Caution, Stop Ahead!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

In our business, we are often faced with many decisions.  Our client service attitude and  nature of extending a helping hand just becomes part of our job and joy as well.  At times we get caught up in the moment and what is considered a character strength may indeed become a weakness to our responsibility as a Realtor. 

As you approach the following, use caution and know when to apply the brakes.


  • Seller's Disclosure- do not fill it out for the client, even just a few blank areas.  If there is a challenge for the seller, then have them seek the assistance of a relative, attorney, etc.  By helping fill it out you just have extended your liability for possible wrong information or omissions.
  • Oh, just put my initials where I forgot to sign on a page .. says your client as you find some missing and the client is out of town.  Big no to that!
  • Finalized copy of the contract is fuzzy, unreadable, I'll just attach one that is not signed to show what the blanks are suppose to read.  Just get all parties to sign off of a fresh contract with agreed terms.
  • Which leads to - fresh contract written up by the co-op agent - sends direct to your client to sign off and you do not proof.. I don't need to explain the problems of that decision.  
  • Square Footage - We added on to the home but do not have an appraisal or professional measurement to give us the correct size.  Can't you just add the extra amount to the tax rolls living area reflected?   

                                     Words & Communication  

  • On a home inspection and repairs - Oh, the home warranty you will be receiving will cover that item, don't worry about that issue.
  • I don't see any evidence of a foundation issue on this home. (But I see a lawsuit coming if you answer make that statement).
  • Client asks .. what do you think this home is worth as you are visiting homes for a purchase?  Have you done a CMA yet or researched information on the home?  If not then you respond - I'll have to pull information on the neighborhood and share my findings with you before an offer is submitted.
  • Which home do you like best, which one would you purchase?  It amazes me that others will turn to us to help them with this important decision .. have them make a list of likes & dislikes to help them with their decision. 
  • When negotiating a contract - what would you offer or counter back?  I always just love to say - Let's look over the research again, there are some choices on how you may proceed.  The good news is there are choices and better news for me is that you get to make those decisions.  This is your home and your comfort level.
  • Square footage - what do you think the living area of this home is .. it just feels larger/smaller than what is reflected on the graphic? (offer out that you will check, if need be make it a stipulation of the contract it must measure at least so large in living area).

Applying caution and knowing when to stop in your tracks, step back and say no, trusting your instincts is acting acting responsibly.  Providing a good explanation in a professional manner as to why you can't do something will give your clients the sense that you are going to watch their backside as well to stay out of bad decisions.  Resisting the temptation of feeling the need to answer questions without proper expertise so you will appear to be knowledgeable is just a ticket to a lawsuit.  Experience shines as you employ caution and know your limitations.

Comments (10)

Fathom Realty Group Inc.
Fathom Realty Group Inc - Orange, CA
Get Paid what your WORTH!

GReat post!  Clever and also a classy AR home page.


Happy selling!  Please remember me for your S. Calif Referrals.

Feb 06, 2011 03:03 AM
Heritage Real Estate Group
Heritage Real Estate Group(DFW) - Dallas, TX

 The biggest challenge for many agents is not to talk to much. I see many inexperienced agents with poor leadership creating problems. Education is the key to help keep agents out of trouble.

Feb 06, 2011 03:05 AM
Janet McCarthy
San Diego Homes Guide - San Diego, CA
Broker Associate

Very good article.  It's so tempting to get lazy with the signatures.  I like Home warranties but I don't over sale because I've been burned on wha they will cover.  However, I've had clients that absolutely loe me because I paid for the warranty ( bank owned house) and when something went wrong it was covered. 

Feb 06, 2011 03:05 AM
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

Mike C. - thanks about the home page - I took the photo of the tulips and just love the vivid color - thought I would share with others.

Mike H - I use to manage my office of over 100 agents and you are absolutely right - feeling the need to just talk to appear so in touch with real estate. 

Janet - Home warranties are a nice safety net but as you stated be sure not to over sale their coverage.  I make sure that my clients have a copy of the plans and ask them for homework to read over the coverage and exclusions carefully. 

Thanks to all for your comments .. love to hear from my AR friends and their thoughts!

Feb 06, 2011 03:14 AM
Jimmy Katz
Wynd Realty & Katz Realty Group - Alpharetta, GA
"REAL Solutions for Real Estate!"

all great advice.  i have known several agents to get in alot of trouble for "just an initial"

Feb 06, 2011 03:29 AM
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

James - An agent in my office had signed off on a contract that had been rewritten for her client who was out of pocket.  The excuse was that there was some time sensitive need and it just had to get to the lender, etc.  The client instructed her to do so.  Then the client defaulted on the closing and went AWOL .. couldn't located and could not be found to close.  The seller's notified the title company they wanted the Earnest Money, waited 30 days for the buyer to contest (still AWOL) and was given the check.  Then two months later the absentee buyer, who had no intentions of purchasing the home surfaces, wants her Earnest Money.  The agent explained it was lost by default, etc.  You can fill in the rest .. I never agreed to that contract, it is not my signature.  When all was brought to the attention of the broker in the office .. dig deep agent and pay her the Earnest Money .. better be glad you are not being sued for fraud and by the way there is the door .. you are out of here.  Really dumb decision to sign off on a contract!

Thanks for your comments and for visiting!

Feb 06, 2011 03:38 AM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Such a good post!    Very timely, too.   

Feb 06, 2011 04:05 AM
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

Li - appreciate your visit and I had thought about this time of year .. things begin to speed up as we move towards the spring and that is when we get a little careless with a lot going on.  As always, appreciate your time reading my posts!

Feb 06, 2011 04:08 AM
Lissa Uder
RE/MAX Next Generation, LLC - Lebanon, MO
Your Lebanon MO Real Estate Agent

Great reminders! Square footage is a major issue in my market area because our assessor is extremely slow on the uptake. I've seen homes built in 2006 with tax records reflecting a 1978 mobile home and many similar inaccuracies. If there is a question about the footage, I take my buyers and measure.

Feb 06, 2011 04:49 AM
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

Lissa - on a listing we encourage the seller to have a professional measurement by a certified appraiser.  For a buyer, we usually either get a clarification upfront or make it a part of the contract.  The main idea is to protect yourself from being the source of the size and place it on a reliable source.  Thanks for your visit!!

Feb 06, 2011 05:18 AM