#1- The salesperson exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes with 150 multiple choice questions (1.3 minutes per), 70% passing grade

#2- The broker exam is 5 hours with 200 multiple choice questions (1.5 minutes each, broker questions must be considered more difficult, you think), 75% passing grade

#3- Exams are offered in Fresno, La Palma, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Diego

#4- They are presented in computer format, and because of this change, your results will given to you upon completion. If you pass, no grade will be given. If you fail, you are given your grade, and an indication on how you did on the separate sections.

#5- Valid photo ID is needed; DMV card or license, Passports (US and others), U.S. Military Card

#6- Many items are not allowed in the classroom: cell phones, purses, wallets, backpacks and others, food or drink, study materials, PDA’s or computers, calculators, cameras, recorders, watches, pens, hats, lapel pins, tie tacs, weapons, and other items deemed inappropriate. No guns even if you have a carry permit and leave those tie tacs at home.

#7- Cell phones are locked up so they cannot be used even when you take a break

#8- Basic calculators are provided, and the key word here is basic

#9- You cannot inspect your answer sheet after the exam

#10- Penalties are discussed in Business and Professions Code 123 and others. The same old, same old. Except stealing exam questions, using stolen exam questions, taking exam materials out of the class, copying answers or allowing copying, taking an exam for someone else, talking in class, etc. has a penalty of $10,000 and the costs of the litigation.

#11- You can reapply to take the exam after you are told you failed.

#12- No limit on many times you can take the exam in the two year period. The fee to retake the exam is $60 salesperson/$95 broker.  If two years pass, you can continue taking it but you must submit a new application and meet the current Statutory requirements.

It is an easy process so if you have any questions, call our live staff and ask away.  800-439-4909.  See you in class.



Question for today:   Why should you pick a California company for Real Estate, Notary, and MLO education?

I am glad that you asked that question. There are many fine National Education Companies, BUT they are also some that are not so good. The problem: some of them do not have a clear knowledge of California regulations. Some companies on the Internet are from Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee, Utah, Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado, and many other parts of our great country.

*We are getting calls that some firms from out of state are not aware of the new required course on Management and Supervision.

*Many of their exam questions illustrate, for example, that states east of the Rockies do not have Trustee Sales and Use Abstracts of Title. One book we purchased from an Ohio company thought that all MLO’s are licensed by the Department of Business Oversight forgetting the California Bureau of Real Estate.

*Some salespersons want to get a Broker’s license, but cannot remember which three courses they completed for their first license. We have staff that understand this and are ready to call an extension at the BRE and get you an answer.

*Many out of state staff are not aware of the “Equivalent Experience” rules for Broker applicants.

*We recommend that applicants pay their application fee and exam fee at the same time so when they hit submit and get their passing grade they get their license immediately.

*Our staff knows the Associations and top companies around the State. We know that someone from Downey is not too far from a class in Anaheim or Cerritos.

*Our staff includes many real estate and notary licensees. They walked the walk and now they can talk the talk. Want someone licensed; ask for Duane, Bob, DJ, Lea-Ann, Carole, Christie, Grace, etc.

Want to get or renew a Real Estate Salesperson License, a Broker’s License, a Notary Commission or an MLO endorsement, call Duane Gomer Education. We have live people who can answer the phone or you can email us, you can text us, you can mail us, you can fax us, you can Facebook message us, you can contact us on Linked-In or you can come n into our office. We are ready to serve and earn your return business.

The mantra of our company is that we want to do such a respected and appreciated presentation that you return. We have built a business based on returning students since the start of Continuing Education for Real Estate in 1978.

To all of our past students: keep in touch, let us know how you are doing. See you in class!



We can talk all we want about our company, but I want to give you just two short testimonials we received recently:

These guys are incredible! I tried online courses for 3 years before trying Duane Gomer and dreaded it each year. Now I look forward to attending the class because I learn so much and it is actually fun!

An outstanding teacher. Highly focused material. Up to the moment information and documentation. Best CE session that I have experienced in my 29 years in this career.

So this is a short commercial. See you in class.



#1 – Number of agents as of Feb. 29, 2016: 412,815 and a big increase of 223 over the last month and an increase of 2,806 from last year and a decrease of 1,951 from two years ago. Still a long way to go to top 2008 when there were around 550,000.

#2 – The number of Brokers is dropping, only 135,352, a decrease of 3,662 from two years ago. Only 353 new brokers licensed last month. And it will be going lower.

#3 – Passing rate for February for Salespersons is: 53%; getting better compared to 48% two years ago. Time to take the test!

#4 – The passing rate for Brokers in February was 57%; getting better compared to 45% two years ago. Time to take the test!

#5 – Interesting renewal rates:  93% for salespersons compared to 74% two years ago. People are staying around as only 7% retired or passed away.

#6 – Renewal rate for brokers: 106%; how can it be more than 100%; the renewal rate is normally around 90%, but January was only 75% so many licensees must have been paying some late fees, which is 50% of the regular fees or $150.00

#7 – Investigations, Audits, Accusations, etc. all dropped.
Conclusions from the owner of an Education Company:

#1 – Sales examinations scheduled, increased to 31,266 for YTD this year from 25,935 in 2014. They are coming back. Passing rates are higher and the market has improved. Time to call Duane Gomer Education to register! Take three required courses and test prep course and join up. IT takes at least 53 days to complete. Do not have all the money at this time: We have a payment plan. See you in class!

#2 – Salespersons with two years’ experience can start on your broker courses. There will be a true shortage shortly. The CAR Directors sponsored a bill to disallow an applicant with any college degree to take this exam in lieu of two years of full-time work. Now only a Real Estate Major or Minor is allowed. (How many schools in Ca. have Real Estate Degrees?) This means the number of brokers has dropped and will drop further. There will be a shortage of brokers before much time passes. Also, the percentage of College Graduates in the business has dropped and will drop further. Guess the existing Brokers and CAR got their wish. Call Duane Gomer Education and get started on a new trail. See you in class!

#3 – Final thought: Getting a license is not simple. We have a great staff, many of them licensed, to answer your questions about Sales and Broker Exams. Call us and we can answer all of your questions.

Yes, you can sign up online, but many computer experts do not sign up for the proper courses. We are live and in living color.



We are doing an extensive rehab of our web-site to make it more social networking friendly and while doing so to improve some aspects. Time to change our mantra/slogan, mission statement, and description of what we do. The description is simple and already completed. I would like to discuss slogans and mission statement with you experts.

