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The ‘Other’ Board You Should Know

by Kevin Sears | Apr 26, 2017
When you’re a Realtor®, the term “board” gets used a lot. We often refer to our local or state Realtor® Association as a board. Yet, when it comes to the “board” where you get your license, then you are talking about the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers & Sales Persons. For non-Realtors® it can be even more confusing as they often call the local Realtor® Association asking license questions thinking it’s the Board of Registration.
For context, The Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers & Sales Persons is one of 28 boards of registration that is overseen by the Division of Professional Licensure.
The Division itself is an agency within the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. In total, the Division oversees more than 387,000 individuals and businesses covering some 50 trades and professions in Massachusetts.

The board you should be most aware of is the Board of Real Estate Brokers & Sales Persons. There are five members who make up the board, with two members representing the public and three members representing the real estate industry. Representing our industry on the Board are three MAR past state presidents. They are Kimberly Allard-Moccia, 2013 MAR President; Peter Ruffini, 2014 MAR
President; and me, Kevin Sears, 2010 MAR President and Chair of the Board.

When the Baker/Polito administration took office in January 2015, one of the first things they had all boards under the Division of Professional Licensure do was to review regulations and streamline them where possible. Because of this effort, we just released an updated Mandatory Agency Disclosure Form. The form’s official title is the Massachusetts Mandatory Real Estate Licensee – Consumer Relationship Disclosure.

In my role as Chair, I’m often asked what are the most common ways that real estate professionals get in trouble with the Board. Here are what I would consider our top three:

1. Not completing continuing education requirements, but saying you did when you renew.

Make sure your continuing education credits are completed before signing your renewal and sending in the money. You might not be aware, but when you sign your renewal, you are signing under the pains & penalties of perjury. You need to know that the Board
will continue to do random audits of licensees that renew their licenses.

2. By not providing the Agency Disclosure Form at the proper time to the consumer. 

The new form should be provided at the first personal meeting to discuss a specific property. Even if the consumer comes into your office and there is no showing, the form should still be provided. Also, make sure you keep a copy of the documentation for
your files for at least three years; and 

3. Improper handling of client funds.

We have seen the largest penalties and harshest disciplinary actions when there is a mishandling of client funds. When this has happened, the Board takes this fiduciary
responsibility very seriously and holds the Licensee accountable.

With recent decisions, we have seen the Licensee/s fined, along with license suspension or revocation. Investigators for the Board have been going out to do random audits of closed transactions. Make sure you have complete files with all required
documentation. As a Broker, make sure you have a copy of the state required bond.

Finally, and most importantly, make sure that you are maintaining your escrow account in compliance with state law.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers & Salespersons is all about and what you can do to make sure all your interactions go smoothly. You can go to
re/ for more information.