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REALTOR®

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE ARCADIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

PROUDLY SERVING THE REALTORS® OF ARCADIA, BRADBURY, DUARTE, MONROVIA & SIERRA MADRE

What is Procuring Cause? See page 7

As a Real Estate Practitioner, Aren’t You Also an Environmentalist? See page 13

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ARCADIA REALTOR® · JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015

JULY/AUGUST 2015 · ARCADIA REALTOR®


FROM THE CEO’S DESK

REALTOR® 2015 ASSOCIATION OFFICERS Joseph Pacilio 2015 PRESIDENT Roy Blume PRESIDENT-ELECT Kelvin Chang VICE-PRESIDENT Sylvia Ramos SECRETARY/TREASURER BOARD OF DIRECTORS Ryan Asao Andy Bencosme Julie Bencosme Margaret Garemore Fred Madjar Mark Ramos David Scarminach Irene Truong Mike Vachani

C.A.R. DIRECTORS Ryan Asao Andy Bencosme Roy Blume Margaret Garemore Joseph Pacilio Sylvia Ramos Randall Traw Mike Vachani Kelvin Wong

ASSOCIATION STAFF

Robin Allen Ext. 307 Director of Finance / Office Manager Robin@TheAAR.com Michael Beltran Ext. 302 IT Director / Webmaster Michael@TheAAR.com Brenda Faltes Ext. 304 Director of Membership & Professional Standards Brenda@TheAAR.com Jamie Hu Ext. 309 Director of MLS Data Violations Jamie.Hu@TheAAR.com Stephanie Maertens Ext. 303 Director of Education & Commercial Real Estate Stephanie@TheAAR.com Jane Shriver Ext. 301 Director of Association Services Jane@TheAAR.com Laura Thai Ext. 304 Director of Broker Compliance & Member Outreach Laura@TheAAR.com Andrew Cooper Ext. 308 Chief Executive Officer Andrew@TheAAR.com

ARCADIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® 601 South First Avenue Arcadia, California 91006 626.446.2115 626.446.4072 FAX www.TheAAR.com 2

ARCADIA REALTOR® · JULY/AUGUST 2015

The Association with heAARt At the heart of the Arcadia Association of REALTORS® is our strong community-based spirit. We support dozens of LOCAL nonprofit organizations and charities. We also are a proud sponsor and partner with local community programs in a united effort to better serve and support our neighboring cities. It’s also important to mention that many of our REALTOR® and Affiliate members and AAR employees personally volunteer with many important groups and causes that are important to them. All of these combined are a prime example of the AAR’s “Triple S” bottom line commitment to Service and Social causes through Selflessness. Did you know the AAR has a full fledged Charitable Auxiliary called E4C (Events For Charity) that hosts charitable events every year to raise money for local organizations? Last year our amazingly wonderful volunteer members raised just under $30,000 that went to local groups. Here’s a look at what the AAR and the E4C Auxiliary has already done so far in 2015 for our local communities: • AAR participated in the Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival in March • AAR sponsored the Monrovia Easter Egg Hunt in April • AAR’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) hosted the annual “AAR Charity Poker Tournament” raising nearly $3,000 in April • AAR participated in the Taste of Duarte community event in May • AAR sponsored the Sierra Madre Mt. Wilson Trail Race in May • E4C hosted the annual “AAR Spring into Bingo” charity event raising nearly $3,000 in May • AAR donated to the local Arcadia Girl Scout Troop for their Special Olympics project in June • AAR donated the use of our classroom to the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life organizing committee in the first half of the year Upcoming E4C and AAR community events include:

• AAR will participate in and sponsor the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life - August 1 & 2 • E4C will host another AAR Charity Golf Tournament at the Glendora Country Club - September 14 • AAR will participate in the Taste of Arcadia community event - September 28 (Continued on page 10)


JULY/AUGUST 2015 | VOLUME 19 | NUMBER 4

Contents 7

Regular Features 2

From the CEO’s Desk

4

Market Matters

5

Attorney Comments

6

Through the Lens

9

Affiliate Corner

Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive Officer

Market Statistics for the San Gabriel Valley

Dave Freeman, AAR Legal Counsel

A Look at What’s Happening Around the AAR

12

13

On the Cover 7

What is Procuring Cause? While searching for a home, multiple agents feel entitled to the commission of the buyer’s home purchase.

