Only 10 days for Continuing Education
The continuing education (CE) deadline is quickly approaching. All GenUp/BICUp and Elective courses must be completed by June 10th to remain actively licensed on July 1st. Visit the Education tab on our website ncrec.gov, and select Search CE Course Schedule. Enter your preferred search parameters to find available classes near you.
Bedrooms, Occupancy Limits and Square Footage
Recently we have received calls with questions about the definition of a bedroom, e.g., if it has to have a closet, door or even 4 walls. One consideration for the bedroom question is what the sewer or septic occupancy will allow. City/county sewer and private septic systems have limits on occupancy based on what the system has been designed to handle, and you cannot advertise more bedrooms than the occupancy limit. Similarly there have been calls about square footage, and what counts and what does not for valuation purposes. See this Bulletin article for details on the difference between NCREC Residential Square Footage Guidelines vs. ANSI Standard to help answer this question.
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 June 14th here at the Commission building. A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.
Renewal is Open
The renewal portal for real estate licenses is now open at NCREC. All broker, firm and LNCL licenses must be renewed no later than 11:59 PM on June 30th. On the home page of the Commission’s website, choose the Licensing tab and scroll down to Licensee Login or Firm Login to renew. Once you have logged in, click the link “Renew Your License” and follow the instructions.
Cemetery and Grave Disclosures
Consumers and brokers have contacted NCREC with questions about required disclosures concerning graves on properties. Graves on private property, including graves with only urns, may have an easement so that future family descendants can visit them. There are rights that family members may have to enter the property to visit the gravesite, with or without the consent of the property owner. Graves should be on a survey and marked by GIS in the county. Graves can be removed, but it is a difficult process and county ordinances must be followed. For these reasons, graves are a material fact that an NC broker should discover and disclose to any interested party to the transaction. View North Carolina GS Chapter 65 for more information on NC laws regarding cemeteries.
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 tomorrow May 17th here at the Commission building. A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.
Interested in obtaining a real estate license?
Take a look at the syllabus for the Broker Prelicensing Course that is posted on our website. It is the basis for all NC Prelicensing courses and has recently been updated to reflect current laws, rules, and forms. Available education providers and course schedules are searchable under the Education tab on our website.
Solar Panel Loan Assumption
There have been several questions about solar panels in recent consumer calls. It is important to note that solar panels are typically attached to the property in a permanent manner and are generally considered to be a fixture that will remain with the home. If the parties use the standard residential contract form, it states: “ALL EXISTING FIXTURES ARE INCLUDED IN THE SALE AS PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE, FREE OF LIENS, UNLESS EXCLUDED IN SUBPARAGRAPHS (d) OR (e)”. This means that if there is an existing lien on the solar panels, the seller should pay it off prior to or at the sale of the home, unless the parties agree otherwise in their contract. If a seller requires, as a condition of the sale, for the buyer to assume the seller’s responsibility for a solar panel lien, this is a material fact that should be disclosed to the buyer prior to their making an offer, including the lien amount they are to assume.
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 tomorrow is in Edenton at the Historic 1767 Chowan County Courthouse. A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov in the morning.
Educators Conference Review
The 2023 Spring Educators Conference – NCREC Trek, was held last month before a sold out crowd of over 300 instructors. Thank you to all who attended, for dedicating yourself to learning, improving and increasing the success of your students. Educators learned about licensing and education stats, benefits of course audits and SMART learning objectives, optimizing zoom waiting rooms and gamification through Flippity, the importance of following the syllabus and how to engage the unengaged. Congratulations to Stephanie Walker, this year’s recipient of the Larry A. Outlaw Excellence in Education Award. If you were unable to attend and need education credit, there is a brand new instructor development workshop (IDW) being released this month. Visit the Education tab on our website for more details. If you are a licensed instructor and have education questions or concerns, join us at our next Educators Town Hall Meeting 5/3/23 at 3pm.
Rental Fraud Concerns
Similar to our recent warnings about increases in wire fraud, seller fraud and deed fraud, consumers and brokers should also be aware of rental scams. Many rental fraud scams take place online or through social media targeting would-be renters, asking them to send money upfront for deposits before even viewing the property, and then disappearing once the money has been sent. View this recent consumer article on our website to learn how to spot red flags and avoid becoming a victim. If you are already a victim of a rental fraud scam you should contact the Attorney General’s office to report the scam, as well as local law enforcement.
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 April 19th in Edenton at the Historic 1767 Chowan County Courthouse. A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.
Real Estate Manual Update
Every 2 to 3 years the Real Estate Manual is revised and updated per the latest law, rule and practice changes. The newest revision of the Real Estate Manual is now available through an online subscription under the Publications tab on our website. Or, order a print copy in late April.
Property Check/Fraud Alert Available At Many County Register of Deeds Websites
In North Carolina, 60 county Register of Deeds websites have a property notification alert service where you can enter your information, and be alerted if any documents are recorded regarding your property. Due to increasing instances of deed fraud and fake seller scams, it is highly recommended that you sign up for this free service if available in your county. They are named differently depending on the county, including Fraud Alert, Property Check and Property Notification, but they all serve the same purpose of sending you an email notice of a newly recorded document. For more information about deed fraud and actions to take if you become a victim, read this consumer article on our website.
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 April 19th in Edenton at the Historic 1767 Chowan County Courthouse. A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.
