For Immediate Release - September 13, 2010

Investigation by Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Professional Licensure Shows Real Estate Licensees Regularly Fail to Disclose Whose Interests They Represent

Investigators find 94 percent of licensees checked not in compliance

BOSTON - September 13, 2010 - Pairs of investigators from the Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Professional Licensure, posing as consumers, visited 200 real-estate offices throughout Massachusetts and found that in only 12 instances, or 6 percent of the time, did real-estate licensees properly disclose to consumers whose interests they represent.

Under state regulations whenever a consumer asks a real-estate licensee to discuss a particular property, the licensee must disclose in writing whose interests the licensees represent, the buyer or the seller. Without such a warning consumers can make tactical mistakes in negotiating the best possible deal, such as disclosing their bottom-line price to a real-estate licensee who is actually the seller's representative.

"The summer and fall are periods when consumers are often active in the real-estate market. This effort is designed to ensure that consumers encounter real-estate professionals who are complying with the law," said George Weber, Director of Division of Professional Licensure.

Real Estate offices in over 40 cities and towns in all parts of Massachusetts were visited as part of the investigation. Each non-complying real-estate licensee will be sent a warning letter indicating that further noncompliance with state regulations could result in loss of a license to practice real estate.

"Adhering to these regulations is a simple task, but a very important one for real-estate brokers to follow," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "This disclosure is a fundamental piece of a transparent relationship between a broker and a homebuyer."

Consumers are urged to visit the Division of Professional Licensure's website at www.mass.gov/dpl and select the check a license option to determine whether a professional they are considering doing business with is licensed and in good standing.

The Division of Professional Licensure is a regulatory agency responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for approximately 330,000 licensees across 43 trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 Boards of Registration. The Division of Professional Licensure is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Follow the Office at www.mass.gov/consumer , its Consumer Connections Blog and at its Twitter feed, @Mass_Consumer.