In this video we discuss the importance of getting written
authorization to talk with others about your transaction or other move-related issues.
If you watched the recent video or read the post we published on the topic of easy exit agreement forms, you’ll remember that this form is all about making sure the client feels in control and is empowered in their decision-making.
Well, what we’re discussing today, the Authorization to Share Information form, also serves to keep the client in the driver’s seat and demonstrates to the client that you see them as competent and capable people, making solid and informed decisions.
That said, any of us can have a circumstance at any age requiring us to rely on the advice or support of others. Some people have legal powers of attorney in place, while others have informal arrangements with their kids or other family members (or even neighbors). In the world of real estate, however, we really need to know which is which and who has legal authority.
This can be an uncomfortable conversation for traditional agents to have for some reason. But as a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP), you have to get accustomed to asking hard questions and you really need to know at least these two things:
- How your client would want you to handle things in the event a third party must be called upon, and
- Who your client would rather you NOT talk to concerning their affairs (a.k.a. confidentiality).
Let me share a story to illustrate how the Authorization to Share Information form became part of our regular listing paperwork – not just for mature homeowners, but for all clients.
Mrs. Stevenson was a widow with two daughters. She was selling her home and moving to a retirement community. When I met with her to discuss the process, her older daughter was present. They seemed to get along well and nothing much was said concerning the other daughter, but she was mentioned in passing.
A few days after the listing was signed, the younger sister called our office. I spoke with her and she seemed friendly. She asked a few questions about her mom’s transaction and I gladly shared what I knew. In talking with the older daughter the next day, I mentioned I had gotten a call from her sister. There was a long pause. She then said, “I really wish you hadn’t done that. Mom and I prefer she not be involved due to some issues she is having right now.”
My heart sank. I felt terrible that I disclosed information unintentionally to someone the client wanted to keep out of the conversation. It was due to that transaction that I instituted the form. I never wanted to assume that I could talk to family members again, just because they sounded nice and helpful.
One more quick story of how the Authorization to Share Information form came in handy shortly after being instituted.
Ms. Raymond was a client we helped with selling her home so she could move closer to her son who lived out of state. We had all the paperwork signed and were working on preparing her for her move when our assistant mentioned that Ms. Raymond had called several times during the day and seemed “out of sorts.” She seemed anxious and that wasn’t typical for her.
The assistant was sure that something was wrong and that Ms. Raymond could benefit from one of us dropping by. We went by her house and it was obvious when she greeted us that she wasn’t herself. We certainly aren’t medical professionals of any kind, but we knew enough to know that she really needed to see her doctor. So, we asked if we could call her son for her.
If you’ve been doing this for very long you know that a lot of clients don’t want to “bother” their kids, especially during the day and particularly if they have jobs that are seen as high profile or they are otherwise “very busy people.”
I reminded Ms. Raymond that we had talked when we met to go over paperwork and that she agreed it would be okay for us to call her son in the event of an emergency. We told her we felt she needed to see a doctor and that he could help us get the appointment set up. She agreed.
As you can imagine, her son was very appreciative of the call and he made arrangements for his mom to get to her doctor. The next day Ms. Raymond was back to herself again. She was given something for anxiety and she said she was grateful that we encouraged her to see her doctor.
You see, the form she had signed was certainly helpful, but more importantly, it was the conversation we had as we worked through the form that informed our decision about calling her son ultimately being the right thing to do. Furthermore, we were able to help her maintain control because the decision to call her son was hers to make. We simply reminded her that she had given permission previously.
For those who are enrolled in Success in Seniors Real Estate Part 2 or who have completed the course already, you have this form in your library. You can modify it to suit yourself and just remember, it’s all about giving the client control and being on the same page regarding outside communications.