On April 12th, over 2,000 Texas REALTORS® convened at the state Capitol to participate in the 2011 Texas Legislative Hill Visits. REALTORS® met with State Representatives Donna Howard and Paul Workman, staff members for Representatives Dawnna Dukes, Elliott Naishtat, Eddie Rodriguez and Mark Strama, as well as Senator Kirk Watson, to discuss bills supporting real estate professionals and homeowners alike. Below, we have summarized three specific issues discussed during the 82nd Legislative Session and how they affect homeowners.
1. TREC: Self-Directed, Semi-Independent Status
The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) requires real estate agents and brokers to be well educated and licensed to perform their duties. HB 1680 andSB 1000 would grant TREC self-directed, semi-independent status, allowing the Commission to retain the licensing fees it collects. With more funding, TREC would have a stronger impact on the real estate community, which would allow real estate professionals to provide higher quality services to their clients.
2. Private Transfer Fees
Certain developers can impose private transfer fees on a property. This means that if a homeowner wanted to sell their home, they would be required to pay a fee to the developers before closing. HB 8 and SB 1459 would make private transfer fees illegal in the state of Texas. Dwight Hale, Chairman of the Texas association of REALTORS®, stated that, “These fees are scams that decrease affordability and serve no public purpose.”
3. TREC Housekeeping Priorities
Customers take comfort in knowing they are working with the best in the business, and the real estate industry is no exception. SB 747 intends to change the education and licensing requirements for real estate professionals, holding them to a higher standard. Changes include increasing the years of experience required before a real estate agent may become a broker and making a real estate license mandatory for individuals who accept deposits or rent.
The aforementioned bills are supported by both the Austin Board of REALTORS® and the Texas Association of REALTORS®. These bills would help further REALTORS®’ efforts to protect private property rights and the interests of Texas homeowners. You can check on the current status of these bills by visiting the Texas Legislature’s website and entering the bill number in the search engine provided.