A publication of the Kentucky Association of REALTORS 速
Selling, Leading and Winning
Nationwide Open House MARS: New FTC Rule Online Data Storage Relationship Management
Volume 4, Number 3, SPRING 2011
IN THIS ISSUE Nationwide Open House
Short Sales from MARS: The New FTC Rule
A publication of the ® Kentucky Association of REALTORS
Selling, Leading and Winning
President Tony Clark, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI ® Greater Owensboro REALTOR Association
Online Data Storage
President-Elect Ann McDonald Lexington-Bluegrass Association
Treasurer Ronald E. Hughes, ABR, CRS, GRI ® Paducah Board of REALTORS Treasurer-Elect Norman Jones, GRI Eastern Kentucky Association Executive Vice President Susan W. Helm, RCE email@example.com Communications/Education Director Hunt Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org Address letters and inquiries to: ® Kentucky REALTOR 161 Prosperous Place, Suite 100 Lexington, KY 40509 TF 800.264.2185 T 859.263.7377 F 859.263.7565 www.kar.com email: email@example.com KAR members should always send address changes to their local board/association first. Subscription rates: $10 per year (included in dues) for members, $25 per year for nonmembers. ®
Kentucky REALTOR (USPS 024-933) is published quarterly (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer) by ® the Kentucky Association of REALTORS , 161 Prosperous Place, Lexington, KY 40509. Periodicals postage paid at Lexington, KY. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Kentucky ® REALTOR , 161 Prosperous Place, Suite 100, Lexington, KY 40509. All articles represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions ® of Kentucky REALTOR or KAR and should not be construed as a recommendation for any course of action regarding financial, legal or accounting ® matters by KAR or Kentucky REALTOR and its authors.
Reproduction prohibited without permission. Copyright © 2011 ® Kentucky Association of REALTORS , Inc. All rights reserved.
REGULAR FEATURES President’s Message
Tools You Can Use
Local Association News
By the Numbers
From the Helm
Code of Ethics
A Day in the Life of...
SPRING 2011 KENTUCKY REALTOR® 3
KAR News KAR Awards REALTOR® of the Year: Deadline June 1
Distinguished Service Award: Deadline June 10
Nat Sanders Award: Deadline August 15
Community Service Award: Deadline August 15
To access the nomination forms or to learn more about these awards, visit www.kar.com > Members > Awards.
KAR establishes YPN Chapter Kentucky has formed a Young Professionals Network and we are looking to expand membership! If you would like to get in on the ground floor of this new group, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and reference YPN in the subject line. Our goal at KAR is to bring together the young and professional members to increase their knowledge in all areas of real estate from the day-to-day business aspect to how to get the most out of volunteering with the organization. On the national level, YPN is a growing group of young, career-minded real estate professionals who want to stay abreast of the latest tools, resources, and networking opportunities. As a member, you’ll receive invitations to exclusive events at REALTOR® conferences, news on how to get involved in leadership roles at NAR, and updates on new tools and resources that will help you grow your career.
2011 KREC Nominations Any Real Estate Licensee wishing to be considered for a 4-year term as a Kentucky Real Estate Commissioner should contact the Kentucky Association of REALTORS®. An application and detailed requirements are available at www.kar.com and by mail. To qualify, one must have been a resident of Kentucky for 10 years and have held a Kentucky real estate license for 10 years. Deadline for submission is August 5, 2011 to KAR, 161 Prosperous Place, Suite 100, Lexington, KY 40509. Questions may be directed to email@example.com or call 800.264.2185.
President’s Message Market conditions ripe for the pickin’
Tony Clark, 2011 KAR President
Spring is here, skies are blue and the bluegrass of Kentucky is more beautiful than ever. And in Kentucky, we have reason to be optimistic. While the real estate market around the country has been turned upside down for quite some time, Kentucky has not experienced the severe market changes as some of the states like Florida, Arizona and California. In some of those areas, predatory investors have pounced on properties and the market has dropped out from under the average homeowner. During 2010, the foreclosure rate in Kentucky was onefourth lower than the rate for the nation as a whole. This is one indication that the housing problems plaguing many places in the country are less severe than here in the Bluegrass. A housing market such as Kentucky’s has proven to be more stable compared to some other states. It’s been said “slow but steady wins the race,” and that may prove to be a real plus for the typical consumer over time. Housing prices in the U.S. have been falling since the 2nd quarter of 2007, however, Kentucky housing prices remained fairly steady during 2009, with only a slight drop in 2010 in certain areas while other areas remained steady. There is a larger than normal inventory of homes available, which definitely makes this a “buyer’s market.” The surplus of homes, plus abundance of foreclosures, has certainly given the buyers an edge to start. Couple this with the low interest rates and it makes right now the perfect time for a qualified buyer to experience the American Dream of Homeownership. There are also many smart consumers and savvy investors that are knowledgeable and wanting to get back into this market as they are finding real estate to be a great investment. In order to succeed, we as REALTORS® must stay abreast of the latest financial changes and continue to establish good relationships with local lenders and mortgage brokers, as well as private investors. We are fortunate in Kentucky to have the Kentucky Housing Corporation’s Downpayment Assistant Program (DAP), which allows for assistance up to $4,500 per borrower, the HOME Special Program as well as their HOME Family Program. Each of these programs has particular eligibility requirements and is unique to the Kentucky housing market. Good news for the state is the unemployment rate dropped in 108 KY counties from February to March. I believe we will see the Kentucky economy continue to outperform the national economy and the housing market will continue to be stable with below-average foreclosure rates and above-average growth in prices. If this does indeed prove to be the case, REALTORS®, as well as consumers, will be in good shape throughout the coming years.
