Table of Contents
Section 1. About the Company
Section 2. Policy Manual
Section 3. Independent Contractor Relationship
Section 4. General Office Procedures
Section 5. Handling Clients
Section 6. Maintaining Files
Section 7. Personal Assistants
Section 8. Advertising Guidelines
Section 9. Policy Against Harassment
Section 10. Litigation and Claims Handling
Section 11. Dispute Resolution
Section 12. Termination
The Company is licensed by the Department of Real Estate under the following name: Realtor Express USA, LLC, 1016 Clemons Street, Suite 402, Jupiter, FL 33477. The brokerage is a member of the NAR, FAR, Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches (RAPB) and Beaches Multiple Listing Service (FlexMLS).
Broker – Realtor Express USA
Realtor – Sales Agent/Associate
2.1 General Purpose
The purposes of this policy and procedure manual is to establish a uniform system of daily conduct by and between us when dealing with each other, other members of the Company, our clients and members of the public.
You are responsible to work in accordance with Company policies and procedures. Your failure to comply with the policies and procedures within this manual may result in your termination from this Company.
2.3 Changes in Manual
This Policy manual may be changed from time to time by the Company. Changes can be made at any time and will be distributed periodically through the Company’s website and all member email list. The policies online at any time represent the Company’s current Policy Manual.
2.4 Exclusions from the Manual
This Manual applies only to salespersons, and does not apply to Company staff employees.
2.5 Conflict with Salesperson/Broker Independent Contractor Agreement
In the event of a conflict between this Policy Manual and your Salesperson/Broker Independent Contractor Agreement, the terms of this Policy Manual shall prevail
3.1 Independent Contractor
You have signed an Independent Contractor Agreement with the Company and are associated with this Company as an Independent Contractor. You do not have an employee-employer relationship with this Company. You are considered to be an Independent Contractor for tax purposes and will receive a 1099 at the end of each calendar year. The Company will NOT withhold taxes or Social Security from your compensation. Payment of taxes and Social Security contributions are your responsibility. You are also considered an independent contractor for purposes of Unemployment Insurance. You are not subject to the minimum wage laws.
3.2 At-Will Status
You are associated with the Company for an unspecified term on an at-will basis. Except where it is otherwise expressly agreed in writing with the Company, either party may terminate your association at any time with or without cause or reason.
4.1 DRE License and Requirements
You are required to maintain a valid Florida real estate broker or salesperson license in good standing while associated with this Company. If your license expires, you may not engage in any activities on behalf of the Company for which a real estate license is required. The Broker may designate another Company salesperson to handle your prospects, listings and transactions during any time your license lapses, and allocate such reasonable compensation to that salesperson for work performed. Your Company’s Broker is charged by Florida law to review, supervise and manage the activity of all salespersons. The Broker may rely on management and staff support to perform this function.
You are expected to cooperate with Broker’s assistants in the handling of files,
documents and procedures in accordance with this Policy Manual and Florida law. It is your responsibility to keep current on changes in industry practices and to take advantage of available education and training programs to maintain your professionalism and your ability to properly represent your clients. It is also your responsibility to obtain all Continuing Education courses so as to renew your license in a timely manner.
4.2 Company Business Hours
Direct Broker support is available 7 Days a Week 8am-6pm. Kevin Patrick Burke: 561.602.3295
4.3 MLS and Realtor Board Dues, Signs, Marketing Materials, Business Cards and Escrow Service Fees
You are responsible for MLS and Realtor Board Dues, approved business cards, new home signs, property signage, marketing materials and escrow service fees. The Logo and the Template are available. A preferred sign company that already has the templates is also available. BE AWARE: Certain municipalities, housing developments and Homeowners’ Associations have strict guidelines, rules, and ordinances regarding the size and placement of signs. You must determine whether or not the Company’s sign and its placement will conform to these requirements BEFORE installation. You are responsible to have the sign removed immediately once the listing expires or the property sale is closed.
