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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!

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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!

Written By

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.



  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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