New Attorneys or Experienced Attorneys
Attorneys Who Are Real Estate Licensed
Attorneys Willing to Become Real Estate Licensed
BECOME AN ATTORNEY-BROKER
I am both a real estate attorney (WSBA 8103) and a real estate managing broker (DOL 27330). I prefer to work mostly as a broker. It gets me out of the office. I see geography get to know the areas where I work. I get to see how people live. I spend more time with them and so get to know them better. It involves salesmanship and creativity. It is more fun. I do not have to keep track of my time and bill by the hour. I make more money, and because I make more money I can afford to spend more time with each client on each transaction and deliver a more comprehensive service.
I am inviting attorneys to take the 90-hour online course, get your real estate license, and join my attorney-broker team or downline. You can be anywhere in the USA or Canada and join my attorney-broker team or downline.
New brokers are required to be under supervision by a managing broker for the first two years. I can provide that service.
You do not have to become a full-time broker. You can and should keep your regular law practice and grow into brokering. Your local real estate team can handle the yard signs, fliers, and open houses.
The sale of real estate is the practice of law. Cultum, 103 Wn.2d 623, 1985. Brokers can practice law as real estate paralegals. The sale of real estate by real estate brokers is the “authorized practice of law by non-attorneys”. The brokers must stick with standard, attorney-approved, fill-in-the-blank forms. They must refrain from giving legal advice or answering legal questions. Their malpractice insurance does not cover them when they exceed the scope of the limited practice. Real estate brokers are like paralegals. They are limited practice lawyers.
An attorney-broker is not so limited. An attorney-broker can write complex deals and answer clients’ legal questions. When I list or sell, I provide legal advice relating to the transaction from beginning to end for no extra charge, other than my 3% commission. This does not include representation in any litigation that might arise. Everybody likes a flat fee payable at closing, even if they pay more. Because they only pay for a job well done.
For a person who is both a broker and an attorney, it is completely appropriate for the attorney-broker to accept payment at closing as a real estate commission instead of payment by the hour as a legal fee.
When working as a broker, there are more ways to be paid. As broker I can receive commissions from all parties, listing and salling broker and even buyer and seller. Real estate agency rules allow no-agency agency in which the broker works as a mediator. I prepare proposed documents and turn them over to buyer and seller for approval by their attorneys.
If you are a real estate attorney but lack a real estate license, you can work on a commission or flat fee payable at closing, but you cannot advertise that you are in the regular business of brokering real estate. And you cannot have access to the Multiple Listing Service tools.
My MLS dues are $480 per year. My WSBA dues are more. But I get much more service from the MLS than form the WSBA. They are always available to answer questions.
(Here in Washington there are no more real estate agents. We are all called brokers now.)
Back when I worked primarily as a real estate lawyer and charged $300 per hour, buyers and sellers usually came to see me after they were already faced with a legal problem, a problem I could have avoided if I had been involved from the beginning.
But when I serve as attorney-broker, my clients are hiring me at the beginning, before they get into trouble. I try to keep them out of trouble. And something good is happening in their lives when their deal closes. They are happy.
Back when I charged buyers or sellers by the hour, they usually wanted to save money by skimping on keeping me informed. They did this because they were thinking that $300 per hour is too much to pay. Funny how they think $300 per hour is too much to pay but 6% is not too much to pay.
You can truthfully say to buyers and sellers: The other side will take you more seriously if you have an attorney representing you. Most people either admire attorneys or are intimidated by them. For that reason an attorney-broker can often negotiate a better deal for their clients.
Another reason for getting your real estate license is that you will learn an enormous amount about real estate law. In law school I studied Property 1, Wills and Trusts, and Mortgages. That’s it. Going through the real estate course will inform you about many legal issues.
And becoming a broker will teach you the customs and rules relating to real estate sales. You learn the context in which the legal rules are applied. I maintain that you cannot be an effective transactional real estate lawyer unless you understand the customary procedures of the MLS and the broker industry.
Every law office should have at least one attorney-broker on staff. Real estate deals will fall into the attorneys’ laps. Just add real estate sales to the law firm brochure and let clients know you lffer this service. If the commission is 3%, the attorney-broker might take half of that and share the other half with the team members who take care of staging and yard signs. After the required two years of supervision under a managing broker, the attorney-broker can run his own show and get the full commission. The sale of real estate is a basic and lucrative area of law. We lawyers should take it back.
I am encouraging you to get licensed as a real estate agent or broker and join Keller Williams as part of my downline. As the broker who is recruiting you, I would serve as your mentor, wherever you are in the US or Canada, and help you get into the business. I will be earning a rebate on all your sales.
Being an attorney-broker can be compatible with regular law practice. It can start off as a part time job. You can keep your existing legal practice. I do some legal work myself. But I predict that before too long you may want to become more broker than attorney.
I work with Keller Williams in Everett. KW has training. It has helpful technology. Agents are sharing and helpful. KW encourages us to form teams, train our teams, and help everyone be a success.
Keller Williams is unique in that it has profit sharing, which can turn out to be a retirement plan. Half of company profits are paid back to the brokers. Sub-commissions are calculated based on sales produced by brokers you have recruited to KW. Sub-commissions are paid down seven levels. Typical: My wife sold a house and received an $8,600 commission. I got a check for $290. The broker who recruited me got a check. And so on down seven levels. Broker who have big downlines receive large monthly checks.
If you retire, you will keep getting your sub-commissions. When you die your heirs will keep receiving your sub-commissions. They will keep receiving them until all the people you or your recruits have recruited – down seven levels – have joined another company, died, or quit selling. Keller Williams gives half of all commissions back to the brokers. This explains why KW has more brokers in the USA than any other brokerage. Read Gary’s Million Dollar Real Estate Agent.
The best way to market yourself to potential buyers or sellers is to offer a free consultation. You would review their real estate plans, talk about down payment assistance, talk about their self-directed IRA owning real estate, talk about their estate plans, discuss their possible need to set up an LLC, and suggest that they form partnerships in order to have enough qualifying income. They might then hire you and pay extra for such services.
And there is another source of business: You will be asked by other brokers in your office to co-broker with them on their challenging transactions. If they co-broker with an attorney-broker, that will give them credibility and help them get listings and faithful buyers. They will get listings and buyers they would otherwise not have gotten. See: www.WashingtonAttorneyBroker.com/helping-brokers.
Finally, you could join the KW commercial group, get your commercial certification, and co-broker with other agents needing your commercial abilities.
Warning: I am politically Green. You don’t have to agree with my Green politics, but you should at least be willing to put up with it. See www.JamesRobertDeal.org.
James Robert Deal
Real Estate Attorney & Real Estate Managing Broker
PO Box 2276 Lynnwood WA 98036
Law Office Line: 425-771-1110
Broker Line: 425-774-6611
Cell & Text Line: 425-670-1405 (better to send email)
KW Everett Office Line: 425-212-2007
Flat fee payable at closing.
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