Does my agent or lender’s company matter? Part I
Movement Mortgage; Century 21; Keller Williams; Wells Fargo; PRMG; Domain Realty – when looking for help in buying or selling property, you come across a vast array of company names.
You may immediately recognize the company your agent or lender works for, or you could go through the whole transaction having hardly even noticed. But your agent or lender’s company can have a big impact on how things go if your transaction somehow goes off the trails.
Under Florida’s agency laws, the real estate professional with whom you have contact holds one of three licenses:
- Sales Associate – This is the initial license, acquired after attending a 63-hour course, passing an end-of-course exam, and then passing a licensing test. The Sales Associate may not participate in real estate business until they have affiliated with a broker.
- Broker Associate – This is someone with a broker’s license, but who is holding their license with another broker. This person is a bit like a Sale Associate with a Broker’s license.
- Broker (Qualifying) – A Broker, or Qualifying Broker may run their real estate business as a sole proprietorship, or they can create an LLC, or some type of corporation.
A Realtor is different. Many licensees incorrectly advertise themselves as a “licensed Realtor.” There is no such license. A Realtor is a Sales Associate, Broker Associate, or Broker who has joined a club: the National Association of Realtors. This binds them to a Code of Ethics, and allows them to cooperate with each other using the Multiple Listing Service.
Under Florida law, the Sales Associate is a representative (agent) to their own Broker, and to the transaction, not to you, unless you sign a document stating otherwise. Under these laws, they still owe you basic duties, such as accounting for funds, disclosure of known facts, and writing offers.
While real estate agents are usually independent contractors with their brokers, mortgage lenders are required by federal law to be employees to their mortgage companies. And their duties generally derive from federal law. They are required to provide you certain forms and disclosures, but the mortgage lender owes no representation duties to either the buyer or to the transaction.
So… Who’s Representing Me??
Two words: The state
While state law does not require representation from either your agent or your lender, it does require a proper license and registry upheld with either the Department of Professional Regulation (for real estate professionals), or the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (for mortgage professionals).
Here’s a list of every division regulating every profession requiring a license with the DBPR:
Here’s the link to file a complaint against a real estate licensee:
Your lender is required to either be an employee of a bank, or be registered with NMLS:
Here’s the link to file a complaint against a lender: