Oregon brokers in drafting or revising their office policy manuals. A broker making use of this Model Office Policy Guide and sample agreements remains.
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1 MODEL OFFICE POLICY GUIDE This Model Office Policy Guide is provided free to member brokers as a service of the Oregon Association of REALTORS® . The Guide is designed t o be used as a reference tool to assist Oregon brokers in drafting or revising their office policy manuals. It is assumed that all associates will have separate written independent c ontractor agreements with Broker. For Broker™s convenience, a sample copy of an independe nt contractor agreement suitable for use with this Guide is included in Chapter X, Approved Forms, of this Guide. Also included are sample agreements for divided control and supervisi on of associates and for licensed personal assistants. The Guide and sample agreements are not intended to substitute for Broker™s own careful consideration and judgment regarding what written p olicies, procedures and agreements are in the best interests of the brokerage. Instead, the Guide and sample agreements are intended to aid brokers by suggesting areas typically covered by su ch agreements and office policy manuals. Similarly, the language used in the Guide and sampl e agreements is intended to suggest the kind of language that might be used in such documents. It is not necessary, or even desirable in all circumstances, to use the exact language found in t he Guide and sample agreements in developing your own office policy and agreements. A broker making use of this Model Office Policy Gui de and sample agreements remains responsible for developing their office policies an d establishing desired legal relationships with others. Brokers should seek the counsel of their o wn attorney in drafting agreements and office policy manuals and have the finished product review ed by that attorney. The legal relationship between 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 m anner in which they conduct themselves on a day-to-day basis. Brokers should discuss these mat ters with their attorney before implementing changes in agreements or office policies and proced ures.
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2 TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION .5 CHAPTER I .6 STATUS OF ASSOCIATES ..6 Work For Mutual Benefit ..6 Control and Supervision of Broker Associates .6 Independent Contractor Relationship 7 Termination of Independent Contractor Relationship 7 Authority of Associates .7 Relations with Other Associates .8 Personal Disagreements ..8 Disagreements Concerning Policy or Procedures ..8 Disagreements Concerning Real Estate Law, Rules or Transactions 8 CHAPTER II GENERAL OFFICE POLICIES ..9 Nondiscrimination 9 Office Security 9 Office Conduct ..9 Maintaining Contact with Office .10 Telephones, Computers and Other Telecommunication E quipment 10 Office Records .10 Advising Clients .11 Reporting Problems .11 Floor Time .12 Sales Meetings .12 Tour of Homes .12 Personal Safety 13 Absences ..13 Company Signs 13 Office Hours .13 Legal Assistance .14 Associate Business Expenses ..14 Review of Documents ..14 Office Records .15 Personal Transactions 15 Personal Assistants 16 Licensed Assistants ..16 Associate Coordination Arrangements 16 Unlicensed Assistants ..17 CHAPTER III ADVERTISING ..18 Broker Provided Advertising .18 Associate Advertising ..18 Internet Policy .18
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3 Special Promotions 19 Open Houses .20 CHAPTER IV CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION POLICY AND PRO CEDURES .21 CHAPTER V LISTING POLICY ..23 Listing Agreements ..23 Agency Disclosure .23 Disclosed Limited Agency 23 Designated Agency 23 Lead-Based Paint Disclosure .24 Property Security ..24 Listing Processing Procedures ..25 Cancellation of Listings .25 Cooperation with Other Companies .25 CHAPTER VI BUYER™S BROKER .26 Buyer Agency ..26 Buyer™s Broker 26 Disclosed Limited Agency 26 Designated Agency 27 Procedures When Representing Buyers .27 CHAPTER VII SELLING PROCEDURES .28 Handling Prospects ..28 Providing Information ..28 Screening 28 Working With Prospects .28 Offers .28 Confidentiality 29 Standard Forms 29 Presentation of Offers 29 Counter Offers 30 Referral Fees .30 CHAPTER VIII CLOSING EFFORTS .31 Listing Associate .31 Selling Associate .31 Failed Transactions ..31 CHAPTER IX EDUCATION 32 State Mandated ..32 Professional Development 32 CHAPTER X APPROVED FORMS 33 SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY .33 Generally 33 Definitions. .33 Enforcement. .33 INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR AGREEMENT 35 EXHIBIT A ..38
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5 INTRODUCTION This Office Policy Manual is the property of ______ _____________________________ (Company). It is provided for the mutual benefit of ________________________________(Broker) and the In dependent Contractor Broker Associates (Associates) licensed or otherwise assoc iated with Broker. Associates acknowledge their status as independent contractors and underst and that the policies and procedures outlined in this Manual are provided as a guide to assist As sociates in conducting their business affairs in cooperation with other Associates and in a manner c onsistent with Broker™s duties under state law. Nothing in the Manual is intended to create a n employment contract or in any way vary the terms of an Associate™s separate Independent Contra ctor Agreement. Broker may amend or change these policies at any time. Should these po licies be amended, Broker will notify Associates and make the changes available for Assoc iates™ inspection and use. It is the Associates™ responsibility to keep apprised of curr ent office policies.
