Stop trying to be all things to your clients, broker Joseph Santini writes. Focus on the things that fall within your purview and direct traffic as needed on your transactions.

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Real estate transactions have a lot of moving parts, and during a transaction, you may wear many hats as you work to get the deal to a successful close for your customers. 

Staying in your lane is a must to be sure that you are doing what you are licensed to do, no more, and to avoid creating issues for yourself and your broker. Sometimes the lines can be blurry.

5 ways to stay in your lane

Here are five things you can do to stay in your lane and avoid trouble.

1. Never be the source of information for things like community rules and regulations, building assessment information, school district information or property tax information

Instead, be a resource for the source of that information. Direct your customers to the direct source of the information that they are asking you for.

Have them contact the building directly for assessment information. Give them the property appraiser’s number for property tax information and direct them to the local county website for the most recent school information regarding grades and boundaries. Be the source of the source.

2. Never fill out the application for the association that your clients are applying for

Many customers will insist that you do this for them, but this is their job. If you give them the application, be sure to include the association’s number, and let them know that they can call the association’s office with any questions they may have.

Not only do we want this to be their responsibility, but also your time is valuable, and it should not be wasted on tasks like these.

3. Never complete the seller’s disclosure

Your seller may say things like, “You have been to the property more than me,” or “I have spent very little time in the property,” but in reality, it is their job and their job only to complete this information for the buyer.

Also, the disclosure is very easy for them to fill out regardless of the time actually spent at the property.

4. Never do a final walk-through for your customers

Let them know how important the walk-through is and suggest that they be there for it. An alternative for them would be for a friend or relative to take care of it.

When they are unable to arrange to be there or to have a friend do it, they need to sign off on not doing a walk-through, and this should be documented. You doing it is never an option. How you communicate this to them is key so that they don’t get upset with you.

5. Never hire a tradesperson or inspector for your customers

When they need some type of service, it’s always best to recommend three vendors to them and let them see which one works for their needs. The relationship should always be between the customer and the vendor. You never want to be in the middle of those relationships. 

As Realtors, we are by nature helpful people, and sometimes, we try to solve every problem for our customers, which is how trouble can begin. Always communicate to your customers that you want to be sure that they get the best information possible and that you are directing them to the right source so that they don’t feel as if you are blowing them off. 

Remember that everything is good until it’s not. When trouble arises, everyone will look to blame the easiest target, which is you, the Realtor, and your broker.

We are always only the Realtors on transactions. We are not the inspector, contractor, attorney, tax appraiser or any of the other people involved in a real estate transaction. Stay in your lane, and direct traffic when necessary. Your transactions will be easier with much less trouble, and you will have more time for the things that will generate income for your business.

Joseph Santini is a managing broker at Coldwell Banker Realty in Boca Raton, Florida. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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