Hire a Realtor, and you get an attorney for free.

That’s right:  Minnesota Realtors have an express, statutory exemption to practice law without a license.

And they do.

The garden variety Minnesota residential Purchase Agreement, Addenda, and related disclosures now trip 25 pages; a complicated deal can easily add another 10 pages.

All single-spaced, by the way.

Custom Drafting vs. Boilerplate

When it comes to customization, though, less is definitely more.

That’s true with respect to both the number and economy of any needed changes.

I learned both those lessons as a Summer law clerk more than 20 years ago, when I was assigned to update the commercial leases at Har-Mar Mall in St. Paul (“Har – Mar” is a truncation of Harold and Marie Slawik, the founders).

Determined to do a bang-up job, I replaced with old-but-serviceable one page lease with a 50 page masterpiece, complete with every clause and term conceivable.

When I gave my boss the new lease, however, instead of praising my hard work, he let me have it.

“What the Hell were you thinking?!?,” he blasted me.

“These are all small retailers.  If you drop a 50-page phone book on them, they’re going to get spooked and leave.  Or, they’re going to have their lawyers review everything, and the result will be a can of worms.” 

He tore it up, and told me to come back with an updated, one page lease — which I did.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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