Many HAR members have called about problems renewing their real estate licenses through the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). TREC upgraded to a new database system last year and has experienced significant problems transferring the information from the former database. They are working on this and hope to have the problem fixed in the not too distant future when their offices are relocated to a building with more technical resources. Additionally, budget cuts at the state level have left TREC somewhat overwhelmed, so that has exacerbated the issue.
What can you do to make the renewal process go more smoothly?
The “security token” that is needed to validate your online account and to associate your license record with that account is sent to each license holder by e-mail 60 to 90 days prior to the timely license renewal deadline.TREC sends the renewal reminder containing the token number to the primary business e-mail address on record for each license holder. Additionally, late last year, TREC’s system was enhanced to add more layers of security by requiring licensees to establish an online account to be able to conduct business on the site. The “security token” is required the first time a licensee accesses the account. The “security token” may now be sent to your business e-mail address via an online link after logging into the online account, which means you don’t have to wait for the renewal notice to obtain your required “security token.”
If someone does not have an e-mail address on file with TREC, a letter is sent to the licensee’s permanent mailing address. With about 8,000 license holders renewing each month, please do not wait until the last two to three days of the month to attempt an online renewal. Due to mandated budget cuts, TREC only has a single T-1 line to access its Web server, so 100 or more concurrent users will slow it down significantly and more can even overload it. Considering the number of licensees in the state of Texas, TREC’s staff does a tremendous job with relatively few resources.
TREC has just 13 incoming phone lines and 13 team members answering calls. They handle about 1,000 calls per day between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. When all lines are busy, callers hear a message suggesting to call back later. On peak days near month end, this message may be delivered more than 2,000 times.
TREC staff members are working mandatory overtime to address the paperwork backlog and fix the online issues created by the new software. TREC is also waiving paper filing fees for renewals forms until they get the process working better and extending postmark dates by a day to avoid late filing penalties when appropriate.
Tips from TREC
- Recommend licensees renew online as soon as they receive their notice, provided they have completed their MCE.
- The first and last weeks of each month are the busiest, especially the last three days of the month and the first two to three days of the new month. Calling early and late in the day are best opportunities to get through.
- Check your junk folders or spam filters in your e-mail since some licensees’ security token e-mails are being found there.
Privacy Concerns About TREC Displaying Licensee E-mail Addresse
We also understand that many HAR members are upset that TREC has begun displaying their e-mail address on the TREC website. According to the site, a licensee’s e-mail address does not qualify as confidential or “not withholdable” under the Public Information chapter of the Texas Government Code. We are working with our friends at TREC, TAR and in the Legislature to determine if there is a solution that can allow TREC to maintain a database with the e-mails to efficiently communicate with licensees, while not making their e-mail public, which could subject them to additional spam or harassment.
We will keep you updated as we learn more.