Real Estate by Debbie Reynolds: One Way to Stay Out of Trouble and Out of Court

One Way to Stay Out of Trouble and Out of Court

It Is in the Way You Say It.

Speaking with clientsI read a fantastic post about Choose Your Words Wisely by Myrl Jeffcoat.  The way we say things can get us into trouble and not just when we are angry, tired or pushed to the wall. Not only can we alienate a prospect, client or other agent, we can earn a bad reputation of being a hothead with a big disrespectful mouth or a person that doesn't know what he is talking about. Either of those is not good. There are other ways our mouths can get us into trouble.

We can say and present information in the wrong way that can get us into big trouble and even into court. Passing on information about a property as to the condition, effective age, usefulness, value, quality, etc. is putting ourselves in the position of having the answers or facts and it may only be an opinion or estimate by us or told to us. If we pass it on like we know for sure we take on responsibiity.

Years ago i attended a Liability Class taught by an attorney. He cautioned us to not speak out of turn and to be careful about where we get our information and how we state it. The most important takeaway was in learning how to relay information given to us by our clients and particularly by the seller.

For instance, the seller tells you that the utility bills are very low and hardly ever exceed $150. The proper way to relay this to a buyer or another agent is to say According to the statement by the seller he states that the utility bills are very low and hardly ever exceed $150. Getting documentation to this back this up is also a good idea and business practice. Doing it this way names the source and transfers the responsibility of this statement to the seller.

Another example would be when you are asked by another agent how old is the roof? You go to your seller and ask the question. Your seller tells you that the roof was replaced by the previous owner a couple of years before he purchased the home. You should relay the information like this, According to the statement by the seller, he states the roof was replaced by the previous owner a couple of year before he purchased the home. He purchased the home in 2010.

Get the Idea? State the source of where the information came from and state it exactly as it was told to you. It is also a good idea to make a note for your file for future reference or with your documentation. Learning to incorporate this technique into your dialog and sales talk is smart business and will help keep you out of trouble and possibly court.


This has proved valuable advice and now is second nature to me by stating the source. It works beautifully. 


This is One Way to Stay Out of Trouble and Out of Court.




 Centruy 21 Platinum Properties2130 Wilma Rudolph Blvd.

Clarksville, TN 37040

When you need Real Estate services in Clarksville TN

                  it would be my pleasure to assist you!                             

Debbie Reynolds
"The Real Debbie Reynolds"

Check out all Clarksville TN Real Estate on My Website

931-771-9070 Office | 931-320-6730 Cell

Clarksville TN Homes 


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Comment balloon 20 commentsDebbie Reynolds • July 20 2016 06:37PM


Debbie it is so easy to get in trouble in this business and Myrl's and your blog provide advice worth following.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 2 years ago

A nice addition to the Active Rain News Post. Good Information. Glad I stopped by.

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Good evening Debbie Reynolds,

It is easy to get in trouble in this business that is why I really like our detailed seller's disclosure. The seller has to state how old the roof is and if the roof shingles have been replaced and when. I have my sellers fill out a years worth of utility bills to be passed on to the buyers. Its always asked so my sellers provide it up front. I like stating a source or providing it. Keeps me out of trouble.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 2 years ago

Hi Debbie, Very well said!  Also, I've experience clients questioning the property inspection report and instead of me trying to explain, I have them talk directly to the inspector who wrote the report or better yet have him come out again (for a small fee) and go over each and every question the client has pertaining to the report.

Posted by Sophia Lin, Sunnyvale CA Real Estate Specialist (Intero Real Estate Services) over 2 years ago

Great advice Debbie, This is very important. I really enjoyed your webinar today too.

Posted by Noah Seidenberg, Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917 (Coldwell Banker) over 2 years ago

Even our MLS has made moves to do this Debbie.  We still list sq. ft. and we also list a source. I use what's in the public record unless I have a recent appraisal.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 2 years ago

Good reminder and important post for our clients as well. Our Realtors Association of New Mexico provides our real estate documents. Our 2016 Seller Disclosure is now very detailed and specific. In some cases, home owners will not complete the document due to fear of making a mistake by guessing. I like the idea of providing any factual documentation about the property condition, such as a roof warranty, rather than relying on a form or statement. 

Posted by Emily Medvec Qualifying Broker, Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM (Hello Realty Partners) over 2 years ago

This is a very good reminder for real estate agents. Paying for an attorney and having the related stress of defense can certainly impact your plans.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) over 2 years ago

Thank you for the post. I hope agents will read it and learn from it.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 2 years ago

Good advice. You have to disclose, but you also don't have first hand information. 

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) over 2 years ago

A good reminder Debbie! Thanks.

Posted by Terry Records (Records Results!Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Good morning Debbie. This is a good step in protecting yourself, but in NJ the courts have held that the agent is responsibile for the accuracy of the information because if they haven't personally checked: they should have.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 2 years ago

Debbie Reynolds Even in today's litigious society, I never give second hand statements as you are still leaving yourself open to being 'pulled' into a pissing contest. I get it in writing before forwarding any information that has an affect on the value or cost of a subjest property.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National & Geneva Financial, Llc.) over 2 years ago

That is great advice, Debbie. I'm always very careful in how I relay information to my buyers and sellers. Excellent post. 

Posted by Debbie Laity, Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO (Cedaredge Land Company) over 2 years ago

An important reminder Debbie, how we phrase things can make a very big difference.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities) over 2 years ago

Good morning Debbie.  This is excellent advice for anyone in this business.  (Actually, good advice for everyone, regardless of the business.)

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 2 years ago

Hi Debbie - this is the best way to give information.  Stating the source will mean you are forwarding information but not vouching for it.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) over 2 years ago

This is really helpful information.  Most of us know this, but a reminder once in a while is a great thing! Thanks for reblogging it!

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hi Debbie Reynolds - saw this as a re-blog from Gabe Sanders !

My husband and I were talking about a lot I have to show today and the people want to see the boundaries.  There are stakes, but I will point out to them that they need to get a licensed surveyor out to confirm.  I learned a long time ago that I need to back up my words with facts and professionals.  I won't have my word sullied. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 2 years ago

Debbie Reynolds Good advice.  Note the source and document everything.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) over 2 years ago