Blog

July Updates

      News

Director of Education and Licensing, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer attend National Fair Housing Conference

Len Elder, the Director of Education and Licensing and Minerva Mims, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, attended the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) Conference in Washington, DC this month.  The conference theme was “Housing Equity Now: Building an Inclusive and Just Future.” The NFHA works to eliminate housing discrimination and ensure equitable housing opportunities for all people and communities through its education and outreach, member services, public policy, advocacy, housing and community development, tech equity, enforcement, and consulting and compliance programs.

Dangers of Unpermitted Spaces in a Property

A broker’s failure to disclose that a property has an unpermitted space is a common complaint received at the Commission.   It is important that consumers understand the dangers of unpermitted spaces in a property, and why an inspection and corrective action is recommended for your protection.  Watch this video, Dangers of Unpermitted Space, to learn about possible fire and flood hazards if construction work in a property is not properly permitted.

To learn more about the types of projects in a home that require permits, contact your local municipality’s planning and development office for details.  We strongly recommend that you become knowledgeable on the risks associated with purchasing a property without the appropriate permits.

You are invited!

The monthly Real Estate Commission meetings are always open to the public, and you are invited to attend in person or online via Zoom.  The next meeting is August 14th at the Commission building, 1313 Navaho Drive, Raleigh, NC.  A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.

June Updates

      News

Why is renewal important to consumers?

Licensed real estate brokers and firms who do not renew their licenses by June 30th , will have expired licenses on July 1st. This means that they are no longer licensed to practice real estate and must cease all brokerage activities immediately. So, if a consumer has an agency agreement with a firm that goes inactive, the agency agreement will no longer be enforceable, as the broker can no longer represent the consumer. 

NCREC releases, “Careers in Real Estate: An Inside Look”

As a part of an initiative to reach consumers with information about real estate related careers and how to get started with obtaining a real estate license, NCREC created this video.  “Careers in Real Estate: An Inside Look”.  Viewers will receive an inside look at several real estate and related career opportunities, from home inspectors and attorneys to appraisers and property managers. Visit our YouTube channel to watch this video and many other new resources that have been created for consumers and brokers.

You are invited!

The monthly Real Estate Commission meetings are always open to the public, and you are invited to attend in person or online via Zoom.  The next meeting is July 17th at the Commission building, 1313 Navaho Drive, Raleigh, NC.  A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.

May Updates

      News

Fair Housing Highlight

The Commission’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and Consumer Resource Officer attended Fair Housing events in Gastonia and Charlotte in April. The events highlighted the needs of vulnerable populations such as the homeless, elderly people, single parents, youth aging out of the foster care system, disabled veterans, and other citizens. Data was provided highlighting the gap between the percentage of people in the US who have at least one disability versus the amount of housing accessible for disabled people.  The following federal, state, and local resources were shared with attendees:

Legal Aid Fair Housing Project (housing discrimination)Legal Aid Housing (evictions, fair housing, foreclosures, housing discrimination, etc.)
Continuum of Care (established by HUD) (homelessness assistance)United Way (housing, general assistance)
GLCImpact.com (homelessness)NC211.org  (emergency housing assistance, basic needs referral service of the United Way of NC)
John Chafee Grant (youth aging out of foster care)Section 8 / Housing Choice Voucher (public rental assistance)
NCHFA Housing Partnership (funding supportive housing, accessibility modifications)HUD-VASH Vouchers (housing assistance for veterans)

It’s Renewal Time

Brokers must renew their licenses between May 15th-June 30th of every year in North Carolina.  This license renewal requirement applies to all brokers (i.e., provisional, full, QBs, and BIC Eligible). QBs must renew their firm licenses between May 15th and June 30th. Remember, brokers do not have to complete CE before renewing their license.  Review this eBulletin article for more details.

Are you interested in getting a real estate license?  Watch this YouTube video, Overview of the Licensing Process, for steps to get started.

You are invited!

