Spouses as Agents - Posted by Carmen
Posted by Carmen on June 21, 1999 at 16:11:58:
I am a spouse of a person who owns a Real Estate Investment Company (C-Corp) in Florida, in which I have no interest.
I am a realtor. To become a realtor, you must go through 63 hours of courses ($300+), pass a test ($80+), and continue to have your license active with a broker for at least one year before you can become a broker. You must also pay for the MLS access and be a member of the Board of Realtors ($600/year). The normal split between broker/licensee is 50/50. That means you’d really only get 1.5%, unless you get a really nice broker who ups your split. After becoming a broker, then your split would be 3% all to yourself, if another realtor sells the house. If you sell the house you list (a plus - MLS exposure), then you get the entire 6%. That’s another 70+ hours of school, and another test. ($400+).
My husband’s company, of which he is an “employee,” puts in offers on properties. I act as the “selling agent” on occasion. We never put offers in in my husband’s name (in which case, I would have to sign mortgages in Florida as the spouse).
I, of course, must disclose that I am a realtor when I present offers to other realtors. However, when presenting offers to non-listed (FSBO) properties, according to the Board of Realtor’s attorneys, legally I do not need to disclose this. However, under the Code of Ethics, that is a fuzzy area. I was told by the Ethics Committe, that they “highly recommend” that this information be disclosed, and they require you to disclose your “true position” to the owner or agent if you are performing a service “in the interest of yourself or your immediate family” (but the “disclosure” does not have to be in writing). Recently, a realtor got fined specifically for not disclosing this information (a total of about $4K). I’m sure he’s not the first. So, for this reason, I may have to rethink this and present a statement saying that although a realtor I am not acting in that capacity for this specific transaction, for CYA in the unlikely event that someone finds out that I am a realtor and then decides that he wants to file a complaint against me for not disclosing this as he believes that gave me an unfair advantage in purchasing his house for dirt cheap.
I happen to love the MLS, and am glad I have it at home at all hours of day and night. However, it may not be necessary to go through all this rigamarole - check with your county’s Board of Realtors and find out if they will let you join as an “associate” member - and get the MLS at home without becoming a realtor. You can do this in Broward County, Florida (for about $800/year). I’m not sure about anywhere else.