Working With Real Estate Agents Brochure

QUESTION: A broker in my firm works with our local school board in locating and purchasing properties needed for school operations. The agency relationship started several years ago and has already been renewed several times. When appropriate properties are identified, the broker contacts the property owners, some of whom are represented by other brokers, and some of whom are unrepresented. My first question is whether the broker needs to provide a “Working with Real Estate Agents” publication to the school board each time the agency agreement is renewed. My second question is whether the broker needs to present the Working with Real Estate Agents brochure to the unrepresented sellers at first substantial contact?

ANSWER: The obligation to provide prospective buyers and sellers with the Working with Real Estate Agents publication is set forth in Rule A.0104(c) of the Real Estate Commission’s Rules. That section is silent on whether, in a renewal context, an agent must provide an existing client with another copy of the brochure. Legal staff at the Real Estate Commission has taken a common sense approach to this issue: in their view, if a listing agreement is being renewed with either no break or a limited break in the agency relationship, a new brochure does NOT need to be provided. However, if the break is long term, or if the individuals that the broker deals with at the school board change, a new brochure should be provided.

As for the second question, Rule A.0104(c) is clear: at first substantial contact directly with a prospective seller, the broker must provide a copy of the Working with Real Estate Agents publication. If that first contact is by telephone or email, the broker should mail the brochure to the prospective buyer “at the earliest opportunity thereafter, but in no event later than three days from the date of first substantial contact.”

Brokers who are REALTORS should also review Standards of Practice 16-10 and 16-11 in the REALTOR Code of Ethics when considering their agency disclosure requirements. The requirements of those sections are consistent with the obligations imposed by Real Estate Commission Rule A.0104(c).

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