By Mary Lynne Gibbs • 2018 Director

Errors and omissions insurance claims are rising in the nation, yet Texas is not seeing an increase in these kinds of professional liability issues. Why? At our most recent RRC luncheon, TREC Chair Avis Wukasch told a packed house that one E&O insurance provider believes it is because brokers in Texas must meet stricter educational and regulatory requirements.

Avis recently appointed me and eight others across Texas to the Broker Responsibility Working Group (BRWG) which will allow us to make sure Texas remains a leader in broker accountability. We are in charge with reviewing broker licensing requirements, minimum competency requirements, broker mentorship programs, minimum service requirements in relation to service fees and temporary out of state registrations for commercial transactions. It is my honor to be appointed to this vital group for the second time.

While most people in real estate are responsible, there are a few crummy people out there who make it imperative that we clean up the profession. I remember one case of a broker who was taking rental payments for a veteran serving in Iraq but was not depositing the money for him. The veteran got a notice of foreclosure after he was deployed. Another broker was in a nursing home and others individuals could not be located. 

“Over the years, the work of this group has resulted in a greater experience required to become a broker, a mandatory Broker Responsibility CE course for brokers who sponsor sales agents, TREC Rule 535.2 on Broker Responsibility and more consumer-friendly language for the Information About Brokerage Services Notice,” says Kerri Lewis, general counsel for the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). “All of these improvements strengthen the professionalism of the industry and better serve consumers of real estate services in Texas.”

If you have an interest in improving broker standards, consider putting the Broker Responsibility Course offered by TREC on your goal sheet for next year. Whether you are a sales agent or a broker who supervises sales agents, there is so much valuable content that benefits our profession. Have you ever thought about getting your broker license? The Broker Responsibility Course is a great course to take before doing so and it would help you to determine if becoming a broker something that you would truly like to be involved with, especially if you are considering leading a team. Instructors are now revising the course, so I recommend that you take it beginning in January 2019. Another option is to sign up for the 9-day cruise to the Panama Canal in February. I will be teaching the course and you’ll receive six hours of CE elective credit.

Let’s work together to make sure brokers ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including proper training and supervision of sponsored agents.  RL