Scott Kesner was appointed chair of the Texas Real Estate Commission on April 25, 2019. With more than 25 years of experience, this appointment is another highlight in Scott's long career. Chair Kesner recently traveled to Austin from his home city of El Paso to meet with Agency senior staff and learn more about the Commission. He spent the day speaking to each director, learning about everything from enforcement to communications to technology. We sat down with Scott to ask him some questions about his experiences and learn more about his plans.
Tell us one thing about yourself that is not in your biography?
I am from a small town, with a total of 60 people in my high school. I had eight people in my graduating class. I worked my way through college; had several jobs doing different things before I became a licensed real estate agent. The last job I held just before I made the career change was as a probation officer. I got a call to join my brother-in-law Warren Ivey in El Paso when my wife and I had a one-week-old baby. A bad day in the office as a probation office ended in a life-changing decision.
What would you be doing if you were not a Real Estate Broker?
I would be coaching sports. Specifically, I would be coaching in a small town, high school sports. I would be wearing shorts and a cap and coaching six-man football somewhere in West Texas.
Who has been the most significant professional influence in your career?
I first moved to El Paso to become an agent and work with my brother-in-law Warren Ivey. He is the reason I became an agent.
Jim Henderson was our first business partner. He sold us his Century 21 franchise over a handshake and worked with us for years.
Phyllis Goodrich is the person that encouraged me to teach and give back to our industry. I am grateful because I not only participated in REALTOR association activities but also have served with TREC on the education standards committee and the broker responsibility working group. I still teach CE and Pre-licensing courses.
Last, but not least, my wife Paula, who is a licensed agent and by my side. She is one of our office managers and a working agent. I could not do any of this without her support and hard work.
Why did you want to serve on the Commission?
I wanted to be involved and give back to the industry and help move us forward. It goes back to the sunset report that gives us a chance to improve. I see the potential at TREC and I wanted to be a part of it.
What are you most looking forward to when it comes to being the TREC chair?
The challenge. I always want to, not only meet expectations but exceed them. I am looking forward to all the opportunities that serving on the Commission will present. The Commission helps consumers live the American dream. I believe the Commission can be an exemplary regulatory institution, and we can regulate without overregulation.
The first thing the Commission needs to tackle is the Sunset Commission report. The report was a highlight of our strengths and weaknesses. It is a unique time to join the Commission because of the review. We have a public report card, and we can use it as a roadmap forward.
What is the most significant difference you have already noticed about TREC that is different than what you initially thought?
I have been lucky enough to have served on several Commission committees, the Education Standards Advisory Committee and the Broker Responsibly Working Group. What was unknown to me was the staff. The staff of the Commission are capable of achieving more and doing more than I would have ever known. The team is extraordinarily talented and knowledgeable. They are indeed experts and know so much about the work of the Commission. The staff truly cares about the core values of the Commission, the license holders, and the consumers they serve, and they are willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
What is the biggest issue facing real estate license holders right now in Texas?
I feel the biggest issue facing real estate license holders is broker oversight and broker responsibility. Brokers need to ensure they are overseeing their agents and truly managing them. Technology has created significant advancements in real estate; however agents and brokers can easily miss, be unaware of some of their responsibilities. Specifically, I see buyers and sellers sign contracts and addenda in minutes when there is no way they could have thoroughly read what they are signing, nor has the agent or a broker reviewed the terms of those contracts with their clients.
What is the biggest issue facing Texas real estate right now? Moreover, how can the Commission ensure a strong market for license holders and consumers?
I believe the most significant issue facing Texas real estate is inventory and affordability. Real estate is the number one asset in our economy, including commercial, land, and residential real estate. We need to ensure that our license holders are accountable for what their minimum services are in this great market.
When the market is demanding, license holders can be tempted to stray from the requirements of their licenses. I believe the Commission needs to focus on its core values, determining honesty, trustworthiness, and competency providing protection for consumers from this volatile market. The market will do what it may.
Do you have any specific goals you have set for yourself during your time as chair?
I want to take the sunset report and run with it. I want to help the Commission exceed expectations. TREC is already making huge strides toward meeting those expectations. We are moving in the right direction. We will keep focusing on change one step at a time. I am ready to move forward.