Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Texas Will Fingerprint for New Real Estate Licenses and Renewals

Texas Will Fingerprint for New Real Estate Licenses and Renewals

Starting January 1, 2008, Texas will begin to collect fingerprints for all new licensees and license renewals.  This is for both sales agents and brokers.  The fingerprints will be used for the FBI to do background checks on everyone.  This is being done based on concerns many people have brought up with the state in the past.

If your license expires in January or February, you can go ahead and renew your license now and not have to worry about the fingerprints until the next time you're up for renewal.  However, any license that expires March and beyond will be subject to the fingerprinting.

Fast Facts on the Fingerprint Requirement from the TREC website

Here are some brief points to sum up the new fingerprint requirement:

  • Fingerprints that an applicant or licensee may have submitted for any other reason, such as previous employment or for a state issued license, will not be acceptable for TREC licensure.
  • You will need to schedule your fingerprint appointment on the web or by telephone.
  • The fingerprints must be in the FBI's required format and must be taken at an authorized DPS site. Currently, there are 70 locations statewide where electronic fingerprints can be taken.
  • If you are renewing your license, you should get your fingerprints taken at least ten (10) days before your license expiration date to avoid any renewal delay and assure continued licensure.
  • If you have received a renewal card referencing the FAST Print Pass form, you can renew your license without getting fingerprinted if you renew prior to January 1, 2008.
  • The FAST Print Pass form for electronic fingerprinting be available January 1, 2008.

But, I guess with the minor inconvenience we'll all go through, we should all be a safer industry and not mind... unless you have something to hide!

Comment balloon 24 commentsDonna Harris • December 12 2007 02:46PM

Comments

Donna, I think this is a good thing. I wonder if we could fingerprint our customers before we go out with them! LOL

If you have nothing to hide then it shouldn't be a problem.

Posted by Linda Scanlan (A Fan of AR) about 11 years ago

Donna,

Interesting -Florida has required fingerprints for quite a few years, I assumed (incorrectly) that all states did!

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) about 11 years ago
Hi Donna. I don't believe this process will make it any safer for the real estate professional. The dangers will still be out there. This system seems to be protecting the public. I have nothing to hide but I don't like the idea. 
Posted by Wayne McMullan, Quinte Real Estate (Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty) about 11 years ago
Wow, Texas is really behind on that.  That should remove some of the riff raff from the business.  Great news for you guys.
Posted by Alix Pinzon, (562)743-6086 (Open Mortgage, LLC NMLS # 2975) about 11 years ago

Linda, I don't fingerprint my customers, but I do make sure a lender has pulled their credit, which means they have social, real name, and current address in case anything should happen to me.  I also, most times, tell the lender when I'll be showing the buyer houses in case I turn up missing!

Carol, I guess Florida is above the curve on this one...

Wayne, I wasn't implying we would be safer, but that the consumer might feel safer with us knowing we've been checked out.  Thanks for your input.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) about 11 years ago

"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either."
Benjamin Franklin

My thumbprint is already on file (actually all of them are), because I am licensed to drive a vehicle in the state of Texas.  And I have nothing to hide.  That doesn't mean that I think this is a good, or wise, or even acceptable idea. 

And it won't make us one whit more secure.  That's just the carrot that's being held out to get us to not think about the implications.

 

Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) about 11 years ago
I've got to agree with Tricia on this one. What do they need your fingerprints for? This is getting a little too Big Brother for me. The point isn't "what do you have to hide" it's "why do they need my fingerprints?" It's called the benefit of the doubt.
Posted by Rachel Luckow, e-Pro TRC CDPE (Re/Max Advantage Plus) about 11 years ago

Gregg, I hope so.  We have way too many agents!

Tricia, Yes, we all have to give a print to drive, but TREC has never actually checked on anyone before.  They ask you if you've committed a felony and those type questions, but they've always relied on people being honest.  We all know people will do whatever they need to do to do what they want to do, so I'm sure many people are through the system because they've liled.

Rachel, Benefit of the doubt goes out the window when too many people lie about their background.  If you have nothing to hide, why care that they aren't taking your word?

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) about 11 years ago

Donna, I'll just have to refer you back to Mr. Franklin's wise words. (I'm sure the founding fathers are spinning in their graves.)  Maybe it's just because I'm so much older, maybe it's because I'm a history freak and have "watched" this kind of thing happen over and over when people let their fears drive them to give up their liberty and then discover who the boogeyman REALLY is, but this worries me a WHOLE lot more than any "bad guys" possibly could. 

