Md. panel weighs licenses for people selling new homes

REAL ESTATE WATCH

October 19, 2003|By Trif Alatzas

The Maryland Real Estate Commission has formed a committee to study whether salespeople for new homebuilders should be licensed by the state.

The move sparked criticism from the homebuilding industry, which said builders are regulated by the attorney general's consumer protection division.

The Real Estate Commission voted last week to investigate the issue, saying it has received complaints from consumers about their protections when buying a new home. New homebuilders are regulated by the state, but the people who sell the homes do not have to be licensed real estate agents.

The commission oversees the state's 36,000 real estate agents and brokers. It administers exams, issues licenses, investigates consumer complaints and makes recommendations to state lawmakers about regulating the industry. Any effort to license the salespeople at new home sites would need to be approved by the General Assembly and the governor.

Tom Ballentine, director of government relations for the Home Builders Association of Maryland, said consumers are protected by Maryland law when they buy a new home. And he said builders must meet strict guidelines to be registered with the state. "If they get out of line, the attorney general's office gets involved," he said of new home salespeople. "That's a better deal for the consumer."

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