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Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS MAGAZINE

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The Official Magazine of the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®

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Summer 2020

COVID-19

News, Guides and Resources for the Real Estate Professional

MARKET UPDATE Where To

Shop and Eat Local

during COVID-19

glvrmag.com


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A Letter from the CEO Summer 2020 We’re open! We’re back in business, baby! Well, kind of. Yes, we’re open, but kinks are still being worked out with new workflows and new ways of interacting with those involved in real estate transactions. Several months into a global pandemic, we’re slowly starting to emerge from what I call “the COVID fog.” We’re all still a bit lost. The future ahead is hard to see. But we’re taking cautious baby steps. We’re finding our way. We’re figuring it out. We’re using our ingenuity and entrepreneurship to safely put people into the homes of their dreams. The summer edition of our quarterly eMagazine includes our commonplace items, like our new member and RPAC investor lists, case studies on fair housing and professional standards, information on continuing education requirements, and more. But you’ll also find resources specific to real estate and COVID-19. From how your response to COVID-19 can attract clients to how one of our Proud sponsors is working to make closings as safe as possible, it’s all available in the pages that follow. I wrote this in my opening letter to the spring edition of the eMagazine, but as we get back to business and adapt to our new way of business and life, I feel it’s worth writing again. Upsetting. Confusing. Unsettling. We’ve heard a variety of descriptions for these unprecedented times. But while your world may seem to be swirling with uncertainty and negativity, we want you to know that staff at the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® are here. We will walk hand-in-hand with you. We will help you. We will get through this. I urge you to listen to your broker, listen to authorities, and be safe. GLVR will continue to work with the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® to provide members with the tools and resources needed to operate during this time of crisis. As always, thank you for reading.

Justin Porembo

CEO, Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®

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Contents

Summer 2020

ceo letter 4A  Message From Our CEO

features 10 Y  our Response To COVID 12 How Gov. Wolf’s New Restrictions

12

Impact Real Estate

14 M  asks Are Required Throughout the State

17 Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Showings 23 COVID-19 Resources 32 Market Update 34 Where to Shop and Eat Local

department updates 26 Government Affairs Advocacy, Accountability. Action

37 Professional Standards

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38 Real Estate Academy 40 MLS

guest writers Jim Andrews, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling Manny F. Rodrigues, American Bank

Interested in becoming a guest writer? e-mail tammy@glvr.org

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REALTORS STAND FOR STRONG COMMUNITIES. Is your agent a REALTOR速? Look for the R.

REALTORS速 are members of the National Association of REALTORS速


WELCOME YOUR NEWEST HOMEOWNERS WITH

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Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS MAGAZINE

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Publisher Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® CEO Justin Porembo | 484-821-0501

Sales Director Tammy Lerner | 484-821-0511

Creative Director Melissa Arranz | 484-821-0509

eCommunication Specialist Mallory Siegfried | 484-821-0504

The Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® eMagazine is published quarterly by Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® 10 S. Commerce Way, Bethlehem, PA 18017 Board of Directors

Jack Gross, President

Charles R. Haley

Tim Tepes, President-Elect

Sean LaSalle

Carl Billera, Past President Howard Schaeffer, Secretary Thomas Cramer, Treasurer

Donna Bartholomew-Sacco Cass Chies

Lyn Hufton Mark Lutz

Glen Paisley

Robert Ritter

Noelle Seaton

Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® reserves the right to edit or refuse any advertising submitted to this publication. The Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® eMagazine is the official publication of the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®. All advertising published in the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® eMagazine is believed to be truthful and accurate. However, Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® assumes no responsibility whatsoever for typographical errors or omissions in the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® eMagazine. All real estate advertising in this publication is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended, which makes it illegal to advertise “any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.” This publication will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of this law. Our readers are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised in this publication are available on an equal opportunity basis. To complain of discrimination, call HUD toll-free at 1-800-424-8590. Any reference made to the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® is not to be construed as making representations, warranties, or guarantees concerning the information on properties advertised in the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® eMagazine. All ads contained herein are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. The opinions and statements contained in advertising or elsewhere in the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® eMagazine are those of the authors of such opinions and are not necessarily those of the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®. This magazine is published to inform GLVR members of matters of general interest and give reports of current events relating to real estate. Copyright © by Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the consent of Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® is prohibited.

We Appreciate Our Preferred Vendors!!!

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Welcome New Members! February 25, 2020 - July 8, 2020

Mahmoud K. Abdelaziz BHHS Fox & Roach - Allentown Nadine L. Angoy BHHS Fox & Roach - Macungie Sarina A. Ashford Keller Williams Real Estate Margaret S. Balcacer Amarante Equity MidAtlantic Real Estate Timothy N. Bambule Judd Builders Vincent A. Boyle RE/MAX Real Estate Katherine M. Buccine Iron Valley Real Estate of Lehigh Valley Szymon J. Bzdek Keller Williams Real Estate Leroy A. Campbell HomeSnipe Real Estate Ashley Carrigan Weichert Realtors Nathan E. Chaney BHHS Fox & Roach - Easton Xin S. Chen BHHS Fox & Roach - Macungie | Jacob Christman Keller Williams Real Estate Cheryl A. Clark Weichert Realtors | Walter B. Clark III CENTURY 21 Keim Realtors Ayon A. Codner Keller Williams Real Estate | Peter Collins Coldwell Banker Heritage Real Estate Ivan J. Cruz Weichert Realtors | Omar Dayoub BHHS Regency Real Estate Christopher M. Dougherty Keller Williams Real Estate | Doreen J. Emory Weichert Realtors Bret J. Erney Real Living Spectrum Real Estate | Ali E. Fernandez Weichert Realtors Stacey V. Figueroa Keller Williams Real Estate | Sheila A. Finn C.S. Equestrian & Country Prop Nancy Flemming Boutique One Properties | Denise G. Floyd Sunny Curb Appeal Kim Frailey Keller Williams Real Estate | Luis M. Fuentes BHHS Fox & Roach - Allentown Hunter Gares BHHS Fox & Roach - Easton | Mekonnen P. Habtamudula Weichert Realtors Terry R. Hahn Boutique One Properties | Robert Haines Diamond 1st Real Estate Brent A. Harris Realty One Group Exclusive | Kathy Hendricks Weichert Realtors Patricia C. Hewitt Real Living Action Realty | Cheryl Hewko Keller Williams Real Estate Larry Holmes Jr CENTURY 21 Keim | Charles H. Johnson IV Weichert Realtors Kim Johnson EXP Realty | Maya A. Keyock CENTURY 21 Keim Andrea Lohman Great American Real Estate Company Joseph Lugo Weichert Realtors - Allentown Katey L. Mamuzich Keller Williams Real Estate | Juan L. Martinez SlateHouse Realty Jessica L. Matthews EXP Realty | Kevin B. McDermott Plaza Realty Kyle McFarland Boutique One Properties | Sabat D. Medina Homeway Real Estate Bridget M. Miller CENTURY 21 Keim Realtors | Patricia Miller iLehighValley Real Estate Victoria R. Monaco Keller Williams Real Estate | Joshua J. Nales Jr Keller Williams Real Estate Maribel Nieves Real Estate of America | Rebecca S. Nieves Century 21 Pinnacle Giovanni S. Noto Diamond 1st Real Estate | Ashli M. Novak EXP Realty Cathleen A. O’Connor Keller Williams Real Estate Nicole O’Reilly BHHS Fox & Roach - Coopersburg Alexander P. Obleschuk BHHS Fox & Roach - Bethlehem James M. Ohland Jr Realty Solutions of Pa Kaitlyn J. Oswald Weichert Realtors | Christine M. Peiffer Weichert Realtors - Allentown Thomas Peterson Keller Williams Real Estate | Dionne A. Pope Keller Williams Real Estate Joshua M. Pope Iron Valley Real Estate of Lehigh Valley Martina V. Pudda Keller Williams Real Estate Bernadette Rabel BHHS Fox & Roach - Bethlehem Elena P. Reiss BHHS Fox & Roach - Macungie | Christian Rodriguez Homeway Real Estate Keila Rodriguez Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Valley Partners Christian Ruano EXP Realty | Melissa S. Rusin Realty One Group Exclusive Kaitlin C. Saia Keller Williams Real Estate Tcharlie Saloum Keller Williams Real Estate | Milkelys A. Sanchez Coldwell Banker Hearthside Theresa M. Sanchez Weichert Realtors Erika S. Schaeffer RE/MAX Unlimited Real Estate Debra J. Schramel Boutique One Properties Michael D. Sheftel Keller Williams Real Estate Zachary R. Sikler Coldwell Banker Hearthside Nicholas Simone Preferred Choice REALTORS Kelly M. Smith Krieger Real Estate Mary G. Sollenberger BHHS Fox & Roach - Macungie Alberto Soriano CENTURY 21 Keim Realtors Natalia M. Stezenko Iron Valley Real Estate of Lehigh Valley Melanie E. Stocker Keller Williams Real Estate Michelle Tauber New Beginnings Realty Anthony P. Toribio Equity MidAtlantic Real Estate Stephanie A. Trussell RE/MAX Unlimited Real Estate Michael J. Tyrrell Judd Builders Dara A. VandeBunte Century 21 Ramos Realty Christopher Vezza EXP Realty Stroudsburg Bryant K. Walton Sr Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Cassidon Realty Thomas Washington CENTURY 21 Keim Merlin J. Weaver Compass Pennsylvania Ellen V. Wilson Boutique One Properties David P. Zeidenberg BHHS Fox & Roach - Coopersburg John W. Zeigler Vylla Home Walter S. Zimolong Preferred Choice REALTORS Sara Zrinski Weichert Realtors


How Your Response to COVID-19 Can Attract Clients Researchers have developed a five-step guide for managing business relationships during a crisis. Get ideas for how to apply them to your real estate operations. By Melissa Dittmann Tracey Source: REALTOR® Magazine n a relationship-driven business like real estate, it may seem impossible to keep physical distance yet still feel emotionally connected. But practitioners are finding new ways to form bonds with their clients during the coronavirus pandemic and increase their customer pipelines.

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the grimness of the current reality. If your business webpage or marketing doesn’t mention COVID-19 at all, you risk looking irrelevant, Chris Smith, co-founder of the digital marketing company Curaytor, told attendees during a recent realtor.com® webinar.

To do that, take “HEART.”

Reach out to customers in a variety of ways, from sentimental to humorous gestures. Connie and Dan Carlson, founding partners of Ansley Atlanta in Marietta, Ga., launched a “Marietta Strong” blog at their website, promoting a “we are all in this together” message. A video at the site shows community hot spots and local businesses, along with a message of hope, resilience, and unity in the face of COVID-19.