13 As a Real Estate Practitioner, Aren’t You Also an Environmentalist? Many practitioners react negatively to topics of environmental significance and it’s somewhat understandable.

Additional Content 11 AAR New REALTOR® Members The AAR welcomes its newest REALTOR® Members of 2015. 12 Latest Gross Domestic Product {Second Quarter 2015} The nation’s economy is humming along unspectacularly. GDP rose by 2.3 percent in the second quarter.

“Real Estate Marketing in the Digital Age” Faith Ratner, Los Angeles Times JULY/AUGUST 2015 · ARCADIA REALTOR®

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Market Matters Market Statistics for the San Gabriel Valley - May 2015 Single Family Homes

City

Arcadia Arcadia Duarte El Monte El Monte Glendora Glendora Monrovia San Gabriel San Gabriel San Marino Sierra Madre Temple City

Zip Code

91006 91007 91010 91731 91732 91740 91741 91016 91775 91776 91108 91024 91780

Condominiums

Sales of Price Price % Single Family Median SFR Chg from Homes ($1,000) May 2014

34 16 13 6 12 17 25 29 19 9 17 17 15

$1,353 $1,271 $510 $405 $365 $445 $700 $618 $771 $580 $2,920 $850 $752

7.5% -2.3% 17.2% 0.0% -1.7% -1.1% 20.2% 1.7% 6.1% 12.6% 51.7% 4.6% 8.1%

SFR Only

Price Median Price & Median Condo Chg from Home Price/ ($1,000) May 2014 Sq. Ft.

Sales Count Condos

5 12 4 1 7 3 7 12 n/a 7 n/a 1 6

$829 $513 $452 n/a $453 $413 $425 $468 n/a $490 n/a $425 $551

9.2% -12.2% -18.3% n/a 24.4% 17.3% 8.1% -13.8% n/a 53.8% n/a -20.7% 29.0%

$572 $666 $335 $341 $344 $338 $358 $483 $466 $397 $866 $479 $474

Market Statistics for the San Gabriel Valley - June 2015 Single Family Homes

City

Arcadia Arcadia Duarte El Monte El Monte Glendora Glendora Monrovia San Gabriel San Gabriel San Marino Sierra Madre Temple City 4

Zip Code

91006 91007 91010 91731 91732 91740 91741 91016 91775 91776 91108 91024 91780

Condominiums

Sales of Price Price % Sales Single Family Median SFR Chg from Count Homes ($1,000) June 2014 Condos

29 20 18 6 11 23 34 25 17 12 14 16 27

ARCADIA REALTOR庐 路 JULY/AUGUST 2015

$1,300 $1,398 $455 $401 $423 $455 $590 $630 $737 $554 $2,090 $925 $688

30.0% 0.7% -15.0% -7.8% 11.3% 1.6% -2.0% -6.0% -3.1% 4.3% 16.5% 17.2% 3.0%

5 15 7 4 14 7 7 13 4 7 n/a 3 1

SFR Only

Price Median Price & Median Condo Chg from Home Price/ ($1,000) June 2014 Sq. Ft.

$705 $547 $350 $283 $439 $310 $455 $474 $585 $420 n/a $370 $425

13.9% -7.2% -17.2% -45.6% 35.1% -11.9% 7.1% -2.4% 9.2% 8.2% n/a n/a -28.0%

$576 $624 $400 $366 $368 $352 $389 $449 $460 $444 $807 $510 $488

Source: CoreLogic.com


Attorney Comments

By Dave Freeman, Association Counsel

Broker Not Responsible

Escrow & Title Insurance

Elder Abuse

A favorable decision, for a change, states that a Broker is not responsible to discover and disclose to a home buyer that the local Regional Requirements could preclude the building of a new home on the purchased lot. However, the best advice is to drag the buyer down to the building and planning department, and have him/her find out the answers to all questions important to the buyer. This is true whether or not the buyer has expressed an intent to build. There may be other intentions of the buyer that haven’t been expressed to the agent/broker.

