As spring kicks into gear, so does real estate season in New York, and that means the real estate scams begin as well -- especially fake brokers who claim to have a license. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
When hiring a broker, most people will check on a broker’s history, credibility and references. But many forget to ask for one key thing all brokers need -- a license.
"You can’t sell real estate in the city of NY or the State of NY without a license," says Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. "If you are looking to buy or sell or rent an apartment, you should make sure that the person is a licensed agent."
Now that spring is here, the sale and rental markets kick into high gear and things will move even more quickly. Spinola says people need to make sure they are working with legitimate brokers.
"They are obligated to carry their license with them all the time, so if you want to see their license you should ask. You can also go on to the New York state website and put in their name under the licensing section and if their name doesn't pop up, then the chances are they don’t have a license," Spinola says. "You should not be doing business with anyone who does not have a license."
To obtain a real estate license, agents need take an extensive course and pass an exam.
It is illegal for a firm to send a salesperson out to show you a home until the coursework is completed and the license is issued.
So watch out if the person can’t produce a license immediately or if the license and business card don’t have the same name.
"Worst case scenario, if the person doesn’t have a license, it could just be a false offer of a piece of real estate and you could end up paying money and end up with the door remaining locked and you don’t have a place to stay," Spinola says. "That’s the real fear of what might be going on."
If someone gives excuses as to why they don’t have a license or can’t produce it, watch out. It is also illegal for an agent to accept a commission without that license.
So if you plan to work with a broker any time soon, just make sure to deal with a reputable company and legitimate broker.
Before you say 'I’ll take it,' do your homework and know who you are dealing with to make sure you’re not the one being taken.