Suppose you have a serious medical condition and your physician is the wisest, most insightful, most experienced doctor in the relevant specialty. If you don’t trust her, or won’t follow her lead, then you’re wasting her time and yours. If you have a top-notch attorney, but you don’t trust him and act contrary to his counsel, what good is the relationship?

Two things are vital when you engage an expert.

* You must become convinced that the expert, (broker, CPA, MD) you select is competent and knows more than you about their specialty, AND
* You must have confidence at the gut level that the expert has your best interest at heart.

Here’s the story of one client who didn’t understand those things.

Nellie was a successful operator of income property. A brand name property management firm referred her to a new broker. She had attended an investment seminar given by the recommended broker and had seen and heard other investors praise the broker. Nellie got extra information, about the property she wanted and saw the research that her broker had done on it.

Nellie wanted to write an offer that was 25% below her broker’s recommendation. In our county the difference between buying and not buying an income property is often less than 1% of the list price.

Nellie was familiar with a market 2500 miles away where income property was discounted. Her broker told her it was waste of her time and his to submit the offer. He explained why local reality was different from the distant time zone. She persisted and they submitted low offer.

That’s not unusual. A broker’s job is to give you his or her professional advice, but the client always has the final say.

When Nellie’s offer did not even obtain a counteroffer, she wanted to try again, after the bid deadline. If her physician diagnosed cancer would she have second-guessed the doctor? Fortunately, Nellie only fumbled a superior investment opportunity. That is not a fatal blunder.

If you don’t trust your doctor, your accountant, your attorney, or your broker, get another one. Express your concerns; explain your doubts; ask your questions. If they’re not smarter than you in their subject area, then you need another expert.

If your expert is smarter than you and you won’t take their advice, then you’re wasting your time and money. Don’t do that.

Some brokers are incompetent, some are crooked, and some are ignorant. Too many put self above service; they care more about commission than clients’ success. Don’t hire them.

Others are well respected, for good reason. Try to get to know them. Jerks rarely receive assistance from competitors. Some “givers” are repaid for their kindness or generosity. The best in the craft are helped because of scores of favors granted over a generation. If you can find a broker like that, try to become their client.

How you assess the competence of someone claiming to be an expert? What does it take for you know that you can trust a supposed expert?


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

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