I recently received a question from a gentleman who wanted to purchase a home from his daughter and son in law who were divorcing. The father planned on paying them cash and just recording a deed. Do not be the one later sued for myriad causes, when all goes wrong. Don’t advise on legal matters - refer to a competent real estate attorney.

Beware the Financial Elder Abuse law (FEA). In this case a widow in her late 80’s signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to sell her home, and later executed escrow instructions, with no purchase contract. About a month later, she consulted an attorney, who terminated the escrow, stating that the terms were not fair. The Buyer, of course, sued for Specific Performance and recorded a Lis Pendens.

What could go wrong? The son-inlaw or daughter may have judgments against them that have attached to the property. Fraudulent deeds or liens may have been placed on the property. The deed from the son-inlaw or daughter may later be found to be insufficient. The process of escrow and title insurance have been established for a reason: to protect buyers and sellers from themselves and others.

The Seller cross-complained, alleging financial elder abuse, which occurs when: a person takes or “assists in the taking” of real property of an elder for a wrongful use or with intent to defraud. This definition includes taking by means of an agreement. In this case it included an unperformed agreement. This is the first such case to reach the Appellate court, and is therefore the law. It means two things: a) People will use the FEA and this case often, when a person over the age of 65 (the age for elder abuse) wishes to back out, and b) The broker/agent is likely to be sued for, “assisting” in the taking. So, take extra caution, not to push the envelope too much when representing a buyer where the Seller is 65 or older.

JULY/AUGUST 2015 · ARCADIA REALTOR®

5


through the lens urnament 2015 Bowling To R VA SG W & R AA

6

A Look at What’s Happening Around the AAR

ARCADIA REALTOR® · JULY/AUGUST 2015


{Ethics Matters}

What is Procuring Cause? By Larry Kallis, Vice-Chair, Grievance Committee

A procuring cause is the interaction between a home buyer and a real estate agent. A procuring cause occurs when the home buyer has worked with multiple real estate agents while searching for a home and multiple agents feel entitled to the commission of the buyer’s home purchase. The definition of procuring cause is based on the facts of the particular situation. It may differ from one Association to another because of the bylaws. It is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary as follows: The approximate cause, the cause originating a series of events, which without a break in their continuity result in the accomplishment of the prime object, in other words the procuring cause is the effective cause. The effective cause is the uninterrupted series of events that brings the transaction to fruition. It requires a chain of events. In the event that the chain is broken unjustifiably, it is conceivable that the Broker may not be the effective cause, thus not entitled to a commission. The procuring cause does not have to be: - The Broker who introduced the client to the property - The Broker who got the Purchase contract signed - The Broker who has a signed Buyer/ Broker contract

- Who was the offending party? Was the break justified or not? We have to determine without whose contribution there would have been no transaction. Who or what started a series of events and which series of events resulted in a successful transaction? If the efforts of the Broker are the primary cause but the primary cause is not the effective cause, then such efforts cannot be classified as the proximate procuring cause. Merely putting a prospective buyer on the tract of a property which is on the market will not entitle the Broker to a commission. In an Arbitration, the Broker that can’t back up his/her claims will probably lose the commission. In our attempt to get paid for our work we may sometimes find ourselves interfering in the fiduciary relationship between another agent and their client. Then of course we are in violation of the Code of Ethics. Keep good documentation and have a paper trail on everything that is taking place in the transaction. Did Escrow relay something to you by phone? Did seller or buyer call Escrow with certain instructions? Ask Escrow to put it in writing. Remember: You don’t want an omission to cause you to lose “YOUR COMMISSION”

For more information or questions, please contact Larry at: In order to determine who the procuring (626) 864-3344 or kallis1943@gmail.com cause is, we ask the following questions: - Was there a break in the chain of events 7 ARCADIA REALTOR® · JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015 JULY/AUGUST 2015 · ARCADIA REALTOR® 7 and why?


