Maryland REALTORS® Online


Latest Articles and Association Updates


What's Up with Agent Showing Services?

Q:  A company that provides “agent showing services” is recruiting licensed agents to show properties for a fee. The company is also soliciting agents who are unavailable to show a property to make a showing request and arrange for another agent, who is not affiliated with the same broker, to show the property for them.  Is this legal in Maryland?

A: No. Under Maryland law, “an individual shall be licensed by the [Real Estate] Commission as a real estate broker before the individual may provide real estate brokerage services in the State.” Additionally, “an individual shall be licensed by the [Maryland Real Estate] Commission as an associate real estate broker or a real estate salesperson before the individual, while acting on behalf of a real estate broker, may provide real estate brokerage services in the State.” This means that a salesperson or associate broker may only provide real estate brokerage services “on behalf of” the broker with whom they are affiliated.

In 2014, the Maryland Real Estate Commission addressed a situation where companies were providing “sitter services,” where licensees were being solicited to use the service, either to post their willingness to serve as a “sitter” for another agent’s open house or for listing agents to post a “sitter wanted” ad to find an agent to sit an open house. The Commission made it clear that any person conducting an open house who is not affiliated with the listing broker is considered to unlicensed for purposes of the Brokers Act.

 The same rationale applies here. The agent requesting the “showing service”  and the agent providing the service must be affiliated with the same brokerage. If an agent from another brokerage conducts the showing, that agent would be considered unlicensed.

Under Maryland law, an unlicensed person may NOT:

  • Show property.
  • Answer any questions on listings, title, financing, closing, etc.
  • Discuss the attributes or amenities of a property, under any circumstances, with a prospective purchaser or lessee.
  • Hold himself or herself out in any manner, orally or in writing, as being licensed or affiliated with a particular company or real estate broker as a licensee.

TAn unlicensed agent who provides the showing services may be found guilty of a criminal misdemeanor under two provisions of the law.
The listing agent would be liable for violating the same provisions of the law and the payment of compensation to the unlicensed agent would constitute an additional violation.

  • The broker or branch office manager could also be charged with failure to provide reasonable and adequate supervision.
  • In addition to criminal actions, there are also civil actions that can be taken by the Real Estate Commission against those involved. The Commission is authorized to suspend or revoke the real estate licenses of the parties and can assess a civil penalty up to $5000 for each violation.

Many of us participate in real estate groups on social media. Please remember that laws differ from state to state. If you are unsure about whether something is permissible in Maryland, please reach out to the Maryland REALTORS® Legal Hotline, rather than relying upon advice posted on social media by a colleague from another state.

Comments are closed.