Texas Tech University researchers, as well as professors Ted Waldron and James Wetherbe, developed the HEART framework to guide small businesses through their response to the crisis. The model, which reviews seven decades of business practice and scientific research, consists of the following steps: •

Humanize your company

Educate about change

Assure stability

Revolutionize your offerings

Tackle the future

‘H’ is for Humanize Leverage empathy by acknowledging the unique circumstances your past and current customers are facing during this time. Be careful about blending “caring” messages with a sales message, Waldron and Wetherbe note. Also, don’t be afraid to address

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Even seemingly small gestures can have a big impact. Brad Inman, founder of Inman News, recently shared how the makings for a dinner treat—chicken and leg of lamb—was unexpectedly left on his doorstep. “It was from my local real estate agent,” he said on a recent podcast. “No card, no expectation, and exactly what I needed. Never before have smart, caring agents proved their value more so than right now.” Fun and humorous ways of connecting may inspire the greatest following. Kristina McCann, broker-owner of Chroma Realty in the San Francisco area, started a ‘mingo’ movement that other real estate professionals in California have replicated. In the evening hours, pros stake out a flock of plastic pink flamingos in people’s yards with “happy birthday” messages for


those missing out on special celebrations during the pandemic. The gesture is not about marketing their companies. “My intention was to just spread joy and happiness to people during this time,” says Anthony Marguleas, broker-owner of Amalfi Estates in Pacific Palisades, Calif. “We just wanted to put a smile on people’s faces.” Likewise, Terry Wolak and his alter ego, “The Messy Chef,” are becoming an internet sensation. Wolak, a sales associate with Howard Hanna Real Estate in Penfield, N.Y., shows off his culinary talents in Facebook Live videos shot from his “quarantine kitchen.” His humorous cooking shows also occasionally feature a friend—keeping distance from one another, of course— such as one captured playing a guitar outside his kitchen window. “I think right now people yearn for the humor, the connection, the interaction,” Wolak told Spectrum News about his videos. ‘E’ is for Educate Share with customers via social media, e-newsletters, and on your website how they can interact with you during the pandemic. Let them know the business changes you’ve made, too. As Chicago issued its stay-at-home orders in March, Erica Cuneen, CIPS, GREEN, broker-owner of Beyond Properties Realty Group, was quick to reach out to customers with weekly emails informing them of how real estate was adapting. The brokerage’s emails detailed in a simple format steps that were being taken among four customer categories: for sellers closing, buyers purchasing, active sellers, and active buyers. Eric Rollo, CIPS, a sales associate with William Raveis Real Estate in Boston, launched a “COVID-19 Resource Hub,” a one-stop website where visitors can learn about health department updates as well as guides on how to access emergency aid. The site culls links on the latest number of coronavirus cases in the Boston area and the state of

Massachusetts, homeowner mortgage assistance information, rental assistance and small business help, unemployment aid, and volunteer opportunities. ‘A’ is for Assurance As the economic and personal toll of the virus mounts, customers may look to companies for assurance. Connie Carlson, associate broker for Ansley Atlanta in Marietta, Ga., posts weekly market snapshots on social media, which include the number of homes listed, under contract, and sold. “We do this to reassure that the market is still continuing on,” says Carlson, who recently listed seven new properties in one week. “Sellers still need to sell, and buyers still need to buy.” Carlson also requires her clients to sign a COVID-19 release form prior to home showings, which she says puts them at ease. The form asks buyers to verify that they aren’t currently ill and to keep their hands in their pockets during tours. Sellers are asked to turn on all lights and open closet doors prior to any showing. “We want to limit how much people have to touch things in the properties,” Carlson says. “We have our clients sign these forms to feel more comfortable that everyone is doing their part to prevent the spread of germs from house to house.” ‘R’ is for Revolutionize “Technique often lags behind technology,” Wetherbe says. “The pandemic has forced innovation in doing things differently.” Real estate professionals are using tech tools for showings, such as virtual tours and agent-led video walkthroughs. Carlson is doing a Matterport 3D tour for all her properties, enabling online house hunters to walk through a property virtually, assessing a home in all directions, and even peeking inside closet doors. She’s also holding virtual open houses on Sundays, where online visitors can tune in to livestreams of

house tours. Kara Keller, SFR, a broker at Baird & Warner in the Chicago area, is using a drone to show off her listings (video above). She teamed with Doola, a digital marketing company, to send a drone inside properties to capture video footage. Keller then narrates the droneled video tours and promotes them on the MLS and her website as a way for buyers to tour properties remotely. ‘T’ is for Tackle (the Future) As your company innovates, look for ways to adopt new processes for the long haul. After all, “some of this technology being embraced could help real estate professionals ultimately sell even more houses in less time,” Wetherbe says. For example, relying on face-to-face showings before the pandemic may have been timeconsuming. Now brokerages have developed new ways to virtually show homes and keep people from having to spend time traveling to a property. Businesses should not be quick to abandon new processes once the pandemic is over, the researchers note. These new ways of doing business could prove to be a differentiator in the future. Companies that are quick to return to older business methods may ultimately fall behind. “I believe the companies that will stand out will be doing things a different way in the future, too,” Waldron says. As businesses sort out the future, the researchers say that a customercentric attitude and awareness of what people need right now is key. “Companies can emerge from this crisis with strengthened relationships with customers,” the researchers note in an article published in the Harvard Business Review. “Give consumers your HEART during this difficult time. It will cultivate long-lasting goodwill with past customers and help ensure they will stay with you in the future.”

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ov. Tom Wolf has begun to roll back certain business opening rules yesterday based on an increase in COVID-19 cases nationally and here in Pennsylvania.

The part of the governor’s order generating the most member questions reads as follows: “Unless not possible, all businesses are required to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business. Where telework is not possible, employees may conduct in-person business operations, provided that the businesses fully comply with all substantive aspects of ” the various orders that are already in place. So what does this mean for Realtors®? Nothing in the newest orders directly address real estate practice, though the orders and underlying testing trends do suggest some things that Realtors® should keep in mind in your daily practice so real estate avoids the fate of restaurants and bars. Here are some answers to questions we’ve already received: Q. HAS REAL ESTATE BEEN DEEMED AS ESSENTIAL/LIFESUSTAINING? Honestly, that’s not the right question to ask at this point. While that concept was the starting point for the administration’s original business closure orders, it’s clear that they are taking business categories on a case-by-case at the moment. The most obvious example here is that restaurants are listed as life-sustaining, but their ability to operate is being severely restricted. Real estate and construction are not considered life-sustaining, but are mostly open. So, to answer directly, no – real estate has not been moved into the category of “life-sustaining” businesses. But the administration is clear that business segments are being handled individually, so real estate practice will rise or fall on how well you are able to protect the health of yourself and your consumers, not that arbitrary categorization. Q. ARE BROKERS REQUIRED TO CLOSE THEIR OFFICE AND ONLY ALLOW REMOTE WORK? If there are activities that must be done in-person, you can keep doing them in-person. And realistically, in-person activities can be maintained for those things that are just waaaay better when they’re in person. But for things that don’t

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need in-person contact, brokers and agents should go back to remote work. For example, even though remote notary is legal, we know that many lenders won’t accept electronic notarization, or there are areas where it’s almost impossible to make it happen. So, in-person closings shouldn’t be affected. Similarly, there is no effective substitute to a prospective buyer actually walking through a property before purchasing it. But while in-person walkthroughs can be maintained because of their transactional value, brokers and agents should tighten down how often they happen and be sure to re-emphasize virtual showings and similar marketing techniques.

How Gov. Wolf’s

NEW RESTRICTIONS Impact Real Estate By Hank Lerner, Esq., Director of Law & Policy, Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® Source: PARJustListed

Q. CAN WE STILL DO OPEN HOUSES? The order does not directly address open houses, but does state that in-person activity should only occur where it is “not possible” to do things remotely. Brokers and agents will have to make their own decisions, but the main question will become whether there are other effective ways to market the property virtually, or simply whether there are less risky ways to conduct in-person walkthroughs (e.g., expanding individual appointments rather than having an open house). Q. WILL THERE BE ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS ON REAL ESTATE? Well…that depends. The new rounds of restrictions in Pennsylvania and other states are based on data showing the types of places and behaviors that are generating new infections. The best way to stay off that list is to keep following the rules that are in place. At this point, we’re not aware that real estate has been identified as an major source of infections in Pennsylvania or other states, so let’s just keep it that way.

PAR will be maintaining our best practice recommendations as-is. These mix the minimum state requirements with some next-level precautions that should help minimize infection risks. Keep in-person activities to a minimum. Wear masks. Wipe off the things that get touched. Just generally be a solid citizen and look out for your health and that of your clients. Of course, if anything changes PAR will let you know. Continue to use our coronavirus resource page to answer your questions, and call the PAR Legal Hotline if you have issues not addressed in our FAQ.

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Masks Are Required Throughout the State By Brian Carter, Esq., Staff Attorney, Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® Source: PARJustListed The Pennsylvania General Assembly does not have the unilateral right to terminate Governor Tom Wolf ’s emergency declarations issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in a 4-3 decision on July 1. In early June, Wolf extended his emergency declaration on the COVID-19 pandemic for an additional 90 days. A few days later, following the language of the Emergency Management Services Code, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a concurrent resolution with bipartisan support to terminate the governor’s emergency declarations. Wolf challenged the General Assembly’s position that it had the ability to immediately and unilaterally end his emergency declarations. The governor argued that the Pennsylvania Constitution requires that the resolution be presented to him for his approval or veto. The dispute was resolved by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court holding that the concurrent resolution procedure relied upon by the General Assembly requires presenting the resolution to the governor for approval or the governor’s veto. Because the General Assembly failed to do this, the concurrent resolution has no legal effect. As a result, the governor’s emergency declarations continue to be in force. For Realtors®, this means that the regulations and procedures issued by the

governor relating to real estate activity remain in effect and should be complied with. This includes following the suggested best practices and continued use of the COVID forms. For any counties currently in, or that are returned to, the red or yellow reopening phases, this also includes the May 19, 2020, guidance specific to the real estate industry. Additionally, an immediate expansion of the requirement to wear a face covering was announced on July 1. The Pennsylvania Secretary of Health expanded until further notice her order for wearing face coverings to include when people are: •

Outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of 6 feet from individuals who are not members of their household

In any indoor location where the public is generally permitted

While waiting for, riding on, driving or operating public transportation, ridesharing, taxis or private car service

When receiving healthcare services

Engaging in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when interacting in-person with any member of the public or in any room or enclosed area where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or residence, are present when unable to physically distance.

Exceptions to wearing a face covering include due to a person’s medical condition, it creates an unsafe condition while working and someone who cannot remove the mask without assistance. No documentation is required to establish that a person meets any exception. As this applies to Realtors®, face coverings should be worn whenever conducting real estate-related activities outside of your own residence. This includes in-person meetings with clients, showing properties, conducting open houses and attending closings.

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Green Phase:

Open Houses, Best Practices and Forms, Oh My! By Hank Lerner, Esq., Director of Law & Policy, Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® Source: PARJustListed

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s all of Pennsylvania’s counties methodically moved into the green phase, the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® (PAR) Legal Hotline received multiple waves of green-phase questions. The topical FAQs on PAR’s coronavirus resource page cover a number of these topics, but here are some of the highlights: Q: What are the differences between yellow-phase and greenphase rules? A: Real estate activities in yellow-phase counties are covered, in part, by special guidance that applies only to real estate. In green-phase counties, the specific guidance no longer applies – we know this because it says so right in the document – and real estate is covered by the general business guidance that applies to all businesses in the state. But the general business guidance is not targeted directly to real estate, which means that there are fewer bright-line rules and more of a grey area. For example, in yellow-phase counties, the rule is clear that there can only be three people in a property at one time. That specific rule goes away in the green-phase counties, replaced with guidance to work remotely where possible, minimize in-person activities, limit attendees to 50 to 75% of capacity and ensure social distancing. So how many people can be in a property that’s in a green-phase county? Dunno. Might be more than three, might be fewer than three, depending on the size and configuration of the property, along with the comfort level of the buyers and sellers. This will often be more of a common-sense issue for most agents unless their broker elects to create more specific brokerage policies. Q: Why do PAR’s best practices only have yellow-phase information? A: They don’t – not exactly. PAR’s best practices document was drafted by a member task force even before the governor’s office released their industry guidance. It looks a lot like the yellowphase guidance mostly because we know the administration used it as a reference. But even when practice requirements are loosened in the green phase, we are suggesting that brokers consider continued use of some of those practices simply out of caution. Just as many PAR forms go above and beyond staterequired minimums, our suggested best practices are sometimes more restrictive than the state minimums. It is ultimately up to

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the individual brokers and members to decide how they want to practice, so long as they don’t do less than what is required by the state. Be sure to read the document carefully so you can see which items are mandatory or voluntary, and where some of the restrictions came from. Q: Do we still have to use PAR’s COVID forms in greenphase counties? A: These new forms (COVID, COVID-PAN, COVIDHSA) have never been required. They are suggested as part of the PAR best practices, and while they may explain certain required parts of the transaction the form itself is not a requirement – unless your broker has created such a policy at the brokerage level. While these forms are usable in any of the reopening phases, members are cautioned to thoroughly read and understand them to ensure that the language in those forms reflects your actual practice. If you have chosen to do things differently, you should discuss with your broker and/or brokerage counsel how to handle those issues with your clients. Q: Can we hold open houses in green-phase counties? A: Speaking of topics that are covered in the FAQ… yes. Technically, at least. Since the yellow-phase ban is no longer in place, they are technically allowed. That said, businesses in green-phase counties are encouraged to work remotely as much as they can, to limit in-person activity and to conduct business by appointment as much as possible and to enforce mask-wearing and proper social distancing. Since a typical open house doesn’t necessarily tick those boxes, an agent who still wants to do one would need to figure out how to implement policies to keep them as safe as possible. This might include things like requiring appointments, or if there is more than one potential buyer on-site, queuing them up outside and only allowing each inside for a limited amount of time. Depending on the size and layout of the house, it might also mean having a specific traffic flow to avoid bottlenecks or utilizing multiple agents in the house to ensure that social distancing is enforced. PAR has not issued specific suggestions since many of the options would be guided by the local market and the specific properties, but brokers are encouraged to work through these issues – with counsel if necessary – before conducting open houses.


Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Showings The initial drop in showing activity experienced throughout much of the country in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic has given way to modest signs of stabilization. With real estate reopen in Pennsylvania, the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORSÂŽ is seeing the local housing market rebounding rather quickly. For a market that was low on inventory prior to the pandemic, there was already repressed demand. After Governor Tom Wolf reopened real estate, that repressed demand meant a wave of showings. Members of the association reported their experience as that of a dam breaking. Check out the graphics below to see how showings have been affected in North America, Pennsylvania and the Greater Lehigh Valley. Source of Graphics: ShowingTime

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H

omeowners concerned about big-city density may find the perfect answer in Lehigh Valley, and a new regional alliance is spearheading the effort to reach them.

Over the past few years, economic development has become increasingly focused on the ability to attract and retain a talented workforce. Companies will choose to remain or relocate to regions that are growing their talent pool, particularly younger professionals aged 18 to 34. These employees are placing more importance on their quality of life and life-work balance, seeking affordability, accessibility, and opportunity for themselves and their families. Lehigh Valley offers all that and more. The region is a hotbed for development and has been ranked as one of the top five growing metropolitan markets in the Northeast for the past five years. New houses, apartments and offices are being built across the Lehigh Valley and the population continues to grow – the percentage of young workers living here exceeds the rest of Pennsylvania and even Philadelphia. Lehigh and Northampton counties are two of only 20 counties in Pennsylvania that have grown in population since 2010 and there is a direct correlation between economic growth and population growth. The economies that are successful are the ones with growing communities, and we need to continue our work to tell the story of this wonderful place we call home. We all know the benefits the region offers people; we’re living examples of it. But the outside world is mostly unaware of what the Lehigh Valley is and what it represents for people. With that in mind, a coalition of Lehigh Valley regional partners came together to form the Made Possible in Lehigh Valley Alliance, an effort that will increase outside awareness of the Lehigh Valley, enhance a positive image of the region, and market it as a desirable and attractive place for talent, particularly among the 18 to 34 age demographic. Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Discover Lehigh Valley, and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce officially kicked off the Alliance earlier this year, and have brought in the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors as a partner in the housing and relocation effort. Working together allows us to combine our strengths and pool resources around common strategies to position the Lehigh Valley as an attractive and welcoming place for visitors, professionals, families and companies, while celebrating and enriching the quality of life in our region. “The time has come that we tell a consistent message the same way about the quality of life, the attractiveness, and the unique place that is the Lehigh Valley,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “It’s a natural alignment, because we’re all here for the Lehigh Valley.” Even before the coronavirus pandemic, people had been eager to leave larger metros in search of more space and opportunity for their families. Lehigh Valley has long been an affordable alternative to nearby areas, and now it also offers quality of life benefits that can compete with those found in larger cities, including excellent schools, strong health care networks, arts, entertainment, restaurants, parks, and outdoor recreation. In comparison to some of our neighboring metros, Lehigh Valley is 128% more affordable than Manhattan, 53% more affordable than Washington, D.C., and 44% more affordable than Boston. Residents and businesses seeking locations outside these densely populated urban areas due to the pandemic may find the perfect location in Lehigh Valley. There’s more than enough data to support the message we’re selling about the region. Just last year, Lehigh Valley was rated one of the best markets in the country for homebuyers according to two research reports by realtor.com. Lehigh Valley earned a spot among the top 10 Markets for Millennial Homebuyers according to realtor.com’s Q3 2019 Generational Propensity Report. Among the 100 largest markets by population, Lehigh Valley ranked 6th due to the strong job prospects for individuals and lower housing prices than in the regions’ largest metropolitan areas. Lehigh Valley also was rated as the number-one market in the country for improved homebuying affordability in the last 12 months, according to realtor.com’s Q3 2019 Affordability Report. To help move the needle, the Alliance recently created a Relocation Guide to convince people that the Lehigh Valley is the right place for them to call home. The guide was produced as a collaborative effort between the Alliance partners with valuable input from the

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Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors. The new 16-page guide is meant for newcomers to the region and those who are curious to learn more about why the Lehigh Valley is a great place to live, work, visit, and learn. You’ll find a brief overview of Lehigh Valley, economic, education, and housing data, and personal testimonials from people living and working in the region. Those stories can also be found on the Made Possible in Lehigh Valley website and the Instagram account, @lvmadepossible. The guide is available to all members of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors and other regional partners to use as a recruiting tool as interest in Lehigh Valley homes and apartments is expected to remain high. Hard copies are available for pickup and the digital version can be shared or embedded onto your own websites. The group has also produced a dynamic hype video to help get people excited about the area, and that’s available for your use as well. Lehigh Valley’s unique and authentic nature, growing economy, and emerging cultural attractions, restaurants, and livable downtown spaces will continue to attract young people to move here, companies to come here, and entrepreneurs to invest here. Our local Realtors are on the front lines of the talent recruitment effort and are critical partners in this marketing campaign. View the partner toolkit to learn how you can use these tools in your marketing or email mkeller@lehighvalley.org to connect. Lehigh Valley exists because of where we’ve been. Together, we will shape what is made possible tomorrow.

- Mike Keller, Marketing Manager, Made Possible in Lehigh Valley


Analysts: Lehigh Valley Industrial Market Well-Positioned to Weather Pandemic By Colin McEvoy for Lehigh Valley Economic Development Commission | Source: Lehigh Valley Economic Development Commission Website

T

he Lehigh Valley industrial real estate market is wellpositioned to weather the economic downturn expected to result from the coronavirus pandemic, according to analysts from the commercial real estate research organization CoStar. Lehigh Valley’s industrial market was strong before the disruption caused by COVID-19, and the region’s economic fundamentals – such as its central location and access to markets – will not have not changed, and will in fact be more important than ever, analysts said. “The coronavirus is so big, and we’ll be talking about it for the rest of our lives, but it’s hard to imagine the type of disruption it would take to upend the market of Lehigh Valley, and I’m pretty optimistic of its future,” said Ben Atwood, CoStar market analyst. CoStar hosted a webinar about the Lehigh Valley industrial market in early April, which was attended by about 100 people, including representatives from the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). Distribution, shipping, and logistics are among the strengths of Lehigh Valley’s industrial real estate market, Atwood said, and those sectors are expected to do particularly well as the national economy reopens. Lehigh Valley has long been recognized as one of the fastestgrowing e-commerce hubs in the United States, with major distribution facilities having opened in the region in recent years, such as Amazon, FedEx Ground, Lulus, and Zulily. The national growth of e-commerce will only accelerate due to the coronavirus pandemic as more people become accustomed to shopping online, not only for traditional goods but also for groceries and day-to-day essentials, according to CoStar Director of Analytics Brandon Svec.

“We are very much expecting the consumer to adopt online shopping across the board,” he said. “People are adopting a new way of living, and that new way is very bullish to industrial.” Svec believes the coronavirus will accelerate what would have been 5 to 7 years of e-commerce adoption and industrial changes into a 12-month period. The greater use of online grocery services will also lead to a higher demand for cold storage facilities, another trend Lehigh Valley would be well-positioned to benefit from, Svec said. As companies reorganize supply chains to shift away from Asian markets, more manufacturing may return to the United States. Atwood said Lehigh Valley has the capacity to benefit from this re-shoring, particularly in the medical equipment and supplies sector. Atwood noted that Lehigh Valley attracts “the heavy hitters” in industrial real estate development. Speculative construction fills as soon as it comes on the market, he said, and even aging space draws good prices. New space may not fill as quickly in the short term due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Atwood said it is difficult to imagine any scenario in which the Lehigh Valley industrial real estate market does not remain strong. Economic development activity has continued in Lehigh Valley despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. LVEDC has continued to work on projects and expansions that had been in the pipeline, as well as fielding inquiries about potential projects after the pandemic ends. Some companies have announced new construction projects or expansions to existing facilities, such as the medical supply distributor TwinMed, and the aquarium equipment manufacturer EcoTech Marine.

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When DIY is a

“don’t.” Selling your home? Tempted to DIY it? Consider this: For Sale by Owner homes on average net 10% less than those listed by a Realtor. They also tend to sit on the market longer. If you have it in you to remodel that upstairs bathroom on your own, go for it. But for a complex transaction like selling a house, you’re better off with an expert by your side. Work with a Realtor. It’s worth it.

GREATER LEHIGH VALLEY REALTORS

www.greaterlehighvalleyrealtors.com


COVID-19 News, Guides and Resources for the Real Estate Professional

2020. LEARN MORE Deadline Extended for License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

GLVR’s guide includes local inspection information and how GLVR staff can continue to assist the membership while, for the most part, continuing to work remotely.

Under the State Real Estate Commission, renewal deadlines for all license types will be extended from May 31, 2020, to August 29, 2020. The continuing education renewal cycle has also been extended to August 29, 2020. You must complete 14 hours of continuing education, including the required mandatory topics if applicable, between June 1, 2018 and August 29, 2020 in order to meet the requirements.

GLVR’s guide is AVAILABLE HERE.

LEARN MORE

Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® Coronavirus Guide & Suggested Best Practices

NAR Offering Products at Reduced and No Cost

Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® Coronavirus Guide

PAR’s guide has comprehensive FAQs that tackle Government Order FAQs, Transaction FAQs, Forms and Extension FAQs, Licensing and Education FAQs, Business FAQs, and Financial FAQs. PAR’s guide is AVAILABLE HERE. PAR’s suggested practices are AVAILABLE HERE. National Association of REALTORS® Coronavirus Guide The National Association of REALTORS® is providing guidance to help REALTORS® respond to COVID-19 and its impact on the real estate industry and real estate transactions. NAR has issued information and guidance for REALTORS®, employers, property owners, commercial real estate, and more.

In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, and its impact on the real estate industry, the National Association of REALTORS® is taking steps to support members through these uncertain times. The Right Tools, Right Now initiative, which was activated once before in 2009, makes new and existing NAR products and services available for FREE or at significant discounts – right now – and is available to REALTORS® and REALTOR® Associations. The program includes products, resources and services from all areas of the Association, including: •

Webinars to help you manage your finances;

Education courses to expand your skills;

Timely market reports to inform your business and clients.

