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Washington is about to get a whole bunch of new real estate brokers



Starting July 1st, the Evergreen State is about to join our neighbors to the South in Oregon and become a Broker only State. With that comes a few changes that should (hopefully) mean a higher level of Real Estate Service for our Clients and Customers here in the Pacific Northwest. Licensing Law in the Washington has always been very firm up here but in less than 6 weeks, there may be a run on those agents and existing Brokers who’ve otherwise not been exactly above board!

What are some of the New Changes?

In a sort of Round Robin fashion, every licensee will be fingerprinted and have a background check done once every 6 years. This will certainly set a better standard for individuals who elect to enter the profession as well as those who currently hold a real estate license.

Also, since every licensee will become a Broker, classifications will change to reflect varying levels. Existing licensees will become Associate Brokers. Existing Associate Brokers will become Managing Brokers and Existing Managing Brokers and Designated Brokers will remain the same but with heightened levels of responsibilities. So far, so good!?

Now, for some of the fun stuff!

In an attempted to increase public clarity, Real Estate Teams will have to register their team name with the Department of Licensing and have a Managing Broker head up the team. Essentially, each team will need to have their own Broker…and that Broker then reports to the Designated Broker. Clearly, Brokerages that support the Team Building Concept will want to be extra mindful to stay in compliance on this.

Another change that particularly affects the Big Teams is the Brokerages Name must be “Clear and Conspicuous” in any advertising statement. Simply put, the public must be able to see who you work for!

Lastly and perhaps the most fun (tongue in cheek) change coming down from the DOL is their desire to have ALL PAPERWORK “Expeditiously” handed to the Broker. This is vague and ambiguous at best but what the DOL is saying is they want to see all paperwork…whether you have mutual acceptance or not…given to your Broker within 2 business days or shorter if the terms of the client/customer contract necessitates! For your Short Sale Agents…that one should be fun.

All in all…this is Good!

Raising the bar, if you will, has always been my desire as a Broker and Real Estate Instructor. I’m all for the changes and the heightened degree of supervision now being placed on our industry. I hope your State or Association has the same level of scrutiny for their licensees…Accountability ultimately makes us all better!

Patrick Flynn is a 13 year Veteran of this Real Estate fray and a blogger on mySeattleblogs and is active in various social networks. Like many writers at Agent Genius, Patrick wears a few hats other than a Broker's lid- he is also a Certified Real Estate Instructor for the State of Washington and has enjoyed delivering 1,000+ hours of clock hour and non-clock hour approved courses in his career. Patrick has also been a Designated Broker since 2003 and revels in being able to coach and mentor fellow real estate professionals.

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  1. Jonathan Benya

    May 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Wow, if changes like that happened out here, there would be complete pandemonium! I hope it works out though, it sounds like the structure is very much in the interest of #RTB

  2. Ken Brand

    May 18, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Here’s my plan for Texas…

    Your salesman license is good for two years. At the end of the two years you must have met all the educational requirements to become a broker and you must pass the Broker’s Exam within 6 months of your two year anniversary.

    If you don’t meet the educational criteria or can’t pass the test, you’re salesman’s license expires and can’t be renewed for 1 year.

    All brokers are solely responsible for their actions. Like now, Brokers can form their own brokerages and affiliate with other brokers and sponsor and be responsible for the actions of salesman.

    This would encourage career/profession minded entrepreneurs and provide a 2 year window for the curious to decide if the business is for them. if not, no worries, se ya, bye.

    My 2 cents.

  3. Fred Romano

    May 18, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Of course I am Broker, but I think this is utter nonsense! There is nothing wrong with the hierarchy of our business, agents, teams, and brokers. Different levels of experience and different titles. If anything, it helps the public make choices…

    Do I work with Joe Schmoe agent from XYZ Realty or do I work with Jane Doe broker of ABC Realty? Broker has always been a higher level of training, experience, and responsibility. It should stays that way. Not all agents WANT to be brokers. They should not be forced to go down that road.

    If your issue is with education, well yes we all need more continuing ED, but IMO the current system is a joke. If there were some REAL real estate education that would be great. But as I see it, the current system doesn’t do it.

