The Dangers of Do It Yourself

Recently I purchased four chairs on Craig’s List for $35 to supplement my existing dining room set. The chairs were in extremely rough shape, but I thought I could refinish them myself and save a little money. How hard could it be? I would just read instructions online, watch a couple of YouTube videos, buy a few supplies, and apply a little elbow grease and then Poof-Presto-Whamo I’d have four beautiful looking chairs!

Little did I know the Instructions I found were incomplete. Who knew that there were multiple grades of sandpaper or that purchasing less than stellar supplies would leave bristles in your finish? And why did that YouTube video not mention how the weather could be a factor in the drying process? Oops – now the finish has multiple handprints!

Don’t get me wrong; I love DIY projects! They can be fun and provide a sense of accomplishment, all while saving you money. However, some things really should be left to professionals who are experts in their fields. This is especially true when it comes to Commercial Real Estate.

Whether buying or leasing, Commercial Real Estate professionals know and understand the market as well as the process. They are equipped with the right tools and possess in-depth knowledge and expertise to provide the most exceptional outcomes for their clients.

My colleague and I recently represented the Seller in a transaction that should have taken only a couple of months.  Unfortunately, it took twice as long and almost didn’t happen at all because the Buyer didn’t have a Commercial Real Estate Broker representing him!

Although the Buyer was a smart, educated, and well-respected physician, he was unrepresented and therefore did not have a professional looking out for his best interest or advocating on his behalf. The Buyer was trying to be a DIY Guy in the second largest expense for his business (note: real estate is typically second in a business’ costs only behind its employee expense).

As the Seller’s representative, my colleague and I had a fiduciary responsibility to the Seller and no obligation of representation to the Buyer. Many buyers and tenants do not understand this fact. Because the Listing Broker is nice and helpful, they feel they are being represented when in fact they are not.  

In this case, the Buyer did not know the market, nor did he understand the process. His lack of knowledge and understanding caused him to fail miserably in representing himself.  The purchase contract is a legal document that outlines the transaction and each party’s responsibilities as a party to the contract. The Buyer failed to meet many of his obligations required by the agreement on multiple occasions. In other words, he was in breach of the legal contract numerous times, which almost caused the transaction to fall apart entirely.

The Seller could have declared the Buyer in breach of the contract many times, any of which would have ended the transaction and allowed the Seller to move forward with the next Buyer. And since the Buyer needed this particular property for the future success of his business, termination of the contract for any of these breaches would have been devastating for the Buyer.

Fortunately for this Buyer, the Seller was gracious enough to not declare him in breach of the contract, and the transaction closed. Not all Sellers would have been so patient.

Real estate is one of the most critical aspects for a business’ success; therefore, it’s worth engaging a professional to ensure that risks are being mitigated and your interests are being represented at the highest levels possible. Think about it…Would you choose to represent yourself in a court of law? Would you trust yourself to build a house from start to finish? Would you perform brain surgery on yourself? Believe me, I learned my lesson the hard way, and next time, I will hire a professional to refinish my furniture from the onset knowing it will save me time and money in the long run!

Kim Mills is a commercial real estate broker with Phoenix Commercial Properties. She leverages her 25 years of talent management expertise to benefit business leaders and owners in improving employee engagement, driving productivity and overall enhancing profitability by securing the best workplace for their businesses. Kim holds certifications as a Professional in Human Resources from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and a Certified Professional from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).