May an Unlicensed Assistant Complete an Offer to Purchase?

QUESTION: Is it permissible for an unlicensed assistant to complete an offer to purchase?

ANSWER: The short answer is that an unlicensed employee may type an offer, a contract or a lease, but only from drafts of pre-printed forms completed by a licensee.

Because the use of unlicensed assistants and other unlicensed office personnel is so widespread, licensees frequently ask about the specific acts that such persons may perform. To provide guidance, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission has prepared a list of permissible activities. That list can be found by going to the Real Estate Commission’s web site (, clicking on the link for “License Law/Rules”, and then clicking on the link for “License Law and Rules Comments”.

Among the activities that are clearly permissible: an unlicensed, salaried employee may secure copies of public records from public repositories (i.e. register of deeds office, county tax office, etc.), provide basic factual information to prospects regarding listed properties (such as location, price, number of rooms), schedule appointments for showing properties listed for sale or rent, and assist a licensee in assembling documents for closing.

Although the Commission’s “Comments” do not include a list of prohibited activities, the following are activities that, in the Commission’s view, unlicensed employees may not perform: showing properties for sale to prospective purchasers, soliciting listings or management contracts from prospective clients, and discussing or explaining listings, management agreements, offers or contracts with persons outside the firm.

The bottom line is that licensees should carefully supervise their unlicensed employees. You should keep in mind that the Real Estate Commission may take disciplinary action against licensees when their unlicensed employees perform any acts or services for which licensure is required.

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