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Staff Appearances

Dee Bigelow, Information Officer, spoke at the Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Meeting on August 11.

Miriam Baer, Executive Director, spoke at the Compass Real Estate – North Carolina Sales Meeting on August 17.

Sheryl Graham, Consumer Protection Officer, spoke at the REMax Master Key Meeting on August 31.

Current Stats: Monthly Licensee Count as of August 1, 2021

Did You Know: Fair Housing Resources

Did you know the Commission has published a new Fair Housing resource page on its website? Brokers and consumers can utilize this page as a tool to access more information regarding state and federal fair housing laws.

To access the Fair Housing Page:

  1. go to www.ncrec.gov;
  2. click on Resources; and
  3. click on Fair Housing.

For more information regarding the Commission’s website resources, contact the Commission at info@ncrec.gov or 919.875.3700.

HUD and FHFA Announce Collaboration to Advance Fair Housing and Fair Lending Enforcement

On August 12, 2021, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) entered into a first-of-its-kind collaborative agreement regarding fair housing and fair lending coordination. Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the two agencies will focus on enhancing their enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, and their oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) strengthens both agencies’ ability to enforce fair housing and fair lending requirements, by promoting information sharing, coordination on investigations, compliance reviews, and the ongoing monitoring of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agencies anticipate that the MOU will lead to stronger oversight that will help advance vigorous fair housing enforcement that can begin to redress our nation’s history of discriminatory housing practices. 

Memorandum of Understanding by and Between HUD and FHFA Regarding Fair Housing and Fair Lending Coordination​

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $7.2 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions. Additional information is available at www.FHFA.gov.​

Disciplinary Actions

MARTIN BIRENBAUM (LAKE LURE) – The Commission accepted the voluntary surrender of the broker license of Mr. Birenbaum effective July 14, 2021. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Mr. Birenbaum violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Mr. Birenbaum neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

SARAH M DRAUGHN (WINSTON-SALEM) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Draughn effective July 1, 2021. The Commission found that Ms. Draughn was the onsite agent for a listing firmwhich had received letters from the city’s Planning & Development Department indicating that a related entity’s planned subdivision was located in an airport overlay district which required written disclosure to prospective buyers. Ms. Draughn failed to provide any written disclosure as required.

GREGORY BRAXTON GARRETT (WINSTON-SALEM) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Garrett for a period of 12 months effective July 1, 2021. The Commission then stayed the suspension in its entirety. The Commission found that Mr. Garrett was affiliated with a listing firm and was BIC of a land development firm which had received letters from the city’s Planning & Development Department indicating that the land development firm’s planned subdivision was located in an airport overlay district which required written disclosure to prospective buyers. Mr. Garrett failed to provide the required written disclosure to at least three of the final six buyers in the subdivision.

CORTNEY LEIGH GRIFFIN (CORNELIUS) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Ms. Griffin for a period of 9 months effective July 15, 2021. The Commission then stayed the suspension in its entirety. The Commission found that Ms. Griffin listed her personally owned residential condominium unit which went under contract on November 23, 2020. On November 24, 2020, Ms. Griffin was notified of a proposed special assessment for exterior repairs and a 25% dues increase due to an underfunded HOA. Ms. Griffin failed to disclose the information to the buyer until December 8, 2020, after the buyer had paid a due diligence fee, earnest money deposit, and incurred home inspection and appraisal costs. The buyer terminated after learning of the HOA assessment and dues increase.

DAWN H HALL (WINSTON-SALEM) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Hall effective July 1, 2021. The Commission found that Ms. Hall, served as BIC of a listing firm which, through its QB, received letters from the city’s Planning & Development Department indicating that the it’s a related entity’s planned subdivision was located in an airport overlay district which required written disclosure to prospective buyers. Ms. Hall failed to provide the required written disclosure to at least three of the final six buyers in the subdivision.

CHRISTOPHER HOLT JACKSON (GREENSBORO) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Jackson for a period of three years effective July 1, 2021. The Commission then stayed the suspension in its entirety on the condition that he be ineligible to act as or become a BIC for a period of five years. The Commission found that Mr. Jackson timely self-reported that he pled guilty in September 2020 to a felony count of Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill. The conviction stemmed from an October 2019 driving incident during which Mr. Jackson, attempted to pass another vehicle, which struck Mr. Jackson’s mirror. Mr. Jackson, believing the other driver was attempting to run him off the road, responded by firing a handgun, striking the other vehicle. He received a sentence of 24-41 months, suspended, and was placed on 30 months supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay $622.50 in court fines and costs, and ordered to complete 50 hours of community service.

