When you’re in the business of helping people buy and sell homes — arguably the largest investment of their lives — it goes without saying that there’s a lot at stake. While real estate agents are typically unflappable pros who, in many cases, have experienced just about every scenario you can imagine, there are still some things that strike fear into their hearts.

In the spirit of Halloween, let’s take a look at some of the most terrifying statements clients make that leave agents trembling.

1. “We’re having second thoughts…”

Of course, it’s not uncommon to have a home buyer or seller get cold feet or have pre-purchase or pre-sale jitters, but after investing plenty of time and effort in a potential sale, the thought of a deal falling apart can be horrifying for any agent. Talking skittish clients through their anxieties, both real or embellished, is often part of the job, but that doesn’t make it any less scary.

2. “My parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would like to see the place…”

It can be tough enough to get a single client or a couple to agree on a property they love and want to buy. Once clients decide to invite their extended family to sneak a peek, they — and their agent — are bound to get more questions and opinions than anyone’s prepared to handle. Taking a large group on a home tour can end up being an agent’s personal horror show.

3. “I’m going to stick around for the open house in case buyers have any questions…”

Having the seller on the premises makes it challenging and sometimes awkward for prospective buyers to speak freely and get all of their questions answered. Agents know how to get the home sold, which is why sellers hire them in the first place. Even if the property owner thinks he or she is being helpful by sticking around, chances are this notion leaves agents shaking in their shoes.

4. “I lost my job…”

Unless a buyer is prepared to pay in cash, sudden unemployment can wreak havoc on a home purchase. When borrowers apply for a loan, they’re required to disclose their employment status and provide pay stubs, typically for the last 30 days. Without reliable income, the ability to secure that loan can disappear faster than balloons from an open house sign.

5. “I just bought a brand new car!”

Similar to the above scenario, making one big purchase before making another larger purchase can, and most likely will, change your debt to credit ratio. If you can hold off on any substantial expenditures until after your closing, your agent will sleep better at night.

6. “Our pet snake got loose this morning. But we’ll find him before the open house starts!”

From staging to marketing, preparing for an open house is already a daunting endeavor. The thought of pets potentially sending would-be buyers running back to their cars is terrifying. Even if a client’s pet boa constrictor is securely corralled, having animals at a showing can be a frightful faux pas.

7. “There’s something I haven’t told you…”

Got a leak? Termites nibbling away at the foundation? A lien against the property you’re hoping no one will ever find out about? Think again. Your agent needs to know everything up front. Secrets (or “surprises,” as clients like to call them) can freak out even the most poised agent — because if someone’s not disclosing one thing, it’s a safe bet there are other shockers that’ll make themselves known at the worst possible time.

8. “Is your commission negotiable?”

Sure, meeting new people and touring homes can be exciting, but not so much that an agent wants to do it for free. Hearing a client try to haggle with a hard-working agent can often be a telltale sign that they’re going to be challenging to work with and not appreciative of all that goes into a home sale or purchase.

9. “My friend is a Realtor!”

After spending time helping prospects, hearing the dreaded “Oh, thanks, but we have a friend who’s a Realtor” can send an agent into a panic. Rather than pointing out how much work has already gone into the process, a savvy agent can outline the inherent risks of mixing business with pleasure. Realtors can also keep things professional by explaining their unique skill set and why they’re the right agent to help seal the deal.

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