Frequently Asked Questions - Consumer Information Regarding the Real Estate Commission

 

How can I find out if a real estate agent I want to hire is licensed?
Click HERE to search for a licensee.

How can I file a complaint against a real estate agent?
Click HERE for information regarding filing complaints against real estate agents.

Can the Commission give consumers legal advice or mediate disputes with real estate licensees?
No. The Commission can not provide legal advice, enforce contracts or mediate disputes. Anybody who has questions concerning the legal obligations of the parties to a contract should consult a private attorney for advice and assistance.

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

How do I file a complaint?
Click HERE for information regarding filing complaints against real estate agents.

I gave notice to the property manager of my intent to terminate my lease and now the property manager is refusing to return my deposit. Should I file a complaint with the Commission against the property manager?
No. Real estate transactions that involve rental activity, leasing or property management are NOT real estate brokerage services that require a real estate license in Maine. The Real Estate Commission does not have the legal authority to intervene in matters involving rentals, leasing or property management.

If there a standard brokerage commission rate in Maine?
No. The amount or method of compensation to be paid for real estate brokerage services is negotiable between the seller or buyer and the real estate company.

I contacted a real estate broker to help me find a property and she said I would need to sign a buyer representation agreement. I looked at property a few years ago and I was not required to sign an agreement. Do I need to sign an agreement?
Yes, if you are asking the broker to represent you in your search for a property, the broker is required to have you sign a written brokerage agreement before the broker may represent you. In addition, the brokerage agreement, at a minimum, must include the terms and conditions of the brokerage services to be provided, the method or amount of compensation to be paid, and the expiration date of the contract. If you are not asking the broker to represent you, then you do not have to sign an agreement.

When we listed our property, the broker said if we were unhappy he would "tear up the contract." After two months of no showings, limited advertising and the broker refusing to return our calls, we told the broker we were unhappy and wanted to be released from the listing. He refuses to release us. Can we terminate the listing?
It depends. Is the broker's refusal to release you because the broker denies or disputes that he made such a statement? To avoid this scenario you need to get it in writing!

The terms and conditions of the brokerage services to be provided and the contract expiration date, among other provisions, must be in writing. If a broker makes verbal promises to provide specific brokerage services beyond the "best efforts to promote the sale" or agrees to terminate the listing earlier than the expiration date, those terms should be in the listing agreement. A listing agreement is a contract and questions about the legal obligations of the parties to a contract need to be answered by an attorney. A broker who makes such statements and does not include the terms in the listing agreement may be subject to discipline by the Real Estate Commission.

I listed my property with a friend and now my friend has transferred her license to another company. I want my friend to continue to represent me; can I terminate the current listing and list with my friend's new company?
The listing agreement is between you and the real estate company. You may have been motivated to list with the company because of your relationship with your broker-friend, but the contract remains with the company. The designated broker may agree to release you upon request, but is not obligated to do so.

I have a contract to purchase property that is contingent on obtaining financing. I have been denied by the bank and now the real estate broker says she will not return my $1,000 earnest money deposit because the seller is claiming that I breached the contract and the deposit should be paid to the seller. Can you help me?
The real estate broker in this scenario is acting as a trustee of the deposit and is required to comply with the Real Estate Commission's rules regarding disbursement of earnest money deposits from the company trust account. Chapter 400, Section (2)(10) of the Commission's rules http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/02/039/039c400.doc establishes the procedure the broker must follow when an earnest money deposit is disputed and both parties are making a claim on the deposit.

As noted above the Commission does not have the authority to mediate the dispute or determine which party should receive the deposit.

 

If you cannot find the answer to your question, click HERE to send an e-mail message to the Real Estate Commission.

 

Last Updated: January 27, 2014