When Realtors work with lawyers or notaries, they often have little contact with the person doing the conveyancing. For that reason, through no fault of their own, Realtors are often left without the full picture of the paperwork; the details to help their client’s transaction progress smoothly and problems that snarl up the process.
That’s why we felt it was time to get a conveyancer’s point of view on the real estate transaction, along with a few tips for Realtors.
We apologize in advance if we sound preachy or put-out, but we know you will appreciate knowing more about the challenges a conveyancer deals with almost every day delivered with a dollop of humour and a dash of forbearance!
By Jeni Gunn
1. Understand a real estate transaction has many moving parts outside a Realtor’s role. Often Realtors disappear once the sale is “done” and clients and other professionals are left abandoned or dropped mid-way though the transaction.
Advice: Get to know all the players along with their roles in the process, and keep in mind your job isn’t done just because the Contract of Purchase and Sale (CPS) gets passed to the lawyer or notary.
2. Be organized and professional. The industry is synced in such a way that if a ball gets dropped at the beginning of the process, it impacts everything down the line. I’ve seen realtors FORGET clients altogether, or have an incorrect possession date or provide wrong names on legal documents. These are small mistakes easily prevented with better organization.Advice: Please take a little extra time to check over all the details. You will waste less time and resources, plus prevent unnecessary client anxiety.
3. For Pete’s sake, know your clients NAME. Realtors live and breathe property addresses, and often don’t know their client’s names – especially in this brisk market. You’ll be shocked to know it’s a running joke in the legal side that the realtor can’t be bothered to learn the clients name even thought they make the most profit in the transaction.
Advice: Please don’t call asking for updates on 1234 Profit Lane, which a) isn’t helpful because law offices organize by last name. b) comes across as impersonal. After all, real estate is, at it’s foundation, a people business.
4. Review the title to the home IN DETAIL and provide copies of all charges on title before clients sign the CPS. The standard Contract of Purchase and Sale requires the seller to deliver title to the buyer clear of all encumbrances except those permitted by the agreement. (The seller’s obligation to deliver clear title.)
The seller can remove financial charges like mortgages, judgments and liens, non-financial charges usually stay on title despite changes of ownership. Many of these non-financial charges affect how an owner can use the property. Statutory rights-of-way, easements, and building schemes are good examples.
Advice: Spend a little more time revealing and interpreting these on-title charges for your client.
5. The calendar has 30 days. There is no need to close on the 15th and 30th. If Realtors avoid closing on those dates or even the weeks containing those dates, clients can avoid the stress of banking bottleneck delays, and competing for resources like moving trucks, utility hook-ups, and strata companies.
6. Realtors need to explain to their clients how the insurance works. According to the typical CPS, the buyer assumes the risk of the property at 12:01am on the day of closing and their insurance should take hold at 12:01 on that date not their move in or possession date. This is a common error, and results in the client’s exposure to liability without insurance.
7. Write and print clearly. Despite the claim of “paperless”, an astonishing 90 per cent of paperwork is still faxed. Often the CPS (contract of purchase and sale) is the first information the lawyer or notary sees with the client’s name and address on it. They must prepare legal documents based on what the realtors write here. If a name is misspelled or unclear, it’s embarrassing for the lawyer when the client comes in, and a huge hassle to change. Also, wording of conditions and subject-tos should be clear and leave no room for misinterpretation.
Advice: If you’re not detail oriented or you can’t write legibly, get assistance.
8. Don’t gloss over fees. Make sure clients know the cost of services with GST added on, not just as a per cent. Clients will not do the Math. They often discover just how much their realtor costs at the last minute when signing paperwork with the lawyer or Notary. I can’t tell you how many angry clients I’ve seen who’ve loudly proclaimed they’d NEVER work with a realtor again because the fees were not clear.
Advice: If you’re afraid your client will baulk at the total amount, remember, it’s better to prepare them up-front than to lose their future business over details so easily managed.
9. Any last-minute fee reductions or cash back incentives are dealt with outside the contract.
10. Communicate, communicate, and communicate: Get addendums taken care of quickly and ensure notary or lawyer receives them in a timely fashion. If you need an extension, don’t wait to the last minute to get that rolling. Make everyone aware of the extension and keep everyone in the loop about the changes.
Your lawyer or notary is a valuable part of your team that can help you look good and delight your client. After all, we want your future business too.
I love real estate, but I'm not a realtor. That allows me to bring you the best information, ideas and marketing practices I've discovered, built and implemented with my real estate clients.
I'm a Victoria based creative writer and editor with a background in acting, investigation and content strategy. I walk the fine line between wrestling words into submission and encouraging language to come to life.