No Is Better Than “Maybe”

When we find ourselves in the buyer role in the world of real estate, the word “maybe” is worse than a response of “no.” “Yes, but” or “no, but” give the receiver a track upon which to run. “Maybe” is a way to freeze the process, frustrate the seller, and gain a reputation as someone who does not know their job.




Real estate brokers only make money when a transaction occurs. Good brokers pride themselves in matching willing, competent buyers with willing, rational sellers. A response of “no” allows the broker to move onto the next potential buyer. A “no, but…” response takes the next step and guides the broker to what might make this type of property more attractive (e.g., larger, cheaper, newer, better located, etc.). A “maybe” response suggests that the buyer does not know what he wants.


Due Diligence


Wholesalers are compensated when they deliver selling agreements and tickets. The needs of a broker dealer will change as existing offerings close, new registered representatives join the firm, and a need rises to add competition to another sponsor. A “maybe” response to a new sponsor / offering, particularly followed by ongoing requests for yet additional material with no clarity as to what will eventually drive a “yes,” kills the credibility of the analyst. The wholesaler, though, needs also to do a better job of understanding upfront the sometimes conflicting pressures on the analyst, which puts them in a position where they are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t.”


Retail Salesperson


It is funny, at times, to hear a registered representative complain about how prospects just can’t seem to make a decision. Yet these same RRs continue to eat meals with wholesalers without ever presenting their funds to their clients. In deference to the RRs, though, it is difficult to justify the time to learn about, and energy to add, a new sponsor to their platform. There is often little perceived difference (nothing rising to the level of distinction) between options. Unlike the buyers in the two examples above, the RR works purely on commission, so that their time really is their money.


A Modest Proposal


When you are in the buyer role, take a page from the Nancy Reagan book, and “just say no.” You may not make friends, but you will gain their respect. You can achieve bonus points in the relationship if you add specific comments on what you want to see in the future AND state when you want to see them again. Otherwise, they will be back at your door tomorrow.