The monthly Real Estate Commission meetings are always open to the public, and you are invited to attend in person or online via Zoom.  The next meeting is May 22nd at the Commission building, 1313 Navaho Drive, Raleigh, NC.  A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.

April Updates

      News

Spring Educators Conference was a great success!

This year the North Carolina Real Estate Commission hosted its 2024 Spring Educators Conference at the McKimmon Center on March 19,, 2024. The theme of the conference was NCREC Education Superhero Comicon.  The attendees learned how to use AI in real estate education, information regarding the exam transition, and handling disruptions in the classroom.  For a sample of how to use AI to create a PowerPoint view this video.  Congratulations to our 2024 Larry A. Outlaw Excellence in Education Award winner, Bill Gallagher! 

Exam Provider Transition Complete

The transition from PSI to PearsonVUE has been implemented successfully.  Along with the change in exam providers, there are updates to several resources, and the following new videos are available:

1 – Updated RELINC:  https://www.ncrec.gov/Pdfs/Licensing/General.pdf

2 – Updated Syllabus:  https://www.ncrec.gov/Forms/Education/Prelicense_Course_Syllabus.pdf

3 – Four new videos on our YouTube Channel about the licensing and examination process:  https://www.youtube.com/NCREC/videos

You are invited!

The monthly Real Estate Commission meetings are always open to the public, and you are invited to attend in person or online via Zoom.  The meeting this month is on April 24th at the Commission building, 1313 Navaho Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609.  A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.

NCREC Statement on NAR Settlement

      News

NAR Settlement

On March 15, 2024, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) proposed a settlement to end landmark antitrust lawsuits. In the proposal, NAR agreed to pay damages and to mandate that its members enter into written buyer-broker agreements. Additionally, the settlement would prohibit REALTORS® from making compensation offers on multiple listing services (MLS). The settlement has not been approved by the court; a decision from the court is expected later this year. Even so, the NAR rules are planned to be effective in mid-July.

As a reminder, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) is an independent state governmental agency and should not be confused with NAR or its local boards. The NCREC’s primary function is to license and regulate real estate brokers and its mission is to protect consumers. North Carolina has 100,000 plus real estate brokers with many, but not all, also being members of NAR. NAR is a voluntary trade organization whose members are known as REALTORS®. In North Carolina, NC REALTORS® is a state level REALTOR® association and, as part of its services, creates various standard form documents for use by its members and their clients in transactions.  In cooperation with the NC Bar Association, NC REALTORS® also creates standard form Offers to Purchase and Contract and other transaction documents.

The NCREC is following developments with the settlement proposal as they occur. However, it is important to recognize that any changes in NAR rules apply specifically to NAR members and do not alter the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Moreover, the currently proposed NAR changes are in no way contradictory to the existing License Law and rules.

The following is a reminder of NCREC rules relating to broker transparency, agency agreements, and commissions.

Working With Real Estate Agents Disclosure:

Commission Rule 58A. 0104(c) states: In every real estate sales transaction, a broker shall, at first substantial contact with a prospective buyer or seller, provide the buyer or seller with a copy of the publication “Working With Real Estate Agents” …(WWREA). 

In 2021, the NCREC revised the WWREA Disclosure to be one page, double-sided, with one side for sellers and one side for buyers. The new WWREA Disclosure was designed to be quicker and simpler for brokers to use and easier for buyers and sellers to understand. Additionally, the original brochure was updated and expanded to be available for use in conjunction with the required WWREA Disclosure. The WWREA Disclosure and brochure explain the various types of agency relationships in a clear concise manner, educating the consumer and defining expectations.  The WWREA Disclosure is a broker’s opportunity to discuss and clarify what their agency role may be in the transaction and to start the conversation concerning the contemplated agency status, payment, and future options.

Buyer Agency Agreements:

Commission Rule 58A .0104(a) has long required brokers to enter into written agency agreements. Listing agreements must be in writing and signed by the broker and client at the time their agency relationship is formed. Buyer agency agreements must be in writing and signed by the broker and client no later than the time of making an offer. Note that the rule does not prohibit a broker from entering into a written buyer agency agreement earlier than the time of offer submission. Accordingly, the proposed rule change for REALTORS® does not conflict with the Commission’s rule.

