Back in the 1960's I read Raise High The Roof Beams, Carpenters by J. D. Salinger. In the opening pages of the story Salinger retells an old Taoist tale that goes like this:
Duke Mu of Chin said to Po Lo: "You are now advanced in years. Is there any member of your family whom I could employ to look for horses in your stead?" Po Lo replied: "A good horse can be picked out by its general build and appearance. But the superlative horse - the one that raises no dust and leaves no tracks - is something evanescent and fleeting, elusive as thin air. The talents of my sons lie on a lower plane altogether; they can tell a good horse when they see one, but they cannot tell a superlative horse. I have a friend, however, one Chiu-fang Kao, a hawker of fuel and vegetables, who in things ppertaining to horsesis nowise my inferior. Pray see him."
Duke Mu did so, and subsequently dispatched him on the quest for a steed. Three months later, he returned with news that he had found one. "It is now in Shach'iu," he added. :What kind of horse is it?" asked the Duke, "Oh, it is a dun-colored mare," was the reply. However, someone being sent to fetch it, the animal turned out to be a coal black stallion! Much displeased, the Duke sent for Po Lo. "That friend of yours," he said, "whom I commissioned to look for a horse, has made a fine mess of it. Why, he cannot even distinguish a beast's color or sex! What on earth can he know about horses?" Po Lo heaved a sigh of satisfaction. "Has he really got as far as that?" he cried. " Ah, then he is worth ten thousand of me put together. There is no comparison between us. What Kao keeps in view is the spiritual mechanism. In making sure of the essential, he forgets the homely details; intent on the inward qualities, he loses sight of the external. He sees what he wants to see, and not what he does not want to see. He looks at the things he ought to look at, and neglects those that need not be looked at. So clever a judge of horses is Kao, that he has it in him to judge something better than horses."
When the horse arrived, it turned out indeed to be a superlative animal.
I recalled the story in the 1980's when I first began selling houses and noted the one letter difference in the two words. Over the years since then I've attended many training classes that seem to focus on how to be a successful real estate agent. Some of the early ones focused on selling techniques and closing maneuvers, but since the mid 1990's and the the advent of Buyer Broker Agreements there has been a shift and the emphasis is now on working with a Buyer in finding the best house possible for that person.
While state laws vary, in Washington, like many others, it is law, that a real estate broker give any new clients a copy of the laws governing that broker's actions. Here is Washington's Law of Agency.
If you (or "u" in today's texting short cut) are looking for the perfect ho
ruse, be sure to add and "r" as in Realtor® to your set of tools. Looking at pictures online, reading text on a flyer and even touring the property at an open house or with the listing broker are not guarantees that you're getting all of the insight necessary to make a wise decision. The first thing the wise shopper does is to interview brokers until one is found that you sense will be the Kao for you. And when you've found him, work with him to ensure that your real estate adventure is a success. Insist on a Buyer Broker Agreement that holds your agent of choice to work for your best interests.
Also published at Puget Sound Real Estate Professionals