As a new real estate agent from real estate school, you’ve already learned a lot about selling properties. However, there are a few more things you need to be mindful of throughout your entire career. There are some things you must do, either because they are a legal requirement or they will protect you in other ways. Here are some of the most important dos and don’ts to live by as a real estate agent.
Real Estate Agent Dos
Some things you need to remember to do in virtually every situation. Keep these in mind as you work with all your clients. These actions and attitudes will serve you well and help you grow your business without damaging your reputation.
1. Do Follow RESPA Rules
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) demands that you don’t try to get something for yourself out of a real estate transaction unless you disclose it first. You must be transparent because failing to follow these rules could unfairly take advantage of buyers or sellers.
2. Do Disclose Any Potential Conflicts of Interest
If you have any business or personal relationship with a vendor, you should always tell your client about it. You not only need to say to them but also put it in writing and present it to your client.
3. Do Put Safety First!
Prioritize safety when you are showing houses. If you fail to keep everyone safe and the property in good condition, you could be liable for the damages. You can learn more about how to stay safe as a real estate agent from the National Association of Realtors safety program. You can learn everything from consumer safety to open house safety to data security there.
4. Do Deliver Escrow Checks Immediately
As a real estate agent working on a transaction, you must fulfill all your legal obligations. One of them is to deliver your clients’ escrow checks immediately. In some states, you are required to provide the escrow check by the next business day. Other states have different requirements, so learn what’s expected in your state and ensure you get the check to your client within that window.
Real Estate Agent Don’ts
Memorize the following list of don’ts. After all, you will need to avoid missteps. Once you have some experience, you will stay away from these mistakes naturally. You simply have to create the habit. Then, when you think of doing it, or someone suggests it, your automatic response will be “no.”
1. Don’t Give Legal Advice
Don’t play lawyer. You must never give legal advice unless you are a real estate attorney. In fact, you shouldn’t ever say anything that could be construed as legal advising. No matter what state you’re in, stay in your lane as a real estate professional. If someone needs that kind of input, you can advise them to seek legal help. Otherwise, you could be held liable. So, just don’t do it.
2. Don’t Recommend Third-Party Vendors
You will likely deal with many third-party vendors during your career as a real estate agent. Examples include:
- Mortgage lenders
- Property inspectors
- Settlement services companies
- Other real estate industry vendors
Avoid making close relationships, and never recommend people with whom you have a close connection. If you do, you could be violating the RESPA rules. Here are some third-party vendors you might meet as a real estate agent.
3. Don’t Take Compensation for Recommendations
Also, under RESPA, you must never receive compensation for referrals. So, for example, if a title company offered to pay you every time you referred a buyer or seller to them, you absolutely have to say “no.” The only way you can refer the title company to the client for compensation would be if you disclosed to the seller – in writing – that you were getting this benefit.
One way to avoid this situation is to have a list of vendors and offer it to your client. Then, you are not actually referring or receiving compensation for the referral. Instead, you are giving your clients options so that they can choose for themselves.
4. Don’t Discriminate in Any Way
Avoiding discrimination is a meaty, complex subject. You can learn more about how to not discriminate in the Roadmap to Success: Foundation online real estate course. For now, know the language you use, your choices, and your marketing are all involved.
Don’t discriminate because of someone’s race, gender, national origin, skin color, disability, family status, or religion. Pay attention to your words. Be mindful of what you do and don’t offer clients. Ensure that you treat everyone with respect, kindness, and professionalism.