Viewing Your Mandatory Company Policy As a Vital Brokerage Tool
We all know that every brokerage is tasked with developing a mandatory company policy. However, this document can serve a more important purpose. It can be used as a policy manual for brokerage operations and a vital training tool for new agents. Let’s take a look at the policy’s content and how it may be expanded upon to set brokerage policy and equip agents with the foundations for a successful practice.
- Setting the brokerage agency relationships. Most brokerages practice seller agency, buyer agency and dual agency. The distinction comes in when there is an in-company transaction. Smaller brokerages tend to practice dual agency on all in-company transactions. This is because the brokerage is so small it is impossible to segregate buyer’s agents from listing agents to preserve the confidential information of each respective side. Larger brokerages practice split agency on in-company transactions and limit dual agency to only those circumstances where a singular agent is involved. Which types of agency does your brokerage offer?
- Agents handling their own transactions. Is it your brokerage’s policy is to run these transactions through the brokerage? What happens if you represent a purchaser that is interested your home? You will recall that license law was recently amended to prohibit agents from acting as dual agents in transactions in which the agent is a principal or the agent has an interest in the entity that is a principal. The Company Policy should set forth the procedures to change the agency relationship so no dual agency is created.
- Confidentiality procedures. What are the brokerage’s policies for safeguarding its clients’ confidential information? Are there procedures for passwords, messages, files, intranets and social media? Each of these may unwittingly expose a client’s confidential information and is an opportunity to plan in advance how that information is to be protected.
- Dual agency. What is the brokerage’s procedure when a client refuses to consent to a dual agency? May the agent proceed anyway? How is an agency relationship terminated? What is the procedure for disclosing a material change to an agent’s status in a dual agency relationship?
Each of these items present an opportunity for the brokerage to develop procedures for agents to use as a tool in their practice. Rather than viewing the Company Policy as just another bureaucratic form, consider expanding its scope for an extended purpose of aiding existing and new agents through thorny agency issues.