Maybe it was the thought of helping people find their dream homes – of seeing the expressions on their faces when they stepped into a house and knew in an instant that they were home – that made you want the job. Maybe you wanted the challenge of locating just the right home from a client’s wish list and staying within the client’s budget. No matter the reason, your dream of earning your real estate license came true.
If you went through the time and trouble to study, train and test for your real estate license, chances are it is because you imagined yourself loving the job and building a winning reputation in Minnesota as a top-notch agent. You certainly never imagined being accused of a violation that would jeopardize your license.
Unpacking the most common violations
Most circumstances that place your license at risk are avoidable. For example, you certainly have control over renewing your license or completing the continuing education requirements to keep your certification current. However, the real estate licensing board may determine that some violations are sheer dishonesty, even if they were simple mistakes, for example:
- Money issues: Mishandling a client’s money or incomplete bookkeeping may raise a red flag if a client files a complaint or if the board investigates. Keeping careful records may prevent trouble in this area.
- Disclosure issues: Clients file lawsuits against real estate agents more often for failure to disclose than any other offense. Knowing your state disclosure laws can help you avoid this problem.
- Fraud issues: Agents sometimes trick the lender into loaning more than the property is worth to cover a client’s down payment or other fees. While you may do this to help the client, it is illegal.
- Criminal issues: In some cases, certain criminal offenses may result in disciplinary measures from the licensing board. Licensing boards that are trying to maintain the public trust may revoke your credentials if a court convicts you of a felony, but some states also suspend your license for DUI or drug charges.
Of course, if you overstep your legal privileges – for example, by drafting or altering a sales contract without an attorney’s approval – you may place your license in jeopardy. These are only a few examples.
Moving past the accusations
If someone has accused you of one of these ethical violations, your license and livelihood may be in danger. Professional licensing boards do not exist to support or defend you, but rather to protect the integrity of the real estate business. However, you have the right to seek support and defense from an attorney at any time.
Real estate is only one licensed profession that an administrative board governs. Facing a disciplinary hearing in front of the board that regulates your profession does not have to mean you lose your license. Having legal assistance can make a positive difference in the outcome of your situation.