Suggestion.  You probably had to read it in high school, but go get a copy of 1984 and read it to see where this kind of thing can, quite reasonably, end up. And then ask yourself if it's really worth it to let us slip down that slippery slope, baby step by baby step, and if that's really the kind of world you want to leave to your daughter. 

 

Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) about 11 years ago
Donna, I have a Texas broker's license.  I guess this is an excuse to take an extra trip at renewal time. 
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 11 years ago

I have been in Real Estate for 17 years in California and we always have had that requirement, I bet you did not have to since everyone can be armed and if someone rips you off you just take them out on the spot.  BooHoo we can not carry arms.

Take care!

RJH

Posted by Robert Huntsinger, Empire Realty Upland, CA - Full Service at a Discount (Empire Realty) about 11 years ago

In 2008, New York will require photographs on the agents' and brokers' pocket card license stubs. It would be no surprise if the next step would not be to require finger printing as well. Thanks for sharing this info.

Posted by DDR Realty, Orange County NY (DDR Realty) about 11 years ago
I think that is a great idea, there are enough crooks in this business as it is right now (however, they aren't just agents!!!)
Posted by Mike Klijanowicz, Associate Broker @ Cummings & Co. Realtors (Cummings & Co. Realtors) about 11 years ago

Hi Donna:  I must strongly agree with Tricia, and strongly protest the fingerprint requirement.  How about taking blood samples ?  How about DNA samples ?  This is an intrusion... a personal invasion.  And Tricia's sharing of Ben Franklin's quote says it all... "The man or woman who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever get either."

I totally reject the statement "if you have nothing to hide, then what's the problem ?"  It has nothing to do with having anything to hide.  It is just Big Government getting involved one more time.  The governor of Texas is a conservative Republican... Governor Rick Perry.  I thought Republicans were for less government... not more.

Benjamin Franklin was a very wise gentleman.  How can anyone argue with a statement like his ? 

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 11 years ago

Since when is it a Constitutional right to be a Real Estate licensee in the State of Texas? It's pretty sad when a carpet cleaning guy has to have a background check performed just to clean a carpet for an hour, but a licensee with access to so many homes doesn't get checked out. 

What is the alternative to conducting thorough background checks on licensee's if finger printing is not performed? Checking a box on the renewal postcard just isn't going to cut it. 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Amanda Evans, Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas (DFW Living) almost 11 years ago

There's quite a range between checking a box on a renewal card and rolling over belly up and giving up our civil rights.   It's not one or the other. 

For example, a criminal background check can be done without taking your fingerprints.  Landlords do it all the time, requiring one as part of the application process.  The social security number, that the same government promised us would ONLY be used by the social security administration, not even any other governmental agency, and would NEVER be used as an identifier for general purposes, would serve just as well these days when it's used to track just about everything in your life. 

Read what Ben Franklin said, and ask yourself, am I one of the ones he's referring to, who is willing to give up freedom for "security" (and a false security at that) and thus will end up with neither?  

I already recommended "1984".  Now, I'm going to recommend a book I just finished, that rings remarkably true to this discussion, though it's about DNA and not fingerprints.  It is so intertwined with what's happening in our society now that I found myself going and researching to see what was actual fact and what was made up - it was surprising and appalling the things in it that turned out to be current fact rather than horror fiction.  The book is "Next" by Michael Crichton, and the author certainly did his homework before writing it.  

 

Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) almost 11 years ago

When I applied for my Texas Salespersons license, I had to provide a photocopy of my DL and my SS#.  When I sat for the Exam, I had to show ID.  The testing center made a quick photo copy and handed my ID back to me.  Am I who I say I am?  For $50 cash and less than an hour of my time, I could have easily purchased both forms of ID in Dallas off of Harry Hines and assumed any identity I wanted.  Let's say that I am really savvy felon and looked up someone from a state already doing background checks and went with that identity.  Once I passed that exam, I was handed easy access to thousands of homes in DFW and the financial information of clients.  The old way of doing things made it just a little too easy for crooks.

TREC doesn't know if I am who I say I am and they certainly don't know if I have been convicted of fraud, embezzlement or rape.  Centralized Showing Services will give me combinations to keyboxes and alarm codes on demand to thousands of homes in North Texas with a simple phone call.  They'll even tell me if Cujo the security dog is in a crate or not.  Do they know who I am? No, they only know who I say I am or who TREC thinks that I am.  The fingerprints are one more step in confiming that we are who we say we are.  

TREC isn't looking for bounced checks to Pizza Hut or speeding tickets.  They are looking to serve the public interest by making sure they aren't issuing licenses to felons.  I think the Public has a right to expect them to do their best.

