News & Research Archive

Your Word Is Your Bond

Aug 14, 2006


I must be getting old: I am spending way too much time thinking about the “good old days.” A friend reminded me that I need to realize that people evolve; I cannot change that direction and go backwards but need to adapt to today’s ways and learn to adjust.


I recently received a call from the owner of a small furniture store from whom I have bought a number of items from over the last six months. We have become friends, and I have enjoyed his many stories. The owner called me to tell me that he was staring at my business card, which I had handed to him during my last visit, and he did not realize that I am in commercial real estate. He had just listed his building for sale with a local residential firm and didn’t want me to find out from someone else. I told him that I appreciated his consideration of my feelings. This man is 91 years old.


It was not so long ago when all business was transacted in such a considered way. A person’s word was their bond, and their contract was their word. Today we press for written exclusives with attorney fee provisions.


How did society evolve this way? What happened to a verbal service contract, where I would help you find office space and you would assure me that you would use me in this effort exclusively?


The real problem today is that relationships are not respected. They are also not deep-seated—we don’t know our clients as well as we used to. This is due partly to the fact that people don’t stay with one employer for a long time, so relationships are not long term. In addition, people don’t spend time developing relationships like we used to. Taking a client to lunch to establish a stronger bond is almost as rare as taking someone out to play golf.


I plan to continue to conduct business in the old way. I will continue to trust everyone until I learn that they cannot be trusted and I will continue to stand by my word.


Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 21 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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