You probably already know that if you are going to buy or sell a house, a parcel of land, or a commercial property, it would be a good idea to utilize the services of a real estate professional who has experience in transactions involving the type of property you are going to buy or sell. But did you know that the Arizona Department of Real Estate has a rule that says if a licensed real estate broker or salesperson is hired to provide services that are outside the licensee’s “field of competence,” the licensee must either get help from a person who has the necessary competence, or provide written disclosure of the licensee’s lack of expertise?
Since the majority of real estate transactions are residential sales and purchases, and the majority of real estate licensees (brokers and salespersons) handle residential transactions, you might think that there aren’t too many situations where that rule will come up. It has also been my experience that real estate brokers and salespersons specialize to a much greater degree than they used to (like lawyers), meaning that nowadays, most of them concentrate on a particular type of transaction, e.g. residential sales, or commercial leasing, to name what are probably the two most common types of real estate transactions that involve real estate licensees. Residential leasing doesn’t involve licensees as often because it is frequently done by the property owner directly (without the involvement of a broker or salesperson).
But it’s in the less common types of transactions that more expertise on the part of the participating brokers and salespersons is often necessary. Selling and buying an un-subdivided parcel of land that is not in a city or town has numerous potential pitfalls that just aren’t nearly as likely to come up in a transaction involving a city lot, as anyone with any experience in rural land transactions can attest.
The good news is that in my thirty-plus years of involvement in all types of real estate transactions, I have worked with many skilled real estate licensees, and have very rarely dealt with one who I thought was working outside his or her field of competence. I’m sure there have been situations where a broker or salesperson should have made the written disclosure of their lack of expertise that’s required by the rule I mentioned above, but I can’t think of any transactions I have been involved in where I thought it was necessary. I have never seen such a disclosure, either, although they probably have been made on occasion.
Keep in mind that even a skilled real estate broker or salesperson doesn’t necessarily have the same knowledge and expertise that a competent attorney can bring to a transaction. I’m not saying that you must have an attorney in every real estate transaction, but don’t go without legal advice when you think you may need it.
Nathan B. Hannah is a Shareholder in the Tucson office, and practices in the areas of estate planning and administration, real estate, and commercial transactions. He is also a noted blogger, and you can find more of his articles on his private blog,
Contact Attorney Hannah: firstname.lastname@example.org or 520/ 322-5000
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