Less-Know Differences Between Property Lawyers And Real Estate Agents

People pursue many careers in the real estate industry, including real estate agents, realtors, property lawyers and leasing agents. Though many of these are similar, they have fundamental differences, like property lawyers’ and realtors’ responsibilities and functions. Learning about these two roles can help you determine whether pursuing a career in one of them is right for you.

This article discusses what property law and realtors are, how their careers are different, and the primary responsibilities within each role.

Who Is a Property Lawyer?

A property lawyer is an experienced legal professional who assists home buyers and sellers complete the property transaction. They handle the legal aspect of property transfer. Unlike real estate professionals such as agents and brokers, property lawyers know the legal requirements of property transactions. In some jurisdictions, it’s a legal requirement that property deals can only proceed with property lawyers’ input. Click here for ten golden rules every property lawyer need to know.

Who Is a Real Estate Agent?

Realtors are professionals in the real estate industry who are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). To become a member of the NAR, a real estate agent must subscribe by paying a membership fee, paying annual fees and complying with the Association’s code of ethics. Realtors are either real estate brokers or agents as long as they are members of NAR.

Property Lawyers vs Real Estate Agents

Here are the critical differences between property lawyers and realtors:

Responsibilities 

There can be some overlap between the responsibilities of each of these roles, but they also have unique duties. Learn more about housing and property in Australia.

Typical responsibilities for a property lawyer include

  • Advising clients on relevant real estate laws and ethics 
  • Drafting purchasing agreements, title documents and mortgage contracts 
  • Assisting home buyers and sellers close the deal 
  • Arbitrating contractual disagreements arising from the transfer of property
  • Representing clients in courts on real estate matters
  • Assisting landlords with rental and commercial tenants in disputes with landlords
  • Assisting clients in dealing with foreclosures, bankruptcies and short sales 

Typical Responsibilities of a real estate agent 

  • joining and annually renewing membership to the National Realtors Association and paying all the requisite membership fees
  • observing the code of ethics outlined in the association bylaws
  • Preparing homes for viewing by prospective buyers
  • Seeking to expand client base with new property buyers or sellers
  • Network with other realtors to facilitate the faster sale of homes
  • Taking prospective home buyers to properties listed for sale
  • Advising home sellers on the most appropriate price for their homes
  • Guiding home sellers in making their properties appealing to buyers
  • Hosting open houses for home sellers
  • Promoting property on social media and other real estate platforms
  • Overseeing deal closure between the seller and the buyer
  • Training newly recruited agents to enhance their sales skills
  • Assessing mortgage financing options to assist clients in making the best home-buying decision

Education 

Realtor positions usually require a minimum of a high school diploma. They must also complete real estate education courses in management, sales and marketing, closing, taxes and financing. Aspiring realtors must also meet several instruction hours to learn the details of real estate business, home pricing, listing and relevant real estate laws.

Property lawyers typically have a minimum of a law degree. The degree takes three years, during which students take tests on comprehension and analytical skills and must be from a recognized college or university. In the last year of their studies, students can take specialized courses such as commercial, criminal, or property law. You can get more about courses in property law by cliking here.

Training 

Realtors do much of their learning on the job. Some realtors may join real estate firms as agents and become realtors upon gaining experience and earning relevant certifications. Inexperienced and licensed realtors may obtain training through real estate agencies that provide formal training. The exercise allows new realtors to learn how the real estate industry works through mentorship from a more experienced professional.

Ost of the training for property lawyers involves the experience of a law firm specializing in real estate. Aspiring property lawyers work under the supervision of more experienced lawyers. They typically perform law-related tasks such as drafting tenancy agreements, explaining the law to clients and accompanying lawyers to mediation and court sessions. The exposure allows young property lawyers to improve soft skills such as negotiation, persuasion, communication and critical-thinking skills.

Certifications 

 work as a realtor, candidates pass an exam and obtain a practising license. The primary requirements to qualify for a permit include the following:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Complete real estate courses
  • Pass the license exam
  • Enrol as a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR)

Realtors might also pursue additional certifications to enhance their skills in their work. These include: 

  • Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) certificate
  • Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR)
  • Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)

A property lawyer needs a license to practice. The licensure requirements vary from state to state, but passing a bar exam is a common prerequisite. Law practice is broad, and property lawyers typically specialize in property or real estate law. Nevertheless, some real estate law firms have lawyers specializing in all the fields under the same firm.

Work Environment 

Realtors spend their time in offices and out in the field. In the office, realtors draft contracts and meet clients, primarily buyers and sellers of homes. Out of the office, realtors’ work entails travelling with clients showing them houses on sale or assessing houses’ condition. A typical working week of a realtor extends past 40 hours. They may also be required to work over the weekends or late in the evening to suit the client’s schedule. Realtors may be self-employed or hired by real estate agencies.

Property lawyers’ work is mainly in the office. They may also be required to attend court sessions and meet clients in their homes. In the office, property lawyers’ work entails drafting contractual agreements, advising their clients, closing real estate transactions and overseeing agreements between the parties in the deal. Court attendance requires property lawyers to be in professional attire. A typical working week of a property lawyer may extend over 40 hours. They may work late into the evening and sometimes over the weekend to research legal jurisprudence and fit into the client’s schedule.

Final Thoughts 

Both property lawyers and real estate agents play an essential role in property buying, selling or management. Hiring a real estate agent is ideal if you want to purchase a residential or commercial property. However, suppose you need legal advice or need to solve more critical issues. In that case, you can consult a seasoned property lawyer for a quick solution.

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