4.4 Professional Conduct
As a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, you are expected to be familiar and comply with the Code of Ethics.
4.5 Working Place
Company does provide office space for meetings with clients as needed. But remember that you are an independent contractor, it is permissible to work from your home, own office. However, remember that the Broker is required to supervise your activity. Be sure that all files and documents that you work on are in a safe Place and can be represented to Broker in 24 hours. You must to be reachable by phone, fax, email and regular mail and respond to voicemails maximum in 24 hours. You need to provide us an address of your office or home.
4.6 Alcohol and Drugs
Possession, use, sale or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs on or off company premises while conducting Company business is prohibited. Use good judgment. NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE.
4.7 Professional Associations
The Company is a member the Beaches Multiple Listing Service (FlexMLS). As an associate with this Company, you must join the MLS as well. As an MLS member, you are required to be familiar with, and adhere to, the rules and regulations of the MLS. A copy of those rules and regulations are on file in the office or through the MLS. If you fail to comply with those rules and regulations, or fail to pay your MLS bill when due, you and/or the Company may be fined, suspended or expelled, and your listings may be removed from the MLS. You will be responsible for payment of any and all fines levied against you and/or the Company resulting from your noncompliance. Furthermore, your noncompliance may result in your termination from the Company.
It is required that you maintain a current membership with the National Association of Realtors, Florida Association of Realtors, Beaches Multiple Listing Service and the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches at your own expense. Membership is billed annually through your local association of REALTORS®.
4.8 Fees and Commissions
Associate pay an annual $299 membership fee to Broker and in exchange receives 100% of their commissions on unlimited transactions. If you are unable to manage 100% of your transaction and need support, Broker will provide support for an agreed fee. Broker offers marketing programs for a fee to assist Associate in growing their business, details and pricing are on the company website. All fees and commissions must be made payable to the Company. You will be paid out of the fees and commissions earned by you, and for which you are the procuring cause, based on the terms mentioned in your Independent Contractor Agreement. Agents may receive funds payable to them at closing only upon Broker’s receipt of all required transaction documentation. Said documentation must be uploaded at least 48 hours prior to any all scheduled closing dates in order for Broker to sign authorization to disburse commission to Agent.
4.9 Tax Reporting At the end of each calendar year or as soon thereafter as possible, the Company will provide you with an Internal Revenue Service Form 1099 setting forth compensation paid to you. Your income earned and expenses incurred have significant taxconsequences. You are encouraged to get competent independent tax advice and keep accurate records of earnings and expenses.
All expenses of any kind incurred by you with the Company, or incurred by the Company on your behalf, including unpaid draws and advances, expenses for advertising, supplies, signs, etc., and/or any such expenses that you have agreed to pay the Company but have not paid in accordance with Company policy, will be deducted from the next commission payments due to you.
4.11 Good Faith Handling
BROKER DOES NOT HAVE A ESCROW ACCOUNT. DO NOT TOUCH CLIENT’S CHECKS. ALL CLIENT’S CHECKS ARE TO BE MADE PAYABLE TO: WARD DAMON TRUST ACCOUNT, AND MAILED IMMEDIATELY TO: WARD DAMON LAW FIRM, ATT: ADAM SELIGMAN 4420 BEACON CIRCLE, WEST PALM BEACH, FL 33407. The mishandling of trust funds is the number one reason real estate agents and loan officers licensed by DRE have their licenses suspended or revoked. Under NO Circumstances will an agent accept earnest money deposit checks. Do not handle any money in the form of check, money order, cash or otherwise, regarding good faith deposits, appraisals, home inspections, credit reports, or other service providers. Have your client deliver or send escrow deposit directly to the escrow company. Give client escrow information needed for them to mail or drop off deposit directly to escrow within three business day after acceptance of offer. When you are representing a buyer you must ensure that earnest money deposits are made payable directly to escrow and reported to Broker. Have client pay for home inspections and/or appraisals at the time of inspection.
