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 Summer 2012     

Leadership Change at DLLR
2012 Board Meetings
Legislative Update
New Requirement for Supervision Course to Come
Agency Course Needed for Renewal
Locating a CE Provider
Prospecting or Poaching?
How Much is Your License Worth?


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Scott Jensen  

Governor Martin O'Malley named Scott R. Jensen as Interim Secretary of DLLR in May 2012. Since January 2012, Jensen has served as Deputy Secretary under former DLLR Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez, who left to join the office of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as Chief of Staff.


Jensen has previously served with former DLLR Secretary Thomas E. Perez as a Special Assistant, where he led the expansion of unemployment insurance benefits to part-time workers, spearheaded the Workplace Fraud Act of 2009 that addresses the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, and coordinated the alignment of adult and correctional education with the workforce development system. Jensen holds a bachelor's in history from Illinois State University and a master's in liberal education ("Great Books") from St. John's College.  




The Maryland Real Estate Commission holds regular meetings that are open to the public. The meetings begin at 10:30 a.m. and are located at the offices of the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The address is 500 North Calvert Street, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. Please contact the Division at 410-230-6220 or for additional information.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No meeting scheduled for December 2012  




The Commission held its yearly election of officers during the June 2012 meeting. Members unanimously voted for the continuation of terms for both the Chair and the Vice Chair of the Commission. John Nicholas (Nick) D'Ambrosia will serve as Chair, and Anne S. Cooke will serve as Vice Chair for the term beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2013.

Three Commission members have recently been reappointed: Georgiana S. Tyler, Robin L. Pirtle, and Anne S. Cooke. They are all serving a four-year term that ends in 2015. 



Harry Loleas, Commissioner, Occupational and Professional Licensing

Janet Morgan, Outreach Coordinator


John Nicholas D'Ambrosia, Chair, Industry Member, Charles County
Anne S. Cooke, Vice Chair, Industry Member, Howard County
Marla S. Johnson, Industry Member, Frederick County
Juan Muñoz, Consumer Member, Montgomery County
Robin L. Pirtle, Consumer Member, Montgomery County
Nancy R. Simpers, Industry Member, Cecil County
Jeff Thaler, Consumer Member, Worcester County
Georgiana S. Tyler, Industry Member, Baltimore City
Colette P. Youngblood, Consumer Member, Prince George's County


Katherine F. Connelly, Executive Director
Steven Long, Assistant Executive Director
Patricia Hannon, Education Administrator
Charlene Faison, Licensing Supervisor
Jennifer Grimes, Investigator
Celestine Hall, Reception/Education
Robert A. Hall, Investigator
Brenda Iman, Paralegal
Darchelle Lanteon, Licensing
Jack Mull, Investigator
Robert J. Oliver, Investigator
William F. Reynolds, Investigator
Patrick Richardson, Auditor
Lucinda Rezek Sands, Paralegal
Charlotte Streat-Thornton, Complaints & Education
John West, Complaint Intake Administrator 

Katherine Connelly


Katherine ConnellyGreetings, and welcome to the Summer 2012 edition of The Commission Check. The Maryland Real Estate Commission is having a productive summer, and we hope you are, as well.

I'd like to take this opportunity to address Maryland licensees about some of the pitfalls of oversharing on social media websites. It's a precarious mix: Take an extroverted, driven sales agent, add the sites' propensity to blur the lines between public and private information, and then add the ability to instantaneously publish posts to countless readers. I know many of you on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I've seen that mix turn sour on quite a few occasions.

Naturally, real estate professionals want to promote their successes to attract new business. Also, it's encouraging to read in my news feed that sales are still being made while everyone is waiting for the market to rebound. But the line has been crossed once agents post information about their transactions that should remain confidential either until settlement or possibly forever. Sure, it's great that you just received a contract far in excess of the seller's asking price. But don't share that information! It is against your client's best interest, and you may not disclose that type of information without your client's permission.

The use of social media has revolutionized the way we practice real estate. Salespersons can set up shop for little or no money using the wide array of websites available to advertise, blog, list properties, network and conduct e-commerce. Exposure reaches more potential buyers than ever thought possible, and it lasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, the practice of running an ethical business hasn't changed at all. Please take the time to review what you intend to say about your business, not only in conventional advertising campaigns, but in that gray area of available social media resources.

We hope you find this issue of The Commission Check to be informative and valuable to your practice. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions about subject areas for the newsletter, please email me at



The 2012 Session of the Maryland General Assembly was full of activity for the Real Estate Commission (MREC). There were approximately 45 bills introduced that affected the profession overall, and at least five of them had a direct impact on how the Commission operates and how it regulates licensees.