Most of the mission statements that I researched online were one sentence. However, H and R Block’s is about 14 long lines long. But I am searching for one good sentence.

Some mantra examples with no comment:   Micron: Performance. Power. Reliability;   CVS: Expect Something Extra; Estee Lauder: Bringing the best to everyone we touch; World Savings: How may we help you? (I guess they helped too many people to unsuitable loans); Owens and Minor: Delivering the difference; Jabel Circuits: Focused on Excellence.

Mission Statements: CVS: We will be the easiest pharmacy retailer for customers to use; Lockheed: We never forget who we are working for; Micron: Be the most efficient provider of semiconducter solutions. So many statements, so little time.

What do I want to work into mine? Want repeat students and raving fans; be creative and offer the best in education; constantly improving and growing, appreciate all students; extremely informative but still fun, be the company you think of when you think of real estate education, etc.

Any of you got any ideas? Free renewal course if any of your terms are used. Email any suggestions to Emily.Ponce@duanegomer.com. Onward and Upward with DGE;  DGE, the Career Builder, how to choose.



You at least get more time this year. April 15th is normal as you know, but Washington DC observes its Emancipation Day on that date so it goes to Monday, April 18th. If you are from Maine or Mass., you know that is Patriot’s day so you get until the 19th.

Do not have the money: go ahead and file your return or extension anyway because the late filing levy is 5% a month (this is called the Don Cordelone rule).

To avoid other penalties when you file the extension, send them some money. You can do it by check, IRS Direct Pay, or use your credit or debit card. Or there is an online payment agreement, and you can set up an installment plan and add more to our national deficit. There is even a penalty abatement program for first time offenders. Do not call. I say do not call that number you hear in radio and TV ads.

There are many alerts going out about scams at this time of the year. I got my first call a few days ago. “IRS is filing a law suit against you for this year so please call this number at once.” Do not call to complain about the call, you get put on another call more often list.

Note for Real Estaters:  Guarino, TC Summ. Op. 2016-12:   Mr. Guarino, a taxpayer in the business of brokering mortgages received a commission in connection with his purchase of a resident. That is income, pay tax. However, the Court ruled no self-employment tax because it was a personal transaction. For all you future Mr. Guarinos, when you are buying a property as a broker, negotiate a price with the normal commission and when feasible, renegotiate the price down with no commission for you.

One step further: When I did syndication investments on apartment houses, I normally took my commission as a 3rd on the property. This was to allow better leverage for the investors, a buffer on payments, and if the property was not successful, I got no money. One time IRS said, “You got a note for this much money.” Pay tax. I illustrated to them that just after the close; I went to a FDIC bank and asked them to buy the note. They said that the note was worthless to them at that time as a 3rd on a rental. I showed this to IRS and passed that audit item. I paid tax on the note when I got paid as the property was sold or traded, as the Lord intended.


++ Your chance of being audited on your 2015 return was 0.84%. Less than one in one hundred overall, extremely rare to be audited on under $50,000 gross income.

++ Over $1M the chance is 9.55%.

++ But want to increase your chances, use home as an office, pay lots of dividends to yourself  from self-owned company, have high medical, be a Real Estate Professional and deduct your Passive Losses, lots of auto mileage, a hobby with losses over income,

++ Small corporations are 0.92%. Why does it always seem that they are always picking on me?

++ IRS wants to control paid preparers by requiring competency exams. They want the paid boys with more than ten partnership/corporation returns to file electronically as they must now with ten individual returns. This one I agree with the IRS which does not happen very often.

++ A judge went to Tax Court as he wanted to deduct employee business expenses above the line because he is a public official. No go.

++ IRS is going door-to-door on preparers who are screwing around with the earned income credit. Big fraud.

++ Bartender can’t write off cost of business clothes even though his boss required all black. The Tax Court said no, as they “could be worn outside his workplace.” One auditor asked about my Polo bill for clothes and cleaning charges. I showed him my shirts and pants. They were embroidered with “Duane Gomer Seminars”, so they were deductible. I get so many good contacts walking around with my name on my shirt.



Hope you and I and all of our close people never have to worry about this, but understanding it would not be wrong no matter where you stand on the topic.

There are many restrictions. My Grandpa Gomer was a tough old German immigrant who at 84ish had constant terrific pain. It was difficult to see this man suffer so much and pleading for help. This law might have been considered.

To qualify:

Be a resident of California, 18 years of age or older and terminally ill with a capacity to self-administer.

Two physicians must confirm prognosis of six months or less to live and certify the patient has capacity.

Two oral requests a minimum of 15 days apart and one written with two witnesses present always.

Participation is voluntary for doctors, hospitals and pharmacists.

Patient can rescind.

Physicians must provide end of life alternatives.

To read the law: bit.ly/1CW1e4

Of course, this law will be tested in court by somebody so let’s hope that the appellate courts know what they are doing, for if it goes to SCOTUS, the vote will be 4 to 4.

So many things to think about, I now know how you felt Scarlet.



Reading my hard copy newspaper at lunch at my new favorite regular hamburger place (Habit with tempura beans).  I noted that three people of whom I am aware have birthdays on 4/1. Most of you are too young to know them.

Jane Powell-87; Debbie Reynolds-84; Ali MacGraw-77;

Jane Powell was in one of my most favorite musicals of all time, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” with Howard Keel. The dance scene at the building of the school house is number one of all-time. Anyone who loves dance can tell at once that was choreographed by Michael Kidd. However, one of her first movies (Date with Judy) is a pleasant movie memory, not that it was good for a high school senior boy, but it was the only one in town one afternoon.

Nicky Gallis and I played in the State Junior Boys Double Quarterfinals at Washington Park in Milwaukee. We were the hillbillies from Racine, but we beat the number two seeded team in the morning (Mackey Worth and Nelson Wild). We were scheduled to play in the semifinals against Wayne Cody and John Schulte in the afternoon. Date with Judy came in between.

Came back in the afternoon, and it would be nice to say that we beat them, but we lost in three long sets. They were number one seeded in Wisconsin and won the finals in straight sets the next day. However, we learned that day that we could play with anyone in the Midwest.

Debbie Reynolds from Burbank:  So many great movies. Tender Trap with Frank, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, but the one from 1952 is “Singing in the Rain” another tops of all time. O’Connor, Gene and Debbie; and Jean Hagen as the unsinging actress.