NAR’s guide is AVAILABLE HERE.

Digital tools for transactions and marketing

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

LEARN MORE

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance application for selfemployed and independent contractors is now available from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Unemployment Compensation. As this is a new program and expected to have a high volume of interest, the Department of Labor & Industry has established a set of frequently asked questions on uc.pa.gov. You may submit claims backdated to January 27, 2020, if you have been unemployed due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons that are PUA-eligible. If you are found eligible for PUA, you will receive compensation retroactive to January 27, 2020, or to the date when you became unemployed, whichever is more recent. PUA provides benefits for up to 39 weeks for weeks of unemployment beginning on or after January 27,

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SPONSORED CONTENT

FROM

MOLD SOLD TO

By Fabian Cappellari, CMRC, and Donald Jacobs, MBA, CMRC

E

veryone is worried about COVID-19 and now Legionnaire’s Disease in properties, but what about mold? The truth is, all molds and pathogens (bacterium and viruses) require our attention. Pure Maintenance of Eastern PA’s FDAapproved COVID-killing system will eradicate all pathogens and molds, instantly and guaranteed. Knowing that, the longterm need in real estate is mold remediation, which is the focus of this article. Mold is a fungus that is present everywhere. Mold spores float through the air, inside and outside, and grow when they

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land in moist environments. Left unchecked, mold creates a dangerously toxic environment for people and buildings. Unwittingly, we create or exacerbate mold growth. People continuously adjust room temperatures. “These ‘comfort’ adjustments inevitably create environments where moisture and temperature enhance the already prime onsite environmental conditions for mold growth”, (Hirschi & Herron, 2017). Further, the insides of our heating ventilation and air conditioning systems provide perfect conditions for mold growth “colonies” (other locations are carpeting, mattresses


SPONSORED CONTENT

and cushions, below sinks and in traps, vents, basements, and crawlspaces). When the HVAC ductwork circulates air, mold spreads aggressively throughout the building, and people get sick. Most molds only produce dust and allergens causing minor respiratory problems and itchy eyes. Other molds cause serious problems. Stachybotrys chartarum (“stacky-bottrus cart-tareum”) is the common greenish-black mold known as “black mold.” Stachybotrys and several other molds produce poisonous metabolites, called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are extremely harmful. “The adverse health effects of mycotoxins range from acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer”, (WHO, 2018). Clearly, properties with mold must be remediated prior to sale. Further, lenders typically do not loan for properties with mold. Addressing the warning signs of mold ensures that your clients will be happy with their purchase for years to come. Call the pros. Enlist a reputable home and mold inspector. It is the best way to be sure that a property is ultimately free of mold. Why not go directly to a mold remediation professional? Each profession stays in their lane. Home inspectors know where to look and will confirm that the source of the mold (a leaky pipe, a bad condensation pump, etc.) is corrected first. Only then can the mold remediation professional eliminate the mold. The inspectors work with the remediation experts for optimum effectiveness. Additionally, the separation of duties ensures the highest integrity. Mold remediation projects typically entail demolition and reconstruction. This process is expensive, intrusive, and requires that occupants be out of the property for weeks. This process remediates only the immediate areas. Mold spores elsewhere remain dormant for years and spawn new growth when the right conditions appear. Most mold conditions can be remediated quickly and inexpensively using Pure Maintenance of Eastern PA’s patented, two-step “Dry Fog” system. Pure Maintenance’s process eliminates ALL MOLD and pathogens throughout the entire property including the HVAC, leaving the property 100 percent mold free in less than one day, and at a fraction of the costs of traditional methods. Our professionals are certified mold remediation contractors (CMRC) and will take mold samples immediately before and after treatment, to confirm results. The independent lab results are returned within days. The home inspector will likely perform after-treatment tests, as well.

Step Two: Pure Maintenance Dry Fogs our second mixture called “EverPURE.” EverPURE holds a chemically negative charge and dry coats all surfaces. “[B]acteria and viruses in a room can be cleared by negatively charged [substances] attaching to them and removing them”, (Banche, Iannantuoni, Musumeci, Allizond, & Cuffini, 2019). Any new pathogens are attracted to the EverPURE and denatured instantly and is guaranteed to last for 90 days. Our patented dry fog system even caught the eye of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE tested our system at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Fort McNair, Washington, DC. The USACE stated, “[For] the marker molds (Aureobasidium, Chaetomium, Fusarium, Stachybotrys, Trichoderma and Ulocladium) the indoor total before treatment was 25,000 spores/M3 and after treatment samples, collected at the same locations, was 150 spores/M3. This indicates a removal efficacy of 99%. The follow-up sample results indicate a continued removal efficacy of 99%”, (USACE, 2020). The long-term testing proved exceptionally successful and Pure Maintenance is now under contract for several other military bases. Contact: www.PureMaintenancePA.com (610) 691-8816 Info@PureMaintenancePA.com References Banche, G., Iannantuoni, M. R., Musumeci, A., Allizond, V., & Cuffini, A. M. (2019, November). Use of Negative and Positive Ions for Reducing Bacterial Pathogens to Control Infections. ACTA Scientific Microbiology, 2(11). doi:10.31080 Hirschi, S. D., & Herron, D. L. (2017, October, November, December). Lab looks at ‘dry-fog’ technology for mold remediation, prevention. Public Works Digest. Retrieved July 6, 2020 USACE. (2020). Dry Fog Treatment of Building 60 Fort McNair, Washington DC. Washington, DC: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved July 6, 2020 WHO. (2018, May 8). Mycotoxins. Retrieved July 8, 2020, from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/newsroom/fact-sheets/detail/mycotoxins

Step One: Pure Maintenance’s Dry Fog process treats every cubic meter (M3) with our EPA-registered and FDA-approved hospital grade sterilant, called “InstaPURE.” All molds and pathogens are killed, instantly.

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DepartmentUpdate Government Affairs

ADVOCACY.

ACCOUNTABILITY.

By Matthew Marks, Government Affairs Director, Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®

Local

ACTION.

Lower Macungie Township Passes Building Sewer Inspection Ordinance

The Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners on June 18, 2020, adopted an ordinance that requires a building sewer inspection. CLICK HERE for more information on the ordinance.

State

Lose Income Due to COVID-19? Homeowners and Renters May be Eligible for Assistance in Pennsylvania Both renters and homeowners who lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic will be able to retrieve applications for rent and mortgage relief beginning Monday, June 29, via the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. The agency will begin accepting completed applications for rent and mortgage assistance on July 6, when individuals will be able to submit their applications and supporting paperwork to a county organization chosen by PHFA for review. To be eligible to apply, renters and homeowners must show documentation of at least a 30 percent reduction in annual income since March 1 due to COVID-19. The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provided $3.9 billion for Pennsylvania and is intended to help people hurt economically during the pandemic. In late May, the General Assembly directed $175 million of these CARES dollars to PHFA to provide assistance for struggling renters and homeowners. The portion for rent assistance is at least $150 million, and $25 million was set aside for mortgage assistance.

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There is a red banner located at the top of PHFA’s homepage that will lead applicants to the necessary documents when available. The agency’s call center is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist the public and help with questions about the programs via 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466). Callers should listen for the prompt mentioning CARES assistance for renters and homeowners.

Federal

Continued Funding/Extension of Small Business Loan Programs and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Programs authorized under the CARES Act, like the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), have been helpful to small businesses struggling to stay open and employees who have been temporarily furloughed as a result of the pandemic. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) worked with Congress to improve PPP through the “PPP Flexibility Act,” which will make the program more helpful to small business and independent contractors who utilize it. However, funding continues to be an issue for these programs, as demand surpasses what was initially envisioned. NAR sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging additional funding for the PPP and EIDL programs in future COVID-19 response legislation in April and urges continued funding for both to ensure that they can meet the needs of small businesses during this time. NAR has also joined other Associations urging that 501(c) 6 organizations be provided access to these programs.


FAIR HOUSING In an effort to educate our members about the Fair Housing Act, we ask that you review the situation below. For additional Fair Housing resources available on the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® website, for both the REALTOR® and the consumer, CLICK HERE. United States Resolves Allegations of Disability Discrimination at Bethlehem Senior Housing Complex Apartment Complex Allegedly Violated the U.S. Fair Housing Act United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced on June 26, 2020, that the United States has reached a settlement agreement to resolve allegations of disability discrimination filed in a civil lawsuit against Heritage Senior Living LLC, its owner, and former owner. The complaint alleges that Traditions of Hanover, an apartment complex for seniors located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, discriminated against residents and prospective residents based on disability in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. According to the complaint, since at least 2013, Traditions of Hanover required residents to be able to “live independently” as a condition of their lease. In doing so, the apartment complex allegedly decided who could live independently, rather than allowing residents and their families to decide for themselves. Traditions of Hanover allegedly reserved its right to assess residents’ physical health, and to terminate leases based on health condition. The apartment complex also allegedly screened prospective residents to determine if they were appropriate to live in the building based on their health condition. In addition, Traditions of Hanover allegedly charged residents a fee to use motorized wheelchairs, prohibited residents from using wheelchairs in the common dining area, and, before 2013, offered transportation services that were not accessible to wheelchair users. The United States and defendants have reached a settlement to resolve the case through a consent order. Under the order, defendants must establish a tiered settlement fund of up to $325,000 to compensate persons harmed by the policies and

practices, as well as pay a penalty of $55,000. The United States and defendants adjusted the deadlines in the consent order to accommodate concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides the monetary payments, the consent order requires defendants to modify their policies, appoint a compliance officer, train employees about the Fair Housing Act, and provide periodic compliance reports to the United States. These requirements apply to 16 different facilities managed by Heritage Senior Living, including one in Bucks County (The Birches at Newtown); four in Berks County (Keystone Villa at Douglassville, The Manor at Market Square in Reading, Chestnut Knoll in Boyertown, and Keystone Villa at Fleetwood); and one in Montgomery County (The Birches at Harleysville). The consent order prohibits defendants from raising rent or fees to pay for any of these obligations, or to pay for the settlement fund. “Seniors should not have to worry about losing their lease simply because they become disabled,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The Fair Housing Act protects them, and everyone, from discrimination in housing, and my Office will continue to ensure that apartment buildings follow the law.” “Discriminating against people with disabilities is wrong and illegal, and the Justice Department will vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act to combat this unlawful conduct and obtain relief for its victims,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “This consent order will ensure that all prospective and current residents at Traditions and other senior living facilities are treated equally and that victims of past discrimination receive compensation for the harms they have suffered.” Individuals who are entitled to share in the settlement fund will be identified through a process established in the consent order. Persons who believe they were subjected to unlawful discrimination at Traditions of Hanover should contact the Justice Department toll-free at 1-800-896-7743 mailbox #92 or e-mail the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov.