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6 CHAPTER I STATUS OF ASSOCIATES Work For Mutual Benefit Associates have agreed to use their best efforts an d work diligently to solicit customers, sell, exchange, lease or rent properties and promote the real estate transaction business for their own benefit, the benefit of fellow Associates and of Br oker. Broker has agreed to provide Associates with current property listings and cooperate with Associates in obtaining a mutually advantageous business relationship. As Broker™s age nts pursuant to ORS 696.026, Associates agree to act at all times in the best interest of B roker. The policies and procedures set forth in this Manua l are intended to guide Associates as Broker™s agents and enhance the best efforts and cooperation of Associates by establishing office procedures and policies that will assure the mutual benefit contemplated by Broker and Associates alike. As such, these policies and proc edures are not to be construed as terms of a contractual agreement. The policies contained in t he Manual do not create an employment contract. Control and Supervision of Broker Associates Associates acknowledge their status as independent contractors and understand that the policies and procedures outlined in this Manual are provided as a guide to assist Associates in conducting their business affairs in cooperation with other As sociates and in a manner consistent with Broker™s duties under state law. Real estate licen se law requires Broker to supervise and control the professional real estate activity of Associates . State license law allows Broker to divide control and supervision of Associates with other qu alified principal brokers by written agreement. Each Associate who has not entered into a written C ontrol and Supervision Agreement (see Chapter X) with Broker shall be, for the purpose of real estate license law, associated with Broker or a principal broker who has by written agr eement with Broker agreed to supervise and control the Associate™s professional real estate ac tivity. Associates shall be notified of the principal broker responsible for control and superv ision of their professional real estate activity. Associates acknowledge that such control and superv ision applies only to those activities real estate license law requires Broker to supervise and control. Associates understand they remain solely responsible for the conduct of their own bus iness affairs. Each Associate who has entered into a written Contr ol and Supervision Agreement with Broker shall obtain a principal broker license if they wil l supervise and control the professional real estate activity of other Associates. Each Associat e who has entered into a written Control and
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8 between Broker and the Associate. Associates shall have no authority to vary commission terms from those previously approved by Broker without fi rst obtaining Broker™s consent. Relations with Other Associates Associates are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner in their relations with other Associates. Each Associate working as an ind ependent contractor has agreed to use his or her best efforts to promote their own and Broker™s businesses. To that end, courtesy and cooperation among Associates is expected. Personal Disagreements Personal disagreements not involving real estate tr ansactions, office procedures or policies or real estate rules and laws should be resolved betwe en Associates without the matter affecting other Associates or involving participation by Brok er. Broker is, however, available to informally assist Associates in resolution of such disagreements. No Associate shall allow any personal dispute to disrupt the operation of the of fice or interfere in any way with the transaction of professional real estate activity. Disagreements Concerning Policy or Procedures Any dispute among or between Associates with respec t to the application of the policies and procedures contained in this Manual will be decided by Broker or Associate™s principal broker. Decisions in such matters will be final, however, n o decision regarding policies and procedures shall operate to, or be construed to, amend, alter or conflict with any Associate™s rights or duties under their independent contractor agreement. Any d ispute or disagreement concerning independent contractor agreements shall be resolved as provided in the independent contractor agreement itself. Disagreements Concerning Real Estate Law, Rules or Transactions Any dispute among or between Associates involving a ny real estate transaction or application of real estate laws or rules shall be immediately brou ght to the attention of Broker or Associate™s principal broker. Such disputes shall be resolved in accord with applicable real estate rules and law. Decisions in such matters shall be final. Dec isions regarding real estate law, rules or transaction are made pursuant to the supervisory du ties imposed on Broker and his authorized designees under real estate law and shall not be, o r construed to be, the exercise of direction or control over Associates 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 Broker that all professi onal real estate services and activities conducted under Broker™s, or his authorized designee™s, super vision be provided 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 Associat es are expected to know and abide by all state, federal and local laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination. No unlawful discrimination by Associates of any kind will be tolerated, nor shall any Associate be a party to any plan by others to unlawfully discriminate. To assist Associates i n meeting their responsibility to avoid sexual discrimination in the work place, a copy of Broker™ s sexual harassment policy is attached to this Manual. Broker will not discriminate against Associates, or other office personnel, in any manner inconsistent with state, federal or local law. Bro ker shall provide reasonable accommodation to disabled individuals otherwise qualified for employ ment or association with Broker unless such accommodation would impose an undue hardship. All Associates and office personnel shall report immediately to Broker, or Associate™s princi pal broker, any violation of this nondiscrimination policy. Office Security Associates and office personnel issued office