Law scales

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Appraisals Among Most Misunderstood Legal Issues

2019 law and ethics in review: What you, our readers, buzzed about the most this year.

December 23, 2019

Perhaps the most important aspect of your business is learning how to protect yourself legally in the event a transaction or client relationship goes awry. Articles about misunderstandings regarding your freedom to communicate with appraisers, how to handle a bad home inspection, and crossing the line on social media are among those that readers ranked highest this year.

Magnifying glass and model home

Dos and Don’ts of Appraiser Communication
The takeaway:
Qualified and competent appraisers welcome any information that helps them do their job. Real estate professionals should feel empowered to supply relevant materials, including the terms of the sale, applicable comparable sales, and any evidence of notable renovations done to a home that might affect its value.


Gavel

Prepare for Common Legal Pitfalls in Real Estate
The takeaway:
There are many seemingly mundane issues during a home sale that carry potentially serious legal consequences practitioners may misunderstand. Beyond fair housing, transactional items that can be wrought with unforeseen opportunities for trouble include disclosures, contracts, escrow management, and lawful property marketing.


Home inspector

3 Reasons Home Inspections Kill Deals
The takeaway: There are no classes in college or high school to teach people how houses work or where risk lies in a residential building. Even professional real estate agents have little or no training to help them understand how to look at houses and identify issues; most of these skills are learned on the job through the school of hard knocks.


Social media icons

Social Media Posts That Get You in Trouble
The takeaway:
It’s often misunderstood how the Code of Ethics extends to how you conduct yourself online. What you wouldn’t say or do in front of someone, you also shouldn’t do on social media and other online platforms. In general, any guideline for offline behavior applies to online as well.


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How the 20% Business Income Deduction Applies to You
The takeaway:
Almost any self-employed person or owner of a pass-through business (such as an S corporation, limited liability company, or partnership) with eligible income, which the National Association of REALTORS® made sure includes commissions from real estate sales, can take 20 percent off the top after business expenses are taken out.