Aug. 7, 2017 – Question: I am a sales associate who switched real estate companies a few months ago. I thought everything was in order, but when my former broker gave me a check for one of my transactions, the amount did not match the agreed upon split we had when I worked there. My former broker can't do this to me, can he?
Answer: It generally depends on the terms of your independent contractor agreement, although additional office policies and procedures could also come into play.
An independent contractor agreement is a contract between a sales associate and real estate company. It could be a verbal agreement, but most are written and signed when an associate first begins working for a company. The terms of this agreement can vary from one associate to the next, even within the same company, so it's vital to read the actual contract to find out what rights each side has. Florida Realtors provides a form independent contractor agreement, form ICA-6, which we will examine as a sample, but beware: Many companies use their own form, and it could be wildly different from this form.
Florida Realtors' ICA-6 addresses compensation after termination of the agreement in Section 3(c)(6), which provides that "After termination of this Agreement, Broker will pay Associate any amount earned before termination less amounts owed to Broker and amounts Broker must pay another licensee to complete pending transactions for which Associate was responsible before termination." Under this clause, the associate can demand earned commission, but it might not be the full amount the associate would have received if the associate still worked for the company. The broker is entitled to deduct the former associate's debt to the company, as well as a reasonable amount to pay another licensee who helped close the deal after the associate left.
So, what can an associate do if the independent contractor agreement demonstrates the associate is entitled to commission but the broker refuses to pay? The short answer is that the next step is to sue, typically by hiring a lawyer for representation.
Associates are often disappointed to hear that the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) won't immediately intervene on compensation issues like the one discussed above because Florida Statutes 475.25(1)(d) requires the associate to first win the case. If a civil judgment awarding a share of a real estate commission has been obtained and the broker still refuses to pay, however, it would be the correct time to file a FREC complaint.
Please note: This article is just a broad-brush picture, so members working through this issue (brokers and associates alike) should consult a lawyer as soon as possible to get a firsthand opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of their prospective case.
Does a real estate broker have to be recertified by HUD each year in order to sell HUD Homes?
Yes, HUD-Registered Real Estate Brokers must be recertified by HUD each year in order to sell HUD Homes. Name and Address Identification Number (NAID) certifications for Selling Brokers are valid for only one year from the date they are issued.
To find your NAID status and verify your NAID recertification date, please visit the following HUD Homestore website at: and click on, “Check current NAID status.” If you are unable to find your NAID, please call the FHA Resource Center at 1-800 CALL FHA (1-800-225-5342).
Please note that the NAID application or recertification processing time is a minimum of 2 weeks.
HUD-Registered Real Estate Brokers must submit the completed form SAMS-1111 and SAMS 1111A (wet signatures required) to the Jurisdictional HOC for the area in which the broker’s office is located with the following supporting documentation:
IRS Letter 147C or other official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) document reflecting their business name and Employer Identification Number (EIN) or, if operating under a Social Security Number (SSN), a copy of their Social Security card;
a copy of their active real estate broker’s license with an expiration date;
a copy of their current driver’s license with an expiration date; and
a recent utility bill or bank statement that lists the address and company or broker name shown on form SAMS-1111.
07-23-2017 9:38:27 AM CST
Goes to the front page of the Government Portal with Links
How does a real estate brokerage remove or change a qualifying broker?
Published 08/08/2012 05:02 PM | Updated 02/02/2017 10:37 AM
How does a real estate brokerage remove or change a qualifying broker?
If the qualifying broker is not leaving by resignation or expired license, a copy of the minutes removing the broker from the brokerage needs to be submitted and to add the new qualifying broker please submit DBPR Broker Transaction Form (RE-13) and also if the new qualifying broker is applying for multiple license.
Please note: There must be at least one active broker listed as an officer, director, member, manager, or partner with the Division of Corporations in order for the real estate brokerage to continue operation.
Teams have become a very successful business model for many Ohio REALTORS. While this can be an effective way for agents to maximize their time and efforts, they need to make sure that they aren’t running afoul of the License Law. One of the main areas teams need to be careful about is advertising. There were so many questions about team advertising that the Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing actually adopted a rule a few years ago to clarify what is expected of teams to comply with the license law. But every day I see teams who are not in compliance with these requirements.
To keep you on the right side of the license law, here are the key provisions you need to watch:
You must include your brokerage name in all forms of advertising. That includes print, websites, yard signs, billboards, etc.
