Ummm....I'm Pretty Sure You Said? Get it in Writing!

Real Estate Agent

Ever had a conversation with someone only to find out that what you 'think you said' isn't what they're pretty sure 'they heard'?   You know how it goes....there's what 'happened' (the fact) and then there various 'stories' (or versions) of what each party made it mean?

You've heard it said, that its all about 'communication'.........but actually I think we 'communicate' whole bunches! What we often don't seem to be doing is communicating effectively.  What makes it even more complicated these days is that the major source of communication seems to be via Social Media. More often then not...we Tweet, Text, Voice Mail, E-mail instead of talking face to face.

Now this wonderful world of social media and instant communication has both positive and negative ramifications in our personal live, but how doe it work in the Real Estate World?  I.e.  "don't worry the seller said he'd take care of it'; or "I'm pretty sure the washer and dryer are staying";.........what about counter-offers that are text messaged back and forth?  Would you call this 'documented' or 'substantiated'?  Nobody every does that though, right?



Now that call you got from the lawyer - was not just a bad dream........You know that fee adjustment you and your client had talked about on a previous deal?  The one that didn't go through?  Guess what?  

For us here in Canada:  The CREA Standards of Business Practice Say...

Article 6:  Written Transaction Agreements

Realtors shall ensure that agreements regarding real estate transactions are in writing in clear and understandable language, expresing the specific terms, conditions and obligations and commitments of the parties to the agreement.  A copy of each final agreement shall be furnished to each party upon their signing or inititialing, and shall be dealt with in accordance with the instructions of the parties involved.

And Interpretation 6.2 Says...

Realtors shall ensure that documents pertaining to the Purchae or Sale of Real Estate are kept current through the use of written extensions or amendments.


That being said, most complaints can be traced back to an original miscommunication.  Good policy - no matter how big or how small - make those changes or agreements in writing. 






If you or someone you know is thinking of Buying or Selling property in Chilliwack, Hope, Abbotsford, Langley or anywhere in the Fraser Valley Area of B.C. - or if you would like more information please give Liz  Moras of Landmark Realty Chilliwack a call at- 604-799-0459 or e-mail at     

Copyright © 2009 By Liz Moras, All Rights Reserved. All information provided by this author is only an opinion, it is not guaranteed, may be based on information collected from several sources, and may be time sensitive.  It is not necessarily representative of the opinions of Landmark Realty Chwk. Ltd..   




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Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Liz,

"I'm pretty sure..." as we all know can lead to trouble. It's funny at times how we all can suffer from amnesia, including me. In writing is ALWAYS best!

May 01, 2009 02:25 PM #1
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Absolutely, for sure, always get it in writing!!  It's amazing how quickly we get foggy memories.

May 01, 2009 02:33 PM #2
Bob Foster
Century 21 Lanthorn R. E. Ltd. Belleville, Ontario - Belleville, ON

Hi Liz. Even the writing can be a little fuzzy at times. We need to make sure conditions have all five critical components.

May 01, 2009 02:36 PM #3
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

You know Liz, some days I hate that one MORE piece of paper, but CYA and CMA I do it anyway.  Georgia law requires certain types of "notification"  delivery in person, via fax, email or certified snail mail. So I put it in writing and I print me sent file or my fax confirmation, I make them sign if I deliver it in person.  So much paper. 

But after a lesson learned with a "customer" telling me his handshake was good and then changing his mind I learned get the signature.

May 01, 2009 03:51 PM #4
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Article 6 Liz is clear as a bell. It just has to be followed...

May 01, 2009 05:14 PM #5
Steve Shatsky
Dallas, TX

Hi Liz... it all seems pretty direct and clear cut to me.  And having everything documented in writing is just smart business practice... in real estate or ANY business.  :) 

May 01, 2009 05:30 PM #6
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

I hear you, I've been told for a week, the seller will fix the issues that came up in a contractors inspection. I have the emails and sent to my purchaser but so far nothing signed. I know the Realtor he is good, but I want that *&&^% Signature back.

May 02, 2009 12:56 AM #7
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

Obviously good advice.  We always need to "write it down" so everyone in the transaction understands his/her obligations.  This protects everybody!

May 02, 2009 01:16 AM #8
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


You are right on that. It is amazing how everyone can have good intentions, but if something goes sideways that written, and signed, document is oh so sweet.

May 02, 2009 02:14 AM #9
Sharon Paxson
Arbor Real Estate - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate - Arbor Real Estate

Liz - getting it in writing is really the only way. I realize that sometimes it is difficult to chase down a signature sometimes.

May 02, 2009 02:48 AM #10
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

This is oh so important. And can save your reputation and cllients from costly mistakes.

May 02, 2009 02:57 AM #11
Liz Loadholt
Liz Loadholt- AgentOwned Realty- Covering SC - Mount Pleasant, SC
Realtor--Broker-in-charge - Trainer--Relocation Director Covering SC

Liz --- I just taught a 4 hours course this week on "Contracts" --this was a state approved course for continuing education.  I spent a lot of time emphasizing that everything must be in writing.

mama Liz Signature

May 02, 2009 04:52 AM #12
Jenny Kotulak
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage - Oakville, ON
Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate

Yup, verbals can be deal killers.  I keep my REBBA 2002 guidebook in my bathroom lol. I had a closing this week and the sellers didn't even leave any keys for my buyers, other than the one the lawyer had.  No appliance manuals, security system instrsuctions.  Just common sense.  (Sorry, a little off topic).  Maybe another blog post topic.

The common sense Seller? Buyer? Agent?????

May 02, 2009 09:31 AM #13
L. Wayne Denton
Denton Properties, Inc. - Loganville, GA
I have a handle on your market!!!

There is a quote from somewhere in my past that goes like this, "I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what I said is not what I meant."  It seems appropriate that the only way to assure what is said is to write it down and have all parties sign it so there can, seemingly, be no questions later.  Great post.

May 03, 2009 01:29 PM #14
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Liz Moras Migic

Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor
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