How to Validate Information Your Clients Provide
The word “lie” is a noun that is defined as “an intentionally false statement”. Has a client lied when they provided inaccurate information to you? Some industry professionals think so – we are not so sure.
When a client provides you with their information or information about their property, and then that information turns out being incorrect, more often than not it’s because your client was:
- Didn’t know
You can have a whopper of a lie, when someone knows they are concealing from you, right down to little white lies (as perceived by the client) where a problem or two in the home is not disclosed to you and the client hoping it will slip by. While little white lies are far more common than whoppers, both can cause big problems.
This is why, as a real estate sales professional, you have to:
- Ensure that you are clearly asking your client the right questions.
- Ensure that you are equipped to validate information your clients provide to you.
In real estate, it seems that there are key areas/circumstances where omissions and non-disclosures often come into play:
- Issues with the property that a homeowner may be aware of.
- The client thinks that the property is worth far more than it is.
- Someone else on title to a property.
- Financial challenges with the borrower or the property – perhaps there is no equity, the mortgage is in default or there is a lien.
Here are some tips for you to validate clients’ provided information:
- Try to have as complete information as possible. Ask lots of questions and be calculated about the questions that you ask. Doing so may uncover an issue before you spend time and expense and enable you to guide your client as to how they can navigate their issue.
- Perform some basic due diligence. You can run a search on GeoWarehouse to validate homeowner and mortgage information, as well as check the sales history on the property and sales comps. If you suspect that there is a lien, you can use the GeoWarehouse store to obtain a Parcel Register* to validate same.
- Financial challenges – this can be 2 prong. Financial challenges with the client could mean that they may have difficulty getting a mortgage, and financial challenges with the property could mean that there is not enough equity to pay your fees. You can learn of financial challenges with the property using step 2. You can learn of financial challenges with the client by asking them (if they require a mortgage) for a pre-approval or to speak with their broker to confirm that there won’t be any surprises on that side.
- Undisclosed problems with the property itself – in these instances the homeowner may not even be aware of a problem with a property. You may not be a home inspector but there are some noticeable things that may tip you off. It’s better that your client know and address it than to have potential buyers come through who notice and then decide not to make an offer. Here are some things inside your client’s home that you can take a look at – or take a look at when showing other homes to your clients:
- Plumbing – in the kitchen and all bathrooms:
- Open cupboards and check if you see visible leaks or signs of water damage
- Run water to check water pressure
- Water heater – check the age
- If appliances will be included – ensure that the fridge, stove, oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer all work by turning them on.
- Finally – Google is also an excellent source for information. Through a Google search you can learn if there was a disaster in the area where the home was, a flood, fires – all sorts of things.
Anytime you take on a new client, the more information you have about the client and the more you work to validate your client’s information, the better equipped you will be, thus leading to a more effective use of your time, and therefore more profitability!
GeoWarehouse has the tools to make this easy – visit us online today at www.geowarehouse.ca.
*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.