General FAQ's

Commission Contact Information

General FAQs

Question

Answer

1

Where do I find email and fax information for the Commission’s divisions? Contact information is found on the Commission’s website.

Commission/Compensation Disputes

1

Can the Commission settle compensation-related disputes between real estate brokers? No. Brokers should consult their local Boards of REALTORS® (if the brokers are members) or their private attorneys.

2

I am a licensed real estate broker and recently represented a Buyer in a transaction. Though the listing indicated that the listing firm would pay a cooperating firm a percentage of the sales price, the firm refused to pay me (my firm) at closing. Can I file a complaint about this with the Real Estate Commission? No. You should consult your local REALTOR® association (if you are a member) or an attorney regarding broker compensation disputes.

Complaints Against Licensees

1

What happens when a complaint is filed with the Real Estate Commission? (1) Persons who wish to file complaints against real estate brokers (including those associated with time share projects) should first obtain a "Complaint Form" online or from the Commission Office.

(2) Complaints are reviewed by the Commission’s Regulatory Affairs staff and, if appropriate, an investigation or other inquiry is conducted.

(3) If, following an investigation or other inquiry, it is determined that there appears to be sufficient proof (“probable cause”) that the agent has violated the Real Estate License Law or one of the Commission’s rules, a hearing is ordered. [Note: The Commission’s hearings are conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, NCGS Chapter 150B.] During the hearing, the Commission receives the sworn testimony of witnesses and affords the agent the opportunity to answer the charges and present evidence in his or her defense. The agent may be represented by an attorney, and a staff attorney represents the State.

(4) If, based upon the evidence, the Commission finds that the agent has violated the Real Estate License Law or Commission rules, it can either (a) reprimand the agent; (b) suspend the agent’s real estate license for a definite period of time; ( c) revoke the agent’s license; or (d) in the case of time share transactions, fine the time share project’s developer. [Note: Decisions of the Commission may be appealed by licensees through the court system.]

2

Who does the Commission represent when a complaint is filed? The Commission does not represent any party to the complaint. Parties are encouraged to retain their own attorneys should they so desire. The Commission’s attorneys represent the Commission in the cases where the Commission orders a hearing.

3

How long will an investigation into my complaint take? It depends on the complaint and the type of investigation required. An investigation can take as few as 90 days to complete, but some can take months to complete a field investigation and/or audit. For cases that go to a hearing, the average total time from opening to hearing is approximately 15 months. Again, these times may vary depending on the case specifics.

4

Will my complaint and the documentation provided remain confidential? It is the Commission’s policy to make most of its investigative records available for public inspection, subject to certain limitations. You should assume that all documents and information included with your complaint are subject to public inspection.

5

What types of consumer complaints should be reported to the Commission? Buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants and other persons involved in real estate transactions who believe that they have been defrauded or victimized by the improper or incompetent acts of a real estate broker should report their complaints to the Real Estate Commission.

Complaints: Issues with Related Professionals

1

Can the Commission assist consumers with questions or issues involving attorneys, real estate appraisers, home inspectors, mortgage companies or other service providers? No. Consumers should contact the North Carolina State Bar (for attorneys), the North Carolina Appraisal Board (for real estate appraisers), the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board (for home inspectors), the North Carolina Office of Commissioner of Banks (for banks, mortgage companies or mortgage brokers), or other appropriate agencies.

Complaints: Landlord/Tenant

1

Can the Commission assist tenants regarding disputes with landlords who are managing their own properties? Not unless the landlord is licensed as a real estate broker. A tenant who is renting a residential property directly from an unlicensed landlord (rather than from a real estate broker) may contact the Consumer Protection Section of the North Carolina Department of Justice.

Complaints: Legal Advice

1

Can the Real Estate Commission give consumers legal advice or help them settle disputes with real estate agents? No. The Commission cannot enforce contracts or require real estate agents to fulfill promises, reimburse money, or perform other acts. Persons who feel that money is owed to them in a real estate transaction or that a sales contract, lease, etc. has been breached should consult their private attorney for advice and assistance.

Earnest Money/Trust Accounts

1

Can earnest money deposits, rents, and security deposits all be in one trust account or do I need a separate account for each? The funds of others can all be in one account as long as the account is designated trust or escrow. Because tenant security deposits must be held in trust until the end of the tenancy, most property managers find it easier and safer to keep tenant security deposits in a separate trust account so they are not accidentally spent on repairs or other items.

2

Can I use QuickBooks to account for the handling of real estate trust money such as rents, security deposits or earnest money deposits? Yes. But, you have to know how to set up QuickBooks so that it generates reports such as a Trust Account Journal, Sales Transaction Ledger, Rental Property Ledger and Trial Balance reports promulgated by the Commission’s Rules and Trust Account Guidelines.

Laws and Rules

1

Why won’t my Broker answer my questions about neighborhoods? Fair Housing laws prohibit Brokers from answering certain neighborhood characteristic questions. See Questions & Answers on Fair Housing.

