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Can A Real Estate Lawyer Represent The Buyer And Seller?

By OPLawSocialMedia on News & Media & Real Estate

Video: Can A Real Estate Lawyer Represent The Buyer And Seller?

FAQ’s With Roy Oppenheim

Full Transcript: A question we sometimes get is, “Can a real estate lawyer represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction?” Lawyers are governed by rules of ethics that are promulgated by, first by the American Bar Association, and then by each state; they have specific rules that they have to follow. And typically, if you are representing two parties that have different interests in the transaction, you would need what’s called a Conflict Waiver.

Can A Real Estate Lawyer Represent The Buyer And Seller?

Can A Real Estate Lawyer Represent The Buyer And Seller?

Conflicts: Can A Real Estate Lawyer Represent The Buyer And Seller?

Some conflicts can be waived, some cannot. So for example, you can’t be both the prosecutor trying to put someone in jail and also be defending that person. I mean, that’s an irreconcilable conflict that anyone can understand. At the same time, if you have a buyer who is trying to get a property cheap and you have a seller who is trying to get the most money on their property…

You know, a real estate lawyer is not a broker. They’re not trying to necessarily bring the parties together. They’re supposed to advocate zealously for each particular client. There could be some unique circumstances, maybe in a family matter where there’s a buyer and a seller and they just want to transfer the property and you’re acting as a middle man and you don’t have those adverse interests, they probably still would have to sign a conflicts letter.

But under those circumstances, you could have a transfer from a father to a son or to a daughter or to a wife. And you technically may have a buyer and a seller, but they’re not arm’s-length transactions. So if they’re not really arm’s-length transactions, then you get a Conflict Waiver, the interest, under those circumstances maybe the lawyer could represent both parties. But in a traditional, typical transaction of a buyer and a seller that’s arm’s-length and they don’t know each other and they don’t have a relationship, the answer is probably no.

They probably should not be representing both parties.

Oppenheim Law | Real Estate Attorneys
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