State Roundup: Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York

February 1, 2003

Texas: Brokerage battle

A Texas Real Estate Commission rule specifying the services a brokerage must provide to list a property in an MLS was prevented from taking effect by a Travis County District Court order. The rule, set to go into effect in late 2002, would’ve required that brokers help their customers formulate, communicate, and present offers, among other things. But that view is being challenged by Aaron Farmer, broker-owner of Texas Discount Realty in Austin, who filed a lawsuit, sparking the court order. “Why should every seller be required to use a full-service broker?” says Farmer. Hearings on the issue are being set.

Pennsylvania: ‘Flight’ simulator

Do you handle business situations in the same way as top performers? Practitioners in Pennsylvania are finding out by using an online simulator offered by the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®. The interactive simulator confronts users with realistic scenarios, such as a young man asking questions about buying a condo. A report compares user responses to those of top performers. The simulator, developed by Upward Motion ( in Toronto, is good for assessing the potential of new recruits and helping experienced salespeople hone their skills, says Corrine Shearer, PAR education director.

Massachusetts: Go-call law

Restrictions on phone solicitations that took effect on Jan. 1 may have some telemarketers singing the blues, but real estate practitioners won’t be joining in. The law, which imposes fines of up to $5,000 for sales calls to households whose names are on a statewide no-call list, doesn’t apply to calls in which the sales transaction isn’t consummated until after a face-to-face meeting. As a result, real estate salespeople can continue to phone prospects to set up appointments, says Steve Ryan, government affairs director for the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, which helped push through the exemption.

New York: Delayed detectors

Implementation of a state law enacted last year requiring new and existing homes to have carbon monoxide detectors won’t take effect until guidelines are drafted, and no deadline for that action has been set. Enforcement of the law was set to kick in on Dec. 1, 2002, but was delayed indefinitely after the New York State Association of REALTORS® asked for compliance guidance in the absence of standards. The State Fire Prevention and Building Codes Council, which was to draft standards, hadn’t met by the enforcement date.

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