Changes proposed by TREC

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The flag of Texas flapping in the wind.

08/25/2016 | Author: Legal Staff

The Texas Real Estate Commission’s most recent quarterly meeting included several proposals of interest to license holders. However, the agency did not discuss any changes to current advertising rules, choosing instead to continue to work with the Texas Association of REALTORS® toward a solution that protects consumer interests. Here are some highlights:

Unlicensed assistants and showing a property
Proposed changes to TREC Rule 535.4, License Required, would define “showing” a property to include “causing or permitting the property to be seen by a prospective buyer or tenant, unlocking or providing access onto or into the property, or hosting an open house at the property.” All these actions would have to be carried out by a licensed broker or agent. Several exceptions to this rule were added, such as:

  • Allowing an unlicensed assistant to show a vacant property (with the only personal property left behind remaining with the property), as long as the owner and the prospective buyer or tenant prior to the showing sign a consent acknowledging that:
    • The unlicensed assistant is an employee
    • TREC has not conducted a criminal background check on the unlicensed assistant
    • The unlicensed assistant can’t answer questions or point out features about the neighborhood or property, and
    • The broker is responsible for all acts and omissions of the unlicensed assistant.
  • Allowing an unlicensed person to have unescorted access to view a vacant property property (with the only personal property left behind remaining with the property), as long as the owner prior to the property being viewed signs a written consent acknowledging that:
    • The owner is aware that unescorted access may occur, and
    • The broker enabling access is responsible for any damage that results.

A proposed change to TREC Rule 535.5, License Not Required, would remove the section that currently allows unlicensed people to host open houses. Read the full text of these proposed changes.

Renewal fee for sales agent licenses
The commission proposed to reduce the fee to renew a sales agent license from $72 to $66. If approved, this reduction would go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Notifying TREC regarding changes to broker supervision
TREC Rule 535.2, Broker Responsibility, already requires a broker who delegates supervisory duties to another license holder to notify the commission of such delegation. The proposed addition to this rule would also require the broker (or a newly licensed broker or broker associate, if their status as a delegated supervisor changes) to notify the commission when that delegation has ended. Read the full text of the proposed rule.

Use of the TREC seal
The commission proposed a new rule, 535.45, which pertains to the Texas Real Estate Commission’s seal, logo, and name. It basically prohibits anyone from using such materials in a way that could mislead people into thinking that the person using the logo is part of the commission or endorsed by the commission. Read the full text of the new rule.

You can read more about these items and the many others that were discussed at TREC’s meeting at TREC’s website.

UPDATE (Sept. 2, 2016): The proposed changes were published Sept. 2, 2016, in the Texas Register. Comments on the proposal may be submitted until Oct. 2, 2016, to Kerri Lewis, general counsel at TREC.

Categories: Business tips, Legal, Meetings, Members
Tags: trec, unlicensed assistant, open house, legal


Mike McEwen on 10/29/2016

Ms. Scales, I presume you are aware of the upcoming change to TRELA in re unlicensed assistants opening rent properties.  Nevertheless your point is well taken.  Mr. Oldmixon and I communicated about this a few months ago.

Sherry Scales on 10/29/2016

Mike McEwen “as of right now” according to TREC:  An unlicensed assistant cannot show the property for a license holder; this applies to both homes for sale and for lease.    So if you are allowing your unlicensed assistant show rentals…you could loose your license.  It will take just one person to catch you at it and report it.  I am sure you worked to hard to get your brokers license to let that happen.

Mike McEwen on 10/29/2016

Amen on the prufreeding.  Ha!  I’m also pleased that my unlicensed assistant may open rentals for viewing.

Rick DeVoss on 10/29/2016

This is one of the longest threads I have seen yet.
...One thing is certain after reading all the comments:  Each and every one of you should make an effort to ‘proof-read’ your remarks before you hit the “post comment” button.

Steve Crossland on 10/20/2016

> Its not just the action of opening the door its all the things that goes with it.

No, it’s simply opening a door.

Example: I am working from my weekend home in Wimberley today. A leasing prospect called about a house I have for lease in NW Austin. Because I have professional photos plus a floorplan, and based on the location, the prospects says they want to apply sight unseen, as they are in corp housing with the job transfer.

I require them to see inside though, just to be safe. I could use the automated lockboxes like Rently, or Codebox. I don’t do that, I’d rather a human be present with the lookers. I could call my handyman and say “go do a vacancy checkup, and while you’re there some people will show up wanting to see the inside, go ahead and let them”. If it was last summer, I could send my summer intern with her MLS key to open the door. She needs only to know about 3 scripts to redirect questions back to me.

As it is, I’ll be driving up there myself because this home has been sitting and I personally want to close the deal. I can do that with rentals this time of year when it’s slow and I only have one or two.

Point is, there is nothing wrong with any of my examples of other options above. We’re not talking about an occupied home, we’re talking about a vacant house.

People who want to over-regulate such activities are what’s wrong with the country. Seriously. HUS has told PMs we now cannot even decline violent Felons without “considering other aspects of their situation”. So excuse me if I’m sensitive to this type of stupidity and how it is cancerous to small business operations and those of us operating those businesses.

