Who can an unlicensed assistant call?

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02/05/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

Can my unlicensed assistant call potential buyers and sellers and make an appointment for a licensed agent to talk to the prospect?

No. This is often referred to as telemarketing, and only a licensed real estate broker or salesperson may make such calls. Both the Real Estate License Act and TREC rules make it clear that all solicitation work must be conducted by licensees.

Get more answers to your legal questions on texasrealestate.com.

Categories: Legal
Tags: legal faq, unlicensed assistant


Sher Dye on 02/06/2016

All of the questions asked are answered in those two articles. If we allow unlicensed people to start doing our jobs, then everyone will start doing it just like the FSBO’S. Assistants are great but there has to be limitations as to what they can do. I agree with you Bob about fine lines, (grey Areas), but the law is the law. No doubt assistances are our right arm so to speak, but it is what it is. If a Realtor does what Tanya talks about in her comments, it is still the responsible of that Broker/Agent to know the laws we work under. We can’t say, oh I didn’t know that! We are trained and taught to know our field of expertise.


Andrea L. on 02/05/2016

I feel that some of the comments on this thread are a little harsh. To say that if you don’t have time for that client means you don’t deserve the client is slightly ridiculous. I know a ton of agents who run very big businesses, and agent teams so they have a LOT of clients. You can not ALWAYS have time for every client yourself. This is why you leverage assistants, and teams to work for you and help build your business. This gets you to the next level.  Why would you turn away a client because you don’t have time to show them every home they want to see. Some clients want to see TONS of homes, and sometimes as agents we just aren’t available. We have so many moving parts in this business, I feel it is very plausible to say an agent may not have time. We are ONE person until we can leverage someone else for help.  I honestly feel like unlicensed assistants should be able to handle paperwork, make appointments, and let people into properties. What I don’t like is the idea that buyers can go in without anyone at all. But an assistant of an agent should be able to let buyers in homes because there is someone in that chain that has a license - the realtor. We have to begin to think bigger about our business, and really build businesses and not just one man shops. If you never grow your business to anyone or anything beyond you, your business dies with you, and to do that you will be busy, and you will need assistance!

Bob McCranie on 01/29/2016

If I receive leads on my website can an unlicensed assistant call them to see if they’re working with another agent, proapproved, and readyd to start looking?  This would be the role of an inside sales rep.

Sher Dye on 02/09/2015

Both the Real Estate Licensing Act and TREC say that all solicitation must be done by a licensed real estate agent for calls so why would it not be the same for open houses or letting someone in to look? They are taking on the liability as well as the Agent would be. We give away too much power which makes us less needed. People are already buying purchasing agreements and having either a attorney or title company look at the documents. If I was, or thought I was so busy and important as to send an assistant to do my job, then I don’t deserve that Client. I never want my clients to think I am too busy for them.  I care more about my clients than that. Giving toooo much power away as well as knowledge that we have and still do pay dearly for.

Jose L. Escobedo on 02/09/2015

I feel the Broker should instruct the agents in his or her office. The Trec. rule says that an assistant can be a host at an open house not that the assistant can go and open a listing for a prospective buyer to see, because the licensed agent doesn’t have the time to show the property.

Laurie R on 02/06/2015

One thing that does confuse me. I never understood how an unlicensed person can even open up a door of a house on the market if it is forbidden for an unlicensed person to use a supra key, provided the lockbox is a supra blue box. How could the two of these even happen?

Amy Deatherage on 02/05/2015

I would be very interested in the answer to Holly’s question above.
“Can a Virtual assistant for my web site make calls to online visitors to set search alerts for properties, or offer to schedule showings by a Licensed Realtor?”

Sher Dye on 02/05/2015

Bottom line if we continue to allow non-licensed people to go and open a home for a buyer to look at (WITHOUT) that person saying anything, we are setting our industry up to the point we will no longer be needed. Anyone could do what we do. As an example. I am a licensed Interior Designer. Everyone and their dogs started DECORATING peoples homes. They were calling themselves Interior Designers just like me. By law for me to call myself that I have a 5 year degree. Same as what an Architect has. Now so people know who I am I have to put RID, Registered Interior Designer. after my name so as not to be confused with DECORATORS. We gave too much away to people for free and now we suffer in our own field.

Holly Smith on 02/05/2015

Can a Virtual assistant for my web site make calls to online visitors to set search alerts for properties, or offer to schedule showings by a Licensed Realtor?

Bob Baker on 02/05/2015

This is good information but I believe there is a gray area which the TREC Rules are not clear on addressing.  No question if the purpose of the call is solicitation of business or any form of prospecting then in Texas that requires a license.  However if the unlicensed assistant is simply scheduling an appointment with a prospect the licensed agent has talked to and the licensed agent is using their assistant for scheduling purposes then I believe that is an admin task and does not require a license.  The key difference is that the licensee has already done the prospecting and now needs assistance in scheduling appointments.

Sheree Dutton on 02/05/2015

I am currently taking my ethics MCE,  just last night I read in my course that any unlicensed person CAN open a listing or host an open house, they just cannot “show” the property.  Which means they cannot say anything about the property or answer questions.  They CAN take buyers info to pass on to the agent.  I can copy it directly from my course if you would like.

Editorial Staff on 02/05/2015

@Sher:  TAR attorneys have answered several questions about unlicensed assistants here (see the last one): https://www.texasrealestate.com/for-texas-realtors/legal-faqs/category/unlicensed-assistants

Also, here’s some info about unlicensed assistants hosting open houses: https://www.texasrealestate.com/for-texas-realtors/legal-faqs/category/open-houses

Sher Dye on 02/05/2015

I see a lot of assistants that open the house up for Buyers to look at. They make comments about the property and when I ask them if they are a licensed Realtor they say no that the listing agent is to busy to show the property. To me if you take a listing you need to handle it yourself. Can assistants show property that my buyer wants to see?

Peggy Santmyer on 02/05/2015

If the agent is hiring someone to prospect they must hire a licensed assistant. 

Tanya Warner on 02/05/2015

Great article!! I am certain MOST agents don’t realize this applies especially since more Realtors are hiring assistants to help with administrative task. Perhaps broker will start sharing such information with their agents so that they will not receive a violation for a true oversight of something many read only once or twice years ago. Thank you for keeping us informed!

Jeanette Edwards on 02/05/2015

I personally received a phone call about an expired listing of mine. The person calling me thought I was the seller.  They said they were calling on behalf of an agent about my expired listing. They even named the licensed agent they were calling for.  Since they thought they were talking to a homeowner who’s listing had expired, would this be a violation of TREC rules?

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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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