Buyer Agency Agreements

Commission Rule 58A .0104(a) has long required brokers to enter into written agency agreements. Listing agreements must be in writing and signed by the broker and client at the time their agency relationship is formed. Buyer agency agreements must be in writing and signed by the broker and client no later than the time of making an offer. Note that the rule does not prohibit a broker from entering into a written buyer agency agreement earlier than the time of offer submission. Accordingly, the proposed rule change for REALTORS® does not conflict with the Commission’s rule.

Additionally, NCGS § 93A-13 prohibits a broker from filing suit for recovery of brokerage compensation unless the agreement is in writing. Therefore, brokers need to be in compliance with NCREC rules in order to avoid disciplinary action and in order to recover a commission through the civil court if the client fails to pay.

The Commission does not have jurisdiction regarding the setting or advertising of commissions. Commission Rule 58A .0109(f) specifically notes that the NCREC will not act as a board of arbitration and shall not compel parties to settle disputes concerning such matters as the rate of commissions, the division of commissions, pay of brokers, and similar matters. The NCREC reminds all of its licensees that brokerage commissions remain a negotiable term between the broker/firm and client.

Finally, it is important to remember that Commission Rule 58A .0112(b)(1) bars a broker from using a preprinted offer or sales contract form containing any provision concerning the payment of a commission or compensation to a broker or firm. While a client may consider the amount of commission when considering making or accepting an offer, the broker/firm should not be made a third party in a form purchase contract between the buyer and seller. The current standard form residential contract includes a provision allowing the seller to pay an agreed amount toward any of buyer’s expenses.

The NCREC understands that the real estate industry is always evolving, and our role is to ensure whenever possible that these changes benefit consumers and to assist NC brokers in understanding their duties. The NCREC remains dedicated to fostering a market that prioritizes consumer interests, fair competition, and transparency. We also remain available to answer questions about the application of the License Law and Commission rules to help brokers and consumers better navigate their transactions.