Context ( con·text )

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Full Definition of context

  1. 1:  the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

  2. 2:  the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs :environment, setting<the historical context of the war>

Why am I writing about context? I’m writing because lately this is a word that many people forget and it can really ruin someones day. Here is an example……

Mr & Mrs Buyer are deep into purchasing a new property. Every condition has been met with the lender except the appraisal. There are two parts to this appraisal.  One part is the house and some land. The other part is a large barn that has been used as an event center. These are two properties being purchased under one contract.  Let’s say the contract is for $800,000.  The lender sends Mr & Mrs Buyer an email that says “the appraisal came in at $500,000.” Nothing else. No other pertinent information. It is lacking context.

Shame on that lender. Mr & Mrs Buyer immediately contact me because they are understandably upset. “What does this mean!”  Well, best case scenario is that this appraisal is for the event center which is commercial and not for the house and land which is considered residential. Worst case scenario is that the property as a whole did not appraise and with this big of a difference, your contract is most likely sunk. This is not good news to receive over your morning coffee, especially when Mr & Mrs Buyer are very heavily vested in this purchase. This news potentially turns their world upside down but without context from their lender, they have no way of knowing.  I encouraged them to call their lender nonstop until they received an answer.

The good news is that, as I suspected, the $500,000 was for part of the appraisal. Everything is still looking rosy for their loan. If the lender had included a little bit of context with their original email, it would have saved Mr & Mrs Buyer an unnecessarily gut wrenching morning. Purchasing real estate is stressful enough. My job as their agent and the job of anyone who is employed by the Buyer or Seller during a real estate transaction, is to make this process as smooth and stress free as we can for our clients. Making sure our communications contain proper context goes a long way to achieving this goal.

Your thoughts?

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