Always Remember We Are Agents NOT Attorneys

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC BK607690

tutas towne realtyHi folks. One of my passions is helping other agents with their short sales. Everyday I spend time answering questions on Short Sale Superstars and other forums I participate on.


One of the questions I frequently see is from agents wanting lender contacts so they can have a foreclosure stopped or postponed. My standard response is that the borrower needs to speak with an Attorney and they need to do it ASAP.


It is not our job, as agents, to get involved with stopping foreclosures. Last I checked our licenses are for selling real estate not practicing law. Foreclosure defense is a legal issue not a real estate issue.


Usually the response I get when I answer like this is “Well I’m just trying to help these people out”. No. You. Are. Not.


You are harming them by trying to do something you are not qualified to do.


As Short Sale agents we have to know what we can and what we can’t do. Stopping a foreclosure is one of the things we can’t do. Now we may get lucky every now and then BUT it is still practicing law.


Sellers with a looming foreclosure date need an Attorney. As a Short Sale agent be sure to align yourself with an Attorney that you know and trust so you can feel comfortable referring your Sellers to them when needed. 


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***I am NOT an Attorney nor do I play one on TV. Click the button below for my Bio.

The BIO for Bryant Tutas

 

 Tutas Towne Realty, Inc handles Florida real estate sales, Florida short sales, Florida strategic short sales, Florida pre-foreclosure sales, Florida foreclosures in Kissimmee Florida Short Sales, Davenport Florida Short Sales, Haines City Florida Short Sales, Poinciana Florida Short Sales, Solivita Florida Short Sales,  Orlando Florida Short Sales, Celebration Florida Short Sales, Windermere Florida Short Sales. Serving all of Polk, Osceola and Orange Counties Florida. Florida Short Sale Broker. Short Sale Florida.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Frank Laisch 04/21/2012 12:09 AM
Topic:
Home Selling
Location:
Florida Osceola County Kissimmee Poinciana
Groups:
Real Estate Rookie
Tags:
opinion
short sale

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Ambassador
1,960,830
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

BB, we all know our roles . .at least we all should. . .But. .I'm always in the CYA mode . .short sales or not!

Apr 19, 2012 07:42 PM #37
Rainmaker
4,797,120
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Agreed, Bryant.  Too many agents are giving some bad advice.  And, there are a few attorneys that I'm not all that happy with either.

Apr 19, 2012 09:44 PM #38
Rainmaker
177,562
Erv Fleishman
Realty Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Luxury Prop Specialist Realty Associates

Always start any advice that may be construed as legal with, sorry I am not an attorney and can not answer that. Sentence ends there. 

Apr 19, 2012 10:34 PM #39
Ambassador
2,859,718
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

In Georgia agents can't negotiate with lenders on sellers/borrowers behalf either.  The attorney must do that too.  So as part of our team we have a great, well experienced short sale attorney to recommend.  He recently stopped a foreclosure and we expect to close in May.

Apr 19, 2012 10:58 PM #40
Rainmaker
2,189,557
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Agents don't want to offend their clients and, well, you know how clients get. They get angry. They think we're looking for an excuse to not help them. Doesn't matter how many times I say I can't give them legal advice, they continue to ask for legal advice. They don't know the difference between real estate advice and legal advice. It's up to us to set the stage early and help them to understand that there is a HUGE difference.

Apr 19, 2012 11:47 PM #41
Rainmaker
290,032
LaNita Cates
REMAX of Joliet - Joliet, IL

Very true! Anytime I hear anything from my buyer/seller that sounds like an attorney should be answering, I tell them to talk to their attorney. Same with lending questions - talk to your lender. I don't EVER want to say something that isn't my job. Talk to the experts!

Apr 20, 2012 12:21 AM #42
Rainmaker
1,942,685
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Wished attorneys would remember they are not real estate brokers, appraisers, bankers too!

Apr 20, 2012 12:50 AM #43
Rainmaker
1,142,050
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Andrew. I LOVE your comment and completely agree.

Apr 20, 2012 03:31 AM #44
Ambassador
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Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Andrew Mooers, I completely agree, I have encountered attorneys trying to sell real estate, timber and all sorts of other things for their clients, and felt sorry for the naive client who was paying a fortune for this incompetent attny to sell off their estates/assets.   We should all do what we are good at and refer the rest to somebody who is better than we are.

That doesnt mean that we should answer every question with "go ask an attny", if it is a real estate question, then let them know that you are not an attny but in your opinion this is what you think

Apr 20, 2012 04:15 AM #45
Rainmaker
592,907
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

Bryant,

Not me! Brenda allows me two mistakes a month and I've already used them!

Billy must be more generous.

I'm so glad that you finally mention being "qualified!"

I neither minimalise or nor belittle the need for a "qualified attorney."

But, I wouldn't work with one that promised to "Stop" a foreclosure!

Nor would I ever make such a statement! I don’t trust anyone who makes promisses beyound their control.