Tony Clark 2011 KAR President
I, Gerald A. “Tony” Clark, your 2011 KAR president, am optimistic and confident about the real estate market in Kentucky. And with all the many changes I have seen in the market in the past 35+ years, of this I am certain: everyday a child is born, everyday someone gets married, everyday someone dies, everyday someone retires, everyday someone gets a divorce, everyday someone gets a job. And each of these bring major changes to a person’s lifestyle. A REALTOR® is needed to find a larger home, a smaller home, a first home, or possibly to welcome someone to a new city. Stay Optimistic!!
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Tools You Can Use Marketing Minute tools worth knowing The following four tools are easy to get, free and must-haves. Simply go to google.com and sign up for an account on the upper right hand side of the page (if you don’t already have one). These were highlighted in a post on the Future of Real Estate Marketing blog. Google Profile | Create your own profile on Google and your information will appear on Google’s first page when someone searches your name. Although you can’t control what always appears on the first page of Google, it would be great to know that your own hand-typed profile, created by you, would be present on the world’s largest search engine. To do this, set-up your Google account, go to Google and click on Google Account Settings. You will see an empty profile screen on the upper left hand side. This is where you want to add some information, such as a short bio or other variations of your name. The information entered onto this screen is guaranteed to show up on the first page of Google (on the bottom) when someone searches for your name. Be careful, however, not to include information that is too personal – SS#, complete birthday, credit card information, etc. You don’t want to fall victim to identity theft. Google Alerts | Find out what others are saying online about you, your company or anything else that matters to you. You know the Internet is a wide open space where people can say anything but now you have the ability to track it. Under the Google Account Settings screen, look for the small yellow bell near the bottom and click on the Alerts link. If you want to search for exact words or phrase, say, your name or company, put those in quotes. Set-up as many alerts as necessary and the email you want them to be sent. Google is now set up to send you an alert the second it finds any reference to your name on the Internet. And, you don’t have to set-up a Google account to use this feature. Google Analytics | Do you know where consumers are visiting on your site? What the most popular features or pages are? Very few agents do. This tool will compile and save data about your visitors on your site including location, time spent, pages visited, their entry page and exit page as well as a myriad of other statistics that will give you better insight to cater towards their needs. Google Analytics will work on almost any website and most reputable website providers will have a custom box to enter in the code that Google supplies. Simply find the Google Analytics button under the same Google Account Settings as mentioned above. Google Keyword Tool | Any tech savvy agent that is looking for a good domain name, has a website, enjoys blogging or purchases online ads will find this tool invaluable. As you know, Google keeps detailed information about what people are searching for on the Internet and this program allows you to tap into the data. Type in “Google Keyword Tool” and you want the first entry to pop up. Key in a phrase and instantly see the amount of searches completed for that phrase. This is a component that has limitless use, since knowledge is power in understanding consumer behavior in the real estate industry.
4 Tech Gadgets You No Longer Need Technology devices accumulate quickly as the next “big thing” surfaces. A New York Times article, titled Gadgets You Should Get Rid of (or Not), argues you no longer need to accumulate every tech toy imaginable, and adds that you can probably shed some of the tools you already have. Here are some tech gadgets you can pitch, according to the article: desktop computer, camcorder, point-and-shoot camera, USB thumb drive, digital music player (unless you exercise a lot) and a GPS unit. The article also says you should keep a few: high-speed internet at home, alarm clock, books and maybe cable TV.
Agent reviews: Zillow does it now, others to follow www.zillow.com Real estate website Zillow.com launched the ability for home buyers and sellers to search for and find local real estate agents based on ratings and reviews from former clients. Thousands of consumers have rated and reviewed their agents since Zillow launched this service and now consumers can search these reviews based on a variety of criteria under the Directory tab. Over 13 million people visit Zillow each month and Zillow CEO has said that for good agents, the reviews are a terrific way to stand out from the crowd - the next best thing to a referral. Search results are sorted by local agents with the highest overall ratings and greatest number of reviews. Consumers can compare agents’ overall ratings, as well as ratings across several categories of service including: process expertise, local knowledge, responsiveness and negotiation skills. Check to see if you have been reviewed.
Convert Online Video to Audio Files www.makeitmp3.com When you’re looking at a video but don’t need to see the “visual,” Make It Mp3 is a free service that converts almost any
online video (Google, YouTube, Yahoo) into a downloadable MP3 file. MakeItMP3.com allows you to quickly and conveniently make MP3s of lectures, readings, inspirational talks and meetings you can listen to on your iPod or other mobile device the next time you’re on a long drive, at the gym or just have some free time. Additional tip: To make smaller audio files, don’t set the quality too high. After all, if it’s just spoken-word stuff, you don’t need CD-quality sound. Source: FrogPond
Create a virtual floor plan
Bits and Bytes
www.roomle.com Re-arrange your house online with an online program called Roomle. You can create a floor plan (or upload one), fill it with furniture and see it modeled in 3-D. If you register, which is free, you can also save your creations for later and also share them online. This could be a great tool for you to help stage your properties or as a marketing tool for your buyers and sellers!
Do you Tweet? www.tweetdeck.com TweetDeck is a program that helps manage all your personal social media profiles including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google Buzz. You can update all, or just a select few, with the same status at one time. The main feature is that TweetDeck organizes all your feeds into separate columns allowing a broader view of information. The design is clean, user friendly and even makes some networks more fun. For example, it integrates Google Maps into your Foursquare feed, visualizing your friends’ checkins. You can also view photos and videos from within the tool. TweetDeck, as you probably guessed, is best at managing multiple Twitter accounts although plans are to make the program a one-stop shop for the Internet’s most popular communication tools – a hub for social networks other than Twitter Also worth checking out: Seesmic (www.seesmic.com)
Get creative with your snapshots Many people have turned their smartphones into their primary use camera for everyday shots. If you are one of these people, because of the ease of use, you probably take more than your fair share of photos and leave a majority of these on the phone for ages without a second thought. With a new wave of mobile programs, you can now have fun with these photos. Apps available let you alter photos, add filters, tag shots with information about the subject as well as location and even post them on social-networking sites. There are many available but these five photo-editing and photo-sharing apps are worth checking into (these are either free or relatively inexpensive): picplz, Instagram, Hipstamatic, Path and Camera Fun Pro.
