Tales of The WORST Real Estate Clients (Uncensored)

Tales of The WORST Real Estate Clients (Uncensored)

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.– Greg King


Over the past 36+ years in real estate, I have prided myself on the exceptional clients that I have had the opportunity to work with.  Many of my clients have become great friends, and I have had the privilege of helping their children and even some grandchildren with their real estate needs.  Over the years, there have also been a few of the “unreasonable” clients that I simply wanted to have disappear into the Bermuda Triangle and never return.  I thought that you might enjoy a story or two of the worst real estate clients I have ever had, as I think that that many of us have met a CHEATER, LIAR or a simply INTOLERABLE character throughout our lives.


THE CLIENT WHO WANTED TO CHEAT TO WIN.  A few years ago when multiple offers were quite commonplace for well-priced homes in Nanaimo, I received a call from a buyer wanting to view one of my listings.  When I met with him, something struck me as a little “off” about him, but he was pre-qualified to buy and already owned another property.  We returned to my office and discussed writing an offer.  At the same time, two other agents called to advise that they were also writing offers on the home, effectively making three offers that I would present to the seller.  The buyer turned to me and told me that he wanted to make sure that he had the winning bid, and requested that I tell him what the other offers were so that he could offer $100 more than the other ones.  When I told him that I could not do this as a professional real estate agent (as well as it being highly unfair to the other buyers), he said he didn’t care.  He mulled over the situation and came up with his solution to keep me out of realtor jail. He wanted me to blink the number of times per thousand that he needed to increase his offer in order to win.  Apparently, he thought that THIS was much more ethical than simply telling him outright.  For several minutes, I listened to the scheming ideas from this psychopath, and at one point, could not take it anymore.  I calmly advised him that he would need to take his business elsewhere and I would not represent him due to his conduct.  A realtor firing a client WHILE they are writing an offer?  Unheard of you might say.  I felt a rush of relief and satisfaction when he walked out of my office, knowing that I had kept my dignity AND not sold my soul for some miscreant (I know…it is a great word “miscreant”).  Later, the offers were presented to the seller, and a successful (and honest) buyer was able to purchase the home.  The seller was happy to learn that I had refused to deal with the rogue buyer, and felt that I had fairly represented and protected them.


IGNORE THE GROW OP IN MY BASEMENT.  I had a seller contact me to provide them with a market evaluation of their home and when I wandered around the basement, I could see a lot of moisture on the windows and other areas.  When I questioned the seller, he advised that the tenants had operated a large grow op downstairs but the plants and equipment had been removed and cleaned up by he and his wife.  He was not prepared to share this “tidbit” with potential buyers, and as a result, I had to decline the listing since it was clear that mold and other moisture problems had occurred as a result of his tenant’s “business venture”.  Perhaps my first clue that the basement might have had issues was the soft and damp drywall that sagged when I leaned against it!  Today, there are strict rules governing the sale of a property that has been a grow op and most banks will NOT give mortgages on them unless professional (and very expensive) remediation has been done.


I HAVE LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE.  Sometimes, you end up dealing with a client that makes you question your own sanity.  I was selling a property a few years ago, and the client, a retired gentleman in his 70’s seemed quite happy to be selling his home as he wanted a fresh start with his family.  As the days followed, he would call my office daily and rant about the sign damaging his yard, the lockbox weighing door his door and “looky loos” driving past his home at all hours of the day.  He would approve a showing (although he refused to leave the house in case someone tried to steal something), and then would get mad at a realtor if their client didn’t fall in love right away with his home.  At his point, I had to tell him that I didn’t think that this was working out between us as he was being disrespectful to others.  He apologized for being a little overzealous and attached to his home, and promised to behave himself.  The very next day, he called my office to advise that he had Legionnaire’s Disease (a Google search will scare you senseless) and that I needed to inform the “losers” that had gone into his house as he might have given it to them.  Needless to say, I was able to confirm with other family members that he did not have any such disease and promptly canceled the listing!


I think that it is reasonable to assume that in my years as a realtor, I have encountered a few clients that have made me question my own ethics and morals.  How far was I willing to go to make a sale?  I think that for everyone in life, making the decision to cut toxic people from your life – both professionally and personally, really does allow you to make room for positive people who enhance your life.  I have always tried to treat each client with the utmost respect.  I realize that I am dealing with people who are sometimes facing the darkest hours of their life – such as selling the family home to move into a seniors care facility, a home owner losing their spouse or family member, divorce, business failure, and even bankruptcy or foreclosure.  It is understandable that these clients may be feeling a wave of emotions through the real estate process, and I do my best to be empathetic and assist them in whatever way possible.  I also have the great fortune of seeing people experience some of their greatest joy in life – such as buying their first home, getting married, having a child and needing a bigger space, relocating to Nanaimo for their dream job, or simply being able to afford a home with a workshop to fulfill their passion.


The worst real estate clients in the world certainly make you appreciate the other 99.9% of incredible clients that we have the opportunity to work with!


Brian & Myles McCullough

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