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A new rule effective earlier this summer sets a timeline of two calendar days to respond to parties to a real estate transaction you’re involved in. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is the Rule?

535.157, Obligation to Respond Timely

When Did it Go into Effect?

June 11, 2023

What is Required?

Brokers or sales agents must 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.

Does This Change Requirements for Brokers and Delegated Supervisors?

No. A broker and delegated supervisor’s requirements to respond to sponsored sales agents within two calendar days remains under Section 535.2.

What About Weekends and Holidays?

The rule states calendar days, meaning you must respond even if the time period falls on a weekend or holiday.

How Do I Provide a Response?

There is no requirement in the rule about how you must respond, so it can be through a phone call, a text message, an email, or however you are communicating with these parties.

What Do I Have to Communicate?

The response can be as simple as an acknowledgement you have received the communication. This rule does not require you to close a deal or otherwise force a decision or specific action.

What Happens if Someone Violates This Rule?

Failure to comply with this rule may result in TREC taking an enforcement action against you, which can include fines.

What is Considered a Real Estate Transaction?

What is considered a real estate transaction under the timely response rule will depend on the facts of the situation. Generally, a real estate transaction will include the offer stage, and it may include earlier communications related to a prospective offer. The timely response rule only requires acknowledgement of the offer within two calendar days and does not force a party to accept, reject, or negotiate an offer.

A license holder’s fiduciary duties owed to their client include representing the interest of the client in the buying, selling, or leasing of a property. Even outside of the timely response rule, failing to respond in general could be viewed as a breach of your fiduciary duties. For these reasons, being responsive can help reduce your risk of facing disciplinary action.