Worst Real Estate Client Ever?


6 minute read

December 5, 2012

Here’s a story for ya!

Thank God this didn’t happen to me, but my I cringed along with my colleague every step of the way…

Listen to this story, agree not to skim, and try and absorb everything in its entirety.

If at the end of the story, you don’t side with my colleague and myself, and you think that the client in this story was justified in any way, by all means – let me know!

I understand that not every member of the general public is as informed and educated in the world of real estate as most Realtors, but there comes a time when you say to yourself, “This client’s words and actions have nothing to do with a lack of knowledge about real estate, and everything to do with a lack of common sense.”

The client in this story was so out to lunch that I actually told my colleague, “He’s not ‘all there.’  He’s gotta have some sort of issue; something isn’t right in his head.”

That’s possible, but the fact that the client is a 30-something president of a small company leads me to believe that he must be a very intelligent guy!

Let’s call the client “Armand” and we’ll call my colleague “Colin.”

Colin is a top-ten agent in my company, and one of the best in the business.  When I need help with a client, I trust Colin to fill in for me.

Colin’s client, Armand, was looking to downsize from a $1.5 Million house into a $900,000 condo, and started his search in the spring of 2011.

About six months ago, a unit came up for sale in the west end for $899,000, and Colin took Armand to have a look.

Armand loved the place; who wouldn’t?  It was a gorgeous penthouse with a huge terrace, and a fantastic view!

Days went by, and then weeks, and Armand kept saying, “I’m thinking about it.”

Colin would tell Armand, “You know, this place might sell, so you’d better make a decision,” but Armand just kept saying, “I’m thinking.”

After one month on the market, Armand asked to go back to the unit and show his friend.

Another month passed, and the unit was still on the market, and Armand asked to back again – this time to show his family.

All told, the unit was on the market for six months, and Armand spent four months hmmm’ing and hawww’ing about the unit, and had been to view the unit four times.

Colin could only assume that Armand wasn’t very serious about the unit, since he clearly had no sense of urgency.  In fact, he was lucky the unit was available for so long for him to “consider.”

After the first three months of Armand’s soul-searching, he told Colin, “I’m thinking about making them an offer.”  Colin advised Armand that since the unit had been sitting on the market at $899,000, maybe they should offer $850,000.

Armand had other plans.

Armand suggested that they offer just under $700,000, and said, “I’m willing to pay the seller a modest premium over what he originally paid for the unit.”

He bought the unit in 2005…

Colin had no idea what to say back!  What do you say to somebody that wants to offer 78% of the list price in a market where properties usually sell around the asking price?

Armand said, “I believe that the real estate market is going to correct to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and every property in the city could see their value cut in half.”

Of course, this begs the question, “If you’re so certain, then why don’t you just wait?”

This was one of the many actions and opinions Armand offered that seemed to contradict everything else he was doing.

Colin did his due diligence, and asked the listing agent about a $700K offer, but naturally the listing agent laughed, and said “Don’t waste my time.”

A couple weeks later, Armand told Colin to inquire about leasing the unit, to which the listing agent said, “If my client wanted to lease out the unit, we would have it listed for lease.”

So after the four months of foot-dragging passed, Colin was notified that there was an offer forthcoming, and he told Armand.  Naturally, Armand didn’t make a move.

As you might expect, the unit sold.  Listed at $899,000, the sale price was $875,000, which I think was a good price for both buyer and seller.

Two weeks later, Armand called Colin in a rage.

“I can’t believe that unit sold,” he said.  Colin had no idea where this was about to go…

“Colin, you have to break up that deal!  I want that condo,” he said, adding, “I feel like that unit was stolen right out from under me!”


Armand spent four months kicking tires on this unit, and he showed it to every person he knew!  He viewed the condo four times!

Colin told Armand, “Well, Armand, I’m sorry that it sold, but it’s gone man!  There’s nothing we can do about it now.  We had our chance, and we didn’t take it.”

Notice the “we” sentiment, even though it was clearly Armand that didn’t pull the trigger.

And even if he did pull the trigger – he wanted to offer $700,000 on an $899,000 condo that sold for $875,000!

But Armand wouldn’t let it go.

The next week, he called Colin and said, “Did you break up the deal yet?”  As if it were a foregone conclusion.

