When the air gets heavy with pollen and sneezes abound, you know it’s time for the DRE’s Real Estate Bulletin — spring edition.
What’s the deal with senior housing?
The department kicks things off by debunking some common misconceptions about senior housing, including:
- you need to be at least 55 years old to buy or occupy a home in a senior community;
- a spouse of a qualifying resident or cohabitant in a home in a senior community needs to be at least 45 years old to occupy the home; and
- 20% of homes in a senior community may be occupied by underage families as long as the other 80% are occupied by seniors.
Typically in California, as long as a home in a senior community is occupied by a qualifying resident over the age of 55, it doesn’t matter who buys the house, who holds title or the age of the cohabitants.
A timely renewal
This season’s edition of the Bulletin includes a friendly reminder of the materials required to renew a license on time. The required materials are:
- the renewal application;
- the renewal fee; and
- “good faith evidence of compliance with continuing education requirements.”
Editor’s note — For those not in the know, first tuesday offers 45-hour courses for all your continuing education needs.
When renewing by mail, these materials need to be postmarked by 11:59 PM on the day the license is to expire.
Alternatively, for those worried about snail mail hiccups, it is far easier to renew through the DRE’s eLicensing system. By using eLicensing to renew, you ensure your renewal will be submitted automatically.
The ethics of NAR
The DRE would like to remind agents that it is a separate entity from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Since NAR altered the frequency with which it requires its members to complete their Code of Ethics training (every two years as of 2017), the DRE has been inundated with calls from association members wondering whether this has changed any DRE requirements.
It has not.
As we’re keen on reminding people, no Realtor® association is directly associated with the DRE, and as the DRE notes, changes NAR makes to its requirements likewise have no bearing on those prescribed by the DRE.
Editor’s note — For those agents and brokers who have yet to fulfill this requirement, first tuesday offers a 3-hour ethics course accepted by most Realtor® associations.
The rise of virtual brokerages
As more and more aspects of a real estate brokerage’s business are conducted virtually, oversight of these brokerages —to “make sure they continue to comply with all the applicable real estate laws and regulations” — becomes more difficult.
However, California brokerages are required by law to have a physical location from which they conduct business, regardless of whether the brokerage primarily conducts business online. [Calif. Business and Professions Code §10162(a)]
What the DRE is most concerned with is the increasing difficulty of oversight — not just by the department but by the brokerages themselves — as brokerages become more and more virtual. The most important reminder the department offers here: “With a virtual file/document review system, a broker would need to…demonstrate how transactions and documents and files are to be reviewed remotely.”
To sum up: if you’re running a brokerage that is more virtual than not, make sure organization and oversight are top priorities.
Another mortgage fraud warning
The DRE also unsurprisingly includes in this bulletin a notice regarding the uptick in mortgage fraud complaints it has received so far this year.
The department has published numerous similar notices and alerts on the subject of fraud, including in recent bulletins, as fraud of all types remains a pressing issue.
Mortgage fraud complaints may be filed with the DRE here.
Further verification for continuing education
Sometimes, after a licensee has submitted their renewal to the DRE online, the department will request the licensee furnish them with physical copies of their Certificates of Completion.
Responding to a request of this nature is mandatory, and failure to do so may result in a fine or other disciplinary action, so remember — don’t ignore requests by the DRE for additional documentation. It behooves licensees to respond promptly and with all requested documents.
That’s it for this edition of the DRE’s Bulletin Digest — see you again in a few months!