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REALTORS®® POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE 2017 2020 INVESTORS John Acevedo Peter Adams Peter Adams Sharyn Adams Sharyn Adams Wajeeha Ahmed Carolyn Aguilo Theresa Alfano Caitlin Allen Phillip Allen Jennifer-Lyn Amantea Michael Ameer-Beg Sebastian Amico Michael Ameer-Beg Kori Anna Andralis-Erceg Ames Debra Andrews Wade Ames Paula Antario Kimberly Anderson Belinda Asmar Kori Andralis-Erceg Albert Attieh Laura Aurigemma Debra Andrews Debra Bagarozzo Ileana Antigua Paveet Bali Elizabeth Antry Suchismita Banerjee Jizell Arias Donna BartholomewSacco Andrea Arner Lori Bartkus Justino Arroyo LeeAnn Baumer Sarina Ashford Susan Beattie Belinda Asmar Raymond Behan AbrahamBeil Atiyeh David Lena AzarBeitler Randall Janice Jennifer Benner Bailey Christopher Roxanne BaileyBennick Diann Benscoter Shawn Bailey Merrill Beyer Lisa Bartholomew Nancy Bischoff Donna Bartholomew-Sacco Cynthia Bishop Richard Bogdanski Lori Bartkus Mary Beth Bohri Ashly Bastidas Zoltan Boldizsar Christian Batista Mary Lynn Bonsall Mylissa Battoni Tarrant Booker LeeAnn Baumer Alan Bosch Barbara Bottitta Sharon Becks Lou Bottitta Raymond Behan Faith Brenneisen Randall Beitler Catherine Breslin Alisia Bell Darcel Bridges Janice Benner Bobbi Jo Bromley ChristopherBrown Bennick Michael Marissa Burkholder Christine Bertie Robert Bury Merrill Beyer Frank Calabrese Lori Biechy Theresa Calantoni Carl Billera Lori Campbell John BlairCampos Suzete Jon SusanCapobianco Blair Dean JenniferCarnes Blair-Greenberg Gerard Carpinello Tanya Blanchet Carmelo Carrasco Frank Boccuzzi Melissa Carreras Angela Bock James Carroll Gabriel Casas Eugene Bodogh Sonia RichardCastro Bogdanski Deborah CesanekShelley Bogush Nothstein Diana Bohorquez Janice Chrinko Paola Bohorquez R Torres Christopher Christian James Christman Mary Lynn Bonsall Tiffani Christman Sandra Bordner Stefan Cihylik Alan Bosch Jessica Cincilla Barbara Bottitta

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Anthony Bourizk Thomas Cramer Mary Lou Fiske Jason Gutierrez Leah Jones Robert Clarke Fritchman Patricia Karedis Ronald Bowser Roger Cressman Erin Fleckenstein Robert Hackman Paula Meilinger Trevor Jones Elissa Clausnitzer Mitchell Fry Susan Karper Sylvia Merkel Sharon Bradley Lisa Cupito Joy Flood Patrick Haftl Fred Kaissi Jo Ann Clyde Sherri Fucito Therese Kelley Diane Mertz Krystie Brandau Alick Cutrona Denise Floyd Robert Haines Nicholas Kalogeras Brian Coffman Beverley Galtman Victoria Kemmerer Christopher Mesch Jennifer Brehm Daja Gamble Jie Floyd Jennifer Kennedy Jon Hallingstad Dezzarae Joseph Kaminski Carol Colangelo AmandaAdam Meyers Edward Brennan Michael Kaminski Ronald Coleman Linda Danese Melissa GarcsarTara Flyte Jayme Kerr Vanesha HamiltonGarett Michaels Colon Meredith Gardner Dale KesslerSarah Hammerstone RebeccaMary Miklas SilviaRobin Brennan Diane Davidson Connie Foland Kane Cooper Denise Garrity Joyce FolsomShane Keyser ElizabethPriya Miksits FaithMeryl Brenneisen Lori Davidson Kohl Harkins Kapoor-Atiyeh Alesia Coulter Karen Gehringer Lisa Kishbaugh David Miller Catherine Breslin Christie Davies Christopher Forister Donna Harmony Jerry Kardos Evonne Courduff Todd George Betty Klein Debra Miller Lauren BrisendineCowen Lisa Davis Amanda Forsthoefel Scott Harrington KimberlySusan Karper Catherine Lisa Gerstenblith Susan Knoble MitchellGoerlich Bobbi Jo BromleyCox Omar Dayoub Megan Hart Nicholas Kavounas MaryEllen Cynthia Gilbert Rebecca Francis Jill Koch Alfred Moll Thomas Michael Gillis Chad Fritzinger Jason Kocsis Michael BrownCramer Barry Dean Sheila Hart Regina Kelechava Gloria Monks Roger Cressman Trisha DeBeer Lorraine Glaessgen Shantel Buchanan Luis FuentesDouglas Koffel Richard Hartzell Jennifer Kennedy Juan Morales Alick Cutrona Michel Glower Joseph Kolarik Wendy Buchanan Kathy DeBellis Kelley Gabany Virginia Harwood Stephen Kerecman Rose Mott Karen Daley John Gober Shannon Kolling Sarah Buck Dalius William Deibert Joanne Hasnik Josh Mrozinski Jayme Kerr Susan Jane Gonzalez Marine Gabunia David Kopes Wade Budinetz DeborahMary DeLongGonzalez Mark Gallagher Robert Hay Dale Kessler Sean Mulrine Mark Damiano Joseph Kospiah Barbara Gorman Phyllis KozeDontae Hayes Dwight Musselman Lori Linda BufanioDanese Baljit Deogun Anette Gallego Lisa Kishbaugh Kathy DeBellis Heather Kramer Bozhidar Buglov Barbara Lisa DetresGraul-Oswald Brianna Garcia Danny Hazim Robert Natkie Clarence Kistler William Nesbitt Andrea Decker Alyssa Graves Gay Krauss Jeffrey Burnatowski Antonio DiCianni Meredith Gardner Randyl Helfrich Betty Klein Danny Nimeh William Deibert Kathleen Gregory Karen Kucharik Szymon Bzdek Sarajoy Dickey Hunter Gares Dineen HendersonKristen Obert Jill Koch Deborah DeLong Michael Gregory William Kuklinski Daniel Cahill DelVecchio Robert Dieter Denise Garrity Kathy Hendricks Marie Obert Jason Kocsis Christine John Gross Douglas Kuntz Angelica Calabria James Dietrich Marilyn DemendozaAlicia Hernandez Ronald Ondishin Douglas Koffel Kenneth Gross Timothy Gaugler Stephanie LaBella Conte Beth Guadagnino Joanna LaFaver Theresa Calantoni Mary Beth Dolinich James Gedney Doreen Hershey Terry Oplinger Joseph Kolarik Orlando Diaz Kathryn Orlando Joseph Guglielmo Tzuying Lai Cheryl Hess Amy Callum Carol Dorey Karen Gehringer Stephanie Kotrosits Michael Dickinson Richard Orloski Norman Gundrum Carol Landis-Pierce Bruce Campbell Michael Dorney Colleen Geiger Cheryl Hewko William Ortiz Elizabeth Kotyuk Robert Dieter Andrew Gusick Margaret Larter Lori Brooke CampbellDietrick Heidi Dorshimer Alexandria Ho Carla Ortiz-Belliard Caroline Kovacs Jason GutierrezRosa Genao Sean LaSalle MaryCampbell Beth DolinichChristopher Ouf Meredith Dougherty Lindsay George Bonnie Hoffman Mohamed Marc Kovacs Robert Hackman Vibeke Lavan Carol Dorey Juan Pagan George HahalisTodd GeorgeTome LazaroChristopher Hoffman Suzete Campos Cindy Doyle Francis Kovalchick Stephen Dreisbach Panik Nancy LearyThomas Hohl Theresa Gerald Mary Ann Cancel Michele Chuck Dragani Haley Lisa Gerstenblith Kresge Jennifer Duarte Charalambos William Hall Maryann Lebus KimAnne CapersStuart DubbsStephen Dreisbach Oscar Ghasab Brian Holder Joel Krieger Papageorgiou Tiffany Hallett Joseph Lepeta Matthew Anne Stuart Dubbs Melissa Kruger Eva Carl Dugan Donna HarmonyGregory Gibbs Ari Lester Larry Holmes Ellen Passman Pathan Helene Easterday Eva Dugan Gerard Carpinello Kucharik Scott HarringtonMichael GillisBarry LewisCarol Hoover ShabanaKaren Andrea Patterson William Eckert Richard HartzellLorraine Glaessgen Cliff Lewis Gail Hoover Melissa Carreras Hugh Dugan Malisa Kuehn Claudia Paulino Kelsey Elliott LilesHorn Gabriel Casas MargaretKathy DuganHendricks Kelly Golden James CraigRussell William Kuklinski Cheryl Penuel Jared Erhart Monna Lou Maryann Liles Sonia Castro Donna Dunker Kristina Gomez Laurie Horton Carrie Petrovich Douglas Kuntz Dina Evangelou Henninger Salvatore Lisinichia PeterCraig CerrutiEvanko Jocelyn Duvivier Shantal Gomez Miranda Aubrecia HoustonJohn Philapavage Michelle LaBreche Alicia Hernandez Sureya Lococo Janice Pigga Nathan Chaney Philip Edmiston Michael Howard Anis Lahoud Louis Falco Jessica Hilbert Jane Gonzalez Andrea Lohman Pat Pignitor Horace Farber Bonnie HoffmanMary Gonzalez Catherine Chies Mirtha Eduardo Robert Laky Christopher Dana LongHuber Lucy Pilovsky Michele Fedorov Omar Elinbabi Christopher Hoffman Boabdil Louison Jacob Christman Toshya Gonzalez Tara Huber Brenda Landis Amanda Pitts Kenneth Felix Thomas Hohl Michael Madden James Christman Jared Erhart William Gonzalez Bonnie Lynn Hufton Carol Landis-Pierce Selena Polidura Barbara Filaseta Michael Howard Gail Magnant Tiffani Jacqui Gordon Randal Hughes Richard Shirley Lang Pongracz A. Christman Louise Finney Bret Erney Richard Hrazanek Stanley Majewski Stefan Cihylik Tamra Poust Sherry Ann Erney Tammy Huk Ana Claudia Lastres Louis Fisher Dana Huber Barbara Gorman Mark Marina Mary Lou Fiske Bonnie Lynn Hufton Jessica Cincilla Rafet Eroglu Tejas Gosai Jon MarkleyPatricia Husted Gale Pring Vibeke Lavan John Pryslak Erin Fleckenstein Anny Espinal Tammy Huk Matthew Marks Elissa Clausnitzer Pamela Gothard Anna Huynh Shawn Leadbetter Carolyn Qammaz Jie Floyd Patricia Husted Elizabeth Martinez Ayon Codner Marina Estevez Victoria Grantham Basel Ido Nancy Leary Kristen Quijano Joyce Folsom Anna Huynh Michael Martinez LisaChristopher Cohan Erika Ingato Joseph Lepeta Leticia Quinones ForisterDina Evangelou John Iannitelli Lisa Graul-Oswald Frank Mastroianni Claudia Coleman Julius Ewungkem Alyssa Graves Robert Inselmann Ann Lerch Christopher Raad Kathleen Fosbenner Lynda Ivarsson Ladonna Mayo Philip Fowler Joel Ivory Jeffrey Colfer Joseph Faas Larry Greenberg Lynda Ivarsson George Raad Barry Lewis Joseph Mazurek ChristineCliff Rader Jeffrey Jacobs Stuart GreeneArthur Mazzei MaryJamie CollinsFrailey Louis Falco Cynthia Ives Lewis Anthony Ramos Kim Frailey Tina Jago Muchugia Mbugua Peter Collins Jeffrey Fehr Kathleen Gregory Mary Ellen Jackson David Lichtenwalner Peter Ramos Rebecca Francis Heidi Jaquith Richard McCauley Frank Comunale Carmen Fiallo Andrew Groff Jeffrey Jacobs Lauren Ranzino Ryan Lingold Brandy Franco Bashar Jarrah Chad McConnaha Meryl Cooper Felix Figueroa John Gross Tina Jago Salvatore Lisinichia Janet Rasely James Francois Daniel Joseph Kristine McCreary James Raub Florence Barbara Nicholas Filaseta Kalogeras Kenneth Gross Bashar Jarrah JohnCorcoran Fretz Sureya Lococo John McDermott Daniel Rawleigh Kurt Fretz Joseph Kaminski Robert Cornelius Leila Finelli Beth Guadagnino Rosa Javier Matthew Loebsack Michele McDonaldLisa Razze Michael Kaminski Heinze EmilyRichard Cortese Freyling Sheila Finn Norman Gundrum Khadeejah Johnson Andrea Lohman Deborah Reinhard Christopher Mary Kane Lori Measler MaryEllen Cox A. Louise Finney Andrew Gusick April Jones Bradford Long