Cary Beach on 10/20/2016

Then its simple, Get your assistance license, do the background checks and follow the process.  Follow the process if its important to you to have these people interact with clients and open doors and do the things in this business that require a license.

Its not just the action of opening the door its all the things that goes with it.  Knowing Fair Housing, agency law, what are these people telling your clients.  I know one broker who got hit with a $10,000 fine from Fair Housing,  Its good to have your assistance license to learn and follow the law.  Much less expensive than a silly error and getting a huge fine from Fair Housing.

I do believe they should have a couple of levels of license just for what your talking about. But I have had assistance sending over contracts doing the work the agent should be doing and I have to spend so much time getting them corrected and completed. 

I do believe they should have a separate license for property management and have a assistance license that does the background checks, and vets the licensee and gives them limited access to lease properties only under the property manager.

Steve Crossland on 10/20/2016

> Cary Beach on 10/20/2016
Maybe those of you who want to do as you Please should look for a job with Hillary Clinton, The rest of us will follow the rules and the Law!

Again, a perfect example, to disprove the point you think you’re making.

Over-regulation and burdensome impractical rules with no basis in “in the field” reality or actual justification would be exactly what someone in favor of such would look to people like Hillary to deliver. So perhaps it is you who would enjoy working for someone who believes in that.

Those of us small business owners, confronted with trying to navigate the morass of silly government intrusion into our daily work lives appreciate being left alone and allowed to operate in a way that best serves our clients.

Mike McEwen on 10/20/2016

If you will pay attention you will see that unlicensed individuals are being permitted to open rental properties.

Cary Beach on 10/20/2016

Maybe those of you who want to do as you Please should look for a job with Hillary Clinton, The rest of us will follow the rules and the Law!

Mike McEwen on 10/20/2016

Mr. Crossland, thank you for you common sense, intellectually honest comment.  I still think I may use that other gal’s illogic so that I can become an OB GYN.

Mike McEwen on 10/20/2016

So, practicing medicine is the same as unlocking a door.  Gosh!  I never knew that.  I think I’ll become an OB GYN.

Steve Crossland on 10/20/2016

> “So with that logic I don’t need a license to practice medicine.  I just need to know what’s in the medical books.”

No, the equal “logic” would be that if you are the Doctor, and want to hire Admin help, that your Admin must also be a Doctor.

Many Property Managers have unlicensed assistants, and summer interns that occasionally open a door using the MLS access given to them per MLS rules as an unlicensed assistant. This is allowed in most MLSs.

Disallowing that is like saying the gal who takes your temperature and blood pressure should be a full blown Doctor, using your example.

Richard Weeks on 10/20/2016

So with that logic I don’t need a license to practice medicine.  I just need to know what’s in the medical books.

Mike McEwen on 10/20/2016

If my unlicensed assistant had a license she would not be showing rentals; she would be selling real estate.  She knows more about chapter 92 of the TPC than 95 percent of all licensees.  She is a statutory employee who reports to a broker and knows what she may and may not do.  It’s about what you know, not whether or not you have a license.

Nereida Moreno on 10/20/2016

I have been a real estate assistant for 32 years and have been licensed for 27 years. Agents if your assistant was licensed, you would probably double your income and for your protection do not let an unlicensed assistant open any prooerty, with all the lawsuit abuse a customer can accuse your assistant of misrepresentation or anything and your E&O insurance may not cover you.  Since my broker is a member of MLS I have to be a member also and pay my MLS,TAR,NAR dues and ekey.  So no way should an unlicensed assistant open any property.

Cary Beach on 10/10/2016

Lastly I have a HUGE Question,  if your unlicensed assistance are showing these homes.  ARE they using your eKey ! if so your done!!  You can loose your license for that. 

If your unlicensed Assistance are showing Foreclosures and if they show a HUD REO HUD will come after you and remove you as a broker and file complaints against you and make you loose your license!!! 

Richard Weeks on 10/10/2016

Cary Beach well said.  Thank you.

Cary Beach on 10/09/2016

Follow the law not Fight it. I strongly oppose unlicense persons showing properties.  Get your licenses learn fair housing and agency law. If broker has too many properties to service then refre them to another agent or broker. Ethically you should Not take more work than you can manage and service.

Mike McEwen on 10/09/2016

I have good judgment.  In my 27th year in a city of 15,000, where everybody knows everybody.  I was the 2015 Businessman of the Year; and the law is the favorite part of my real estate career.

Marilyn Newland on 10/09/2016

Come on, Mike; we who are licensed have been fingerprinted and had background checks and years of training. Of course there are licensed agents who have no business being one but at least there is a regulatory organization in place whereas with unlicensed people it’s just one person’s judgement call.

Mike McEwen on 10/09/2016

You could apply this phrase to licensed people as well:  “your assistant is honest and ethical but obviously not all are so if one is allowed then all must be.”

Marilyn Newland on 10/09/2016

Mike, your assistant is honest and ethical but obviously not all are so if one is allowed then all must be. Who makes that determination as to the assistant’s character? My assistant is someone I would trust with my life, but she can’t go meet a buyer to open a door. The rules are in place for a reason because the line has to be drawn somewhere. Otherwise, our experience and knowledge counts for nothing.

