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October 16, 2018 • Stay Connected!

QUESTION:  I have a question regarding co-listing brokers from different firms and what paperwork the firms must have. A broker in our office co-lists with a broker at another firm. They have been trading off as Primary and Co-listing brokers on each listing they take. Our Broker will be the Listing Broker on one while the other firm’s broker is the Co-Broker. On the next listing, they switch. When the property sells, the Primary Broker pays a referral fee to the Co-Broker while the Primary Broker’s firm handles all of the paperwork from the transaction.  Is it necessary for the Co-Broker’s firm (the referring firm) to receive and document all of the transaction paperwork? The Co-Broker in each instance is involved in the transaction equally with the Primary Broker. 

ANSWER:  This relationship/transaction is not handled properly. If the referring broker is truly a referring broker, they are not required to have all transaction documentation in a firm transaction file but they should have, at a minimum, a copy of the referral agreement and a copy of the settlement statement.
In this situation, however, it appears that neither broker is truly a referring broker but rather, a broker who is acting like an agent of the seller without having established an agency relationship with the seller. Based on the Agency Law, if a broker is involved in a transaction and the broker has no written agency agreement with the seller, then the broker represents the buyer exclusively. If one of these brokers is acting like an agent of seller but has no written agency agreement with the seller, then that broker actually represents buyer.
If both of these brokers intend to represent seller in the transaction and both intend to actively provide RE Brokerage Services in the transaction, then the firms for both brokers must have a written agency agreement with seller, appointing the broker licensed to each firm as the firm's subagent to the seller. In other words, both firms must have a listing agreement with the seller. The firms will have to be careful to document the commission correctly so that seller does not owe twice the intended commission but both firms must have a written listing agreement with the seller and both firms must maintain a full transaction file on the listing/transaction if both brokers are, in fact, providing RE Brokerage Services in the transaction, beyond making a simple referral.


The Legal Hotline Lawyer does not represent Washington REALTORS or its members. To browse through our database of past Q & A's, visit Attorney Annie Fitzsimmons writes the Legal Hotline Question and Answer of the Week. Please submit questions to or leave a message at 800.562.6027. Please include your NRDS number.

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Primary Mortgage Rates Survey
(updated every Thursday)  Source:  Freddie Mac
  October 11, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.90%  4.29%  4.07%
 Fees & Points  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.77

  October 4, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.71%  4.15%  4.01%
 Fees & Points  0.4
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.76

  September 27, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.72%  4.16%  3.97%
 Fees & PointsHTML  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.76

  September 20, 2018       30-yr FRM  15-Yr FRM  5/1-Yr ARM
 Average Rates  4.65%  4.11%  3.92%
 Fees & Points  0.5
 Margin  N/A  N/A  2.76

Date Class Location CE  
17-OCT OSCARPort Townsend4.0More info...
17-OCT Red Flags in RE TransactionsPort Townsend 3.5More info...
18-OCT  NAR Code of Ethics Webinar Live Webinar 3.0 More info...
18-OCT Buyer's Agency AgreementVancouver4.0More info...
18-OCT Do You Mind if I ask You a Question?Vancouver3.5More info...
23-OCT Draft Like a Lawyer - SOLD OUTTukwila15More info...
24-OCT NAR Code of EthicsPuyallup3.0More info...
25-OCT NAR Code of EthicsLive Webinar3.0More info...

More Classes →

Washington REALTORS® will host COE Webinars starting in August to assist members with completing the mandatory training. Don't wait until the last minute, though! These webinars are capped and they fill up fast...