Real Estate Lunch and Learn Featured Dan and Helen Crow

Dan Crow, '93, and Helen Crow were hosted for a Lunch and Learn "Tips from the Trenches" Presentation on February 7, 2023, by the Business and Transactional Law Center. Dan is a real estate lawyer and has a Kansas Real Estate Broker license and Helen is a real estate broker, currently in her fiftieth year in business and has handled over $380 million dollars worth of real estate transactions in her career. Dan sold real estate for about 12 years with Helen until he was sued, prompting him to go to law school to know how to defend himself. Dan's practice currently includes probate and contract work and has previously included construction and real estate litigation.

Photo: isolated image of speaker Dan Crow presenting to classroomPhoto: isolated image of speaker Helen Crow presenting to classroom

Dan and Helen offered students differing perspectives on real estate transactions, from both the broker and attorney points-of-view. Helen spoke about realtors helping clients with what price they are paying for their house, what financing they are getting and what closing costs they are paying. She said that a good realtor can help their client save money. There are times when real estate transactions need attorneys, but not all sales need an attorney. Dan spoke about real estate attorneys generally not getting the good, happy calls in real estate transactions. Generally, real estate attorneys are getting the calls when something goes wrong. Dan gave the example of a client calling after purchasing a house with an undisclosed issue and now they want to know what can be done to fix it.  

Helen and Dan also spoke about potential issues in the agency relationship for buyer's agents. Typically, buyer's agents are paid a percentage of the selling price of a home once the house sells. If the home does not sell, the buyer's agent does not get paid. While a buyer's agent should theoretically being acting in the buyer's best interest, the agent will only be paid if the transaction is completed, regardless of if that is in the best interest of their client. Helen also spoke about the experience level of realtors and the training that it takes to become a realtor. There is approximately 700 realtors in Topeka, but about 200 of these realtors have been in business for less than two years. To get a license to sell homes requires thirty hours of training, and to become a realtor only takes an additional thirty hours of training.

In the last two years, the real estate market has changed substantially. In November of 2019, Topeka was at its lowest number of available houses in the last fifty years, with about 300 houses available for purchase. Now, there is about 140 houses available, with 120 of those houses having been on the market long-term. In the last two years, house prices have gone up about thirty percent. At the same time, interest rates have doubled in the last year. Helen explained this does not mean mortgage payments have doubled, just that the interest rate you pay has doubled. Because there is such a shortage of homes for buyers, a lot of buyers have been waiving inspections to get themselves into homes. Dan spoke to this being against good legal advice but may be something that people decide to do if they want to buy a home in this type of market.

Washburn Law thanks Dan and Helen Crow for talking with students about careers in real estate law.

Photo: Dan and Helen Crow speaking to lecture hall of students