Any person obtaining or renewing a broker or salesperson license in Texas is required to provide his or her fingerprints for an FBI criminal background check. An essential part of the future of Texas real estate safety, this law, which took effect last January, is working to protect Texas citizens.
Putting safety first
This law is designed to enhance your safety while selling your home. Knowing exactly who you allow to access your property is a precaution that must be taken to ensure the safety of those involved. The Texas Association of Realtors and Houston Association of Realtors collaborated in the effort to ensure that those moving into Texas would meet the stringent standards that Texas consumers deserve.
Although licensees have always been subject to a state criminal background check, this new law provides a check at the national level. The national background check will prevent any information found in other states from slipping through the cracks so the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) can ensure the highest moral standards of all licensed brokers and salespersons.
Tips to keep you and your home safe
Even with the enactment of this law, it is important to be aware of what is going on at all times during the selling process. Work with your Realtor to know when your home is being shown and stay alert to the activities happening when you are not present. Your Realtor will keep you up-to-date on activities involved with selling your home.
In our world today, inviting strangers into your home can be frightening. A tip to consider is to make sure your children know not to let anyone in the house when you are not at home. Although this seems like a normal parental tip for most, understand that there is a possibility that potential buyers may knock on your door and ask to come in to look around. Older children may be eager to help you sell, so make sure they know not to answer the door.
Also, let your neighbors know that you are selling your house and check with them regularly to see if there have been any strangers on your property while you were gone. These small steps can help you stay aware of what is happening during the selling process and will help keep you, your family, and your property safe.
According to TREC, the collecting and submitting of fingerprints to the FBI is done through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). They use an exclusive vendor to gather the fingerprints and take a photograph. These new fingerprint requirements apply only to brokers and salespersons and not to other TREC licensees, such as inspectors. Once fingerprints are on file with DPS, a licensee will not need to be fingerprinted for subsequent renewals. However, licensees will undergo background checks each time they renew their licensees in the future.
This law is a crucial part of making Texas real estate practices as safe as possible for the public. It is one of many examples of Realtors working to help homeowners, buyers and sellers.
Whether you're interested in buying your first home, your next home, or just want to know more about home-ownership in general, I encourage you to check out a couple of great online resources: http://www.texasrealestate.com/ or http://www.har.com/ and for all of your Pearland TX and Northern Brazoria and Galveston County real estate needs, please visit my site at http://www.danfrankrealty.com. All of these sites offer tons of useful, real estate-related information geared specifically for Texans.
Danny Frank is a local Pearland TX Real Estate expert
This column was published in the 21Sept08 edition of the Galveston County Daily News