Mike McEwen on 10/09/2016

What I do not like about the proposed TREC rules is that they say an unlicensed person can only go into unoccupied rental property.  That just does not make intellectual sense.  My unlicensed assistant of nine years is as honest and ethical as you can get.  There is no reason why she should not be allowed to go into occupied property.

Sherry Scales on 10/07/2016

I don’t think there is a difference whether it is for sale, for lease, or whether it is farm and ranch or residential or commercial. We are receiving a commission, which only a licensed agent can do.  We are not showing our fiduciary duty letting any unlicensed person do our job.  We are not protecting our client, or their property by letting anyone unlicensed with no back ground check accessing their property. It doesn’t matter if it is a rental…it is still the property owners property!  You are receiving a commission to do a job, so do it!  Heck we have had issues with Licensed Agents!!  And don’t forget, the brokers would be responsible for ANYTHING that would happen.  You are opening the door for all kinds of trouble in my opinion,

Stuart Scholer on 10/07/2016

Yeah Bill…. you are correct.
  I did not read between the lines of your comment. Just jumpin’ on you because of the way you expressed it… Sorry about that! I am a little (maybe a lot) arrogant sometimes.
  I assure you that I am in favor of flexibility and reason on the part of TREC.  As the Comment Letter from TAR to TREC on this matter says; there are bunches of circumstances that require flexibility and that end should be achieved if possible. But I do strongly believe that Brokers and Agents should do all that is possible to protect other people’s private property and shield them from unnecessary risk.  AND let’s not forget… we need to protect those persons, licensed or not, who are showing or just opening those properties.  That part really scares me. 
    I live and work in Houston and it gets pretty spooky here sometime. Someone calls and says…. “show me your Listing”. Can anyone really be sure who this is? Why don’t they have an Agent? Why don’t they want to send you their Pre-Approval Letter?  They get offended because you want a copy of their TDL. They want to rent??? Why don’t they want to fill out an app first?  It’s scary… who are these people??? Be careful friends!

Richard Weeks on 10/07/2016

First off Bill my name is Weeks not Week.  I have already sent an email to TREC letting them know what I think about the proposed rule change.  TRELA and TREC rules do not distinguish between rental, sales, commercial, land, industrial, farm and ranch.  If someone wants to be able to show a property get a license.

Bill Erter on 10/07/2016

Mr. Scholer, your point is well taken and the answer that Mr. Week gave for me, to your question, which was “no,” is correct.  There is one very important point of logic you both leave out.  You are “comparing apples and oranges”.  Rental verses Sales.  They are two different issues and in treating them both as the same is incorrect where the need for a license is required because of an excuse that a criminal back ground check is required.  Let me point out that TREC’s interpretation is only that.  While it is true that they have been commissioned to interpret the rules that are legislated, they are not the governing body that makes the law.  This interpretation is not the law and it has not been tested in court.  I think TREC, very wisely, has come up with a good compromise concerning the quagmire they started regarding their interpretation of the word “showing” to include “allowing access.”  Strictly enforced, should TREC try, could result in their liability for violating Anti-Trust Laws, Civil Right Violations of minority owned businesses and also be in violation of the 14th Amendment.  I don’t think either of you have thought this through but obviously TREC has.  Do either of you have any positive solutions to offer that would be helpful?  I’m sure TREC would be happy to listen.

Seitzler on 10/07/2016

From above:
“However, the agency did not discuss any changes to current advertising rules, choosing instead to continue to work with the Texas Association of REALTORS® toward a solution that protects consumer interests.”

Question:  Why does TREC rely on TAR for solutions to TREC rules?  Are they asking licensees without REALTOR status for input?

Richard Weeks on 10/07/2016

Stuart Scholer good question, the answer is no.  Nor could they cut hair, give someone a pedicure, or perform brain surgery.

Stuart Scholer on 10/07/2016

I cannot help to ask this question….
So could the daughter of an owner of a Law Firm, that had an ownership interest in the Law Firm and was also on the board of directors of that Law Firm, practice law?

Bill Erter on 10/07/2016

Mr. Week,

She never has wanted to be an agent first of all and secondly you “assume” a lot which you know what that makes you but no me because I know her situation.  You don’t but you would probably apologize for your comment if you knew and if you were a gentleman.  Thirdly, she has never acted like an agent and never had to act like an agent.  It is TREC’s new interpretation of the term “showing” that includes allowing access that has created this turmoil and obviously brought rude people out of the woodwork.  If you want to discuss specific issues I would be glad to in a different format.

Bill Erter

Richard Weeks on 10/07/2016

If an assistant was a Vice-President on the Board of Directors the daughter of the owner, and wanted to act like an agent she should get her license.  Only Phil Dunphy can pretend to be a real estate agent.

Cary Beach on 10/06/2016

Hi Juli Drake ,  Yes I am in full agreement with showing homes for sale should be a fully licensed sales person or broker.  If you have too much business to manage it then allow some of it to go to others!

Ethically don’t take more than you can manage, too many agents are too greedy. Refer the overage to other agents that you can not handle!