Share your where with www.glympse.com Glympse is the easy way to safely share your location in real time by way of a GPS-enabled mobile device. You choose who you want to see your location, when and for how long. With Glympse, you are in complete control. Unlike other location-based services that require users to log in and build a friend network before use, Glympse can be used within seconds of downloading. There’s no need to create an account to use the service. Once downloaded, you can “glympse” anyone you choose by simply selecting a contact or contacts, choose the duration you want your location to be available to the recipient (from minutes up to four hours), and then hit send. You can send to a specific person, several people or even to Facebook and Twitter. The sender has the ability to “pause” or “cancel” a Glympse at any time or choose to extend an existing Glympse. The “auto shut off” security feature addresses the concern that users can easily forget to turn off location-sharing mode and unintentionally broadcast their whereabouts at inappropriate times. On the receiving end, anyone with an Internet-enable mobile device or email access can receive a Glympse and view your whereabouts turn-by-turn, in real time. The recipient receives an SMS or email message with a unique URL that can be clicked to open browser with a map, pinpointing the sender’s precise location. For real estate professionals, think of the uses especially for safety reasons - you can use this app to let your office know where you are with clients, to let clients know what property you are heading to or if you are running late for a meeting.
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Legal Update Short Sales from MARS: The New FTC Rule If you charge an up-front brokerage fee, or advertise your short sales experience, or discuss a short sale with a seller’s lender, you will be affected by the Federal Trade Commission’s new short sale regulation that took effect January 31, 2011. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has been working with the FTC to reduce the rule’s impact on traditional brokerage activities. While the FTC admits that a problem exists, the rule as it stands broadly applies to a number of traditional brokerage activities in short sale transactions. Until the FTC acts, REALTORS® must comply with the existing requirements of this new rule. The FTC’s final rule addressing “Mortgage Assistance Relief Services” (MARS) focuses on companies that offer loan modification services to consumers. Because REALTORS® deal with sellers and lenders every day, some traditional real estate brokerage services are now regulated by the new MARS rules.
Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Real estate professionals must know what services fall under the new MARS rules. The broad definition of “mortgage assistance relief service” will impact almost every REALTOR® involved in a short sale transaction: ‘‘Mortgage Assistance Relief Service’’ means any service, plan, or program, offered or provided to the consumer in exchange for consideration, that is represented, expressly or by implication, to assist or attempt to assist the consumer with any of the following: (1) Stopping, preventing, or postponing any mortgage or deed of trust foreclosure sale for the consumer’s dwelling, any repossession of the consumer’s dwelling, or otherwise saving the consumer’s dwelling from foreclosure or repossession; (2) Negotiating, obtaining, or arranging a modification of any term of a dwelling loan, including a reduction in the amount of interest, principal balance, monthly payments, or fees; (3) Obtaining any forbearance or modification in the timing of payments from any dwelling loan holder or servicer on any dwelling loan; (4) Negotiating, obtaining, or arranging any extension of the period of time within which the consumer may: • Cure his or her default on a dwelling loan, • Reinstate his or her dwelling loan, • Redeem a dwelling, or • Exercise any right to reinstate a dwelling loan or redeem a dwelling; (5) Obtaining any waiver of an acceleration clause or balloon payment contained in any promissory note or contract secured by any dwelling; or (6) Negotiating, obtaining or arranging: • A short sale of a dwelling, • A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or • Any other disposition of a dwelling other than a sale to a third party who is not the dwelling loan holder.
New Requirements for MARS Providers If you are a MARS provider, you must comply with the requirements of the new FTC rule. Here are just a few of the requirements: • It is illegal to charge upfront fees. • You must “clearly and prominently” disclose certain information before you sign people up for your services. • If you advise someone not to pay his or her mortgage, you must clearly and prominently disclose the negative consequences that could result. • It is illegal to advise customers to stop communicating with their lender or servicer. • You must disclose key information to your customer if you forward an offer of mortgage relief from a lender or servicer. • It is illegal to misrepresent your services.
cial Communications for General Commer MARS Disclosure
iated e of Company) is not assoc ________________ (Nam nment or your lender. nis not approved by the gover io e at servic our ic and t, nmen mmun with the goverci e er al Co r may not agree to chang c Comm ere the our service, your lende and r whuse Specifi offer t this to Selle accepvid Even if you be nsumer MARS pro ed re for Co is to ges for a It su . an lo loan. of (b) arr lf your sc or 2.4 ha of Seller gotiations on be perty, F.R. § 32 MARS Di and damage your credit by 16 C. lender on behalf pro sale ne yourermortg you could lose your home age, lists the shortpayin is required g with a uct stop nd you sure below tes a short sale e the Brok e if the vider to coIf lle The disclo r at. the tim or at a later tim be negotia rvices) pro ed to Se rating sale, must er below vid Relief Se ____________________
General Commercial Communications Disclosures MARS-related advertising that is not directed at a specific consumer, such as mentioning your short sale experience in an ad, must include a clear and prominent disclosure: IMPORTANT NOTICE (in two point-type larger than the font size of the disclosure): [Name of company] is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit rating.
Consumer-Specific Commercial Communications MARS-related communications directed at specific consumers, such as communications through letters, phone calls, emails, texts, or the like, must also contain a clear and prominent disclosure: IMPORTANT NOTICE (in two point-type larger than the font size of the disclosure): You may stop doing business with us at any time. You may accept or reject the offer of mortgage assistance we obtain from your lender [or servicer]. If you reject the offer, you do not have to pay us. If you accept the offer, you will have to pay us [insert amount or method for calculating the amount] for our services. [Name of company] is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit rating. While we may communicate with your lender or servicer about your loan, you may continue to communicate with your lender or servicer if you so desire.