2

I do not have a real estate license. I own a home that I use as a rental property. If I rent the property myself (without the help of a real estate agent), can I deposit the tenant’s security deposit in my checking or savings account? No. The Tenant Security Deposit Act, which is a state law, requires the landlord or property manager to keep the money in a “trust account”. The Act applies to “all persons and firms which rent residential properties (except single rooms) on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis”. Read more in Questions & Answers on Tenant Security Deposits.

3

My real estate license is on Inactive status. A friend needs a recommendation for a Broker. Can I refer my friend to a Broker and be paid a referral fee? No. Per Rule 58A.0504, a NC broker’s license must be “Active” to receive compensation for brokerage. “Compensation” includes referral fees..

4

I am a Broker named Jane Smith. I want my commission checks to be paid directly to my LLC, which is named Smith Properties LLC. Is that okay? To legally receive compensation for brokerage activities, Smith Properties LLC must obtain a firm license. See GS 93A-1.

5

I do not have a real estate license. A family member wants to sell her house, and I am good friends with a Broker in town. Can I refer my family member to the Broker and be paid a referral fee? No. Per GS 93A-1, no one may accept compensation for brokerage activities in NC without a NC real estate license on Active status.

Licensing

1

Who is required to have a real estate license in NC? Any person or business entity who engages in brokerage must have a real estate license. See GS 93A-1 and GS 93A-2 for rules & exceptions.

2

Are real estate/real property attorneys required to have a real estate license to engage in real estate brokerage in NC? Yes, per GS 93A-1 no one may accept compensation for brokerage activities in NC without a NC real estate license on Active status.

3

Does NC have a salesperson license? No. NC is a “Broker-only” state. NC’s Provisional Broker category is the entry-level license status. See Rules 58A.0506 & 58A.1902.

4

What is a “Provisional Broker” (PB)? Provisional Broker (PB) is the entry-level license status. PBs must be supervised by BICs (Broker-in-Charge) and complete Postlicensing education to maintain Active licenses. See Rules 58A.0506 & 58A.1902.

5

What are the types of broker licenses in NC? Provisional Broker, Broker, Broker-in-Charge, Firm, and Limited Nonresident Commercial Definitions provided on pp 3-4 of RELINC.

Publications

1

How do I purchase publications from the Commission? There are three ways: 1) on the Publications Page of the Commission’s Website, use the online order form, 2) fill in and print the mail-in/faxable order form for purchased publications, or 3) call the firm with which the Commission contracts to fulfill orders.

Online Orders

Phone: 866-833-5785

2

How often is the North Carolina Real Estate Manual updated? The text is updated every two years with a new issue being published in late December or early January in alternating years. The current edition is the 2015-16 edition.

3

How often is the Real Estate Bulletin for licensees published? Three times a year - usually in February, May and October. It may be received by mail as a printed publication or electronically by checking the box in your personal record on the Commission’s Website. If you receive it electronically and prefer the printed version, simply uncheck the box.

4

How do I get a licensee list? A full listing of current licensees and a listing of licensees still needing CE may be purchased from the North Carolina Real Estate Commission by submitting the forms below.

Order NCREC Licensee List (Form REC 1.85)
Order CE Deficiency List (Form REC 7.32)

A full listing of current licensees may be purchased from Compulis.

Compulis
336-272-3400
compulis@triad.rr.com

5

How can I get a “license exam” roster? A roster/listing of candidates who have been issued a notice of examination eligibility during a certain period may be ordered online or by mail using the “License Examination Candidate Roster Order Form”.

License Examination Candidate Roster Form

Order Online

6

How do I obtain a roster/listing of new licensees? A roster/listing of new licensees who have been issued a license during a certain period may be ordered online or by mail using the “New Licensee Roster Order Form”.

New Licensee Register Form

Order Online

7

I am under contract to buy a house, and my Broker suggested that I get a home inspection. What exactly IS a home inspection? A home inspection is an evaluation of systems & components of a home. Read more in Questions & Answers on Home Inspections.

8

What is the Working with Real Estate Agents brochure? The brochure explains the various types of working relationships that real estate brokers may have with clients and customers in real estate transactions in NC. Also, it explains what services brokers are required to provide and how real estate agents are paid in those transactions. The brochure is published by the NC Real Estate Commission, and NC Brokers are required by law to share it with prospective clients and customers at “first substantial contact”.
Click here to view the brochure.
Click here to read Commission Rule 58A.0104-Agency Agreements and Disclosure.
Click here to access the Commissions’s Video Library which includes two videos regarding the brochure.

Recovery Fund

1

Can the Real Estate Commission assist persons whose funds have been fraudulently taken by a real estate agent? Persons who give down payments, earnest money deposits and other trust monies to licensed real estate brokers to be held pending the completion of real estate transactions, and whose funds are converted or embezzled by the broker, may, under certain specific conditions, receive compensation from a Real Estate Recovery Fund which is maintained by the Commission. (For information concerning the procedures and requirements for receiving payment from the Recovery Fund, interested persons should contact the Real Estate Commission’s Regulatory Affairs Division.)

Recovery Fund Application Form