BrokerageIndustry News

Flat-fee brokers adapt to new real estate law

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Texas real estate brokers who charge a flat fee for a range of real estate services say that a new state law, which sets a minimum level of required services for all brokers, has led them to raise prices and tweak their business models. Senate Bill 810, signed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in June and enacted Sept. 1, requires brokers to answer their clients' questions; present any offer to or from their clients; and pass along information relevant to their clients' real estate transactions. It is one of several controversial state laws, backed by Realtor trade groups, that establish new service requirements for all real estate professionals. U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission officials protested the passage of the Texas law and similar minimum-service laws in three other states, but legislators and governors passed the laws despite this opposition. Federal officials had charged that the laws could restrict consumer choice and raise the cost of real estate services. A num...