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Ghosting Clients Can Cost You Your Real Estate License

Clients can fall off the agent’s radar due to the demands of work and family. Whether intentional or unintentional, an agent cannot allow a client to be wondering where their agent went or feel ghosted.

But ghosting is not just a problem for your clients. In some cases, it could put your entire business or license in jeopardy.

Minimum Service Requirements for Brokerage Firms

Illinois amended its minimum servicing requirements for real estate brokers in 2019 to include three primary services that must be provided to clients:

  1. Accepting and delivering any offers or counter offers;
  2. Assisting the client in producing an offer or counteroffer;
  3. Answering client questions as needed.

While they seem simple enough, an agent’s failure to timely provide these services could put your license in jeopardy.

Here’s What Minimum Servicing Violations Could Look Like

Nobody’s perfect, so forgetting to call a client back or missing an email from another broker happens—but when does it cross the line to be a violation of the Act?

As a broker, one of your most important functions is presenting offers in a timely manner to your client.

Illinois law views client communication as a primary service for brokerage firms, so failing to respond to questions, being inaccessible during negotiations, or slowly fading into the background right before the deal closes are all ways an agent or its brokerage can find itself facing serious penalties.

What Happens If You Violate the Minimum Servicing Requirements?

If an agent or a brokerage firm is reported for ignoring clients for extended periods, refusing to answer their questions, or not assisting the client in communications necessary to complete the sale, IDFPR may take action.

If IDFPR files enforcement actions against an agent or the company, the following could occur:

  • Revocation of licenses
  • Licenses placed on probation
  • Requirements to attend additional continuing education
  • Substantial fines — No one wants to pay a fine, or be suspended, but certainly, if you have become an agent, worked to brand your name, and build a book of business, you cannot allow your license to be suspended or revoked.

Stay in Compliance—Follow These Tips

To avoid possible violations or actions against your business, you should implement practices and training programs that prioritize client communication.

Here are a few ideas to ensure that no client is ghosted:: 

  • Set an internal communication deadline (ex.: “respond to all emails and calls within 24 hours”) 
  • Draft an employee handbook that outlines specific expectations for agents to comply with communication expectations. Call 1818, and we can help with this.
  • Have clients copy multiple team members to ensure no correspondence is overlooked.

Defend Your License—Hire 1818 

Violations of minimum service requirements for brokerage firms should not be taken lightly if IDFPR is investigating. When agents or brokerage firms fail to provide a basic level of service to their clients, the firms can face significant consequences.

If IDFPR is investigating your license or if a complaint has been filed against you, 1818 can help protect your license. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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