Ali MacGraw: Love Story, Goodbye Columbus, and Getaway. She was a true star and still looks fine. McQueen and MacGraw.

It is also Rachel Maddow’s 43rd, but no political discussions today.



This link was sent to me by Jim Arthur, one of our loyal students. He remembered from class that I had said I lived by the Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, for many years. Clayton and I both liked the Association spa set at about 110%, many long talks.

This rendition of the Bill Tell Overture by Glen Campbell is outstanding. Worth a 3 minute listen. As you probably know, Campbell was a studio guitarist before going solo. He can sure pick. Saw that documentary of his last tour, enjoyed it lots.

Father John Taylor: you have to check and copy his technique of playing on top of his head.




This newsletter is sent to my past students and other real estate professionals.  If you are not interested in receiving them, please opt-out at the top of this email and please accept my apology for any inconvenience.  I would like to mention that we receive many outstanding comments about our information.  Try us, you might like us.



Question           I’ve owned my buildings for several years; many of my residents are long-term tenants.  I don’t seem to have any current contact information for most of my residents.  The applications in the files are way out of date, and many files don’t contain any at all.  Even the applications that are in the files have old and outdated telephone numbers.  Do I have the right to request this information?

Answer            Of course.  It is a good management practice to maintain current information on all of your residents.  Prudent landlords will update the resident’s file annually with current telephone numbers, employment information, vehicle license plates, email and emergency contact persons and phone numbers.  Current telephone numbers should include home, work and cell numbers.  Rather than asking your residents to complete a new application, the better method is to prepare a resident information form requesting this information, and ask the resident to fill in the blanks.  Of course, it is also a good practice to photocopy rent checks as they are tendered to you.  Most residents will not object to providing this information to you and will gladly complete your form.  This simple exercise will identify the co-operative residents and will identify which residents are not.  Although California law does not require that the resident provide the requested information, it does not prohibit your asking.


Question           I’ve been thinking of installing a drop box somewhere on my property so that the residents can put their rent checks in it.  I’m thinking I’ll save them a stamp and get the rents sooner.  Any problem with doing this?

Answer            Many landlords do exactly that, most with absolutely no problems whatsoever.  If you are considering the practice, it is very important to install a secure box that cannot be removed or broken into, and provide your residents with written procedures regarding the use of the drop box.  Specifically, inform the residents that use of the box is optional; that they may use it for their convenience, but that there is a risk of loss or theft.  Rent will not be considered paid until you actually receive their check and the check clears the bank.  And of course, never deposit cash.  Also provide the residents with a physical address where they can personally deliver the rent, not a PO Box, if they prefer not to deposit the rent into the drop box.  By not requiring the use of the drop box, the resident will bear the risk of loss, until you actually receive the rent.  If you mandate the use of a drop box, and fail to provide a physical address for payment, or require payment to be made to a PO Box, courts will find that the risk of loss transfers to you upon their placement in the drop box, or in the mail.


Question           I just sent out my annual rent increases to all of my residents.  Because times are tough, I delayed sending them out, and I kept the increases minimal.  Well, I just got home, checked my messages, and got an earful from one of my more “vocal” residents.  She claims that I was retaliating against her, and that the rent increase notice was not valid.  Says that she won’t pay it, and that I violated the law by even giving it to her.  Something about her deducting $6.50 from her rent three or four months ago for a leaky faucet.  I remember that she shorted the rent, but I didn’t really mind, she took care of the dripping faucet herself.  What does this mean, what is “retaliation?”  Did I do something illegal by serving my annual rent increase notice?

Answer            No.  Although there are protections in place for certain tenant conduct, your resident is confused.  A landlord cannot punish a tenant for exercising a “legal right.”  The law offers tenants certain protections from retaliatory evictions and retaliatory acts.  California law will infer, or ‘presume’ that a landlord has a retaliatory motive if he seeks to evict the tenant or take other retaliatory action within six months after the tenant has exercised certain protected rights, including using the repair and deduct remedy, complaining about the condition of the unit to a public agency, after giving the landlord notice, or after filing a lawsuit based upon the condition of the unit.  The tenant must prove that she exercised one of these rights, in the past six months, and that her rent is current.  The landlord may counter, or ‘rebut’ the tenant’s claims of retaliatory conduct by establishing that he did not have a retaliatory motive.  If the landlord’s actions were based on a valid reason, and not in response to the tenant’s exercise of a protected right, then a court would find that the landlord did not retaliate.  If your annual rent increase was consistent with past practices, didn’t solely target this individual tenant, was based upon objective business reasons, and was not meant to “punish” this resident, then your rent increase would most likely not be deemed retaliatory.


Question           I’m in escrow to sell my rental home.  The tenants have lived there for several years.  I’m holding fifteen hundred dollars as security deposit, per the terms of the lease.  The tenants have paid rent late several times, incurring late fees which they never bothered to pay.  I also paid for a window that the residents’ child broke last year.  I asked the tenant to reimburse the cost, but they never did.  The buyer is demanding that he get credit for the entire $1500 at close of escrow.  This doesn’t seem right; can’t I deduct the money the tenant owes me, and give the buyer a credit for the remaining balance?

Answer            Yes.  When a rental property is sold, the selling landlord must either transfer the security deposit to the new landlord, or return the security deposit to the tenant after the sale.  Before transferring the deposits, the selling landlord may deduct money from the security deposit held.  Deductions can be made for the same reasons that deductions are made when a tenant moves out.  The selling landlord must then notify the tenants of the transfer in writing, as well as the amount and basis for each deduction, and the amount transferred to the new landlord.  The notice must include the name, address and telephone number of the new landlord.


Question           My rental agreement states that the resident cannot sublet the apartment or assign the lease.  I’m not sure I know the difference, can you explain?  And why is that provision even there?

Answer            Often times a tenant wants to move in a roommate during the term of the lease, or may wish to replace a recently departed roommate.  When a resident wants to remain in the unit, and allow another to reside with him, he wishes to “sublet” a portion of the unit to a third party.  When the resident gets a job transfer and wishes to move out, but wants to transfer the tenancy rights to another, he wishes to “assign” the lease to another.  It is important that landlords know who their residents are, and that proper screening techniques are utilized to ensure only qualified persons reside in the unit.  That is why rental agreements prohibit residents from assigning or subletting the tenancy without the landlord’s prior written consent.


