My 16 year old is a junior at a high school that believes in keeping parents informed about grades throughout the year, not just when it's progress report or report card time. They have a dedicated website for parents to check the grades of their child at any time. They send emails every time a new grade is posted. Very cool for me as a mom, not so cool if you are a 16 year old struggling in French.
I have watched my daughter's French grade go up and down, up and down over and over again. Finally, one day in frustration I asked her, "Why, why, WHY are you failing French?"
She gave me that look. The one that all teenagers have perfected. The one that says my mother is apparently the dumbest creature on the face of the earth and I can't believe I am wasting my time explaining this. Her completely earnest (albeit sarcastic) reply was "Uhhhh....because I don't speak French".
Funny? In hindsight, yes. But, you know what? She's right. She doesn't. And in her mind, this is completely the fault of her teacher for not taking all of the time that she needs in order to understand the language. To grasp the nuances of pronunciation. To - horrors - conjugate the verbs correctly. To become proficient enough to pass the class, which is the end result we are all hoping for.
When we, as real estate professionals, are talking with our clients, are we really communicating with them or are we effectively speaking French?
When we explain the market to a seller, are we throwing out words like CMA, comps and absorption rates? Or are we taking the time to make them really understand the market...the nuances of price, condition and location? Do we talk about "chasing the market" or do we really explain why the price we recommend is right, no matter what the house next door is listed for or how much the guy down the street got 6 months ago?
If you are representing a buyer, do they truly understand earnest money, buyer brokerage agreements, agency, or predicated offers? Buying a home is the biggest purchase most of us will ever make. How many times do we have to hear "My agent didn't tell me that" to realize that perhaps we, as an industry, need to stop assuming that the average person understands the ins and outs of home buying and selling. It is our responsibility to act as a translator...to teach them the basics of a new and foreign language.
This doesn't just apply to agents, either.
Lenders speak another language altogether. Latin, perhaps. And they have just as much of an obligation as an agent to be sure that YSP, ARM, escrow, closing costs and APR are not foreign words to their clients. We keep hearing all of these stories about consumers that didn't know what they were signing when they got over their heads on their adjustable rate mortgages. Could it be because the lender did not explain it to them in a language they understand?
Educating our clients is, to me, one of our primary functions. If consumers don't understand, if they are confused by what we are saying, they will never fully appreciate what we bring to the table as industry experts and professionals.
The next time you meet with a client, think about it....What language do you speak?