  4. Ken Brand

    May 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I’m speechless.

  5. Fred Romano

    May 19, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Why is that Ken? Do you really think by forcing everyone to get a Brokers license it will somehow “raise” the bar? Give me a break! The brokers test was almost as simple as the agent test – not much bar raising there…

    And really – do you think fingerprinting every 6 years will make any difference? It’s just more revenue for the state… the same with the “brokers” license… they will charge more… It’s all about revenue for the state agency!

    • Ken Brand

      May 19, 2010 at 8:42 am

      I think the term “Raise The Bar” is sort of ambiguous, which make it easy to bash. I would start by asking you, what is your definition of raising the bar?

      My idea here has nothing to do with “Raise The Bar”, or non-sequiturs like “finger-printing”.

      I was thinking that in Texas it takes 2 years experience and 900+ hours to qualify to become a Broker. It takes extra effort in terms of time, money and commitment to take classes. I understand the quality of education may not be supreme, but I do believe that if someone takes 900 hours of classes, they will learn something….if they want to. Do you think learning is important, I do.

      I was also thinking that if every agent was personally responsible for their actions, well, personal accountability changes behavior. Do you think better behavior is important, I do and least most of the time;-)

      So, if someone wasn’t motivated to invest in learning or personal accountability, they would choose another business.

      My idea has nothing to do with Raising A Bar, or barriers to entry, it has to do with, learning, accountability and commitment. Dabblers be gone.

      What would the impact of something like this be? Do you think consumers would cry and complain, or would the criers and complainers be unmotivated, uneducated, uncommitted agents?

  6. Patrick

    May 19, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Great discussion Guys-I suppose ‘raising the bar’ is a tad cliche! I’m just pleased we have progress moving forward to make agents and (now) Brokers more accountable and held to a heightened degree of supervision. The Classification change is not sitting well with some though and Fred makes a good point…Having all Brokers does sorta dilute the meaning and bunches us all together in one tidy package. I’m still more than a little concerned that all my efforts and time spent becoming a Broker will be lost if the Public views us all as one!
    Thank you all for your comments.

  7. Michael Bertoldi

    May 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I agree, to some extent, with Fred here. I’m a brand new agent, as many of you know, and I’m too busy learning the industry to worry about becoming a broker right now. Someday sure, in two years? I don’t know about that. I’ve seen it said that you need about 6 years to really know everything (if that’s even possible).

    Now, sure, I’d like to become a broker someday. But I’d rather do it on my time. And when I do become a broker, I won’t look down on someone who is an agent. Wouldn’t you say some agents are very good agents indeed?

    With being a broker comes more responsibility. Brokers are responsible for their team of agents. So when every agent is a broker, is everyone responsible for themselves? Then will people want to each have their own business and we see lots of individuals instaed teams or mulit-agent businesses like we so now? I guess I don’t get it.

  8. Susie Blackmon

    May 21, 2010 at 6:56 am

    I don’t think consumers really think too much about realtors, at least until they need one. Kind of like a dentist… except at least a dentist is required to get [really] educated in their field first.

  9. Sasha Farmer

    May 24, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I think this is excellent! I have never understood why some sort of higher education for our field wasn’t recommended or required after our first license renewal. I’d love to see something like the GRI or the CRS coursework become more standard and a required track for people to stay in the business. Becoming a broker would be great as well.

    I do not understand why it would be anything but positive to have a more educated group of agents out there who were more invested in their careers and the long-term commitment. How could that not be a positive move for our industry?

  10. Tom Lasswell

    May 26, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    As a Loan Officer and Certified Lending Advisor, the intent of what is happening is a great first step to better the services provided to buyers and sellers. Having worked with buyers for over 27 years I have seen first hand what lack of education and knowledge can do to peoples lives in a real estate transaction What is best for clients has at times been compromised by both Real Estate as well as Lending Advisors. Pat is right on the money! It is time to kick it up a notch and raise the bar. Let’s bring honor, integrity, and professionalism back into our professions.

  11. Patrick

    May 27, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Great feedback Michael, Susie, Sasha and Tom. I appreciate all your input on this subject. I particularly like what Sasha thinks in regards to raising the bar even higher…I’m all for it!

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Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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