Should realtors be drafting legal documents?

Writing is a skill and in many cases an art. Whether it’s an article, a novel, an essay or any other type of document, clear and accurate wording is required so that the reader is able to understand the message the writer is trying to get across. This skill is paramount when writing documents that require a specific knowledge in a certain area or an academic or professional level. Just like a civil engineer should not be writing an essay about the new discoveries in medicine, or an accountant should not be writing a thesis on nuclear energy, drafting legal documents like a contract, requires a high degree of legal knowledge as well as professional legal experience, and of course proficiency in the legal language.

So should a realtor be drafting a legal document, such as an offer?

In my opinion, no. Here is why: even though some realtors have an academic degree and have taken courses in real estate matters, drafting an offer is drafting a contract, and this requires certain legal skills that most, if not all, realtors lack.  Some realtors have templates of offers and other documents that they use by filling the blank spaces. However, if your realtor is not stating in the offer the complete and accurate information of the parties (such as full names, address or description of the property), the result will be a legal document that is imprecise and vague, which won’t be of any use in terms of protecting your interests. Furthermore, some offers have peculiarities and special conditions that require modifying the template in order to adjust it to the specific case.  This is a task that will surpass the capability of any realtor who is not also a lawyer.

And what can be the consequences of signing an offer with deficient legal language?

Having an offer that is not well worded or that lacks legal technique can bring serious problems in case of a breach of contract, and in some cases, the offer as a contract can be declared null and void. If a dispute over the offer goes to court, the interpretation of the contract will be left to a judge who may have an extremely difficult time trying to understand the intention of the parties when they signed the offer. A litigation proceeding can be stuck for years in a Mexican court and this can result very costly.

Many realtors have the best intentions when drafting an offer, and they can work to the best of their abilities in that offer, but as the saying goes: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This is why in order to protect your investment, it is advisable to have a lawyer revise any document you sign regarding the purchase of your property in Puerto Vallarta.