Disclosing Offers of Mortgage Relief MARS providers that disclose offers of mortgage relief from lenders or servicers, including delivery of the lender’s short sale approval letter, must also provide clear and prominent disclosures to their clients: IMPORTANT NOTICE: Before buying this service, consider the following information (in two point-type larger than the font size of the disclosure): This is an offer of mortgage assistance we obtained from your lender [or servicer].You may accept or reject the offer. If you reject the offer, you do not have to pay us. If you accept the offer, you will have to pay us [same amount as disclosed previously] for our services. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit rating. If not covered by the lenders’ short sale approval letter, the real estate professional must notify the seller of all material differences between the seller’s current loan and the lender’s proposal.
pro ce short sure Brok must be Assistan l need a the disclo (Mortgage disclosure below lieve the Seller wil but in any event, e be needed, r. Seller. Th has reason to er ort sale is ns with the lende ok sh a Br s the ne tio if y negotia er determi Broker lat Seller prior to an to offer of provided reject the
er, you cept or TICE: u may ac ect the off y time. Yo rvicer). If you rej _____________ se __ th us at an tion, or depiction, siness wi m your lender (or ll have to pay us bu or oral statement, illustra ing interest in purchasing ces. unication: means any written stop do tain fro you wi Comm ercialrvi al Comm ed to effect a sale or create insert, radio, You may ce we ob the offer,Gener for our se ge, that is design ount) y)s is package, package e assistan us. If you accept English or any other langua am label, an in a r in ag or on whethe mp the rtg appear r it mo ing circular, mailer, book m, whethe e of Co t or progra ve to pay thod for calculat ine, pamphlet, leaflet, magaz any service, plan, aper,en ___ (Nam of purchase re, newsp governm do not ha brochu ____ public transit card, point television, ____ cable d by the ount or me televisi ____on, not chart, billboard, , telemarketing script, onhold ue, proveletter, y poster, catalog g insert, (insert am not ap der ma ________insert, standin ne system is free __ len telepho a ce __ over ur rvi itted __ yo se transm length commercial ce, programMA ______ slide, RS Disdclo serviaudio and ourdisplay , efilm, rketing firms, program r __ t, telema ou __ to items and en and __ provide ls sur ls us __ rnm d e for Offer tional materia . Promo script, training materia script, upsell ________ ted with the gove cept this offer an from Lend any other medium The network, ordit disInterne closurt,ecellular er (Part I) cia ac , the belterm (“infomercial”) ow ur cre ercial communication.” not asso der. Even if you yo is req the time Bro ge “comm the uire inda ddker ma d by 16 C.F Web pages are include an furn .R. me ish or your len ange your loan. § es Se 322.5(b ur ho n holder or e yoloa ch servicer inc ller with a written agreem ). It is to be provided agree to u could los orporaifting to Se ent between youthe offe rtgage, yo Seller and Se ller at r of short sal your mo e to do so IMPORTAN ller’s e terms. p paying o continu If you sto u may als T NOTICE: yo r, de rating. th your len Be wi g tin fore buying unica _____ mm members of __ of co ience __ thi conven __ be the s for may ________service,informational purposes While we . As always, real estate This form is provided for consider intende ______ as legal d low ____ Legal Thi is not the fol s isimer: ingadvice ____Discla an offe information REALTORS® Inc. and so desire. ation r ofof mo Associ ________the Kentuc : rtgage ass maykyacc creating legal documents. __ when y __ __nce ________ ista attorne ept consul their __ tct we obtained reje__ ____ ionals shouldor ________ the profess __ __ acc offe __ from ept __ r. __ If __r, you the __ you reject the you offe ____ will have to offer, you do r lender (or servicer). ___ __ Address sam __ pay us ___ You ountet previo not have to Property ________mo e amDa __ ___ usl __ pay ___ y __ dis us. If you _________ rtgage, you closed ____ ______ to __ Seller) for our _________ ____ could__ los __e__ ________ __ (insert your home ________ Name and damage services. If you stop ________ paying you your credit _______ Date __ r __ Brokerage rati __ ng. ____ ____ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ oker _ ____ __ Br ___ __ of __ ___ __ ______ te ___ Name Da___ ________ Proper _________ ______ ty Address ________ __ _________ _________ ________ _________ ________ _________ ________ ___ __ _________ ___ _____ ___ ____ _ te___ __ Seller ___ Da __ ___ __ _________ of members of Brokerage ______ __ __ ___ Na ce __ ______ me ien ate__ ___ ______ , real est the conven ___ for ays ___ alw ________ ses _________ As l purpo _________ ___ ationa al advice. rm ___ r leg Da lle ___ te info as Se ___ed ed for not intend______ is provid Na ts. _________ d isof en___ anme Bro This form _________ al docum RS Inc. g legker claimer: __ ______ REALTO en creatin Legal Dis iation of _________ orney wh cky Assoc _________ _________ t their att Date the Kentu ___ uld consul ___ sho ls ___ na _________ Seller professio _________ _____ ___ _________ _________ _________ Da ___ te _________ _________ Seller _________ _____ ___ _________ ___ ___ ______ Date
Legal Disclai mer: This form the Kentuck is provided y Association for information of REALTO al purposes professiona RS® Inc. and for the conven ls should con is not intende sult their atto ience of mem d as legal adv rney when bers of creating lega ice. As alw l documents. ays, real esta te
There are many strict requirements that govern short sale transactions by MARS providers, so please visit KAR’s website for more detailed information. You can find explanations of the new rule from NAR and the FTC, as well as useful forms (including samples of the disclosures listed above), information and updates, all at KAR’s MARS resource center, located at bit.ly/marskar or by clicking the QR Code found here.
Doug Martin is Legal Counsel for the Kentucky Association of REALTORS®, and maintains his private law practice in Lexington, Kentucky.
The previous discussion should not be viewed as legal advice. Please consult your own attorney.
