A proposed rule change by the Hawaii Supreme Court could potentially reduce the job scope of a real estate agent in the state. Basically, a rule has been proposed that would require someone to have a law license if they want to do the following:
- Give advice or counsel to another person about the person’s legal rights and obligations or the legal rights and obligations of others.
- Select, draft, or complete documents that affect the legal rights of another person.
- Negotiate legal rights or obligations with others on behalf of another person.
So basically, a real estate agent that is not also an attorney would effectively be reduced to someone who markets and shows properties, but is not involved in contracts or negotiations. The Hawaii Association of REALTORS® is opposed to the rule change and would like to have an exception put in place with regards to real estate transactions. (Its position is here in a .pdf file) That seems like a logical position to me.
If the proposed rule change does go into effect, it is going to be extremely interesting to see what changes occur in the marketplace. For instance,
- Will real estate agents who are also attorneys have a huge advantage (because their clients don’t have to pay extra to get contracts prepared)?
- Will attorneys provide flat fee services for basic contracts and advice?
- Will this rule change be adopted in other states?
- How will this rule change play into limited service legislation which requires agents in some states to provide certain services that agents in other states may not even be allowed to provide?
Our industry is truly exciting and changing every day. We will see what happens and adapt.