(Much of this material is taken from our previous blog on why Buyers should use an agent who knows how to work with Buyer’s attorney. To see that post, click here. The material here has been modified to apply more to Sellers and fit our title.)
Well just imagine if you don’t…!
In some jurisdictions it is common for lawyers to be very involved with the home selling process. In those areas, most real estate agents probably have a healthy understanding of:
- the role of Listing agent– help Sellers find a Buyer for their home; be available to show the home; host open-house events; provide “standard” forms, advise regarding timelines, etc.)
- the role of Seller’s attorney – review, negotiate and revise “standard” forms to fit the situation; address Seller concerns regarding the various parties involved and what they are being asked to sign; provide legal protection and advice regarding legal implications of situations as they arise.
However, in jurisdictions (like St. Louis) where it is not as common, agents are less likely to know how to work with a lawyer and likely to be less comfortable with the “loss of control” that might entail. This might result in conflict between the agent and client, between the agent and lawyer and between the client and lawyer, which hurts everyone and hurts the deal. When lawyers are seen as “deal-killers” and agents as “deal-pushers”, this skepticism of one another only hurts the client.
In addition, Sellers may be in the unfortunate position of needing to close on the sale of their home in order to be in a financial position to close on the sale of the home they want to move to. This adds another layer of stress to their situation and without an agent who knows how to work with their lawyer, and make sure the lawyer has the information s/he needs to properly advise the client, the client might wind up sweeping under the rug something that could become a major issue later on in the deal or even after closing.
Lawyer’s and their clients enjoy “attorney-client privilege”, meaning that communications between them within the scope of the representation are private, and privileged so that they cannot even be subpoenaed by a court! This gives a client an extra degree of security in sharing what’s going on during a deal that they may not want to share with their agent. Naturally, this might make the agent feel uncomfortable, but I think there’s another way to look at it that can help all the parties work together better for the benefit of the client.
When the Agent allows the Lawyer to play the Lawyer’s role as protector, negotiator and interpreter, the Lawyer is better able to allow the Agent to play the Agent’s role as advocate for the moving the deal forward toward closing.
At Home Sweet Legal® we believe both are worthy and important. Lawyers are generally great at trying to protect their clients, but generally not as good and moving quickly toward closing. Agents are generally great at moving a deal along, but generally not trained or licensed to provide legal protection to nervous client who may not understand what they are signing. By working together, the client gets the best of both worlds: a smooth and speedy closing with adequate legal protection…and the peace of mind that when there is a delay, it’s because of something serious and not because of some power play between the Buyer’s agent and lawyer.
In our next blog post, we plan to explore, “Allowing Dual Agency for the Listing Agent” (#5 of the 15 Mistakes We See Home Sellers Make Most Often). We hope you find the information helpful.
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