Three Key Ways to Protect Yourself  and Your Business Using Mobile Manager

By Debra K. Traverso

Copyright 2007 by Debra Traverso, OneCall
All rights reserved in all media.

The content of this article may be forwarded in full without special permission provided it is used for nonprofit purposes and full attribution and copyright notice are given. For all other purposes, contact Debra Traverso at

You’re smart, scrupulous, conscientious and. .  well. . . nice, so you will never experience crises, setbacks, and lawsuits, right?  Hmmm, that’s what an agent in Illinois thought until innocent feedback shared following a showing ended up in a lawsuit.  But more about that later.

From years of working in crisis management (in a former career), I know that the combination of large sums of money and deep emotion are a highly volatile mix; add poor documentation, off-the-cuff comments, and unsecured data, and you’ve got a crisis waiting to happen.

Each year, scores of agents are sued. If you studied the cases, you’d be surprised to read how many of those agents thought that the clients that sued them would have been the least likely to ever do so. Even the sanest, most grounded client becomes a threat if their finances end up in jeopardy. 

Remember, when you’re dealing with homes and money, you’re working with two aspects on the first two levels of famed Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: level one, Physiological Needs of hunger, shelter, etc., and level two, Safety Needs for security, protection, etc.  Rock that foundation and things such as kindness, consideration, professionalism – way up there at level four Esteem Needs – quickly become inconsequential. In fact, psychologists say that humans can’t even reach successively higher needs such as those in level four if levels one and two are in jeopardy.

We at OneCall are proud to note that Mobile Manager – known nationwide for its exceptional contribution to communication – is also becoming a tool for securing and preserving business continuity and agent/client relationships.  Let’s take a look at just three ways you can use Mobile Manager to better protect yourself:

1. Focus on software, not hardware.  REALTORS in New Orleans would be the first to tell you to plan for the unexpected. Listen to their Monday-morning quarterbacking and you will hear the battle-scarred advice of what they would do if they could do it all over again.  What’s more, Hurricane Katrina was a large-scale disaster. REALTORS learned that a physical copy at home and a copy at the office were not enough back-up because both locations were destroyed.  E-mail, networks, data centers, data storage, wireless and BlackBerry communications capabilities were all wiped out.  Computers, phones, pagers, most hardware devices were lost.  

It’s doubtful that your city will ever be devastated by a disaster the size of Katrina, but the lesson does point to the need to rely on software hosted in a distant location.  Among other features, Mobile Manager (which is hosted from both New York and Seattle with each site backing up the other) provides computer access to all your messages voice, fax and email.

2. Secure your incoming calls and voicemail.  Disasters don’t have to be the size of Hurricane Katrina to completely devastate your work.  Being a true road warrior, you probably have learned how to master your cell phone; however, relying on your cell for voicemail can be a huge mistake for many reasons, including (1) some callers have reported up to a week’s time between a call coming in and that call being available on voicemail, (2) some cell phone plans won’t allow you to check calls from landlines, (3) cell phones won’t allow you to forward calls, (4) you can’t forward or save a copy of a cell voicemail on email.

3. Steer clear of lawsuits.  As a real estate professional, you are vulnerable to a lawsuit with each transaction.  Before you say, “It won’t happen to me because I’m careful,” consider that entire books and training programs are now available for agents focused solely on how to avoid getting sued! Why? Because more and more agents are being taken to court. Sure a particular lawsuit may be ridiculous (such as, you “exaggerated the features of the property”), but the result to your business, reputation and wallet are not ridiculous. 

Take the California case of a tenant who sued his landlord and the landlord’s real estate agent following a lease transaction.  The tenant alleged that the agent had a duty to disclose all facts materially affecting the value of desirability of the property. The agent says the tenant left him a voice message saying he was satisfied with the disclosure provided. Too bad the agent didn’t keep a copy of the voice message on computer for long-term storage.

If there is no proof of something you said or did, then clients can claim that you misled them, didn’t tell them or even lied to them. Does this mean you need to put everything in writing? Yes, where possible; however, Mobile Manager also provides the option of keeping verbal messages too, which you then can download to computer storage.  In other words, a paper trail is a good thing, but a digital paper trail is even better, to cover all bases. 

And, of course, let’s not forget the dual agency issue. Sure, in most states, dual agency is allowed if consent is given in writing. However, there are still those publicly-seen faxes that come into common fax machines – generally the breakdown of dual agency comfort. Resolve this issue by sending/receiving faxes via your secured and private Mobile Manager line, and print from your private PC instead.

Bonus: Of course, there are many ways to avoid being sued – documenting everything, making proper disclosures, keeping deals simple, avoiding conflicts of interest, incorporating, buying insurance, and the list goes on. We, however, recommend that you also curb a potential client’s potential thoughts of litigation right from the get-go. Make it clear that you purposely conduct business the way that you do so as to deliver 100% professionalism. For example, when you tell prospects how you do business, mention Mobile Manager. Explain that you use this service not only for the convenience and availability it provides both you and the client, but also because it helps to protect you, your business and your client’s interest. By explaining Mobile Manager’s features, you’ll simultaneously help deliver the unspoken message that you cover all the bases that lawsuits are not an option. 

Copyright 2007 by Debra Traverso, OneCall
All rights reserved in all media.


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