This week I received a call from a gentleman requesting a little volunteer work on my part. These calls are not uncommon. They usually involve a request for a market analysis to support a property tax appeal, and we are happy to help. We help as a matter of goodwill -- what you might call "business development" -- with the hope that they will remember us if they ever do need to buy or sell a home. My caller explained that he was going through a divorce and that he needed a market analysis in order to establish a buyout price for his spouse. Of course, I obliged. The effort cost me a couple hours of my time, and I didn't see it as a charitable contribution so much as an investment in my business. His response, however, surprised me. "You've been so helpful and respon...
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