Become a better real estate agent. With the ever-changing housing market, the financial stakes of transactions, and disputes with clients and insurance companies, it can be difficult to be a quality, knowledgeable real estate agent. One of the best ways to become a better one is to work with a real estate attorney. Real estate law firms regularly represent homebuyers, determine a home’s value, and know state real estate law like the back of their hand.
On top of knowing what to do in all aspects of buying and selling homes, they’ve likely seen every mistake during these processes and can help you and your client from making them. Working with a real estate attorney can help you provide top-notch service, protect your clients’ best interests, and facilitate more open communication.
How a Real Estate Agent May Benefit From Partnering With a Real Estate Attorney
Your clients may turn to you for all the answers regarding buying and/or selling their homes. After all, you may be knowledgeable about the current market value and economic trends as well as helping clients comply with basic real estate laws. However, you probably didn’t go to law school and learn about the nuances of complex disputes that some of your clients experience.
A real estate attorney has, though. Whenever you run into an atypical case, it’s beneficial to have one in your corner. Chances are they’ve seen other real estate agents or other clients in your situation and know how to navigate it. Their input can protect your reputation and your clients’ best interests.
If you hire a real estate attorney, some of the services they can provide for you include the following:
Ensure You Uphold Your Duty to Your Client
Just like the housing market evolves, so does real estate law. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overlook these changes and violate legal provisions in a contract.
An attorney can review your contract and relevant laws to ensure you uphold these duties and help you avoid or resolve any issues that may arise during the buying or selling process.
Keep You From Advising Your Client on Legal or Tax Matters
Your job as a real estate agent involves assisting your clients with buying, selling, and renting properties. You may also inform them about the process and the current market status.
It’s not your place to give them advice about the legalities of their situation.
Should they ask you, decline to answer, and refer them to a real estate attorney. They can help your client act within their rights without legal violations.
Navigate Difficult and Nuanced Situations
You can probably manage most property sales with your eyes closed. However, you may often face a situation you haven’t encountered and not know how to work through it. These feelings of panic and unpreparedness may prompt you to wing it and make knee-jerk decisions. Although it may seem to resolve the situation in the short term, it could hurt you and your client later.
It’s okay to tell the client you don’t have the necessary information and consult a lawyer before you answer their question. They will respect you more for getting an accurate answer, as it shows you truly care about them and want to execute the process correctly.
Your lawyer’s application of relevant laws and overall input can help you work through this situation and others in the future. For example, some complex cases in which they can provide support include contingency sales, lease modifications, commercial property law, land trust sales, and sales involving multiple parties.
Secure Your Clients’ Data
Keeping your clients’ data secure can prove paramount to your reputation and their safety. A real estate lawyer can guide you on data security, preventing a breach, and acting if your security system malfunctions and leaks client data. Not only does this service help ensure necessary client protection, but it also saves you from legal repercussions.
Advocate for You Should a Client or Someone Else Take Legal Action Against You
At some point in your career, you may run into a contract dispute, leading a client or someone else to bring a case against you. Don’t think you’d have to fend for yourself.
A real estate lawyer can represent you during legal proceedings, which may involve these steps:
- A trial before a jury
Your attorney may not even have to go through any of these processes and can resolve the matter quickly and efficiently.
How a Real Estate Attorney Can Help Your Clients
When you hire a real estate lawyer to help you, they inadvertently help your clients. However, your client may also run into situations that call for, or at least benefit, from legal representation.
A lawyer should provide services to a client based on their status in a transaction: buyer or seller.
For the former, a real estate attorney can help with:
- Guiding and representing them throughout the mortgage approval process, as well as negotiating if their application gets denied
- Establishing the current value of their home, accounting for needed repairs and the overall condition of the property
- Assisting with buying a new house while the client sells their current home
- Ensuring the buyer adheres to the terms of the sales contract
- Protecting their rights to negotiate the terms, have a fair inspection, know about any problems with the property, and back out of a contract if they cannot comply with certain mortgage requirements
- Disclosing important information about the property, such as defects, to the homeowner association (HOA)
- Issuing title insurance, including looking into and/or clearing any past or current claims against the home before they buy it
- Handling closing the house and filing the necessary paperwork with the relevant authorities
Sellers can benefit from the services above, as well. However, the real estate lawyer can establish the value of their home, give them tips on how to sell their home, negotiate offers, and go over the sales agreement and potential claims against their property.