Again, it's not a Constitutional right to hold a real estate license. We have the right to remain "fingerprintless".

Posted by Amanda Evans, Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas (DFW Living) almost 11 years ago
To All: I think everyone is missing the fact that the State will always have a "good excuse" for why they need to take away your freedoms and encroach on your civil rights. Honestly, why do they need to conduct mass fingerprinting on real estate agents? How many felons are they really going to catch? Furthermore, agents have more to fear from the public showing property than the other way around. How many cases have you heard of where real estate agents attack the prospects during a showing? That covers the physical dangers – What about the financial dangers? Most real estate transactions (both residential and commercial) are so highly segmented and regulated as it is… between the appraisers, lenders, and title/escrow companies there is very little opportunity for a thief to make off with any significant sum of money. Maybe they will steal the $100 cancellation deposit! So for so called “consumer protection” we are going to submit to State mandated fingerprinting and surrender our long held principals of right to privacy? This is an overreach on the part of the State. It’s a step toward an Orwellian “Big Brother” State. The costs to freedom and liberty outweigh any potential benefit. Once fingerprinting is deem not stringent enough… where do we draw the line with the State’s ability to legislate and intrude? DNA Samples? Retina Scans? Drug Tests? Blood Tests? Folks, think about it. Lost of freedom and liberty is a slippery slope… and I see this as one of the first small steps. I have written letters to the head of TREC (Tim Irvine), all the TREC Commissioners, Gov. Rick Perry, Senator Kevin Eltife (HB 1530 author/sponsor), and several other legislators expressing my objections to this policy. It should be terminated immediately. We all need to make our voices heard directly to those responsible for this unnecessary intrusion.
Posted by Daniel Rudd (Rudd Development LLC) almost 11 years ago

Personally I think the whole fingerprinting thing is nothing more than a money machine for someone.  I'll bet if you follow the dollars some legislator somewhere has a hand in IBT. 

The main reason I feel this way is;  The gov't has my prints from when I was in the Army AND the state has my prints from when I was a licensed mortgage broker.  NOW I have to get them again?  They say it is because they can't scan the old ones BUT if you are in an area that is too far from an IBT location you can send off for a hard card, take it to any DPS station and have them print you.  Then you send that to IBT for scanning into the system.

Still think it is for someone's safety?

KC 

Posted by Kevin Cook, Broker, Realtor - Waterwood (Palmer Real Estate) almost 11 years ago
Believe it's $45 for the fingerprinting and background check... Personally, if they're going to "require" it, the cost should have been taken from our yearly dues.  Money-hungry people everywhere!
Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) almost 11 years ago

Donna, it was right at $45.  I had it done about 2 weeks ago.  They are supposed to build in the cost of the background check next year at an extra cost of about $20.

Funny, you can pull most of that information with a $5.00 credit report and a subscription to publicdata.com.

KC 

Posted by Kevin Cook, Broker, Realtor - Waterwood (Palmer Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

I can not believe how much everyone on here talks about "safety"  Freedom is not free and safety is how they steel freedom.  I believe fingerprinting to be unconstitutional and a direct violation of our civil liberties.  This whold "nothing to hide" phrase just pisses me off...  whether I have anything to hide or not does not matter...what matters is that they are stealing our right to privacy and it is against the founding fathers wishes and against a free country!  You people probably think using a finger print as a credit card is a great idea because it is "easy"  that is another way they will control you...it is "safer" right?  What happens if they decide they do not like the political party you want to support and they turn off your finger print method of making payments?  There is no cash because it is such a hassle so now....they 100% control you and you can not feed your family... FREEDOM has to be valued more than "safety"  The Patriot Act did not make us more "safe" as promised...Obama signing away our rights to Habeous Corpus did not make us more "safe" and yet those are the promises that they lure you into this B.S. with.....oh yeah....let's "do it for the children too" while wea are at it.....  As you might tell I am upset...just got my notice in the mail that after 16 years of practicing real estate that now they are requiring me "against the constitution" to get finger printed.  I may have to now get out of the business as a conscientious objector!  this is not what this country used to be about!  STOP BEING SO AFRAID EVERYONE!!

 

Posted by Arron Renfrew over 6 years ago

I don't know why so many think it is a violation of our rights...blah, blah, blah.

If fingerprinting means that one less scammer will get a license, I am all for it.

Eve

Posted by Mike & Eve Alexander, Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers (Buyers Broker of Florida ) about 3 years ago

And what about credit checks I'm asking for the people in texas i have not found much information on this.AS for the finger prints i far from approve of that nonsense it is a violation of our rights and another controlling practice against the people.

Posted by Danny about 1 year ago

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