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Dos & Don'ts for Unlicensed Sales Assistants in Real Estate

Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian is a real estate investor, MBA, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

Unlicensed sales assistants can help agents run real estate businesses. However, sales assistants must adhere to strict legal guidelines while working. Let's explore some of the duties assistants should and shouldn't perform by law.

A Real Estate Apprenticeship

Jake recently graduated college. He got a job working for his uncle Rob, who is a local real estate agent. Jake wants to become a real estate agent like his uncle, so he is getting as much experience as he can before he gets his own license. Jake will be working as an unlicensed sales assistant, or an unlicensed personal assistant working in the real estate field. Both Jake and Rob must insure that Jake's duties do not fall into the scope of practice that requires a real estate license.

Local regulations will dictate the exact scope and limitations of assistant duties. However, most of the allowable and restricted tasks are common between the states. Both agents and their assistants should check local laws before setting job descriptions. Let's look at what kind of general tasks Jake may do, as well as those he is typically restricted from performing.

Typical Duties of Sales Assistants

As an unlicensed sales assistant, Jake can perform many routine tasks around the office. He can take phone calls, schedule appointments, prepare paperwork, provide bookkeeping services or publish new or changed listings in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Jake can perform many duties outside the office too. He would be allowed to have keys made for a property, if needed. He may also pull public document records for property deals such as deeds or utility information. He may also act as a courier by delivering keys or documents. Additionally, he could accompany Rob to property showings for security purposes or to assist in handing out fliers or feedback forms. If Jake is handy, he could even perform maintenance tasks at listed or managed properties.

Duties Unlicensed Sales Assistants Cannot Perform

Until Jake gets his real estate license, he must be extremely careful to not do anything that would fall under the exclusive duties of a real estate agent. Jake absolutely cannot represent himself to the public as an agent. That would include not clearly identifying his role as an assistant to clients or other business contacts. He cannot show properties, offer opinions to buyers and sellers, or negotiate real estate deals.

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