You are very lucky you only received a warning from the State of Florida, phew!!!!
Not only could you have been accused of practicing real estate without a license, you could have also been charged with practicing law without a license.
Well, if you gave a homeowner advise as to how to sell their home via a proposed option to purchase agreement, vehicle, contract, etc. that, as you stated, "you would create the option after you found a buyer".
You cannot offer your services to create an option agreement, or for that matter any other form of contract, or even giving someone advise as what real estate contracts to consider, even if you were licensed as a Florida real estate agent.
That's practicing law!
A licensed Florida real estate agent must use only Florida approved Leases and Sales Contracts.
Being a so called "principle of the deal", via an assignment, option agreement and also being a licensed real estate agent that may, in addition to a "flip fee", a wholesale amount, an option release fee, some assignment fee, etc.;
if you intend to make a real estate commission too, just be careful.
My advise? Have an attorney, "review" all the contracts, agreements, assignment forms, options, etc. And if your attorney agrees that those forms, contracts, etc. are OK to use, have the lawyer write them for you. A good tip! Find a title agency in your area that is owned by an attorney, or has an "in-house attorney" working there. Or just find a real estate attorney that does closings. Agree to give him your title work for "the deal" and most will only charge you a nominal fee to "oversee" (re-write your paperwork).
So, take the advise that was given earlier.
Have "equitable interest" in a said property.
Wait a minute, have "marketable equitable interest" in a said property.
Well, you say "what's the difference"?
Not much, but an option, agreement, contract, etc. that states in writing, that you (the buyer, optionee, etc.) has the right to transfer, sell, assign his rights. And the seller will allow the buyer to show the said property to the buyer's (or optionee's) interested parties. (I would add that the seller understand that the buyer (or optionee), will have the right to hire a real estate agent and list the property on the MLS, etc.).
In addition to all of the above, I would have the seller sign a "Memorandum of Understanding" (which is a simple agreement that displays that equitable interest has been established between the seller and buyer (seller & optionee).
Good examples of various "memorandums" can be found on the Internet.
As a buyer (or optionee), I would then record the "memorandum", with the correct county or city.
That simple document will go a long way, combined with your other docs (contract, option, assignment agreements, etc.) to demonstrate to the State of Florida, that you indeed have a "right of marketability" (long with your "equitable interest").
Dennis, I would think very long and hard to what I (and others) have posted here.
And if these things are not quite clear to you, then you will need to learn them.
Know what "a principle" of a deal is plus having "equitable interest" means in your State, and what rights you have (or don't have).
Again I cannot stress this enough, if you are unclear about what to do, get professional help.
Just "some added steps" to what you have done, can protect your interest in a deal, and should protect you (with the State of Florida).
Please note I'm just a fellow investor giving you "my 2 cents" on this thread, and suggest that you obtain legal advise from a Florida Real Estate Attorney, Title companies and professional marketing opinions from licensed agents...
Good luck with your deals Dennis!
Edited Jul 19 2011, 16:33 by Robert Dobbs