The Words We Use are So Important
Earlier this week I found myself drawn into a video made by a listing agent giving tips on how to write a winning offer in a multiple offer situation. Everything this agent advised was spot on. What made the video difficult to watch was that she kept calling offers, contracts. That is a serious pet peeve of mine.
- An offer is a unilateral communication stating the terms that a buyer, or a seller, would like to get into business with the other party, regarding the sale of a specific property.
- A contract is a the document signed by both parties, agreeing to the terms of the deal. It obligates them to the terms.
Offers do indeed become contracts when the other party signs off in acceptance of the terms. However, not every expression of interest is a contract.
The point is, our words matter. We don't enter multiple contract scenarios with our buyers, but multiple offer scenarios. My goodness, can you imagine twelve buyers obligated to buy one property. Yikes!
This agent's choice of one word left me so disappointed. She was giving great advice, but she was discredited in my mind because she seemed to equate an offer as a contract. NO!
By the same token, seeing a "sold" sign on a property that is merely "under contract" is another HUGE pet peeve of mine. Sold means the deal is done. Under contract means it's agreed to and in process, but not final. Placing a sold sign on a property is asking for it. How do you respond to the inquiries about the final price? "Oh, it hasn't closed yet. It's under contract." A little misleading, right?
Even as I stood in our local association's shop the other day, I was conflicted on which sign rider to buy to place on my under contract properties. They had two that seemed to evoke more questions that answers:
- Contract Pending
- Sale Pending
Neither one of those sounded very confident to me, but I don't want to mislead and go straight to sold. That's when I saw the perfect sign rider for me:
It expresses the property is no longer available without expressing uncertainty or that the property has sold. What's not to love? (Okay, maybe the double exclaimation points, but I'll live with that.)
The words we use in our business matter. They are a reflection of our understanding of our chosen career path. Be professional by being precise.