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Q. I was a Realtor last year and still have a valid RE license. My girlfriend wants to buy a home. I am not interesting in paying Realtor fees (i.e. signing up with the board, paying for zipforms, etc) just to help my girlfriend out. What can I do when writing an offer? I don't want to represent myself as a Realtor but at the same time, I would like the commission reduced off the cost of the house (I'm not taking any pay). Is the best thing to do just have her represent herself with my advice off the record, or write up an offer as if I am an agent with no Realtor affiliation? Thanks for your help
p.s. please don't email me or respond saying you want a referral.
If you are NOT a licensed Broker in the state of California, it is against the law for you to earn a commission or even represent a client in a real estate transaction as their agent. You are only a Realtor if you are a member of the National and/or California Association of Realtors. Stating you are a Realtor when you are not a member of those organizations is against the NAR and CAR code of ethics. Not all agents are Realtors. If you only have your salespersons license, you have to hang it with a Broker to receive compensation. Also, if you decide to represent your girlfriend, whether it be an actual representation (in writing) or an inferred representation.....if anything happens during or after the transaction, she, the seller or the sellers agent can still come back and sue you even though you (technically) weren't a part of the transaction.
Non-member response Submitted 05/23/12 01:25 PM
Thanks for the response, but your response did not apply to my question. My question stated that I am a licensed broker and not taking a commission
I don't know the laws in your state as it pertains to you collecting a comission without having a broker. If you are a Broker than you can get paid directly, regardless if you are a member of a Board of Realtors. However, the MLS techincally only co-ops with members. But your license is statewide and therefore that gives you the right to represent anyone in that state. You must make an agreement with the listing agent to pay you if you are not a member of the Board. However, if your state is like FL, you cannot personally get a comission check without it passing through a Broker.
The problem we are all having is the difference between an agents lic. and a brokers lic. If you are a broker and registered with the state you fill out the paperwork and do all the work and you go from there. If you have a real estate agent lic. you cannot represent a client unless you are under a broker.
Since you stated you are a broker you do know you will be taking on the liability for the buyer side if something goes wrong since you represent your girlfriend.
For clarity a Realtor is someone who belongs to the national association of Realtors. If you have a lic. and you do not belong to the association you are an agent or a broker but not a Realtor.
I'm glad that you're not practicing real estate. Seems you've missed a few classes on "commissions" and interfering with a listing contract. You can't negotiate commissions, but good luck with that. I hope your girlfriend doesn't end up being an "ex" anytime soon. She'd have a ton of things to go after you on as far as your liability and representation -- on the record, off the record, you'd be liable.
If your girlfriend uses a buyer's agent, that agent's comission will be paid via the seller, so no cost to her. If you no longer have MLS access, who will research appropriate comps, understanding the local and recent market and neighborhood conditions and competition? What assurance do you have that she'd be making an appropriate offer price? There is a lot of information contained in the confidential notes on the listing side (actual commissions offered, buyer credits, seller incentives) that won't be visible on public records. Those additional pieces of information are critical to assessing true market value.
Non-member response Submitted 05/24/12 02:55 PM
Oh my god..I am shocked that no 1 has read my original question. I WILL NOT BE TAKING A COMMISSION
I reread your original post and at no time did you state in it that you were a Broker. You said you had a valid RE license and that you were a Realtor last year. There are two valid RE licenses in the state of California. A salespersons license and a Brokers license. Neither has any connection with being a Realtor (being a member of the National Association of Realtors). Whether or not you "take" a commission, you are still liable in the courts eyes when you represent a client (inferred or not....receiving compesation or not).
You cannot negotiate a reduced sale price for your girlfriend just because you are not taking a commission. You seem to think that if the listing broker doesn't have to pay you a commission then your girlfriend should get a discount on the sale price, right? Wrong. Just means your girlfriend is unrepresented and listing agent gets both sides. If you are a broker, do the the deal and get paid then help the girlfriend with new furniture. If you are just a licensed agent with no broker, you can't help her, you have to work under a broker, other than refer her to a REALTOR. You did not say you were a broker in your original post.
Remember that the commission agreement is a contract between the seller and the seller's broker. That broker is entitled to the full commission if your girlfriend is not represented. If you are a licensed broker, you can represent her and the commission will be split between the listing broker and you. I know you said you don't want the commission, but either you will get it or the listing broker will get it. If when you get it you give it to your girlfriend, that's your business, but I doubt if you will find a listing broker willing to simply cut his commission in half if you are not the broker of record for the buyer. I wish you and your girlfriend good luck, and I hope it all works out for you.
May issues here already mentioned. The biggest is that even if you just advise from the side lines you are taking on the legal liability, especially if you rare broker. Not worth it without getting paid for it.
And, if you are not a member of the MLS, the other agent is not obligated to offer or pay a compensation any way.
And compensation can only be negotiated prior to submitting an offer but not as part of an offer. The buyer can not negotiate compensation since it is not part of the deal between the buyer and the seller. The compensation is an issue between the seller and the listing agent and the listing agent an the selling agent.
You are trying to help, and that is commendable, but you may end up just getting in the way.
Here is what you cannot do. You cannot write the offer even if you have a valid real estate license. The law is, you must have your license with a Broker to practice real estate. You cannot do it on your own unless you are a Broker.
You cannot call yourself a REALTOR® either unless you are a member of the local real estate board. Until you do, you are just a real estate agent and you still cannot write the offer up unless your license is with a Broker.
So either, take your license to a Broker, and have a fellow agent of the firm who has MLS privileges to run the comps for you and represent your girlfriend or, get a real estate agent or a REALTOR® who is affiliated with a Broker to represent your girlfriend. Hope this was helpful.
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