As a college undergraduate, I took Organic Chemistry. Because it was a challenging course, our professor gave us the formula for success at the beginning of the first lecture. He told us to go home and attach a large sheet of paper to the ceiling above each of our beds, tape a pencil to a long stick, and write a chemical equation on the sheet each night, building one off the other like a crossword puzzle. He said that if we did that every night, by the end of the semester we’d know organic chemistry.
His message obviously lodged itself into my memory because here it is, so many years later, and I still remember his approach to learning. Breaking things down into small steps has a certain wisdom to it. (Admittedly, that exact method didn't help me with organic chemistry.)
When was the last time you did that with your business though, breaking it down into manageable pieces? Sure, we all take continuing education classes and we walk through changes in our documents, e.g., contracts, disclosure documents, etc., but when was the last time you sat down and just reread your local Agreement of Sale? Even if it means just reading a section or a paragraph at a time when it's just you, not you reviewing it with a client, you can learn a lot. Our documents are living documents, meaning they change all the time, as rightly they should because they reflect the changing nature of our work and our communities. Those changes are important for us, as professionals to know, and in turn, to be able to present accurately to our clients.
An agent in my office called me the other day to discuss the part of our contract that deals with inspections. She was thrown that a change in the contract had a potential negative impact on a current transaction. We all face that occasionally, where a change has happened, even one that we might have heard about in a CE class, but we don’t really face it as a challenge until it’s highlighted in a transaction.
I’ve had intentions to reread paperwork on a regular basis but haven’t always gotten around to that. This year, however, I’m going to set aside time to do just that. Reviewing the fundamentals of our business is not just important but it serves us all well when we hit those obstacles in a transaction. If you know your documents well, you're a step ahead of the competition, plus you're a valuable asset to your customers.
And while I won’t attach the Agreement of Sale to my bedroom ceiling, I am going to attach the “Document of the Week” to a stand on my desk and have that be my beginning of the week activity.
Wishing all of you wisdom as you set your New Year’s goals and the ability to see them through to success!