{28} GLVR Magazine | Summer 2020

Carlos Lopez Roger ReisLosch Kanda FrankBoabdil Renaldi Louison Frank Renaldi Kimberly Lucas-Mantz Samantha Rendine Kelly Lutseo Emma Reynolds Mark Lutz Carlos Ribau Rachel Riccobono Bettie Mack Denise Rich James Madl Julie Rich Kathy Magditch Carol Richard Maldonado DulceTanya Ridder James Malicoat-Clark Teresa Riggs-Fejes Kathleen Rittenhouse Rami Mamari Robert Ritter Katey Mamuzich Kyle Roberts Mark Marina Myra Rodriguez Jon Markley Victoria Roelke Marlow StuartLinda Rogers Marsh JesseJoyRoldan JohnAubrey Rosario Martenis Sarah Rosner John Martin Robert Ross Elizabeth Martinez Thomas Roth Atika Masood Christopher Rowe FrankRowe Mastroianni Michelle Hershel Ruhmel Courtney Matthews RobinKelly Ruhmel Matthews Peter Ryan Jesse Maurer Nadya Salicetti Ladonna Mayo Katarine Sanchez Michele Mazur Osvaldo Sanchez

KarenJoseph Sands Mazurek Andres Santana Muchugia Mbugua Patricia Saunders Christopher McCall Eric Schatz SusanSchiavone McCann Nicholas Richard McCauley Matthew Schmoyer Agnes Schoenberger Chad McConnaha Susan Schrader Kristine McCreary Iona Michele Schwartz McDonald-Heinze Kent Seagreaves Linda McDonald-White Michael Seitz PurviJames ShahMcGinley Brigita McKelvie Cheryl Sharayko EllenMatthew Shaughnessy Medina Barbara PaulaShelly Meilinger Michael Shelton Ryan Meldrum Laurie Shenkman Alisha Melvin Dandie Shiffert Merkel LauraSylvia Shimer Thomas DianeShive Mertz MarcJeremy Sholder Merwarth Susan Shortell Christopher Mesch Judith Shuman Justine Micklus Kimberly Sidlar Miers DavidJennifer Simoes Rebecca Miklas Timothy SKutnik AishaElizabeth Smith Miksits Cheryl Smith David Miller Erin Smith Debra Miller Gregory Smith Donna Miller Robert Smith Shannon Steven SmithMininger GloriaKimberly Lee Snover Mitchell-Goerlich CarolAlfred Snyder-Hare Moll

Jillian Moninghoff Janice BrittanySobieski MontesanoReis Xiaoxi Song Matthew Morrow Matthew Sorrentino George Mosellie Caroline spears RoseStafford Mott Earl Kasey JoanneMoyer Stahl Matthew Starr Stephen Moyzan Robert Stephens Sean Mulrine Douglas Sternberger Nicole Muraro Michael Strickland Dwight Musselman Luanne Sutch Michele Szivos Najera Joseph Pamela Szivos Joshua Nales Peter MariaTabarani Nathans Justin Taglioli Jason Navilliat Barbara Taylor Eric Neith Christa Taylor Tiffany Nelson Sandra Tognoli Scott Anna Tomlinson Nemeth Christina Trabosci William Nesbitt Julie Turylo-Wargo Kristine Nettis Nancy Unangst Tammy Nicotera Kristine Vanderpool Rebecca Nieves Theodore VanWert Zhanna Ved Danny Nimeh Ethel DavidVelopolcek Norwillo Marcia Villamil Ashli Novak Daniela Villarejo Devon Nuno Joseph Vlossak Cathleen Ann Vlot O’Connor Kristen Obert William Vogt Jessica AlexanderVooz Obleschuk Katrina Wachob Ronald Ondishin Amy Wakefield Luis Ortega James Wakefield Carla OrtizWales Jennifer KleverWallace Ortiz-Onate Dale Theodore Wallace Maria Ortiz-Vinueza Shih-Chiung Wang Michael Ostrelich Carrie Ward Mohamed Ouf Robert Weber Charalambos Papageorgiou Colette Weir Shabana Pathan Erika Wells Betsey Andrea Wenger Patterson Steven NicholasWerley Paul Charlene White Concezio Pavone Denise Whitney Christine Peiffer David Wignovich Subbanagulu Perugu Sally Wildman Richard Peters Thomas Williams Filomonia WilliamsThomas Peterson Freeman Carrie Petrovich Audrey Winton John Philapavage Monika Wojtynski Erin Piar Woodring Thomas Yvonne Worman Janice Pigga Kimberly Yandrisovitz Lucy Pilovsky Paul Yoder Andrew Pingyar Daniel Young Leonidas Pitaoulis Judi Youssef DLauren MartinPorobenski Zawarski Alexander Posso Weston Zelenz Jennifer Ziegler Tamra Poust Theresa Ziegler Martha Prieto Gale Pring


Upendra Puri

Jennifer Santiago

Joanne Stahl

Shih-Chiung Wang

Carolyn Qammaz

Viandra Santiago

Shannon Stahley

Carrie Ward

Alexander Quaglieri

Patricia Saunders

Matthew Starr

Candice Weaver

Nadine Quinn

Erika Schaeffer

Natalia Stezenko

Robert Weber

George Raad

Howard Schaeffer

Kirstin Stires

Sonia Wehbey

Gregory Raad

Margaret Schaffer

Laura Stivala

Melissa Welsh

Bernadette Rabel

Eric Schatz

Anthony Stratz

Betsey Wenger

Anthony Ramos

Jane Schiff

Ashli Stuppino

Kimberly Wenner

Jackeline Ramos

Jennifer Schimmel

Mark Sverchek

Thomas Werkheiser

James Raub

Matthew Schmoyer

Laura Sverha

Steven Werley

Daniel Rawleigh

Lauren Schuyler

Louise Sylvester

Kelsey Werner Elliott

Lisa Razze

Iona Schwartz

Richard Szulborski

Scott Whitehurst

Patricia Reed

Sarah Sears

Peter Tabarani

Bruce Whitesell

Jill Reiner

Noelle Seaton

Janice Talmadge

Denise Whitney

Deborah Reinhard

Angelina Sebastionelli

Barbara Taylor

Carol Wieder

Roger Reis

Michael Seislove

Carole Tellini

Nagayo Wiggins

Carlos Ribau

Michael Seitz

Christine Thierry

Sally Wildman

Pauline Ribau

Erika Sessanta

Jihad Thorne

Carmela Wilson

Gretchen Rice

Tiffany Sevey

Donald Todd

Audrey Winton

David Rickert

Purvi Shah

Abby Tomasic

Thomas Woodring

Dulce Ridder

Diane Sharpless

John Tondera

Yvonne Worman

Cynthia Riebel

Ellen Shaughnessy

Anthony Toribio

Jie Yang

Kathleen Rittenhouse

Robert Shaw

Antonio Traca

John Yocum

Robert Ritter

Jo Ann Sheesley

Francesco Tramonte

Paul Yoder

Christina Rivera

Michael Sheftel

Kristina Travis

Daniel Young

Elba Rivera

Bonnie Shive-Francavilla

Gergana Trayanov

Jay Young

Santiago Rivera

Marc Sholder

David Tretter

Jennifer Young

Suzanne Robertson

Susan Shortell

Debra Trimmer

Judi Youssef

Kalief Robinson

Jeffrey Sibel

Frank Trovato

Thomas Yuracka

Christian Rodriguez

Zachary Sikler

Christopher Troxell

James Zane

Victoria Roelke

Rosa Silk

Danette Troxell

D Martin Zawarski

Stuart Rogers

Antonio Silverio

Stephanie Trussell

Ashley Zechman

Daniel Rohrbach

Lodshraun Simmons

Tonya Turtzo

David Zeidenberg

Jesse Roldan

Teresa Simmons

Julie Turylo-Wargo

Weston Zelenz

Renae Roldan

David Simoes

Elizabeth Ubri Montero

Tracy Ziemba

Elizabeth Roma

Nicholas Simone

Merry Uff

Deanna Zuercher

Esther Rosado-Vazquez

Lynn Sinkovits

Giovanni Vasquez

Eric Zwick

Sarah Rosner

Tom Skeans

Michael Vasquez

Jean Rossi

John Smigo

Chelsea Vassa

Thomas Roth

Amanda Smith

Gregory Vassilatos

Eric Rothenberger

Andrew Smith

Heidy Vega

Christian Ruano

Paulette Smith

Lawrence Ventrudo

Hershel Ruhmel

Rachel Smith

Rajni Verma

Robin Ruhmel

Steven Smith

Oliver Vinovskis

Peter Ryan

Gloria Lee Snover

Jeffrey Vivian

Parisha Sabol

Melissa Snyder

Joseph Vlossak

William Safranek

Carol Snyder-Hare

William Vogt

Kaitlin Saia

Janice Sobieski Reis

Jessica Vooz

Melissa Salvaggi

Matthew Sorrentino

Katrina Wachob

Sharay Samuels

Irene Southard

Kyle Wagner

Alexa Sanchez

Caroline spears

Maria Wahler

Marielis Sanchez

David Specht

Danielle Wakely

Osvaldo Sanchez

Kristofer Spevak

Jennifer Wales

Theresa Sanchez

Kyle Spina

Brian Walker

Juan Sanchez-Ordonez

Matthew Sprung

Dale Wallace

Karen Sands

Yihong Stack

Theodore Wallace

Andres Santana

Earl Stafford

Bernard Wallerich

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GLVR Magazine | Summer 2020 {29}


What

Story By Nate Boykin, The Right Angle Media Co.

Do Your Photos Tell?

I

magine it’s around 7 a.m. on a warm and sunny morning. Tina’s been up for about 15 minutes. She’s excited about searching for a new home that her growing family desperately needs, so she grabs a cup of coffee and her tablet and sits at the kitchen table. She’s ready to search. Tina taps on her favorite real estate app and enters her must-have search criteria: colonial style home, four bedrooms, two full baths, 2,500+ square feet, and a nice yard for Tina’s children to enjoy. Tina has a great job and a healthy budget to work with. She wants this move to be the last one before her kids leave the house.

does Tina think about the agent who posted these photos? It’s obvious the seller doesn’t care that much, but what about the listing agent? How will the transaction go if they didn’t care enough to put some effort and energy into taking photos or having great photos taken? When Tina is ready to buy, will she call the listing agent directly or find another agent? When Tina is ready to sell, will she call the agent with the professional photos or the agent who didn’t seem to care?

Can you picture the home in your mind? Can you see the beautiful red front door, mature landscaping, stunning hardwood floors, white shaker cabinets with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and open floor plan? Can you see it? That’s the vision Tina has in her mind. But, to Tina’s surprise, she stumbles across your listing and sees:

STORY 1 is a story about the property. It conveys a message about what it’s like to live in the house. What it’s like to wake up every morning and go to bed every night. It tells a story about what it will be like to raise a family in the house or have friends and family over for the holidays or for parties. It communicates a lifestyle.

