A surety bond, or surety... hard to read definition to skip through quickly... "is a promise to pay one party (the obligee) a certain amount if a second party (the principal) fails to meet some obligation, such as fulfilling the terms of a contract. The surety bond protects the obligee against losses resulting from the principal's failure to meet the obligation."
Well, that's wikipedia says but that doesn't seem like it applies to a requirement of getting a WV real estate license now does it? So, let's try to interpret this in english and it explain it the way the West Virginia Real Estate School, Spruce School likes to clarify, which is as simple as possible:
If you live outside of the state of WV....the only way WV can recoup damages caused by an out of state holder of a WV real estate license would be OUR WV Secretary of State talking with the Sec'y of State in which YOU live. That is the purpose of it in the state of WV for any professional license held by someone NOT living in WV. Cover the damage or harmed party in WV. More than likely, it would be the owner of the property AND the brokerage company that is protected. You have to have some money available to go after whoever caused the harm, and that is where the surety bond insurance money comes in.
So that said, the West Virginia Real Estate Commission made it a requirement of all out of state applicants to have a surety bond if they wanted a WV real estate license. The surety bond is a policy insuring one's personal/and or financial integrity. The WV Law Code 30-40 requires any NON-resident get a surety bond in order to list and sell real estate in WV and gain their WV real estate license. When looking at the state application for the WV real estate license, Point 2, page 2... "Note: After passing the licensing examination, every non-resident must furnish a surety bond in the penalty of $2,000"
Now, here's a great fact that YOU will definitely want to know if you're an out of state resident who doesn't want to shell out 2 grand for this. You can get a surety bond added to your home owner's policy for a very small percentage of this, NOT $2,000. So call your insurance agent and have it added on. (You can also accomplish this through a rental policy as well.) So now you can see that gaining your WV real estate license isn't such a hard mystery for out of state residents.
Now, the next thing that is noteworthy is the WV real estate license application says "AFTER you pass the state exam". Soooooo, the Surety bond is NOT attached to your WV real estate license application and thus doesn't need done immediately but it is something you want to get done when you pass the state exam. After passing the state exam you mail in your $50 for your WV real estate license and the paper that states who is your broker. THAT is when you mail your surety bond letter from your insurance company to the WV REC. Yay! All done! Aren't you glad that Spruce has written out all the confusing portions of the surety bond!?
Long story VERY short is your insurance agent is going to be your friend on this one. Call your homeowners insurance agent, or your renters insurance agent and they're going to get this done for you for a fraction of the $2,000 that it covers. IF you don't have a policy yet and you're a renter now is a great time to find a policy and have some peace of mind for your belongings while you're at it.
Spruce, acting as the #1 West Virginia Real Estate School hopes this clarifies any confusion. If not, feel free to call us at 1-800-864-7318.
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