This is the part of the story that made me think this guy was nuts.  I asked Colin, “What does he mean by ‘break up the deal?’  Does he really think this sort of thing is possible?”  Colin didn’t know what this guy was thinking.

Armand said to Colin, “Are you really telling me you can’t break up this deal?  That’s not the Colin I know.  The Colin I know would get in there, bust this thing up, and get me the condo that I should have had in the first place.”

It was getting weird.

Try as he might, Colin was unable to convince Armand that this condo was sold, and that it was gone.  “I swear I almost puked in my office meeting today,” said Armand.  “We have to stop this.  We have to break this deal!”

Eventually, Armand decided that this was all Colin’s fault, and that he was being “screwed.”

“This is BS,” said Armand.  “I should have been notified if somebody so much as sneezed in that unit!  Colin – you knew I wanted this place, and you did nothing to stop this from happening.”

Stop it from happening?

How was Colin supposed to “stop” a buyer and a seller from making a real estate transaction?

Just when things seemed like they couldn’t get any weirder, Colin received a message on Facebook, of all places, from the listing agent for the unit.  “Can you keep a secret?”  The message started.  “Some whack-job client of yours has been calling me about XXXX Condo, telling me that he wanted to buy the place all along and that he wants me to resell it to him.”

Colin decided to confront Armand, but it’s not like Armand backed down any!

“I’m just trying to get what’s rightfully mine,” Armand said.  “I told the listing agent that if he can break this deal up, I’ll offer a $50,000 bonus to the buyer and seller to split.”

That made no sense.

Colin asked, “How is it that last month you were only willing to pay $700,000 for this condo, but now you’ll pay $925,000, even though it was listed at $899,000 and it sold for $875,000?”

Armand was relentless! “The listing agent isn’t doing his job here.  He’s screwing his client by leaving money on the table.  My offer is for $50K higher than he sold the unit for!”

Colin tried to explain that there was no “offer” and that the unit wasn’t even for sale, and that’s when Armand decided that Colin was somehow trying to screw him.

“You know Colin, I was at dinner last night with three friends, all real estate agents, and they all said that you’re not doing your job.  They agreed that I should have been given a chance to buy this condo, and that you’re not working in accordance with my best interests.”

I have to wonder if he really ate dinner, and really had friends, or if this whole thing took place in his mind, on the moon.

In any event, Armand refused to consider looking at any other properties, refused to believe that the unit at XXX Condo was truly “gone,” and then told Colin, “I wouldn’t be willing to pay you a commission anyways.”  After all that they had been through in a full year of looking at condos, and even though Armand was asking Colin to somehow “break” a deal between a buyer and a seller for a condo that had sold over two weeks ago, for nearly $200K more than he was willing to pay, Armand didn’t think that Colin should be compensated in any way even if he did somehow secure this deal for Armand.

That’s when Colin finally said what any agent should have done in this position, “I can’t help you.  I wish I could, but I can’t.  Best of luck in your search.”

I’m sure there are scores of Realtors out there that would love a client looking for a $1M condo and looking to sell a $1.5M house, but not Colin; not if the client is out of his mind.

The funny thing is, Armand wrote Colin back after and said, “What?  You can’t tell me you don’t want to work with me!  I need you!”

Bad Real Estate Client – The Movie

It’s like something out of a movie.
Guy likes condo.
Guy wants to offer 77% of asking price on condo.
Guy wants to lease condo.
Guy waits four months to act on condo.
Guy loses condo.
Guy wants condo.
Guy loses mind.
Guy attacks agent.
Guy loses agent.
Guy wants agent back.

Is this a love story?

Or just the illogical actions of somebody with no concept of reality, in or out of the real estate market?

You decide…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

Find Out More About David Read More Posts

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  1. Rene Brassard

    at 7:33 am

    “Armand would tell Colin, “You know, this place might sell, so you’d better make a decision”.

    Don’t you mean Colin would tell Armand…

    I hope you pay more attention to details as a Realtor than blogger…

    1. McBloggert

      at 9:11 am

      Armand is that you??

    2. ScottyP

      at 9:58 am

      Here on a Wednesday morning, coffee in hand, nothing beats coming to an informative and entertaining real estate blog to read a pointless dressing-down from Rene Brassard, Chief of Grammar Police.