IAN KIEL MCADAM (GREENVILLE) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. McAdam for a period of 24 months effective July 1, 2021. The Commission then stayed the suspension in its entirety. The Commission found that Mr. McAdam, acting as the QB and BIC of a firm, failed to properly account for trust money resulting in a shortage in Mr. McAdams’ trust account. Mr. McAdam funded the shortage following the Commission’s audit. For one landlord-client, Mr. McAdam advertised rental properties under a firm name that is not licensed and did not deposit rental proceeds for that landlord-client in a trust account.

MCADAM REALTY LLC (GREENVILLE) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of McAdam Realty LLC for a period of 24 months effective July 1, 2021. The Commission then stayed the suspension in its entirety. The Commission found that McAdam Realty LLC, failed to properly account for trust money resulting in a shortage in its trust account. McAdam Realty LLC funded the shortage following the Commission’s audit. For one landlord-client, McAdam Realty LLC advertised rental properties under a firm name that is not licensed and did not deposit rental proceeds for that landlord-client in a trust account.

CHRISTINA COX MILES (WINSTON-SALEM) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Miles effective July 1, 2021. The Commission found that Ms. Miles was the onsite agent for a listing firm which had received letters from the city’s Planning & Development Department indicating that a related entity’s planned subdivision was located in an airport overlay district which required written disclosure to prospective buyers. Ms. Miles failed to provide any written disclosure as required.

RIVERBEND REALTY (LAKE LURE) – The Commission accepted the voluntary surrender of the broker license of Riverbend Realty effective July 14, 2021. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Riverbend Realty violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Riverbend Realty neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

JOHN NATHAN TABOR (WINSTON-SALEM) –Following a hearing, the Commission permanently revoked the broker license of Jonathan Tabor effective May 11, 2021. The Commission found that Mr. Tabor conducted brokerage activities prior to his licensure as a real estate broker by entering into a Finder’s Fee Agreement which called for his unlicensed company to receive a referral fee from a seller of a large portfolio of properties as consideration for referring a buyer to the seller. Following his licensure, Mr. Tabor continued to pursue payment of the referral fee for his unlicensed company, including placing a lien on the seller’s properties to prevent the sale of those properties without the unlicensed company first receiving compensation. 

MARY W TATUM (CHAPEL HILL) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Tatum effective July 1, 2021. The Commission found that in February 2020, Ms. Tatum listed a property and, on the RPOADS, Ms. Tatum’s seller-client checked “no” on question #8 regarding plumbing problems and indicated that the pipes were plastic. Ms. Tatum, however, indicated in the agent remarks of the MLS that the “master bath Jacuzzi is non-functional.” A buyer contracted to buy the property and obtained a home inspection which revealed water in the crawl space, rotten siding, electrical problems, polybutylene (“PB”) pipes, and other issues. Ms. Tatum’s seller-client then emailed her explaining that there was a leak under the master tub in 2014 and the pipes were capped which Ms. Tatum immediately forwarded to the agent for Buyer #1. Due to health, travel, and pandemic-related issues, Ms. Tatum was not able to meet with her clients to fully discuss Buyer #1’s inspection report or request for repairs before Buyer #1 elected to terminate its contract but the sellers employed service personnel to address the water under and around the house, the siding, the electrical issues and other repairs. Buyer #1 did not request any repair to the tub or pipes. The buyer released the inspection report to Ms. Tatum who re-activated the listing in the MLS but failed to have her seller-client update the RPOADS, or otherwise disclose the PB pipes or the defects revealed in the first buyer’s home inspection report. In April, 2020, Buyer #2 contracted to buy the property and ordered a home inspection which revealed some of the same defects as the first including the PB pipes and no water to the master tub. Buyer #2 subsequently terminated his contract. Ms. Tatum’s seller-client revised the RPOADS to indicate PB pipes and that the non-functional tub was being repaired. Shortly thereafter, the property was sold to Buyer #3 who accepted the property with PB pipes and declined to have any repairs made to the tub in exchange for other concessions.

