Code of Ethics
Q: I’m a real estate licensee, and I’d like to place a “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) sign in my front yard to attract potential buyers and other real estate licensees. I’m not actually planning to sell my house; I just want to market my real estate services to anyone who sees my FSBO sign and calls me. Is this allowed?
A: No. Enticing potential buyers and other real estate licensees to call about your house, which you have no intention of selling, in an attempt to market your services is a violation of Article 12 of the Realtor® Code of Ethics, promulgated by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and adopted by the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR). Article 12 advises, in part, “Realtors shall be careful at all times to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public.” Check with your local Board or visit here for a copy of the Realtor Code of Ethics.
From a licensing law perspective, Section 475.25(1)(c), Florida Statutes, warns that licensees must not “advertise any property or services in a manner which is fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading in form or content,” and Rule 61J2-10.025, Florida Administrative Code, echoes this point. The Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) may also be able to assert that this type of activity is dishonest dealing under Section 475.25(1)(b).
Q: I’m a sales associate listing my own property for sale with the brokerage where I have my real estate license. Must I disclose my license status to prospective buyers and provide an agency disclosure?
A: If you’re a member of a local Board of Realtors®, you must disclose your license status to prospective buyers, in writing prior to the signing of any contract, when selling your own property or when you have any ownership interest in property, as per the Realtor Code of Ethics, Article 4, to which the National Association of Realtors (NAR) requires you to adhere.
Because you’re acting in your licensed capacity in selling this property, you must comply with the agency disclosure requirements under Section 475.278, Florida Statutes. Thus, you may need to provide a prospective buyer with the No Brokerage Relationship Disclosure, per Section 475.278, Florida Statutes. Florida law requires a real estate licensee who has no brokerage relationship with a potential seller or buyer to disclose his or her duty to the seller and the buyer. The real estate licensee disclosure requirements apply to all residential sales unless an exemption applies, per Section 475.278(5)(b)(2), Florida Statutes.
Q: I'm a Realtor® representing a buyer (as a single agent) who’s interested in a property listed with another agent. I submitted my buyer’s offer to the listing agent several days ago; however, I’m concerned that he hasn’t presented the offer to the seller. I’ve been unsuccessful in reaching the listing agent. May I contact the seller directly?
A: No. Pursuant to Article 16 of the Code of Ethics, a Realtor working as a buyer’s agent may communicate with the seller only through the listing office, unless he or she has permission from the listing agent to communicate with the seller directly. It’s recommended that the buyer’s agent obtain permission from the listing agent or broker in writing.