Or maybe this is just a continuing, disappointed sigh that this group, who tries to build a profession around selling houses, is itself oversold.
Latest example arose where a homeowner was referred to me by his accountant, concerned about a pending short sale of the client’s home. By our rough calculations, the short sale of the house would trigger about a quarter of a million dollars in forgiveness of debt income. After discussing it with the client, we called his realtor who had negotiated this sale without discussing a quarter of a million dollars in phantom income to the client hidden in the deal.
When I explained my concern, the realtor’s come back addressed the capital gains tax exclusion for homeowners! He apparently knew nothing about the tax consequences of a short sale, especially one that didn’t qualify for the special provisions recently enacted. Worse he seemed indifferent about the adverse impact on his client.
Seems to me the essence of a profession is an institutionalized concern for the client/patient that trumps the self interest of the professional. I don’t for a moment argue that realtors ought to be giving tax advice; I do argue that they ought to be able to spot common tax issues and direct the client to an expert. Here, the realtor was clueless and exposed the client to being blind sided by a huge tax obligation.
A professional has to do better.