Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, TREC and TALCB, based on approval by Governor Greg Abbott, are waiving all renewal and application deadlines until May 31, 2020.
What does this mean for you? All license applicants and license holders within their renewal period are automatically granted an extension to complete their initial application or renewal requirements until May 31, 2020. TREC and TALCB will be monitoring and assessing the need for further exceptions and extensions on an ongoing basis. Impacted license holders are encouraged to do their very best to submit all required documentation and complete coursework to the extent possible within or as close to your original deadlines as possible. This effort on your part will assist the TREC and TALCB in the timely review and processing of applications and renewals.
Renewals – all license types Anyone with a license expiration date of March 31, 2020, or April 30, 2020, is granted an extension through May 31, 2020. If you are concerned about obtaining CE needed to renew your license, many education providers offer CE courses through distance education methods. If you were previously enrolled in in-person classroom courses that have since been canceled, please contact your education provider to determine what options are available. The quickest and most efficient way to renew your license is by using the agency’s online services portal.
Initial License Applicants – all license types If your application was set to expire from March 11, 2020, through May 31, 2020, you will have until May 31, 2020, to complete all license application requirements. If you previously registered for in-person courses, research alternative methods (such as online or other distance education methods). Contact your education provider to determine what options are available.
With health and safety as a priority, license examinations are temporarily suspended. The agency is receiving regular updates from our licensing exam vendor and will continue to keep you informed. If your exam eligibility expires before May 31, 2020, you are granted an extension through May 31, 2020, to take and pass your exam.
Remember, you can check the status of your application using the application status tracker on the TREC website and on the TALCB website.
These are unprecedented times. TREC and TALCB are here to help. We have published information regarding the agency’s response to COVID – 19 and some helpful FAQs for TREC and TALCB on how this may affect your license. Please be sure to check the websites for the latest news on this evolving matter. Additionally, the agency remains available through email and phone calls to support all license holders.
AUSTIN, TX - The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), and Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board (TALCB) are taking steps to ensure minimal disruptions in services to license holders and consumers as the COVID – 19 (coronavirus) outbreak unfolds.
TREC and TALCB are closely monitoring the need and ability to waive license requirements to ease the burden of license holders. All affected license holders will be notified through email and posted on our website as circumstances change, however, no license requirement waivers have been issued at this time.
Should public meetings be canceled, our website will be updated. Due to the ever-changing nature of this situation, please be sure to check the TREC and TALCB websites often to ensure no changes have been made to previously planned meetings.
The agency has implemented extensive cleaning and social distancing measures when necessary to help prevent the spread of the COVID – 19 virus. Also, the agency is monitoring direction provided by state health officials to follow guidelines and procedures to ensure the health and safety of our staff when necessary.
Please be aware that as circumstances change, such as school closings, the agency’s workforce may be reduced, and teleworking will increase. This may cause minor disruptions in services. The agency, however, will maintain regular working hours, and all services will continue to be available to the public.
The agency is committed to continue providing excellent customer service and protect the consumers of real estate services in Texas while keeping staff and the public safe. Please be sure to subscribe to our email messaging services and refer to our website to ensure the most up to date information from the agency when it becomes available.
Coronavirus. A word that was unknown just months ago has now literally changed the world. One of the difficulties with Coronavirus is that we are dealing with a situation that changes multiple times each day. That makes creating a workable plan extremely challenging, as what might work today could easily become impossible the next day.
We have been monitoring the news and the recommendations of the experts, as I’m sure you have been doing as well. Our team continues to evaluate several short-term adjustments that will enable our agents to continue making sales and assisting clients.
An article read on NAR.org website provided the following:
In response to the growing concerns about COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, NAR is providing this guidance to help REALTORS® respond to the coronavirus's potential impact on the real estate industry. As of March 4, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Level 3 Travel Warnings for all of China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, and a Level 2 Travel Warning for Japan. However, the situation is rapidly evolving. Be sure to refer to the CDC’s website for up-to-date information about travel warnings(link is external), as well as information about the coronavirus’ current impact in the United States(link is external). Daily updates about the coronavirus are also available from the World Health Organization(link is external).
What is Coronavirus?The CDC is responding to an outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus outbreak. While the outbreak started in Wuhan, China, a growing number of cases have been identified in several other countries, including the United States.
What is the risk of exposure to coronavirus?The CDC reports that most people in the United States do not have an immediate risk of exposure to the virus. However, the situation is rapidly evolving, and the CDC will update its risk assessment as needed. Visit the CDC’s website(link is external) for latest updates.
What preventative measures may be taken to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus?The same preventative measures recommended to prevent influenza are also effective in reducing the risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus.
These measures include:
What unique issues does coronavirus present to the real estate industry?
