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The Generalist

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"Are You My Mother"

If you have had children then you are probably familiar with the book “Are you my Mother" by P. D. Eastman, a book in the Dr. Seuss series of beginner books.  It is a charming story about a mother bird who realizes her new baby is about to hatch and knowing the baby bird will be hungry she flies away to get food.  The baby bird hatches before her return and leaves the nest to go and find his mother.  He meets a kitten, a hen, a dog a cow and a snort.  Through his effort to find his mother he concludes that the kitten is not his mother, the hen is not his mother, the dog is not his mother, the cow is not his mother, and the snort is not his mother.  I know - you are wondering why I am talking about a children's book in a real estate blog.  Just read on...


Clients sometimes have the expectations that real estate agents are experts in all fields related to real estate. If that were the case I would still be in school qualifying for all the degrees, diplomas and professional designations that I would need to have earned in order to give the advice some clients seem to think I possess.  After 28 years in the business my head is full of information and then comes along another professional development course and I stuff a bit more information in.  Then something changes in the industry and I pick the old cotton out and stuff in the new.  As an agent it is important that I know and understand the limitations of my expertise.  And it is important that the clients we counsel and serve daily understand that their real estate agent is not an expert in all fields related to real estate.  In fact if their real estate agent is new to the business they may not have any of the skills to work in certain areas without the support and guidance of another experienced agent or their manager.  A real estate agent is just that - they are a real estate agent and experience and time in the business will build and improve skills and knowledge but that takes time.


I think of myself as a generalist in most matters related to real estate.  I need to be able to identify red flags and to draw the road map whether it be the plan to get a home sold or the journey to purchase a home/property.  I may even have to refer a client to another real estate agent if my own expertise is lacking and suitable support is not available for me to do my job competently.  For example, you will never find my name on a for sale sign on a commercial building with a myriad of tenants and leases.  That is way out of my depth and I know it. 


There are many things that agents do on a daily basis to assist their clients that take practice and training but at the end of the day I need to advise my client to seek the advice of other professionals when the advice needed is beyond my expertise or ability.  If I start to blur the line between my role and the roles of other professionals I put myself and my client at risk.  So remember - a real estate agent is not a lawyer, is not an accountant, is not a building inspector, is not a septic inspector, is not a property manager, is not a strata manger, is not an electrician, is not a plumber....  I think you get the point.  We are real estate agents.