Good and Necessary to be Licensed

Ancient history in the world of periodicals but it’s still worthwhile reading. Writing in the Spring 2011 edition of Resource, the Minnesota Association of Realtors periodical, Brad Boyd, MNAR Legal Counsel and attorney with Thomsen, Nybeck, P.A. unequivocally reiterates the statutory requirement for property management firms to hold a real estate broker license.

This is as it should be if only because management handles other people’s money. A broker license is no guarantee of excellence in service. However, it does bespeak a minimum level of competency for management firms. (A small but important distinction: individual managers need not hold more than a real estate salesperson license so long as their activities are overseen by a broker.)

So why am I fussing at all about this? The need for such licensing is plain on the face of it, yet I’ve come across more than a couple instances where the management firm is either not properly licensed or not licensed at all. (Read all the details on The MN Commerce Department website’s enforcement page.)

Why is this an issue? Liability. We have to pay some big bucks every year to maintain our liability insurance coverage. That protects us and it also protects our clients. Insurance is one of those things that you keep paying, hoping nothing will go wrong. But when you need it, insurance coverage is there. There’s also a State Statue or two about requiring such coverage for Common Interest Communities and management firms like ours.

This is one area where the “gummint”, as Molly Ivans would say, has done a great job in protecting the consumer. You could pay me to fix your car. You wouldn’t want me to fix your car. But I wouldn’t be breaking any law even with my complete lack of competence in this field.

I don’t contend that this is a problem running rampant. This is more of an occasional bad actor popping onto the stage. But it is rightly a stain upon and cause for consternation within the industry. We professionals work hard to establish our reputations and not just to distinguish ourselves from the poseurs.

Especially for self-managed communities and those managed by smaller firms (like Urbanwood), the moral of the story is to ensure that your current or potential service provider is properly licensed.

A simple way to do this is to use the license look-up tool at the Dept. of Commerce’s website:

Urbanwood’s licenses and the statutory language are on-line at our website:

Please always do real estate business with a licensed professional.