Principal Brokers in drafting or revising their office policy manuals. A Principal Broker making use of this Model Office Policy Guide and sample
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1 MODEL OFFICE POLICY GUIDE This Model Office Policy Guide i s provided free to member s as a service of the Oregon Association of REALTORS®. The Guide is designed to be used as a reference tool to assist Oregon Principal B rokers in dra fting or revising their office policy manuals. It is assumed that all Brokers will have separate written independent contractor agreements with Principal Broker. For Principal able for use with this Guide is included in Chapter X, Approved Forms, of this Guide. Also included are sample agreements for divided control and supervision of Associated Principal Brokers and for licensed personal assistants. The Guide and sample agreements are not intended to sub stitute for Principal careful consideration and judgment regarding what written policies, procedures and agreements are in the best interests of the brokerage. Instead, the Guide and sample agreements are intended to aid Principal B rokers by suggesting areas typically covered by such agreements and office policy manuals. Similarly, the language used in the Guide and sample agreements is intended to suggest the kind of language that might be used in such documents. It is not necessary, or eve n desirable in all circumstances, to use the exact language found in the Guide and sample agreements in developing your own office policy and agreements. A Principal B roker making use of this Model Office Policy Guide and sample agreements remains respons ible for developing their office policies and establishing desired legal relationships with others. Principal Brokers should seek the counsel of their own attorney in drafting agreements and office policy manuals and have the finished product reviewed by that attorney. The legal relationship between Principal B rokers and Brokers can be affected in complex ways by the terms of any agreement between them, the nature and terms of any office policy and the manner in which they conduct themselves on a day – to – d ay basis. Principal Brokers should discuss these matters with their attorney before implementing changes in agreements or office policies and procedures.
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Table of Contents Introduction .. .. .. .. .. 5 CHAPTER I – STATUS OF BROKERS .. .. .. .. 6 Work for Mutual Benefit .. .. .. .. 6 Control and Supervision of Brokers .. .. .. 6 Independent Contrac tor Relationship .. .. . 7 Termination of Independent Contractor Relationship .. . 7 Authority of Brokers .. .. .. 7 Relations with Other Brokers .. .. .. . 8 CHAPTER II GENERAL OFFI CE POLICIES .. .. .. 9 Nondiscrimination .. .. .. 9 Office Security .. .. .. . 9 Office Conduct .. .. .. 9 Maintaining Contact with Office .. .. .. 10 Telephones, Computers and Other Telecommunication Equipment .. 10 Office Records .. .. .. .. 11 Advising Clients .. .. .. 11 Reporting Problems .. .. .. .. 11 .. .. .. .. 12 Floor Time .. .. .. .. 12 Sales Meetings .. .. .. . 12 Tour of Homes .. .. .. . 13 Personal Safety .. .. .. 13 Absences .. .. .. .. .. 13 Company Sig ns .. .. .. . 14 Office Hours .. .. .. .. 14 Legal Assistance .. .. .. .. 14 Broker Business Expenses .. .. .. . 15 Review of Documents .. .. .. .. 15 Office Records .. .. .. .. 15 Personal Transactions .. .. .. .. 16 Personal Assistants .. .. .. 16 Licensed Assistants .. .. .. 17 Broker Coordination Arrangements .. .. .. 17 Unlicensed Assistants .. .. .. .. 17 CHAPTER III ADVERTISING .. .. .. 19 Principal Broker Provided A dvertising .. .. .. 19 Broker Advertising .. .. .. . 19 Internet Policy .. .. .. .. 19 Special Promotions .. .. .. 21 Open Houses .. .. .. . 21
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3 Virtual Tours .. .. .. .. 21 CHAPTER IV CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION POLICY AND PROCEDURES .. 22 CHAPTER V LISTING POLICY .. .. .. . 24 Listing Agreements .. .. .. 24 Agency Disclosure .. .. .. .. 24 Disclosed Limited Agency .. .. .. .. 24 Lead – Based Paint Disclosure .. .. .. 25 ure Statement .. .. 25 Property Security .. .. .. 26 Listing Processing Procedures .. .. .. . 26 Cancellation of Listings .. .. .. 26 Cooperation with Other Companies .. .. .. 26 CHAPTER VI .. .. .. 27 Buyer Agency .. .. .. 27 .. .. .. .. 27 Disclosed Limited Agency .. .. .. .. 27 Designated Agency .. .. .. 28 Procedures When Representing Buyers .. .. .. 28 CHAPTER VII SELLING PROCEDURES .. .. . 30 Handling Prospects .. .. .. . 30 Providing Information .. .. .. .. 30 Screening .. .. .. .. .. 30 Working with Prospects .. .. .. . 30 Offers .. .. .. .. 31 Confidentiality .. .. .. .. 31 Standard Forms .. .. .. 31 Presentation of Offers .. .. .. . 32 Counter Offers .. .. .. . 32 Referral Fees .. .. .. . 32 CHAPTER VIII CLOSING EFFORTS .. .. .. .. 34 .. .. .. . 34 .. .. .. . 34 Failed Transactions .. .. .. 34 CHAPTER IX EDUCATION .. .. .. 35 State Mandated .. .. .. .. 35 Professional Development .. .. .. 35 CHAPTER X APPROVED FORMS .. .. .. . 36 SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY .. .. .. . 36 Generally .. .. .. .. .. 36 Definitions .. .. .. .. 36 Enforcement .. .. .. . 37
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5 I ntroduction This Office Policy Manual is the property of ___________________________________ (Company). It is provided for the mutua l benefit of ________________________________ ( Principal Broker) and the Independent Contractor Broker licensed or otherwise associated with Principal Broker. Brokers acknowledge their status as independent contractors and understand that the policies and procedures outlined in this Manual are provided as a guide to assist Brokers in conducting their business affairs in cooperation with other Brokers and in a manner consistent with Principal ed to create an employment contract or in any way vary the terms of a Broker Contractor Agreement. Principal Broker may amend or change these policies at any time. Should these policies be amended, Principal Broker will notify Broke rs and make the changes available for Broker s inspection and use. It is the Broker s responsibility to keep apprised of current office policies.