So for showing properties for sale,  YES properties for sale must be a licensed agent sales person or broker PERIOD!

As I said before I feel Property Management companies should be a separate license has a lot of different requirements.  As a property manager, I feel if you have a power of attorney from the owners then your office can use their employees to show rentals that are listed only with your office, only if management company has a power of attorney,  But these employees need to be licensed as a assistant leasing agents these people all must have complete back ground checks.  Take a test with some basic stuff with Fair Housing , Agency and Ethics. These showing assistance will not be allowed to write contracts or list homes for sale or lease or get paid any commissions on a sale.  Must be salary employees.


Juli Drake on 10/06/2016

I am back and forth on the unlicensed agent showing.  There are times, where I can’t be in two places at once and one buyer may need in just for a min or so.  I am a little different, I am a much smaller brokerage, but i do it full time and it’s how I support my family.  I take it extremely serious and get very offended by some of these companies that think we are useless and advertise to take out the middle man.  I am a brokerage where a lot of my buyers and sellers are friends, family & referrals from them.  In most cases they know my staff very well, I don’t in the least bit feel uncomfortable when I have allowed an associate to help a buyer or seller of mine, if I did, I wouldn’t have had them do it.  And I always make sure it is okay with my buyer and seller as well.  My husband helps me run the business, but he is not licensed, and there have been times where it’s been extremely convenient for him to just open the door for buyers who have needed to get measurements.  I think rentals is a whole other can of worms, i don’t feel that you should necessarily have a license to show renter, however, I do think you should have to be associated with a broker as an employee.  If they are stating everyone should have to have a license to show, than they are going to have to make it where leasing agents, assistant managers and managers at apartment communities have to have license, aren’t they doing the same thing in a since? You do have to have a license to be paid for finding some one a rental whether it be an apartment or a house and I agree with that, but you should be allowed to have your assistant help you in some cases.  I do agree though, there is a fine line, where all of these banks are coming in using their employees to show verse having a licensed real estate agent and it is making it very tough on us.  I don’t agree with the ones who advertise about buying ugly houses or the latest ones who are advertising to stay away from agents all together.  Most people don’t know what is involved with a real estate transaction from start to finish, they all think we are making the big bucks easy peasy, and that we have no expense.  So I do agree there should be some regulations on who has to be licensed to show.

Bill Erter on 10/06/2016

I am the Designated Broker for a small family owned and operated brokerage.  My assistant is the Vice-President on the Board of Directors and the daughter of the owner.  She has been in that position longer than I have been in mine.  She only accesses Rental Properties when necessary.  That said, should TREC be able to dictate to her that she can no longer access or “show” a property?  I think TREC would be putting themselves in a position of having some risk of civil liability if they tried to enforce that rule.  While I do not agree with the new TREC interpretation, I am satisfied that TREC has backed off their original stance and are making exceptions to the rule.  In the mean time, I will be watching for a TREC and/or TAR form.

Stuart Scholer on 10/06/2016

Ms. Dixon,
  You may be correct about one thing… I am arrogant sometimes.
But you did not read between the lines of my statement.
The taxi licensing process created a monopoly in Houston that lasted many decades and also fomented corruption in COH politics. The price of a taxi medallion reached well over $250K. The drivers that do not (nor ever will) own the taxi medallions make a very low wage. They dream of owning their own medallion…. but few will ever have one. Thanks to RideSharing there is service for less for the consumer and… with less hoops to jump through many folks (drivers) can supply this new taxi service and make some extra cash or even do it full time and make a decent wage. They now do not have to buy a taxi medallion and have more control of when, where and how they want to work. I love it when the monopolies in our “capitalistic economy” get their cages rattled!
    I would hate to see the licensing process turn into something that would allow a few of the most powerful Brokers to get a stranglehold on and squeeze out the small fish like you and I. But… on the other hand I don’t mind paying for the true value of our licensing process and doing our part to support the hard working folks at TREC. So if it went up $50 or $100… it would not bother me. Without them I would not have a job.
So all I am saying is; I like an even and fair playing field where all can play and get a fair return for their efforts. So go back and “read between the lines” and now maybe you will understand.
    And to those who say they want a system that squeezes out qualified competitors; “Be careful of what you wish for…..”

Cary Beach on 10/06/2016

Hi Karen Dixon,

Yes I agree the level of Con Ed is ridiculous here in Texas a 1st grade student could do these CE requirements. You just have to be alive , breathing to get the CE credits. There should be real class room experiences and with a exam to renew. With real questions and review of license law and property codes.  Not stuff like these Mickey Mouse classes like staging for CE Credits or how to use FB for a CE credit. Real issues with doing the Real Estate business and review of the laws and property codes Plus there should be a exam with 80% or better to renew.  That includes some of the license questions for that current year.

I believe property management should be a separate license and have a separate volume to renew with a minimum volume of business too renew.  This is a very different business than sales.  And should be treated on a different level of licensing.

I also believe to have a Brokerage Real Estate or a Property Management License you must have a commercial building of business that customer can come to.  And a office staff, to greet clients and a area they can use a rest room and conduct business . Not your den in your personal home!

