Broker Responsibility

Our real estate associations and TREC have worked hard to raise the bar for brokers in Texas. This is a class currently in place that is required for brokers to take on a regular basis to keep their license current.

Shannon supports higher standards in the industry and feels this class has been a great step in the right direction to raise the bar in our industry. The class is open for any Realtor to take it, you don’t have to be a Broker. Shannon recommends that every Realtor take it.

Franchise Tax

The franchise tax is a margin tax on business.

Shannon believes businesses need all the tax relief they can get. With more tax relief, comes more money for growth, employees, and more opportunities. Increasing the exemption from $1MM to $4MM would help a lot of Texas businesses.

Patent Reform

There are people and companies out there that are seeking to extort a license fee by harassing other companies (this includes real estate companies in our industry) for patent infringement. These companies are referred to as “patent trolls”. They purchase patents for the sole purpose of suing other companies.

This is a federal issue, but there are some bills in Austin that will dissuade bad-faith allegations of patent abuse in Texas. They are SB1187 and HB 3176 that relate to claims of patent infringement.

As these patent trolls continue to come down on real estate brokerages, Shannon agrees with the Texas Association of Realtors that we must fight to protect our industry from these frivolous, extortionist lawsuits. We must limit the abilities of these patent trolls.

Property Management

Property Management is the operation, control, and oversight of real estate. The Texas Property Code is over 150 pages long.  Therefore, many landlords opt to use a property management company when they rent out their properties.

Shannon feels strongly that landlords should use a property management company unless they want to take responsibility for reading and implementing the Texas Property Code.  She has dedicated over ten radio shows to the topics of property management, tenants, and landlord issues because we see so many issues arise.

Below are videos about leasing, land lording, property management, tenant screening, eviction and more.

Occupations Tax

In 1991, the Texas Legislature imposed an annual $200 Professional Tax on certain professional entities that included Real Estate Brokers. At the time, it was done because these certain professionals were not falling under the Franchise Tax in Texas. However, they all fall under the Franchise Tax (Margins Tax) now and it has become a double taxation.

Shannon opposes the $200 Professional Tax. She has had Gary Cooper, an accountant and local Houston business owner, on her radio show many times to discuss tax issues.

Municipal Utility Districts

A Municipal Utility District (MUD) is a political subdivision of the State of Texas authorized by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to provide water, sewage, drainage and other services within the MUD boundaries. Currently, there’s no controversy over MUDs, however, State Representative Patricia Harless has filed a bill that would allow MUDs in unincorporated parts of counties with populations greater than 4 million people to fund economic development through bills from water customers. This may be a significant driver of economic development in a region that does not have many funding options at its disposal.

Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is a type of loan where the borrower uses the equity of his or her home as collateral. Home equity loans are often used to finance major expenses such as home repairs, medical bills, or college education.

Shannon believes consumers should be able to use home equity loans to pay for life’s big-ticket expenses. However, she opposes relaxing the consumer protection regulations to the point of abuse that would lead to no equity remaining in a person’s home. That would be wreckless and could lead to an under water housing market in the event of another recession. Shannon supports TAR’s position to not increase fees for people taking out home equity loans. She agrees the cap should remain at 3% and that no fees should be excluded from that 3% cap. She also opposes weakening the home-equity lending provisions in the Texas Constitution. The current provisions helped Texas avoid much of the foreclosure crisis that the rest of the country struggled through. Current legislation keeps our Texas homeowners from incurring excessive debt while still being able to access their money when needed.

Veteran Benefits

Our Texas Veterans should be able to use their VA Benefits for purchasing homes in Houston and around our state. Veterans in parts of the state that cater to the military (for example, Killeen) use more Veteran benefits than Veterans in Houston. Because local Houston lenders don’t do many VA Loans, they are not as proficient as the lenders in other areas of the state that have more Veterans and they are not encouraging buyers to use VA Loans because many Houston sellers do not want to take a VA Loan with zero down payment.

Shannon’s husband, Matt, is a Veteran. He is a graduate of West Point and left the Army as a Captain. Shannon and Matt used a VA Loan when purchasing their first home in Texas many years ago. Shannon feels it is a wonderful benefit that Veterans receive and more Veterans should use their benefits. She feels education is the key to getting more VA Loans completed in the Houston market.

The Texas Veteran’s Land Board tries to advocate for Veterans and teach them about their wonderful benefits they have in Texas that go above and beyond the VA Benefits. Shannon is a certified Texas Veteran Land Board Realtor and has been since 2009.

At a TAR Conference, Shannon met a representative of the VAREP organization. She learned more about the organization and felt it would benefit Houston Realtors to learn about the program. She completed radio shows advocating for the VAREP program. She also started the VAREP Houston Facebook Page before the Houston Chapter of the organization was formed. She has a following of over 200 Realtors on that social media site.

http://www.facebook.com/VAREPHouston

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