perry to ask him if he could handle the sale of a divorced couple with a volatile relationship.
Perry agreed to work with the two clients and focused heavily on communicating effectively. He decided that completely forgo conference calls and talk to each client individually, asking them the same questions and bringing them to an indirect agreement. Once both parties tentatively agreed, he sent a group text to confirm and an email regarding all conversations and agreements.
“Redundant communication is key during difficult sales because often you will find one or both parties are distracted and need to hear the same information multiple times,” Perry says. “I always made sure all parties were comfortable with the decision at hand, and everything is in writing and signed.”
Showings and Ghosts – Most of the time, haunted house stories are fiction or some exaggeration of a spooky event. Some clients, however, deeply believe in the paranormal and consider it a huge factor when buying a home.
Miami-based associate broker Allison Bethell was touring a creaky historical house with a client. When they got down to the basement, he turned to her and started asking about ghosts and spirits.
“He wanted to know who the ghosts were and what their story was,” Bethell says. He also asked her to call a spiritual medium to cleanse the house of spirits. Once that was done, he continued, she must find a pastor to bless the home.
“He asked me these questions in the basement of the house, and it was definitely nerve-wracking because it was dark down there,” Bethell says.
Fortunately, Bethell finished the showing, and the client eventually bought the property. After renovating the home, he now enjoys throwing Halloween parties where he captivates neighbors with stories of ghosts and ghouls.