Can NC REALTORS® forms be used in other states?

QUESTION: I am a REALTOR® who lives in North Carolina near the Tennessee border. I am licensed in both states, but I am not part of a local association of REALTORS® in Tennessee. From time to time, I use NC REALTORS® forms for property located in Tennessee because I am more familiar with them. I’m not an attorney, but it seems like our forms are good enough. Is this permissible?

ANSWER: There is not a specific law or rule that explicitly forbids this practice, however, we believe that it is nevertheless impermissible for several reasons. First, the forms are developed by several committees in which all members are either REALTORS® or attorneys licensed in North Carolina. Each form, and each revision to a form, is carefully debated and scrutinized by these committees to make sure the forms (1) comply with North Carolina law and (2) help our constituents and their clients achieve a smooth transaction.

Because the forms are created with North Carolina law in mind, there can be no assurance that NC REALTORS® forms comply with the laws of any other state. You might be subject to discipline by the Tennessee Real Estate Commission for endangering the interest of the public. And be aware that just because a transaction may be in Tennessee, you are not immune to possible discipline by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission.

Second, if you were to use our forms for a Tennessee transaction, we believe you would be representing – at least implicitly – that NC REALTORS® forms are sufficiently compliant with Tennessee law for use in that state. We believe this could be viewed as providing a legal opinion to your client, which means you would be practicing law without a license to do so.

Finally, there is no reason to use our forms in Tennessee. Pursuant the Universal Access to Services component of the National Board of REALTORS® Board of Choice Policy, you can use forms created by Tennessee REALTORS®. Simply give them a call and they should be able to assist you.

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