It's painful but there are times when we need to pull out these three simple words; "I Don't Know."
This past weekend a lender asked me for information on a condo association. My brain wasn't operating on all cells and I started to give him an answer off the cuff. Then it dawned on me the best answer was "I don't know."
There was no sense sending him on a wild goose chase with incorrect information. Instead I asked for 15 minutes to look up the answer to what he needed. Sure enough if I had given him the answer that first popped into my head it would have been the wrong one. Though this question was easy there are times when the wrong answer could come back to haunt us.
Is any development scheduled for behind this property?
Is the septic approved for 4 bedrooms?
Is this property in a flood plain?
Can I keep chickens on the property?
Though a quick answer may seem innocent enough, if a buyer has made a purchase decision based on your answer and it is wrong the liabilty for the wrong answer may come back to haunt you. It's better to say "I don't know" and give yourself time to track down the answer than set yourself up for an ethics complaint or lawsuit later on.
Start by admitting you might not know everything and accept that it's okay to say "I don't know."