Additionally, NCGS § 93A-13 prohibits a broker from filing suit for recovery of brokerage compensation unless the agreement is in writing. Therefore, brokers need to be in compliance with NCREC rules in order to avoid disciplinary action and in order to recover a commission through the civil court if the client fails to pay.

The Commission does not have jurisdiction regarding the setting or advertising of commissions. Commission Rule 58A .0109(f) specifically notes that the NCREC will not act as a board of arbitration and shall not compel parties to settle disputes concerning such matters as the rate of commissions, the division of commissions, pay of brokers, and similar matters. The NCREC reminds all of its licensees that brokerage commissions remain a negotiable term between the broker/firm and client.

Finally, it is important to remember that Commission Rule 58A .0112(b)(1) bars a broker from using a preprinted offer or sales contract form containing any provision concerning the payment of a commission or compensation to a broker or firm. While a client may consider the amount of commission when considering making or accepting an offer, the broker/firm should not be made a third party in a form purchase contract between the buyer and seller. The current standard form residential contract includes a provision allowing the seller to pay an agreed amount toward any of buyer’s expenses.

The NCREC understands that the real estate industry is always evolving, and our role is to ensure whenever possible that these changes benefit consumers and to assist NC brokers in understanding their duties. The NCREC remains dedicated to fostering a market that prioritizes consumer interests, fair competition, and transparency. We also remain available to answer questions about the application of the License Law and Commission rules to help brokers and consumers better navigate their transactions.

February Updates

      News

Due Diligence Fee Concerns

Recently there have been several questions and cases involving Due Diligence Fee concerns.  The common questions are: “When is the Due Diligence Fee due?” and “What happens if the buyer changes their mind and terminates the contract without paying the Due Diligence Fee to the seller?” It is important to note that if the buyer entered into a contract to purchase a home, the due diligence fee is due immediately upon contract formation.  If the buyer changes their mind and terminates later, the seller may be still entitled to the due diligence fee and other fees that may be awarded by the courts, such as attorney fees. The Commission’s, Questions & Answers on Due Diligence Fees is a great resource to review.

You are invited!

The monthly Real Estate Commission meetings are always open to the public, and you are invited to attend in person or online via Zoom.  The meeting next month is February 14th at the Carolina Hotel (South Room) 80 Carolina Vista Drive, Pinehurst, NC 28374.  A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting. If you plan to attend in person, please RSVP to exec@ncrec.gov on or before February 7, 2014.

December Updates #2

      News

Technology and NCREC

Technology is ever evolving, and new tools are being used to assist with the ongoing demand for information. NCREC has been exploring the use of AI and has found it useful for idea generation and content creation.  While it is a useful tool and a time-saver, be aware that careful and thorough review of any created content is necessary to ensure accuracy.

Vacation Rental Fraud – Spring Break Scams

Each year, as Spring Break approaches, we see an increase in vacation rental property owners who are the victims of fraudulent activity. For instance, if a consumer books a vacation rental property for an underage child (typically, a teenager and their friends) for Spring Break, and allows the child to use the unit unsupervised, it could be considered fraud. Parents, relatives or others who may be tempted to gift their teenagers a beach vacation should be aware that intentionally renting a property for unsupervised use by an underage child is a violation of most rental agreements. Consequences that could follow include the property owners and management companies calling the police and/or terminating the vacation rental tenancy without refunding any monies or deposits to the tenant.

Participation in fraudulent activity can be a crime. The article, “Vacation Rental Fraud Scam Alert” provides examples on other vacation rental fraud scenarios and how to avoid them.

You are invited!

The monthly Real Estate Commission meetings are always open to the public, and you are invited to attend in person or online via Zoom.  The meeting next month is January 17th here at the Commission building.  A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.

