Brokers and Agents: Getting Along (or Not!) When Working in a Real Estate Office!

Sep 10, 2019

Q. Can an agent sell his own house without going through his broker or office?

A. There is no law against it, however, your broker may object. How can you convince sellers to list with your office when you do not?

Q. My broker will not let the agents in our office act as dual agents. If I am a good enough agent to get a listing from a seller and also to get a buyer to agree to be represented by me, isn't it unfair to penalize me by not allowing me to benefit from my hard work? 

A. If a broker has an office policy that you believe to be unfair, you can try to get the broker to see your point of view. If the policy, however, remains one that does not allow dual agency, you must carry out your broker's lawful instructions. If you do not wish to follow the office rules, you are always free to find another broker.

Q. If I am buying a property and I am an agent, can I ask the listing agent to lower the price of the house by the amount of my commission?

A. Yes, but you must get some written agreement from your broker telling the other office you may do so and that your own broker is not seeking a commission, or that your office wants its portion of the commission. To fail to get your broker to agree to waiving or taking only a portion of the commission offered could put the listing broker in a position where he finds himself or herself being sued by your broker for a commission.

Q. My son is buying a house and I told the listing agent I am an agent for my son, but I want to act as a broker's agent since no compensation has been offered to a buyer's agent. The listing broker says I have to be a buyer's agent!

A. It would be difficult for a parent to convince anyone that his or her child would be a mere customer! You can ask the listing office to pay you what it has offered to a broker's agent even though you are a buyer's agent. Otherwise, you can try to find your son another house. 

Q. I work in an office that does residential transactions only. If someone wants to give me a commercial listing, can I take it?

A. You must check with your broker and you must also have enough knowledge of commercial brokerage to be competent when representing the property and its owner. 

Q. If my broker does not allow anyone in the office to do rentals, what do I do when someone wants to list a rental or find a rental with me?

A. If the office policy is to transact sales and purchases only, you can refer the listing and/or tenant to another broker or you can leave your broker and join a company that allows rentals.

Q. I think my broker is engaged in illegal activity. What should I do?

A. If you determine that to be the case, find another broker!

Q. I was told that one of my agents was renting apartments and houses, having the tenants pay him in cash, and keeping the money. My office has no records of these transactions. What do I do? 

A. First, check to see if the story is true. If so, give the agent a chance to make restitution, then you should let him go. Contact your E&O carrier immediately so that they have been notified in case someone brings an action against you. Have as much information as you can get so that, should the DOS or a customer or client go against your office, you can defend yourself!