With today issues with security and violence its for the public’s best interest that any broker doing business must have a commercial facility to meet an service clients.

Just like Auto Brokers they must have so many units to be a broker and they must have a place of business not their den! Sufficient office space for all their agents they employ,  Real Estate broker doing business should have similar requirements for Automotive Brokers and have a commercial place of business.



Mike McEwen on 10/06/2016

I support TAR too.  And I am perfectly fine w/ my unlicensed, statutory employees opening rent property for prospects.

Richard Weeks on 10/06/2016

I support TAR’s position on this issue.

Mike McEwen on 10/06/2016

I have met agents w/ 20 years in the business who have one year of experience 20 times.

Karen Dixon on 10/06/2016

Cary Beach what would you do with the property management people who don’t sell and don’t have very large portfolios?  2 million in rents would be difficult to accomplish as is sales when you are doing full time property management.  What about the commercial people who may spend many months on one transaction?  What about the farm and ranch people who may spend many months on one transaction?  If you want to raise professionalism the only thing you can do is educate.  Maybe harsher penalties for violations.  There are many agents who have been in the business many years and may be winding down their amount of business due to age.  That does not mean they are not good at their job and it does not mean that they are not servicing their clients, they just choose to not have that many.

Cary Beach on 10/06/2016

This is GREAT NEWS!  I am so fed up with the lack of professionalism in this industry.  Too many people who work it as a hobby or a leisure business. I also believe there should be at least 6 units per year to renew or a min volume of $2 Million to renew licenses.  Consumer is at great risk with part time and inexperienced or lack off experience people! This is not a leisure business its the largest investment most people make. And it should have some rules about production levels to renew sales persons licensees that show a minimum level of experience.  Also rebates should be limited to the amounts paid by the person receiving it, from a transaction with the past 90 days.

Karen Dixon on 10/06/2016

Stewart Scholer your arrogance is amazing.  While you practice in Houston and I am guessing you must sell large high value homes, that is not the norm for all of Texas.  There are many reasons a Realtor would not be able to pay a large licensing fee.  Personally, I think that to make the assumption that if a Realtor could not afford a large fee somehow makes them less of a Realtor is condescending.  It shows a lack of understanding for the many different ways Realtors practice.  There are many property management firms who do not make the kind of money that could afford a $10,000 license fee as well as Realtors who work with investors who purchase lower end properties, and Realtors who work in areas where the median price of housing is much lower than the metropolitan areas.  I think that anytime you can reduce your costs no matter how small the amount it is a good thing.  Most Realtors pay a significant amount to keep their licenses each year with dues, MLS costs and education.  Nationwide the average Realtor only makes about $50,000-75,000 a year before taxes. 

I do not believe that we should have unlicensed persons with access to properties.  As a property manager I would not knowingly allow a property to be shown by an unlicensed person for many reasons.  I have found that many times the agents don’t even escort their clients to properties for inspections which I feel is leaving a lot of room for liability with an inspector for any items that go missing.  It is not the responsibility of the inspector to keep an eye on the clients.  I am surprised that the inspectors are willing to do this.

C Byers on 10/06/2016

A person that does not have a license showing a vacant property is one thing
however showing a property that is not vacant or being
occupied is entirely different.  Unlicensed access via code, key box, etc. is extremely dangerous to all parties involved on so many levels.  You do have a fiduciary duty to your client whether your client is the buyer or seller.  It just takes one inadvertent action or intentional action by someone for the home and its contents to be compromised.  I agree No License No Access!  Check in your office you might be surprised that there are numerous licensed agents that could assist you in your showings for a small showing fee instead of a full time paid assistant!!

Lilly Hughes on 10/06/2016

You’ve made a really good point Diana Oliver Salazar. Isn’t it against the rules to give the code to an unlicensed person? And whose Supra key and code are they going to use?

Mike McEwen on 10/06/2016

TAR’s letter has grammar errors in it.  It needs to be proof-read and resubmitted.

Lilly Hughes on 10/06/2016

Allowing unlicensed persons to show a property, vacant or not, is change for the sake of change. It’s not just about security, fingerprinting, etc., etc. It’s about not having any fiduciary responsibility to the client. If a listing agent is too busy to show, then they should hire a buyer’s agent to make sure the prospective looker is property treated. And how about the IABS? Will the looker have already been presented with the IABS and its force and effect. This not to say an unlicensed person is not as honest and intelligent as a licensed person because we’ve complained long and loud that many licensed persons aren’t either. But they, at least, have the the loss of license and fines hanging over their head

Steve Crossland on 10/06/2016

Here is TAR’s letter to TREC regarding this issue.

Jean on 10/06/2016

I do not agree with unlicensed people being allowed access to any property. This is why inspectors, appraisers are also required to have a license. I now require all requests for showings to confirm the licensee will actually provide the showing. NO license, NO showing

ethan moore on 09/27/2016

This is awesome! 

dedicated hosting on 09/23/2016

This is indeed very helpful, very nice!

Doris Snipp on 09/22/2016

Please do not forget to make your comments known to TREC. They are accepting comments until October 2nd. There have been so many awesome, knowledgeable comments from Realtors who are at the top of their game. I applaud and thank all of you for a most informative discussion of this issue. Thanks for taking the time to point out the many aspects of this proposed change.

jacob wallace on 09/22/2016

Absolutely love this series, thank you for all of the great info.