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CHAPTER I – STATUS OF BROKERS Work f or Mutual Benefit Brokers have agreed to use their best efforts and work diligently to solicit customers, sell, exchange, lease or rent properties and promote the real estate transaction business for their own benefi t, the benefit of fellow Brokers and of Principal Broker. Principal Broker has agreed to provide Brokers with current property listings and cooperate with Brokers in obtaining a mutually advantageous business relationship. As Principal Brokers agents, pu rsuant to ORS 696.026, Brokers agree to act at all times in the best interest of Principal Broker. The policies and procedures set forth in this Manual are intended to guide Brokers as Principal n of Brokers by establishing office procedures and policies that will assure the mutual benefit contemplated by Principal Broker and Brokers alike. As such, these policies and procedures are not to be construed as terms of a contractual agreement. The po licies contained in the Manual do not create an employment contract. Control and Supervision of Broker s Brokers acknowledge their status as independent contractors and understand that the policies and procedures outlined in this Manual are provided as a g uide to assist Brokers in conducting their business affairs in cooperation with other Brokers and in a manner consistent with Principal Principal Broker to supervise and control the profess ional real estate activity of Brokers . State license law allows Principal Broker to divide control and supervision of Brokers with other qualified P rincipal B rokers by written agreement. Each Broker who has not entered into a written Control and Superv ision Agreement (see Chapter X) with Principal Broker shall be, for the purpose of real estate license law, associated with Principal Broker or a P rincipal B roker who has by written agreement with Principal Broker agreed to supervise and control the Broker Brokers shall be notified of the P rincipal B roker responsible for control and supervision of their professional real estate activity. Brokers acknowledge that such control and supervision applies only to those activi ties real estate license law requires Principal Broker to supervise and control. Brokers understand they remain solely responsible for the conduct of their own business affairs. Each Broker who has entered into a written Control and Supervision Agreement with Principal Broker shall obtain a P rincipal B roker license if they will supervise and control the professional real estate activity of other Brokers . Each Broker who has entered into a written Control and
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contracts and other approved documents on behalf of Principal Broker. Broker s acting in supervisory roles have the authority of other Broker s plus those contained in the Control and Supervision Agreement between Principal Broker and the Broker . Broker s shall have no authority to vary commission terms from those previously approved by Principal Broker without first obtaining Principal Relations with Other Brokers Broker s are expected to conduct themselves in a prof essional manner in their relations with other Broker s. Each Broker working as an independent contractor has agreed to use his or her best efforts to promote their own and Principal cooperation among Broker s is expected. Personal Disagreements Personal disagreements not involving real estate transactions, office procedures or policies or real estate rules and laws should be resolved between Broker s without the matter affecting other Broker s or involving participation by Principal Broker. Principal Broker is, however, available to informally assist Broker s in resolution of such disagreements. No Broker shall allow any personal dispute to disrupt the operation of the office or interfere in any way with the transaction of professional real estate activity. Disagreements Concerning Policy or Procedures Any dispute among or between Broker s with respect to the application of the policies and procedures contained in this Manual will be decided by the supervising Principal Broker or the office managing P rincipal B roker. Decisions in such matters will be final, however, no decision regarding policies and procedures shall operate to, or be construed to, amend, alter or conflict with any Broker disagreement concerning independent contractor agreements shall be resolved as provided in the independent con tractor agreement itself. Disagreements Concerning Real Estate Law, Rules or Transactions Any dispute among or between Broker s involving any real estate transaction or application of real estate laws or rules shall be immediately brought to the attention of Principal Broker or the office managing P rincipal B roker. Such disputes shall be resolved in accord with applicable real estate rules and law. Decisions in such matters shall b e final. Decisions regarding real estate law, rules or transaction are made pursuant to the supervisory duties imposed on Principal Broker and his /her authorized designees under real estate law and shall not be, or construed to be, the exercise of directio n or control over Broker s in the manner and means by which they conduct their business efforts under independent contractor agreements.