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ARCADIA REALTOR® · JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015


AFFILIATE Corner “Real Estate Marketing in the Digital Age”

By Faith Ratner, Los Angeles Times Prospecting for real estate clients has taken a full 180-degree turn since the days of snail mail, postcards and planted yard signs. Today, savvy real estate professionals have started to harness the power of new digital media to promote their brands and create countless new leads. Still, many agents and brokers are not digitally savvy. Here are a few tips to help you understand the digital-marketing landscape and how to choose the most effective and cost-efficient methods for your business. The rapid changes in marketing techniques, coupled with the emergence of countless new terms and paradigmsonline display ads, email marketing, search engine marketing, website optimization, social media promotion, just to name a few-often leave real estate professionals with more questions than answers. How should you find your way in this exciting new world? Having worked with a number of clients struggling with this question, we’ve observed that most real estate agents or companies have taken component parts of this new paradigm and arbitrarily added them to their traditional marketing strategy. They have attempted to fit blogging, or Twitter, or SEO into the same mold they use for direct mail or print advertisements. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. Components of digital marketing don’t follow the same patterns and the rules are vastly different. You need to take a more holistic approach. Think of the consumer decision buying process. There are 6 key stages: Awareness, Consideration, Intent, Purchase, Loyalty, and Advocacy. It also applies to home buyers. The closer to the bottom of the funnel, the fewer prospects remain in the funnel, yet the more likely they are to make a purchase and generate repeat sales or referrals for you. A well-designed, effective marketing campaign, generating maximum impact and revenue, should address home buyers in every step of their decision-making process. Ignoring or under-estimating the earlier stages will result in less people/ leads in the funnel. Whereas ignoring or under-investing in later stages will result in lost opportunities of converting the most valuable leads into buyers or advocators.

Therefore, it is crucial that real estate marketers create dynamic pathways to reach and engage home buyers every step of the way and allow them to interact with your brand and message on their own terms and at their own time. Although the best strategy varies case by case, here are a few great examples of how to use various new marketing paradigms to make an impact on home buyers’ decision making process.

Awareness and Consideration Consider a display advertising campaign on popular local websites for a branding campaign, and a combination of display ads and mass email blasts for new lead generation. These methods will help you reach a large scale audience and generate the most impact. According to ExactTarget, 91% of consumers use email at least once a day. In fact, a McKinsey & Company study concluded that email is almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter.

(Continued on page 10) JULY/AUGUST 2015 · ARCADIA REALTOR®

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(Continued from page 9)

(Continued from page 2)

Consideration and Purchase Intent

• AAR will host and sponsor the City of Duarte Home Ownership Event - October 26 • AAR will sponsor the Monrovia Halloween Festival - October 31 • E4C will host the 3rd annual “Smokin’ Jack” Charity night - November 5

Once you have built awareness for your brand and listing among home buyers, use search engine marketing (SEM) to drive prospects to your website so they can find out more details. To get people to seriously consider your listing and make a purchase, you need to have a welldesigned website to show off your listings in the best light. If your website isn’t mobile-optimized yet, consider doing so because 59% of all weekend real estate website traffic comes via tablet or smartphone.

