All your requirements in one package!
If you've had a brokers license for less than 2 years, this is the package for you. It includes all the requirements for brokers renewing for the first time. It includes a total of 90 hours, all required courses and elective credits of your choice. The included required courses are a 3 hour Core class, Advanced Practices and Real Estate Law. For your elective hours we let you choose the topics that interest you. Everything is state certified and certificates are available immediately on completion.
The first renewal package offers tremendous savings and you can choose from over 10 different topics for your elective credits. Finance, Contracts, and Property Management are just a few of the topics to choose from.
The Washington State required Core class is included and covers vital topics for real estate professionals. The course features information about recent legal changes and legislative issues being considered. It does a great job of getting you up to date on the things that are important to our state. We have included a number of videos in the Core class to highlight key topics and provide a variety in the presentation. We know you have to take it, but we want to make sure you also take away important information and are engaged along the way.
Washington Real Estate Law (30 hrs) and Washington Real Estate Fair Housing (6 Hr) (6 hrs) and your choice of:
Upon completion of this section the student should be able to:
Demonstrate an understanding of the legal and regulatory environment affecting real estate licensees in Washington State
Describe any specific duties imposed on licensees by the state of Washington in regards to becoming a licensee including prohibitions
Demonstrate a familiarity with the various agency situations and with disclosures necessary to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
Demonstrate the ability to identify the broker's client in various agency situations and be able to identify the licensee's duties to a client in each situation.
Agencies that Regulate the Real Estate Industry
Real estate has many agencies that are responsible for oversight, depending on the type of real estate, location, parties involved, and the nature of potential legal violations.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assists homeowners by developing various regulations and acts, such as the Fair Housing Act, ensuring equal treatment in regards to housing. Some of the divisions within HUD include: Home Improvement Branch, Single Family Housing Program Development, Inspector General's Fraud Hotline, Office of Manufactured Housing Program, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales. HUD is one of the most important regulators relating to the real estate industry.
The Department of the Treasury oversees the IRS, which handles property transfer income taxation.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is responsible for implementing the Truth in Lending Act of 1968. Also known as TILA or Regulation Z.
The US Attorney General has the authority to enforce criminal or civil antitrust violations.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates the civil actions of antitrust violations.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) administers the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and has the authority to investigate criminal or civil antitrust violations.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures loans and offers loan programs for buyers.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency was created to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two critical companies who help facilitate real estate finance.
The Commission on Civil Rights, Fair Housing Civil Rights is administered through HUD.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) oversees Disaster Assistance and the Flood Insurance Program.
The Department of the Interior oversees the Bureau of Reclamation, Minerals Management Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Geological Survey.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), guarantees home loans for veterans.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) writes and enforces environmental regulations. They also publish two important pamphlets used in residential real estate: "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home" and "Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home."
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) promotes competition in the marketplace so that consumers have a wider selection of goods and services to choose from. Consumers may file complaints about antitrust violations with the FTC, which could result in an extensive investigation and a cease and desist order placed upon the firm or person in violation.
Washington has additional laws and rules that are more specific or stringent than federal law. The following agencies are responsible for our state's regulations.
Washington State Housing Finance Commission aids in the financing, education for licensees and consumers, promotes affordable housing and offers tax credits to homebuyers.
Washington State Real Estate Commission oversees the development and administration of licensing laws and regulations.
Attorney General of Washington, Consumer Protection Division leads a team of attorneys who represent state clients and the public interest as directed under state law.
The Department of Ecology State of Washington oversees shore lands, air, and water quality.
Washington State Human Rights Commission, Fair Housing Division develops and enforces fair housing laws in Washington State.
The Department of Revenue Washington State oversees real estate excise tax on sales and water rights transfers.
The Governor and State Legislators develop bills and statutes that affect how real estate is transacted.
Local agencies at the county and city level as well as private organizations help to enforce rules and regulations that affect real estate. The rules and regulations are in addition to federal and state laws.
Local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) develops and enforces rules and regulations that govern how members cooperate with each other. The MLS provides services to real estate brokers such as establishing protocols for cooperation among brokers, disseminating information (e.g. prices of houses currently on the market), tracking historical data (e.g. prices of houses that have sold in the past), and setting rules for disputes. It is essential to belong to a MLS since it provides all of the information on properties for sale and allows brokers to add new listings to the system. The designated broker or branch manager of an office may have voting rights at the local MLS as it pertains to governance and management (e.g. the MLS rules regarding information disclosure).
The City Planning Commission usually advises the mayor, city council, and city departments on broad planning goals and policies for the physical development of the city.
Local Planning and Land Use Bureaus administer land use permits.
City and County Housing Authorities provide housing assistance and subsidies for low-income residents and senior citizens.
The Local Building Department handles zoning compliance.
The County Tax Assessor is responsible for assessing and collecting property taxes.
In Washington, regardless of whether a broker is an agent, the broker owes to all parties they provide real estate brokerage services the following duties:
To exercise reasonable skill and care.
To deal honestly and in good faith.
To present all written communications to and from either party.
To disclose all existing material facts.
To account in a timely manner for all money and property.
To provide a pamphlet on the law of real estate agency.
Disclose who the broker represents.
Reasonable skill and care indicate the obligation of the broker to perform their duties as an agent with the competence expected of someone in the real estate brokerage profession. This also means they must perform their duties with reasonable caution (care). The broker cannot claim to have exercised reasonable skill and care if they are doing something that a real estate broker would not do given the skills and qualifications of a real estate broker.
Judgment is a large part of the real estate profession. Reasonable skill and care is not intended to mean that the broker cannot exercise judgment, only they must not be negligent and irresponsible.