WENDY TAYLOR (WINSTON-SALEM) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Taylor effective July 1, 2021. The Commission found that in March 2019, Ms. Taylor acted as listing agent for residential property. The seller informed Ms. Taylor that she had applied DRYLOCK to the basement walls but did not tell her that the basement walls had a history of leaking water, and the seller indicated “no” on the RPOADS in response to the question asking whether there were any problems or defects in the property’s foundation. The property went under contract and the buyer’s home inspection determined that previously patched cracks in the basement walls had reappeared, and that the reappearance of the cracks was due to hydrostatic pressure on the outside of the walls pushing the walls inward. The inspector recommended that the basement walls be examined by a professional engineer and repairs made, if necessary. A radon inspection ordered by the buyer also indicated that the radon levels averaged 8.3 pCi/L well above the recommended 4.0 maximum. After receiving the first buyer’s home inspection report, Ms. Taylor discussed the report with her seller-client who declined to hire anyone to inspect the basement walls but had a radon mitigation system installed. No subsequent radon test was performed to confirm the radon levels had lowered. After the first buyer terminated the contract, Ms. Taylor put the property back on the market without advising her seller-client to revise the RPOADS and without otherwise disclosing the information from the previous home inspection or radon inspection.

Staff Appearances & Updates

Appearances

Nick Smith, Consumer Protection Officer, spoke at the EXIT Realty Preferred Triangle Sales Meeting on July 14.

Jean Hobbs, Auditor/Investigator, and Danielle Alston, Consumer Protection Auditor, spoke at the Barker Realty Meeting on July 15.

Steve Fussell, Chief Consumer Protection Officer, spoke at the Allen Tate Company Meeting on July 20.

Sheryl Graham, Consumer Protection Officer, spoke at the REMax Master Key Meeting on July 22.


Updates

Nicole Bills has been named Executive Assistant.

Andrew Cox has been named Education Program Specialist.

Bryan Dowdy has been named License Application Specialist.

Beth McGonigle has been named Education Content Officer.

Allison Anderson has been named License Specialist.

Dee Bigelow has been named Information Officer.

Joshua Oglesbee has been named Software Developer.

A Regulatory Affairs Division Case Study: Square Footage – Don’t Include Unfinished or Unheated Areas

A listing agent listed a residential property and hired a vendor to measure the house and calculate its square footage. The vendor reported 1,811.6 sq.ft. on the first floor and 1,607.2 sq.ft. on the second floor for a total of 3,419 sq.ft.  of heated living area. In a separate category labeled “Non-living Area,” the vendor indicated there was an additional 1,294.4 sq.ft. of “Partially Finished Area (below grade).” This was an area in the basement that had a fireplace, but no permanent heat source. The listing agent included the unheated basement area as “Living Area Below Grade” in the MLS system and represented a total of 4,713 sq.ft. of heated living area instead of 3,419 sq.ft., an overstatement of 38%.

A buyer contracted to buy the property and paid a $1,000 due diligence fee and $4,000 earnest money deposit.  The buyer then ordered a battery of inspections costing $910.  When the buyer’s home inspector reported that the basement had no permanent heat source, the buyer asked for a price reduction. The seller refused to reduce the sales price. The buyer terminated his contract and requested refunds of the $1,000 due diligence fee, the $4,000 earnest money and reimbursement for the $910 in inspection costs. The seller agreed to release the earnest money, but refused to refund the due diligence fee or reimburse the buyer for the inspections.

The violations by the listing agent included N.C.G.S. § 93A-6(a)(1) – misrepresentation of material fact, (3) – false advertising, and (8) – being unworthy or incompetent to act in a manner which protects the public. The listing agent entered into a Consent Order with the Commission in which she agreed to complete additional real estate education and received a stayed suspension.

The listing agent did some things correctly. When advertising square footage, a licensee should verify the accuracy of the advertised square footage figure by measuring and calculating the square footage or by hiring a qualified professional to do so. The listing agent hired a qualified professional to measure but then failed to accurately report those measurements. Pursuant to the Commission’s Residential Square Footage Guidelines, a licensee should refrain from including in the heated living area any space that is not finished consistent with the main living area of the house and/or is not heated for year-round living.  If a licensee has questions about how to report square footage, licensees are encouraged to consult their broker-in-charge or call to speak with a Regulatory Affairs Division Information Officer at 919-719-9180.