Purchase, Loyalty & Advocacy Let’s say you sold an excellent property and the buyer got a great deal as well. Both of you are happy about the purchase. What now? Your marketing shouldn’t stop there. Make sure you create a platform that allows satisfied customers to share their experiences and refer your business to more new customers! Social media, blogs and newsletters are very useful tools to create emotional ties with your clients, build loyalty, and promote advocacy. Make sure you have a well-managed channel to interact with your clients that also allows them to interact with other prospects. If you have a social media account or blog, make sure the content is constantly updated and inquiries are attended to promptly. Content build requires time, effort, and expertise, so hiring a reputable, professional marketing service might be well worth its while. Building and maintaining a successful real estate business today requires you have a holistic digital presence that cultivates new prospects while retaining the loyalty and enthusiasm of current and past clients. All these tools and technologies might be overwhelming at first. Take some time to learn them and they can be your golden ticket to higher brand awareness and larger revenue. Don’t let technology hold you back. Let it become your best tool and push your business to the next level. An excellent marketing partner for real estate agents and brokers, the LA Times offers a complete suite of digital tools to help businesses access millions of home buyers and prospect in SoCal. Our specialized media consultants will help you understand the digital marketing process and assist you with designing a campaign that will fit your needs and budget. Faith Ratner, LA Times Multi-media Advertising Consultant, Los Angeles Times. For more information, contact Faith at: 213-407-5427 or Faith.Ratner@latimes.com 10

ARCADIA REALTOR® · JULY/AUGUST 2015

As you can see, the AAR proudly supports qualified charitable organizations and community events in the local areas we serve. Won’t you consider being a part of one or even a few of these events? You can showcase your event planning talents or lend a helping hand at an event. Drop me an email and we’ll enthusiastically get you on board right away: Andrew@TheAAR.com. Although we are a trade organization, we also are a responsible corporate citizen, community partner and a good neighbor. I’m very proud to say that some of our best work is done outside the walls of the AAR Building. As always, thanks for your valued membership.

Andrew Cooper Chief Executive Officer

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Welcome, New Members! NEW REALTORS速 JUNE 2015 Moekti K. Alikin, Treeline Realty & Investment; Catherine Cheng, IRN Realty; Vera Cheung, Coldwell Banker New Century; Chu Feng Chu, Highland Real Estate; Christian Cru, Coldwell Banker George; Richard De La Madrid, Coldwell Banker Arcadia; Miaomiao He, Coldwell Banker Arcadia; Peng He, Treeline Realty & Investment; Saeed Hejran, LA Mega Realty, In.; Melody Hu, Long Dragon Realty Group, Inc.; Grace X. Hua, Coldwell Banker George; Kai Huang, Highland Real Estate;

Lyone Kwok, Louie Properties, Inc.; Huiling Li, IRN Realty; Jian Li, Long Dragon Realty Group, Inc.; Na Li, Champion Character Inc.; Hongmei Liu, Highland Real Estate; Arthur Luo, Treeline Realty & Investment; Vivian H. Ma, Century 21 West Coast Brokers; Meijun Mu, Re/Max Omega; Jill M. Pappas, Coldwell Banker Arcadia; Hansen M. Perng, James Realty; Virginia E. Phillips, Berkshire Hathaway Homeservice; Sylvia L. Scott, Kingston Realty;

Victoria Tabakian, Berkshire Hathaway Homeservice; Marlene Talamera, Estevan Chantes, BROKER; Polly S. To, Re/Max Omega; Stephen M. Truong, Supreme Investment Corp.; Jen L. Wang, Highland Real Estate; Qianqiong Wang, Treeline Realty & Investment; Zheng Wei, Highland Real Estate; Haitao Xiao, Keller Williams West Foothills; Joseph Yoo, Keller Williams West Foothills; Aaron Zhang, Highland Real Estate; Zhong Zhang, Highland Real Estate;

NEW REALTORS速 JULY 2015 Sauci Belvoir, Coldwell Banker Arcadia; Albert Chen, Century 21 West Coast Brokers; Charlie Cooc, Long Dragon Realty Group, Inc.; Benet A. Garcia, Century 21 Adams & Barnes; Damon Z. He, Coldwell Banker Dynasty Arcadia; Rose T. King, Re/Max Omega Monrovia; Joanna Lam, Long Dragon Realty Group, Inc.; Emily C. Liu, Supreme Investment Corp.; Ning Ma, Treeline Realty & Investment; Zhou Mei, Champion Character Inc.;