keys shall be responsible for the keys and making certain that the office is locked after regular bus iness hours. The last person leaving the office shall insure that the doors and windows are locked, that lights and office equipment are turned off and the security system activated. Broker shal l 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 Broker, or Associate™s principal broker, immediately. Office Conduct All Associates and staff are expected to dress and conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. No drugs or alcohol are allowed in t he office and their use will not be tolerated during working hours or in any circumstance where s uch use is illegal or could otherwise reflect negatively on Broker, the Company and other Associa tes. Associates shall be responsible for keeping neat and clean any office work area they us e . Associates who use office facilities such as conference rooms or other meeting areas, are res ponsible for making sure the room is returned
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10 to its pre-meeting condition and is ready for use b y others. Eating or smoking is allowed only in areas, if any, designed for such use by Broker. Br oker shall be responsible for the general cleaning and maintenance of the office. Maintaining Contact with Office The conduct of professional real estate activity re quires that Associates be available to Broker, and to clients and customers, to the greatest exten t possible. Associates should, therefore, maintain contact with the office during business ho urs and let others know their location and how and when they can be reached. Broker will coop erate with Associates in establishing an office check-in procedure and the means for determi ning, by sign-in/sign-out board or otherwise, the location and time of return of all Associates. Telephones, Computers and Other Telecommunication E quipment An office telephone system is provided by Broker fo r the conduct of real estate business. Associates may use the office telephone system for that purpose and should familiarize themselves with the system and its operation. It i s 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 business p urposes are allowed. Associates should keep a log of their long distance calls that shows the per son contacted, the subject discussed and the property involved. Associates may answer phone calls to the office and direct the caller appropriately, take a message or forward the call to the appropriate voic e mail. Messages for Broker or other Associates should be taken carefully and in suffici ent detail so that the message can be understood. All messages should include the date a nd time of the message, the caller™s full name, the return phone number and the initials of t he person taking the message. Any use of Company computers, email, web sites or other electr onic media furnished by Broker shall conform to the Company Internet Use Policy (See Cha pter III). Office Records All records of professional real estate activity co nducted by Associates are the property of Broker. All records shall be maintained in a manne r consistent with Broker™s Confidential Information Policies and Procedures (see Chapter IV ). Records of professional real estate activity cannot be removed from the office without Broker™s express permission. Associates are required to turn over to Broker all records of thei r professional real estate activity in a timely manner for filing in accord with Company records po licy. All records and communications of any kind regarding Associates™ professional real es tate activity are to be considered confidential and treated accordingly. Associates may not use co nfidential information obtained during their
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11 association with Broker to the detriment of Broker or any client or customer. Associates shall strictly obey policies intended to protect the conf idential information of clients. Advising Clients Associates may explain to clients and customers the preprinted provisions of the standard listing, sales and other approved forms the client or custom er is asked to sign. Associates may also explain to customers or clients general legal matte rs involved in the purchase or sale of real property in Oregon. Associates shall not, however, give legal advice to clients or customers. Associates shall not advise clients or customers on whether a particular agreement or term is enforceable, whether they have the right to rescind an agreement or otherwise can take legal action against someone. Associates must not attempt to apply specific factual circumstances to legal principles in order to solve, or suggest a so lution to, a legal problem or question. In such circumstances, the Associate should explain that th ey are not qualified to give legal advice and recommend the client or customer seek private legal counsel. The Associate shall report any request for such advice to Broker, or Associate™s p rincipal broker, immediately and document by letter to the client or customer that the client wa s advised to seek legal counsel. No Associate will advise any client or customer on tax laws or r egulations or any tax liability or advantage resulting from the sale or purchase of real propert y. Reporting Problems It is understood that Associates, though operating as independent contractors, act as agents of Broker and must, therefore, keep Broker informed of their activities. Associates shall immediately bring any of the following situations t o Broker™s attention: < Any substantive complaint involving a real estate transaction. < Any disclosure, or potential disclosure, of confid ential client information. < Any accident or injury that occurs while conductin g professional real estate activity. < Any criminal charge against an Associate other tha n a traffic infraction. < Any civil suit, subpoena, or other legal document concerning real estate activity of the Associate. < Any contact by or with any real estate licensing a gency. < Any threat of any legal action against the Associa te or Broker on account of the Associate™s professional real estate activity. < Any act of discrimination. < Any unresolved dispute with another real estate li censee, in-office or not. < Any other situation involving professional real es tate activity that could lead to liability on the part Broker or anyone associated w ith Broker. 99 KB – 46 Pages