Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Teaching Real Estate Transactions

I am working on developing a 3 credit course in Real Estate Transactions for the fall semester at Wake Forest Law School.  I would love to hear from PropertyProfs who are already teaching such a class.

Here is the blurb that I have written about my new course:

Real Estate Transactions.  This course will provide a survey of the legal and business issues relating to the acquisition, development, leasing, and disposition of commercial real estate, with a focus on the issues arising in the development and ownership of large commercial developments such as shopping centers and office buildings.  This course will include a skills component and students will participate in negotiating and drafting a real estate contract (purchase agreement or lease) for a hypothetical client.

My thought is to spend some time going through the major legal and business issues in the acquisition of real estate, then split the class.  Half would represent the seller and half would represent the buyer in a hypothetical transaction.  We would do in-class negotiation (one on one or in pairs) and then draft components of the purchase agreement in teams.  They would go through several rounds of this in small groups and we would debrief as a class each day.  I've tried this kind of exercise in a legal writing/contract drafting class and it was very effective.

I would then go through the same pattern with a lease -- lecture on the main concepts and then have them negotiate and draft provisions.

Has anyone tried this kind of method before and can offer some thoughts?  Or have you tried another approach and found it to be successful?

As a textbook, I am thinking of using the ABA's Practical Guide to Commercial Real Estate Transactions, because I am familiar with that book.  I will also supplement with my own materials.  I know that there are other good books out there.  Any recommendations?

I would love to see sample syllabi, etc.  My e-mail is marshlaw at


Tanya Marsh

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I'd be interested in this info as well. I've taught Real Estate Transactions as a 2-credit, law-focused course. In the fall, I have 3 credits, and want to integrate more skills, documents, and drafting. The Malloy and Smith book from Aspen, which I used for the 2-credit version, comes with a document supplement on CD, so I was going to try using that. But I'd love to hear what other people are doing.

Posted by: Ben Barros | Mar 17, 2010 9:50:27 AM

So I just went down to the library to look at the ABA guide. Looks fantastic, but $160 for a paperback!?! Yikes.

Posted by: Ben Barros | Mar 17, 2010 10:11:59 AM

Ben, the ABA actually offers a special deal that makes it much cheaper. The student price is $69.95 and if the school bookstore orders from ABA, they discount it another 20% for a total price of $55.96 per copy plus shipping.

It is a fabulous book, and if anyone is interested in adopting it, they need to contact Amelia Stone, Director, Marketing Planning and Promotion at
ABA Book Publishing and order directly from her. I believe her contact info is on the ABA website.

I will have to check out the Malloy and Smith book too.

Posted by: Tanya Marsh | Mar 17, 2010 10:54:35 AM

Ah! Good to know.

Posted by: Ben Barros | Mar 17, 2010 1:17:22 PM

Tanya, I came across your blog reading about real estate law. How did your course turn out? Being a real estate agent for over 10 years it seems interesting on how it is taught in a classroom compared to learning the fine details as a per transaction basis.


Posted by: Minneapolis real estate | Mar 10, 2011 3:08:09 PM

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