Derek J. Michaelis, HomeSmart Realty; Gerardo Munoz, Urban Link Realty; Kimberly Pan, Keller Williams Market Center; Sara Ramirez, Berkshire Hathaway Homeservice; Surendra R. Sapkota, Keller Williams Realty; Fuming Shen, IRN Realty; Wanjun Shen, Supreme Investment Corp.; Anthony Soun, Kingston Realty; Michael B. Sun, Keller Williams Market Center; Anthony S. Wang, Highland Real Estate;

Huiting Wang, Supreme Investment Corp.; Karl Wong, ALTC Realty; Haitao Xiao, Keller Williams Market Center; Yue Xiao, Kingston Realty; Daniel Yeh, Berkshire Hathaway Homeservice; Ming C. Yeh, Highland Real Estate; Jeffrey Yue, Keller Williams Market Center; Boyu Zhang, Kingston Realty; Guofang Zhang, Highland Real Estate; Xu J. Zheng, Coldwell Banker George;

JULY/AUGUST 2015 揃 ARCADIA REALTOR速

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Latest GDP {Second Quarter 2015} By Lawrence Yun, PhD., NAR Chief Economist and Senior Vice President

The nation’s economy is humming along unspectacularly. GDP rose by 2.3 percent in the second quarter. Based on year-to-date activity and many other recent economic data, the year 2015 will again mark another subpar GDP growth. Slow growth is not the best of the world but is still leading to positive job creations.

consumers mark their personal economic progress. Trade-up home buying in a better neighborhood also provides that joy of progress. Sadly though, most middle-class Americans have not been progressing in recent years because of sluggish GDP growth.

GDP growth of 2.3 percent was a result of the following combination: - consumer spending expanding by 3 percent - business spending contracting by 1 percent - residential home spending rising by 6 percent - Exports rising by 5 percent while imports rising more slowly by 3 percent - Federal government spending falling 1 percent - State and local government spending rising 2 percent Note the good number on residential home spending. It is bound to get even better as homebuilders break more ground and home sales further rise. The improvement in the real estate market is helping the economy stay afloat. The long-term historical average GDP growth rate is 3 percent. Above that, things are really moving along nicely. Below that, it’s considered sluggish. A downright negative GDP growth figure marks a recession and job cuts. The U.S. GDP has not had above 3 percent growth for the past nine years and 2015 is forecasted to finish out the year with only 2 percent growth. In other words, it has been a decade of subpar economic performance in the U.S. compared to past performance. Despite the subpar growth, jobs are being created. In the past 12-months, more than 3 million net new jobs have been created. Part-time employment remains elevated, however, and the wage growth is only 2 percent. Due to job creation, home sales will rise by 5 to 7 percent nationwide this year. Sales, however, will be 25 percent below the prior peak set a decade ago. As an aside, consider the following: to be well off or to be better off? Sounds the same but there is a difference. Well off is being rich and having many things. Better off means moving up the economic ladder with this year being better than last year. GDP is at an all-time high today but are people necessarily happier? Some research implies it is not the level but progress that is more important. That is why automakers, for example, produce so many different models to fit every purse which helps 12

ARCADIA REALTOR® · JULY/AUGUST 2015

Graphs Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at NAR.