IT IS ILLEGAL AND NON PERMISSIBLE TO RECEIVE FUNDS IN YOUR PERSONAL NAME OR ACCEPT CASH PAYMENTS FROM CLIENTS. As a regular part of the real estate business, you will receive funds on behalf and for the benefit of others, i.e. “trust funds.” The Department of Real Estate Reference Book defines trust funds as “money or other things of value that are received by a Broker or salesperson on behalf of a principal or any other person, and which are held for the benefit of others in the performance of any acts for which a real estate license is required.” The most common types of funds are earnest money deposits. Improper trust fund handling may lead to civil, criminal and Department of Real Estate action against you and the Company.
4.12 Identity Theft
Identity theft is a growing concern. So, it is essential that you treat with care and confidentiality all files containing names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, credit card information or any other personally identifiable information. You must assure that any files containing such information that remain in your possession be kept in a secure location and disposed of properly.
4.13 Safe Driving
You are expected to keep your automobile in a clean, properly maintained, and safe operating condition at all times. Remember: You are responsible for damage or injury caused while driving. It is your obligation to drive in a safe, responsible and alert manner.
4.14 Personal Transactions
You may buy or sell property for your personal account subject to the same Broker’s fee like a regular Transaction. You must disclose in writing that you are a real estate licensee whenever you buy or sell property in which you have an ownership interest, or where you have a special relationship with a buyer, or where there is a possibility that you could acquire indirectly a financial or legal interest in the property.
As an Independent Contractor, you are entitled to schedule vacations. However, if there is any pending transaction, please advise the Broker of your vacation schedule and how any pending business will be handled in your absence.
4.16 Antitrust Guidelines
4.17 Transaction Coordinators
There is no requirement to use a Transaction Coordinator, but if you are not using a T.C. you are liable that transaction files are completed and match all Company requirements.
5.1 Proprietary Information
Treat all client information as confidential and proprietary. You have a fiduciary duty to your clients and must never use any information learned during the course of your representation of your clients in any manner adverse to their interests.
5.2 Fair Housing
The Company is committed to equal opportunity, fair housing and complying with all applicable local, state and federal fair housing laws. To that end, we do not discriminate on the basis of any arbitrary classification, including, but not limited to, the following: Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Handicap or disability, Familial status, National origin, Sexual orientation.
5.3 Agency Relationships and Duties
The Company acts as a Transaction Broker that provides a limited form of representation that includes the following duties:
5.4 Taking Listings
Florida law requires that a compensation agreement be in writing and signed by the party to be charged in order to be enforceable. If someone signs on behalf of another, you must have written evidence of the authority to act, such as a power of attorney or letter of administration. If the property is in escrow, make sure the listing does not expire before close of escrow. Get all modifications or extensions in writing. All listings are taken in the name of the Company, which reserves the right to reassign the listing upon request of the seller, or if the listing has not been handled properly.
5.5 Negotiating Commissions
The commission pay by principal is negotiable.
5.6 Conducting Open Houses
5.7 Showing Properties
Whenever possible, preview a property before showing it to prospective buyers. If you are familiar with the property you will be more effective when showing it to your client. Also, you may find that despite contrary representations, the property really is not suitable after all. Your time and your client’s and the seller’s time are valuable, don’t waste it: Whenever possible, call the listing agent to alert the seller before showing. Give the seller reasonable time to make the property ready for you and your client. Listing agents should give the seller an estimated time frame within which you expect to arrive. Be prompt. If you will be considerably late, call the seller. If you have not heard from the seller before arriving, or if you are using the lockbox, go to the door first without your client. If the seller is home, explain the situation and ask for access. Remember, be respectful.
When using a lockbox, always ring the doorbell and/or knock loudly several times and allow time to respond. Enter the property first and verify no one is there. Open curtains and turn on lights as necessary. Allow sufficient time for your clients to view each room and the property. Be mindful to look for any potential “red flags” about the property. (Disclosure) Do not leave your clients unattended in or on the property. You don’t want to be blamed if any items are missing from the property later. When you are finished, leave your card inside the property in a conspicuous place, and return the property to its original state (turn off appropriate lights, reset any alarms and lock the doors). If for some reason you don’t show the property, call the listing agent as soon as possible to cancel.