Mike McEwen on 09/20/2016

There is no need for a well-trained unlicensed person to have to get a license to let a prospective tenant see a rent property.  It is a no-brainer.  Fortunately TREC is addressing this issue.

Julie Sauls on 09/20/2016

No on unliscensed assitants showing properties. I feel we as liscensed professionals owe that service to our clients. not to mention security reasons

Brent Auvermann on 09/20/2016

* A wise man once said, “six bucks saved is six bucks earned.”  Totally in favor of the renewal decrease, and opposed to elitism and rent-seeking in all their cynical forms.

* Opposed to increasing the range of duties for unlicensed assistants.  The tendency among big teams to score the client personally then leave customer service to underlings is odious.

Mike McEwen on 09/19/2016

Ms.  Hoover, do you have a property management practice?

Nattlie Hoover on 09/19/2016

I do NOT support unlicensed assistants or employees opening/showing properties for buyers or tenants.  This will only cause confusing, added paperwork, lawsuits and general misguidance and liability for buyers, sellers and brokers.  Let’s continue to increase our professionalism in this industry, not cheapen it.  If you don’t have the time to show property or you can’t hire a licensed assistant, choose another business.  People deserve quality.  Let’s give it to them.  As for as the fee, it’s too minimal of a change to even be concerned with.

Stuart Scholer on 09/17/2016

Why so cheap for a License?  Let’s do like the taxi medallions…. let’s bid for the License.
I’ll start at $25K! This way we can squeeze everyone out. Of course that Houston girl Martha could easily bid $250K…. then I will be out of business! Wait!!! Let me think about this.

Steve Crossland on 09/16/2016

Unescorted showings are already here. The technology, as was the case with Uber, AirBNB, for example, is ahead of the laws/rules and industry culture.

Check this video:

Companies show as Rently and ShowMojo already enable and facilitate unescorted showings for vacant rental properties. Our next version of the TAR Management Agreement will need to address this.

With regard to Agent Dues, I’ve long held that it should be $10K per year. People who can’t afford that should send back their license and go away. The rest of us can easily cover it because we are full time professionals. One additional transaction per year will cover it. #PurgeTheDeadWood

LUIS ANGEL ORDONEZ on 09/15/2016

I think the changes are beneficial.

Ward Lowe on 09/13/2016

If you want to ask VP of Legal Affairs Lori Levy about the proposed rule changes affecting unlicensed assistants, tune into the next TAR Facebook Live event. At 11 a.m. CDT on Sept. 20, go to TAR’s Facebook page ( to watch Lori give a brief presentation about the rule changes before she answers questions typed in the comments.

Dwight Hale on 09/13/2016

Curious as to why the unlicensed assistant must be an employee regarding the exemption?

Mike McEwen on 09/13/2016

Your point is well made, Mr. Scholer.

Marcus Phipps on 09/13/2016

As a broker, by statute or not, I feel and know that I have liability for the property of my owners.  I also have tremendous respect for my owners’ property and want to do everything that I can to protect it.  Because of that, I would never want the unlicensed assistant of another broker to access one of my listings.  I think that is something that is missing from this law, and that may be overlooked as we go forward.

As a broker, it is my responsibility to hire good people and to do my own due diligence to be sure that they are qualified.  I also believe that I am responsible for their actions, both in my office and at MY property listings.  I truly believe that there should be a distinction between the properties represented by the broker, and the properties of another broker.  I’m definitely opposed to exposing brokers to more liability, but in reality, it’s already there.

Cheryl on 09/13/2016

What I find interesting is that the change supports systems currently in place. For example, TREC already has fingerprinted all licensees, therefore, when a Seller chooses to list their home, there is an inferred level of integrity because of background checks in obtaining the license. However, when an unlicensed assistant is authorized by the licensee, (Not the Owner or Broker), then that level of security has been breached, willingly or not.  I appreciate how the rule does not prohibit unlicensed persons from showing a listing, but adds an extra layer of communication and approval required by the licensee. While we’re on the subject, I strongly encourage agents to avoid using the manual lockbox, I’ve known agents who gave out the codes to buyers and I doubt the seller had any knowledge.

Stuart Scholer on 09/13/2016

I think it is probably mostly Listing Agents that are using Assistants to open doors for unrepresented Buyers. They are hoping to reap a higher commission in an intermediary situation. Once again an industry standard that ignores the best interest of the Seller and tries to take advantage of the Buyer’s ignorance.

Mike on 09/12/2016

Ms. Salazar, are you referring to properties for sale or for lease?

Dianna Oliver Salazar on 09/12/2016

I have had several unlicensed assistants call me and ask for the cbs code to my listings. I have never given one out. There is to much liability and its very unprofessional.  REALTORS lets continue to do our jobs and show our clients what service is all about.