In addition to the team name, you have to include the name of at least one individual affiliated with the team in all ads. The only exception is if the team name itself includes the full licensed name of one of the agents (i.e., the Jane Jones Team)
The team name can’t be more prominent than the brokerage name — and neither can the names of the team members. Again that applies to all ads including yard signs, newspaper ads, your website, etc.
If you include the name of an unlicensed team member in an ad (i.e., an unlicensed assistant) that person must be identified as unlicensed in the ad.
More info to follow. This info is from the Ohio Association of Realtors.
Note - The Rules and laws are changing fast and all of my agents will be following all of them. Thank You.
02-12-2017 7:27:54 AM CST
61J2-10.025 Advertising. (1) All advertising must be in a manner in which reasonable persons would know they are dealing with a real estate licensee. All real estate advertisements must include the licensed name of the brokerage firm. No real estate advertisement placed or caused to be placed by a licensee shall be fraudulent, false, deceptive or misleading. (2) When the licensee’s personal name appears in the advertisement, at the very least the licensee’s last name must be used in the manner in which it is registered with the Commission. (3)(a) When advertising on a site on the Internet, the brokerage firm name as required in subsection (1) above shall be placed adjacent to or immediately above or below the point of contact information. “Point of contact information” refers to any means by which to contact the brokerage firm or individual licensee including mailing address(es), physical street address(es), e-mail address(es), telephone number(s) or facsimile telephone number(s). (b) The remaining requirements of subsections (1) and (2) apply to advertising on a site on the Internet. Specific Authority 120.53, 475.05, 475.25(1)(c) FS. Law Implemented 475.01, 475.25, 475.42, 475.421, 475.4511 FS. History–New 1-1.
More important info referencing Real Estate Teams.
02-02-2017 9:18:32 AM CST
CFPB charges brokers, lender with RESPA violation
WASHINGTON – Feb. 1, 2017 – The nation’s consumer watchdog – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – takes RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) violations seriously and continues to monitor agreements between real estate brokers, lenders and others for violations.
The message for real estate brokers: CFPB may be watching.
In an action announced yesterday, CFPB says it took action against Prospect Mortgage, a major U.S. mortgage lender, for paying illegal kickbacks for mortgage business referrals. It also charged the businesses that allegedly accepted the kickbacks – two real estate brokers and a mortgage servicer.
Under terms of the action, Prospect will pay a $3.5 million civil penalty, and the real estate brokers and servicer will pay a combined $495,000 in consumer relief, repayment of ill-gotten gains and penalties.
“Today’s action sends a clear message that it is illegal to make or accept payments for mortgage referrals,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We will hold both sides of these improper arrangements accountable for breaking the law, which skews the real estate market to the disadvantage of consumers and honest businesses.”
Prospect Mortgage, headquartered in Sherman Oaks, Calif., is one of the largest independent retail mortgage lenders in the United States, with nearly 100 branches nationwide.
RGC Services Inc., (doing business as ReMax Gold Coast), is based in Ventura, Calif.; Willamette Legacy LLC, (doing business as Keller Williams Mid-Willamette), is based in Corvallis, Ore. CFPB says the brokers are only two of more than 100 real estate brokers that had “improper arrangements” which Prospect.
Planet Home Lending LLC is a mortgage servicer headquartered in Meriden, Conn., that referred consumers to Prospect Mortgage and accepted fees in return.
The CFPB is responsible for enforcing the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, which was enacted in 1974 as a response to abuses in the real estate settlement process. A primary purpose of the law is to eliminate kickbacks or referral fees that tend to increase unnecessarily the costs of certain settlement services. The law covers any service provided in connection with a real estate settlement, such as title insurance, appraisals, inspections and loan origination.
The RESPA violation
According to CFPB, Prospect Mortgage offers a range of mortgages to consumers, including conventional, FHA and VA loans. From at least 2011 through 2016, Prospect used a variety of schemes to pay kickbacks for referrals of mortgage business in violation of RESPA:
·Paid for referrals through agreements: Prospect maintained various agreements that served primarily as vehicles to deliver payments for mortgage business referrals. It tracked the number of referrals made by each broker and adjusted the amounts paid accordingly. Prospect also had other more informal co-marketing arrangements that operated as vehicles to make payments for referrals.