You say: "Foreclosure defense and stopping foreclosure is a legal matter." You can be right, if you have a defense! But, if stopping foreclosure is the goal a qualified agent can take a non adversarial approach! If that same agent hasn’t prepared his client for an attorney, and have one or more to recommend, the agent is not qualified!

Even an attorney can never promise to "stop" a foreclosure, all they can be sure of is to delay one.

The only sure way to stop a foreclosure is to pay the loan!

I wouldn’t want to stand before a judge either, so I don’t promise what I can’t deliver!

I’m not surprised by this conversation, but I do find it odd! 1. I have every confidence in your competence. 2. You’re a "transactional" broker,"transactional" brokers honestly tell their clients they don’t represent them.

My concern, why I’d risk offending a friend, is that the majority or your readers are not as experience as Bryant Tutus and not legally "transactional" brokers! A fiduciary can never say "It’s not my job!"

Bill

Apr 20, 2012 06:34 AM #46
Rainmaker
747,020
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

We are also not CPA's so when in doubt, "check with your tax advisor" 

Apr 20, 2012 07:27 AM #47
Ambassador
779,562
Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

As generalists, it is easy for us to cross the line into other professionals' area. Our E&O coverage does not follow along on such expeditions though...

Apr 20, 2012 01:36 PM #48
Rainmaker
1,142,050
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Bill. Well now you have really used up your "being wrong" quota :) A transaction broker in Florida DOES represent their customer. We don't represent the transaction as so many believe. We REPRESENT sellers, buyer or both albeit in a limited capacity. We have no fiduciary but we do have limited confidentiality. We are representatives.

If a transaction broker is telling their customer they don't represent them then they do not understand transaction brokerage. They too are wrong.

A fiduciary has the responsibilty to PROTECT their clients interests. They can't do this by pretending to be something they are not. They are obligated by law to say "It's not my job" if It's not their job. And acting as an attorney is not their job.

Whether we are acting as transaction brokers or as agents our job is to direct our customer/clients to the person that is most qualified to help them. In hte case of a looming foreclsoure that person is a foreclosure attorney. to try and stop or postpone the foreclsoure as an agent without recommending our customer/client seek legal counsel is negligent. This is a true statement and the purpose of this post.

 

Apr 21, 2012 12:21 AM #49
Rainmaker
1,142,050
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Bill, This is for your further edification:

TRANSACTION BROKER RELATIONSHIP.A transaction broker provides a limited form of representation to a buyer, a seller, or both in a real estate transaction but does not represent either in a fiduciary capacity or as a single agent. The duties of the real estate licensee in this limited form of representation include the following:

(a) Dealing honestly and fairly;

(b) Accounting for all funds;

(c) Using skill, care, and diligence in the transaction;

(d) Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property and are not readily observable to the buyer;

(e) Presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise in writing;

(f) Limited confidentiality, unless waived in writing by a party. This limited confidentiality will prevent disclosure that the seller will accept a price less than the asking or listed price, that the buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in a written offer, of the motivation of any party for selling or buying property, that a seller or buyer will agree to financing terms other than those offered, or of any other information requested by a party to remain confidential; and

(g) Any additional duties that are mutually agreed to with a party.

Apr 21, 2012 12:23 AM #50
Rainmaker
592,907
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

That's alright Bryant, I've got allot of accumulated indulgences stockpiled.

But, there is that word "limited" to consider. I'll have to accept that "That's not my job!" is just one of those limits.

It's sad, that so many force a legal comfromtation, with out trying a coudersy requist, but that's not their job! 

We could argue the virtues of "Transnational" relationships, but that's not my point.

Bill

 

 

Apr 21, 2012 09:10 AM #51
Rainmaker
1,142,050
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Bill. Surely you don't think we just abandon folks with out pointing them in the right direction. "Not my job" doesn't mean we are not helping folks find the person who's job it is. You are either reading too much between the lines or being argumentative for the sale of being argumentative.

The point of the post is that agents should not be acting as attorneys. Can you agree with that statement?

Apr 21, 2012 09:40 AM #52
Rainmaker
592,907
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

Yes!

But, we're discussing apples and oranges.

My point is that a good agent can often avoid the adversarial confrontation that comes with adding "JD" "Esquire" "Attorney" or Lawyer!"

Representing the client is not a legal exclusive, nor is it the practice of law!

I'm a fighter, but I'll try to peacefull resolve the issue first! You can always draw the biggest gun nastiest lawyer I can find. You don't draw a gun barrister before trying a friendly please.

It's all about winning!

Not fighting for it's own sake.

Bill

 

 

 

Apr 21, 2012 12:12 PM #53
Rainmaker
1,142,050
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Bill. I have no clue what your last comment is about. So I guess we just need to move on.

It was fun though :)

Apr 21, 2012 12:29 PM #54
Rainmaker
592,907
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

I'm tired too.

Goodnight!

Bill

Apr 21, 2012 12:50 PM #55
Rainmaker
589,621
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Bryant,

Lots of comments!

We are all called to do things we never had to consider before the great Obama depression.

Good post

Phil

Apr 22, 2012 08:10 PM #56
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