Current Stats: Broker Licenses Issued per Year

The 12-hour Broker-in-Charge Course is Now a Self-paced, Online Course!

Brokers who wish to obtain BIC Eligible status must complete the 12-hour Broker-in-Charge (BIC) Course. Previously, the course was comprised of two segments, an 8-hour, self-paced online segment, and a 4-hour live segment instructed by Commission staff. However, as of July 1, 2021, the 12-hour BIC Course is a distance course, meaning it is a self-paced, online course.

Following are a few of the most frequently-asked questions about the 12-hour BIC Course.

How do I register for the 12-hour BIC Course?

To register for the 12-hour BIC Course:

  1. go to the Commission’s learning site (https://learn.ncrec.gov/);
  2. click on Register for New Courses;
  3. click on 12-hour BIC Course;
  4. click on Add to Cart; and
  5. click on Checkout.

In order to complete the purchase and begin the course, you will either need to login to your account on this site, or, if you have not previously created an account, you will need to create one. Be sure to enter your broker license number during registration if you wish to receive CE credit for the course.

Once the purchase is complete, you have a 30-day period of access to the course, per Commission Rule 58H .0404. If you fail to complete the course in full EITHER within 30 days from the date of registration OR by 11:59pm EST on June 10, whichever occurs first, then you will be required to register and pay for the course again and to restart the course.

When must I take the 12-hour BIC Course?

The 12-hour BIC Course must be completed EITHER within the year period prior to application for BIC Eligible status OR within 120 days after being granted the status.

What happens if I fail to complete the 12-hour BIC Course within 120 days of obtaining BIC Eligible status?

If you fail to complete the 12-hour BIC Course within 120 days after being granted BIC Eligible status, your BIC Eligible status, and, in turn, BIC Designation, will be terminated. In such case, you will not be granted BIC Eligible status again until the course is completed.

Will I get CE credit for the 12-hour BIC Course?

Yes. Upon successful completion of the 12-hour Broker-in-Charge Course, you will receive 4 hours of CE elective credit. The 12-hour BIC Course does NOT provide CE Update course credit.

For more information regarding the 12-hour BIC Course, contact the Commission’s Education and Licensing Division at LS@ncrec.gov or 919.875.3700.

Wendell Bullard Elected Chair and Mel Black Elected Vice Chair

Executive Director Miriam Baer announced that Wendell Bullard of Durham has been elected as Chair and Mel Black of Raleigh as Vice Chair of the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. Their terms will begin on August 1, 2021.

Wendell Bullard was appointed to the Commission by Governor Cooper in 2018. Licensed in 1994, he is Managing Broker at Bullard Properties, LLC, in Durham. He has experience in commercial brokerage, land, and residential sales. Bullard is a past President of the Durham Regional Association of REALTORS® and the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® and is a past REALTOR® of the Year in both organizations. He also served as a NAR® Director and REALTOR® Party Liaison for Community Engagement.

Mr. Bullard is also an original founding member of several charter schools in North Carolina.  He holds a B.S. in Marketing from North Carolina Central University and is a United States Air Force Security Specialists veteran.

Mel Black was appointed to the Commission by Governor Cooper in 2019. As a real estate and appraisal educator, Mr. Black develops and delivers real estate curriculum for the Colibri Group. As an attorney in private practice with Everett Gaskins Hancock, LLP, he focuses on administrative law and occupational licensing. Mr. Black is a third-generation broker and second-generation appraiser in North Carolina. He has been licensed as a broker since 1988 and certified as an appraiser since 1991.

Mr. Black is the former Executive Director of the North Carolina Appraisal Board and former Education and Examination Officer with the North Carolina Real Estate Commission.

He has been elected to multiple national positions, including president of the Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials, member of The Appraisal Foundation Advisory Council and its State Regulator Advisory Group, and member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation. For his service to North Carolina, Mr. Black was inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Mr. Black was named Educator of the Year by the North Carolina Real Estate Educators Association and received the Larry A. Outlaw Excellence in Real Estate Education Award from the North Carolina Real Estate Commission.

He holds a Juris Doctorate from the North Carolina Central University School of Law, an Educational Specialist degree from Appalachian State University, a Masters of Education from Winthrop College, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the State of New York. Mr. Black and his children, Andrew and Mari, are based in Raleigh.