The real estate industry relies on in-person interactions for home showings and closings. Real estate professionals may also need to appear in-person for continuing education courses, taking licensing exam tests, and renewing their licenses.
COVID-19, however, has made in-person meetings risker for many Texans. As a current or soon-to-be real estate professional, you may have questions about how you can get or renew your real estate license during the pandemic.
The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), which is in charge of governing real estate practices in the state of Texas, has released several updates related to real estate licensing and testing renewal in the wake of COIVD-19. Here is what you need to know.
TREC Testing Sites Have Reopened — But Testing May Be Limited
In March 2020, real estate licensing exam centers were closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texans safe. Many real estate license applicants had their exams canceled with little notice and no indication of when tests might be rescheduled. As of April 24, 2020, real estate exam testing centers have begun to slowly reopen.
According to the TREC website, all testing sites must follow current social distancing guidelines and local laws to help keep test-takers and testing employees safe. Depending on the testing facility, safety procedures may include face masks for all test-takers, limited exam seats, and seating test-takers further apart.
Keep in mind that most testing sites expect to have a much lower testing capacity. There are likely to be continued delays for in-person TREC testing due to reduced capacity and a backlog caused by testing site closures earlier in the year. However, TREC has offered extensions for professionals whose license expires in the next few months.
TREC Waiver for All Renewals and Applications Through July 31
Due to recent testing restrictions, TREC has extended all renewal and application deadlines for real estate professionals. This means if your license is set to expire in March, April, May, or June 2020, you now have until July 31 to complete the testing and submit the required documentation for renewal.
If you still need continuing education credits for license renewal, look for online courses that will help you fulfill the requirement. Many courses are now being offered with distance learning options in light of COVID-19.
Has TREC Imposed New Testing Regulations in Regard to COVID-19?
The agency has not currently imposed any special testing regulations or requirements as a result of COVID-19. Testing centers must follow all applicable local and state laws and allow for social distancing in testing facilities. In fact, TREC has loosened many of the requirements to make it easier for real estate professionals to obtain and renew their licenses during these unusual times.
Please check with your testing facility for additional safety requirements. For example, some testing centers may require face masks during testing. Online courses and testing may be a better solution for completing testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
TREC Offices Remain Closed to In-Person Visits as of June 2020
The TREC offices are currently closed to in-person visits, but employees continue to work from home and can be reached via phone or email. Many of the TREC resources are still available online, including license holders look up, renewal CE information, and application trackers. The agency notes that the most efficient to submit documentation is through digital methods, such as email. Mailing documents may result in longer process times.
Interested in taking the test to get your Texas real estate license? Sign up for a TREC-approved online real estate course today. Real estate courses and testing are available online.