One of the most notable successful bills was SB134-Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation, which literally saved the Commission from dissolution. The issue of the Commission's continuation was not resolved until 8 p.m. on the last day of the Legislative Session. With the enactment of SB134, the Commission's life was extended until July 1, 2022. The MREC is one of approximately 70 State entities that is subject to a periodic evaluation process known as "Sunset Review" in accordance with the Maryland Program Evaluation Act. Every ten years, the Commission is set to expire if not renewed by the General Assembly. If the bill had not passed, there would no longer be licensing of the profession in Maryland, and consumers would lose the ability to file against MREC's Guaranty Fund for damages incurred from licensee misconduct.

The passage of the bill also changed some of the fees and monetary caps associated with running the Commission. Maryland consumers may now file claims against the Guaranty Fund up to $50,000, which is twice the amount they were allowed to claim before the bill passed. The limit was also increased from $3,000 to $5,000 for consumer claims that can be paid from the fund without a formal hearing before the Commission. Also, the fee for bounced checks received by the Commission increased from $25 to $35 to match the fee of most other State agencies.

Another important bill that passed was SB145, which affected the continuing education (CE) requirements of Maryland licensees. In an effort to move away from the random audit process of monitoring CE compliance, the Commission asked legislators to grant it permission to accept continuing education certificates directly from providers in electronic form. As education providers adapt to the new system, licensees will no longer need to keep track of their own completion certificates. A new renewal system will then be implemented so that licensees will automatically know if they have completed the required CE to renew their licenses. The MREC will advise licensees of when the system is fully operational. Until then, licensees are urged to continue saving all certificates until notified by the MREC.

SB145 also changed the nature of what education providers may cover in their legislative update courses. Those classes must now be regularly revised to include relevant federal, state and local laws and regulations or court cases that have occurred in the previous three years. Of course, instructors may need to provide some historical background in order to flesh out the topics covered, but all legislative update courses must focus on developments in the past three years from when the course is submitted to the MREC in order to be eligible for topic (a) credit.

Finally, significant changes in ethical requirements were initiated through regulation during the same time period that the Session was underway. The MREC adopted amendments to Regulations .01 and .02 of COMAR 09.11.02 Code of Ethics, and the changes became effective March 19, 2012. Regulation .01 effectively added sexual orientation to the list of characteristics prohibited from discrimination in the section "Relations to the Public" by adding a reference to State anti-discrimination law. Regulation .02 in the section "Relations to the Client" was amended to require licensees to give written disclosure of licensing status to sellers and lessors before an offer is made from either the licensee, his or her employee or an immediate family member. The same disclosure must be made by the licensee, employee or family member if he or she is the seller or has an interest in a sale or lease. In the case of an unlicensed employee of a brokerage, employment status must be disclosed rather than licensure status, if the employee purchases a home through the services of his or her employing broker.



It's been eight months since the Commission went paperless with the issuance of licenses to Maryland real estate professionals, and we're pleased by how smoothly the process has gone. There were a few minor issues in the beginning, but brokers have adapted quickly to the system.

If you are a broker, please tell all of your licensees to see you in order to obtain their licenses. Also, remember to save the link to the Commission's web licensing portal. You will use it each time you receive notification that licenses are ready for you to print. You will need your DLLR-supplied License Registration Number and your personally-chosen password to access the portal.

If you are not a broker or branch office manager, remember that you will no longer receive your paper license directly from the Commission. Your broker or branch office manager will supply you with your license and pocket card each time you renew, upgrade or update your license. 



The Maryland Real Estate Commission has proposed a regulation to further clarify the time frame in which brokers, branch office managers and team leaders must complete the continuing education requirement of a three-clock-hour course on broker supervision. As of January 1, 2012, evidence of completion has been mandatory for license renewal. The course is then necessary for renewal every four years thereafter, similar to how the agency course requirement is structured.

Since the information presented in the course is essential to conducting business in Maryland, the Commission has drafted language to require completion of the supervision course within 90 days of the designation to broker, branch office manager or team leader if it wasn't already completed during the previous four years. That way, new hires will get the information they need to be in supervisory positions, instead of potentially waiting up to four years to complete the course. The MREC will provide updates as the draft regulation moves through the regulatory system toward promulgation.



Changes to the Real Estate Brokers Act in 2010 altered Maryland licensees' continuing education requirements beginning January 2012. As of that date, all renewing licensees must have completed an approved three-clock-hour course on the principles of agency and agency disclosure. Any renewals occurring during the remainder of 2012 or in 2013 must contain evidence of agency course completion. Since the course is required to be repeated every four years, licensees who renew or have renewed in 2012 will need to complete it again after their 2014 renewal and before their 2016 renewal, and those who renew in 2013 will need to complete it again after their 2015 renewal and before their 2017 renewal date. Please refer to our website for approved education providers who may be offering a course near you.



Many of the phone calls and emails that the MREC receives are questions about locating Continuing Education providers. Our staff maintains up-to-date information on Maryland education providers right on our website. Under the Education tab, you will find a current list of providers organized by county, including contact numbers and school website links. Schools that offer distance learning are indicated with red asterisks next to the name. Please save the link so that you can keep up on approved providers in your area.