·Paid brokers to require consumers – even those who prequalified elsewhere – to prequalify with Prospect: Prospect had some brokers “writing in” Prospect to their real estate listings. “Writing in” meant that brokers and their agents required anyone seeking to purchase a listed property to be prequalified with Prospect – even consumers who had prequalified for a mortgage with another lender.
·Split fees with a mortgage servicer: Prospect and Planet Home Lending had an agreement under which Planet worked to identify and persuade eligible consumers to refinance with Prospect for their Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) mortgages. Prospect compensated Planet by splitting the proceeds of the sale of these loans evenly with Planet. Prospect also sent the resulting mortgage servicing rights back to Planet.
Under the consent order, Prospect will pay $3.5 million to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund for its illegal kickback schemes. The company is prohibited from future violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, will not pay for referrals, and will not enter into any agreements with settlement service providers to endorse the use of their services.
The two real estate brokers are prohibited from violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, will not pay or accept payment for referrals, and will not enter into any agreements with settlement service providers to endorse the use of their services. ReMax Gold Coast will pay $50,000 in civil money penalties, and Keller Williams Mid-Willamette will pay $145,000 in disgorgement and $35,000 in penalties.
The Florida Real Estate Commission announces a workshop to which all persons are invited.
DATE AND TIME: Monday, June 13, 2016, 2:00 p.m. or as soonest thereafter as possible
PLACE: 400 W. Robinson Street, Hurston Building, North Tower, Suite N901, Orlando, Florida 32801
GENERAL SUBJECT MATTER TO BE CONSIDERED: The purpose of the workshop is to discuss rule 61J2-10.025 as it relates to team advertising.
A copy of the agenda may be obtained by contacting: Lori Crawford at email@example.com or Mike Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this workshop/meeting is asked to advise the agency at least 5 days before the workshop/meeting by contacting: Division of Real Estate, (407)481-5662. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 1(800)955-8771 (TDD) or 1(800)955-8770 (Voice).
01-23-2017 7:38:42 AM CST
01-14-2017 9:48:44 PM CST
Always Be Careful with everything you do. It is good for agents to study the case law and changing rules which affect our industry.
Getting into the real estate business is tough. Not everyone can make it in this game, even when the market is good. But the first year is often the most difficult and if you can make it through that, you’re probably on your way to a successful career as a real estate agent.
There are a number of mistakes that often make or break aspiring agents. Some are easier to avoid than others, but all can lead to your potential downfall. So it’s far better to be aware of them sooner than later, when it could be too late.
Getting discouraged The key to success in sales is confidence. Once you’ve lost that, you’re done. Trying to convert leads as a newbie can be discouraging. It takes tremendous mental stamina to keep going after the 20th consecutive rejection. But every successful real estate agent goes through periods like this, particularly at the beginning of their careers.
Think of the slew of rejections as a test. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to work for it. You should try to learn from each failed lead –– and try to figure out things that worked and didn’t work. But, what you cannot do is lose faith in your ultimate ability to make a sale.
Putting on an act Honesty and authenticity is what wins the big bucks. People want to work with somebody who is likable, approachable and above all, trustworthy. Despite what the movies may suggest, “slick” sales people are more likely to turn off customers. The wonderful thing is there is not one type of personality that works in real estate. If you enjoy telling jokes, go for it! If not, then don’t bother trying. Customers will always differ on the personality types they favor so don’t be afraid to be you.
Not asking questions At your brokerage and elsewhere, you’ll be surrounded by people with more experience in real estate than you. Ask them for advice! Many veteran agents love sharing what they’ve learned with up-and-comers in the industry. In addition, these days there are a number of great online resources where agents trade tips. Take advantage of it!
Putting off training In addition to the wisdom you gain through your colleagues, you should constantly be updating your training by earning new designations and certifications. Getting a designation as a Seller Representative Specialist, a General Accredited Appraiser or Counselor of Real Estate boosts your stature in the competitive world of real estate. But more importantly, it furthers your understanding of the industry that will guide you to success.
Spending the first check you earn When you get started, you’re probably going to need some type of financial backing to pay the bills while business is slow. That may be savings from a previous job, personal loans or a commission advance. Regardless of what your financial situation is at the beginning, your first priority when you do start getting commissions is to establish some savings that will help you get through future tough times. You should talk to a financial adviser as soon as possible about setting up a nest egg that can support you throughout your career.