Wire Fraud Conferences
Wire Fraud conferences began last week and will be held across the State this spring and summer. Since 2015, wire fraud has become increasingly targeted towards real estate transactions resulting in the loss of BILLIONS of dollars. With growing usage of electronic funds transfers, real estate is targeted because of the large amounts of money exchanged. From due diligence deposits, to earnest money, buyer funds to close, seller proceeds and mortgage payoff funds, there are several opportunities for a scammer to try to intercept money in a transaction. Come and learn about wire fraud schemes, how they are successful, and how to avoid them yourself and/or for your clients. Read last month’s Bulletin article for more details about the conferences. The next session is 3/13/23 in Raleigh, with several more to come. Register now for the Raleigh or subsequent conferences!
Illegal Covenants Are Not Enforceable
NCREC recently received a call from a broker about a restrictive covenant in a neighborhood that stated ‘No race other than Caucasian.’ The seller and broker were concerned about how to address this covenant, as it was recorded to the property in 1955. Since then, there have been many Federal and State Fair Housing laws and rules passed declaring housing discrimination against protected classes illegal. Those protected classes are: race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation or gender identity), national origin, familial status (including pregnancy) and disability. If there are covenants that are recorded on a property that are now illegal, these cannot be enforced. A broker should disclose the existence of the covenant if they are aware of it, and the fact that it is legally unenforceable. While there is proposed federal legislation in the works, there has not yet been a law passed that removes such covenants.
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 March 15th here at the Commission building. A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.
New Instructor Seminars
Due to high demand, several new instructor seminars were created and added to the schedule. These seminars will be offered in 2 formats until May: in person every other month, and by zoom. More seminars will be available in July and/or August, after the license renewal period has ended. If you have an interest in becoming a real estate instructor and meet the requirements, you may register for this course.
Property Manager Concerns
The NCREC sometimes receives calls about private owners managing their own property, and concerns that they are not following Landlord/Tenant Laws. While the NCREC cannot regulate the actions of a private property owner that does not have a real estate license, owners are still subject to following NC and Federal Laws concerning Fair Housing and Landlord and Tenant responsibilities. If you have a concern about the actions of an unlicensed property owner managing their own property, you should contact the Attorney General’s office for assistance.
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 March 15th here at the Commission building. A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.
Last month’s eBulletin included a survey for licensees to provide input about tech needs. The input was very helpful in developing a plan, topics and resources that NCREC can provide to our licensees in the identified areas of need. In response to the survey results, there will now be a Tech Corner in the monthly Real Estate Bulletin and in the Update classes specifically dedicated to tech topics.
We have received calls from unrepresented sellers who were approached by investors or wholesalers who contracted to buy their property. When the buyer did not complete the closing of the contract on time, the seller assumed the contract had expired and was no longer valid. This was not necessarily the case. For example, the standard residential contract form provides that “If the Delaying Party fails to complete Settlement and Closing within seven (7) days of the Settlement Date (including any amended Settlement Date agreed to in writing by the parties), then the Delaying Party shall be in breach and the Non-Delaying Party may terminate this Contract”. In general, a written termination is best, even if the closing date has passed.
Some investors/buyers/wholesalers will put a lien on the property for their interest in the contract if it is not terminated in writing, even if they did not close by the date indicated. The investor/buyer/wholesaler then demands that the seller pay a large sum of money to clear the lien before they can sell to a new buyer. Regardless of the source of the contract, we highly recommend consulting with an attorney to look out for your best interests when termination questions arise.
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 February 15th here at the Commission building. A Zoom link will be available at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.
BIC Focus Groups
The NCREC has hosted several BIC focus groups over the past month, and the participation and feedback has been wonderful! We so appreciate the candid conversations and excellent ideas and will be working diligently to compile all of the information gained, and use it to develop new or updated education/processes/procedures and rules to address the evolving needs of our licensees.
Fake Seller/ Fake Buyer Scam Alert
The NCREC has been receiving an increasing number of calls that indicate scam listings are on the rise. These scammers pose as sellers of vacant land and usually find listing brokers through lead generation sites. See the following link for a recent NCREC article about these scams: https://bulletins.ncrec.gov/fake-seller-fake-buyer-scam-alerts/
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 January 18th meeting is at the Embassy Suites in Wilmington. A Zoom link will be available on the website at ncrec.gov on the day of the meeting.
The North Carolina Real Estate Commission met at the JB Duke Hotel in Durham, NC July 20-21 as part of its initiative to reach out to real estate licensees across the State. The meeting was led by the Commission’s Chairman, Wendell Bullard, a Durham broker specializing in commercial real estate brokerage, land, and residential transactions. Bullard welcomed Durham area brokers, Realtors®, education providers and members of the public to the Commission’s monthly business meeting.
Senator Mike Woodard joined the meeting and provided a legislative update to the Commission members, staff, and guests in attendance. Also in attendance were Cindie Burns, incoming president of the Durham Regional Association of Realtors® and the Association’s CEO, Shelia Willis.
Along with its other business, the Commission considered a variety of applicants for real estate broker licenses, settlements of complaints involving broker misconduct, and the performance of education providers in connection with real estate courses.
The Commission members thanked Mr. Bullard for his service to the real estate profession throughout the past year. The Real Estate Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating North Carolina real estate brokers in order to protect the public interest in their real estate brokerage transactions.