If agents aren’t educated about the real estate business, the consumers are the ones who get hurt. That’s why it’s so important that agents know the real estate contracts like the back of their hand.


I just finished one of my continuing education classes I’m required to take every two years to retain my real estate license, and this most recent class was about today’s topic: real estate contracts.


Something, in particular, blew me away about this class: Despite the fact that all the agents in the audience had a least a couple years’ worth of experience, about 90% of them knew very little about the contracts we use day in, day out.


I bring this observation up for a couple of reasons.


First, if you’re a consumer, you should know that just because someone passed their real estate license exam doesn’t make them qualified to help you buy or sell a house. Nor are they automatically qualified if they’ve been in the business for five or 10 years.


Out of the 40 agents in this class, only three had been in the business for 20 years or longer. I was one of them, and all three of us knew every provision and every term of every contract. By contrast, most of the other agents couldn’t even describe what the word “contingency” meant, or why a date and time are needed next to the duties owed form. It’s important to know about this form, because it’s a document that needs to be signed before you go into a listing agreement or purchasing agreement. More specifically, it outlines who’s representing who in the transaction and what their duties are.


Second, it got me thinking that we have to find a way to get agents better educated. Too many brokers who have little-to-no training themselves are opening up brokerages and then hiring people without taking the time to teach them the basics. To me, the scary part is that the consumers are the one who will ultimately be hurt by this. If you hire someone who doesn’t know the basics of the real estate business, you’re the one who’s exposed.


For example, I got a call this morning from a lender friend of mine who told me he’s doing a loan that won’t close on time for a buyer whose agent knew it wasn’t going to close on time when they wrote the offer. The buyer’s agent was new to the business, and he wrote a very attractive offer that, unfortunately, also had a very short closing window.


The sad part is that the seller’s agent was a competent, experienced agent who knew what would happen but didn’t do anything to reach out and amend the situation. The seller’s now planning on canceling the transaction, and the buyer will lose their earnest money deposit.


If you’re a real estate agent, make sure you take the time to learn the business and learn your contracts. You should know every paragraph and every sentence of them. If you don’t understand them, get in touch with a veteran agent or someone else who can explain things to you. This business attracts a lot of people because they like the idea of having the freedom to control their own schedule and making a lot of money. The reality, though, is that the real estate business is about looking out for other people’s best interests. Ultimately, the undoing of a real estate agent comes from not being engaged in learning the business.

If you’re a buyer or a seller, ask your agent simple questions about your contract during the home sale process. If they don’t know about that stuff backward and forwards, they’re just pretending to be a real estate professional. Also, don’t just hire someone because you like them or they’re a family member. If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to send me an email or a phone call. I look forward to hearing from you soon!