I am writing this on the heels of a couple of disappointments…nothing major, mind you…just a couple of first world situations that really froth my backside.
Let me set the stage for you.
First world problem number one. My wife and I were considering selling our soon to be out of warranty certified used vehicle. The car needs tires and brakes and we were reluctant to put money in the car if we only plan to keep it another few months. Why not sell the car today, without putting the money in and use the savings to kick the turd down the road…AKA, buy another certified car with a new warranty and lots more miles? Easy, right? Not so fast. Whenever a car dealer is between you and your wallet, make sure you keep a firm handle on that folding piece of leather. What started as an acceptable arrangement quickly turned into a sweaty palmed standoff that we ultimately shined. New tires and brakes it will be…all because the dealer attempted to shave the sale a bit too closely and cut off his lifeline in the process.
First world problem number two. You may have heard that California is drying up quicker than a commercial real estate buyer’s 2008 motivation. Consequently, many of us are replacing our lawns with drought tolerant plantings…and Orange County is subsidizing the change. The county has several caveats, one of which is that the work, in order to qualify for the rebate, must be done by a licensed contractor. Easy enough, right? Yes, until I checked on my chosen guy today, only to find out that his license had been suspended. Hmmm, when I called attention to this, the silence was deafening…akin to catching our Labradoodle slamming the cat food. Not the end of the world, but it means that I now start the process over with another contractor…pissed!
What on Earth does any of this have to do with commercial real estate, you may ask? Not a helleva lot…but wait…maybe a great deal. An inviolable rule in a commercial real estate transaction comes to mind. That rule, drumroll please…..is to do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it! Period.
Our world would function so much smoother if we would just adhere to this simple credo. If the car dealer had said, this is what I can do and stuck by it, we would be driving a new to us car. The contractor had ample opportunity to come clean. He is still dirty.
If you calendar a buyer or seller meeting…arrive early. Quote a price…it’s sacrosanct. Discuss the points of a deal verbally…get somewhere and dash off a quick note outlining the terms you discussed. Don’t rely on your fading memory. If your owner hasn’t approved the points…STATE it! If you commit to have a document produced by a certain date, make certain you achieve it. Don’t over commit.
It is really so simple to go about our biz with integrity.
By: Allen Buchanan
Principal, Lee & Associates
See all of Allen's blogs here.