Offering A Perspective v. Criticism

Knowing the meaning of the words constructive and criticism, we would never put the two side by side.

There is no such thing as Constructive Criticism. Oh, I know it’s a common term, but you wouldn’t use it if you knew the definitions of the two words. One is to express disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes. The other word is: To build up. Serving a useful purpose.

This is what you do when you do what you call constructive criticism: I express my disapproval of something about you I perceive to be a fault, and I am doing this for the useful purpose of building you up; by tearing you down with my own judgment…. which is not necessarily based on factual evidence…but my biased perception. No. There is a term, but no such thing as CC.

Offering a perspective, on the other hand, is constructive. It’s not criticism. A perspective is another way of looking at an issue or idea from an angle the other person may not have seen or considered. A perspective is offered with respect for the the recipient; with freedom to accept it or reject it. A perspective is about intentionally sharing to assist a person. Words matter. Knowing definitions is important to express your intention. You will always be known by your intention.

On The Hood of The Car

Multi tasking is an illusion.

In the middle of a movie, while the kids want our attention, when it’s nearly midnight. Are any of these safe environments where you do your best work? A University of Minnesota study revealed multi tasking is a killer on our ability to remember. When remembering the directions of a client, or the caution you heard a week ago, a distraction free environment is a safe place.

There was a time when writing an offer on the hood of the car was fairly common. The WB 11 wasn’t the back of a napkin, but it wasn’t the complicated instrument it is today. Maybe the hood of the car has been replaced by the coffee shop down the street. Neither place is where we do our best work.

Building your business on sound practices of safety will never do you wrong. Compare the coffee shop to an organized desk, a quiet place, free from interruptions and sufficient time. Multi tasking can be done. Doing any of those tasks well is an illusion.

Maximum Possible Outcome

The minimum level of knowledge permits you to obtain a license and begin to practice on the public. Why?

Regulating an industry is done to police licensed professionals. Regulations set the boundaries for legal practice. To obtain a license applicants take a mandated course and then a test. The course is intended to present (not necessarily teach) the minimal legal requirements. The test shows how well the applicant remembers. There is nothing to measure whether or not the applicant has learned to the level necessary to practice with competence. To qualify for the license, the minimum score required to pass is slightly above average. Exceptionalism is not required.

If the initial license was only qualified the person for additional learning and competence building the public would be served by fewer Real Estate agents who have a higher level of knowledge. But it doesn’t work that way. The person who made only the effort to learn the minimum legal requirement to pass the test holds the same license as the committed learner who knows what to do (the minimum) and aspires to learn to ask Why to learn more so she can effectively and legally change outcomes for the public. Why is what differentiates the learner from the test passer.

Licensees have the opportunity every morning to decide to be learners. Those who recognize the maximum possible action will deliver an outcome beyond expectations pay the price, make the effort to attend to the learning how much higher they can practice within the law to deliver the maximum possible results.

When it’s easiest to settle for the minimum legal requirements and still present yourself as competent, more people will choose to end their learning and get on with practicing on the public. Blind confidence (fake it till you make it, or break it) lets you walk to the edge. When consequences arise, the first thing to go is the confidence. He runs for cover to find blame and seek protection.

Skillshare is a learning opportunity for those who want to know the law, what we are permitted to do within the law, and WHY the law is at it is or WHY the contracts are what they are. Once you know the WHY, the magic happens when you learn to produce the maximum possible outcomes for your clients. Vaulting above average puts you in a place where few of your peers will venture.

Settling for the minimum legal expectations is something anyone can do and many do. You may not like what you’re learning and you may not agree with what you’re learning or think it’s relevant to you. Keep showing up and when that thing you didn’t like to learn, or think is relevant, stands in front of you, you’ll not flinch. You’ll guide your client through, around, or away from trouble and discover how valuable it is to have questioned something and worked to apply your new knowledge. Average is OK to be licensed. If that’s your maximum intent.

What’s Your Commission?

What’s your commission? When you’re worth it, you’ll know it.

The question is often asked because the answer is always assumed to be “negotiable”. When your fee is negotiable, be prepared to negotiate. Simple idea: Remember there are 4 to 10 reasonable stopping points between two whole number. Assume the commission rate you built your business model on is six percent. A client wants to negotiate your six to his five…I’ll skip the rest of the discussion a Realtor might have with the seller and assume the conversation ends with the Realtor conceding without negotiating.

