The Difference Between a Real Estate Agent vs. Attorney, and Why You’ll Need Both - 23 Legal

The Difference Between a Real Estate Agent vs. Attorney, and Why You’ll Need Both

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Are you in the midst of selling or buying your first home? Ready to move to a different neighborhood? You’ve been doing a great job keeping all the paperwork, research and house hunting projects organized. Now it’s time to bring in the professionals. Are you unsure of what you need to progress in buying your home and moving forward?
This is when it’s time to hire two real estate professionals: a Real Estate Agent and a Real Estate Attorney. Both of these professionals are responsible for different aspects in the home buying/selling process – and both are necessary for your big move to be a success!
What is a Real Estate Agent?

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who arrange real estate transactions, putting buyers and sellers together and acting as their representatives in negotiations. “Real estate agents usually are compensated completely by a commission—a percentage of the property’s purchase price, so their income depends on their ability to get a deal closed. In almost every state, a real estate agent must work for or be affiliated with a real estate broker (an individual or a brokerage firm), who is more experienced and licensed to a higher degree. Agents who work for the seller, also known as listing agents, advise clients on how to price the property and prepare it for sale, including providing tips on last-minute improvements that can boost the price or encourage speedy offers.” Investopedia

Majority of real estate agents are engaged in residential real estate listing and sales. When homeowners decide they want to sell their homes, they’ll call a real estate brokerage to work with an agent to get their homes listed on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This database is shared among all local brokerage members, who then work to bring in a buyer for the home.

When listing a home, the real estate agent will be performing the following duties and activities:
  • Determine the home’s value in the current market for a listing price.
  • Advise the homeowner in readying the home for listing and showings.
  • Enter the home into the MLS database.
  • Market the home to other agents and brokerage members of the MLS.
  • Market the home in print, and other traditional media, as well as on the Internet.
  • Supervise and/or schedule home showings.
  • Report to the seller any interest and feedback from buyers who have seen the home.
  • When a buyer makes an offer, help the seller to try to get the price they want and to obtain a signed purchase agreement.
  • Coordinate the process from signing the contract to closing the deal, including scheduling inspections, preparing documents and other items necessary to close.
Other roles of a real estate agent:
  • Local Knowledge – A Real estate agent will be knowledgeable about the area in which you are trying to buy or sellers 
  • Organized with attention to detail – Having all the information on a property is key for an agent. Sellers,Buyers and attorneys will need a wide range of information on said property. The agent must have it or access to get more.
  • Real estate agents usually are compensated completely by a commission —a percentage of the property’s purchase price, so their income depends on their ability to get a deal closed.
  • Duel Agent s- Agents enter dual agency when they represent both the seller and the buyer. Dual agency can happen even if there are two agents involved—a listing agent and a buyer’s agent—so long as both agents work for the same broker. In that case, the real estate broker becomes a dual agent. Dual agency is not legal in all states.
  • Connected to a broker -A real estate agent cannot work independently, they must work for an employing broker. Brokers are responsible for their real estate agents’ actions.

In almost every state, a real estate agent must work for or be affiliated with a real estate broker (an individual or a brokerage firm), who is more experienced and licensed to a higher degree.

“Most real agents are reputable, honest and hardworking. They’re well-informed on the worth of your house, the state of the housing market and even the buyer’s frame of mind. Their knowledge is what makes an agent valuable to you.” The Street 

The Difference Between a Real Estate Agent vs. Attorney, and Why You’ll Need Both - 23 Legal
What is a Real Estate Attorney?

Buyers: Being a first-time home buyer is exciting! It can also feel overwhelming – especially when you see homes flying off the market in just a few weeks. What happens once you find your dream home? How do you lock it down for purchase before anyone else? This is where a Real Estate Attorney comes in to play.

A real estate attorney can fulfill several different roles for a buyer. The primary role is to check that the purchase contract is correct. In addition, they help you understand your purchase contract to ensure that your interests and rights are protected. It’s always smart to have an extra set of eyes on your side, failing to meet with a real estate attorney could leave you susceptible to various pitfalls and lawsuits.

  • Guiding the buyer through their purchase.
  • Answering all questions connected to the purchase of property and closing.
  • Being a liaison between buyer and seller.
  • Negotiating for the closing dates and preparing a certificate of satisfaction (if needed) to show that the seller has paid off any lender. This certificate is recorded only after the closing.
  • Preparing or reviewing all the paperwork, including deed, inspections connected to the seller for closing.

“Real estate attorneys help their clients understand contracts and other legal documents. They deal with zoning issues and mortgage fraud, negotiate on behalf of the parties they represent, oversee the transfer of deeds and titles and verify whether a commercial or residential property has a lien, a restrictive covenant or another legal issue. Real estate attorneys can work with both individuals and corporations. Whether or not you’ll need one will ultimately depend on what you’re trying to accomplish.” Smart Asset

Sellers: Selling your home is a big deal. After all, it’s likely the largest financial asset you own. The process can be confusing, especially if you’ve never sold a home before. With your family’s finances on the line, it’s important to protect yourself with a Real Estate Attorney.

Analyzing the role of a real estate attorney for the seller shows how the attorney has different responsibilities than the attorney representing a buyer. The seller should look for a lawyer who has strong negotiating and problem-solving skills. It’s the seller’s lawyer who is needed to quickly solve a problem to save the deal! Working with a real estate attorney can be very helpful when you’re facing a difficult situation, such as a foreclosure or short sell.

  • Helping the seller in drafting the terms of their sale and reviewing a listing agreement, if any such agreement is involved.
  • Guiding the seller in case of counter-offers, along with resolving the tax implications.
  • Preparing or reviewing all the paperwork, including deed, power of attorney, and the proposed settlement statement from the buyer’s attorney.
  • Negotiating for the closing dates and preparing a certificate of satisfaction (if needed) to show that the seller has paid off any lender. This certificate is recorded only after the closing.

“Many states require that a real estate attorney be present at a closing. Even if your state does not require it, you might want one there for you. A real estate attorney will review all of the paperwork in advance of the closing on your behalf and advise you of any problems or omissions with the documentation. At the closing, the attorney will represent your interests.” Investopedia

Bonus Statistics to Know About the Real Estate Market:
  • 73% of homeowners say they are more likely to list with a Realtor who uses video to sell property.
  • On average, buyers search on their own for a new home for three weeks before contacting a real estate agent.
  • Responding to a continued national trend of an inventory shortfall, list prices year over year in January 2020 are up nearly 4%.
  • As of 2018, millennials made up 37% of residential buyers.
  • Baby boomers make up an estimated 43% of the home seller market.
  • 92% of homes in the US are sold using an agent or a broker.
Moving or selling can be stressful but with the help of a great lawyer – such as Ben Weaver – the process can be enjoyable and very quickly! Don’t risk adding challenges to your selling process by attempting to do this on your own. Weather you’re selling or buying for the first time, we wish you a happy and successful moving season. Hire a reputable real estate attorney to guide you through this exciting journey!
Attorney Ben Weaver is known for going above and beyond for every client. Whether you have an estate planning issue, family trust concern, or you have a legal problem in regard to a new home, business, real estate or remodel, you need a lawyer who cares. That’s where 23 Legal comes in!
Would you like recommendations for local real estate agents in Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs? Contact Ben for referrals, he has a great list of agents he has worked with. Once you find your dream home, contact Ben to review any closing documents and assist with negotiations!
Learn more on our previous blog “What Does a Real Estate Law Attorney Do?”!
Attorney Ben Weaver is an expert in Real Estate Law for Arlington Heights, Prospect Heights, Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Glenview, Park Ridge, Wheeling and the surrounding communities.

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