I am getting ready to take a class in real estate consultancy. There is growing consumer demand for real estate services that are "unbundled" and consultancy is clearly an option that we need to review and develop as a business model. There's only one small problem. In Pennsylvania it is ILLEGAL for a real estate agent who is not a broker to use the dirty "C" word. Seems the PA State Real Estate Commission says real estate consultancy is an "art", according to attorney Ray J. Michalowski, Esq:
"The Commission recently ruled on whether licensed real estate salespersons may refer to themselves as real estate 'consultants' in an advertisement. Although there is little doubt that salespersons routinely provide services to their clients that constitute 'consulting' as that word is defined in plain English, the Commission has held that 'consultant' is a term of art in real estate and may only be used by licensed real estate brokers.
"The Commission’s view is based on the definition of 'Broker' found in the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act (RELRA), which defines a 'Broker' as someone who 'represents himself to be a real estate consultant, counselor, agent or finder.' An important question is raised by this definition; does this also mean that salespersons can no longer refer to themselves as 'agents'?
"Don’t panic, because while the terms 'consultant,' 'counselor' and 'finder' are off limits for salesperson advertising, the term agent is probably still safe to use.
"This is because the definition of 'Broker' is repeated in the Commission’s regulations and contains a minor, but significant difference stating that a 'Broker' is someone who 'represents himself or itself as a real estate consultant, counsellor or finder.' The word “agent” is absent from this version of the definition of “Broker”. In addition, the common use of the term “agent” to identify both brokers and salespersons in the real estate industry, and if fact throughout RELRA itself, make it very unlikely that any salespersons will be prosecuted for calling themselves 'agents'."
Well, it's resassuring to know we're not headed to the hoosegow if we call ourselves agents!