Idaho lawmakers considering tougher real estate rules

Changes would bring new license requirements for agents and appraisers.

zkyle@idahostatesman.com © 2014 Idaho StatesmanFebruary 19, 2014 

Today, licensed real estate agents are required to take a core course every two years that covers changes in laws, important court decisions or any other important developments affecting the industry. The core course lasts between two and four hours depending on how much new material needs to be covered.

Licensed agents also currently take 16 hours of continuing education classes each year.

Courses are an hour long and cover a broad range of industry topics.

Senate Bill 1206 would tinker with the training rules. Licensees would take the core course annually instead of every other year, an increase that would be offset by lowering the credit-hour requirement from 16 to 12.

The annual core course would help agents keep abreast of industry changes, says Jeanne Jackson-Heim, executive director of the Idaho Real Estate Commission.

The bill would also establish a mandatory, 12-credit curriculum for first-time license applicants.

Jackson-Heim says her office and the Idaho Association of Realtors worked together on the proposal.

The two offices are ironing out the mandatory curriculum to ensure that first-time applicants brush up on the most critical subjects for rookie agents, such as contract forms and agency law.

Currently, first-time applicants can select from any of a wide array of classes and aren’t required to take the most basic courses, she says.

“We just want to reinforce those concepts,” she says.

Real estate agents not in their first year will still be able to pick elective courses from a longer list, she says.

The bill is before the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee. If passed, it would take effect July 1.

FINGERPRINTING FOR APPRAISERS?

House Bill 0347 would add fingerprinting to background check requirements for real estate appraiser license applicants.

Doing so would bring requirements for the Idaho Board of Real Estate Appraisers in line with federal rules mandated by the federal Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.

The bill was proposed by the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses. Dawn Hall, bureau administrative support manager, says the bill is fills a gap in federal and state requirements.

“In order [for a buyer] to be eligible for a federally related loan, a state-licensed appraiser must be involved in the transaction, and the state appraiser program must meet federal standards,” Hall says.

The federal standards are designed to prevent applicants with criminal histories from gaining access to positions where they can illegally manipulate property values.

The one-time cost to new appraiser license applicants would be $41.50. Hall says the fingerprint requirements would not apply to the 730 appraisers already licensed in the state, including the 433 in the Treasure Valley.

The bill passed the House on a 61-7 vote and awaits action in the Senate. It would take effect July 1.

Zach Kyle: 377-6464 @IDS_zachkyle

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