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Some may no longer use “real estate” or “realty” in their team name

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Recently we discussed Washington becoming a Broker Only State starting on July 1st and for the most part, this is a good thing and I welcome the ‘heightened degree of supervision’ promised by this move.

However, as with most government agencies, the Department of Licensing for our fair state has elected to once again put their proverbial hair in the soup with this little change.

Due to some loophole somewhere, the Department of Licensing has decided that a real estate team may not use an assumed name that has the word real estate, realty, realtor or firm in its name.

Furthermore, the terms LLC, LLP or Corp. may no longer be used either. Putting this into context, you may no longer market or advertise yourself as a real estate team that gives the public reason to think you run your own agency.

Although there is an option to apply for an assumed name license with the state and pay the $200 processing fee, your Brokerage may retains the rights to your name…even if you leave that agency! Does the public really need to be protected this much from us mean and scary real estate agents Brokers? And, do we in the industry really need this much supervision?

Are the Rules, Codes and Laws in your State like this? What makes you crazy about your states licensing laws. Lets hear from you!

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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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Marty Martin

    June 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    That is truly a bizarre move. I could understand more requiring them to add their broker’s name in the fine print of advertising. Adding these seems a bit over the top.

  2. Patrick Flynn

    June 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Hey Marty-Nuts, right? Makes you wonder what’s next!
    Thanks for your comment

  3. Miami Condo Shop

    June 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    This is absolutely fascinating. It’s like martial law has been declared there. Great thing we don’t have such licensing laws in Florida. To me the move is a bit of a stretch, an overkill in fact. Good luck to you guys…

  4. Justin Boland

    June 29, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Is there any movement in state legislature to fix this? It seems like it was an obvious mistake that would need to be dealt with ASAP.

    Why complicate people’s business further in this economy? Baffling.

  5. James Malanowski

    June 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Makes total sense. If you are a broker working under a broker you are still an agent of your broker. If you want to form your own brokerage than go for it. If you don’t, then don’t pretend you don’t work for a brokerage. All or nothing, folks.

    If you want to be free to run your business as you want hang your own shingle … Otherwise, realize you work for someone else’s company and act as such.

    • Jim Gatos

      June 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm

      I totally disagree and think your argument is a bit on the nasty side. Some of the best, most productive teams I know work under a brokerage and enjoy the advantages of such; they also are in a structure that allows them to maximize business. I suspect the real reason you are against teams is you’re probably feeling threatened in some ways by a team. I left a VERY “Team-Unfriendly” office to go to Keller Williams, which advocates teams in the spirit of the MREA (Millionaire Real Estate Agent)… concepts.

      It’s simple; “Agent Centric” companies welcome productive teams.

      • James Malanowski

        July 1, 2010 at 12:41 pm

        On the contrary, I am very team-friendly. I do not believe in those teams acting like they are their own brokerage when they are not.

        I guess it’s not that simple because I am building a company-centric company that welcomes teams.

  6. Susie Blackmon

    June 30, 2010 at 5:43 am

    While I think there are more important things to worry about, I can appreciate your post and the licensing issues. Maybe ‘they’ should worry more about licensing requirements. Considering real estate is not a very respected ‘profession,’ there could be definite advantages to not publicizing the fact that you are a realtor! (And yes, I am one.)

  7. Patrick Flynn

    June 30, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Thank you Miami Condo Shop, Justin, James and Susie for your comments. James-I like your response very much! As a Designated Broker, one of the bigger challenges is to ‘rein-in’ some of those ‘independant contractors’ who think they run the show! And Susie, there are tons more important things to worry about, I agree! Like whether or not your fellow real estate agent in the next cubical over is a Russian Spy! lol

  8. Ruthmarie Hicks

    June 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    OK, this doesn’t impact me directly at all. I guess I’m thinking about what could be misleading and what definitely isn’t.

    For example – I can see “firm” and “realty” being a bit suspect. It implies ownership of your own brokerage – which a team or associate broker decidedly is not. But using the term “real estate” and “Realtor®” – I start to wonder. If you have a team that is selling real estate – they may really need to use some semblance of language that describes what they do. Dancing around the issue appears to be a needless exercise in mental gymnastics. At the end of the day they have to find words to describe what they do.

  9. Patrick Flynn

    July 1, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Thanks Ruthmarie for your comment. This issue is far from over from what I hear. There are some in the Real Estate Commission for our State who are very unhappy with this as well. I will keep my ear to the ground and follow up with any new information.
    Also, thanks Jim for your comment. I’m not sure if you’re talking to me in your comment about (your) argument is a bit on the nasty side? I’m a huge fan of the team concept…I’m also a Keller Williams Broker as well as a Certified Instructor who actually has a clock hour course I teach agents on the “Red Book” (Millionaire Real Estate Agent). I made the comment that this new law will clarify the Designated Brokers authority but by no means did I imply they are going to get in the way of the production or creation of a Real Estate Team. GO TEAM!!!

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Austin

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?

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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, SelfStorage.com 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.

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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.

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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, Realtor.com, 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 Realtor.com’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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