5.8 Personal Sales and Purchases.
When an Agent is the buyer or seller in a real estate transaction, the Agent must disclose to the Seller or Buyer of the Agent’s license status, and the other party must be aware that the Agent is not representing the interests of the other party. To protect ourselves, this fact should be clearly revealed in the contract for sale and purchase and in all discussions
5.9 Drafting and Negotiating Contracts
Review any written sentences or paragraphs to see if they can be clearly understood by someone who is not familiar with the discussions you may have had with your client. Review this document in light of all prior offer terms, addenda and/or counter-offers to make sure that there are no ambiguities or conflicts between the various terms. Review the document to be sure it reflects your client’s wishes prior to asking them to sign.
5.10 Referral Fees
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) prohibits the payment of cash or anything of value from one settlement provider to another settlement provider (real estate agent, lender, title company, etc.). One exception is between real estate brokers for the referral of clients, in which case referral fees may be paid or received.
Your files are a record of every event relative to your dealings with your client on a listing or sale transaction. You must retain copies of all listings, deposit receipts, cancelled checks, trust records, and other documents executed by you or obtained by you in connection with a real estate transaction, whether the sale is consummated or not. You must maintain a neat and orderly file on every listing and sale on which you work. All files are the property of the Company and are to remain either in your possession or the Company’s possession until the file is closed. All closed files will be promptly returned to and remain with the Company for storage. All files will be held in storage a minimum of five (5) years in accordance with real estate law after which time they may be destroyed in accordance with the Company’s document storage policy.
6.2 Broker Review
You must submit all required documents to the Broker or his/her designee in 48 hours after receipt by you. The Broker will review the document for completeness and accuracy. Remember, your file must be fully complete to receive compensation. Transaction checklist and Transaction processing “step by step” guidelines are available.
6.3 File Requirements
6.4 Get It In Writing
As a general rule, all agreements must be in writing. In fact, if you don’t have a written agreement with the principal, you may not receive your commission. If you discuss anything with any party or another broker/agent, always confirm your discussions and understanding with a written follow-up to that party or broker/agent. Never sign anything on behalf of your client, another agent, broker or anyone else.
6.5 Do Not Use Outdated Forms
Always use current forms. Keep your files up to date with the most current forms. Forms available at www.FloridaRealtors.org
Generally, as your business increases, you may find hiring a personal assistant to be helpful. In hiring a personal assistant, you become an employer and have employer responsibility in that relationship. Interviewing, hiring and contracting with the assistant will be solely up to you. You agree that any assistant you hire will be required to abide by this Policy Manual. Any compensation due the assistant shall be arranged between you and your assistant, and will be your responsibility.
7.2 Unlicensed Assistant
Unlicensed personal assistant may not engage in any activity which requires a real estate license. The Company shall never be obligated to pay your personal assistant.
7.3 Salesperson – Personal Assistant Contract
You are required to have a written agreement with your personal assistant that expresses the nature of the relationship and each party’s duties and responsibilities.
7.4 Workers Compensation and Errors and Omission Insurance
No Workers Compensation insurance is provided by the Company for Associates or Personal Assistants hired by agents. Agents who hire assistants shall be responsible for providing Workers Compensation insurance for those assistants where required. Agents should discuss this situation with a Workers Compensation insurance representative, and/or check out the State of Florida’s Division of Workers Compensation website at www.myfloridacfo.com/WC.
Broker to provide Errors and Omission Insurance for the Associate.
All advertising must be approved by managing Broker before your placement or use.
Anytime you advertise property you must include the term “Broker,” “agent,” “licensee” or “REALTOR®.”
