In Writing

Memory might be the least dependable faculty of the human brain. Facts, or statements presented as facts, are presented non-stop from wake up to sleep without hesitation. Humans run on facts. We can’t get enough. And we can’t remember most what we hear. When what we hear is a statement from another person, that statement is only as accurate tomorrow as the recall of the person who made it, and the recall of the person who heard it. Given that humans are human, perspectives change, needs change, words have more than one meaning, the real estate licensee who “verbally negotiates” is playing with fire.

“I will remove and install new windows in the second floor bedrooms.” Easy to remember and verify? Should be. In 30 days from now after new information on the cost of windows, labor, and with a second opinion about the condition of half of the windows one person (person paying) might recall the promise as, “I will remove the defective windows in the second floor bedrooms and replace them with new windows.” With the second opinion concluding there are only 4 of 8 defective windows, the recall of the one who made the promise no longer matches the recall of the person who accepted the promise. Who’s going to decide the difference? Who’s going to pay for the resolution?

Verbally negotiating and subsequently recording the agreement as we remember it will always end in the resolution to the disagreement being in writing with the person who pays to settle signing the agreement and a check.

Is taking the time to keep buyer and seller negotiations in writing via approved contract forms, amendments, counter offers, and notices worth the reward? I hope so. The cost of settling disagreements is greater than the money.

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