This article is presented in a general nature to address typical landlord tenant legal issues.  Specific inquiries regarding a particular situation should be addressed to your attorney.  The Duringer Law Group, PLC, one of the largest and most experienced landlord tenant law firms, has successfully handled over 245,000 landlord tenant matters throughout California, and has collected over $155,000,000.00 in debt since 1988. The firm may be reached at 714.279.1100, toll free at 800.829.6994 or 877.387.4643.  Please visit www.DuringerLaw.com for more information and to sign up for our periodic newsletter.


Question Seems like more and more of my prospective residents have past due balances on their credit reports and outstanding collection accounts. Years back I wouldn’t even consider someone with a collection account, but if I did that now, I’d have an empty building! What do you think?


Answer According to a recent study just released by the Urban Institute, 35.1 per cent of folks with credit records have past due debt that is in collection. That’s one out of every three people you see on the street. Unpaid rent, student loans, credit cards, gym memberships, cell phone and medical bills are most common. As a Lessor your task is to weed out the applicants to determine which of the several will be the ‘best’ pick for your property and will more likely than not comply with the rental terms and honor the obligations created. Past articles have described the screening process and the criteria you should have established. Regarding debt and collection accounts, consider the amount outstanding, the type of debt (i.e. medical vs rent), whether or not the prospect voluntarily disclosed the obligation, and whether or not he/she is making an attempt to re-pay the obligation. Trust is key, a prospect who volunteers the information and is making an attempt at satisfying the debt is preferable to the applicant who doesn’t disclose the collection account, denies the obligation when asked or who blames the past landlord or other creditor for misdeeds. Of course, in an ideal world, all prospects would honor their credit obligations, pay their debts when due, and be honest and truthful in the application process.


Question Always been a nice and quiet community, no bother, no worries. Everyone kept to themselves; never ever had complaints about behavior. Well, that all changed when I rented to these last two characters! Ever since these clowns moved in, flashing me their ‘doctor’s note’ saying they could smoke pot, they’ve been puffing away ever since. Apparently they claim to be ‘disabled’ and that because they are ‘disabled’ they get to do whatever they want; smoke literally billows out of their apartment! I’m concerned about lots of things, but mostly, the little girl who lives next door, I believe that she’s asthmatic. How much more of this must I, and the neighbors take?


Answer The audacity of some medical ‘professionals’ to abuse and game the system by willfully prescribing the use of ‘medical marijuana’ to non-disabled fraudsters is an affront to all truly disabled persons. As of this writing, the use of marijuana, medical or otherwise, is still illegal under federal law. California enacted the Compassionate Use Act which allows for the possession of a limited amount of marijuana, for personal use, provided certain requirements are met. According to the California Department of Justice, qualified patients and caregivers may possess 8 ounces of dried marijuana, as long as they possess a state-issued identification card. In addition, they may only maintain 6 mature or 12 immature marijuana plants. Local governments may allow patients or caregivers to exceed these base levels. In addition, marijuana smoking is also restricted by location. It may not be smoked wherever smoking is prohibited by law, within 1000 feet of a school, recreation center, or youth center, on a school bus, or in a moving vehicle or boat. The right to ‘smoke’ marijuana in your apartment community is not automatic, and will depend upon the individual facts of each case. The use of non-medical marijuana is illegal under both California and federal law, and cannot be used or smoked anywhere, including your community, and can be grounds for termination of their tenancy. The use of medical marijuana requires that the user be disabled, and the disability must be ‘verifiable.’ Additionally, the disabled individual must request a “reasonable accommodation” from you the housing provider prior to just lighting up. Once the disabled person makes the request for a reasonable accommodation, you are obligated to consider the request, and attempt in good faith to accommodate the request in a reasonable manner. The accommodation does not necessarily require you to ‘grant’ the request outright, but you must make a good faith effort to provide an accommodation that addresses the disability, but does so in such a manner that it does not unreasonably ‘burden’ you the housing provider. The courts will apply a “benefit to the requestor” versus a “burden to the housing provider” standard in determining whether or not you met your obligation to reasonably accommodate the disability. In your specific situation, the initial hurdle for your new residents to surpass is to establish that one or both truly has a “verifiable” disability. A ‘doctors’ note, provided it has not been forged, although highly suspect will generally satisfy the extremely low threshold here in California. The reasonable accommodation, their request to smoke willy nilly within the apartment, must be balanced with the ‘burden’ to you the housing provider, and those other residents that might be affected, i.e. the asthmatic child living next door, or any other resident that has a sensitivity to second hand smoke. It is conceivable, and probably likely, that an asthmatic child when exposed to the smoke billowing from next door, might have a devastating and fatal reaction. Certainly the neighbor child, with a truly verifiable disability, asthma, is entitled to be free of the exhaled smoke as a “reasonable accommodation” for her verifiable disability. When balancing the “benefit” of being able to light up in their apartment, with the “burden” to you as well as the extreme life threatening burden to the asthmatic child, courts would most likely find that a reasonable accommodation would be to prohibit the smoking of the marijuana within the apartment unit, or in any place that might affect the asthmatic child, or others with such a sensitivity to smoke, but provide an area within the community, possibly a portion of the outdoor common area that may be used for the smoking of their medical marijuana, or may even require the tenant to ‘ingest’ the marijuana through prescribed pills or capsules or to ingest by eating, i.e. brownies. Remember, reasonable accommodation issues are extremely fact sensitive and the analysis is dependent on a proper review of the relevant facts. Always contact an experienced attorney when faced with a request for a reasonable accommodation, as the issues are typically complex and a reasoned response must be made in a timely manner.


Question I’ve always heard that I should post my rental criteria in a conspicuous place so that applicants can plainly see whether or not they are qualified before they submit their application. I typically require that the applicants combined income exceed three times the rent, however I might make exceptions. Also, in years past, a foreclosure on an applicant’s credit report was an automatic disqualifier, but after attending your tenant screening class, I have reconsidered. With so many exceptions to my rental criteria, my sign would be huge! How do I handle this?


