If You Don't Know The Answer, Don't Guess!


New agents often fall into the trap of guessing if they don't know the answer. It's natural to feel a little insecure early in your career and worry whether people will know you're a "newbie" or not.


I can't emphasize how dangerous this is. It's how many deceptive trade practice lawsuits get started.


If you don't know the answer to a question, just say "I'm not sure but I'll get back with you when I find out". That will always keep you out of trouble.


No-one knows all the answers. I've worked a relatively small area of the sprawling Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex for over 20 years and I'm still learning. Things are always changing including building codes, city ordinances, flood plain elevations, even school district lines.


It's impossible to stay on top of everything. I can't go to every city council and Planning and Zoning meeting.


Sometimes buyers will ask me "Can we do this with our home?" Maybe they saw another home down the street with the same modification, so they're asking me for a confirmation.


I have no idea whether the other home even conformed to the HOA or city requirements. The homeowner could be in a lawsuit over their modification for all I know. I don't want anyone buying one of my listings then finding out what I told them isn't true.


If it's my listing and I'm asked a question I can't answer, I'll say "Your agent will need to contact the city, school district, etc. and ask them". Yes, I'm giving up half (or more) of my commission, but it allows me to sleep at night.


By the way, there's always considerably less risk of being pulled into a lawsuit if you don't represent both the buyer and seller on the same property. That's why our team policy states the same agent cannot represent the buyer and seller on the same property. I'll explain in a future blog how we do that and how it actually works well for us.


There have only been two times in my entire career when I thought I might end up in a lawsuit and neither time was my fault. Both were the result of my seller's flat-out lying on their Sellers Disclosure Notice. I'll also talk about those two incidents in another blog.