The Checklist Manifesto for Commercial Real Estate

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Written By Mike King

Atul Gawande, a surgeon and best-selling author, argues in his book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, that checklists are essential for reducing errors and increasing efficiency. He cites the airline industry’s reliance on flight-related checklists – and its remarkable safety record – as evidence of the power of checklists to make processes work.

As a surgeon, he describes how checklists save lives. He argues that the medical profession should use checklists more extensively to save lives and improve outcomes. Before long it becomes clear that he is really interested in a problem that afflicts virtually every industry–and that is how professionals deal with the increasing complexity of their responsibilities. He makes a distinction between errors of ignorance (mistakes we make because we don’t know enough), and errors of ineptitude (mistakes we made because we don’t make proper use of what we know). Failure, he writes, is really about the latter of these errors, which are mistakes that are avoidable.

While commercial real estate errors made not be life or death, they can be incredibly costly. Over the years, our team has developed a list of checklists that we rely on to ensure no details are missed. For example, we’ve created definitive checklists for purchase and sale agreement reviews, due diligence items, books & records requests, listing marketing, etc…

No matter how many times you have performed the same task, a well-designed checklist can improve the outcome. For instance, a purchase and sale agreement (PSA) may be completely silent on essential clauses such as condemnation, estoppels, or specific performance. Without a definitive list, you would need to rely on your memory to catch all the subtle nuances that need to be addressed. However, if you are reviewing a PSA with a checklist in hand, you would be able to simply identify all the clauses that are missing from the agreement that are necessary before executing.

We are publishing our books and records request list on our website as an example. Feel free to download and make the list your own or even better let us know if we are missing anything. We’ll incorporate the changes and continue to improve.

Books & Request Request Checklist