8.2 Legal and Ethical Considerations
As an associate and licensee, you have both a legal and ethical obligation to be truthful when advertising property or services. All advertising must comply with all state and federal advertising requirements as well as the NAR Code of Ethics. Any false or misleading advertisement will immediately be withdrawn by the Company. Legally, you may be held liable for fraud, intentional misrepresentation, or negligent misrepresentation if you make material false statements or material omissions in an advertisement. Additionally, you may face disciplinary action from the Department of Real Estate.
8.3 Company name and Logos
The Company’s name and/or logo must be include in all advertisements and conform to the Company’s graphic standards regarding the style, color and uses of the name and logo.
8.4 REALTOR® Trademark
The use of the name REALTOR® must be used in compliance with the National Association of REALTORS® guidelines governing the use of that name and mark. Those guidelines are available on-line at: www.realtor.org. Don’t use it if you didn’t pay for it.
8.5 Telephone: Do-Not-Call Compliance
You are required to comply with the do-not-call laws which generally prohibit “telephone solicitations” to residential and cell phone numbers registered on the National Do-Not-Call Registry.
8.6 Fax Advertising
There are state and federal laws prohibiting faxing to recipients with unsolicited commercial advertisements or solicitations. Exemptions include prior permission or an established business relationship.
8.7 Fair Housing
The Company is committed to equal opportunity and fair housing in all of its advertising.
Be aware that the selective use of words, phrases, symbols, visual aids and media in the advertising of real estate may indicate preferences held by the advertiser and lead to allegations of discriminatory housing practices. Words in a real estate advertisement which indicate a particular race, color, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin
are considered likely violations of the Federal Fair Housing Act and may not be used in Company advertisements.
9.1 Company Policy
It is the policy of the Company that its employees, associates and visitors be free of harassment.
Harassment is damaging to morale, serves no legitimate business purpose, is unlawful, and exposes Realtor Express USA, LLC and the individuals involved to significant legal liability.
If you believe that you have been harassed, please bring the problem to the attention of the Broker. You do not have to put your complaint in writing, but it is helpful to provide details about dates, times, places, and witnesses to the harassment. All complaints will be investigated promptly by designated Company management. If your complaint of harassment is found to be totally and completely without basis, appropriate measures may be taken against you.
You are required to:
10.2 Legal Defense
10.3 Allocation of Costs of Defense
10.4 Disputes During Escrow
If a dispute arises during an escrow between seller, buyer, the cooperating broker and/or the Company:
10.5 Agent-Owned Property
Any property in which you have, or will acquire, an ownership, financial or other legal or other interest, is “Agent- Owned Property.” The Agents E&O Insurance Policy governs coverage of the sale or purchase of any Agent- Owned Property. In any sale or purchase of Agent-Owned Property not covered by the E&O Insurance Policy, you shall be solely responsible for costs of defense, settlement or judgment on any claim, suit or action of any nature arising therefore.
In the event you are selling or purchasing Agent-Owned Property, you must:
11.1 Intra-Office Dispute Resolution
All disputes involving you and another associate of the Company will be promptly reported to the Broker. The Broker, or designated members of the management team, will attempt to resolve the dispute through informal mediation in which all affected salespersons are expected to participate.
You agree that all disputes involving another associate which cannot be resolved by the Company, and disputes involving the Company, will be resolved by binding arbitration with the local Association of REALTORS® in accordance with the bylaws and the rules in effect.
11.2 Third Party Disputes
You are required to immediately notify your Broker of any dispute or claim involving you, another
Agent of this office, the office itself, the Company, and a third party, including brokers and associates of other brokerages. The Company will make all reasonable efforts to
resolve the dispute informally. Any such resolution will be binding on the agents involved in the dispute or claim.
12.1 Grounds For Termination
Your association with the Company can be terminated by either party, with or without cause, at any time.
Listings are the property of agent, even upon your termination.
13.1 Subsequent to termination, the Agent shall not solicit:
Kevin Patrick Burke – Broker
Realtor Express USA, LLC