No, past client, I don’t remember a conversation from ten years ago that involved your transaction. I remember you, I remember what you bought or sold, but I don’t recall a specific conversation. Since that conversation took place- if it actually did take place- I’ve had hundreds of deals and thousands of conversations. So, no, I don’t remember the details of that discussion.
Of course I don’t say that out loud. But it runs through my head because it’s my knee-jerk reaction to being questioned with sometimes accusing undertones. You see, when a client is asking this question it usually means a situation has arisen, and we need to go back in time to figure out what was supposed to happen and decide if that differs from what actually did happen.
Buyers and sellers often forget the bones of the transaction, just like we do. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to have a water heater break a year after closing, and upon checking paperwork for the home warranty information they thought they had, realize they actually waived it. Same thing with pest inspections, home inspections, surveys, mineral rights, everything.
Somewhere during all the negotiations and stress, buyers and sellers lose the details of the transaction, latch on to incorrect information, and then years down the road, blame us for slipping something through that they weren’t aware of.
My initial thought is, “Oh crap. What did I do wrong?” But then I think, “Wait a minute. I know ME. I would never do anything without my client’s permission. I may not remember how it all transpired, but I know I wouldn’t do anything shady or underhanded. I just don’t operate that way. “
And you know what? That is what gets me through that phone call every time: The belief in ME. Are mistakes possible? Of course. But nine times out of ten, when the clients are reacquainted with the offer they initialed and signed, and have it re-explained to them, they begin to see the situation in a new light.
I don’t cower from these conversations because I know that I always do the best I can in every transaction. I know that whatever misunderstanding there is now is not due to something I slid past them back then. It’s comforting to know that whatever it is that happened will have an explanation or remedy; whereas being ethically inconsistent is impossible to explain or fix.
We need to make sure that we work every deal to the best of our ability, and be as transparent as possible. We need to make sure that when being questioned about the forgotten details that we can, without a doubt, affirm that we were honest, trustworthy, and diligent in our efforts. At no time should we be able to second guess these traits within ourselves.
Sometimes when a problem arises and people are coming down on you with accusations and distrust, the fact that you can trust yourself and trust your actions is the saving grace to a tough situation. Take comfort in knowing that way back then, you did the best you could. And make sure that your actions today allow for that comfort in the future. Sometimes this is your only solid ground. Make sure you can rely on it.
Amy Gilpin, Realtor, Associate Broker, Manager, ABR.
Fourteen years of helping clients. Six years of helping agents. All for this crazy thing we call real estate.
Production Realty 517-879-4141 Jackson, MI Amy@ProductionRealty.com