It was such a hopeful headline: The new real estate broker relationships law “protects home buyer,” it said in The Oklahoman of Nov. 11, 2000.
What it didn't say is what it took awhile for Realtors, and buyers, to figure out: “New law confuses everyone” when it comes to kinds of brokers and which kind of broker is responsible for doing what for whom in a property transaction.
Now, after a dozen years, corrections have been made again (the law was tweaked once before) — and Realtors and their regulators are happy again. The hope is that consumers will be, too.
House Bill 2524 streamlines the Oklahoma Broker Relationships Act. It comes after a two-year effort by the Oklahoma Association of Realtors and Oklahoma Real Estate Commission. It started in the House and this week passed the Senate with changes, so it now goes back to the House — and the Realtors expect it to sail to the governor's desk.
That was then
The 2000 law it aims to fix authorized two types of broker relationships, a “transaction broker” and a “single-party broker.”
A transaction broker was defined as “a broker who provides services by assisting a party in a transaction without being an advocate for the benefit of that party.” Under the law, a transaction broker was to operate as a facilitator without favoring one side over the other, and under the law a broker was presumed to be a transaction broker.
A single-party broker was defined as a broker entering into a written agreement with a party in a transaction to provide services for the benefit of that party. Single-party brokers were to operate like the traditional real estate licensee had in the past, offering a variety of services for the exclusive benefit of a customer. Under the law, single-party brokers could work with both the buyer and seller in a transaction and obtain consent from at least one party in order to become a transaction broker.