Real Estate News


Top 10 Ways Realtors® Can Stay Out of Trouble

Sponsored Partner Content by Vesta Settlements
By Keith Barrett, Esq.


10.      Be the referral to the source, not the source

Accurate information is important. On certain matters, it is best to direct clients to where they can get accurate information rather than be the source of that information.

9.        Transcribe substantive communications

If it is not in writing, it didn’t happen. Therefore, conversations about important substantive issues, particularly if there is even a remote chance the issue will become a point of contention later on, should be reduced to writing. The simplest way is to follow up with clients in an email that summarizes the salient points of a recent previous conversation.

8.        Deliver as directed in Delivery

Delivery means something specific in the Virginia Residential Sales Contract. It is one party’s direction to the other regarding how they want to receive important information. If the instructions in the Delivery paragraph are not followed, then Delivery did not occur. This can produce serious negative consequences for your client – and you!

7.        Extend Settlement in writing

The Settlement date is a hard deadline. Assuming the contract is not void, if settlement does not occur on the settlement date and there is no signed extension of that date between the parties, one or both parties are likely in default. Consequently, it is very important for real estate agents to secure signed settlement extensions when necessary. If you put your client in jeopardy, they may point the finger at you.

6.        Be nice and communicate

Medical malpractice studies indicate that doctors can fend off malpractice suits by communicating with clients, educating and generally having a good bedside manner. Psychologically, we can assume this to be true in most professional service relationships, particularly one involving the largest financial/emotional transaction for most people.

5.        Get and stay educated

In the legal field, it is called the “practice” of law.  It is a feeling of always practicing and learning. Like the legal profession, the real estate industry is fluid.  It changes and evolves over time. Statutes, contracts, and lending practices, just to name of few, change.  Keeping up with it all is very important.

4.        Consistent equal treatment

Fair Housing, enough said!

3.        A real estate license doesn’t make you an expert in all real estate matters

By virtue of holding a real estate license, one is technically able to work in any area of real estate. However, residential real estate is very different than commercial real estate, which is different than rentals or property management. Stay within your circle of competence.

2.        Only a court determines default

It can be very frustrating when one party to the contract fails to abide by its terms.  Understandably, tempers and emotions flare as fingers get pointed. However, as a real estate agent, while you may have an opinion on the matter, only a court determines a breach of contract. Advising your client as to whether they or the other party breached the contract is dangerous territory.

1.        Use trusted partners

Recommending trusted partners within the business is very important. They may reflect on the agent that made the referral and in a worst case scenario, if a client’s expectations are not being met, an agent may find themselves taking part of the blame.


Bonus Tip

Warn clients about wire fraud. It is often the real estate agent’s email that is being compromised and used to trick clients into sending money to the villain.

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