Georgia Real Estate Commissioners Discuss Business Broker Licensing
If you’re contemplating buying or selling a business in the Peach State, be sure to check whether the business broker you’re considering using has a valid Georgia real estate license.
Some individuals who are presenting themselves as professional business brokers are not licensed to sell real estate in the state of Georgia, and therefore are probably not operating legally.
On Tuesday, July 31, Georgia Real Estate Commissioner Lynn Dempsey and Deputy Commissioner Craig Coffee spoke at length about real estate licensing to the Georgia Association of Business Brokers. The GABB is the state’s only professional association of professionals who help in the sale and purchase of businesses and franchises.
The commissioners encouraged attendees to file a complaint against any unlicensed broker who is attempting to buy or sell a business with any real estate interest in the state. Complainants should complete the following form that GABB downloaded from the GREC website, have the form notarized and submit it.
Georgia law specifies that a business broker must have a real estate license if the sale of the business includes any real estate. GABB believes that there are very few instances in which a business is operating without any leases or real estate. Former GABB member Kathryne Pusch discusses business broker licensing in Georgia elsewhere on the GABB blog. GABB requires all broker members to have a current Georgia Real Estate license to belong to the association.
To determine if a business broker has a valid Georgia Real Estate license, search this link on the Georgia Real Estate Commission website. Note, some brokers may not operate professionally with their given name, so you may need to search with an individual’s license number.
Georgia law limits the Commission’s investigative authority solely to issues related to the real estate license law.
The Commission’s investigations do not determine whether a violation of any other area of the law has occurred. For example, the Commission cannot settle such issues as disputes regarding earnest money, repairs to property, or payments of fees to licensees. The law of contracts controls these issues. If the parties cannot resolve such issues themselves, they should consult an attorney or the small claims court of their county for assistance.
Anyone who files a request for investigation with the Commission and has suffered a financial loss should not wait for the results of a Commission investigation before consulting an attorney. The Commission cannot replace a financial loss. The law allows the Commission only to reprimand, suspend, or revoke a license and/or impose fines, education requirements, and/or require reports from an independent accountant.
The Commission may only investigate licensed real estate brokers, salespersons, community association managers, or unlicensed persons performing the acts of a broker. It cannot take action against an unlicensed individual who may be an owner or builder acting as a principal on his or her own property.