December Updates

      News

Newest Instructor Development Workshop Released

Last month, NCREC released our latest Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) for approved instructors to learn more about how to write exam items that accurately test student knowledge.  Writing Effective Exams is now available on the Commission’s education website learn.ncrec.gov.

Warning to Brokers and Consumers to Beware of Unlicensed Activity in NC

NCREC would like the public to be aware of types of unlicensed activity taking place in North Carolina that could result in legal action and possibly criminal charges.  In NC, it is illegal to manage properties that belong to others for compensation without a license.  Paying ‘referral’ or ‘finders’ fees to people who do not have a real estate license is also illegal in NC.  Another common category of unlicensed activity includes brokerage services provided by inactive or expired brokers.  For more details on types of unlicensed activity to watch out for and possible legal actions, read this month’s eBulletin article: Brokers & Consumers Should Beware of Unlicensed Activity in North Carolina.

You are invited!

The monthly Real Estate Commission meetings are always open to the public, and you are invited to attend in person or online via Zoom.  The meeting next week is December 13th here at the Commission building.  A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.

November Updates

      News

NCREEA Fall Conference

NCREC recently attended the 2023 North Carolina Real Estate Educators Association (NCREEA) Fall Conference in Winston-Salem, and presented Commission and Legal Updates.  The Conference was well attended and offered education opportunities for instructors to improve their technology and gamification in the classroom, a parade of ideas from experienced instructors, and sessions on creating elective courses, making a difference and more.  Congratulations to Matt Davies who was installed as President of NCREEA, and award winners Cheryl Sain – 2023 Program of the Year, and Melea Lemon – 2023 Instructor of the Year.

Is due diligence refundable?

NCREC often receives questions about due diligence fees and if they are refundable.  Standard form 2-T Paragraph 1(i) states the Due Diligence Fee shall be non-refundable except in certain specific events. These are material breach of the contract by the seller under Paragraph 8 (“Seller Obligations”) or Paragraph 12 (“Delay in Settlement/Closing”), damage or destruction to the property under Paragraph 11 (“Condition of Property/Risk of Loss”), or in accordance with any addendum attached to the contract. A buyer and broker should closely examine the specific contract they are considering using to understand their rights and remedies related to due diligence fees.

You are invited!

The monthly Real Estate Commission meetings are always open to the public, and you are invited to attend in person or online via Zoom.  The next meeting is tomorrow, November 8th here at the Commission building.  A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.

October Updates #2

      News

Tech Study Group

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission has formed a Tech Study Group consisting of both Commission members and staff. The purpose of the Tech Study Group is to identify technology issues which can improve the function and efficiency of the Real Estate Commission and also to identify technology issues that impact the delivery of brokerage services and better educate and assist brokers in dealing with those issues.  Among the many things that are being considered and discussed by the Tech Study group are ADA compliance, the impact of AI models including ChatGPT, the implementation and use of chat bots, cybersecurity, smart contracts and block chain technology. In the coming year watch for future developments, insights and information as a result of the Tech Study Group’s efforts. 

Do Emotional Support Animals Require Pet Fees at Vacation Rentals?

Emotional support or therapy animals that qualify as assistance animals are not pets, and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) makes it unlawful for a housing provider to refuse to make a reasonable accommodation.  You may view this January 2020 Notice for details.  Vacation rentals are not excluded by law, and property owners and managers must follow the guidelines to determine if emotional support animals qualify for the exemption or not.  See Part II of the Notice linked above (pg. 7), for a recommended process for determining if an emotional support animal qualifies as an assistance animal.  If the animal qualifies as an assistance animal by FHA guidelines, then it is not a pet and reasonable accommodations must be made, including waiver of ‘pet fees’. 

If an animal does not qualify as an assistance animal, detailed records of the determination process should be kept to support the decision.  These animals would be considered pets and subject to pet fees.  It is important to note that a reasonable accommodation can be requested at any time, including after the animal has been introduced into the property.

You are invited!

The monthly Real Estate Commission meetings are always open to the public, and you are invited to attend in person or online via Zoom.  The meeting next month is November 8th here at the Commission building.  A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.