SPRING 2011 KENTUCKY REALTOR® 9
Feature Article of musings are from Dave The following collection tion for the 2011 KAR Conven r ke ea sp e ot yn ke ll, he Mitc er ip, selling skills, custom sh er ad le on h uc to at th & Expo, shares e three anecdotes, Dave service and…wine. In th on the secret of selling, his first hand experiences d Charlie Sheen…duh, an ip sh er ad le of ct pa im the scenarios, past, present n ow ur yo t ou ab nk hi T winning! e may play into your life. and future, and how thes The Long and Short Answer Recently, I struck up a conversation with a seasoned sales professional at the hotel bar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, OH. My intent in going to the bar (aside from having a glass of wine) was to watch my beloved Illini beat Michigan State on ESPN. Fate intervened, as very quickly it was obvious that the gentleman next to me was far more interested in striking up a conversation than watching the game. Since my wife Lori had TiVo-ed the game for me back home, I reluctantly chose to engage in casual chit chat. I am glad that I did.
Selling, g n i d a L ea nd Wi n n i n g
Tony is a 65 year old sales executive for a family owned logistics company in St. Louis. As is often the case when two road veterans meet, each with business development responsibilities, our dialogue quickly turned to the art of selling. Typically, I do more listening than talking in this dynamic; a fact that would stun many who know me casually, but not surprise those who know me best. After listening to many ideas, opinions, and stories shared from my increasingly enthusiastic and inebriated new friend, he asked me an intriguing question. He leaned into my personal space a bit too assertively and inquired, “What do you think is the most important ability a sales person can have?” For a moment I contemplated sharing the concept of metacognition. Metacognition is the process of thinking about how you think. The greatest sales consultants have a psychologist’s knack for understanding how other people process information, how they view the world and other people. They can compare other’s process to their own and adapt appropriately. By observing the behavioral cues of others and asking open ended questions that provide insights to what others value (relationships, impact, accuracy, innovation?), great sales consultants can adjust their approach to their clients and the way they frame their products and services. Of course, to suggest this concept of metacognition to my new friend would require me to launch into a long explanation of how people make meaning; how we are all fundamentally delusional and how our own unique experiences have forged our schemas that ultimately determine what we perceive and value. I could already imagine the buzz kill that conversation was going to be.
So, I went with my short answer. “The most important ability a sales person can have is the ability to smile genuinely at others regardless of what is going on in their own life,” I offered. I thought to myself; as I travel around the country, most people are nearly invisible. They avoid eye contact, have a flat countenance and leave no impact on others. A simple smile can brighten another person’s day. It is memorable. It identifies you. It is your brand. Sure, there are more sophisticated skills that require hours of effort to learn and apply. And merely smiling alone won’t make you successful. But it will make you more noteworthy. And that is a large part of sales; standing out from the competition. It also helps to spread joy. Spreading joy is contagious. Sales success is too. A huge grin spread across Tony’s face in response to my answer. “You,” he said with an index finger in my face and a pat on my shoulder, “are exactly right.”
The Leader as Mentor I will never forget Susan Wally. We haven’t spoken in over 20 years, but her impact on me resonates to this day. She was that leader for me. You know, the leader that changes the way you think of yourself, your future and potential. Susan Wally has as much to do with who I have become professionally as any person in my life. As is often the case when you are a leader, she doesn’t even know it. Heck, she may not even remember me. I was the Manager of Training at Marshall Fields in downtown Chicago and Susan was the Personnel Director (yes, it was the 1980s and it was called “Personnel”). I was only a few years removed from growing up in a rural area, so Chicago was still a bit daunting for me. I was reserved,
professional and more than a little self-conscious about being appropriate. Susan Wally, on the other hand, was a complete force of nature. Standing over six feet tall with bright red hair and a voice that could drown out a foghorn, Susan’s presence in a room was never in doubt. Her personality matched her size and was exceeded only by her moxie. Working with Susan was like going to an amusement park. It was a thrilling and wild ride that left you a bit disheveled but giddy in anticipation of the next experience. Susan taught me to let my inner freak flag fly! Susan Wally taught me that you can be enthusiastic and dynamic without losing your credibility. She also taught me to embrace who you are and trust that your gifts will distinguish you in life if you let them. I have tried to track down Susan many times to no avail. Someday I hope I can tell her just how much she influenced me. She would be surprised, I bet. As leaders, it is important to remember that we are shaping the lives of others. Each of us has modeled the behaviors of other people in our lives: parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, and bosses. Others are modeling our behaviors, too. I think it is important to remember that each day we lead. And if you have a person who has had a particularly positive influence on your life, today would be a good day to let them know. Leadership is hard, often thankless, but ultimately it can provide others with the impetus for becoming something better. Susan Wally did that for me and for that I will always remember her.
“The most important ability a sales person can have is the ability to smile genuinely at others regardless of what is going on in their own life,”
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Feature Article cont.