If a broker makes a judgment by giving an opinion of value on a property to be $550,000 and the property sells for $575,000 this would not violate the duty of reasonable skill and care. The opinion of value is within the bounds of the broker’s duty and could be made by a number of qualified real estate professionals. If however, a broker urges a seller to enter into a contract for a property that should be worth $550,000 and the contract offer is for $275,000 this would not be an example of exercising reasonable skill and care.
Dealing honestly is easy enough. If you deal honestly while acting on behalf of a principal you’re halfway there. Dealing honestly doesn’t imply that you mustn’t give opinions, but you cannot misrepresent facts. The other part of this requires that an agent operate in good faith, which means being open, fair and sincere. An agent cannot be duplicitous or deceitful. Having an ulterior motive that is not known to the principal would be an example of violating this principle. This duty applies to all parties in a transaction, not just the principal the agent represents.
To present all written offers, written notices and other written communications to and from either party in a timely manner, regardless of whether the property is subject to an existing contract for sale or the buyer is already a party to an existing contract to purchase. The long and short of this duty is that you need to make sure as a broker that all written information is quickly given and presented to your client. There’s no situation where you can hold an offer so another can get signed. Hardest is the obligation to remember you need to present all communications and offers from any party even if you have a transaction that is under contract. As a broker keeping the files and communications relating to a transaction is critical, this is an important practice to demonstrate that you have fulfilled your duty to present all communications, in case you are ever questioned about a transaction. Noting the time and date you received each communication is extremely helpful if there are questions. Email is especially helpful since the timestamp is included.
To disclose all existing material facts known by the broker and not apparent or readily ascertainable to a party, not be construed to imply any duty to investigate matters that the broker has not agreed to investigate. A material fact is anything that if it were known, may result in a different decision. While this is rather broad, it is best to consider anything affecting the value of the real property as a material fact. What this means is, if as a broker you have knowledge of a fact pertaining to the property it needs to be disclosed to every party involved. Even a broker who represents the seller must disclose material facts to a buyer regardless if it is detrimental to the seller. This means that if there was a leak in the bathroom that was covered with drywall and not visible, the broker would be required to disclose that information to the buyer. This situation is an example of what is called a latent defect. Latent defects are issues with the property that are not discoverable by the standard inspection.
One type of disclosure that comes up is stigmatized property. A stigmatized property has had a bad event occur there, such as a drug deal, crime, or suicide. Negative events are not by their nature physical defects and therefore don’t constitute material facts. A stigmatized property doesn’t need to be disclosed during the sale of the property.
To account in a timely manner for all money and property received from or on behalf of either party. This particularly applies to earnest money. Earnest money has strict rules regarding its handling. Rules are in place in order to ensure proper accounting. The accounting for all money and property also means that the broker must establish a chain of custody over a client's property or money. A chain of custody is an accounting that keeps a record of who has money or property at any given time. So if a broker receives money at 9:00 a.m. on a Monday and delivers the earnest money to the party set forth in the agreement at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, they will need to keep a proper accounting of who had possession of the money, dates and time. When a buyer presents an earnest money check or cash to a real estate broker there are strict trust and legal requirements that control how the funds will be handled.
Broker's should provide a pamphlet explaining the law of real estate agency to all parties to whom the broker renders real estate brokerage services, before the party signs an agency agreement with the broker, signs an offer in a real estate transaction handled by the broker, consents to dual agency, or waives any rights, whichever occurs earliest. The Multiple Listing Service that you belong to in Washington state will have many preprinted forms that you will use to write transactions, and one of the forms they provide is a pamphlet on the law of real estate agency. The pamphlet lays out the items that must be communicated to the broker's clients as required by Washington State law. A good rule of thumb is to give the pamphlet to any clients the first time you meet with them. Be sure to do so even if the client has worked with another broker and received a pamphlet from them.
Brokers should disclose in writing to all parties he/she provides real estate brokerage services, before the party signs an offer in a real estate transaction handled by the broker, whether the broker represents the buyer, the seller, both parties, or neither party. The disclosure must be in a separate paragraph entitled "Agency Disclosure" in the agreement between the buyer and seller or in a separate document entitled "Agency Disclosure." This requirement is intended to clearly establish who is representing whom. There are times when this is particularly important, for example, when a listing broker writes up a transaction for a buyer on the property and is not going to be a dual agent (representing both parties). The buyer would need to know they are not being represented in the transaction.
Unless otherwise agreed, a broker owes no duty to conduct an independent inspection of the property or to conduct an independent investigation of either party's financial condition, and owes no duty to independently verify the accuracy or completeness of any statement made by either party or by any source reasonably believed by the broker to be reliable. This provides brokers a limit to the amount of knowledge they should have about a property. What would happen without this exception is the broker would essentially have no limit to the amount of knowledge they should have about a property.
The disciplinary authority for Washington Real Estate rests with the Director of the Department of Licensing.
The Director has the power to:
Adopt, amend, and rescind rules as necessary to carry out the standards of professional conduct.
Investigate complaints or reports of unprofessional conduct
Issue subpoenas and administer oaths in connection with any investigation, hearing, or proceeding
Take or cause depositions to be taken and use other discovery procedures as needed
Compel attendance of witnesses at hearings
Suspend a license, or restrict the licensee's practice or business pending proceedings.
Appoint people to oversee hearings.
Use individual members of the boards and commissions to direct investigations.
Enter into contracts for professional services to enforce or investigate disciplinary matters.
Grant or deny license applications.
Assign others to sign subpoenas and statements of charges.
Establish panels consisting of three or more members of the board or commission to perform any duty or authority within the board's or commission's jurisdiction.
Contract third parties to provide services necessary for the monitoring or supervision of licensees.
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