“I Remember When . . . “

Once upon a time, when I was new in the business, I found Realtor war stories entertaining and instructive (and more than a little horrifying).

Now, as an experienced agent, I mostly just find them . . . tiresome (if not annoying).  Especially when I’m paying to hear them at a (required) continuing ed class.

There are two reasons for that.

Ounce of Prevention = Pound of Cure

One.  The stories (and story tellers) are dated.

Real estate as it’s practiced today is significantly different than even a decade ago.

To take just one example, Seller disclosure has done a “180” from caveat emptor to “Disclose, Disclose, Disclose” (also referred to as “tell what you know”).

As a result, the kinds of things that get clients (and their Realtors) in trouble have changed, too.

Heard One, Heard ‘Em All

Two.  The stories are almost always preventable.

I’d estimate that 90% of the situations that lead to lawsuits involve someone lying — either the Realtor, or, more often than not, the client.

Moral of the story:  don’t lie.

Homeowners who fill out the Seller Disclosure completely and honestly have very little to fear from post-sale litigation.

And if they didn’t know about something . . . they didn’t know.

Unless the Buyer can prove that the condition or problem was so egregious that any half-way attentive owner should have known about it, the Seller is also in the clear.

Which leaves the other 10% of situations that give rise — years (and decades) later — to Realtor war stories:   Buyers and Sellers who change their minds, WAY too late in the process.

Moral of that story:  if you contractually promise to buy or sell a home . . . that’s what you should expect to do!

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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