When an infectious disease, such as coronavirus, is associated with a specific population or nationality, fear and anxiety may lead to social stigma and potential discrimination. REALTORS® must be mindful of their obligations under the Fair Housing Act, and be sure not to discriminate against any particular segment of the population. While the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, that does not provide a basis for treating Chinese persons or persons of Asian descent differently.
May I ask clients or others I interact with in my real estate business if they have traveled recently, or have any signs of respiratory illness?
Yes, you may ask clients or others about their recent travel, particularly to areas identified as having an increased risk of coronavirus. To avoid potential fair housing issues, be sure to ask all clients the same screening questions based on current, factual information from public health authorities.
I typically drive my clients to showings. May I refuse to drive potential clients to see homes?
Yes. However, be sure that any change to your business practices is applied equally to all clients. You may refuse to drive clients who show signs of illness or reveal recent travel to areas of increased risk of coronavirus, or you may instead decide to stop driving clients in your car altogether, and simply arrange to meet clients at a property. If you do continue to drive clients in your car, it is a good idea to frequently clean and disinfect surfaces like door handles and seat belt latches, and to ask clients to use hand sanitizer when getting in and out of the car.
Should I still conduct open houses on my listed properties?
Speak openly and honestly with your seller about the pros and cons of holding an open house. Assess the risk based on your specific location, and direct your clients to local and state health authorities for specific information about the severity of the risk in your area. You could also propose alternative marketing opportunities for your seller’s consideration, such as video tours and other methods to virtually tour a property. If you do hold an open house, consider requiring all visitors to disinfect their hands upon entering the home, and provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers at the entryway, as well as soap and disposable towels in bathrooms. If you decide to do any cleaning at your client’s home, be sure to check with your client in advance about any products you plan to use. After the open house, recommend that your client clean and disinfect their home, especially commonly touched areas like doorknobs and faucet handles.
What precautions should brokers consider taking in their offices?
Brokers should use their best judgment when formulating a plan. First, brokers should implement a mandatory “stay-home” policy for any staff member or agent exhibiting any sign of illness, and depending on where the broker is geographically located, a broker may want to consider imposing a mandatory remote work policy for employees and instructing agents to stay out of the office. In addition, taking measures such as holding virtual meetings or potentially postponing or cancelling in-person meetings or events may be good measures to take to limit close contact between individuals. Be sure to monitor updates from the CDC, as well as your state and local health authorities for additional information and guidance on holding meetings or events. For travel considerations, review NAR’s “Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTOR® Associations”.
Finally, do not panic, stay informed, and use your best judgment. The situation is rapidly changing, so focus on putting policies and procedures in place to keep your employees informed, safe, and to avoid business disruption in the event the situation worsens.
Stay Safe Ya'll,
Ron L. Miranda, Broker
Using "Realty" In Team NamesAt the Commission Meeting on Monday, August 13, 2018, the Commission adopted changes to the advertising rules (§535.155) allowing Broker team names to include the term "realty," so long as the other requirements for team names are met. For example, a team name must still end with the word “team” or “group.” A team name of “John Doe Realty Group” is allowed, but a team name of “John Doe Realty” is not. The Commission adopted these changes based on feedback received from license holders, so we thank you for your input!
TREC has many resources available to license holders on the TREC website, including several online town halls, our article entitled "What’s in a Name? Advertising Name Types under TREC Rule 535.154" explaining the name types and which ones to use, and our FAQs on Advertising. Our brand new "Name Management Tool", which allows brokers to log in and manage their names is also available for FREE online! Be sure to check out these available resources!
Do You Advertise Your Business? Read This!
Texas Real Estate Commission adopted new advertising rules at its November meeting. These rules are effective as of May 15, 2018, which gives license holders 6 months to comply with the updated requirements.
§535.154 lays out alternate, assumed business and team name registration requirements and §535.155 lays out the revised advertising requirements. You can read both rules on TREC'S website.
The Commission will soon provide a detailed article about the new rules on our website, including examples of do’s and don’ts, host a live online town hall on December 14th, and update advertising FAQ’s to reflect these changes.
It has come to our attention that some listings being inputted into the system are "Limited Service Agreements". We have no problem with these listings as they are needed for comp purposes and are being designated as one. But please be aware that as licensed real estate agents in the state of TEXAS you do have the responsibility to be in compliance with the Real Estate License Act, which in brevity states the following in accordance with TAR attorney's:
The Real Estate License Act contains provisions that impose requirements on all agents regarding client communications and negotiations. At a minimum, an agent must ...