      1. David Fleming

        at 10:42 am

        I meant to check with Rene Brassard before I wrote this, but I was too busy having a life…

        1. Rene Brassard

          at 4:56 pm

          Hey Davey, you’re the one who asked people to read this article very carefully. Here, let me quote you:

          “agree not to skim, and try and absorb everything in its entirety.”

          So you’re surprised when your readers (and potential customers) follow your advice, then call you out on an obvious error? Give me a break. I may not know who I’ll hire as my next real estate agent, but I know it won’t be you…

          1. moonbeam!

            at 9:09 pm

            ha-ha — who cares?

          2. David Fleming

            at 12:41 am

            @ Rene

            Okay, you win, since you have me now responding TWICE when I rarely respond at all.

            My issue is that you didn’t have an argument, other than to critique a grammatical error.

            Did you find anything wrong with the actions of either participant in the story? Do you have an opinion the pricing, or strategies? Do you have an opinion on real estate at all?

            Or are you just pointing out that during one of my four weekly 1600-word blog posts, I accidentally mixed up the names “Colin” and “Armand?”

            If so, I’m sorry. Basic spell-check did not pick that up…

          3. Geoff

            at 9:22 am

            Hey Rene, for future reference: “Here are the trees, and here’s the forest.” I have a feeling you go through life missing one or the other.

          4. Lynne MacMillan

            at 4:08 pm

            Who cares about grammar? The point is does the writing flow? Can you read it as easily as if you were reading a good novel? And the answer to this is a resounding “Yes!” When I first found this blog I would sit down and read at least 2 hours at a time and one can only do that if the writing is good. Honest to God, if he wants to put it in a book he can hire an editor, they come a dime a dozen.

    3. ScottyP

      at 11:33 am

      Nice catch, McBloggert.

      If I ever need my grammar checked, now I know I can “Rely on Rene.”

  2. Rene Brassard

    at 7:39 am

    “Colin could only assume that Armand wasn’t very serious about the unit, since he clearly had no sense of urgency. In fact, he was lucky the unit was available for so long for him to “consider.” ”

    Clearly the unit was overpriced if it sat for 6 months “in a market where properties usually sell around the asking price”. I would say the seller was unreasonable keeping his asking price so high, and Armand was the smart one to avoid jumping at it.

    1. ScottyP

      at 9:55 am

      Yeah, a $700,000 offer on a property that ended up selling for $875,000 was pure genius.

  3. Rene Brassard

    at 7:44 am

    Armand was a whack job. Borderline psycho. Colin should stay the frak away, change his address, and be very aware of who’d around him at all times.

  4. moonbeam!

    at 8:11 am

    I am chilled at the part where Colin’s client turns on him and accuses him of screwing him. We have a society now where people look to blame others for their own mistakes…. this is so common now in every field that I am glad to be retired and out of the rat race. Nowadays these wack-jobs look to friends, the media, and ‘experts’ to find a scapegoat for their own idiocy… Scary…

    1. MM3

      at 12:32 pm

      (In my totally non-expert opinion), I would peg him more as narcissistic personality disorder. Either way, not much point in trying to reason with him or wonder what went wrong.

  5. Ralph Cramdown

    at 9:14 am

    If and when this boom busts, these are the clients you’ll remember. The ones who walk in to your office with a twenty thousand dollar bill stapled to their foreheads and, after some foreplay, you tell them to walk right back out again.

    1. Appraiser

      at 8:57 am

      Another retarded comment from the goof also known as Ralph.

  6. Kyle

    at 10:51 am

    I don’t think he is as much a psycho as he is a frustrated, delusional bubblist. Seems to me he is looking at this as a series of investment transactions, not changes to his living situation. He seems to be trying to reduce his exposure (i.e take the gain from his house, while also getting a discount on the condo). The humming and hawing probably has more to do, with him waiting for the perfect time to pull off his strategy…because the market is going to halve don’t you know? And the psychotic behavious probably has more to do with him, missing what he saw as the perfrect “market opportunity”. Too bad for him, he is not the only particpant in the market, and his “market opportunity” never existed to begin with.

