The Georgia Real Estate Commission regulates the use of support personal or unlicensed assistants. An unlicensed assistant is only allowed to perform ministerial duties. These are duties which do not require the exercise of the assistant's own judgment.
The RMAA Policy and Procedures Manual clearly outlines the procedures for employing an unlicensed assistant. Among other requirements, there must be a written agreement with job descriptions, method and amount of compensation, full- or part- time status, treatment of taxes, insurance, etc. For this article, we are focusing on the job description. The agreement must include specific language that the licensed assistant shall comply with all provisions of the Georgia Real Estate Commission, state, federal and other regulatory agencies and that the unlicensed assistant shall not perform any acts of a licensee. (Please refer to the RMAA Policy and Procedures Manual for more detailed information on employing an unlicensed assistant.)
Penalties for Acting without a Georgia Real Estate License
For the Assistant - It’s a criminal misdemeanor to practice or attempt to practice real estate without a license. Unlicensed support personnel, including inactive licensed support personnel, shall not hold themselves out in any manner, orally or in writing, as being actively licensed or affiliated with a particular firm or real estate broker as a licensee.
For the Licensee = GREC can also impose penalties on the licensed associate, including cease-and-desist orders, fines, demotions, license suspension or license revocation.
What An Unlicensed Assistant CAN Do
1. answer the telephone and forward calls and emails to a licensee;
2.submit data on listings to a multiple listing service;
3. check on the status of loan commitments after a contract has been negotiated;
4. assemble documents for closings;
5. secure documents that are public information from a courthouse and other sources available to the public;
6. have keys made for firm listings and install or remove lock boxes from firm listings;
7. write advertisements and promotional materials for the approval of the firm and any affiliated licensee;
8. place advertisements in the media as defined in Rule 520-1-.09(1)(b) and as directed by the firm;
9. record, and deposit earnest money, security deposits, and rents;
10. type contract forms as directed by the firm or affiliated licensee of the firm;
11. monitor personnel files and license reports from the Commission;
12. compute commission checks;
13. place signs on real estate and remove such signs;
14. order items of routine repair as directed by the firm or affiliated licensee;
15. act as courier for such purposes as delivering documents or obtaining documents and keys;
16. schedule appointments with an owner or an owner's agent in order for a licensee to show listed real estate;
17. arrange dates and times for inspections;
18. arrange dates and times for a mortgage application, a pre-closing walk through, or a closing;
19. schedule an open house;
20. accompany a licensee to an open house or a showing only for security purposes; or
21. perform physical maintenance on real estate.
What An Unlicensed Assistant CANNOT Do
1. make cold calls by telephone, in person, or through any media as defined in Rule 520-1-.09(1)(b) or otherwise contact the public for the purpose of securing prospects for listings, leasing, sales, exchanges, or property management of real estate;
2. host open houses, kiosks, home show booths, or fairs;
3. prepare promotional materials or advertisements without the review and approval of an affiliated licensee and firm;
4. show real estate;
5. answer any questions on title, financing, or closings (other than the time and place);
6.answer any questions regarding a listing except for information on price and amenities expressly authorized in writing by the licensee;
7.discuss or explain a contract, listing, lease, agreement, or other real estate document with anyone outside the firm;
8. negotiate or agree to any commission, commission split, management fee, or referral fee on behalf of a licensee;
9. discuss the attributes or amenities of real estate, under any circumstances, with a prospective purchaser or lessee;
10. discuss with the owner of real estate, the terms and conditions of the real estate offered for sale or lease;
11. collect or hold deposit monies, rent, other monies or anything of value received from the owner of real estate or from a prospective purchaser or lessee; or
12. provide owners of real estate or prospective purchasers or lessees with any advice, recommendations or suggestions as to the sale, purchase, exchange, or leasing of real estate that is listed, to be listed, or currently available for sale or lease.
Unlicensed support personnel or inactive licensed support personnel shall not hold themselves out in any manner, orally or in writing, as being actively licensed or affiliated with a particular firm or real estate broker as a licensee.
Source: Georgia Rules and Regulations 520.1(6)(e)-(g):