How Good Is Your Word?
Have you ever made a deal with someone you felt you had a good relationship with only to have it backfire on you? “You have my word” doesn’t have the same meaning it once did. A couple of years ago I did some work for someone who promised to pay me a certain amount. After more than a year of chasing payment and being promised the remainder, still nothing. Shame on me for not getting a contract. Shame on them for not keeping their end of the bargain.
Since some people tend to use words flippantly, it begs the question, “How good is your word?” Are you one to tell a friend you’ll have dinner then constantly cancel? Do you tell a client you will follow up and then don’t? Do you say you’ll take your kids to the park and then something always comes up? Do you tell your significant other you will book that trip or do that chore and somehow it never gets done? I think we have all been guilty at one time or another. We get busy. We get distracted. We forget. What we need to remember is that someone is relying on us. Someone is hearing us and believing what we tell them. Do we want to be a person that they can count on or do we want to know that they take everything we say with a grain of salt?
We probably won’t have our family member sign a contract that says they will take out the trash once a week (although that may not be a bad idea!) It is, however, a good idea any time you are doing any kind of business deal – with or without money involved – to write up a contract. Lay out each parties’ expectations. Lay out how the contract or partnership will be dissolved if/when the time comes. Lay out any compensation and all of the terms. My suggestion would be to have an attorney write this up. It doesn’t have to be elaborate if it doesn’t need to be. It also doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to protect all parties. This will save everyone in the end. It may seem simple but not everyone does it. Your partnership may seem so strong or the “deal” so insignificant that it isn’t needed. Not so. Though we would all like to think that our partner’s word is good – we all know it may not be. Be the one who stands up and takes action on the front end to preserve the relationship later. You just might thank yourself.
Photo courtesy of patrisyu via freedigitalphotos.net
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur babies, Tyler and Livvie, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.