Your listing photos tell two stories:

STORY 2 is a story about you, the agent. REALTORS® are trusted advisors that clients look to for advice and service. Are you conveying your worth to your current clients and, more importantly, to your future clients? The photos and marketing you do for your client’s home shows the level of care and effort you are willing to put in. If you are a level 10 in your effort and execution, your reputation will spread quickly. What story are you currently telling?

Now, your listing matches all of Tina’s criteria, but the photos are telling a different story. The story Tina hears/sees is a story of confusion, stress, work, and a lack of care. Furthermore, what

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The Right Angle Media Co. loves to partner with agents and brokers who are looking to communicate a story of professionalism and expertise. We focus on the story so you can focus on your client. Learn more about how we can help you capture the right angle and the right story at www.rightanglemediaco.com.


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Pending Sales Jump in Lehigh, Northampton Counties During First Full Month of Open Real Estate

T

he Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) reported June data continued to show the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on an industry in Pennsylvania that was deemed non-essential, but the numbers – specifically pending sales – show that local REALTORS® are busily working at getting their clients to the closing table. “Real estate activity continues to strengthen,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo. “June showing activity was up from the COVID-19 depressed levels, even rising above June 2019 showing activity. This reflects pent-up demand by prospective home buyers.” With data now available for the month of June, which was the first full month of open real estate since the COVID-19 pandemic plunged the state into lockdown, Lehigh and Northampton counties saw New Listings increase 7.1 percent to 1,156. Pending Sales were up 44.3 percent to 1,192, proving that homes are going under agreement, things just haven’t been finalized yet. Inventory levels shrank 48.5 percent to 991 units, leading to a Months Supply of Inventory that was down 44.4 percent to 1.5 months. This low inventory means home prices continued to gain traction and Days on Market remained fast. The Median Sales Price increased 9.3 percent to $237,000. Although increasing 28.1 percent, Days on Market remained quick at 41 days. “While buyer activity continues to be robust, seller activity remains a bit soft, with new listings not meeting demand,” said Jack Gross, President of GLVR. “The Lehigh Valley previously saw a shortage of sellers and now that issue is compounded by those who remain reluctant to list their homes due to COVID-19 concerns. We expect an active summer selling season, but inventory will continue to be constrained until sellers regain confidence.”

2nd Quarter Data for Carbon County Second quarter data for Carbon County showed, not surprisingly, New Listings decrease 40.5 percent to 216.

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Pending Sales weren’t as quick to pick up as Lehigh and Northampton counties, coming in at a decrease of 10.2 percent to 211. Inventory levels shrank 53.4 percent to 164 units, leading to a Months Supply of Inventory that was down 52.7 percent to 2.6 months. Prices gained traction with the loss of inventory. The Median Sales Price increased 11.9 percent to $146,000. For the homes that did sell – 119 homes in Carbon County were sold in the second quarter – they did so at a quicker pace. Days on Market decreased 6.0 percent to 79 days. Something to note and keep an eye on for Carbon County (and parts of Lehigh and Northampton counties): The new demand for home offices, less people nearby, a more rural layout, and plenty of land. “The National Association of REALTORS® has heard from both members and consumers that there is a demand for homes in rural areas and small towns that provide not only larger homes, but acreage in a less dense city center,” said Dr. Jessica Lautz, NAR’s Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights. “Members have reported there is strong demand for homes that provide personal space inside the home and land outside the home.”

Let’s Not Get Shut Down Again Local municipalities have reached out to leadership and staff of the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® over concerns that REALTORS® and/or their clients are not following social distancing guidelines.

Here are a few reminders: While the green-phase General Business Guidance does not contain a specific limit on the number of people who may be at a property, it is recommended that the fewest possible people are present for any particular in-person real estate activity. Some municipalities have their own guidelines on how they want their employees to handle business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspectors for the City of Bethlehem, for example, are still being advised to have no more than the real estate professional and two people inside a property at any time. REALTORS® should keep an open line of communication between themselves, their clients and anyone else involved in a real estate transaction. If an inspector is being advised to be in a property with only a real estate professional and two other people, clients must be aware of this stipulation and should


make arrangements accordingly. In Pennsylvania, masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves home. Agents and clients/customers should wear masks while at a real estate office, at a third-party office, or at a listed property.

Is it safe to enter the real estate market? Porembo and Gross both emphasized that real estate is safe in the age of COVID-19. All area REALTORS® have access to suggested best practices that outline how to keep everyone involved in a real estate transaction safe. Should any consumer – whether they be a home buyer or seller – be interested in learning how they and their REALTOR® can work together to create a safe environment for a real estate transaction, additional information is available at parealtors.org/coronavirus/best-practices.

By The Numbers: Lehigh and Northampton Counties | YTD 2019 vs. YTD 2020 (as of June 2020)

Closed Sales

Median Sales Price

Inventory

2019 – 97.9% 2020 – 98.3%

2019 – 3,986 2020 – 2,719

2019 - $199,000 2020 - $210,000

JUNE 2019 – 1,923 JUNE 2020 – 991

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

-2.3%

+0.4%

-31.8%

+5.5%

-48.5%

Closed Sales

Median Sales Price

Inventory

New Listings

Days On Market

2019 – 5,907 2020 – 4,188

2019 – 43 2020 – 42

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

-29.1%

Pct. Of List Price Received

Carbon County | YTD 2019 vs. YTD 2020 (as of June 2020)

New Listings

Days On Market

2019 – 628 2020 – 427

2019 – 81 2020 – 86

2019 – 91.0% 2020 – 92.3%

2019 – 378 2020 – 290

2019 - $129,500 2020 - $140,500

2ND QTR. 2019 – 352 2ND QTR. 2020 – 164

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR:

-32.0%

+6.2%

+1.4%

-23.3 %

+8.5%

-53.4%

Pct. Of List Price Received

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GLVR Magazine | Summer 2020 {33}


Where to Shop and Eat Local During COVID-19 I

t’s been a rough go for small businesses, especially those in the Lehigh Valley who were shut down for months as the world grappled with slowing the spread of COVID-19. Retail and restaurants, just like real estate, really hit a stride when the winter months fade into spring and the vicious cold begins to subside. Instead of people coming out of hibernation to shop and eat and enjoy a food truck during a relaxed outdoor concert, we were all forced into quarantine. Now that we’re in the green phase and somewhat free to move about, what can we do to help support our local businesses? We’ve compiled a small sampling – the footprint of the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® covers nearly 90 municipalities and we just can’t list them all! – of what Lehigh Valley-area counties, municipalities and businesses are doing and offering in the age of COVID-19.

Carbon County The Carbon Chamber & Economic Development website features a list of online specials and reopened businesses. The list is quite comprehensive. Get the hours of operation and other COVID-19-related operational information for restaurants and retail, grocery and farmers’ market / produce / farm, and a whole lot more.

Lehigh County Allentown City: The City of Allentown has a Resource Hub that features interactive maps to locate a park or recreation facility and to

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find open food establishments within the city. The Allentown Health Bureau has released restaurant guidelines so you know what to expect when eating out in the city.

Northampton County Bethlehem City: The City of Bethlehem has developed a “Plan for Outdoor Dining and Other Business Uses” for restaurants and retailers who wish to expand their operational footprint to help meet social distancing requirements and to provide additional accommodations to the business districts. The city is allowing certain streets / sections of streets to close for business use from Thursdays at 4 p.m. to Sundays at 7 p.m. For more information, contact your favorite Bethlehem business to learn what they’re doing during COVID-19, stop by during the specified street closure times and just wing your visit, or check out the plan. SteelStacks has reopened outdoor dining on Air Products Town Square. Live music is also involved! Go here to learn how to make a reservation and to learn when live music is scheduled. Easton City: A new website – www.supporteaston.com – has a list of businesses with online stores, the restaurants offering delivery, outside dining, or curbside pick-up, and places where you can get the supplies your family needs. Easton Farmers’ Market is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Due to COVID-19, the market has been temporarily relocated to Scott Park, along the river (130


Larry Holmes Drive, Easton). The market features produce, dairy, meat and eggs, bakery and confection, specialty foods, blooms and botanicals, restaurants and cafes, local libations, and arts and crafts. Learn more about the market and its vendors at https:// eastonfarmersmarket.com. Nazareth Borough: Nazareth Farmers’ Market, located in Center Square (Center and Main streets), is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday from May to October. The market features a variety of vendors that provide vegetables, meats, fruit, baked goods, jam and jelly, flowers, wine, jerky, candles, plants, peanut butter, cooking oil, strudel, honey, pet treats, cupcakes, and so much more. Second Saturdays are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (and sometimes later). This new program, created by the Nazareth Economic Development Commission, features food, drinks, activities, sales, samples, classes, offers, special menus and more at retailers, services businesses and restaurants. Every month, new discoveries will await you. Learn more on the FACEBOOK EVENT page.

More Information on Farmers’ Markets We mentioned a few farmers’ markets, but there are many more not listed. Check out Discover Lehigh Valley for a more comprehensive list. As Discover Lehigh Valley describes it: “Let your appetite carry you through Lehigh Valley, stopping at notable farmers’ markets in the region. From locally grown produce to specialty drinks, crafts and decor, you can shop for hours!”


Title Times…

begins so they don’t have to wait while the buyers sign their documents. 3.

Have everyone bring their own pens or provide pens from unopened boxes.

4.

Provide hand sanitizer and wipes. You can even offer masks.

5.

Instead of giving out copies of signed documents, offer to scan them and email them to the respective parties. This will cut down on the amount of people touching things and save on paper, too.

6.

Be sensitive to wearing masks at every closing for the benefit of your clients. I know they are uncomfortable and not ideal, but everyone’s situation is different. The seller could be young and healthy, but she may live with her elderly mother who has a compromised immune system. So, while you may not think wearing a mask helps, the seller could possibly catch something unknowingly and pass it to her mother. Also, per the order of Governor Tom Wolf, masks must be worn in all Pennsylvania business and, in general, whenever you leave home.

By Nicole Seaman, WoodStone Settlement Services LLC

I

f someone told me a year ago that I would be homeschooling my children, not allowed to eat at a restaurant, and wearing a mask to closings, I would have thought they were nuts. But here we are. After months of being shut down, partially shut down, and now being “open,” things are very different. Many of the normal formalities of settlements have been temporarily halted. Shaking hands and congratulatory hugs have been replaced by “air high fives” and “elbow bumps.” The variety of people usually seen at a closing is now limited to only the essential parties who need to sign. Nevertheless, we are making things happen and working through it all. With technology being what it is today, a large majority of what we do can be done remotely. From conducting property searches, ordering tax certifications, submitting title work to lenders, recording documents, and even closings, work can continue, as long as you have a computer with a camera. Being flexible makes up a large portion of what we do, and every file is different. Being able to adapt to changing conditions is a must. So how can we help make the closing process a little better in these fluctuating and challenging times? Here are a few things we’ve come up with: 1.

2.

Be flexible and willing to compromise. If closing at the REALTORS® office is not feasible due to the size of the conference room, offer your own conference room. Weather permitting, offer outside closings (possibly on the patio or in the garage of the borrower). Stagger everyone signing at closing to help facilitate social distancing. Have the sellers come 30 minutes after closing

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Being cognizant of our current situation with everyone involved goes a long way. It shows we can still maintain our professionalism and courteousness. We want our clients to be happy with our work from start to finish. Doing just these few small things speaks volumes. We will get through this. ALL OF THIS! But for now, this is our new normal and we will make it work. WoodStone Settlement Services is a full-service title company offering title insurance, in addition to closing and settlement services, throughout all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. We are based in the Lehigh Valley. Learn more about us at https://www.woodstoness.com/.