Bonson on 09/12/2016

Thankfully Texas reduced its renweal fee to be more in line with other states, but it’s still a little high… In 2016 it comes out to $123/year in TX (renewing every 2 years) and $75/year in Calif (renewing every 4 years) to renew a broker license

Mike McEwen on 09/12/2016

An owner can show his rent home to anybody whom he choses.  In some cases it may be ill-advised, but no law is being broken.

Craig Wala on 09/12/2016

In a lease situation what if the owner (who is not licensed)  of the house sometimes wants to show their rent house because agent is not available and a potential tenant is standing in front of the house wanting to see it as they just saw the sign in front. Will this rule about non licensed assistants restrict owner from showing.

Stuart Scholer on 09/09/2016

Does anyone know….?
Who is using “Assistants” to open doors more frequently?
Listing Agents or Buyer Agents????

Alexandra Fincher on 09/08/2016

I included my comment a quite while back, so I am going to add one more thing.  Doris Sanders got her real estate license 4 years before me, and yes we worked hard, we carried books and depended on our MLS tours so we could travel on a Caravan to all the listings.  We did this pretty much until the internet came along.  I have taken every MCE Class there is, I have taken so many designations but I will not pay the yearly dues, because it is the character of the Realtor that makes it all possible.  We used to work with buyers and sellers, our brokers did not let you off easily if you had an infraction.  I think Brokers today are too busy bringing bodies to the office that we have lost the reality of what Realtors are all about.  My thoughts after reading all the comments.

Esther Cordova on 09/08/2016

I have never believed in hiring an unlicensed assistant. One because of the liability imposed on myself, the Broker.  Two,  No back ground checks on them is risky.
I have seen unlicensed assistance do more than they should as it becomes easy for the team leader, so, therefore, don’t have unlicensed assistant even answer your phone. I once called an agent inuring some info on a property, the girl that answered told me she was the assistant. I assumed she was licensed. No, she proceeded to give me all the information I needed.  I did leave a message for the agent to call me back so I could tell her she was in violation, never returned my call. Do not drop fees.

Mike McEwen on 09/07/2016

I can understand making an argument against unlicensed persons not showing properties for sale; nut I have no problem allowing unlicensed individuals opening rent properties for prospects to look at them.  I can also speculate where allowing an unlicensed person to open a for sale listing may be the only good option under certain circumstances.  Needless to say, all the unlicensed person can do is open the door.  He could hand a datasheet to the prospect.

Marilyn Newland on 09/06/2016

This is the craziest proposal I’ve seen! Why in the world would you let your assistant meet the buyer, open the door, and then say ” Oh, I can’t answer any of your questions!”.  That makes the agent look extremely unprofessional and if I were that buyer I would be asking ” Now tell me again why I need you”  . On top of that , the idea that unescorted unlicensed people would be allowed access to a house is just ludicrous.
Now, I do think it’s okay for my assistant to meet the contractor or vendor to let them in to do work - as well as measure the house, gather required information and pick up documents. They’re not trying to buy the house so she doesn’t need to worry about answering questions. 
I do not support a reduction in the fees.

Ward Lowe on 09/02/2016

The proposed changes were published today in the Texas Register: Comments are being accepted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) until Oct 2, 2016.

Mike McEwen on 08/31/2016

Many would not.

Richard Weeks on 08/31/2016

Mike McEwen those are some pretty disparaging remarks towards REALTORS® in your city.  Your assistant might pass a background check with flying colors; however, I wonder how many in the great state of Texas would not?

Mike McEwen on 08/31/2016

As a property manager I can tell you that background checks rarely have an impact on future behavior.  My assistant has been w/ me for nine years.  I know many licensees in my city who have all, of course, had background checks.  There are many of those whom, if I shook hands w/ them, I would count my fingers afterword.

Richard Weeks on 08/31/2016

Mike McEwen, you asked for one good reason, I could give you several; however, I will limit it to just one.  “Noback ground check”.

Mike McEwen on 08/30/2016

A great portion of our property management fees takes care of my statutory employees.

Sherry Scales on 08/30/2016

Since it is the agent receiving a commission from the sale or Lease, and not the assistant, they need to earn it!  That is what we have a license for.

Mike McEwen on 08/30/2016

There is no reason for not allowing unlicensed persons to open rental properties for tenants to look at them.  Give me on good reason.

Richard Weeks on 08/30/2016

If TAR would not do a form for hydrostatic testing I doubt they will do one for this.  I agree with Ms. Scales we should voice our concerns to TREC NOT allowing unlicensed assistants to show any kind of property.

Mike McEwen on 08/30/2016

I look for TAR to prepare a form.

Mike McEwen on 08/30/2016

It is utterly dumb to not allow an unlicensed individual show a rent property.  I’ve been at this for 27 years now and have come across a lot more crooked licensed people than unlicensed assistants.

Sherry Scales on 08/30/2016

Contact TREC at:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)    to show your support for NOT allowing unlicensed assistants to show any kind of property.

Richard Weeks on 08/30/2016

I assume every agent who wants to use the form will need to have an attorney prepare one.

Mike McEwen on 08/30/2016

Who’s going to develop the form that the prospective seller or tenant will sign?

