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RELRA bill moving to Senate for vote

by Kelly Leighton on

House Bill 863 unanimously passed a Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee vote in the Senate yesterday.

The bill will next go to the floor of the Senate. The bill amends the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act, requiring new real estate licensees to obtain additional pre-licensure education to increase the level of professionalism in the industry. The bill also permits agents to conduct broker price opinions, if allowed by their brokers.

Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Dauphin), a Realtor® who introduced the bill, explained that currently, licensees need 60 hours of education, if the bill passes, that will be increased to 75 hours. Across the country, the average requirement is 79 hours. It also ensures that licensees complete all the licensing courses, along with passing the real estate exam, within a five-year period. Agents would also be required to have a high school diploma or equivalent to become licensed.

The bill will also permit real estate licensees to conduct broker price opinions, or BPOs, with restrictive use. The amendment allows BPOs only for an entity or financial institution. The association recognizes that BPOs are not certified appraisals, nor do they take the place of one. The BPO fee would be paid directly to the broker, and agents would have to take a valuation certification course, be licensed for at least three years and take valuation continuing education each two-year cycle.

Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny), also a Realtor®, said during the committee meeting, “We need to professionalize the process of becoming real estate agents and brokers.”

“While the real estate industry has changed dramatically over the last 30 years, the educational requirements to obtain a license have not changed at all. Increasing the hours of pre-licensure education will allow Realtors® to provide more professional services to their clients from the very beginning of their career,” said PAR President Todd Umbenhauer.

According to the bill, BPOs could only be used for: in conjunction with real estate owned or REO, loan modifications, short sales, and portfolio evaluation/monitoring. BPOs could not be used for bankruptcy, tax appeals, eminent domain, divorce, equitable distribution, actions before any court or loan origination.


House Bill 863
Comments (20)


  • Bette McTamney    March 28, 2018 | 7:22 am

    Good work PAR, it was 2008 when I first chaired this Task Force to start this increase in Professionalism. Many years of work groups, hours of commitment to these very same goals, some very dedicated and determined volunteer people, this would be welcomed! 10 years… Thank you, together Great Leadership and focused Legislative Committee, Realtor Legislators, waiting for good news!

    Reply to Bette McTamney
  • Kimberlee Eckman    March 28, 2018 | 7:46 am

    Rather than increasing the number of hours required for licensure and license-renewal, increase and enforce your existing penalties for breaching real estate ethics, practice and/or law.
    My experience shows that the offending agent knows the right practice but, in the interest of making more money, violates such practice/law. In reality, it is the agent who has the courage to report an infraction who suffers punishment via colleague-ostracism resulting in loss of business and therefore income.

    Reply to Kimberlee Eckman
    • Don Warner    April 11, 2018 | 5:57 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. The “penalty” for a violation is generally not handed out. With ethics generally being ignored everywhere, what incentive do the uncaring have to try for better. Great point!

      Reply to Don Warner
  • Mary Lou Hagman    March 28, 2018 | 7:49 am

    This is a start at best? Need stricter licensing parameters and total overhaul of the licensing process. How many times can you take the test in a week when you don’t have a passing score? This industry has become the “job” as a last resort for many who can’t make it in another career. Meanwhile lack of ethics, training, and professionalism is running wild! BPO’s = #wasteoftime Just sayin!

    Reply to Mary Lou Hagman
  • Angela Morsa    March 28, 2018 | 7:50 am

    This is great news for us all. The only thing missing is increased continuing ed hours as well.

    Reply to Angela Morsa
  • Karen Detwiler    March 28, 2018 | 8:31 am

    I’m all for increasing the education hours needed, but interesting to note that the industry average is 79 – and we are striving to go to 75. Baby steps, I guess.

    Reply to Karen Detwiler
  • Wayne Fenstermacher    March 28, 2018 | 8:37 am

    I agree that it’s a great start… Since this took so long to accomplish, can we start working now on getting our requirements above the national average?

