Purchasing a Home? Verify Before You Buy

Monday, November 23, 2020 | 09:17am

Created in 1951, The Tennessee Real Estate Commission is part of the Department of Commerce and Insurance and licenses, registers and regulates a variety of professionals from real estate brokers to rental location agents. The Commission also enacts rules addressing professional conduct and standards of practice in order to carry out our mission to protect the public through the establishment and administration of minimum requirements for licensees, effective professional education of licensees and enforcement of professional conduct.

Buying a home is one of the single most important, exciting and significant purchases anyone will make in their lifetime. We want to remind Tennessee consumers to take appropriate steps during this type of purchase. The first step we always recommend is for consumers to utilize a licensed real estate professional as they are held to the laws, rules and standards of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission. If you are working with someone who holds themselves out as a licensed real estate agent, we always recommend that you verify that they hold an active real estate license in Tennessee

A realtor’s license can easily be confirmed at our website verifty.tn.gov Consumers should also research their real estate agent including reviewing any previous disciplinary actions filed against them. Information is power. To find out more information on disciplinary files or if you have further questions you can reach out to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission by phone at 615-741-3449 or by emailing trec.info@tn.gov.

Once you have verified your real estate agent and they have helped you find the home of your dreams, be sure to review all details of your contract. We encourage Tennessee consumers to always be aware of any contingencies that may be listed in your contract. Many of the complaints we have seen are a result of issues with the contract between the buyer and seller. For example, if you are selling your home while also buying a home, you may want the contract on the home you are purchasing to be contingent on the sale of your existing home. Therefore, it is vitally important as a consumer to know exactly what you are signing beforehand.

Additionally, you may want to utilize the services of a licensed home inspector during the home buying process. Home inspectors are also licensed through our Department via the Home Inspector Licensing Program which was enacted in 2005 to ensure that only qualified persons are licensed home inspectors, and that the licensed inspector offers Tennessee consumers a professional, educated opinion of the condition of their home or prospective home. It is our mission to protect the public’s safety and welfare by ensuring compliance through education, licensure and regulation. You can also verify home inspector licenses at verify.tn.gov. However, if you do have an issue with a licensed real estate professional or home inspector please let us know by filing a complaint with us at core.tn.gov in the top right hand corner so we can further investigate your complaint. If you have any other issues or questions for our Home Inspector Licensing Program you can also send us an email at  Home.Inspector.Licensing@TN.Gov.

Commerce and Insurance does not tolerate bad actors and anyone using these especially vulnerable times to prey on Tennesseans will be held accountable under the law. Consumers can avoid scammers and hopefully have a positive home buying experience by following our tips and ensuring their agent and home inspector are verified. Additionally, anyone representing a third party in a real estate transaction is required to be a licensed real estate broker or affiliate broker. Furthermore, we encourage buyers to be wary of anyone asking to have fees paid upfront and encourage you to do research on other sales and home values in the market area before making any final decisions. Lastly, if you feel you need assistance, contact a local licensed real estate broker to advise or represent you. We look forward to continuing to serve you and if you have any questions or if you would like to file a complaint – please reach out to our Department online at: tn.gov/commerce/regboards or by phone at 615-741-2241.

Caitlin Maxwell serves as the Executive Director for the Tennessee Real Estate Commission at the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.