When to Sign The Consumer Guide to Agency Relationships

Blog, Real Estate

Consumer Guide to Agency Relationships

The Consumer Guide To Agency Relationships is one of two state-mandated forms that Realtors should be experts on before they even sit for the state licensing exam. So, when interacting with clients, why are Realtors failing to get a signature at the “first substantive contact”? This isn’t a case of “If you don’t use it you lose it” as is often what happens with subjects like math or a foreign language. This is a document required to be signed as soon as the agent-client relationship is triggered and failure to get said signature is a violation of Ohio’s Agency Law.

No one forgets to take the Consumer Guide with them to a listing presentation. The brokerage may even have a listing package already assembled for the agent’s convenience and you can be sure that’s not a document that is overlooked in the process. With that said, are agents explaining the form correctly? Are they remembering the Consumer Guide is to be the first form presented to and signed by the seller? Is the paperwork accurately completed if it’s not dated?

It seems the memory loss most often occurs with new agents and/or buyer agents. Oh, they might take the form with them. But alas, they get caught up in showing the first property, continue the momentum by showing the client a few more homes and, the next thing they know, the client is driving away without the signature on the form. “That’s OK”, says the Realtor, “I’ll get it signed the next time.” Wait, what? There’s a guaranteed next time? What if the alleged client was actually a checker or tester from the State?

Agents have actually said out loud, “I’ll have my client sign the form next time and just ask him/her to backdate it.” This means the Realtor must confess the error by saying, “I forgot to have you sign this state-mandated form the last time we met. Can you please sign it now and just backdate it for last Saturday?” Most clients will probably accommodate the request but do you think they will forget what they were asked to do? What if the client refuses to falsify the form? And again, what if this person is actually a checker or a tester from the State?

There is another stipulation connected to having a client sign the Consumer Guide at the “first substantive contact” and, if not done, is one of the thirty-eight ways to lose your license. Realtors are failing to leave true and accurate copies of all signed paperwork with their clients. This is not a tough requirement to fulfill!

  • Take two copies of every document, have everyone involved fill them out identically, leave one copy with the client and the agent can have the second copy for his/her records, or
  • Invest in a mini-printer that operates off the cigarette lighter in your car to make a copy, or
  • Take a photo of each page with your iPhone and email the pages to the client.

The Consumer Guide To Agency Relationships is a document that is thoroughly discussed in both the Law and the Principles & Practices classes for real estate pre-licensing requirements. Literally, this two-page form can be the undoing of your real estate career if not done correctly. Think about it.

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