My breakfast oatmeal the other day was stale and rated a 10 on the Yuck scale. My dogs, who both beg relentlessly, were under foot demanding anything but kibble that morning. I assumed that no one – and no dog! – would touch the gluey stuff. So I dropped a glob on top of the kibble in both dishes.

Fifteen seconds and two clean dishes later, I saw a perfect use for the box of stale oatmeal. I reminded myself of my personal rule: Do not use the words “Always”, “Never”, or “Assume”.  I should not have assumed that the dogs would refuse the oatmeal  – my dogs will eat almost anything since in my vegetarian home, they receive kibble. Period.

Assumptions can cause real problems in my Cookeville TN real estate business. I remind home buyers regularly that they need to see inside homes; that they can’t assume the photos or home details are complete. Buyers need to work with a lender from the beginning because they can’t assume they’ll receive specific interest rates or loan conditions. During the listing process, home inspections are discussed so sellers know that they shouldn’t assume their home’s inspection will be perfect. There simply isn’t any such thing as a perfect home inspection report. And sellers are reminded that they shouldn’t assume all sales close. Home buyers lose jobs, spouses, loans.

My failed breakfast turned into food for thought and a really sticky reminder about “Always”, “Never”, and “Assume”.

Cookeville TN REALTOR® Brenna Piper, ABR, has worked with American Way Real Estate since 2002. A former television news photographer and corporate marketing director, she provides accomplished marketing and negotiating services to sellers and buyers across ten countries of Tennessee’s scenic  Upper Cumberland area.