Winning…Or NOT! I don’t know which is most disturbing; watching Charlie Sheen’s swirling eddy of despair, the media’s ugly addiction to it or our collective fascination with someone else’s dramatic meltdown (myself included). In the middle of watching the ramblings of an obviously malfunctioning brain, one thing struck me: winning. More specifically, how much we value this as a culture. And in my opinion, it is contributing to a growing problem within our society. Don’t get me wrong, I like winning. I like watching my sports teams win, although when you choose to be loyal to the likes of the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Mets you don’t experience victory all that often. Still, winning is exhilarating; whether you experience it personally or vicariously. Except, I think we have taken the concept of winning too far. Winning is something best left on a court or on a field. When winning permeates our approach to life in general it makes us incredibly self-centered. Now, before you give me that incredulous look, let me explain my reasoning. I think we have become so hell bent on winning that we apply it to our careers, our possessions, our relationships, our parenting, even our Facebook friends. We get caught up on how we rate relative to others in each of these areas; maybe not every area, but certainly many areas. Our competitiveness often negatively impacts how we interact with colleagues, customers, relatives and our friends. As a result we often set up situations that create a winner and a loser. We compare our own success to others in hopes of determining that we have prevailed. In doing so, we subconsciously contribute to an unhealthy desire to be better than others or for others to fall short of us. That is not a sustainable model for a society. As Lowell George, the leader of the band Little Feat, once sang, “the same dudes you abuse on the way up, you will meet up with on your way down.” When we win at the expense of others or revel in their losses we have created an
environment where others want retribution. Think about it. When you lose at anything your first desire is to get even. Best two out of three, so to speak. Winners create losers who then want to even the score. The only sustainable formula for winning is making sure we contribute to others’ successes. Instead of asking ourselves, “How do I get ahead?” we should be saying, “How do I help others get ahead?” By doing the latter, we surround ourselves with winners; winners whose success we helped achieve. And, we help our customers win, which makes them more successful and appreciative. That is winning without losers and THAT is the hallmark of a successful society. So, as Charlie Sheen fights CBS, Republicans fight Democrats and the Joneses fight the Smiths, remember to ask yourself not how do I win at life, but rather how do I help others win in their lives. It is a better long term strategy for contentment.
Dave Mitchell is the keynote speaker for the 2011 KAR Annual Convention and Expo. He is also founder and president of the Leadership Difference where he has “enter-TRAINED” over 200,000 people on topics that include leadership, customer service, selling skills and personal performance enhancement. His clients include Allstate Insurance, Bank of America, Universal Studios, Hilton Worldwide, Sub-Zero Wolf Appliances, Electrolux Appliances, Trek Bikes, Walt Disney World and the CIA. Dave is an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois and has been designated as a Certified Advanced Wine Sommelier (som-uhyay) by the International Wine Guild. Having failed to achieve his dream of playing professional baseball, he went on to a successful coaching career at the tee ball level. He is the author of the book Live and Learn or Die Stupid!
Business Tools Consider security when selecting online data storage By Kim Shindle
And she’s a big fan of Evernote.com, which allows you to store notes, either taken by hand or on the computer and store them. She finds it helpful to store articles in this program and then they become searchable. “There are some great online solutions to store and share your information,” she adds. “But you need to ensure that information is being shared with only those that you authorize. You wouldn’t knowingly give your client list and their contact information to another agent. Why would you want to use a service that may share your client’s information with third parties without your consent?”
Options to consider when looking into online data storage: Dropbox, SugarSync, Box.net, Live Mesh, Zoho, Google Docs, filesanywhere.com, ADrive. If you do a search online for “online storage,”“cloud storage” or variations of those terms, you will find various other services that offer similar services for free or low cost. Evaluate as many as you can and find the one that works best for your needs.
Kim Shindle is the Managing Editor at the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®. This article appeared on the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®’ news site, www.PARJustListed.com.
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Legislative Update Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required in Kentucky Residential Code beginning June 1 The Board of Housing Buildings and Construction has recently passed a code change to the Kentucky Residential building code that requires the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in all new homes. The regulation requiring CO detectors was passed late last year and was finalized through the process in early March. The detectors must be installed in new homes permitted after June 1. The new code requirement calls for carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in new homes with fuel-fired heating and cooling systems or appliances, or attached garages. The detectors must be installed near every bedroom and in a common living area in a home. They must be installed according to manufacturer’s instructions. Unlike smoke detectors, the CO detectors do not have to be hardwired into the electrical system. Builders also have the option of installing dual smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The mandate also affects existing homes only in that in any remodeling project that requires a permit, the building code official must inform the homeowner that carbon monoxide detectors are required by the code. The remodeler has no responsibility to inform the homeowner of the new code.
2011 Kentucky Legislature: Short Session, Big Results By Anetha Sanford, KAR Government Affairs Director
The Kentucky General Assembly was active with many real estate related issues during the 2011 Regular Session. The Kentucky Association of REALTORS® (KAR) was very successful during this session and lobbied on several important pieces of legislation significant to the real estate industry. The KAR lobbying and governmental affairs efforts in Frankfort are strongest, and ultimately the most effective, when Kentucky legislators are personally connected with Kentucky REALTORS®. Much of our success is due to our membership and the distinguished State Political Coordinator (SPC) Network. KAR’s grassroots lobbying is very essential to the success of this organization. One of the highlights of this session was the introduction and passage of HB 470 in cooperation with the Home Builders Association of Kentucky, regarding the Kentucky Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (S.A.F.E. Act). There have been many questions and interpretations of the S.A.F.E. Act in relation to seller and owner financing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is in the process of reviewing the final rule. In 2010, the National Association of REALTORS® sent a letter to HUD during their comment period asking HUD to broaden the exemption for seller financing. The letter also stated that sellers who occasionally provide seller financing for property they own should be exempt. With the help of John J. Weikel, II, REALTOR®, Rep. Tom Burch-D of Louisville, Rep. Tommy Thompson-D of Owensboro and the Home Builders Association of Kentucky, KAR was able to pass HB 470, which will allow Kentucky to follow the direction of HUD, by Order of Commissioner, should the final rule allow a certain number of seller financing transactions.
Thanks to members and legislators for the hard work and persistence on HB 470.
RPAC Awards for 2010 Sterling R Contributors
Members of KAR and KREC, along with legislators who co-sponsored HB470, Rep. Tommy Thompson and Rep. Tom Burch, attended the bill signing with Governor Beshear.
Here is a recap of other real estate industry related bills passed during the 2011 Regular Session:
HB 26 Wastewater With rapidly increasing population and the continuing trend to urbanize, Rep. Linda Belcher-D of Shepherdsville introduced legislation that would authorize the creation of a Regional Wastewater Commission in the counties of Bullitt, Hardin, Jefferson, Meade, and Oldham counties. The regional wastewater system will help ensure sewer capacity and promotes a clean environment. With the growing economic development and urbanization of the Commonwealth, regional wastewater systems may become a growing trend across the Commonwealth.