According to the February/March 2012 issue of Maryland REALTOR®
magazine, a full 35% of homebuyers look for their new home online
before considering contacting a real estate agent. There's no doubt that it makes good business sense for real estate professionals to develop a strong online presence. But along with legitimate e-marketing strategies, many unethical and unlawful advertising practices have evolved nationwide.

Quite simply, if you take someone else's listing and alter the price, description or type of offering (for sale or for rent), you have violated the Maryland Real Estate Broker's Act and Code of Ethics, along with the Codes of Ethics of the Maryland Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. While it may generate interest in your business and provide you with leads, it can also cause you to lose your license along with incurring additional sanctions against you.

The Commission has investigated several instances of listing "poaching" in Maryland, and has been successful in stopping the practice from continuing or spreading. If you discover any advertisement with evidence that the listing is not the advertiser's, and credit is not given to the listing broker, please contact John West, Complaint Intake Administrator, at or 410-230-6206.  


When I read the following article that appeared in a recent issue of the Hawaii Real Estate Commission Bulletin, it really struck a chord with me. In my previous career as a licensee, I experienced so many of the emotions that Ms. Ball described in her piece, and I often contemplated the true value of having my license to practice real estate. Like Ms. Ball, I came to the ultimate conclusion that my license was, in fact, priceless. I hope you enjoy reading the article as much as I did. --- Kathie Connelly


Some of us can barely recall the cost of our real estate license: the cost of the prelicensing course, the licensing exam, the application, renewal, continuing education. Beyond the cost in dollars, there are the emotional costs of having a license, well and dimly remembered.

But how much is our real estate license really worth? Can we even tally up the countless hours that it takes to assist people in making an informed decision on the purchase of a lifetime? Do we add up the number of transactions that we have completed, new cars, new homes, home care for an aging parent, ski trips to Vail, private schooling for our children, a vacation to Europe? Is it a plus or a minus to throw in hours spent with clients while we miss our children's birthday parties, months assisting a family purchasing their first home only to have it fall out just before escrow closing, the horrifying discovery of hidden flaws in a property after the new buyers have moved in?

Perhaps the value of a license becomes apparent when a licensee, afraid of losing his or her license, must prove worthiness of retaining or obtaining it. As a member of the Real Estate Commission, I have heard testimony from people imploring the commission to grant them a license and others beseeching the commission to allow them to keep theirs after allegations of violations of... laws and rules of expected conduct. These stories have given me additional insight into what licensees really think a real estate license is worth.

A licensing candidate with a blemished past appears before the commission appealing to the board to grant him a license. He expresses sincere remorse for his previous acts and tells the commissioners that a real estate license will resurrect his reputation and allow him to start a new life with a meaningful job. What is a real estate license worth to this candidate? Is it a future of financial security, an opportunity to enter a profession, to give his family what he never had? Is it $50,000, $500,000 or unlimited financial reward?

A real estate licensee with a lifetime of experience appears with her attorney to ask the commission not to revoke her real estate license. The attorney claims that the evidence against her is not incontrovertible, moreover the licensee has had an unblemished professional past and most importantly the licensee depends on her license to maintain her livelihood. What is a real estate license worth to her? Is it $5,000,000, $100,000,000 or an accumulated value not only of her net worth but of her future earnings to maintain the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed?

In my prelicensing classes I tell the students these stories of grown men and women with licenses in peril weeping before the commission, each claiming to be remorseful, and how the loss of a simple piece of paper, a real estate license, can and will change their lives forever. This is the same piece of paper that my students are preparing to earn. We remember feeling the importance of our license when we first received it and indeed it did change our lives as it will theirs if they lose it. What is your license worth?

Every day our real estate practice presents challenges to us as we focus on the goals of our clients. How many opportunities for errors or omissions do we face in our busy quest to assist those who rely on the professionalism bestowed upon us by our real estate license? We eagerly review the Real Estate Commission Bulletin's Administrative Actions to see if any licensee named is someone we know, and silently ask ourselves, "There but for the grace of God go I?" A recitation of the statutory and rule violations accompanies the administrative actions in each issue. Beyond mere words, these laws and rules take on new meaning for us when applied to particular transgressions by a licensee, helping us to remember the strict statutory guidelines under which we practice our profession. They also help us to remember the value of our license, today, tomorrow and every day as long as we have the right to practice real estate.

As I was finishing up this article I asked a prominent real estate broker, "How much is your real estate license worth?" He looked off into the distance as if deep in thought. Finally, he looked back at me, and quietly responded, "It's priceless."

How much is your real estate license worth?

Carol Ball,
Chair, Hawaii Real Estate Commission

Reprinted in part from the May 2012 Hawaii Real Estate Commission Bulletin with permission. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.


Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation / Maryland Real Estate Commission
500 N. Calvert Street / Baltimore, MD 21202