Doris Snipp on 08/29/2016

Thank you. We are the reason TREC and TAR exists. On an association sponsored Blog, all issues addressed by the blog and the comments should be viewed Thank you! Please make sure the Blog is for Realtors who would like their comments heard. Actually I thing all of the blogs and comments should go our Association.  We should not be voices in the wilderness.

Ward Lowe on 08/29/2016

@Doris: TREC does not monitor this blog. Once the commission publishes its proposed changes with the secretary of state’s office, I will update this post with instructions on how to submit comments.

Doris Snipp on 08/29/2016

Kevin, thank you for, in my opinion,  a perfect post.  I think you summed it all up with your statement:“Assistants need to
be just that, not surrogate realtors and brokers.”.  I would like to know our comments are submitted to TREC and not just seen on the Blog. Does anyone know?

Kevin on 08/29/2016

Unlicensed assistants and showing a property,

Why do we continually reduce the requirements to agents and brokers in doing their job in representing their clients? If an agent or broker is too busy to represent and work with their client(s), maybe it’s time to not over commit in the disservice to your clients. Our business was built on one-on-one relationships, under commit and over deliver. Assistants need to be just that, not surrogate realtors and brokers.

Barbara Sanders on 08/28/2016

I support the prohibiting of unlicensed individuals from showing homes. As for the reduction of the “agent” renewal fee? Six bucks? I became licensed in 1976, long before background checks were required. I welcomed that requirement. In spite of having had 6 surgeries in 2.5 years, due to injuries & breast cancer, limiting my ability to work full-time, I have kept my dues, fees, license updated. I take VERY SERIOUSLY the necessity of MCE and have taken, in spite of medical issues, every MCE course I can work into my schedule. I would support an increase in the hours of Legal & Ethics required for renewals. Having now “risen from the ashes”, I have been shocked by the deceptive advertising, i.e., MLS (in particular some enhanced virtual tour presentations) & flyers placed in the info boxes in front of homes containing deceptively attractive photos.  Are lawsuits, which will invariably happen, going to be necessary in order for ethical presentations to be assured? The intrusion of outside websites, often with incomplete or incorrect information (corrected only if/ when we “pay-up”), continue to baffle me. Is their intrusion worse than an unlicensed employee opening a home or holding an open house? Are they required to have MCE, background checks, pay Board/MLS dues & fees? I know some agents are more comfortable in front of a computer. I think technology & the Internet have hurt Realtors overall. I firmly believe that we, as an industry, have become too techy. The listing agents and the buyers representatives have fiduciary responsibilities. Outside websites nor computers can fulfill these obligations. When I work with a buyer or seller, they have benefit of my training, my time, ethics and experience;  hopefully not on my technological abilities (admittedly necessary for certain aspects of our industry, today). For communication, I bless e-mail & the Internet. In 1976 we had no cell phones, no Internet, no PCs, no FedEx nor UPS. We used the Greyhound & Continental bus lines. Where I started (in Texas), we had no MLS, no lockboxes, few copy machines, no caller- ID, holding nor forwarding. We sold homes! I thank God today for SABOR, TREC, TAR & MCE.

Ed Deaton on 08/26/2016

I think that the real problem is Brokers are taking on as many agents as they can, only to pick up their new agents friends and family members listings. They do this, of course, at the expense of the new agents time, money and effort to start a new career. Meanwhile, the Broker charges that new agent fees for things such as a desk fee, advertising, printer paper, web site, wifi, educational courses, E&O insurance and what ever they can think of. Therefore, the Broker is the only one that really benefits in the long run once the new agent makes a few sales and realizes that he or she is going to have a hard time paying all the recurring fees and making a living. Maybe TREC should consider an exorbitant “Brokers Fee” for having more than five active agents in an office?

Ida parker on 08/26/2016

I am a fairly new agent. After completing my core courses my husband was diagnosed with cancer so this delayed my testing for licensing. I passed first time around. Because it costs so much for dues and SAE courses I have to keep my full time job. Reducing renewal fee may be minimal reduction for others but for me every little bit helps. I do a lot of reading and started GRI courses. Why do some agents want to reduce #  of real estate agents. Everybody should be allowed every opportunity to better themselves. I wish I could do real estate full time but that’s not feasible for now.



Doris Snipp on 08/26/2016

Amen! Bob.  The problem is saying you want professional agents and needing more agents to sustain the growing budgets are in conflict. I am a Broker and have dealt with agents who have been in the business for several years and I can’t fathom how they passed the tests. Until we require Brokers who were grandfathered in or who do not practice consistent real estate,  to work as an intern with another Broker and require agents to do the same, we will continue to be seen as non professional group. The online education programs for a new agent should cease.  We are the only profession who thinks someone should want part of our income and readily agree.  To not be an intern an agent would need to do 6 transactions a year and maintain the level or higher every year. The rules are constantly changing requiring one to be actually engaged in real estate transactions yearly.

Bob Conner on 08/26/2016

I also agree with Rory Higgins.  I especially agree with his comments about agents who don’t maintain a proficiency level adequate to provide an acceptable level of service to clients.  That proficiency level must include an ability to communicate with the clients.  If there is ever an argument as to the need to increase the educational requirements to be a licensed agent, one only needs to be a regular reader of these quarterly forums.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

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