Does a formerly licensed real estate agent have to disclose?

Asked by Frank Biganski, Newport News, VA Mon Feb 25, 2008

they were once a licensed agent when looking to buy a property? I think I was duped by an agent who’s license *just* expired January 2008. Of course I asked him if he was working with an agent, and he said “no.” He said he’s looking to buy ASAP, I schedule the showings and email him the listings link, and then he’s a no-show and doesn’t answer his cell phone.

I already contacted the listing agents letting them know that this customer may be contacting them directly, and I have no worries about the commissions – that’s not my question. Again, I'm wondering if an actively licensed agent has to disclose an interest in a property they're looking to purchase, then doesn’t a non-active licensed agent have to disclose as well?

Either way, I will be contacting Virginia’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation to see what their take is, but I’m just curious what your thoughts and comments are as fellow agents.

Frank Biganski, Realtor ABR

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Ute Ferdig -…, Agent, New Castle, DE
Tue Feb 26, 2008
Hi Frank. I think the real problem is that the guy stood you up. I would think that you'd still have shown him the house even if he had told you that his license just expired. I think his behaviour sucks and I would expect better from anybody, especially when they have worked the field themselves. I don't think that not telling you that he had an active license until recently is such a big deal per se. Would you have cared that he did not tell you prior to the showing if he had shown up and made an offer? Probably not.
1 vote
Tim Churchwe…, Agent, Chesapeake, VA
Thu Jun 19, 2008
I thought I knew the answer and now I'm confused! **going to head into research as soon as I can grab the ethics**. I am fairly certain that an agent must disclose they have or have once held a license. After reading all of the answers, I'm confused as to when that disclosure should be made. Difinitely on contract, but "as soon as possible", first contact? etc. So it's more a matter of timing.
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., , Niagara County, NY
Tue Jun 17, 2008
Ethically I believe the former agent should disclose his former status just because he has the upper hand in knowledge in the transaction.
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Frank Bigans…, Agent, Newport News, VA
Mon Jun 2, 2008
Thanks to all who answered and all are correct! This guy ethically should have disclosed he was an agent, but nothing under the law holds him to stating this.

Thanks for all who replied!

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Angie Nishni…, Agent, Virginia Beach, VA
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Honestly, they do not have to disclose it until they write a contract. In the contract you would have to put "buyer holds an inactive VA real estate license"
They don't have to disclose it over the phone, although I think most ethical people would.

0 votes
Derek Bauer, Agent, South Lyon, MI
Tue Feb 26, 2008
This may differ from state to state. I think once someone is licensed, they then have to (or at least certainly should) disclose it forever. Their license may lapse, or be in escrow, but they still are no longer a member of the general public ... they are a licensed professional. I have a pilot's license, and although I am not current and would want to brush up with someone in the plane first, I am still an FAA licensed Pilot. Just my two cents...
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Brendan Murp…, , Laramie, WY
Mon Feb 25, 2008
I don't think he has to disclose a thing until he writes an offer (with or without you). Then full disclosures need to be made to the seller and seller's agents. That's my take based on my state's rules.
However, I do agree that ethically he should verbally tell you at the first opportunity (ie on the phone at first contact) that is what I would do and what other agents (including non-active) have done with me in the past.
It's also a simple courtesy...
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Pat Mulligan,…, , Hampton Roads, VA
Mon Feb 25, 2008

Legally, I don't think this person HAS to disclose, but ethically.......

Why wouldn't theydisclose? - either sneaky or stupid. Either way, I am glad you are reporting it to the REB-- I would also report him to HR Association of Realtors and VAR, in case he tries to join Realtor associations in the future. I know this might sound tough, but it is our duty as Realtors, and licensees, to clean out our profession from people like this. These folks are why people don't trust agents.
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Cindy Jones, Agent, Alexandira, VA
Mon Feb 25, 2008
Personally I would err on the side of disclosure. Especially since the license just expired. But whether it is required for a buyer with an inactive license to disclose is a good question for your local association or the board as it looks like you are doing. Let us know the correct answer.
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