By Doug Dean
It’s that time of year – back to school! At this time of year, I picture kids with backpacks, school buses, summer heat giving way to cooler fall temperatures, football games, and all the changes as we move from summer break to autumn and school.
For professionals, education is a year-round activity, both to stay current in our field and to meet our licensing requirements for CE (continuing education). At Shafritz & Dean, LLC, we’re proud of our resources to assist you with your education, both through our own GREC-approved real estate school and as an instructor in other real estate schools. It’s one of the ways we are here to help and support you, and we typically teach 3-5 CE classes each month for real estate agents.
A popular topic for our CE classes is License Law, as it is both important topic, and a mandatory component of real estate agent CEs. I’ve compiled a list of 5 License Law pointers as a refresher.
1- Presenting Offers: A licensee shall promptly tender to any customer or client any signed offer to purchase, sell, lease, or exchange property made to such client or customer (GREC 520-1-.10(1)). Although, the language is clear and unambiguous, I hear stories that an agent “won’t even pass that offer along to my seller; I know it’s too low and they won’t take it”. Remind your fellow agent of their duty under this rule to tender any offer to their customer or client.
2- License Numbers: The license number of each licensee participating in a transaction and their firm shall appear on all brokerage agreements and purchase offers (GREC 520-1-.10(2)). Interestingly, while this is not a new requirement, the GAR forms were revised only recently (within the past 2 years) to add places in the GAR Purchase/Sale Agreement for the license numbers. Having the space to enter this information serves as a “reminder”, and I now see the license number on these documents much more consistently than in the past.
3- Copies of Documents: A licensee shall provide a copy of any document utilized in a real estate transaction to any individual signing such document. If any offer is accepted and signed by all parties, copies of that document shall be properly distributed, one to each person signing the document and one to each brokerage firm involved in the transaction (GREC 520-1-.10(3)). This rule is straightforward, and the increasing use of electronic signatures and document distribution have made compliance with this rule more streamlined. If you’re still paper-based, don’t overlook the requirement to distribute copies of documents properly.
4- Retention of Copies of Records and Documents: Copies of sales contracts, brokerage engagements, closing statements, leases, and other documents related to a real estate transaction required by law to be maintained in a broker’s file for three years shall be made available to authorized agents of the Commission upon reasonable request and at a reasonable cost to the Commission (GREC 520-1-.10(4)). Remember your duty to keep the records for 3 years, and make them available to GREC upon request. You may keep copies of the documents in any records storage system (that utilizes paper, film, electronic, or other media) provided you can produce true and correct copies of such documents and records and make them available to GREC upon request. IMPORTANT: If you retain electronic or scanned copies of documents, be very careful to maintain good back-up copies, so that any failure or loss of a computer or storage device doesn’t cause you to lose all of your document copies!
5- Managing Trust Accounts and Trust Funds: A licensee shall place all cash, checks, or other items of value received by the licensee in a brokerage capacity into the custody of the broker holding the licensee’s license as soon after receipt as is practicably possible (GREC 520-1-.08(1b)). The standard of care for this rule is very high – “as soon after receipt as is practicably possible”. Make sure to place earnest money (and other cash, checks, or items of value) into the care, custody and control of your broker as quickly as possible.
Please check our calendar, and join us for the full 3-hour License Law CE class, coming soon to a location near you! Additionally, if you have any questions regarding license law or real estate law in general, please reach out to me. We are here to help!