What are benefits of NOT contacting the agency?

21 Replies

If I may ask: What are the benefits of NOT getting in touch with the agency for buyer of real estate, either house or apartment, and what are benefits for seller (current owner) who wants to sell his or her property? Is there any resource where could I read more about the actual benefits of buyer contacting seller directly, 100% avoiding agency and/or seller contacting buyer directly, also avoiding the agency? One benefit could surely be total price - agency's fees are avoided. Second benefit could be time (some time to be saved), third benefit could be documentation - it is possible that there is some less paperwork to be done. However I would like to know as much as possible about doing the business between both sides directly, avoiding the agency? Particularly the benefits. Is there any book on that topic please?

Are you talking about properties already listed with a Real Estate Agent? Depends on the contract the seller has with the RE agent. Most of the time, it's an exclusive contract that runs up to 180 days, and even if a sneaky buyer calls the seller direct, tries to bypass the agency fees, the seller is still obligated to pay the agent. I once was at a closing with my attorney, asked him how things are going, and he mentioned he's busy with a few cases where sneaky buyers and sellers try to cut the agent out, and he's representing the agents suing.

In fact, I once signed a 90 day exclusive contract with an agent, thinking if the house doesn't get sold, I'll rent it out again, and mentioned that to the agent. Little did I realize in the contract, they stuck in a clause that entitled them to a rental commission even if I found my own tenant within the 180 days.

Fortunately, the tenant is moving to his recently deceased father in law's house, taking his time, and by the time he moved out, the 180 days lapsed. I didn't notice the clause in my contract, thought I was being kind to the tenant to let him take his time, little realizing it saved me a bundle. The agent tried to collect, alerted me, but when she doubled check the date, the deadline passed. For once, a win for someone dragging his feet.

Thank you for reply but it seems like we miunderstood each other. I was mainly asking for resources containing the BENEFITS ( ! ) of doing what I described. 

I apologize for commenting my opinion on your comment but I have to disagree with you. Yes, I am talking about the properties already listed with agency. If agency didn't find a buyer then seller doesn't need to pay agency anything IF buyer got in touch with seller directly. Obviously only God knows how could buyer find address and contact info of the seller. No listing gives this publicly. As soon as agency is contacted, even for giving address out or even phone number or even if just forwarding email to the seller then this means agency already has the right to get their fees. But if buyer somehow manages ( * ) to get in touch with the seller then the can do the deal on their own and agency won't be paid from this. They didn't find buyer but buyer went in touch with seller, 100% avoiding ANY kind of contact with agency.

( * ) realistically this is close to impossible (but it still happens sometimes!) because there is zero chance to find full address from PHOTOS located in listing of real estate being available to be bought.

Anyway, my case is little different: I am seeking for possibilities of building my own brand name and start with online middle man business. I am just trying to collect a list of benefits and any resources talking about buyer getting in touch DIRECTLY with seller. Would like to know as much as possible about this.

Sorry, as I said, it depends on whether the seller has an EXCLUSIVE contract with the agent. Around here, if you can get non-exclusive contracts with the agent, and you, the seller, can deal with your own buyers. If you do that, many agents will then tell you "sorry, I don't want to waste my time on it." 

I run into this confusion with rentals, with agents handling it. I had cases where the wife comes to my showing I advertised, an open house, then the husband had an agent bring him over at another time, not realizing the wife seen it. Now, does the agent get his commission in this case? Problem was certain agents handle rentals on a non-exclusive basis.  I had tenants renting from me that got stuck paying commissions thinking I should refund it because I cause the confusion. Imagine how upset I'll be if someone building his own brand caused me all this grief.

For sales, I seen this confusion too. I went to see a property for sale, the broker bought me over, and saw the seller with someone she recognized coming to her office, outside the property talking, but she hasn't shown him that particular property yet. She apparently was very unhappy with the two of them. Somehow, the man knew the property was listed with an agent, asked the seller whether it was exclusive, and if so, when the contract expires, and maybe they can hold off on till the exclusive period expires. She told me over the phone later she had a heated conversation with the seller as to why he's wasting her time dealing with buyers direct, and waste her time and money advertising it, and bringing buyers over. She explains that's why she deals with exclusive contracts only, and told the buyer not to try that anymore. 

I bought the property putting in the offer the following day, after she threatened to sue the buyer if he tried to come up with excuses to turn down buyers she bought over, drag things out, and deal with this other buyer who tried what you're trying. And she explained to me that's why she has exclusive contracts, or people will waste her time running around and money advertising .

Now, with an exclusive contract, if the broker bought the buyer over, and they conspire to wait till after the contract expires, the broker is still due the commission. In the case above, the buyer somehow got info the property is listed, and smart enough to know not to have the listing agent bring him over, and try to get the seller to drag things out till the contract expires. What a hard way to do a deal.

So in answer to your question, YES, agents know about guys like you, and YES, they try their best to stop you in your tracks, and YES you're playing with fire. 

@Susanne McCallack I think your facts are off. At least in my state.

First, what listings are you looking at where you don’t know the address of the property?

Also, it’s incredible easy to find out the owners contact info. Go to your county’s website or in some old school places you may have to physically go there, but still very easy.

As mentioned above contracts don’t allow the seller to sell on their own regardless if the mail man walked up to the seller the day the contract was signed even prior to listing it in the MLS and brought sacks of money. Agent is still entitled. It’s a contract.

You asked for the benefits. Answer is zero on a listed house. Actually, negative benefits as you won’t make any money and have an attorney bill at the end. I assume you’ll disagree, so quit asking a public forum and talk to attorney.

Frank Chin: You have misunderstood the purpose of my message and entirely misunderstood my question. Your message has nothing to do with what I am saying and I am afraid that you are accidentally confusing the word ''disadvantage'' with the word ''advantage'' (benefit). Seller is eager to sell the property he or she currently owns. With or without agency. If he or she is using agency's services then he/she wants to increase the chances of getting it sold as soon as possible for wanted price. If agency has ANYTHING to do with the deal closure (getting property sold) then they of course must get paid their % fees. Nothing on this world prevents seller to try on his/her own to sell the property. Or to try elsewhere, perhaps with someone else's help (along agency) to sell the property. In this case ''someone else'' gets fees because ''someone else'' successfully managed to find interested person who really became a buyer. In such case, agency gets nothing but obviously now ex-owner (why ''ex''? because he/she managed to sell it and not being owner anymore) is obligated to tell the agency that they don't need to work for him/her anymore. Similar is if seller manages to sell it on his/her own. Completely individually, while not even communicating with agency. In this case seller doesn't need to share anything. Example from real life situation: Lets assume person A seeking to buy similar house that person B is selling. Person A goes to coffee shop and is having conversation on the phone with friend how unsuccessful he/she is to buy. Cannot find anything. While person B is drinking own coffee very closely, this person B hears all person A's wishes: house exterior, house interior, budget, location, etc. Person B realizes that he/she (referring to person B) is selling just THIS house. What do you think person B will do to make his/her dream come true (to sell the property)? Will he/she ignore Person A or start to communicate with Person A and offer a visit? Obviously second choice. Why would person B pay ANYTHING, even a single penny, to the agency? Person B has no reason to do that and won't. He/she managed to find potentially interested person who may become a buyer (person A) on his/her own without even speaking a single word with agency which is (referring to the ''word'') directly related to this exact deal. But Frank Chin, this is not a problem at all. I am more ''worried'' about your misunderstanding of my question. I am asking for books/resources what kind of POSITIVE benefits (advantages) would such avoidance of agency bring, besides saving money to avoid having to share % with agency and besides some time saved (less paperwork). I never asked about any negative consequences or even legal inquiries.

Josh C: Example (one but not only) of the listing you were asking for is this one:

https://www.jamesedition.com/real_estate/berlin-ge...

What do you mean very easy, Josh C? How could I find address based on photos only? Impossible. No website could provide such address.

No, there are no books or references on "how to get around exclusive contracts" that I know of, my personal experience showed me lots of disadvantages.

Susanne, you misunderstood the concept of exclusive contracts. Once I sign one, and you come along, you tell me your cousin, your Person A, wants to buy my house, instead of paying the agency a commission, reduce the price, pay me a little something, and you'll be way ahead of the game. Yes??? And you ask, in that case why would I pay person B? Answer: Because the exclusive contract says so. It doesn't matter what anyone heard at the coffee shop, and what dreams can come true.

The exclusive contract says that I can choose to do this, the agent could sit on his or her hands for the 180 days that these contracts can run, you and me do all the running around, the agent can say, "good, now pay me the commission.". Now I ask you, is that a dumb or stupid thing for me as a seller to do?

Now, people have approach me to sell after I signed  contracts, I would say, "you have to wait 180 days till the contract expires." Fortunately, I never have to deal with this, because I when I sell, I sell into hot markets, where people pay up to over $50K over market. In hot markets, I don't know where the top is. The asking price is just a number.

With your approach, if my asking price is too low, you wouldn't be able to tell me that, and if you did know, that is something you keep to yourself and person A. That violates the professional ethics of real estate professionals where they have to fetch you the best price. I don't know what connections you have to the market, and if I mention my asking is $200,000 and the agent commission is $10,000. You tell me that you know someone who would offer $198,000, and just give me $5,000 commission. Under hot markets, if the property is properly marketed, someone can offer $250K, and the agent would have earned the commission and I would gladly pay it.

The reason why you won't find references and books on this is what you are doing is brokering without a license, and when professional agents and brokers find out what you are doing will turn you in to the authorities, and if any seller violating the exclusive contract would be sued, if the seller believes he got a bad deal with the broker, refused to pay since he got a better deal with you. Any writers of your approach would probably be sued as well.

If I was person B and if I found a interested person (who later becomes a buyer) on my own, I would NEVER pay not even a single cent to the agency, even if my ''interest'' about selling the property is still active so even if I haven't called them to cancel it yet. Why? Because for this exact successfully closed deal, they haven't done anything. But of course if I need to pay for their past marketing (presenting) activities to sell property for me then this is different thing. In this case I would need to pay agency the past cost of their marketing/presenting service and NOT the % of sold price according to my own successfully found, started, done work to sell it.

What if there is no such ''exclusive contract''? So that seller discuss with agency with both sides agreement: If agency manages to successfully find a person who WILL buy the property then agency must get pre-discussed % out of total selling amount. If they don't find a buyer then they don't get paid from me.

Basically what I am trying is figuring out about making a funding request on websites like KickStarter or IndieGoGo to build my own brand name in the ONLINE ONLY world of real estate business. I am interested to create online ''middle man business'' (i don't like to call it ''agency'' because i prefer word ''middle-man'' or ''middle-woman'') which would be based on top class quality SEO marketing to be well visible and well known for worldwide sellers who would contact me for online marketing their property (original, seller's, price to be increased for my fees). On the other sides, those ''advertising'' and Leads Searching would be done to filtered (e.g. age, travelling to particular countries, willingness to buy, wealth income,...) target people. The ultimate niche would be to convince the seller, once I already establish my brand name and reputable work (fair, polite, quality service,...), to AVOID dealing with offline (or even online) agency but rather choose me so I would find a buyer for them. Upgrade of this niche would be a guarantee about not having to consume (or spend for my fees) not even a single penny from their requesting price. My price would be their plus my fees. So they get exactly what they ask for. The reason why I decided to ask my question here is because I was hoping to get some resources where I would find some good, quality and particularly legally convincing (NOT hurting/negatively effecting anyone) reasons why it would be so good to not work with agencies. Even if I would succeed at this, I wouldn't call my business an agency but online middle-man brand.

I hear you. But in most states. you have very powerful real estate lobbies.

Sounds like you don't plan on getting a real estate license, and building a brand through "brokering without a license", or you euphemistically called ''middle man business''. I have sold through brokers who did not demand exclusive contracts. These are brokers with buyers waiting for properties to buyer, in effect, buyer agents. In hot markets, I get offers over asking through them.

I mentioned that selling or renting without exclusives through agents causes confusion. I rented an apartment to a tenant directly, yet at one point, an agent bought the wife to see it. Here, tenants pay commissions, and they paid the agent, even though they answered my ad. They were very unhappy with the situation, but decided not to sue.

I also mentioned my attorney mentioned he was busy with a few cases where the property was sold behind the agent's back, with an exclusive. So, it's not uncommon for people trying to do what you're trying. One thing that is common in these cases is someone brokering without a license. What happens is the agent who did nothing gets a commission, and you get nothing for doing all the work. Fair? But that's the way the law works.

As to finding references on it, it's like saying where do I find information how to do "smuggling". The answer is, it's illegal, if someone knows the ins and outs of it, he wouldn't write a step by step guide, and post it on the internet.

Susanne, as others have tried to explain to you, you are just clueless about how “agency” works.
Probably 99% of all listings are “exclusive right to sell” which means means if the seller sells to Anyone, even if they find the buyer themselves, they have to pay the commission, period.
So, the answer to your repeated question is there is No benefit in trying to do what you think you want to do.
When a seller list their property with a broker, it gets exposed to 1000’s of local agents in that area who have buyers looking for property. Hiring you as a middleman loses that.
Also, selling someone’s property as a “middleman” for a fee, if you are not a state licensed brokerage, breaks the law in Every state.
Ignorance of how an industry works often leads to delusions of how to work in that industry.

@Susanne McCallack   Let me make this very simple for you.  If the property is under contract with an agency.  The only want you touch that property without getting sued and losing for what will be called Tortious Interference with a contract is if you found the seller on your own, through your (provable in court) marketing.  Even in that instance, you need to make sure that they contract is non-exclusive and has language to confirm this.  If the property is under contract and you refuse to pay an agent, you can legally take a run at it after it expires.  I track expired listings often. You can also sign a contract with the seller for a date after that realtor contract expires and wait, or you can ask the seller to cancel the agent contract.  Tread carefully, and know your state law before you jump off that bridge.  

I think you’re misunderstanding the contract that the seller signs with an agent.

Though they vary, most state very plainly that if the house sells in any way shape or form within the 180-day period (or with other caveats if it sells shortly thereafter), the seller MUST pay the agents commission.

Even if the seller finds their own buyer, negotiated everything themselves, they STILL have to pay the agent.

Even if a lead is found on day 178, and the contract is signed later, they STILL have to pay the agent.

So unless you’re willing to wait for the contract to end AND the contingencies to end... the seller is still stuck paying the agent - or may very well be sued for it.

Frank Chin: I don't have a plan for getting real estate license, neither do I see any reason why would I try to get one.  I would never try to sell through the brokers/agencies. Instead, via marketing skills and filtering out target candidates (income, travel destinations, interest to buy property there, average frequency of place visits, age,...), I would like to offer to seller a chance, if he/she wants to, that I also try for him/her and find potential buyer on my own. My idea would basically be agency work (without a license) but online only. Therefore I don't need to visit anyone but surely need to organize meetings (real estate visits) too. My purpose is not trying to anyhow ''hurt'' the agencies or brokers but to legally compete against them for clients and try to convince the sellers, using reputation (once it is build) and well known online brand name, to give me a chance so i try to help them to find a buyer. Of course agent had to get his fees in your described situation because he brought whoever's wife (as you said in your reply). Agent has the right to get % fees even if just forwarding email content received from buyer and forwarded to the owner of real estate to be sold. Five seconds of work. But the point is: if seller contacts me and ask me to try to find a buyer then this is no agency involved unless seller used (or will use) agency's service too. The point in my business idea is to build an online brand name where sellers would contact me instead of going to the agency. This is why i was asking what could be the benefits of NOT getting in touch with agency or not even using their service. Regarding the last line of your second-latest paragraph: Which all the work would agent/agency do? What do you mean with ''doing all the work''? What kind of work? For who? There is no work to be done by agent/agency. Not even lifting the finger. This is the main idea behind - to attract the sellers to choose me and not the agency. To do a deal with buyer via me. Via my ''messenger'' activities. Of course there is long, very very very long road ahead of me in this project but I need to start somewhere to build my own reputation online.

Wayne Brooks: you said even if sellers find a buyer 100% on his own, he still needs to pay fees to the agency. What kind of work would agency do in this case? And what if agency is avoided at the start so seller doesn't tell to agency (ever) that he wants to sell the property? Instead he wants to find other means of help, e.g. cheaper, faster,...

Josh Caldwell: we don't have any ''states'' in our country. Such business in my idea is ''online only'' so there is nothing to sue, no courts, etc. Bank accounts for my income in fees (difference between my requested price and seller's one) can be opened in tax heaven country. Nothing to worry about here. I admit I am new in this kind of business. Don't know anything about contracts but hopefully I can find some courses (online lectures) on this - whatever explains how to accurately, safely and legally position myself as a ''middle man'' according to agreement with seller. He would be the one contacting me first.

Susanne, so what you are declaring here is you will engage in "brokering without a license???" In that case, you also plan to skip classes for people planning to get a real estate license? I took the course, but never hung my license with a broker, but the course gives me insight into the ins and outs of real estate sales. My wife got her license and worked at it a few years in the field. As the saying goes, "you just don't know what you don't know."

And the point you're trying to make "...... What do you mean with ''doing all the work''? What kind of work? For who? There is no work to be done by agent/agency. Not even lifting the finger....." Many agencies get listings and depend on the MLS network to help sell. It is very common that some agencies are gung ho in getting the listings, get others do that work, so yes, if not lifting a finger shocks you, goes to show how much you have to learn. They don't left a finger, so what? And the exclusive contract gives them all the right to do so.

In my younger days, when I was VERY naïve, I thought like you, if you just sit around you don't get paid. Later on, I learn this is not so. Being a real estate investor is one, you buy the right properties, create enough cash flow, pay it off to be mortgage free, hire the right PM and YES money flows in, and voila, without you LIFTING a FINGER you make money. Get it? But it requires knowledge to do so.

Now local real estate associations hate poachers, which you'll plan to be, and will turn you in, in no time. You're not operating in secret being on the WEB, and being online does not mean you don't have to obey the law. This is besides you getting clients in trouble, because after paying you, found they have to pay the agent something also, believing you that "you don't have to pay them anything, because they didn't left a finger." That should make my attorney very happy, as I mentioned, he does OK pursuing these cases, the more the better.

HI @Susanne McCallack ,

I did not read through them all. 

If an agent has a property listed, in most situations they have a signed agreement. If the owner goes around that they still owe the commissions.

So if you go around an agent, the advantage for them is that you do all the work and they still get paid. 

Mike Cumbie: you said owner/seller still owes commissions. But before that, I would already get my % fees - the difference between my defined price and owner's price. Whatever, if anything, seller, who is now ex-owner (he managed to sell his property via me), is still obligated to pay, has nothing to do with me anymore. But for such project I need to hire some financial advisor how could I protect myself from two ''scams'' that could happen to me:

option 1: sellers gets amount to his bank account for selling the property. This amount is according to my increased price and not original price. Then simply disappears and run away with full amount, including my share (the difference). Instead of sending the difference to me, he could just ignore me and take everything for himself.

option 2: potentially interested individual travels to the owner to visit the property and check everything. Then they could do entire deal on their own, excluding me completely. Seller could even offer to potential buyer to sell the property for original price and not the price defined by the person (thats me as an intermediate online only marketing person = "middle man") who provided all needed details and organized a meeting (property visit). Such offer could be escalated with convincing verbal comments to potential buyer like: "you had to travel for hours to finally arrive here, wouldn't be better, since you have laptop with you with access to online banking, that we just finalize the deal between me and you, and you even save money because i will sell it to you right now, if you buy today, for lower price."

I am strictly against receiving full increased payment to my bank account, according to me increased price. Keep the difference between my price and seller's original asking price and send the remaining to seller's bank account. One of the reasons are taxes. It would be very hard to discuss with national tax institution that I am obligated to pay taxes out of difference amount (so the amount i keep on my bank account) and not full amount. Besides this, I hate very much to receive money that I know, I need to forward it.

I know nothing about real estate contracts so telling to me something like "if you have accurate contract with clearly defined obligations, signed by owner/seller, then this for sure won't happen" unfortunately won't help. At my current level of real estate knowledge which is, I admit, zero, contracts mean nothing to me. This wasn't even purpose of my first message.

Basically I am trying my best to build some home-based business career so I could earn some money. Cannot be financially dependent on someone else (we all know who) for entire life, I have been for several decades. Its hard to get a job here and university degree doesn't help. Besides this, my wish is to not need to wake up every morning with alarm clock, neither to work for requested quantity of hours per day, nor to be at X place on exact Y time. I would prefer working for myself instead of for employer/boss. Making your boss rich is not really a right way of success. Plan to my online only project, obviously without a brokerage license, is to first try to find some investors, crowd funders, perhaps to offer them partnership (or some other sort of benefit), particularly when it comes to filtering out the Leads. E.g. no point to offer property in X country to someone who will never travel there. I am looking for a job, trying to find a way to earn some money on my own without wasting life for employer. 


Peter M: Yes, this is what my idea would be: getting the seller before they sign with agency but with all respect to Frank Chin, he doesn't seem to understand this. He is still talking about the agency. Obviously if sellers contacts the agency after*** I put marketing listing up on my own, then this is out of my working area. Even if contacts the agency before***. Its not about me trying to FIND sellers. Its more sellers contacting me on their own. But of course to expect something like this, I have a lot of hard work building trustworthy, reliable, well known online brand name to be recognized as a good solution in this business. However this is now getting out of the scope what my original topic for your forum is: trying to find some good resources with positive reasons why sellers wouldn't deal with agencies but rather with me.

I must have missed... @Susanne McCallack where do you live?

It sounds like you want to be a "wholesaler" who doesn't lift a finger or do anything. Just have people allow you to try and sell their house over the Internet. In your last post you described wanting to work, when you want, how you want, not lifting a finger, no answering to a boss, not needing an alarm clock... that's quite the "goals".