Common Disputes Your Clients May Face
It’s good to know the potential issues a client can face during a transaction, as they may call for legal input.
Common disputes a real estate lawyer can handle include:
- The buying and selling processes
- Undisclosed liens and other information about the property
- Plans regarding developments
- Disagreements about a property’s boundaries
- Contract violations
- Required repairs
- Who has the right to buy and own a property
Should the client’s case require legal action, the attorney can strive to work out the dispute without going to court. However, if the other side fails to cooperate and no one can reach an agreement, the lawyer should take no issue with preparing for court and representing the client from start to finish.
However, neither party wants to take this step, as a trial means more time and money. Once someone sees a trial date on the calendar, they may be more willing to settle.
Other Ways You Can Become a Better Real Estate Agent
Whether you want to build your brand or you’re just starting out, you can do certain things to enhance your skills and reputation as a real estate agent. You may want to consider:
Keeping up With the Market
How well you know the housing market can affect your skill and future success with your clients. Learning their market values can be daunting with the wide range of properties in your area or state. To make things easier, think about where you are in your career.
Let’s say you’re less than a year in. In that case, ask yourself what types of clients you want to take. Where do they live? What kind of properties are they looking for? This information can get your foot in the door of a new market while also narrowing down your target clientele and monitoring that particular market. As you gain experience, it’s easier to branch out and serve a broader demographic.
If you’re a more established real estate agent, you may want to focus on looking at the market outside of your ZIP code and analyze how much properties sell, how long they stay on the market, and the overall growth of the market. Keeping up with this information can help you determine how and if they affect your local market.
Working With a Mentor
Whether you worked in the real estate industry for six months or 30 years, someone always has more experience than you. It can only help you to have a mentor at some point in your career. Contacting them and asking about their most difficult cases and how they’ve navigated them can prove a valuable asset to your reputation and business.
You may also benefit from their input if you find yourself hitting a wall with clients. They can teach you about their process and which systems have worked with them.
Especially if you’re newer to the industry, consider asking a potential mentor if you can shadow them during an inspection or while reviewing a complex contract. During these sessions, you could learn more about what to look for—good or bad—on a property.
Not Feeling Afraid to Market Yourself on Social Media
With more younger people buying homes and looking for guidance with this new process, you should find ways to engage with them on social media. After all, that’s probably their go-to when it comes to getting information.
You must do more than post your regular picture of your client buying a home you sold them or your record for the month. Instead, set aside some time to do a live stream to answer questions, go over major things going on in the market, and share some tips. This way, you can convey your trustworthiness and relatability.
This engagement with your potential clients can empower them to do their research and take steps to buy or sell a property with you as their real estate agent.
Going to Open Houses
Yes, it’s important to speak with your prospective clientele online, as that’s where they spend a lot of their time. However, they’re going to have to start attending open houses eventually, and you should be there, too.
Attending open houses can provide various opportunities for you and your business, such as:
- Showing clients the portfolio of the homes you sell
- Learning more about what potential homebuyers want
- Giving prospects a better idea of the timelines of buying and selling a home and financing options
- Exhibiting your professionalism and care toward homebuyers
- Opening yourself up to more contacts, whether with other real estate brokerage firms, independent real estate agents, or potential clients. You may even want to have a sign-in sheet, asking for people’s information so you can follow up with them.
After each open house, do a self-assessment. Where do you think you could have improved? What went well? Were other real estate agents there? Did they do anything that inspired you to do anything differently for the next open house? From here, you can adjust your next appearances and presentations accordingly.
Working With a Real Estate Attorney and Engaging Prospects Can Boost Your Brand
You don’t have to—and maybe shouldn’t—have all the answers when helping a client buy or sell a home, especially when it comes to complex cases that involve nuanced legal provisions or just a situation you haven’t yet encountered. Real estate attorneys in your area can aid you throughout your partnership with prospective clients. They can review contracts, settle disputes, secure title insurance, and help protect your clients’ rights in or out of court.
You can connect with a law firm that handles real estate matters to help ensure your clients’ fair treatment and your reputation. Ultimately, partnering with a real estate lawyer can also help you become a better real estate agent.