Real estate agents are presented with many roadblocks after a contract is signed and have to work extra hard to keep deals together. A bad inspection or appraisal issue may cause a deal to fall apart. Sometimes it may be nothing more than a party wanting someone else to pay for a repair, warranty or inspection. In order to keep the transaction together real estate agents often make promises. Real estate agents should be very careful in making promises. South Carolina law says that the “Commission may cancel, fine, suspend, revoke or restrict your ability to practice real estate if you . . . make a false promise of a character likely to influence, persuade or induce.” S.C. Code §40-157-145(A)(2).
If you promise to do anything in a transaction and then later refuse to honor your word, you are placing yourself in extreme legal peril. In 2010 the Real Estate Commission suspended an agent’s license for one year when prior to closing she agreed to pay for repairs out of her commission. After the parties agreed to move forward and closed the agent refused to pay the repair company.
If you make a promise in a transaction to do something and then later refuse you can guarantee that the person will claim the only reason they continued with the deal was your promise. Protect yourself by not making promises you do not intend to keep or may be difficult to keep. When you make a promise that is likely to influence a party, put the promise in writing with all terms and limitations. It is better to set clear expectations than to have a grievance filed because the party expected you to do more than you intended.
Today’s Historical Fact- Pulaski Street is named for Casimir Pulaski, a Polish count who came to America in 1777 to aid the Patriot cause. Pulaski was appointed brigadier general by the Continental Congress in 1777. He defended Charlestown (now Charleston) against Prevost’s raid in 1779. He is credited with saving the life of George Washington. He was killed during the siege of Savannah. Today Pulaski is considered “the father of the American cavalry.” Casimir Pulaski Day is officially observed in Chicago on the first Monday of March. Happy Pulaski Day!