Now, imagine the Realtor was expecting the question because she knew Google Trends showed Realtor Commission was a trending search this time of year. Let’s say the house will sell for $500,000. One off of 6 is not one percent. It’s a 16.6% reduction. But instead of percentages, let’s look at what we are really conceding. Five thousand dollars could end up being a 33% discount, donation, you made from your fee. If you can find 33% off of anything you should probably buy it and sell it on E-Bay for a 20% profit.

Thirty three percent probably is a reasonable discount to expect from some agents. They’re not all alike. If you aren’t some agents, it’s reasonable for you to stay close to your established fee. When you choose to make a concession think Hindu-Arabic numerals. Another number less than 6 is 5.75, 5.5, 5.25, or even 5.6. If you concede 1% your $5,000 donation is not a tax write off. I’m not saying don’t make concessions. I’m saying there is money to be earned by developing conversation skills which will help you turn that expectation of 1% concession to maybe a .5% or even .25% concession. You and the seller can move on knowing you each just made $2,500. What will you do with your $2,500? Put it in the bank? Donate to a real charity of your choice? When you’re worth it, you’ll know it.

Expert Opinions

Science is on both sides of the well water contamination question.

Water is supposed to be odorless, tasteless, and mostly colorless. In its natural state deep in the earth, away from pollutants, maybe it is. Maybe not so much for shallow wells our cities and private property owners pull water from. The diverse landscape of earth is more than just a pretty face, it’s working 24/7 to filter ground water back to into the wells we all drink from.

Municipal wells are tested and treated continuously. Private wells (those serving one or two or a few homes in rural areas) go untested for years. With the exception of mortgage lending requirements there is no obligation for an owner to test their well for bacteria and other contaminants. While our private wells may be drawing from the same source as the city down the road, the treatment plant is doing for the city users what no one is doing for the private well owner. A typical home owner has the well tested at the time of purchase because the lender wants proof the well water is safe. After that testing the water is not something on the seasonal punch list. It’s comforting to think safe one day means safe the next; not safe, but comforting.

Wisconsin is in the news for private well water contamination today. Experts on both sides of discussion have their facts and opinions. Science is on both sides of the water quality issue. As Realtors we will be brought into the conversation for sure. Regardless of my personal opinion, there are licensed experts who are expected to answer questions and provide evidence on this topic. I’m in no position to determine water safe or unsafe. My opinion is: Talk to the scientists and licensed professionals. When this topic gets the attention of national media it’s sure to be a topic Realtors are asked to comment on. I’m suggesting visiting the DNR and the Department of Health and organizations from both sides of the topic to get a perspective. https://www.agupdate.com/agriview/news/business/southwest-wisconsin-well-contamination-surprising/article_f36483e9-7465-5bc3-b3b9-489518ad2829.html

Clean Wisconsin

Remember the extent to which we are licensed and our boundaries. Advocating for or against either perspective is an unsafe road in a real estate transaction. You don’t have to take that road.

Contingency Management: No experience required.

The answer to the question is in the contingency and the question is always: Who is doing what, by when, and if not, then what?

Fortunately for seasoned and new licensees experience with a contingency is not required (and may be advantageous) to effectively manage a transaction. A properly written contingency has all of the action steps the parties agreed to follow spelled out sentence by sentence. All contingencies in the WB documents and WRA addenda A and B are properly written.

Working with agents for many years it’s clear to me contingencies are not read, or not comprehended, before the licensee balks. Following assembly instructions is not my habit, so it’s kind of surprising to me that following contingency action steps comes easy for me. I know contract terms are not something everyone enjoys, but I do and I think I can help those who flinch over knowing “…who’s going to do what by when, and if not then what?”

Tip: Assuming the contingency is written in a reasonable sequence, the contingency will answer all of our questions. Who is going to do what? When is it going to be done? If there is a cost, who is paying the cost? When the thing that’s being done is done, what are we doing with the results? If the results are not satisfactory, who is doing what by when? (Usually sending a Notice) If a Notice is sent by one to the other, then what is the recipient permitted to do? And by when is that thing they may do due to be done?

While every contingency can be reduced to a flow chart, I don’t think diagramming is essential. The steps can be seen by using a simple highlighter or by listing the steps in sequence.

Regardless of your method to turn words into a step by step action plan, please be comfortable knowing you can’t go wrong by reading and following the steps in the order they are written in the contingency. Nothing you have done previously, or someone once did or always does, is necessary for you to excel at contingency management. In fact, the more you depend on the actual contingency and it’s exact words, the safer you are in your practice. Trust yourself to read and comprehend, and trust the fact that contingencies change. What you once read might be the same today, but chances are something changed.