HB 242 Metals Copper is being stolen at an alarming rate in many states. Numerous vacant properties are being targeted which can leave property owners in financial turmoil. HB 242 introduced by Rep. Mike Denham-D of Maysville requires the purchase of metals by recyclers and/or dealers to require a signed certificate of ownership or authorization to sell any metal which has been smelted, burned or melted.
HB 244 Homestead Exemptions
Rep. Danny Ford-R, REALTOR® in Mt. Vernon, introduced legislation allowing a service-connected totally disabled veteran of the US Armed Forces or a totally and permanently disabled individual (found disabled under the Social Security Administration, Kentucky Retirement System, or any other Kentucky Revised Statutes) to be able to document disability at the time of application for homestead exemption. Additionally, the individual would not be required to apply for homestead exemption on an annual basis.
Dennis R. Anderson
Lisa L. Presley-McGrew
Steve K. Cline
Charlie L. Murphy
Anthony S. de Movellan
Joann K. Risner
Patricia M. Edison
Betty A. Schutte
Carolyn S. Edwards
Joseph E. Simms
Susan W. Helm
Carl M. Tackett
Harrell N. Tague, Jr.
Rue O. McFarland
John J. Weikel, II
Special Recognition to In-Kind RPAC Contributors Ann McDonald Todd Hyatt
Highest Membership Participation Murray-Calloway County Board of REALTORS® 97% Participation
Most Contributions Raised (Overall) Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS® $56,137.50
Pacesetter Award – (first to achieve goal) Greater Owensboro REALTOR® Association January 2010
Largest Percentage Over Goal Small Board Hopkinsville Christian County Board of REALTORS® 336.59% of Goal Medium Board Greater Owensboro REALTOR® Association 242.51% of Goal
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Legislative Update cont. HB 247 Radon Contractors Rep. Steve Riggs-D of Louisville introduced a bill this year that would require the certification and regulation of radon measurement contractors, mitigation contractors, and radon laboratories. KAR worked very close with Rep. Riggs and Kyle Hoylman of the Kentucky Association of Radon Professionals. Certification will be required by January 1, 2013.
HB 250 Home Inspectors The Home Inspectors bill introduced by Rep. Adam Koenig-R, REALTOR® in Erlanger, moves the Kentucky Board of Home Inspectors from Kentucky Housing, Buildings, and Constructions to the Division of Occupations and Professions. Other changes include an annual posting of the board’s decisions, actions, and orders concerning inspector licensee complaints and allowing the board to intervene when an unlicensed person attempts to conduct home inspections.
HB 256 Kentucky Housing Corporation The Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) offers many programs which include homeownership education and counseling and rental assistance. KHC, along with Rep. Mike Denham-D of Maysville, introduced legislation that increases the income limit restriction for some of KHC’s mortgage products to enable KHC to assist more moderate income families in Kentucky. Families with a combined family income that is equal to or less than 175% of the state or area median income would be eligible for these loans.
HB 288 – Appraisal Management Companies The Kentucky Real Estate Appraisers Board and the Kentucky Association of Real Estate Appraisers along with Rep. Susan Westrom-D, REALTOR® in Lexington, worked to pass legislation that requires registration and regulation of Appraisal Management Companies (AMC). Appraisal Management Companies are third-party brokers of appraisal services that sit between banks and other mortgage originators, and licensed or certified appraisers who perform real estate appraisals. Enactment of this law will require greater accountability, responsibility, and transparency on the part of third-party brokers of appraisal services.
HB 460 - Auctioneers Daily master commissioner sales are being conducted on courthouse steps in cities across the Commonwealth. Rep. Sannie Overly-D of Paris introduced legislation that allows the court, upon request of the creditor or mortgage holder, to secure the services of an auctioneer to conduct the public sale of their property. The fee includes a cap and is paid from the proceeds of the sale. If the sale is being conducted by a licensed auctioneer, the sale is to be conducted on the site of the real property to be sold, giving consumers an opportunity to view the property prior to the auction. To view how legislators voted on each of these bills, visit www.kar.com > Governmental Affairs > Issue Tracker.
A Focus on National Issues Short Sales Since 2008, NAR has been actively pushing the lending industry to improve the process for approving short sales. In a direct response to REALTOR® concerns, the Treasury Department developed a new program, the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA), to establish uniform procedures, forms and deadlines for short sales. The challenge now is to push lenders to implement HAFA and to improve other short sales programs so short sales close at much higher rates. On April 12, 2011, Representatives Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Robert Andrews (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 1498, the “Prompt Decision for Qualification of Short Sale Act of 2011.” This legislation, which still has to make its way through Congress for passage, makes it mandatory for mortgage servicers to reply to a short sale request within 45 days of a complete submission. If the servicer fails to provide a decision by the deadline, the request is considered approved.
The Future of the Secondary Mortgage Market The GSEs, though they have been in conservatorship for almost three years, remain critical to ensuring mortgage market liquidity. Currently, estimates of GSE loan volume range as high as two-thirds of mortgage loans. Elimination of the GSEs, without a viable replacement for their secondary mortgage market mission, will mean severely restricted mortgage capital and higher costs for qualified, creditworthy borrowers. The reduction in mortgage liquidity will exacerbate downward pressure on home prices ultimately reducing the home values for existing home owners. Comprehensive legislation should be enacted to restructure the secondary mortgage market in a manner that provides the federal government with a continued role in the secondary mortgage market in order to ensure a continual flow of mortgage liquidity in all markets under all economic conditions.
Access to Affordable Mortgage Products The Dodd-Frank Act requires mortgage securitizers to retain 5% of the risk unless the mortgage is a qualified residential mortgage (QRM). The proposed rule issued by six federal regulators would require families to make a 20% down payment and meet other stringent requirements. The QRM definition is extraordinarily important because it will determine the types of mortgages that will be generally available for borrowers for the foreseeable future. Weak underwriting and toxic mortgages are the main cause of mortgage defaults, not well-underwritten mortgages with affordable down payments. REALTORS® need Congress to extend the current mortgage loan limits for FHA and the GSEs, and NAR opposes mandatory increases in mortgage down payments proposed by financial regulators through narrow definition of Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM).