    Reply to Wayne Fenstermacher
  • Ron Carty    March 28, 2018 | 8:43 am

    This is a far cry from the requirments to actually get qualified as an Appraiser. i.e. Liability Insurance, Continuing Ed requirements are double that for Real Estate agents, soon to be 1500 hours of supervision by an Appraiser (pending being lessed from 2500 hrs & minimum of 2 years to accumulate hours) 300 hours of real estate related education. Any fees due to the US Senate ?? Just a few questions…why not make the whole process easier by relaxing restrictions of Dodd Frank, taking out middleman agencies (AMCs) that cost the system time, energy and lots of money. The industry has become over burden with government red tape, brought on by the governing agencies themselves.
    I am a Realtor-1980, Broker-1987 and Certified Residential Appraiser-1991.

    Reply to Ron Carty
  • Neil McGeehan    March 28, 2018 | 8:47 am

    More than additional Education, I believe those in this Industry must read and study more.

    I attended the required Cont. Ed. class recently and one of the things our instructor shared w/us was his favorite acronym for those in our business:


    Realtors don’t read.

    I am a licensed Penna. R.E. Broker and a licensed Penna. Mortgage Banker. My pursuit is the Mortgage Business but I maintain my R.E.Broker License for obvious reasons. Over and over I experience instances where the Agent has not “absorbed” the contents of the A/Sale that he or she structured.

    I, personally, read every A/Sale, including every paragraph and become thoroughly familiar with the contents.

    We’re in a SERVICE business and need to become thoroughly knowledgeable about the myriad of Documents in this business.


    Reply to Neil McGeehan
  • Millie Karolski    March 28, 2018 | 1:10 pm

    Great! We are professionals but this can only help our industry.

    Reply to Millie Karolski
  • Rick Xander    March 28, 2018 | 2:23 pm

    All good points made by respondents. This is a start, not the end. I am surprised to learn that Pennsylvania’s education requirements were so far behind the national average, and will still be behind after this legislation passes. If improving professionalism is the ultimate goal, as an industry we need to do a better job reporting offenses when we see them to our local MLS , Realtor associations and the state real estate commission. In short, let’s enforce the rules and regulations and the Code of Ethics we have.

    Reply to Rick Xander
  • Sandy    March 28, 2018 | 9:30 pm

    I agree with everyone that additional education is much needed and can only make us better professionals

    Reply to Sandy
  • Sharon Kehres    April 13, 2018 | 10:25 am

    Great responses by all. I agree we need to work on Professionalism. I also agree we need to report those agents that fail to understand the ethical and legal obligations that we have to the general public. I am a strong advocate of education and fail to understand how someone without a high school could possibly get a real estate license. I will admit there may be some extreme cases where that may have occured, however, we all need a good educational background to understand this profession. I teach the mandatory continuing education classes and cannot believe the number of new agents that have not received good training for all of the contracts needed to assist clients/customers with the sale and purchase of real estate. I would go one step further and require all Brokers to educate their agents.

    Reply to Sharon Kehres
    • john    April 13, 2018 | 1:07 pm

      The fact that some may not have college or a GED does not make a potential agent less learned. In my over 40 years in the business and the fact that I have trained and mentored hundreds of agents I have found that commitment to the business and understanding of contracts is not “rocket science”. Some of the best AND most productive agents I work with and have trained were high school graduates ONLY. Some of the college graduates I have trained who didn’t have the moral nor professional commitment have left the business they thought would be easy. It is NOT, but individual effrt is what matters most.

      Reply to john
  • john    April 13, 2018 | 11:28 am

    This PROVISON needs to be deleted from the bill. It, although stated that it does not, makes agents with 3 or more years of experience into “Pseudo Appraisers” the fact that they can use the BPO for financial institutions makes a mockery of the 28 hours biennially for an appraiser a joke.

    “The bill will also permit real estate licensees to conduct broker price opinions, or BPOs, with restrictive use. The amendment allows BPOs only for an entity or financial institution. The association recognizes that BPOs are not certified appraisals, nor do they take the place of one. The BPO fee would be paid directly to the broker, and agents would have to take a valuation certification course, be licensed for at least three years and take valuation continuing education each two-year cycle.”

    Reply to john
  • Marty    April 13, 2018 | 6:52 pm

    This bill is a mockery of the real estate valuation system currently in place.

    Reply to Marty
  • Jesse Ledbetter    June 22, 2018 | 4:17 pm

    BPO’s are illegal in the state of PA:

    Reply to Jesse Ledbetter

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