In 1920, the real estate scene in Texas was, quite literally, the Wild West. That’s when a handful of committed real estate professionals from across the vast state banded together to create a more professional industry — complete with standards, and licensing requirements, and regulatory measures. Working with the Texas Legislature, they formed the state association that would incorporate under the National Association of Real Estate Boards (now known as the National Association of REALTORS®) and grow to become the premier organization that it is today. From the very beginning, the success of Texas REALTORS® has come from the grassroots efforts of its members. And the association’s links to the statehouse have remained strong — in fact, its headquarters is conveniently located right across the street.
Says Cindi Bulla, Texas REALTORS® 2020 Chairman, “Texas REALTORS® have built a legacy of grassroots advocacy as engaged participants in shaping Texas through the legislative and regulatory decision-making process. Over the past 100 years, we have worked to ensure that our state remains an epicenter of homeownership and real estate investment.”
Here are some highlights of Texas REALTORS®’ advocacy for its members, for communities, and for property owners:
- In 1939, the organization successfully advocated for a licensing law that is now known as the Texas Real Estate Licensing Act.
- In 1949, Texas REALTORS® worked to create the Texas Real Estate Commission as the state regulatory agency.
- In 1961, members were instrumental in repealing a transaction tax.
- A major accomplishment in 1975 was the creation of the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University, to study the state’s real estate industry.
- In the early 1970s, the Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee (now known as TREPAC/the Texas Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee) was born. 2019 marked its biggest investment year ever, raising more than $5.7 million, with more than 48% of the state’s REALTORS® participating.
- In the 1980s, the organization’s efforts led to standardized forms, which have been updated over the years and are still used by Texas real estate license holders today.
- In 1993, REALTORS® successfully fought for the passage of a consumer protection bill relating to seller disclosure to ensure buyers had the best information prior to committing to purchase a home.
- In 2015, Texas REALTORS® championed an amendment to the state constitution banning real estate transfer taxes and increasing the homestead exemption.
- In 2017, the association supported important updates to the state’s home equity laws that allowed homeowners to access the equity in their homes while maintaining strong consumer protections.
- 2019 saw voters approve three REALTOR®-supported amendments to the Texas Constitution: one supporting water infrastructure; another allowing for temporary property tax exemption during natural disasters; and another to help communities better withstand floods.
- Texas REALTOR® members advocate for pro-real estate legislation by responding to Calls for Action; one 2019 vote brought in more than 6,100 messages to legislators from Texas REALTORS® in just 28 hours.
- In 2019, 430 Texas REALTORS® went to Washington, D.C. to advocate for real estate issues with their Congressional delegation.
“Our members’ grassroots engagement at the local, state, and federal levels is what has made our organization so successful. As our state has grown over the past 100 years, Texas REALTORS® has expanded and adapted to ensure our members are at the forefront of politics, public policy, and fundraising,” said Tray Bates, Texas REALTORS® Vice President of Governmental Affairs.
The most high-profile example of the association’s spirit of advocacy is its REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol. Last year, the event drew close to 3,000 REALTORS® from every corner of the state. After advocating at the statehouse for real estate issues ranging from property tax reform to school finance reform, members crossed the street to the Texas REALTORS® building — where they were treated to a Texas-sized barbecue.
To learn more about the culture of advocacy built by Texas REALTORS®, contact Jaime Lee, Director of Advocacy Communications, at 512-370-2152.