Real Estate Commission - Frequently Asked Questions - Teams

Q.  I’m thinking about forming a team, are there any Real Estate Commission laws or rules about teams?
A.  Yes.  First, it is important to remember that a team within a real estate agency is not licensed to provide real estate brokerage services.  The designated broker may authorize a group of licensees to work together as a team and the team name may be included in an advertisement, promotion, or solicitation related to real estate brokerage activity.  It is important to note that the team name is considered to be a service mark that must be owned, operated and controlled by the real estate agency. The advertisement and promotion must comply with the advertisement rules adopted by the Commission (see Chapter 410, Section 1).

Q.  I’m an associate broker with a real estate agency in southern Maine.  Some time ago I formed a limited liability company named “ABC Realty LLC” for tax purposes to receive commission payments.  My designated broker has authorized me to work with two other licensees as a team and we want to use “ABC Realty LLC” as the team name.  Is that ok?
A.  No.  In this scenario the name of the LLC is the same as the team name that will be advertising and holding itself out as doing brokerage, which means the LLC is an unlicensed entity offering real estate brokerage services.  The name of the business entity formed for tax purposes may not be used as the “team” name offering real estate brokerage services on behalf of the real estate agency.  Such conduct is a violation of real estate brokerage law (see 32 M.R.S.A. §13001 [2] & 13003) and may subject the affiliated licensees and designated broker to sanctions against their licenses.

Special Note:  Whether it is legally permissible for real estate licensees to form a legal entity to receive real estate brokerage compensation for tax purposes is not within the purview of the Real Estate Commission.  Questions regarding the tax ramifications of such entities should be directed to the appropriate authority. 

Q.  I am an associate broker with a company in the Bangor area.  I have hired a consultant to design a website to direct people to my listings.  Is this ok?
A.  Maybe.  The website must be authorized by the designated broker and comply with the advertising requirements set under Chapter 410, Section 1 of the Commission rules. 
Additionally, it is important to remember that you as an associate broker do not “have” any listings.  Only the real estate company where you are licensed has a contract with the listed seller.  Finally, it is important to remember that listing information must be current.  When the listing expires or the property is sold, the listing information must be removed from the website.

Q.  My company’s agency relationship policy is appointed agency.  I am part of a 5 person team within the company.  Is it ok if the client consents to the appointment of the team as the appointed agent?
A.  No.  The “team” is not licensed by the Real Estate Commission.  The names and license types of each licensee appointed by the designated broker to act as the client’s appointed agent must be listed on the written appointed agent disclosure (see Chapter 410, Section 8 of the Commission rules).