DepartmentUpdate Professional Standards

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS CASE STUDY T

he Professional Standards department at the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® fields numerous inquiries from both Realtors® and the public, on a number of issues related to real estate professionalism, transactions, and disputes. Here is a Case Study related to Article 1 and Standard of Practice 1-6 of the Code of Ethics, which states: Article 1: When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly. (Amended 1/01) Standard of Practice 1-6: REALTORS® shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/95) Case #1-29: Multiple Offers to be Presented Objectively (Adopted November, 2002.) REALTOR® A listed Seller S’s house. He filed the listing with the MLS and conducted advertising intended to interest prospective purchasers. Seller S’s house was priced reasonably and attracted the attention of several potential purchasers. Buyer B learned about Seller S’s property from REALTOR® A’s website, called REALTOR® A for information, and was shown the property by REALTOR® A several times. Buyer X, looking for property in the area, engaged the services of REALTOR® R as a buyer representative. Seller S’s property was one of several REALTOR® R introduced to Buyer X. After the third showing, Buyer B was ready to make an offer and requested REALTOR® A’s assistance in writing a purchase offer. REALTOR® A helped Buyer B prepare an offer and then called Seller S to make an appointment to present the offer that evening. Later that same afternoon, REALTOR® R called REALTOR® A and told him that he was bringing a purchase offer to REALTOR® A’s office for REALTOR® A to present to Seller S. REALTOR® A responded that he would present Buyer X’s offer that evening. That evening, REALTOR® A presented both offers to Seller S for his consideration. Seller S noted that both offers were for the

full price and there seemed to be little difference between them. REALTOR® A responded, “I’m not telling you what to do, but you might consider that I have carefully pre-qualified Buyer B. There’s no question but that she’ll get the mortgage she’ll need to buy your house. Frankly, I don’t know what, if anything, REALTOR® R has done to pre-qualify his client. I hope he’ll be able to get a mortgage, but you never can tell.” REALTOR® A added, “Things can get complicated when a buyer representative gets involved. They make all sorts of demands for their clients and closings can be delayed. You don’t want that, do you? Things are almost always simpler when I sell my own listings,” he concluded. Seller S, agreeing with REALTOR® A’s reasoning, accepted Buyer B’s offer and the transaction closed shortly thereafter. Upset that his purchase offer hadn’t been accepted, Buyer X called Seller S directly and asked, “Just to satisfy my curiosity, why didn’t you accept my full price offer to buy your house?” Seller S explained that he had accepted another full price offer, had been concerned about Buyer X being able to obtain the necessary financing, and had been concerned about delays in closing if a buyer representative were involved in the transaction. Buyer X shared Seller S’s comments with REALTOR® R the next day. REALTOR® R, in turn, filed an ethics complaint alleging that REALTOR® A’s comments had intentionally cast Buyer X’s offer in an unflattering light, that his comments about buyer representatives hindering the closing process had been inaccurate and unfounded, and that REALTOR® A’s presentation of the offer had been subjective and biased and in violation of Article 1 as interpreted by Standard of Practice 1-6. At the hearing, REALTOR® A tried to justify his comments, noting that although he had no personal knowledge of Buyer X’s financial wherewithal and while he hadn’t had a bad experience dealing with represented buyers, it was conceivable that an overzealous buyer representative could raise obstacles that might delay a closing. In response to REALTOR® R’s questions, REALTOR® A acknowledged that his comments to Seller S about Buyer X’s ability to obtain financing and the delays that might ensue if a buyer representative were involved were essentially speculation and not based on fact. The Hearing Panel concluded that REALTOR® A’s comments and overall presentation had not been objective as required by Standard of Practice 1-6 and found REALTOR® A in violation of Article 1.

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DepartmentUpdate Real Estate Academy

Academy Reopens with COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan in Place

Code of Ethics (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26 3.5 CE Credits)

The Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy has reopened for in-person classes. To ensure the safety of all class attendees, a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan is now in place.

• Understanding FHA Site & Property Requirements: Red Flags for the Professional Agent (1 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26 - 3.5 CE Credits)

Please note that license renewal and continuing education requirements for real estate brokers and salespersons were extended 90 days and are now required by Saturday, August 29, 2020 (instead of May 31, 2020).

Upcoming New Licensee Courses (in-person; for those licensed on or after December 1, 2017):

Upcoming In-person Courses: • At Home With Diversity (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11 – 7 CE Credits)

• Mandatory New Licensee General Module • Wednesday, August 12, 2020 • Mandatory New Licensee Residential Module • Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Upcoming Hybrid Courses (pick either in-person or Zoom; must contact Allyson@GLVR.org if choosing the Zoom option): • Broker Price Opinions (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5 – 3.5 CE Credits) • Basic Agency Law for the Real Estate Professional (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 8 – 3.5 CE Credits) • Advertising & Property Management - Mandatory CE + Code of Ethics (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 15 3.5 CE Credits) • Liquor License Laws, Medical Marijuana & Service Animals: Impact on Real Estate (1 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, August 17 – 3.5 CE Credits) • Advertising & Property Management - Mandatory CE +

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Required Education: Advertising & Property Management Brokers and salespersons are required to complete 14 hours of continuing education by August 29, 2020. But, don’t forget, 3.5 of those 14 hours must include: • 2 hours of review of real estate advertising guidelines, both from RELRA and other regulators; • 1.5 hours of review of RELRA regarding property management. The Academy offers Advertising & Property Management, which also satisfies the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics training for the 2019-2021 ethics cycle.


Upcoming Course Dates: • August 15, 2020 – 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. • August 26, 2020 – 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ---Were you licensed on or after December 1, 2017? STOP! While you can enroll in the Advertising & Property Management course, you are not required to do so. You actually need to complete the Mandatory New Licensee General Module and the New Licensee Residential Module, which are required for license renewal. If you were licensed before December 1, 2017, please proceed to enrolling in Advertising & Property Management. If you were licensed after December 1, 2019, you do not have

a continuing education requirement for this renewal cycle. You just need to renew your license at www.pals.pa.gov and complete the two new licensee modules (linked above) by May 31, 2022.


DepartmentUpdate MLS

GLVR MLS Adopts Clear Cooperation Policy, Anticipates Launch of New Status At its November 11 meeting, the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors approved MLS Statement 8.0, also known as the Clear Cooperation policy. The policy requires listing brokers who are participants in a multiple listing service to submit their listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public. NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board proposed the policy as a way to address the growing use of off-MLS listings. The advisory board concluded that leaving listings outside of the broader marketplace excludes consumers, undermining REALTORS®’ commitment to provide equal opportunity to all. The policy doesn’t prohibit brokers from taking office-exclusive listings; nor does it impede brokers’ ability to meet their clients’ privacy needs. Following is the full text of MLS Statement 8.0: Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public. Please note that MLS participants must distribute exempt listings within (1) one business day once the listing is publicly marketed. For Greater Lehigh Valley Multiple Listing Service participants, these listings are defined as properties that lie within the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® footprint of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties.

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GLVR MLS New Status: Active No Showings (ANS) The Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® Board of Directors approved the recommendation of the MLS Committee to add the status of “Active No Showings (ANS)” to the Greater Lehigh Valley Multiple Listing Service. This new status addresses “coming soon” listings and will allow the association and its members to properly abide by Clear Cooperation Policy. The new status of Active No Showings (ANS) is defined as: No showings permitted. Listing agreement to include “showing starts on ___” or include a separately signed addendum to the listing contract. The delayed showing time period not to exceed 14 days. If status not updated from ANS within 14 days, listing will automatically move to Temp Off Market status. On input, include “showing starts on ___” information in Showing Instructions Comments field. Notification of change in delayed showing must be made immediately to any members/agents who have submitted a “Notice to Show.” Days On Market will calculate during ANS status and these listings will syndicate with an opt/out choice. New Status Rollout, Education Period, and Fine The new status will be rolled out near the end of summer / beginning of fall. MLS subscribers will be kept abreast of a more specific date as the status is built, tested, etc. When the status does become available, there will be an education period before fines are issued. Fines will begin 90 days after the status is implemented. After the 90-day education period, any participant found to not comply with MLS Statement 8.0 and the rules of the new status will be subject to a $2,500 fine. While the status is not yet available, MLS subscribers should follow MLS Statement 8.0 and, within one business day of marketing a property to the public, should submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Please make sure to include “Showing starts on __/__/__”

in the Showing Instructions Comments field. Updated MLS Rules and Regulations The Greater Lehigh Valley Multiple Listing Service has updated its Rules & Regulations to reflect the Clear Cooperation Policy. The changes are reflected in Section 5.4.5 and Section 5.9, which are newly added sections and read as follows: Section 5.4.5- Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public. Failure to submit a listing to the MLS within one (1) business day of marketing the property to the public shall be considered a Major Violation and subject to the fines as specified in Section 5.9. Section 5.9 – Failure to Comply with Section 5.4.5 A listing must be submitted to the MLS within one (1) business day of marketing the property to the public. Any Participant found to be in violation shall be subject to a $2,500.00 fine per occurrence.

Additional Resources •

Backstory Behind the Clear Cooperation Policy Proposal

NAR Passes MLS Proposal to Strengthen Cooperation

Window to the Law: Understanding the MLS Clear Cooperation Policy (Video)

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LOOKING TO BUY YOUR FIRST REAL HOME? Look for a REALTOR.® Look for the R.

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REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS®


Protect Your Money

Wire Fraud Still on the Rise By Walter Commiso, Owner, Pride Abstract and Settlement Services, LLC

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riminals begin the wire fraud process way before the attempted theft occurs, as they first need to weasel their way into email accounts, website forms or phone calls to fraudulently obtain private information. It’s important to learn how to protect yourself and how to spot the warning signs. Once hackers gain access to email accounts, they will monitor messages to find someone in the process of buying a home. Hacks can come from various parties involved in a transaction, including real estate agents, title companies, attorneys or consumers. Criminals then use the stolen information to send fraudulent wire transfer instructions that have been dressed up to appear as if they came from the victim. To this end, criminals will use either the victim’s actual email account (which they may control) or create a fake account that resembles the victim’s email. Pride Abstract recently handled a transaction that involved a Realtor’s® email account being infiltrated by a hacker, who was able to retrieve the names of the buyer and seller, the time of settlement, and the amount of money expected to be given to the seller.

View Video

Prior to settlement, the seller requested a check in the sum of $239,456.34. During settlement, however, Pride Abstract received a wire transfer request via email from the “seller.” Exact bank and account information was provided in the email. Pride Abstract, knowing the original request for a check, discussed the matter at settlement and quickly confirmed the scam. It was soon noticed that the seller’s email address had been manipulated

ever-so slightly from bestbuilders.org to bestbuildersinc.org – a simple change that could easily be missed. Wire fraud and email hacking/phishing attacks are on the rise. If wire transfer instructions are provided to you in the middle of an escrow or closing transaction, DO NOT RESPOND TO THE EMAIL. Prior to sending any funds, immediately call your escrow officer/closer (using previously known contact information and NOT the information provided in the email) to verify the email’s authenticity.

Keeping Your Email Secure (Note: These tips were originally posted on PARJustListed) In addition to the National Association of Realtors®’ Field Guide to Reducing Spam Email, Jessica Edgerton, associate counsel for the National Association of Realtors®, offers the following tips to make your email more secure: • Check your sent mail, junk mail, and email account settings regularly for anomalies. Hackers often break into an email account and modify the “email forwarding” settings to forward emails to their own account. • Regularly purge your email of unneeded or outdated information. Save any important emails securely. • Avoid email as a method for sending sensitive or confidential information. Instead, consider using a secure document sharing or transaction management platform. • Use strong passwords that incorporate a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. • Use two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication. • Avoid using unsecured or public Wi-Fi.


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