Q: “Denise, this has been a very tough winter weather-wise, and I have a listing that could really benefit from some landscaping clean up. This is a vacation property in an out-of-the-way area so it has been on the market for a bit longer than I would have liked, partially due to the rough weather. Should I just go ahead and clean it up? My clients don’t want to put any more money into this property so I don’t see them doing it. What do you think?”
A: I would first see if your brokerage has any policy against your paying for work that is done on behalf of your client on their property. Personally, I think this leaves you open in terms of liability, but check with your brokerage and insurance. If all indicators point to “no” then you have your answer.
But let’s assume that isn’t the easy answer and you are still wondering what should be done because you might think, “I have a leaf blower, pruning shears, and a rake. I can make easy work of this.” But what if you get hurt on their property? What if you inadvertently knock down a power line? What if you prune a tree and it dies as a result? I know I am being extreme, but when you are performing duties that are in excess of your real estate duties like this, it leaves both you and your client exposed.
Furthermore, if you are thinking about doing this yourself, I have to ask why. I know you want to get the listing sold, but you should really have an agreement with sellers that they need to keep the property in a certain condition in order for you to sell it. This may vary depending on the area, price point, etc, but you need to think ahead and ask yourself the “what if” questions when you take a listing so you don’t find yourself in this position, trying to solve problems that are not yours to solve.