Most people who seek out professional advice, usually do so because they need expertise about which they know little. Otherwise, they’d save the money and do it themselves. It really doesn’t matter whether its legal, tax, real estate or construction, the simple fact is that experts know more about their job than most of us do.

What is interesting to observe is when people hire a professional and then disregard the advice they get. Professionals don’t know everything about their field but they sure know more than you do.

In real estate, we give all sorts of advice with the main objective of helping our clients do things easier or less expensively, or possibly maximizing the sales price.

Recently, someone hired me to sell her home. I gave sincere advice about how best to proceed so that she could get the highest price for her home and the least amount of stress. First, we talked about the value of the home. Even though the seller agreed with me on the value, she priced it 30 percent higher, figuring that gave room to negotiate later. Wrong strategy for the wrong time, but the seller didn’t care.

Then we talked about the importance of doing pre-sale inspections so there would not be any unexpected surprises once we get an offer. This was country property so there were more things to check out then in a regular home, things like the water well and septic system. The seller here also showed great reluctance to take my advice, stating that her home was in “perfect” condition because she was always fixing things and secondly didn’t want to spend the money because she was cheap. She said let the buyer pay for it.

I tried pointing out the weakness in her arguments and even handed her something I wrote on this topic years ago.

Since I am in the service business, there’s no way to force a client to do something. It is, after all, their home and their money.

Well, we finally got an offer more in line with my original price recommendation and the buyer did property inspections. Considering how nice the home looked on the outside, I wasn’t expecting all that many things to pop up during the inspections. But, as I tried telling the seller, the inspectors are going to go places you won’t go so you really don’t know your home as well as you think you do. As fate would have it, the home inspections revealed numerous expensive problems. Now my fear was the buyer was going to walk or at best ask for a huge reduction in price to cover cost of repairs.

The seller disputed the jaw-dropping bids from the buyer’s inspections and said she will get competitive bids. Now the seller was in a defensive position and playing catch-up. Additionally, why would the buyer believe the seller’s contractors over the ones they just hired? I also reminded the seller that this was exactly the scenario I was trying to avoid.

After many heated conversations, time wasted getting numerous competitive bids, corrective work then counter offers, we finally put the deal together. Because of the seller’s stubborness, it cost her more than $50,000 doing it her way.

The point is when you go through the process of hiring a professional, you really should take their advice. To ignore it potentially sets you up for unpleasant, time-consuming, nerve-wracking, expensive surprises that may have been avoided.

Steven Hyman is the broker and owner of Century 21 Sunset Properties. He can be reached at 726-6346 or at

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