Buyers and sellers look to real estate agents for much more than simply showing or listing properties. The most successful agents play the role of property consultants. If you look at all of your closings as one-off deals, you are leaving money on the table.
Instead, it’s time to think more strategically. Each of your buyers and sellers has a network of potential referrals for you. Each of your buyers and sellers might be interested in real estate investing. And each of your buyers and sellers needs a whole range of homeowner resources. When you can meet their additional needs, you’ll be on your way to being the property expert in your local market.
But how? A good place to start is by building strong partnerships with real estate-adjacent experts. Let’s talk about five benefits of partnering with one especially under-utilized expert: the property insurance attorney.
1. Property insurance attorneys save your buyers money
Many homeowners are understandably in the dark when it comes to property insurance. They probably realize they need homeowners insurance of some kind. But when it comes to choosing the right policy, they’re most likely to trust the agent or brand name they know.
“Homeowners have a tendency to ignore property insurance until something goes wrong,” Galen M. Hair, partner along with Alex Shunnarah at Insurance Claim HQ, said. “We work with buyers along the Southern coastal shores, including New Orleans and Alabama, and far too often, we meet with clients who are devastated having lost everything because they were underinsured.”
It doesn’t have to be this way. As a Realtor, you can get your buyers to think more carefully about their property insurance and avoid falling victim to being underinsured. This is especially important as we see the effects of climate change hitting harder month by month.
“The time to get a property insurance attorney involved is before a problem even arises,” says Hair. Assist your buyers in their decision-making by introducing your property insurance attorney as one of your partners early in the process.
2. Property damage attorneys know how to navigate complex laws
It might seem like common sense, but you want to encourage your buyers to find a property damage attorney with real estate expertise. “Your college buddy back from your Sigma Pi Mu days might be a fantastic environmental lawyer killing it in Portland, Oregon,” Hair said, “but he doesn’t know the first thing about real estate law in Baton Rouge.”
Explain to your buyers that real estate and property insurance law is complex — and getting more so. Laws can vary widely state to state, so it’s critical to find an attorney with experience in real estate in the area where they’re looking to buy. You can save your buyers a lot of time by vetting a lawyer for them.
3. Property insurance attorneys can do things you can’t
Many homebuyers may not think to involve a property insurance attorney at closing, but it’s important to remember that attorneys can do things real estate agents can’t.
Here’s why it’s a good idea to encourage your buyers to hire an attorney either way: In many cases, buyers or sellers want to add unusual clauses to their contracts, which might affect their insurance coverage. Without an attorney, you’ll be stuck trying to interpret the law and handing out legal advice you aren’t authorized to offer.
Hair added: “Suppose your buyer discovers mold during the home inspection. You want to be able to give your buyer the best advice possible. Our team can help you navigate repair, writing the contract and purchasing property insurance so that they will be protected.”
If you ever work real estate deals that are even the least bit out of the ordinary, you will want to consult a property insurance attorney.
4. Property damage attorneys can help sellers, too
Understandably, sellers are less likely to seek out an attorney. But if a transaction is especially complex or a seller wants to do some home renovations before selling, it may make sense to have a property damage attorney on hand for the seller as well. For sellers in the commercial real estate space, legal mistakes can be especially costly.
Partnering with the right attorney means you can offer sellers resources like home inspection advice, language covering agreements with lease holders, insurance policy adjustments, etc.
5. Property insurance attorneys do a lot behind the scenes
If everything goes smoothly with your buyer or seller, their lawyer will give them the green light and a bill for a couple thousand dollars. They may wonder why they spent all that money. But you can explain it to them by pointing out all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into ensuring they have peace of mind while making the biggest financial decision of their lives.
As with property insurance itself, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The last thing you want your buyers dealing with is confusing legal terminology when trying to purchase a home. Finding an attorney who can advise your clients about the pile of paperwork sitting in front of them not only saves them time and money, it shows them how sensitive you are to their needs.
Become the standout real estate agent in your area. Partner with a property insurance attorney!
Victoria Kennedy is CEO of Atman Real Estate. Connect with her via email.