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Legally speaking: Do I need to provide a Consumer Guide to customers?

By Lorie Garland, OAR Assistant Vice President of Legal Services

The OAR Legal Assistance Hotline receives an array of real estate-related legal questions — including license law issues, disclosure, contract law, ethics and commission problems, among others. In an effort to help you work within the law, our “Legally Speaking” series spotlights some of the timely questions that are being asked by REALTORS. This one involves providing the Consumer Guide to customers…

Q: Does Ohio license law require that the Consumer Guide to Agency Relationships be provided to customers? Specifically, does a buyer’s agent have to provide the Consumer Guide to a FSBO home seller or does a listing agent have to provide the form to an unrepresented buyer?

A: The license law requires the Consumer Guide be provided to the seller prior to a seller’s agent marketing or showing the property. An agent representing only the buyer would not be required to provide the form to a FSBO home seller.

The Consumer Guide must be provided to a buyer at at the earliest of the following events: (1) prequalifying the buyer; (2) requesting specific financial information from the buyer; (3) showing the buyer property other than an open house; or (4) discussing or actually writing an offer for the buyer. Use of the form is required by an agent working directly with a buyer whether the agent represents the buyer or the seller. Therefore, a listing agent would be required to provide the form to a home buyer they are working directly with at the earliest of the above listed events. If one of the events does not occur, the listing agent would not be required to provide the Consumer Guide to the buyer. For example, if the listing agent’s only contact with the buyer was that he toured an open house.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking