Small Victory for Clear Language

By Dave Fratello | September 18th, 2019


People can and should hate it.

Sure, it can be great to have appropriate, descriptive, legalistic terms when you're dealing in a highly specialized field, perhaps law or medicine.

But mostly, jargon is lazy, insipid and exclusive. Only the "in-group" knows what certain terms mean.

Engineers inherit all sorts of hilariously opaque terms.

And in business. Ugh. Fuggeddaboudit. The combination of clichés and jargon makes mush out of people's brains.

Believe it or not, real estate is getting just a little better.

One of our worst traditions in real estate jargon has gone the way of the dodo. (That's a cliché, not jargon.)

That was the real estate field's insistence on calling agents who represented buyers "selling agents."

Ask anyone, if there are two agents involved in a home sale, which one is the "selling agent?"

They're going to describe the agent representing the seller.

Seller = selling. Right?

Nope. White was black. Sky was green. Down was up.

The "selling agent" brought the buyer, causing the sale to occur, therefore was the "selling agent."

And the agent for the seller?

Listing agent. OK, that's not too hard.

It's all better now.

As you see in the top, blue-framed excerpt from our new offer forms, the California real estate industry has made a long-overdue shift to calling the buyer's agent the... buyer's agent! (The grey-framed version is an old form from a few years back.)

And there's another upgrade.

Instead of sticking with "Listing Agent" for the label for the agent of the seller, the forms now simply label the field "Seller's Agent."

Wow. Calling things what they are by their right names. What a concept!

While we're focusing (too much) on this terminology and form upgrade, we'll also point out there there are two new fields on the new form.

Previously, we listed the brokerage company names only next to "Listing Agent" and "Selling Agent." This could pose a moment's worth of confusion, because clients tend to think of the individual people (agents) they are working with, and not the big brokerage behind them. Where's my agent's name?

Now you see both brokerages and agent names plainly named and disclosed.

There's plenty that still needs fixing, of course.

But we celebrate the little victories.

Please see our blog disclaimer.

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