In the world of real estate there seems to be this polarization occurring, agents like myself and John Kirk, that take due diligence for our clients very seriously and those that step out of the transaction as much as possible. I guess I figure that if I don’t have an opinions, advice or knowledge to share with you, I’m kind of worthless. Why hire me, if all I have to offer a client is knowledge of how to open a door and announce “here’s the kitchen!” I really think most consumers can figure out that the counters are Formica. What I am being paid for is to learn and study the things that Salem Oregon area home buyers and sellers just don’t have the time to learn.
In Paul’s post he wrote ” No businessman walks around looking for a financial colonic, but the very real potential for having his inner sanctum legally hollowed out exists in each and every transaction he undertakes. As such, it has become customary for many to simply ward off as much exposure as possible by abstaining from any form of guidance that can later be labeled malfeasance or conflict of interest. Heaven knows, if the contractor you recommend for repairs screws the electrical pooch, any rabid attorney worth his salt will gleefully encourage the client to pursue the deep pocketed brokerage (and agent by proxy) as well as the contractor for damages. Why put yourself on the line by recommending a home inspector when the potential for blow-back on a balky A/C unit can put you directly in the cross hairs? For that matter, why even bother to attend the inspection if the due diligence can be misconstrued for interference?”
Paul is quite colorful in his writing and an incredible blogger, by the way. Don’t tell him I said so or it’ll make his ego grow even larger 😉 What I do agree with is this…real estate transactions by nature can be difficult and risky. There is risk in every transaction, and some agents have chosen to “lessen” that risk by recommending three lenders, recommending three home inspectors, not attending home inspections, etc. I don’t think people hire me to step out of the transaction; they hire me to step into it and become intensely involved in the details of it. With that…comes risk. Risk that a contractor I recommend does something wrong; risk that a home inspector I use misses something; and risk that I miss something in my due diligence. I have had contractors I recommend do a horrible job for my clients. I scratch them off my list; I learn; and I move on.
But here’s the deal. Life is filled with risk and I cannot control everything, as hard as I try sometimes. I also firmly believe in the intelligence of the consumer. You all know when I am being honest and acting in your best interest. You all know I can’t see inside walls so there might be something lurking there in your house. You all know that there is risk in everything we do, even driving to the grocery store. All you ask, is that I study, learn, and share my knowledge with you so that YOU can make the best choice for you. The last thing you want from me is to abstain from participating in your real estate transaction because you might sue me.
I, like Paul, think that the best defense to preventing a lawsuit, is to have a good offense. I don’t hide behind the fear of a lawsuit as an excuse to not step into a transaction; to not ask the questions that need to be asked for your benefit. If I get sued, I get sued. I am a firm believer in the golden rule and run my business with that in mind. I can go to bed every night knowing I did my best for my clients that day. I prefer to insert myself into the transaction offer my opinions and make recommendations because in the end, it’s how I would want to be treated, if I was you.