I often hear comments along these lines, “I bet you meet all kinds in your line of business.” Here is the story of the only time that I have ever “fired” a client.
In 2016 someone called the CMC office and asked if there happened to be a Mennonite REALTOR® in the congregation. Gwen or Mim gave them my number. When I got the phone call, the voice on the other end told me that they were looking to build a house, “on ten acres, in a Mennonite community, and preferably in Bexley.” They were not Mennonite, but knew that we were “good people.”
I, like you, thought this was a joke, but they had a $700,000 budget and the commission on that transaction would be more than I had made in some years. After having a couple of interactions, they realized that these requirements were…unrealistic.
I found them to be enjoyable people. That is, until we were touring a home in Upper Arlington and the husband wondered off to the basement or garage (as husbands tend to do). The wife began to speak to me in that whispery way that people do when they are going to say something that they know is inappropriate.
“Brent, are there Muslims in Columbus?”
“Are they in this area and are there many blacks here? Because…well…I can’t be neighbors with blacks or Muslims. I just can’t deal with that.”
I was flabbergasted. Horrified. This was what we talk about in fair housing and civil rights classes. I responded that I would not be a party to this type conversation. She seemed surprised and did not back off until her husband had returned and asked her not to put me in this position. It was clear that he felt similarly but knew that this shouldn’t be given voice.
I’ve changed a lot in 5 years and know that I would handle it differently today. What I did then was just disappear. I didn’t return their calls or emails. This stuff is still out there. 99% of the real estate professionals that I know would either have done the same thing or would have confronted it with more vigor.
I wish I would have.