I was reminded this morning that teaching a person to fish could feed them for a lifetime, but only if they want to eat. The person who wants to be given a fish is not going to fish even, if they have the ability, until they decide that eating is better for them than starving.
The effort of teaching is exponentially magnified in results by the student who finds inspiration to make the learned technique or tool a habit. Never quit teaching because some people don’t want to eat. Teach to the people who aspire to greater heights.
Be Accurate: Home Depot, Fleet Farm, and your local True Value Hardware Store sell 25 foot steel tape measures by Stanley, Milwaukee, and Dywalt. For less than a dollar a foot, you can own one of these tough and ready tapes. Even if you use it on every listing (and I hope you will) one of these could last your entire career. The 26 foot Fat Max by Stanley measures in Metric also. That could be handy if metric catches on in the USA.
Be Better: When you list a house which I last sold, how can you be sure the measurements and sizes I stated on the old MLS sheet are accurate? Don’t take my word for it. I could have made an error. Measure rooms. Check public records. Look at surveys. We all think we do our jobs well. And we all make mistakes. Be better than the agent before you. Do your own measuring.
Be Careful: The best place for me to prepare detailed offers and detailed representations of property is in my office with no distractions. My guess is you are more likely to be accurate when you are not distracted, where you have access to all the tools you might need. Where do you do your most careful work? When are you most careful?
Once you’ve prepared your marketing material (MLS Data, Flyers, Web posts) check for accuracy. Send the material to your client and ask them to review for accuracy. When an error is identified, make the correction promptly. If you work with an assistant for data entry, have a system for verifying accurate information is entered and inaccurate information is corrected.
Working through inspection related contingencies is when the most agent to agent calls (by calls I mean text, email, and phone calls) are initiated. Why is a call made so quickly in response to Notices and Amendments? I believe it’s an unnecessary practice. Here’s why:
The Offer to Purchase is an agreement between the Buyer and Seller. Sufficiently written contingencies (and every licensee believes they wrote sufficient contingencies) include the steps the parties will take when this or that happens. The contingencies define key terms. The parties agreed to these steps and terms. When one party follows those terms by sending a Notice or Amendment, or doesn’t follow those terms, by sending the wrong form or no form, the receiving party has a predetermined course of action. Nothing in the contract or license law states a licensee must, or should, make a call to object, question, debate, or educate the sender. The approved and understood options include the recipient party responding by Notice, Amendment, acceptance, or silence. Of the approved forms for licensees, email, text, and phone calls are not mentioned for good reason.
Lawyers may have permission to speak on behalf of their clients. They may have the protection to make representations. Licensees do not have the legal authority of an attorney. A good way to lose the authority we still have to complete forms is to fail to complete forms. Let’s think about this.
A call (text, phone, email, fax) is documentation of a message from one licensee to another. The commitment to the statements is arguably attached to the sender and whomever responds. There is no commitment to the statements from the principals. A Notice, Amendment, Counter Offer on the other hand, is signed by the principals confirming the words are their words; the promise is their promise; the responsibility is their responsibility. Documentation is clear when appropriate forms are signed.
If the intent of a call in lieu of a proper form is to speed the process or challenge the other agent, the intent is reason enough that the form is a better choice.