Florida Real Estate License law has one very clear intention, and that is to protect the general public when they buy, sell, or invest in real estate. The brokerage relationship agreement is a major element of that protection. Many real estate professionals come to Florida from elsewhere. It is natural to assume that, for example, if they have “sub-agency” or “dual agency” in one state, they will have it in Florida. This is not the case, and it is essential for new Florida licensees to educate themselves fully and precisely on what Florida Real Estate Statutes demand.
An obvious way to do this is to enroll in a pre-license class that will emphasize all the critical elements needed to both succeed as a licensed real estate licensee, and also to know exactly how to stay on the right side of the law. In Florida, a licensee must successfully complete an accredited pre-license course, pass the course exam, then pass the state license exam before they can practice real estate. At this point they become a sales associate, and must practice as a sales associate for at least 24 months before they can take their broker license exam.
The Brokerage Relationship Disclosure Act covers two prime areas:
- The type of brokerage relationship licensees may have with their clients.
- What to disclose to clients if they are handling residential real estate transactions.
Licensees may work with their buyer or seller as a Single Agent or a Transaction Broker. They may have a “no brokerage relationship” but it is illegal in Florida to act as a dual agent or sub-agent. In a commercial real estate transaction, the broker may designate the licensee as a Designated Sales Associate.
Sales associates hang their license with a broker’s office, and the managing broker decides how they normally want their agents to perform – as Single Agents or as Transaction Brokers. Licensees may switch, with permission, from one relationship to another.
Licensees must disclose and agree their relationship with a new client as soon as it is practicable. The client signs a disclosure document agreeing to the type of representation if it is not that of a Transaction Broker. The law assumes that a licensee will automatically behave as a Transaction Broker, so if they are going to act as a Single Agent, the client must know what that entails, and must sign that they agree.
All licensees must treat everyone honestly and fairly regardless of the relationship. Single Agents have a fiduciary responsibility to their client. They represent that client who is considered their Principal. The agent must put their principal’s interests above anyone else’s, including their own (but must still behave honestly and fairly to others.) The law lists 9 specific areas of responsibility the Single Agent must adhere to. The principal becomes responsible for their agent’s actions.
A Transaction Broker offers a limited form of representation to either or both the buyer and seller. A Transaction Broker has 8 specific duties to adhere to.
Florida Real Estate Law sets standards for every licensee to meet. Learning what they are and how to act are essential learning points for new licensees. Learning in “the school of hard knocks” is not how to become a successful real estate licensee but learning precisely what to do and how to do it from an approved school following an accredited pre- or post-license course is. If you would like to learn more about how IFREC prepares students for a successful real estate career, please click here to contact us and to learn more.