Answer Yes, it’s a good practice to post your rental criteria in a conspicuous place. The details and specifics of your rental criteria, however, do not need to be included, as these details and specifics are not necessarily static, that is, they may change or evolve over time depending on your situation. For example, your three times income requirement may work fine if you have a single vacancy and a dozen applicants, however it may be a bit too restrictive in the present economy, or in the event you have three vacancies, your phone hasn’t rung in days, and you’ve only received a single application in the past two weeks. Every owner should establish the following as their general rental criteria. A qualified applicant should: i) have a verifiable and positive credit history; ii) have a verifiable and positive past tenancy history, iii) have sufficient and verifiable income to meet his or her present and future financial obligations, and iv) should not pose a risk of harm to the rental property or to others. These general rental criteria can and should be applied equally and fairly to all applicants, and in compliance with all fair housing rules. Once applied, the best applicant should be accepted, not necessarily the first to apply.


This article is presented in a general nature to address typical landlord tenant legal issues. Specific inquiries regarding a particular situation should be addressed to your attorney. The Duringer Law Group, PLC, one of the largest and most experienced landlord tenant law firms, has successfully handled over 235,000 landlord tenant matters throughout California, and has collected over $140,000,000.00 in debt since 1988. The firm may be reached at 714.279.1100, toll free at 800.829.6994 or 877.387.4643. Please visit www.DuringerLaw.com for more information.


Now that the market has slowed a bit – i.e. returned to normal— contingency offers are more common and, I would argue, more palatable than they have been during the past few years.


By contingency offer I mean an offer to purchase that comes from a buyer who still has to sell his house (or some other property) in order to perform.  His purchase offer is contingent on the sale and close of escrow of his property.  There are many other types of contingencies, and in that sense just about every purchase offer is contingent.  Some are contingent on the close of escrow on a property already sold.  Most offers are contingent on the buyer receiving full loan approval.  Most are also contingent on inspections yielding satisfactory results, or fixing things that need to be fixed.  Nonetheless, in the business, a contingency offer usually means one where the buyer has not yet sold his property.

There are certainly situations where it makes sense to entertain and perhaps accept a contingency offer.  It certainly makes sense when the number of potential buyers is not large.  This could be because of general market conditions, or it could be attributed to the fact that the property you want to sell has limited appeal, or maybe it is just in a price range out of reach to most.  In any of those conditions it makes sense to try to work with the proverbial bird in the hand.

Naturally there are factors to take into consideration.  A primary one is the salability of the buyer’s property.  What one especially wants to know is whether it is or will be priced right.  If the property is local, a listing agent should be able to get a good fix on this.  If it is out of the area it will probably be necessary to establish contact with a knowledgeable broker in that locale.  Some have suggested the strategy of insisting that the buyer’s listing price be reduced by a certain amount if a sale has not occurred within a specified amount of time.

Another consideration that has to be faced when considering a contingency offer is that you don’t want to lose potential market exposure while you are waiting for the buyer to try to sell his house.  The purchase contract (RPA-11) produced by the California Association of Realtors® (CAR) provides a means for dealing with this.

There is a provision in an addendum to the CAR contract that allows for the seller who is accepting a contingency offer to keep his property on the market, with the provision that, should he receive another acceptable offer, the contingency buyer has a specified amount of time (usually 72 hours) to remove the sale contingency, to remove the loan contingency, and to do whatever else will satisfy the seller.  Usually the latter means demonstrating that he, the contingency buyer, has the ability to close even if his house isn’t sold.

Frequently this condition is characterized, albeit inaccurately, as a 72-hour first right of refusal.  Regardless of the terminology, the point is that the contingency buyer has that amount of time to, as it were, fish or cut bait.

Sellers or their agents have often been reluctant to be in this “first right of refusal” situation, because they felt that no other agent would show their property.  Part of the reason for this concern was that the property would no longer be listed in “active” status in the multiple listing system (MLS), hence buyer’s agents would not even see it when they did a computer search.  In some MLS systems (such as California Regional MLS) there is a “middle ground” known as back-up status which means the property is still on the active market and the seller is soliciting further offers.  Good agents who are looking for property will not ignore such listings, but will call the listing agent to find out what the situation is.  Many would be willing to write a back-up offer, knowing of the contingency situation.

Needless to say, there are other factors to be considered as well when entertaining a contingency offer, but these are the primary ones.  One thing is for certain, there can certainly be worse things for sellers than a contingency offer – no offer at all.



Bob Hunt is a CAR director and is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.  His email address is scbhunt@aol.com


Many times, in the course of reviewing transaction files, I will read that an agent has recommended to the buyer that he or she should have the home inspected by a licensed home inspector.  While one has to appreciate the earnestness of such advice, it is nonetheless at least a trifle amusing.  This is because there is no licensing of home inspectors here in California.  California is one of 21 states that do not regulate home inspection services via some sort of licensing mechanism.

Of all people, real estate agents know that the mere possession of a license is no particular guarantee of service quality.  Nonetheless, when there is no licensing of what, to many, would seem a fairly technical business, questions do arise as to how one goes about selecting a practitioner.  One approach is to look for some sort of professional validation such as certification.

Indeed, a number of professional liability (Errors and Omissions) insurance companies provide incentives to their real estate customers to use certified home inspectors (or, to do the equivalent, obtain a “certified home inspection”).  But then the question arises, “Certified by whom?”  In some cases the insurance company may name which certifying organizations are acceptable; but, in others, the choice is left to the agent or broker.  The insurance company just wants to know the inspector is certified.

Just as possession of a license to do something is not guarantee of quality, neither is the fact that someone has been certified.  There are dozens of organizations that provide certification in the home inspection field, just as there are dozens of organizations that provide certifications in various aspects of the real estate business.  (One can only imagine how many real estate agents became “certified short sale specialists” during the past few years.)

Some certifying agencies are undoubtedly quite rigorous and good; others, not so much.  (As far as home inspectors go, I am neither qualified nor brave enough to single out here which are the really good ones.)

So what is a real estate agent to do when it comes to choosing or referring a home inspector?  (I include choosing because that is often what the client wants and requests.)  Obviously, in a state where licensing is required, then a license is a must.  Secondly, despite what has been said, an inspector should be sought out who has membership and training through one of the professional societies.  (It really doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to get an idea of which organizations seem substantial and which appear to be on the fly-by-night side.)

One of the most important things that an agent can do – that most consumers are just not in a position to do – is to ask around amongst one’s peers.  And I don’t mean that from the perspective that you want to avoid inspectors who have the reputation of being “deal killers.”  Sometimes that reputation just means that they are thorough, which, as a fiduciary, is just what you want.  (Although, on the other hand, it is perfectly legitimate not to want someone who is a bad communicator or who leans toward negativity.)

