At lunch earlier this week, I was reminded of something my grandmother told me many times before she passed away, “Don’t tell everything you know.”
Our two local game wardens came into the café for lunch and sat down across from me at the long table where locals sit around and talk about the recent happenings. One of the game wardens introduced the stranger he brought with him as his roommate from college that was in town for the day.
One of the conservation officers asked me if I had sold any property recently I replied, “Yes, I just put a tract up on Bulldog Bend Road under contract this morning.” The man’s roommate whom I had never met before, looked at me and asked, “It wasn’t Dave that made the offer was it?” I was floored that this person I had never met knew the name of one of my prospective buyers. The stranger said, “I am a forester and cruised that tract for him yesterday.” Again, I was floored. It seemed to be a huge cosmic coincidence.
My clients were in the middle of a two buyer situation, where we had an offer on the table and this forester’s boss was also an interested player. My simple statement about putting that property under contract was probably texted to this man’s boss before I could finish my cobbler.
In the real estate business, insider knowledge means a lot. It is often as good as currency, or can be extremely damaging if misused. I would never intentionally break my fiduciary duties to my clients by giving out confidential information. But sometimes sharing even the non-confidential can be potentially harmful to your business.
Seasoned land traders and brokers are often some of the best people at not answering questions or at seeming aloof. I was reminded the importance of keeping my cards close to the vest this week. My grandmother was one of the wisest people I’ve ever known, and I intend to honor her admonition of, “Don’t tell everything you know.”
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