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19 Sep 2016
“They don’t know what you think they know” is a statement shared with me about 30 years ago at a seminar. The instructor made a fascinating point that I had never considered. This was a real estate seminar, and the instructor was talking about getting wise advice from experts. He suggested that the experts, or so-called experts that we often call on for counsel, well . . . they don’t know what you think they know. We assume they are experts and know everything about the subject, but they often do not. We have a tendency to assume that people know things they do not necessarily know. This can be such a dangerous trap, and in real estate it can cost you dearly.
Fast forward 30 years later to today. I’ve seen this played out time and time again, they don’t know what you think they know. I practiced real estate law for 20 years, and I learned that when new clients asked an attorney, “Do you practice real estate law?,” pretty much every lawyer answered, “Yes,” even though most did not. Clients never questioned their answer, and those same clients paid those attorneys a lot of money to learn the subject, which cannot be done quickly anyway.
When it comes to retirement investing, the super majority of retirees or soon-to-be retirees, assume their registered investment adviser knows all about investing, how to protect their capital, avoid market crashes, and capture the greatest appreciation over the years. How wrong that assumption is. When I retired from real estate law practice, I was recruited by American Express Financial Advisers, now known as Ameriprise. I became a registered financial adviser, and I assumed they were going to teach me how to invest and trade. How wrong I was. They used computers to create “customized investment reports,” and we were simply salesman to close the deal. The investment community makes money off their 1.25% of funds under management, and their business model makes money even when all their clients are losing money like crazy. They don’t make money if you pull your money out of your account, so they recommend you keep it in the account even during a market down turn. They are fond of saying, “You invest for the long term.” Right. Investment advisers–they don’t know what you think they know.
I’ve been in real estate brokerage for a long time, and I can tell you that if you assume that all real estate agents are experts and know everything you need to know, think again. They don’t know what you think they know.
Now here’s a trap. Every professional acts and looks like an expert. In other words, they look good, smell good, and smile at the right times. Unfortunately, most people assume too much about these professionals. My word of wisdom to you is simple. Do your own research. Ask questions, and be discerning when you hear the answers. Remember, they know how to overcome objections. They’ve learned all the scripts. They know what you want to hear. Your job to protect yourself is to listen to the answers and follow those up with more specific questions.
Do not assume anything when you hire someone, including a Realtor. Because too often they don’t know what you think they know.
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