Frequently Asked Questions


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Q. When my license expires, how long of a grace period do I have before I must stop licensed activity, if I have not renewed it?

A. There is NO GRACE PERIOD for licensed activity. Any licensed activity conducted after the expiration date is subject to prosecution. There IS a 30-day grace period during which the renewal fee does not increase, but licensed activity is not allowed during this period if the license has not been renewed. Click here to check your license expiration date.

Q. When must I do an Agency Disclosure with my client?

A. Never (except in cases of dual agency). Agency Disclosures must be done only with NON-CLIENTS (customers) who are NOT REPRESENTED by another agent. This means that you don't have to do one with the seller when you list a house or with your buyer if you're a buyer broker, since they are your clients. However, if you sell your own listing you must have the buyer sign an agency disclosure indicating that you represent the seller, since the buyer is a customer who is not represented by an agent. You will usually have to do one in a f.s.b.o. situation as well. Additionally, dual agency situations ALWAYS require written disclosure. When agency disclosure is required, it must be done on the REIN agency disclosure form. The agency acknowledgment in the contract itself does not meet the requirement. Finally, you must do the agency disclosure when you first have substantive discussions about a property with the customer. Don't wait until you have a contract!

Q. When do I need to hand in a copy of a contract to the office?

A. As soon as the contract is RATIFIED (within 24 hours).

Q. When is a contract considered "ratified"?

A. As soon as all signatures and initials have been obtained on the contract, and each party has been informed of this fact. In other words, it's the point when the offer stops going "back and forth" for the first time, the point where a complete agreement is first reached in writing.

Q.Should I wait until contingencies are removed to consider the contract ratified?

A. No. A contract is ratified even with unremoved contingencies, as long as everyone has signed the contract and agrees what the contingencies are.

Q. Can a buyer or seller accept a contract orally, e.g. by phone?

A. Never, under any circumstances. A real estate contract is not legally enforceable unless it is in writing. If an agent writes "Accepted by phone" on a contract, he is misleading his client (who may not know better) into thinking he has an enforceable contract when none exists. This could have disastrous results. Never write this on a contract, and if another agent you are working with does, ignore it and advise your client not to take any action that will cost them money (e.g. paying for an appraisal) until the contract is accepted in writing. Also remember that no one, not even an agent, can sign for a buyer or seller unless he has a power of attorney.

Q. Do the agents need to initial that the contract has been ratified for it to be ratified?

A. No, the contract is ratified when the buyer and seller have finished signing, but the agents should indicate when that happened at the bottom of the first page of the standard REIN contract.

Q. When does a Lead Paint Disclosure need to be done?

A. On all contracts for the sale of residential property built BEFORE 1978. There are NO EXCEPTIONS. Even bank-owned and government-owned properties are subject to the law. The seller needs to execute his portion of the disclosure when the listing is signed, and a copy should be made available to prospective buyers.

Q. Who must initiate the Lead Paint Disclosure form?

A. The seller. The buyer may not sign the disclosure until the seller has properly executed it. If you are writing an offer on behalf of a buyer and you do not have a copy of the disclosure that has already been executed by the seller, you must NOT have your buyer sign a blank form to send in with the offer. If you receive an offer from a buyer's agent with a blank lead disclosure signed by the buyer, throw it away and send a properly executed lead disclosure back with the acceptance or counteroffer so the buyer can sign it.

Q. If I represent a seller, what are my responsibilities to a buyer who is interested in my listing?

A. You must treat all prospective buyers fairly and must not knowingly give them false information. Additionally, you must unilaterally disclose to all buyers any adverse information you have about the physical condition of the property. You must do this even if the seller doesn't want you to, even if the buyer doesn't ask, and even if the buyer has his own agent.

Q. When are REIN dues due?

A. They are due on the first day of each quarter, for that quarter. If they are not paid within 10 or 15 days, REIN will terminate your MLS computer access and there is a reconnection fee when you do pay. If your fee is not paid by the end of the first month of the quarter, REIN requires us to deactivate your license.

Q. If I want to list my own property through the company, are there any special procedures to follow?

A. Since you are a seller who is acting also as an agent, you need to remember that you must disclose to any buyer any adverse facts about the physical condition of the property. You need to do this on a separate addendum in bold print. You also need to disclose that the seller and the agent are the same in the sales contract. Finally, our company policy limits agents to three agent owned sales per year.