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Legally speaking: Can I enlist another brokerage to help with my buyers and sellers when I’m not available?

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. The following examines whether another brokerage can help with an open house or even handle duties during a vacation…

Q: I am the only licensee in my brokerage. One of my sellers has requested an open house for next Saturday. I already have an open house scheduled for that day. I have a good friend who is the broker for his own company. Can I have my broker friend handle the open house for my listing?

I am also planning a summer vacation that will take me out of town for two weeks. My broker friend offered to handle my clients while I am out of town. Can this be done and if so, how?

A: With regard to your open house question, with the seller’s permission a licensee with another brokerage can handle the open house. To accomplish this, the first step is to talk to your seller. Explain the scheduling conflict, that a broker with another company has offered to handle the open house, that the broker would not represent the seller, and that the broker could even end up representing the buyer of the property. Therefore, the seller should not disclose confidential information to the broker. This would include any information that could be detrimental to the seller in negotiating the sale of his property. If the seller consents, the open house can be held. The broker holding the open should make clear to those attending that he is not the listing agent and identify the brokerage he is licensed with. If the seller does not consent, the open house will have to be scheduled on a day you are available.

Your second question involves your broker friend providing assistance to your seller and buyer clients while you are on vacation. As far as your listings, your sellers could agree that your friend and his brokerage would also represent them during the two weeks you are on vacation. Basically this would be a co-listing for a two week period. Both brokerages would represent the sellers for two weeks, allowing your friend to fully assist the sellers with any issue regarding the listing. The sellers would sign an agreement appointing your friend’s brokerage to also represent them for the two week period. The sellers should also be given your friend’s brokerage’s Consumer Guide to Agency Relationships.

With regard to buyer clients, your friend and his brokerage could also represent the buyers during your vacation. The buyers should be given your friend’s brokerage’s Consumer Guide to Agency Relationships and if an offer is written both brokerages would be listed on the Agency Disclosure Statement as representing the buyer.

The other option is to allow your friend and his brokerage to represent the buyer while you are out of town. If an offer is written, only your friend’s brokerage is listed on the Agency Disclosure Form as representing the buyer. You and your friend could arrange a referral fee. Which option is selected for buyer clients may turn on your relationship with the buyer and of course, who the buyer wants to represent him.


Legal articles provided in the OAR Daily Buzz are intended to provide broad, general information about the law and is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney. 

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking