Licensee Advertising For Sale By Owner Properties

To provide brokerage services in the state of Wisconsin, one must be a real estate licensee. Wisconsin Statute Chapter 452 sets forth the practices that require a real estate license. These practices are referred to as brokerage services.

Today, licensees are allowed to advertise For Sale By Owners (FSBOs).

Under Wisconsin’s current law, real estate licensees can advertise For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties, including online real estate websites. To advertise FSBO, real estate licenses must comply will all license requirements.

Under Wisconsin law, all real estate licensees are required to inspect properties.

All Wisconsin real estate licensees must comply with the Wisconsin license requirements, which include conducting a reasonably competent and diligent inspection of the property before listing it.

SB 394/ AB 407 Eliminates certain consumer protections.
In addition to removing the requirement to having a listing contract, SB 394/AB 407 carves out advertising FSBO properties from license requirements, including eliminating all the inspection, disclosures and duties required of all other real estate licensees. 

Wisconsin law establishes specific disclosures and responsibilities by real estate licensees as measures to protect consumers. The protections are designed to ensure that buyers and sellers have access to relevant information and fairness in the single largest transaction of their lifetime. Allowing a licensee under some circumstances to be exempt from those requirements while being required to follow them in others creates consumer confusion and a lack of trust from the public.

SB 394/ AB 407 Encourages fraudulent advertising.
The bill eliminates a real estate licensee’s responsibility to inspect the property when advertising an FSBO property. If a property can be advertised without confirmation by the real estate licensee by looking at the property themselves, who will protect the buyer? 

To remove a licensee’s obligation to inspect the property will lead to fraudulent advertising. 

The WRA opposes SB 394/ AB 407 because the exemption of real estate licensees from adhering to vital consumer protections, such as inspections and other duties, is a harmful step that could have adverse effects on consumers.

Real estate licensees, like attorneys, should not have the option of deciding when they want to observe license law. The commitment to licensure is continuous; individuals remain licensed until it ceases to exist, requiring compliance with all state laws regulating the profession.