Sometimes I feel tainted by my expert witness work, where I see agents that are involved in lawsuits. So, often they are untrained and just not ready to do the heavy lifted that is needed in today's real estate. This is especially evident when agents get outside their residential home sale area. Too often they run across a client that wants to buy a business, an office building, raw land, and income property and the list goes on.
Instead of being honest and telling their client, that they are not specialists in that area, they dive in the pool and usually hit their head on the bottom. In California, not only can an agent do any type of real estate with their license, they can even do loans. How crazy is that concept. I know when I am brought in on the plaintiff side (the one who is suing), it is too easy to show the agents mistakes and how their lack of understanding led to the problem. When I am hired to defend an agent, it is frequently difficult to help their attorney build a credible case to support their behavior. Yes, in every case, there is usually enough blame to pass around between the Seller lack of disclosure, the Listing agent's lack of proper advice to the Seller and in many cases, the buyer themselves who were too dumb or too cheap to protect themselves.
But, someone who is frequently overlooked in these cases is the manager or broker. First, the brokerage is legally the agent. So, when the managing broker allows one of their agents to represent them on a transaction beyond the capacity of the agent, in my humble opinion, the broker/manager is equally liable. First, they have a duty to train an agent to the level where they can't hurt the public. Until they hit that level, they should be let out of the house. Secondly, a broker has a duty to monitor and supervise the agent. That doesn't mean that they have to go out on all their calls but they should watch them more closely. One of the best ways to do that is to seriously review their transaction files.
If you read my prior post, we had an agent on a biz Op forget to provide the buyer with a copy of the existing lease, only to find out that there was no lease, so the landlord kicked the buyer out after they moved in. And the franchise that they purchase, was not a legal franchise. Oh, and I forgot to tell you that this was a dual agency, as is common in Biz Ops. And, the agent testified in their depo that they never turn in their files to the broker until the transaction was closed.
OK, I ranted long enough. It is still way too easy to get a real estate license, at least in my state. And, until they start extra training and licensing for these specialty areas, our reputation as an industry will continue to be damaged. It is not OK and we are the only ones who can change it. Agent leadership at each state level needs to ask for stronger training requirements. Yes, we will be accused of the "I got mine" syndrome but thank God that we make doctors go to medical school before they can be doctors.