Have you ever been around someone who always starts out their sentences with, “Honestly, “? It sort of makes me wonder if they are ever telling the truth! In the context of real estate brokering most of us think that honesty is a premier trait because we never want to be deceived. We don’t like puffing (tall tales or exaggeration in a real estate ad), and we hate being lied to when someone is trying to cover their tracks when they have done something they don’t want to own up to, or when they say they’ve done something they should have done, but have not.
For most people, I believe that honesty has some gray areas that tempt even the most trustworthy among us. For example, when a listing broker enters a home with pungent pet odors, and notices it right away, but then fails to confront the home owner about that smell. Of course, silence on that matter is not necessarily considered dishonesty, but could it be considered a bit cowardly? Sometimes truth telling can take a lot of gumption and grit! “Your house stinks!” might not be the way to begin forming a great business relationship with a selling client, but at some point that truth will have to be told.
“Why can’t people smell their own home,” I have often wondered? Everyone’s house has a smell but most of us become “nose-blind” to those smells because we just get used to it. Experts call this phenomenon sensory adaptation. Unless someone’s fear of having a gross smelling home overrides that phenomenon, they will seemingly be totally oblivious to those familiar scents.
One day after walking through a vacant home prior to closing, I noticed the very pungent odor of pet urine that seemed to have been intensified by the moisture of recent carpet cleaning efforts. It was obvious that the seller had adapted to those odors, but the new buyer quickly made plans to replace all of the carpeting because they had been so repulsed by the odor. The home appeared to be totally spotless in every way except for the odor that was the lingering evidence of indoor pets. I wondered if the very-honest-selling-broker had been negligent in their truth telling during the listing process, but I quickly sympathized when I thought of that shoe being on my foot!