If you are one of the 50,000 or so licensed real estate agents in Florida, then this article is for you. A new and developing trend in the real estate business is the “Real Estate Team”. But, because the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) Rules presently only provide for brokers to supervise agents below them, how do you ethically, legally, and properly create a “team” of real estate agents under the supervision of a primary agent? Simple, you document the structure and relationship with proper legal agreements and contracts prepared by an experienced attorney.
If you are a real estate agent, the one thing you do not ever want to do is run afoul of FREC’s Rules and jeopardize your license. However, market conditions and forces sometimes outpace those Rules as we are presently seeing. A Real Estate Team or Real Estate Sales Team can be a powerful tool for both brokers and experienced agents and provide invaluable guidance and mentorship to less experienced real estate agents. So, a Real Estate Team is certainly not a bad idea, but FREC’s Rules technically do not allow for an agent to supervise another agent as that privilege is reserved to licensed brokers.
The manner then in which one can legally and properly create a Real Estate Team is by two levels of agreements; the first with the agent who is or will be a member of the Team and the second with the broker who actually supervises the Team Leader as well as the Team Members. Ordinarily, Team Members share their commissions with the agent who is the Team Leader and nothing inhibits splitting or sharing commissions. In fact, commission splits are well established in the real estate field and are most commonly seen where both the buyer and the seller have separate agents, each taking half of the 6% commission that is the norm.
The agreement with the broker should be a three-party agreement involving both the Team Leader and the Team Member. It should document the commission split arrangement between those parties and, depending on the situation, may also incorporate the agreement between the Team Leader and the Team Member or provisions of that contract.
The agreement between the Team Leader and the Team Member should not only document the commission arrangement, but should also define the relationship and the role of each party. It may also include provisions like non-compete and non-disclosure arrangements between the two agents to better protect the integrity of the Team.
Real estate agents understand that all real estate transactions in Florida must be in writing to be enforceable. Therefore, they also recognize the value of properly prepared legal contracts to document their Team relationship, protect their business, and benefit all the parties involved. Drafting these documents requires the skill and expertise of an experienced attorney. Improperly drafted documents may be deemed unenforceable, thereby unwinding the entire operation and creating far more problems than they solve. For example, under Florida law, non-compete agreements are strictly interpreted according to our Restraint of Trade Statute; knowing the components and limits of those is the charge and expertise of an attorney.
Thus, in sum, creating a Real Estate Team or Real Estate Sales Team can be very beneficial for agents and brokers, but it takes a skilled attorney to properly craft those documents necessary to create and structure the relationship between the parties. The Law Office of David Steinfeld has experience creating Real Estate Teams for agents and can assist and guide you in that regard. For any licensed real estate agent, your license, your reputation, and your skill in developing and securing new listings and business is the lifeblood of your professional business. Don’t leave that to chance or expose it to risk; contact the Law Office of David Steinfeld before you create your Team or hire agents to properly structure the arrangement from the start.
About the Author
Florida Bar Board Certified business litigation expert, David Steinfeld, Esq. is the founder of the Law Office of David Steinfeld in Palm Beach Gardens – ThePalmBeachBusinessLawyer.com. He holds the highest ratings of AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and 10.0-Superb by AVVO. He was named one of Florida’s Legal Elite for 2012, 2013 and 2015, highlighted as “One to Watch” for 2014 by Attorney-at-Law Magazine, and recognized as one of the top business lawyers in Florida for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 by The Legal Network. He has also been selected for inclusion in the list of Florida Super Lawyers for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Mr. Steinfeld is the incoming Chair of the Florida Bar Board Certification Committee for business litigation and is the past Chair of the Palm Beach County Bar’s Business Litigation CLE Committee. He was also appointed by the Florida Supreme Court to its Committee on Business and Contract Jury Instructions and is a member of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists. He is an invited Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America and a full Professor of Law at Dankook University Law School in South, Korea. Informative videos and articles are available for free at ThePalmBeachBusinessLawyer.com.
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