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As the next Commission meeting on Monday February 12th rapidly approaches, there are several issues that loom large and we need to emphasize.  First, this is our year for both strategic planning and rule review, so we will be discussing opportunities to remove any identified barriers or red tape that hinders or slows the licensing process without providing clear and commensurate consumer protections.  In other words, we are always looking to reduce regulations to maintain and promote free markets while balancing the legitimate needs and expectations of consumers to receive highly professional and ethical service from the real estate related license holders that they contract with and that we regulate.     

TREC will be at the TAR Winter meeting next weekend and will share some insights on the upcoming changes to the advertising rules. At the Commission meeting on Monday we will launch the strategic planning listening tour and introduce some of the key issues under discussion during this process. The Broker Responsibility Working Group will be appointed and begin exploring how to strengthen the consumer experience and potentially adding desirable options and flexibility on the path to licensure. The Education Standards Advisory Committee is considering strengthening the critical focus on use of our promulgated contracts in continuing education (CE) and exploring potential options for appropriate voluntary certification of focused practice areas, beginning with residential property management.

The practice of real estate brokerage continues to evolve as technology provides both opportunities to enhance service to clients and challenges to ensure legal and ethical requirements are honored. Both convenience and expertise can be enhanced if careful attention is paid to its fundamental principles. We invite you to share your ideas, inform and assist the Commission as it carries out this important mission. Plan to join us for the 2nd Annual Texas Residential Realty Summit in Austin on April 2 to earn up to five hours of CE while exploring the impact of natural disasters on the residential realty market.  Details are found elsewhere in this newsletter. We hope you will continue to aim high!