There are many specific questions to be asked: “What are their reports like?”  “Do they welcome buyers being present at the inspection?”  “What is their level of experience?”  “Do they carry professional liability (Errors and Omissions) insurance?”

A home inspection is one of the most important parts of a real estate transaction.  Not only should agents recommend that buyers obtain one, they should make every effort to see to it that the inspector is really good at what he or she does.  After all, you’d rather have the inspector tell you about a defect or problem, then to hear about it, after closing, from the buyer’s lawyer.




Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors® and is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.  His email address is scbhunt@aol.com


Assembly Bill 2018 (Bocanegra) is quickly working its way through the California legislature in Sacramento.  The bill deals with the use of team names and fictitious business names in the real estate business.  The bill is the result of collaborative work by The California Association of Realtors® (CAR) and The California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE).  It has no known opposition.  The bill passed out of the Assembly in May and is moving through Senate committees.  Its passage is extremely likely.  Real estate professionals should pay attention to provisions of the bill.

Some will remember that a little more than a year ago, the California BRE advised the real estate community of new guidelines it was adopting regarding team names.  This was occasioned by the Bureau’s concern that the increased use of team names made it difficult for consumers to identify who were the actual responsible parties of real estate activity conducted by agents affiliated with a team.

The initial guidelines published by CalBRE were fairly clear, but complying with them posed a variety of difficulties.  One problem was that they required that all team names be registered as fictitious business names (more commonly known as DBAs — for “doing business as”) of the broker, not the agent(s).  Thus, if I had a team name (“The Bob Hunt Team”) that became a DBA of the brokerage.  Of course, this, too, was somewhat misleading.  Because of this and other problems, CAR created a task force to work with the BRE on creating a policy that would be mutually satisfactory and that could be put into legislation (as an amendment to the Business and Professions Code).  Hence AB 2018.

The bill recognizes two kinds of names in addition to the use of a person’s actual name: team names and fictitious business names.  The following descriptions are taken from the actual language of the bill.  Any emphasis is added by me.

“Team name” means a professional identity or brand name used by a salesperson or broker associate.  A team name does not constitute a fictitious business name if all of the following apply:

(A)  The name is used by two or more real estate licensees.

(B)  The name includes a licensee’s surname in conjunction with the term “associates,” “group,” or “team.”

(C)  The name does not include terms that imply the existence of a real estate entity independent of a supervising broker.


(a) …advertising that contains a team name, including print or electronic media and “for sale” signage, shall include the licensee’s name and license number.

(b) The supervising broker’s identity shall be displayed as prominently as the team name in all advertising.

(c) The advertising material shall not contain terms that imply the existence of a real estate entity independent of the supervising broker.

As for fictitious business names, “A supervising broker may, by contract, permit a salesperson to do all of the following:

(A)  File an application with a county clerk to obtain a fictitious business name.

(B)  Deliver to the bureau an application, signed by the supervising broker, requesting the bureau’s approval to use a county approved fictitious business name that shall be identified with the broker’s license number.

(C)  Pay for any fees associated with filing an application with a county of the bureau to obtain or use a fictitious business name.

(D)  Maintain ownership of a fictitious business name, as defined…, that may be used subject to the control of a supervising broker.


Marketing materials, including print or electronic media and “for sale” signage, using a fictitious business name obtained in accordance with [the above] shall include the supervising broker’s identity in a manner equally as prominent as the fictitious business name.

… advertising, including print or electronic media and “for sale” signage, containing a fictitious business name obtained in accordance with [the above] shall include the salesperson’s name and license number.

There still may be some “tweaking” to do with AB 2018 – I know I can think of a few things – but no one should expect any substantial changes.  One thing in particular seems particularly unlikely to be changed.  That is the requirement – for both kinds of names – regarding the inclusion of the broker’s identity in all marketing materials and “for sale” signage.  In both cases, this is to be “equally as prominent” as either the fictitious business name or the team name.

It’s hard to see how this can be interpreted any other way than to mean that, on for sale signs and marketing material, the broker’s name will need to be no smaller in font size than the team or fictitious business name.  This represents a major departure from current practices where one is likely to see a Team Name this Big and a Broker Name this Big on the same sign.

AB 2018 is not emergency legislation and shouldn’t be expected to take effect immediately.  It probably won’t become effective until next year, maybe not even until June.  So why should real estate professionals be paying attention now?  Well, if you’re going to buy signs this year, you will probably expect them to last at least a couple of years.  It makes sense to give some thought to creating signs now that will be compliant in the years to come.



Bob Hunt is a CAR director and the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.  His email address is scbhunt@aol.com


California’s standard Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA), produced by the California Association of Realtors® (CAR) is undergoing a major revamping.  While the changes being made do not represent a radical transformation or restructuring of the nature of the agreement, there are still many, many changes.  Some of them are only slight alterations in wording; others are “tweaks” on the way certain issues are handled; and a few will constitute substantive changes in transactional practice.

It is often said that the armed forces of nations are constantly preparing to fight the last war in which they were engaged.  Something of that goes on in the revision of standard contracts as well.  We try to make revisions that will accommodate and account for the peculiarities and problems encountered in the most recent market.  But, sometimes, as markets inevitably change, those recent issues and problems just fade away.  To be replaced by new ones, no doubt.

In no particular order, then, we review some of the more noticeable changes to the California Residential Purchase Agreement.

  1. Added to the Financing section is a paragraph entitled Lender Limits on Buyer Credits.  It reads:  “Any credit to Buyer, from any source, for closing or other costs that is agreed to by the Parties (“Contractual Credit”) shall be disclosed to Buyer’s lender.  If the total credit allowed by Buyer’s lender (“Lender Allowable Credit”) is less than the Contractual Credit, then (i) the Contractual Credit shall be reduced to the Lender Allowable Credit, and (ii) in the absence of a separate written agreement between the Parties, there shall be no automatic adjustment to the purchase price to make up for the difference between the Contractual Credit and the Lender Allowable Credit.”

This is to say, a buyer who offers a big price, but then seeks to reduce it by asking for big credits, had better be prepared to deal with the lender’s disallowance of those credits.

