Georgia Real Estate Commission Updates for Business Brokers
GREC Updates and YOU
By Kathryne A. Pusch, Pres/Broker
What’s happening at the Georgia Real Estate Commission these days that may interest you? As the Business Brokerage Industry Representative on the Education Advisory Committee to the GREC, it is my privilege to meet with the Georgia Real Estate Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, several of the GREC Investigators, educators, school leaders, and other industry representatives in working sessions. This is my opportunity to provide input on issues that affect us and to learn what is happening within our regulatory, licensing, and continuing education environments. It is my pleasure to provide the members of GABB with some insights.
- Property Management Complaints: Cases resulting from complaints/requests for investigations are being processed more quickly and are resulting in more citations at higher fees. The most problematic issues are related to property management. Ten of thirteen citations issued last month were related to Licensees improperly managing their own property. Brokers, if you have Agents who have rental property, ensure proper compliance. Agents, recall the rules on Licensees dealing as principals. Practice only in areas in which you are competent.
- Reciprocity is still being offered by Georgia to Licensees in surrounding states, but Georgia is considering moving in the direction of our surrounding states’ commissions. Most of our neighbors have begun offering limited reciprocity, requiring Georgia Licensees to take the state portion of their test.
- Continuing Education: Georgia continuing education hours are still at 24 per every 4-year renewal period, which amounts to six per year. This places us 34% below the national average of 9.3 hours, with most states having some required subjects and annual (vs. renewal term) requirements. We should look for Georgia to raise our standards for continuing education.
- Money issues: Georgia is in the bottom 20% for all states’ licensing and renewal fees. Rebates to Principals in a transaction were recently clarified with a rules revision. A Licensee may not pay any fees to anyone who is NOT licensed, as we all know. However, within a transaction, it is NOT illegal to rebate fees to a client or customer, as this is no different than cutting commissions. If one is paying anyone other than one’s client, the client must be disclosed on the amount and reason for the payment.
- Lawful Presence: If you have renewed any licenses recently, you know you must now demonstrate that you are legally present in the country to obtain or renew licenses, such as a business license or real estate license. Due to some legislative misunderstandings, the GREC was told that all Licensees had to provide the proof of Lawful Presence each time we renew. (Silly, huh?) Good news: Our Georgia legislature managed to change this requirement, so you only have to prove your status on your first renewal, if you have not done so already.
- What is Stabilized NOI? Use our Georgia Real Estate Infobase as a reference in your business life: I am one of the editors who worked on this project, and it is now hosted on the GREC site. Due to the conversion from a private server, the search capabilities are not yet fully functional, but stand by for more user friendliness.
- Internet Advertising. . . is there any other kind these days? You will remember that ALL Licensee advertising is covered by the GREC Rules and Regulations. But the many info systems on the web — especially social media, syndicated contact systems, and YouTube — can lead to some lack of control of your messages. New rules will be coming out to clarify the same intent as the old rules: proper disclosure of the Listing Brokerage’s name and contact info MUST be on every ad for property or services, and Brokers must review all advertising. Ads MUST be removed when listings are sold or expire. Think before you Tweet.
Stay out of trouble.
Kathryne A. Pusch, Pres & Broker, ConsultKAP, Inc.