    Anyhow can you let me know when he is selling his 1.5M house? I might like to offer him 1.17M.

  7. George

    at 11:01 am

    I’m guessing Armand has never quite come to terms with losing in his life. As a president of a company, he probably never has to lose an argument or follow someone else’s decision/advice. I wonder if he was crazy before he got his job or if the job has changed him.

  8. RPG

    at 11:50 am

    The only part of the story that surprises me is the fact that Armand owns a $1.5 Million dollar house. I’d expect a guy like this to be a renter or something. That’s usually the case.

  9. 2 sides

    at 12:14 pm

    Is Armand the worst client ever? No. Surely you could find worse.
    Could Colin have done more? Well, we would need more information.

    Armand is out of whack to try to have the deal broken up, but is he out of whack to expect Colin be aware of any potential buyers sniffing around the property? More so, should Colin have stressed to Armand that the place will sell if he doesn’t act once a bid was forthcoming?

    78% is out of whack given an expected correction in prices of ~10-20% *see economists expectations…nowhere near the 50% Armand quotes.
    78% is out of whack to afford the seller a modest premium over the purchase price in 2005…

    A discount is in whack given presiding market conditions…say 10%…how about starting at 800k, given the place has been on the market for 4 months? If Armand thought 850k to be too strong out of the gate…wouldn’t have 800k worked?

    1. David Fleming

      at 12:37 pm

      @ 2 sides

      I’ve seen a lot of people:
      a) want to offer ridiculously low prices
      b) drag their feet
      c) make wild predictions about the market

      But I have NEVER seen somebody ask to “break up the deal,” as if there was some A-B-C way of doing this.

      The way that Armand repeatedly said, “Has the deal been broken up yet?” led me to believe he had no clue how real estate works. There’s no logic in that. How/who/where do you “break up a deal?” What’s the legalese?

      That was the part of the story that threw me for a loop. The rest is stuff that unfortunately happens all the time.

      1. johnny chase

        at 12:59 pm

        why not offer the other buyer $25K to do an assignment?

  10. Rachel Vanderveen

    at 2:22 pm

    I so feel for “Colin.” I know how that stuff can hurt, even when people are totally irrational and quantifiably psycho. Blessings to you, “Colin!”

  11. Dan

    at 10:15 pm

    This is not a true story

    1. David Fleming

      at 2:44 pm

      @ Dan

      Absolutely, 100% true. Not exaggerated. I even went over my notes with my colleague before I wrote the story.

  12. Mike Former Realtor

    at 11:15 am

    Just saw this story, but had a similar experience some years ago.

    A lawyer contact of mine phoned one day about a high end home that our office had just sold in Richmond Hill. The lawyer was speaking for a client who regretted not making an offer and now wanted the home. He was insistent and eventually offered a $50k premium to take over the deal.

    I spoke only with the buyers agent. The answer was no, even with the premium. The agent explained to me that the buyer was very well off & it was not about the money.

    2 or 3 months passed and I received a call from the agent The buyer had a change of plans and asked if the client still wanted the home. They were willing to just transfer the deal with no premium required

    I called the lawyer & now the client had a different view. Now he was only willing to buy if the first buyer would take a loss of $50k. I explained they hadn’t even tested the market yet. The client was stubborn and wouldn’t budge (and said something about wanting the buyer to suffer). So the buyer went to market and sold almost immediately at slightly above their purchase.

    The good part of my story is I didn’t have to meet the client or put any time into a search.

  13. Camila

    at 10:21 pm


    David, you once had a post with the final line that You are the worst client ever, which was so clever.

    This story is an interesting one. What comes to mind is a handful of premises to Bollywood flicks… You know, things in life are just more interesting, when you cannot have them, anymore.

    I would love to meet this bizzaro, ideally after he has had some moonshine, just to get his honest perspective on life.
    He must have an Interesting approach to business, with that attitude.

  14. Pingback: How Much Is Average Home Price Affected By Seasonality? - Toronto Realty Blog
  15. jason roy

    at 4:20 pm

    I cannot thank this real estate agent enough for their exceptional service. They listened to my needs and preferences, showed me a variety of properties within my budget, and helped me make an informed decision. Their patience, expertise, and attention to detail made the buying process a breeze. How Much is My House Worth in Norwalk

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