Ignorance of the facts is never a good excuse, especially when you hold a license to do your job, like I do. This was a great post by Cynthia Larsen on the subject. The title should stick in your head FOREVER.
It's not what you know that matters ... It's what you should have known.
These were the words from my teacher, an attorney, when I was taking a required course for my Broker's license: Real Estate Law.
The disclosure process, he said, is where an agent usually gets themselves into trouble. Make sure you disclose not only what you know, but what you should have known. I have never forgotten his words and have tried to make sure I'm on top of "what I should have known".
I was in Starbucks last week when I overheard a customer say... "OMG! I was washing dishes and a *TRAIN* rolled past my house! It was SO LOUD! I'm SO upset, I was told those tracks were no longer in use!"
Of course I had to ask ... "I'm sorry, I couldn't help but overhear. Who told you that trains would never roll on those tracks again?" The answer she gave me was not one I wanted to hear. "My real estate agent". Oops.
After more than a decade of silence, freight trains are again running through Sonoma County. $61MM was poured into upgrading 63 miles of rails and railroad crossings. The local newspaper reported on the progress for several years. Yet somehow, all of this news and activity seems to have escaped the notice of a few.
Should every real estate agent in Sonoma County have known that train service would resume last month? I think so. Maybe all of them didn't know, but I think it qualifies as something they "should have known".
That is why I make it a point to read the newspaper every morning. I watch the news on TV. I learn about school closures, proposed casinos, the expansion of Walmart, road construction, elections and yes, train service. Those are all things I feel I "should have known".
Trains ... I LOVE them. It's time to go flatten some pennies.
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