So I got a great question in my email today from Mark Stauffer, as he was listening to the Saturday Workshop Sessions.

It’s one I’ve heard a lot before, so I’d say the answer’s worth a dedicated post.

Mark asks…

“…you’ve said on one of the audios that you are licensed in real estate.  Do you disclose to sellers/buyers that you are a licensed agent when you are doing deals, making offers, selling, etc. Thanks and keep the instructional videos coming!”  -mark

Well OK, fair enough question.  So here’s the deal…

Many investors who are also licensed agents tend to be concerned about disclosing the fact that they’re licensed.They’re afraid that the other guy (or gal…don’t mean to be sexist here) might suddenly feel defensive or “on guard” against you now that he/she knows your a……trained real estate professional! (enter music from Psycho shower scene.)

Let’s start with what’s required…

The fact is, here in Tennessee agents are legally required to disclose they are licensed for any real estate transaction in which they play any part, whether officially wearing their “agent” hat or not.

So even if I’m a rehabber or a wholesaler or whatever…if I’m a principal in the transaction (buyer or seller) I’m still legally duty-bound to disclose my licensed status.

The reason being, it’s assumed you have “superior knowledge” you can wield like a loaded weapon against some Average Joe who innocently mistakes you for just another Shmoe like him.

The law dogs says it’s only fair that as early as practical you make him clearly aware of your superior knowledge, market prowess, powerful telekinetic abilities and cat-like reflexes.

Now admittedly it’s been a while since I first got my license, but I believe the board of Realtor’s code of ethics makes it even more specific, saying we should immediately notify any seller or buyer during “first contact” that we are licensed agents, and that “resistance is futile”.

They even provide us with a handy dandy form to do it all in writing.  Yay!

So how do I manage all this disclosure as an investor/agent without scaring folks off or putting them on the defensive?

Well, the answer’s pretty simple.  I just tell ’em.  Just tell ’em, don’t make a big deal of it, and don’t worry about it.

The fact is, contrary to popular belief most folks just don’t care in the least if you’re licensed or not.  And some folks actually seem to feel even better about it.

As in…

“Hey, you’ve got some fancy  Realtor trainin’, so you must be awesomer than those other shady investors out there!”

Here’s what I say…

…And usually in my very first conversation with a prospective client (i.e. motivated seller whose house I’m scoping out)…

“By the way, I want to let you know that I am a licensed Realtor.  So you know I’ve got a little formal training.

But also just to make sure we’re on the same page here I”m not here to try and list your house or anything like that… (smiling a little at this point) …I’m not here as your agent or anyone else’s other than my own.  I’m here looking as a possible BUYER.  Make sense?”

I usually say the whole thing with a little smile on my face, and I’ve never had anyone so much as raise an eyebrow.  They usually just smile back and say,

“Oh yeah – sure, I know that.”

I also make sure the same kind of thing is clearly stated in any paperwork we put together.  Sometimes I write it on the contract and have them initial it, and sometimes it’s included in my “Best Darn Sellers Disclosure CYA” document I use, which is based off an old form Joe Kaiser put out years ago.

The bottom line is…

…the rules for this may vary a little in different states.  But probably not much.

Just play it safe and disclose it, verbally in your first conversation, and again in writing as a part of your paperwork.

Don’t make it a big deal, and it won’t be.  It shouldn’t be.  It’s nothing to be embarrassed by, and like I said, can even give them a little warm and fuzzy knowing you’ve got some kind of “real training” under your belt and didn’t just learn all this from that crazy late night infomercial guy.

(To any/all minions, groupies and cronies of the great and mighty Carlton, no disrespect intended.  Please don’t hurt me.)

Hope that helps!  What are your thoughts?  Please share them in the comments below.  I’d love to hear ’em.

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