You're a Realtor - Not a Lawyer

Reblogger Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Fred Griffin Real Estate Florida Broker BK436788
Original content by Candy Miles-Crocker

real estate classesOne of the first rules of real estate should be, "You're a Realtor, not a lawyer."  Yet I don't recall anyone making a point to say that.

Every Jurisdiction is Different

There are some states and jurisdictions that use licensed lawyers to negotiate the terms and conditions for their respective buyers and sellers.  The Realtor is responsible for helping the buyer find the right place or helping the seller sale their property.  Once the house is found, the client is handed over to a lawyer to write and negotiate the offer.

Other jurisdictions require the Realtor to write and negotiate the offer on behalf of their client.

If you are in a jurisdiction where you negotiate on behalf of your client, be careful to stay in your lane.

Know the Contract

You should know the contract inside and out.  That may sound like common sense, but it's surprising how many real estate agents don't know what's in the contract.

You know they don't know the contract because when you're in the middle of a transaction with them, they try to tell you incorrect information.  They usually quote what was in the contract ten years ago about what your client can and can't do.

When the agent doesn't know the contract, it's highly unlikely that their client will know the contract.  Although buying and selling a house is a huge financial decision, it's incredible how many people don't read the contract.

Once the transaction starts heading south, then everyone starts reading.  By then the damage has already been done.

Contracts are constantly revised.  Make sure you stay on top of those changes.  Thankfully, many jurisdictions require a course on contracts as part of their Continuing Education requirements.

Don't Write Your Own Language

Virtually everything that can happen in a real estate transaction is covered in the contract or an accompanying Addendum.  In my jurisdiction our Addenda covers everything from Sale of Home Contingency to Pre-Settlement Occupancy to delayed HVAC inspection.

Check with your Association to see if they have what you are looking for.

You are not a lawyer, so don't try and write your own language.  If the situation you are dealing with is so unique, talk to your broker and have them draft the language.

You May Be a Real Lawyer

There are many real estate agents who were lawyers in a past life.  Although it may be tempting, don't forget you are no longer allowed to practice law.

You are now a Realtor.  You cannot give ANY legal advice.


Risky Business

The natural inclination of Realtors is to solve issues.  It's what we do.

However, when it comes to the contract, it's important for us to step back and stay in our lane.  If a client has a question or issue that is more complex than you are comfortable with, you need to refer them to a real estate attorney.

Gracefully let them know that you are unable to assist them and that they need to speak with an attorney.  By doing so you save yourself from giving misinformation or misleading your client.

The Buck Stops Here

Remember, real estates are an easy target.  When something goes wrong with the transaction or with the house, the finger gets pointed at us.

We are the most visable person in the transaction, therefore the easiest to blame.

It's great to be helpful, but you don't want to end up in court for giving inaccurate advice or worse, practicing law.

Are you tired of having difficult transactions?

Enjoy less stress by having smoother transactions by implementing these simple strategies today!

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The Reality of Real Estate

To learn what it takes to be a successful real estate agent or to get your real estate business back on track, check out Candy's new book,

"The Reality of Real Estate - The Essential Guide to Planning, Managing and Growing Your Real Estate Business." 

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Candy,  “The Real-Life Realtor”, coaches, mentors and trains new and experienced real estate agents to transform their business by mastering her proven systems for success.

In 2016, Inman News named Candy Miles-Crocker as one of the Top 25 Real Estate coaches in the United States.

She is a firm believer in managing expectations.

Her goal is to elevate the perception of real estate agents among the general public through education so every client has an amazing real estate experience.

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Candy Miles-Crocker

Real-Life Real Estate Training


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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Just last week a clinet had a problem and asked me what he should do.


Call a Real Estate atty!~  I gave him 3 numbers.

Dec 06, 2018 04:06 PM #1
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What a wonderful re-blog, and I wish agents would pay attention to this. We had a real estate attorney in tow whenever we needed new language.  A

Dec 06, 2018 04:12 PM #2
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for reblogging the post. I missed reading the original one 

Dec 07, 2018 02:45 AM #3
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

So true and as an investment real estate specialist I get asked about LLCs, trusts, taxes, etc. I let the investors know that not only am I not a lawyer but also I am not a CPA.

Dec 07, 2018 05:40 AM #4
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Fred - New York is a state with lawyers and long closings.  Quite different when we bought a house in Florida. It was so simple handled by the title company. 

Dec 07, 2018 06:20 AM #5
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Grant Schneider  comment 5

   Florida closings are a piece of cake.  My preference is to use a Law Firm that does real estate closings, but that is not required.  A Title Company with no attorneys on staff can handle it.

Dec 07, 2018 07:10 AM #6
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Fred everyone in this business needs to stick to their little corner of the business, when we go beyond our role it is a receipt for problems.

Dec 07, 2018 03:11 PM #7
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Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate

Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker
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