By Joseph Autilio Executive Director, Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons
Answers to agents’ questions regarding real estate licensing in Massachusetts.
Q. As a broker, do I also need to license my business?
A. The answer depends upon what you mean by your “business”. If you are a sole proprietor, meaning you operate under your name, then you already have your personal broker’s license and are fine. On the other hand, if you also have an incorporated business (a corporation), a partnership, a limited liability company, or a limited liability partnership then those business entities also need a broker’s license and operating as a business broker without a license is in violation of the relevant licensing law.
Fortunately, in almost all cases where there is a lack of business broker licensure, it is certainly not intentional or malicious on the part of brokers, nor is there any other licensing law violation other than the obvious lack of licensure as a business broker. Typically, in such situations, the Board will move to ensure that the broker obtains the proper license for his/her business as a broker –assuming there are no complaints concerning other licensing matters and no prior disciplinary action against the personally licensed agent.
However, where the situation indicates that disciplinary action is appropriate for the unlicensed operation as a business broker, the Board has taken disciplinary action against the personal license of real estate agent(s) involved.
Here is the important point to keep in mind. If you are going to incorporate as a business (a corporation), form a partnership (whether a limited or general partnership), or create a limited liability company or limited liability partnership–all of which would occur with the Massachusetts Secretary of State–you also need to get a broker’s license for that business entity from the Board.
A final point is that once you obtain a business broker’s license from the Board, that license only authorizes the individual (personally) licensed real estate agents to conduct business on behalf of the licensed business broker. It does not permit unlicensed individuals to conduct business as agents on behalf of the business broker given that those individuals are, in fact, unlicensed.
Q. Is the Board continuing to audit compliance with continuing education?
A. Yes and the Board is now doubling the number of audits from last year. Be mindful that if you fail to comply with the requirement you will be subject to disciplinary action. Complete all 12 hours of continuing education by the time you renew your license every two years.