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9 CHAPTER II GENERAL OFFICE POLICIES Nondiscrimination It is the strict policy of Principal Broker that all professional real estate services and activities conducted under Principal /her equally and fairly to all members of the public without regard to sex, race, color, religion, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, sources of income, age or ancestry. As independent real estate professionals, all Broker s are expected to know and abide by all state, federal and local laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination. No unlawful discrimination by Broker s of any kind will be tolerated, nor shall any Broker be a party to any plan by others to unlawfully discriminate. To assist Broker s in meeting their responsibility to avoid sexual discrimination in the work place, a copy of Principal policy is attached to this Manual. Principal Broker will not discriminate against Broker s, or other office personnel, in any manner inc onsistent with state, federal or local law. Principal Broker shall provide reasonable accommodation to disabled individuals otherwise qualified for employment or association with Principal Broker unless such accommodation would impose an undue hardship. All Broker s and office personnel shall report immediately to supervising Principal Broker, or office managing P rincipal B roker, any violation of this nondiscrimination policy. Office Security Broker s and office personnel issued office keys shall be responsible for the keys and making certain that the office is locked after regular business hours. The last person leaving the office shall insure that the doors and windows are locked, that lights and office equipment are turned of f and the security system activated. Principal Broker shall not be responsible for the loss or theft of personal property left at the office. Any lost or stolen office key must be reported to Principal Broker, or the office managing P rincipal B roker, imm ediately. Office Conduct All Broker s and staff are expected to dress and conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. No drugs or alcohol are allowed in the office and their use will not be tolerated during working hours or in any circumstance where such use is illegal or could otherwise reflect
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negatively on Principal Broker, the Company and other Broker s. Broker s shall be responsible for keeping neat and clean any office work area they use. Broker s who use office facilities such as conference rooms or other meeting areas, are responsible for making sure the room is returned to its pre – meeting condition and is ready for use by others. Eating or smoking is allowed only in areas, if any, designed for such use by Pri ncipal Broker. Principal Broker shall be responsible for the general cleaning and maintenance of the office. Maintaining Contact with Office The conduct of professional real estate activity requires that Broker s be available to Principal Broker, and to clients and customers, to the greatest extent possible. Broker s should, therefore, maintain contact with the office during business hours and let others know their location and how and when they can be reached. P rincipal Broker will cooperate with Broker s in establishing an office check – in procedure and the means for determining, by sign – in/sign – out board or otherwise, the location and time of return of all Broker s. Telephones, Computers and Other Telecommunicat ion Equipment An office telephone system is provided by Principal Broker for the conduct of real estate business. Broker s may use the office telephone system for that purpose and should familiarize themselves with the system and its operation. It is important that lines remain open for incoming calls. Therefore, phone use should take no longer than necessary and be limited to business calls only. Long distance telephone calls for busi ness purposes are allowed. Broker s should keep a log of their long – distance calls that shows the person contacted, the subject discussed and the property involved. Broker s may answer phone calls to the office and direct the caller appropriately, take a m essage or forward the call to the appropriate voice mail. Messages for Principal Broker or other Broker s should be taken carefully and in sufficient detail so that the message can be understood. All messages should include the date and time of the messag phone number and the initials of the person taking the message. Any use of Company computers, email, web sites or other electronic media furnished by Principal Broker shall conform to the Company Internet Use Policy ( See Chapter III).
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11 Office Records All records of professional real estate activity conducted by Broker s are the property of Principal Broker. All records shall be maintained in a manner consistent with Principal Conf idential Information Policies and Procedures (see Chapter IV). Records of professional real estate activity cannot be removed from the office without Principal Broker s are required to turn over to Principal Broker all records of their professional real estate activity in a timely manner for filing in accord with Company records policy. All records and communications of any kind regarding Broker considered confidential and treated accordingly. Broker s may not use confidential information obtained during their association with Principal Broker to the detriment of Principal Broker or any client or customer. Broker s shall strictly obey policies intended to protect the confidential i nformation of clients. Advising Clients Broker s may explain to clients and customers the preprinted provisions of the standard listing, sales and other approved forms the client or customer is asked to sign. Broker s may also e xplain to customers or client s general legal matters involved in the purchase or sale of real property in Oregon. Broker s shall not, however, give legal advice to clients or customers. Broker s shall not advise clients or customers on whether a particula r agreement or term is enforceable, whether they have the right to rescind an agreement or otherwise can take legal action against someone. Broker s must not attempt to apply specific factual circumstances to legal principles in order to solve, or suggest a solution to, a legal problem or question. In such circumstances, the Broker should explain that they are not qualified to give legal advice and recommend the client or customer seek private legal counsel. The Broker shall report any request for such adv ice to Principal Broker, or office managing P rincipal B roker, immediately and document by letter to the client or customer that the client was advised to seek legal counsel. No Broker will advise any client or customer on tax laws or regulations or any ta x liability or advantage resulting from the sale or purchase of real property. Reporting Problems It is understood that Broker s, though operating as independent contractors, act as agents of Principal Broker and must, therefo re, keep Principal Broker informed of their activities. Broker s Any substantive complaint involving a real estate transaction. Any disclosure, or potential disclosure, of con fidential client information.
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