2024 marks 75 years of the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and its work to protect consumers in their real estate transactions. As that new chapter soon opens, here are some highlights from the Commission’s efforts during the last 12 months.
What to Know About Property Inspections
Among the many parts of a real estate transaction, it is easy for consumers to misunderstand the role of an inspector. With the proliferation of walkthrough, abbreviated inspections, the Texas Real Estate Inspector Committee (TREIC) wanted consumers to know their downsides compared to standard inspections, as well as what inspectors licensed by TREC are required to do by law.
TREC’s inspection rules and process were also highlighted in a news article by Community Impact.
And Commissioners made changes to how the Standard Inspection Report Form is filled out—this is what all licensed Texas inspectors are required to use to report their findings. The Property Inspection Report Form Instruction Sheet explains how this should be done. More on the change can be found in February’s Meeting Recap.
Welcoming new Commissioners, Thanking the Outgoing
In May, Commissioners and staff traveled to Houston. It was the first time the agency broke away from its Austin headquarters to meet. The goal was to reach more license holders—there were more than 80 attendees.
The meeting opened with a welcome to three new Commissioners, pictured above from left: Chance Brown, Stuart Bernstein, and Renee Harvey Lowe.
They replace Jan Fite Miller, Micheal Williams, and DeLora Wilkinson (pictured below, left to right).
Miller had this to say about her departure: “Serving on the Texas Real Estate Commission was an unexpected honor and privilege. Simple learning the processes and volume of details that affect the Commission is enlightening. I certainly wish that I had not just been running scared of TREC and staying under their radar for 50+ years, but maybe that made our company stronger and better trained to always do what is right.”
Wilkinson said, “It has been my honor and privilege to serve the great state of Texas as one of the nine Texas Real Estate Commissioners over these past six years. When I came on as a Commissioner, TREC was a very different agency than it is today. The positive changes and growth we have seen I am proud to have been a part of. In leaving, it is in knowing that TREC is in good hands with our superb leadership staff, Chair and Commissioners.”
New Response Time Rule
Commissioners adopted a rule that sets a timeline of two calendar days to respond to parties to a real estate transaction. Effective summer 2023, brokers or sales agents are required to respond within two calendar days to:
- Their principal.
- A broker or sales agent representing another party to a real estate transaction.
- An unrepresented party to a real estate transaction.
Updated Forms: Consumer Protection Notice, Seller’s Disclosure Notice
Legislation passed by the 88th Texas Legislature required the Texas Real Estate Commission to update two frequently used forms: the Consumer Protection Notice and the Seller’s Disclosure Notice. The new forms are online and were required for use starting in September.
September kicks off TREC’s and the Texas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board’s Season of Giving. The agency raises money for various Texas charities enrolled with the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) and Partnerships for Children’s Holiday Wishes Campaign. This year staff raised nearly $21,000 and filled the wish lists of 42 children.
New Renewal Requirements
Effective October 1, sales agents renewing their license for the first time—both active and inactive—are required to complete an approved 30-hour Real Estate Brokerage course as part of their 90 hours of Sales Agent Apprentice Education (SAE). This change was adopted during the May Commission meeting.
Also effective in October, active license holders whose licenses expire are set to inactive status as of the expiration date, and any license relationships to sales agents and/or brokers are terminated. Those who late-renew—up to six months after expiration—are renewed on inactive status. Read here how to avoid trouble and return to active status.
More Options to Earn CE at TREC Meetings
As of November, license holders may earn up to four hours of Continuing Education (CE) elective credit per two-year renewal cycle by attending any Commission meeting in person. A license holder must sign in and out of the meeting. CE is calculated based on the length of the meeting and attendance for the entirety of the meeting. For example, a two-hour-long TREC Meeting would result in two hours of CE credit. A license holder cannot earn partial credit across multiple meetings. Previously, a license holder could only earn CE elective credit by attending the February Commission meeting in person.
Coming in 2024
In January, there will be new way license holders can receive compensation through a business entity. They will have the option to register LLCs and S-Corporations with TREC for the sole purpose of receiving compensation if those entities meet certain requirements. Get more details about this change.
Effective January 1, a person who engages in the practice of wholesaling must disclose in writing the nature of the equitable interest to any seller or potential buyer.
New Voluntary Form Proposed to Disclose MUDs
Under Texas law, if a seller’s property is in a water district, like a municipal utility district (MUD), the seller must provide a notice that includes certain specific information to the buyer prior to execution of the contract.
Water districts are required to post the notice containing the information in this form on the district’s website. However, if the district does not have the notice on its website, the seller can obtain the information from the district and then could use that information to complete the proposed Notice to Purchaser of Special Taxing or Assessment District form. You can submit online comments about the proposed form and the associated rule until December 24. The earliest the form could be adopted by the Commission is February.
TREC’s next Meeting is February 12 in Austin. A new TREC vice-chair and secretary will be elected.
The 2024 May meeting is currently being planned to take place in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The above are some of TREC’s 2023 highlights. To keep up with the Commission, visit its website: trec.texas.gov.
If “new year, new job” sounds like a good motto, check out TREC’s employment opportunities.