  1. Another addition to the RPA is a section entitled “Representative Capacity.”  It deals with parties who are signing “in a representative capacity and not for him/herself as an individual.”  Such parties must complete a specified addendum and must deliver within three days after acceptance of the contract “evidence of authority to act in that capacity.”  Failure to deliver such evidence triggers a Seller’s right to cancel.
  2. Loan contingency is not automatically tied to appraisal.  “If there is no appraisal contingency or the appraisal contingency has been waived or removed, then failure of the Property to appraise at the purchase price does not entitle Buyer to exercise the cancellation right pursuant to the loan contingency if Buyer is otherwise qualified for the specified loan.”
  3. Added to the section detailing what items are included and excluded from the sale is a section for Leased or Liened Items and Systems. The need for this was occasioned primarily by the increasing presence of solar systems that come with a long-term lease.  The Buyer’s approval of and ability to assume the lease is made a contingency of the purchase.
  4. A large Scope of Duty section has been added to the purchase agreement.  It has nothing to do with contractual terms between buyer and seller.  It is a CYA section for the protection of brokers.  It details the many things that the brokers are not responsible for and that they are not required to do.  The entire section was taken from an existing buyer and seller advisory, which, unfortunately, is not always used by agents.
  5. A major change that will particularly be noticed by Southern California agents is the removal of the termite report from the list of inspections whose cost is allocated, by negotiation, either to the buyer or the seller.  Additionally, a widely-used addendum (WPA) – indicating who will pay for termite repairs – is no longer referenced in the contract.

This is not to say that buyers can’t get termite reports and request that repairs be made.  They can, just as they can with respect to roofs, windows, etc.  The point is that termite inspections will now be treated the same as any other inspection a buyer might want to make.  The same with the request to make repairs.  Termite work is no longer, so to speak, enshrined in the contract, and there is no implication that sellers must agree to bear the entire cost of termite repairs.

The revised purchase agreement is in its fourth and final draft form.  CAR members can view it on the Association Web Site at www.car.org.  Only a short period remains for comments to be submitted.  In August, CAR legal staff members will begin teaching courses on the new document.  It will be released for use in November.


Bob Hunt is a CAR director and a former chair of its Standard Forms Committee.  He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.  His email address is scbhunt@aol.com


Law book

The Summer 2014 issue of the Real Estate Bulletin, produced by the California Bureau of Real Estate, announces that the Bureau has finalized its authority to issue citations and assess fines without first going through a lengthy, and sometimes expensive, process of administrative hearings.  The details of the “cite and fine” program can be found in Business and Professions Code 10080.9 and Commissioner’s Regulations 2907 (effective July 1, 2014).  These codes not only set forth procedures for citing and fining errant real estate licensees, but also they provide for similar procedures to be applied to unlicensed persons who are doing things that require a license.


How will “cite and fine” work?  The Bulletin explains it thus:  “A citation or other formal action will be considered when a violation is found after an investigation, audit, or examination of a licensee’s records by CalBRE in response to a complaint, through random selection of a licensee for an office visit, or from completion of a routine audit.  Depending upon the nature (such as the level of seriousness and potential for harm) and type of the violation, the appropriate action will be determined.”


The Bureau says that “a citation is likely the appropriate action”  in cases of “relatively minor and technical violations, especially in those instances where there has been no injury or loss to a consumer…”.  They include in their examples of relatively minor violations “failure to disclose a real estate license identification number in their first point of contact advertising material”.  It seems a safe bet that another kind of violation that will make “easy pickings” and that will fit the “minor violation” criterion will be non-compliant signage such as signs that do not adequately identify the employing broker — signs where the agent or team name is in very large print and the broker’s name is in very small print.


The Bureau says that a citation will most likely “include an administrative fine assessed for each violation.  The range of a fine — or the total of a fine assessed to a licensee — is set by statute at $0 to $2,500.  The maximum fine amount for real estate licensees is $2,500 per citation…”  (Fines assessed against non-licensees may go considerably higher.)  “Before a fine amount is assessed, each violation is evaluated according to specified criteria, which helps establish an appropriate fine amount.”


Suppose a citation has been received.  “The citation will identify the violation(s) you committed, provide information on how to pay the fine, describe any corrective action needed (if necessary), and explain the process for contesting the citation, if you choose to.”  This process will be familiar to Californians who have already had experience with various traffic citations.  It is a bit of a twist on the principle of being assumed innocent until proven guilty.  You are presumed guilty unless you want to go to the time and expense of proving yourself innocent.


A cynic might perceive the cite-and-fine policy as a quick and easy way for the BRE to replenish its administrative coffers after years of budget cuts and restraints.  But this is not so.  “As for fines received by CalBRE, all money will go into CalBRE’s Real Estate Consumer Recovery Account, which is used to assist victims of real estate fraud committed by licensed agents and brokers.”


Offenders will appreciate the policy that “information regarding specific citations issued — and any fines paid — will not be posted on CalBRE’s website, nor will such information be attached to one’s individual public licensee website record.”  As it stands now, if there has been a hearing and a violation has been found, that information appears on the publicly-accessible website.  Still, the information is public and can be obtained through a Public Records Act request.


The Bureau says that it “considers the issuance of citations an opportunity to help educate both licensees and nonlicensees alike and to encourage and reinforce compliance with Real Estate Law.”  If that can be accomplished at a reasonable cost without a lot of hassle, it will be a good thing.


Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors and is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.  His email address is scbhunt@aol.com


DualAgencyA recent California Appellate Court ruling is liable to have major long-term consequences for the real estate practice of dual agency in the Golden State.  In this case (Hiroshi Horiike v. Coldwell Banker, Second Appellate District, April 9, 2014), the dual agency was not a matter of a single person – real estate agent – representing both buyer and seller.  Rather, it was a case of different agents from different offices (of the same firm) representing the two parties.


Chris Cortazzo, a salesperson for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage (CB) listed a property in Malibu in September of 2006.  In the listing, and on a flier, he stated that the home “offers approximately 15,000 square feet of living areas.”  The MLS service that provided public record information stated that the living area was 9,434 square feet.  The building permit indicates a single-family home of 9,224 square feet, a guest house of 746 square feet, a garage of 1,080 square feet, and a basement of unspecified area.  The listing agent had or subsequently obtained a letter from the architect “stating the size of the house under a current Malibu building department ordinance was approximately 15,000 square feet.”


An offer was made the following March.  In response to the buyers’ request for verification of the square footage, they were given the architect’s letter.  The listing agent also advised that they have a qualified specialist verify the square footage.  He also gave that advice on the Transfer Disclosure Statement.


Unable to obtain building plans or to receive an escrow extension for further investigation, the buyers cancelled.