These duties exist regardless of the agreed-upon compensation payable to the broker. An agent cannot avoid these requirements by removing himself from negotiations. The minimum-services provisions also prohibit a seller’s agent from instructing a buyer’s agent to negotiate directly with the represented seller. Likewise, a buyer’s agent is prohibited from instructing a seller’s agent to negotiate directly with the represented buyer.
There are certain circumstances in which an agent may deliver an offer to a represented party without violating the Real Estate License Act, but the agent must have the other broker’s consent to the delivery and send him a copy of the offer. At no time may the agent cross the boundary into negotiations with the represented party.
If the seller’s broker isn’t fulfilling the minimum duties required of him, there’s not much you can do in the short-term. You have a fiduciary duty to look after your client’s best interests; however, you may not interfere with the other broker’s agency relationship or do anything to prevent the transaction from closing. Continue to make every effort to contact the seller’s broker to discuss your concerns, and keep a record of your communications with him.
If you believe the seller’s broker violated any rules or the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, you may take steps to file a complaint with the Texas Real Estate Commission or the Texas Association of REALTORS®.
If you believe that you deserve an additional fee, you may seek compensation through arbitration or other legally available means after the transaction closes.
At TexasBrokerSponsor.com we are always searching for ways to bring value to our clients, agents, and business entity brokerages. If you are looking for a new broker to sponsor you or your LLC Brokerage please visit us at TexasBrokerSponsor.com to get started.
Ron L. Miranda, Broker/Owner
Is it time to renew your business entity broker license with TREC?
Business entity broker licenses must be renewed every two years. You should receive a notice from TREC about your renewal 90 days prior to your license’s expiration date. You have to follow TREC’s requirements to renew your business entity broker license, which includes providing TREC with specific documents. This blog post outlines what those documents are. It’s a good idea to begin the renewal process early, since it can take some time to gather the information. If you miss the renewal, your entity's agents could lose sponsorship.
Are you afraid of the DTPA? You may not need to be
The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices—Consumer Protection Act is intended to protect consumers from false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices, unconscionable actions, and breaches of warranty. Through legislative success and other risk-management tools, the Texas Association of REALTORS® has worked to protect you from frivolous lawsuits and unfair claims. Learn more in the March issue of Texas REALTOR® magazine or by watching this month's Texas REALTOR® Magazine Minute.
Tips to avoid being subject to one of the most common Code of Ethics complaints
It's probably no surprise that Article 12 was the most cited article in ethics complaints against Texas REALTORS® last year. Texas REALTOR® tells you what complaints covered and what you can do to comply with this often-violated part of the Code.
How to engage in your industry on your phone's screen
Just text txrealtors to 30644 to sign up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts. You’ll get important alerts when something deserves your attention, like calls for action or a personalized voting guide.
The 2017 REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol is coming soon!
Make sure you've planned your trip to Austin on April 4 for this year's REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol. Join your fellow Texas REALTORS® to meet with state lawmakers to discuss property-tax relief, consumer-friendly reforms to the property-appraisal process, and more. You'll get an inside look at the legislative process, tour the TAR headquarters, and enjoy a barbecue lunch with your friends. Visit texasrealestate.com/realtorday for more information.
More links for Texas REALTORS®
If I represent the seller, can I advertise that I will rebate part of my commission to the buyer?
A: Yes, but the ad must disclose that payment of the rebate is subject to the consent of the seller and if the rebate is contingent upon certain restrictions, such as the use of a particular service provider, the ad must contain a disclosure that payment of the rebate is subject to restrictions. [Rule 535.154(m)] A sales agent must also have their sponsoring broker's authorization to offer a rebate.
However, a rebate to a buyer from a license holder may be subject to restrictions by the buyer’s lender. You should contact your broker or private attorney to find out how you should notify and obtain the consent of the buyer’s lender to address any impact the rebate may have on the determination regarding the buyer’s creditworthiness.
Stay Compliant and Always Disclose, Disclose, Disclose!
A broker, who is also the designated officer of a Business Entity, will have two license numbers; the individual broker’s license and the business entity broker’s license. Sales Agent’s requesting the sponsorship through the Relationship Management Tool (RMT) should verify the correct license number for their sponsoring broker PRIOR to submitting the online request. Once the fee is paid, the fee is non-refundable or transferrable. Once the request and payment are submitted, an email will be sent to the broker. The sponsorship will be in effect when the broker accepts the sponsorship request.
At TexasBrokerSponsor.com we strive to be your broker sponsorship solution. We welcome experienced agents and newly licensed agents to become part of our growing Texas-wide agent team. If you looking to earn more on every sales or leasing transaction we can help make that happen Make 2017 the year you make the move to increase your income.
Located in San Antonio, Texas we provide Texas Real Estate Professionals the Best Broker Sponsorship solution. Keep more of what you earn.