Am I a team?
Va. Code 54.1-2100 states that a Real estate team is “two or more individuals, one or more of whom is a real estate salesperson or broker who (i) work together as a unit within the same brokerage firm, (ii) represent themselves to the public as working together as one unit, and (iii) designate themselves by a fictitious name.
This is a 3-part definition. The two or more individuals must meet all 3 parts of the definition to be considered a team under the law.
What does it mean to “work together as unit within the same brokerage firm”?
Although this is not specifically defined in the law, if two or more individuals in the same brokerage firm are working together consistently on transactions, they would likely be considered as working together as a unit.
How do I know if we are representing ourselves to the public as working together as one unit?
In evaluating this part of the definition, one would likely look at your advertising. Are you telling the public that you work together? Are you advertising together as a unit? Do you share a website? Are you telling potential clients that you work together? If the answer is yes, you would likely be seen as representing yourself to the public as a unit.
How do I know if we are using a fictitious name as noted in the teams definition?
A fictitious name, as used here, simply means that you are calling yourselves something other than the name on your individual real estate salesperson license or d/b/a.
My name is Jon Smith and my team is called The Jon Smith Team. Since “Jon Smith” is the name on my license this is not really a fictitious name, right?
Your individual real estate salesperson license likely does not read “The Jon Smith Team”. If you are using a name that is not on a real estate license, it is a fictitious name under the teams statute.
I am currently co-listing some properties with a new agent in my office just until she gets the hang of things and feels comfortable listing on her own. Are we a team?
Probably not. Although you are two licensees working together in the same firm, you are not holding yourselves out to the public as a unit, and you are not using a collective name. You are merely providing some temporary training, so this would likely not qualify as a team.
I am bringing on a licensed assistant, but I wasn’t planning on advertising as a team. Will having a licensed assistant force me to do so?
To be considered a real estate team, you must represent yourselves to the public as working together as one unit. For example, if you have a licensed assistant, but you continue to advertise as an individual agent and call yourself by your licensed name, Jane Doe, you will not be considered a team. However, if as an individual agent, you have a business entity and would like that entity to receive commissions for tax or liability purposes, you would need a business entity salesperson license.
Can a team be made up by individuals in other industries, such as a lender?
No, the law states that real estate teams are two or more individuals, one of whom is a licensee, who work together as a unit within the same brokerage firm.
If I don’t use “team” or “group” in the name, do I have to abide by the new requirements?
There are no special words that mean you are or are not a team. If you meet the three part definition, regardless of what words you use, you are a team and will need to abide by the laws regulating Teams to be compliant.