In July, the listing field for square footage was changed to “‘0/O.T.’ by which he meant zero square feet and other comments.”


A couple of months later, the plaintiff, Hiroshi Horiike, was working with Chizuko Namba, a salesperson in another CB office.  She arranged for him to see the Malibu property.  Horiike received a copy of the flyer saying that the home “offers approximately 15,000 square feet of living areas.”  He made an offer and escrow opened in November.  Namba was provided with a copy of the building permit which she sent to Horiike along with other documents.


Both parties signed a confirmation of the real estate agency relationships as required by Civil Code section 2079.17.  They also signed a mandated agency disclosure form which describes various agency relationships and the duties of agents.    Among other things, that form says that “A real estate agent, either acting directly or through one or more associate licensees, can legally be the agent of both the Seller and the Buyer in a transaction…”  It also says that an agent in a dual agency situation has a fiduciary duty to both the seller and the buyer.


The transaction closed.  During the course of the transaction, Horiike did not receive advice to hire a specialist to verify square footage, as had the buyers in the previous transaction.


In 2009, Horiike reviewed the building permit in preparation for work on the property.  He could not verify the approximately 15,000 square feet of living area.  He sued CB and the listing agent.  He did not sue his agent, Namba, whom he said he liked.


The trial court granted one motion of nonsuit on the grounds that the listing agent had no fiduciary duty to the buyer.  Then the jury found that the listing agent had not made a false representation of a material fact, hence there was no misrepresentation.  It also found that he did not intentionally fail to disclose an important or material fact to the buyer.


Horiike appealed.  The Appellate Court said that “The motion for nonsuit should have been denied and the action…for breach of fiduciary duty submitted to the jury.”  Clearly, CB was a dual agent, and “When an associate licensee owes a duty to any principal…that duty is equivalent to the duty owed to that party by the broker…”  Thus, “The jury’s findings that Cortazzo did not provide false information to Horiike, or provided false information that he reasonably believed to be true, and did not intentionally conceal information, does not satisfy his duty to Horiike as a fiduciary.”  [my emphasis]  As a fiduciary, the listing agent should have gone the “extra mile” to provide the buyer with information about matters that concerned him.


The Appellate Court said that, because CB had fiduciary duties to the buyer, so, then, did its agents, both of its agents.  In short, the Court said that it is a mistake – and a common myth – that when there are two agents of the same company in a dual agency situation, each of them only has fiduciary duties to his/her personal client.  They are both the fiduciaries of both.  The case was remanded for a new trial.


There is a great deal of concern about this ruling in the California real estate community.  It runs counter to the way – rightly or wrongly — that agents and brokers have thought things were.  It certainly raises practical questions.  (In the case at hand, for example, the listing agent did not even speak the same language as the buyer.)


The California Association of Realtors® (CAR) will support CB in a petition for review by the California Supreme Court.  But this may be one of those situations where you should be careful what you ask for.  It is certainly possible that dual agency, as it is now commonly practiced in California, will become untenable.


Other states have dealt with this type of situation by creating a category called designated agents. The agents are, respectively, fiduciaries of only one party.  To be able to do this in California would require legislative action.  That would be a topic for another day.


Bob Hunt is a CAR director and is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.  His email address is scbhunt@aol.com


AdvertisingIt’s an old adage. “We know that half of advertising doesn’t work.  The problem is… We don’t know which half.”


Realtors® are fortunate in this regard.  They do know what advertising doesn’t work.  Or, if they don’t, at least they have the information available to them.


The information can be found in the annual National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.  Unfortunately, the information about advertising effectiveness – or the lack thereof – is easily overlooked, as it is somewhat buried in a literal mountain of other data.  There are lots of gems in the Profile that are, similarly, easy to overlook.


NAR has been publishing the yearly Profile for more than a decade now.  There has been an overall consistency to the questions asked and the topics covered, so that, in many cases, definite trends have emerged.  This is clearly the case with respect to advertising effectiveness.


Think of advertising as an information source about a particular product.  In the case of residential real estate, the product would be a home that is for sale.  For a typical listing, many different forms of advertising will be used.  Among the more common forms: placement in the MLS, posting on Internet sites, yard signs, newspaper ads, home books or magazines, and open houses.  Of course there are other less common forms such as television and even bill boards.


With the exception of the MLS, what all of these advertising forms have in common is that they are meant to provide at least initial information about the availability of the property to an audience of potential home buyers.  In the case of the MLS, information is provided to other agents who, in turn, will provide it to potential buyers.


We say that an ad is effective if, from among that audience, it provides the information to a person who becomes interested and ultimately purchases the property.  If the ad doesn’t do that, then, no matter how lovely or costly it might be, or how large an audience it reached, it is ineffective.


(O.K.  Timeout.  I know that real estate advertising may have other purposes as well.  One of its other purposes may be to provide an agent with good leads – regardless of whether they purchase the particular property advertised.  Another purpose may be – as in a splashy ad in the Sunday paper – to enhance the listing agent’s reputation among some target group of readers.  Here, we are considering the purpose of the ad from the perspective of the client – the owner and would-be seller of the property.)


We learn a lot from the Profile about the use of ad forms by home buyers.  Not surprisingly, they tend to use a variety of types of ads as sources of information.  The Internet is the most widely used source of information, whereas real estate agents are the second most used source of information .  51% of home buyers said that yard signs were an important or very important source of information to them; on the other hand, only 23% thought that of newspaper ads.


But what about the effectiveness of advertising forms?  Through what form of advertising did buyers find the home that they ultimately purchased?


The effectiveness of Internet advertising continues to grow.  This past year (July, 2012 – June, 2013) 43% of buyers found on the Internet the home that they ultimately purchased.  (Note:  they didn’t buy the home on the Internet; they found it there.  Almost all buyers used an agent.)  The information source second to that was real estate agents, which would be attributable to the MLS.  33% of buyers learned of the home they bought from an agent.  The third category?  Yard signs and open houses at 9%.


85% of the effective ads come from these three sources: Internet, agents (MLS), and yard signs.  The others, not so much.  Only 1% of buyers found their home through a newspaper ad.  Another 1% from a home book or magazine.


In real estate, at least, we know what advertising works and what doesn’t.  But we sure spend a lot of money on what doesn’t.  The explanation of that phenomenon I will leave to others.


Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors® and is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.  His email address is scbhunt@aol.com

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