Frequently Asked Questions
Can the Real Estate Commission give consumers legal
advice or help them settle disputes with real estate agents?
No. The Commission cannot enforce contracts or require real estate agents to
fulfill promises, reimburse money, or perform other acts. Persons who feel that
money is owed to them in a real estate transaction or that a sales contract,
lease, etc. has been breached should consult their private attorney for advice
What types of consumer complaints should
be reported to the Real Estate Commission?
Buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants and other persons involved in real estate
transactions who believe that they have been defrauded or victimized by the
improper or incompetent acts of a real estate broker should report their
complaints to the Real Estate Commission.
What happens when a complaint is filed with the
Real Estate Commission?
(1) Persons who wish to file complaints against real estate brokers (including
those associated with time share projects) should first obtain a
"Complaint Form" from the Commission Office or
online. (Use of this form enables the Commission staff to more
efficiently conduct its inquiry of the 1000- plus complaints received each
(2) Complaints are reviewed by the Commissions legal staff and, if
appropriate, an investigation or other inquiry is conducted.
(3) If, following an investigation or other inquiry, it is determined that there
appears to be sufficient proof ("probable cause") that the agent has
violated the Real Estate License Law or one of the Real Estate
Commissions rules, a hearing is ordered. [Note: The Commissions
hearings are conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act,
NCGS Chapter 150B.] During the hearing, the Commission receives the sworn
testimony of witnesses and affords the agent the opportunity to answer the
charges and present evidence in his or her defense. The agent may be
represented by an attorney, and a staff attorney represents the State.
(4) If, based upon the evidence, the Commission finds that the agent has
violated the Real Estate License Law or rules, it can either (a) reprimand
the agent; (b) suspend the agents real estate license for a
definite period of time; (c) revoke the agents license; or (d)
in the case of time share transactions, fine the time share
projects developer. [Note: Decisions of the Commission may be appealed by
licensees through the court system.]
Can the Real Estate Commission assist persons whose
funds have been fraudulently taken by a real estate agent?
Persons who give downpayments, earnest money deposits and other trust monies to
licensed real estate brokers to be held pending the completion of real estate
transactions, and whose funds are converted or embezzled by the broker, may, under
certain specific conditions, receive compensation from a Real Estate
Recovery Fund which is maintained by the Commission. (For information
concerning the procedures and requirements for receiving payment from the
Recovery Fund, interested persons should contact the Real Estate
Commissions Legal Services Division.)