Many clients worry about upsetting their agent if they hire an attorney to assist in the home buying/selling process. A real estate agent should not get upset that you have hired an attorney if they really care about what is best for you.
It is against the law in Missouri for a real estate agent or broker to dissuade you from hiring an attorney. (See 20 C.S.R. 2250 -8.110(3)). Furthermore, the standard residential contract your agent helps you fill out states on the first page “If you do not understand everything in this contract, then you should consult an attorney,” or something similar depending upon which version they use. It should be a big red flag if your agent does or says anything to indicate that you do not need an lawyer.
We have had a number of agents express some surprise when our clients bring us into a residential property deal to help explain things to them or make certain modifications to the contract documents. We think the surprise is rooted in at least two things:
- First, the agent may not have had personal experience working with a transactional attorney on a real estate deal in the past, as is common in may other cities and states.
- Second, agents have a very reasonable concern that if something goes wrong, the attorney will “kill the deal,” and then the agent will not collect a commission.
On the other hand, agents who have experienced working with a transactional lawyer in the past understand the added value and protection a lawyer brings them and their clients. Law firms like ours help facilitate getting the deal done from contract to closing without compromising on this protection for the client.
In 2011, the New York Times printed an article on the desirability of hiring a lawyer, and the pitfalls associated with not doing so. We think it is worth reading: The Case for Hiring a Lawyer
Even the National Association of Realtors® believes that hiring a lawyer for home sales or purchases is often in the client’s best interest. Read: Do I really need a real estate attorney? So does Nolo. Read: Real Estate Attorneys for Home Purchases.