Prospective Clients and the Working with Real Estate Agents Form

QUESTION: An out-of-state buyer prospect sent me an email asking me to help him move. In the email, the buyer informed me that he is coming to North Carolina for a new job, he wants to buy a fully furnished home, and money isn’t really an issue. He also stated that he wants to spend about $1.5 million on the purchase.

I responded to the buyer with an email explaining that I would love to be his buyer’s agent and showing him a few listings. The “Working with Real Estate Agents” (“WWREA”) form was attached to my response, and I embedded a receipt so I could see when the email was received and read by the buyer. I also offered to review the WWREA form with the buyer at his convenience. Is this delivery of the WWREA form sufficient under the license law?

ANSWER: The short answer is “yes.” Rule A.0104(c) provides: “In every real estate sales transaction, a broker shall, at first substantial contact with a prospective buyer or seller, provide the prospective buyer or seller with a copy of the publication ‘Working with Real Estate Agents,’ set forth the broker’s name and license number thereon, review the publication with the buyer or seller, and determine whether the agent will act as the agent of the buyer or seller in the transaction.” The term “first substantial contact” includes any contact “between a broker and a consumer where the consumer or broker begins to act as though an agency relationship exists and the consumer begins to disclose to the broker personal or confidential information.”

In your facts, you have satisfied the rule by providing a copy of the WWREA form and documenting its delivery at first substantial contact. Even though you have not yet reviewed the form with the buyer, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission has made clear that the Rule A.0104(c) review requirement can be met in this situation – where a prospect has provided unsolicited confidential information – if an agent offers to review the WWREA form. Should you and the buyer later have a conversation, whether by phone or email, be sure to start the conversation by reviewing the WWREA form disclosures before going further.

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