We Answer Lots of Questions About Real Estate! Some We Do Not. Read This First Before Calling.

By Peter B. Myers,  Information Officer

Q:  Does the Commission Regulatory Affairs Division take general real estate questions?

A:  Yes. The Regulatory Affairs Division phone number is (919) 719-9180.

Q:  Who can call in with a question? Do you only take calls from real estate licensees?

A: Anyone can call us. We answer questions from licensees, consumers, attorneys, landlords, tenants, etc. If you are a licensee, we will ask you for your license number, but you don’t have to provide it.

Q: What kinds of questions will we answer?

A: As one might imagine, we get calls on a multitude of subjects. However, keep in mind that the Commission is the state agency that licenses and regulates real estate brokers so we primarily answer questions related to the License Law and Commission rules. Other questions related to real estate likely will not fall within the scope of what we can answer, but we will point the caller in the right direction or offer suggestions, depending on the nature of the question.

Q:  What kinds of questions will we NOT answer?

A:  We cannot give legal advice. We cannot solve disputes related to legal liability, lawsuits, contract disagreements, commissions owed by clients, landlord/tenant issues, and the like. Those questions are for a private attorney. Furthermore, the Commission cannot enforce contracts or require real estate agents to fulfill promises, reimburse money, or perform other acts.

Also, we do not resolve disputes over referral fees or commissions owed between real estate licensees. Those disputes are often resolved through arbitration by the local REALTOR® association, if you are a member. If you’re not a member, see your attorney or consider taking the matter to small claims court.

Q:  Will we take complaints related to disputes with attorneys, appraisers, home inspectors, lenders, etc.?

A:  No. Consumers should contact the North Carolina State Bar (for attorneys), the North Carolina Appraisal Board (for real estate appraisers), the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board (for home inspectors), the North Carolina Office of Commissioner of Banks (for banks, mortgage companies or mortgage brokers), or other appropriate agencies.

Q: What is the process for calling the Commission?

A: Call the number mentioned above and our administrative assistant will get your name and phone number, licensee number, and information about your question. One of our Regulatory Affairs staff will call you back in the order calls are received. We normally return our calls on the same day, assuming they are received before 4 p.m.. If not, expect a call back the next business morning. Keep in mind we return all our calls, so please be patient! We will return your call as soon as we possibly can.

Q:  When I get a call back, will I be speaking with an attorney?

A:  No. Although there are attorneys on staff at the Commission, they do not return general information calls. Calls are typically returned by a Regulatory Affairs Information Officer. As stated above, callers who need legal advice must call a private attorney.

Q:  Do we take complaints over the phone?

A:  We do not take complaints over the phone. We will not give an opinion whether there have been any violations of License Law of Commission rules or of a licensee’s guilt based on a phone call.  Complaints should be submitted in writing using the complaint form found on our website. The complaint can either be submitted online or mailed in to us at the address on the form. Relevant documents can also be attached and submitted online with the complaint. Complaints are assigned a case number and the Commission will send confirmation of receipt of the complaint by mail.

Q:  How should I present my question so I get a quick, efficient answer?

A:  That’s easy- keep it simple! Give us a quick, efficient question. Generally the Information Officer does not need to hear the detailed, exhaustive story before we know what your question is. We first need the basic facts. And please don’t forget: we need to know your question! Once we get your question, we can explore what other details might be necessary to fully answer the question.

Please ask us the question from the very beginning. Chances are we can answer it right off the bat. If not, we will ask for the information we need to give an answer.

Q:  Lastly, if I have a license and I call in a certain number of times, will I be put on a “watch list” or something like that?

A:  No. We will keep a written record of calls received, but we don’t monitor how often anyone calls.

This article came from the May 2017-Vol48-1 edition of the bulletin.