You need to determine if what you want to do is even legal where you live. If it is, you need to research and learn. You need to know contracts, laws, etc. asking about "benefits" while saying you know nothing about contracts (legalities)... who cares about the benefits if you will get sued for breaking the law?

Good luck with your goals, they are attainable. But expect to work extremely hard to get there.

Croatia and Slovenia. 

No, not really a wholesale. I would rather call this ''online marketing agency'' or ''online middle-man agency.'' Everything would be based on being an intermediate person between interested candidate and seller (current owner). Its hard marketing work, definitely not what you said ''who doesn't lift a finder.''

I see no reason why would anyone sue me. The business model is completely legal. There is nothing against the law when it comes to working from home/computer/vacation/hotel/beach. Trying to find a buyer on behalf of seller, for increased price (seller still gets his exact asking price), is also legal business. 

The main idea came from online luxury marketplace where only wealthy, very wealthy, individuals are buying. But company is increasing their price for like 300% of total requested price defined by owner plus they are charging owners to make the listing! E.g. mansion being worth 500K EUR is being sold for 1,5M EUR. This means they expect 1M EUR just for their fees. Very unrealistic for me. 

Susanne, you have to be consistent with what you ask. You started with:

"If I may ask: What are the benefits of NOT getting in touch with the agency for buyer of real estate, either house or apartment …" 

Then you clarified it further when I asked you if it's listed with an agency:

"Yes, I am talking about the properties already listed with agency. If agency didn't find a buyer then seller doesn't need to pay agency anything IF buyer got in touch with seller directly …"

Note that YOU mentioned AGENCY three times already. Then, when I told you that you can't do that, it's illegal, the agency is still due fees, you be sued, you go on to say:

"Peter M: Yes, this is what my idea would be: getting the seller before they sign with agency but with all respect to Frank Chin, he doesn't seem to understand this. He is still talking about the agency."

No, Susanne, see above quotes, you're the one talking agency, 3 times initially. What didn't I understood?? And finally, you said:

"I see no reason why would anyone sue me. The business model is completely legal .."

What business model? From reading this, you're all over the place on this, with no clear ideas of what the business model is. The only reason why someone is not suing you is they can't figure out what you're doing, except looking for something where you don't have to left a finger, sitting at home or on the beach. Yes, sitting at home is not illegal.

In the state of NJ, you must be a licensed real estate salesperson.  I took my licensing exam a long time ago, but I vaguely remember an example that my instructor taught us on day 1 for chapter 1.  He asked, "Who here has already violated a NJ real estate law at some point in their life, let me know now before we begin the course."  Of course, nobody raised their hand for this, so he followed up his question with, "Legally, who is allowed to 'talk real estate' about a property that they do not own in the state of NJ?" and nobody answered out loud because we thought this was a trick question that was tied to the first question.  So he answered himself, saying "Yes, it's exactly what you think; licensed NJ Real Estate Salespersons."  ...After pausing dramatically, he continued with, "So when your father was selling his house when you were 12 years old, and you obviously had no ownership of the home, but YOU answered the phone and told someone it was 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms and that he wanted $500,000 for it, you already broke the first rule of real estate by fostering the sale of a property that you do not own.  Don't be alarmed, I am no snitch, but you should leave now before I change my mind; Drop off the $400 with my assistant on the way out and I'll forget you ever told me."

This, of course, received a genuine laugh from pretty much every student in the class.  Clearly the man was joking, but we went on immediately after to discuss the illegality of fostering real estate transactions without being officially licensed AND having your license activated by a broker.

I know you are not in the US, these laws may be different in your country, I just felt maybe this post may help another curious BP visitor understand the severity of the actions you're describing.

Great Course, btw.  I passed the exam within 2 days of finishing the course because my instructor made class fun and easy with memorable jokes like these.

Kudos to you @Frank Chin for your persistence at providing some much needed info. @Susanne McCallack I think the problem is you're asking the wrong questions. What it sounds like to me is you have an idea of the type of service you wish to provide and the questions you should be asking are what would be needed to best and legally provide those services. It SOUNDS LIKE you want to create something closer to a Zillow or Redfin where people can come to you directly to list their property rather than an agent. To reiterate what some have already said, if you are aiming to help sell a property that you do not own for a profit then in all likelihood you would need a license to do so legally. Creating an online presence to do so only magnifies your exposure and risk in doing so without one.