In the Candyland game (ages 3 and up), a roll of the dice that comes up three does not allow a player to move four spaces to avoid landing on the licorice square. The penalty for licorice slows the player’s progress. There are no exceptions for players who wished the dice had come up anything but three, regardless of their years of Candyland experience. The game board does not come with a referee. Players who agree to participate agree to self-regulate and defer to the rules to settle differences of opinion.
An accepted offer to buy and sell real estate is the agreement between opposing parties that set the rules of engagement. Like a game’s rule book, the agreement defines terms, establishes boundaries, expectations of fair play, and consequences for deviations. Players often are assisted by real estate licensees. Prohibited by the license limits from being arbitrators for one side, the licensee is more of a guide.
When everyone promises to abide by the rules, we expect the process from start to finish will be smooth. Conflicts in home sales happen when someone decides the limitations don’t apply to them. I know what I said. I said I would call a plumber to fix the shower and I did. Unfortunately, the plumber fixed a leak in the bathroom instead. Too bad. I’m not going to pay for another trip and another repair. Take it or leave it.
Semantics is a go-to resource for bending rules (I said I’m immunized. I didn’t say I was vaccinated.) Another is illogic. Real estate brokers don’t always know what they have for a client until opportunities for doing the right thing arise. When a person reveals themselves as a scoundrel, choosing to help facilitate the offense is a dangerous decision. Licensees must be fair to all parties, regardless of their client’s decision.
When a licensee calls to tell me their client twists to interpret an agreement to an illogical conclusion, I am speechless. Well, that’s not true. I know what I want to say, but when I’m at my best, I bite my tongue. Why a professional real estate licensee would make a call to try to persuade me to persuade my client to accept this irrational position is beyond my comprehension. Agents who think they must facilitate conversations as their client or client’s attorney demands don’t have to make a phone call, text, or email. They could use a proper form—a Notice from Seller to Buyer or an Amendment signed by the Seller. Drafting may take longer than texting, but drafting is far better for placing accountability where it belongs.
When I say agents talk too much, I don’t mean they can not communicate. I’m saying when you speak, and your client doesn’t, the only documentation of ill intentions comes from you. If a client wants to be a scoundrel, it’s unnecessary to tie our integrity to his sinking reputation.