Early in my real estate career, a cohort said to me “It’s not my job to make decisions for my client. It is my job to make sure that my client’s decisions are informed decisions.”
This little gem stuck with me and has been one of the fundamental principles in how I do my work. I do my best to make sure that that each client understands the potential risks/benefits of various choices and options they have in front of them. Much of the info are common principles with buying real estate or selling real estate but there are also many things that are specific to that client, that property and that time.
Even if I were a control freak, trying to make my client’s decisions for them would not make sense. Their tastes in lifestyle and aesthetics are theirs and not mine. Their ability to maintain and repair their property is theirs and not mine as is how much they want to put into that. They know what their own comfort level is with regard to finances. Knowing how much you can spend is more than just the results of calculations, it is also the result of a personal philosophy of how far one wishes to stretch themselves and how much risk vs. potential gain they are comfortable with. I can and do talk about these things at length with clienets and get a sense of where they’re at on all of these things but after a certain point I am only guessing about what will work for them. That is the point where there is nothing left for me to say and it is up to them make a decision before we can move forward.
There are also topics that are more clear cut as patterns emerge when you consider many similar transactions. (See this post for Sellers and this post for Buyers for an intro on that.) The trouble is, and the reason why I think this is worth writing a post about, that some people have the mindset that answer should be able to be snappy and fit into one sentence and be cut and dried. Could I answer things that way? Sure! Would it be good service? No!
As stated above, I focus on making sure they are entering a situation with their eyes wide open and I do so while advocating a sense of balance and caution. If I think someone is getting reckless (like overpricing their listing or not thinking they need an inspection for the place they want to buy) I will tell them what I think and make it clear what the risks are. I however cannot make a client do anything nor can I give a 100% guarantee what the future holds. If I had either of those magical powers I would not need to work for a living.