As a Real Estate Practitioner, Aren’t You Also an Environmentalist? By Graham Wood, Senior Editor for REALTOR® Magazine

Most of us - really, all of us, but I’m saving room for the diehard skeptics can agree that environmental changes are having a large-scale impact on our planet. But “environmental issues” isn’t a phrase easily uttered in the real estate community without hue and cry. Many practitioners react negatively to topics of environmental significance, and it’s somewhat understandable. Environmental interests can potentially derail real estate projects and transactions as our society becomes more conscious of how development affects the Earth’s well-being. But even if there’s conflict between the two, they’re also intertwined: The environment can have huge implications for how desirable a property is to buyers. So shouldn’t you, as a person who sells property, care about the environment? I recently profiled three real estate professionals for the July/August issue of REALTOR® Magazine who are contending with environmental problems in their regions. The point of the story isn’t to judge whether practitioners have an obligation to acknowledge and respond to real estate’s impact on the environment. It’s an examination of cases in which some have felt a calling to help clients persevere in the face of environmental challenges, from California’s historic drought to Vermont flooding and the proliferation of fracking in Texas. This reporting got me thinking about an interview I did with David Wluka, who sat on the National Association of REALTORS®’ Land Use, Property Rights & Environment Committee for many years. During NAR’s Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., in May, Wluka and I pondered this 13

question: When should property rights take a backseat to the environment? In case you think you’re about to be lectured on saving the planet, I should add that Wluka is no environmental fundamentalist. He worked as a land planner helping developers build out prime projects in the Boston area before becoming brokerowner of Wluka Real Estate Corp. in Sharon, Mass., and he’s seen firsthand how environmentalists have held back real estate. He recalled a 600-acre project he worked on in the early 2000s that drew the ire of nearby neighbors. The development process was already well underway when someone found a turtle on the property one day. “Three years later, we lost 70 percent of this land to this turtle,” Wluka said. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection fought for the land to be preserved for native turtles, and the developers couldn’t prove that the turtles weren’t there. The developer had to scale down the project to single-family homes built on 30 percent of the original parcel. “He’ll do OK, but he wanted to have a long-term business there,” Wluka said. “[Environmentalists will] argue that we’re losing priority habitat land, but it also affects the local economy unnecessarily. Towns can end up shooting themselves in the foot. When it comes to creatures and people, sometimes people need to win.”

But these types of issues shouldn’t prevent practitioners from acknowledging the importance of balance with regard to property rights and the government’s role in fostering a healthy environment. Many inherently get this: Thirty-nine percent of REALTORS® say they believe the federal and state governments’ involvement occurs at an “appropriate” level with at least some environmental regulations, according to a recent REALTOR® Magazine survey of nearly 2,000 members. This finding aligns with Wluka’s assertion that real estate practitioners are environmentalists if only because it is their job to protect the important features that make their communities attractive to buyers, which include the environment. “We’re not botanists, we’re not horticulturists,” he said. “But I think practitioners in general are environmentalists because quality of life needs an environment that is attractive… When we sell a lifestyle, that means being an environmentalist.” He’s not suggesting that real estate pros take a political stance on the environment or get involved in movements, but he thinks agents and brokers have a responsibility to make their clients aware of how their properties could affect the environment. That starts with not backing away from hard conversations with clients about how to address their properties’ environmental impact, even if it stands to make the transaction more complicated, he says. “Practitioners should advise clients to get an attorney to help sort out environmental issues, and tell them to get an engineer when dealing with wetlands and floodplains.”

ARCADIA REALTOR® · JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015

(Continued on page 14) JULY/AUGUST 2015 · ARCADIA REALTOR®

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Arcadia Association of REALTORS® 601 South First Avenue Arcadia, California 91006 (Continued from page 13)

(One of the agents I spoke to for the REALTOR® Magazine story advised her clients in flood-prone Vermont to do the same.) “You don’t have to be the environmental expert, but you sure better know to tell the owner that they need an expert. You’re responsible for things like that that are knowable.” Wluka, in essence, is telling you to look at the environment from a business angle - which is less contradictory than it may sound. The state of the local environment can deeply affect your ability to sell property. So foster open discussions with clients, but try to leave the politics out of it. Remember that being an advocate for your community means championing a healthy environment for all. So are you an environmentalist?

Graham Wood is a Senior Editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at gwood@realtors.org.

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Arcadia REALTOR Magazine - July/August 2015  

The July/August 2015 publication of the Arcadia REALTOR.

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