When a consumer buys a house, there is a significant cash investment required. This includes the down payment, closing costs (3-5% the purchase price), and other fees (including inspections, prepays, etc.). Placing home ownership out of reach for middle-class America by raising down payments to 20% will have dire consequences on our economic health and the individual wealth of our citizens. Requiring a higher down payment does little to reduce risk of default, but strips home buyers of their savings and increases the number of borrowers who would be ineligible for home ownership. If down payment requirements increase to 20%, NAR estimates that it would take a frugal family more than 14 years to accrue the savings needed to buy a home.
Affordable and Available Property Insurance Floods claimed more lives and property than any other natural disaster in the U.S. over the last century. Unable to ignore the rising cost to taxpayers of disaster payments for uninsured properties or the lack of a private market for flood insurance, Congress created the NFIP in 1968. Today, 5.6 million property owners rely on the program in 21,000 communities where flood insurance is required for federally related mortgages. Floods are not just a coastal issue. Flood disasters have been declared in every state – along rivers and anywhere that snow melts or rain falls. Historic claims data shows the top three states contributing the most net revenue to NFIP coffers were on the Gulf; the top three with the most NFIP net loss years were in the Midwest.
Preserving Homeownership Tax Benefits In December 2010, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (best known as the Deficit Commission) issued a report identifying tax and spending changes designed to significantly reduce the deficit over the next decade. That Commission recommended different tax options. At least three different approaches were included: • Eliminate all “tax expenditures” (deductions, exclusions, credits). • Eliminate the MID for second homes and reduce the amount of allowable mortgage debt from $1 million to $500,000. • Convert the deduction to a 12% tax credit. Since the report was issued, NAR has aggressively reminded Congress that any change to the tax rules that apply to home ownership would disrupt the market and cause home values to further decline. NAR believes preserving the tax rules that have applied to home ownership is a priority. Most of these rules, particularly the mortgage interest deduction and the property tax deduction, have been part of the tax system for decades and are deeply woven into the economic fabric. Congress must do no harm. The housing market has not yet recovered. Changing the tax laws would further impair the market.
It is important that the NFIP be reauthorized for at least five years to end the uncertainty of extensions and shutdowns.
REALTORS® need Congress to extend the current mortgage loan limits for FHA and the GSEs, and NAR opposes mandatory increases in mortgage down payments proposed by financial regulators through narrow definition of Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM).
The Kentucky Association of REALTORS® awarded the Jess and Carolyn Kinman Award to Representative Danny Ford (pictured with 2011 KAR President Tony Clark). He is the current Minority Whip and represents Lincoln, Rockcastle and Pulaski counties and is a long time supporter of homeownership and property rights. Representative Ford is a REALTOR® and auctioneer. The award is named in honor of Jess, a former KAR past president and REALTOR® of the Year who passed away in 2007, and his wife Carolyn, who worked for many years at the Legislative Research Commission and General Assembly. The Kinman Award is presented to an outstanding Kentuckian whose involvement in the legislative and political arenas have left an indelible mark on all those who have known or worked with him or her.
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Education Convenience for your schedule Licensees need to obtain the annual education requirements set by the Kentucky Real Estate Commission or face a $500 fine. Don’t worry - the Kentucky Real Estate Education Foundation (KREEF) has you covered. You can earn CE credit for your real estate license without leaving your home or office and take it at any time that fits your schedule. KREEF has three courses to choose from and they can be taken anytime and anywhere – 24/7. All that is needed is a computer and internet access. Register now visit www.kreef.org > Online Education.
Live web cam classes There is another great way to earn your CE and CORE without leaving your home or office through live web cam classes. With these classes there are no final exams to pass and they are offered at times convenient for your schedule. Since the class is live and online, you will need a web cam and microphone (if your web cam does not have audio) so the instructor can monitor your presence during the class. Demo classes and system checks are available before you enroll so you have the comfort of knowing the format will work for you. To learn more about these classes and to see a complete schedule, visit www.kreef.org > Live Web Cam Classes.
Go online for your NAR designation Environmental Issues in Real Estate 6 hours (3 hours law credit & 3 hours elective credit) Cost: $50 Real Estate Finance Today 3 hours (3 hours elective credit) Cost: $30 Fair Housing 3 hours (3 hours law credit) Cost: $30
REALTOR® University, the online education portal through NAR, provides online courses leading to NAR’s official family designations and certifications - ABR, ABRM, CIPS, Green, e-PRO, SRES, AHWD, RSPS, REPA, TRC and more. The REALTOR® University site offers more than 400 hours of real estate education and professional continuing education to help members build skills and earn designations and certifications that differentiate them from the competition. There is also a webinar center available that provides information on timely topics that will help you succeed in your business. Online courses through NAR are not approved for CE in Kentucky but do count as GRI electives. To find out more, visit www.kreef.org > REALTOR® University.
Marketing Relationship Management: 7 Ways to Keep In Touch With Past Clients By Melissa Dittman Tracey
Past clients are your lifeline to generating a steady stream of repeat business and referrals, but how do you keep in touch without becoming a nuisance? Real estate pros offer their best tips for keeping relationships alive past a transaction. In real estate, there’s a fine line in keeping in touch with your past clients and becoming that annoying pest who’s always calling, e-mailing, or mailing. So how do you make sure you aren’t annoying and stay within that helpful professional or friend zone? “It’s all about making it personal, making it magic, and making the experience unforgettable so that two or 10 years down the road they’ll remember to call you,” says real estate pro Cheryl Hanna with Keyes Co. in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and also a frequent blogger about customer service issues for Service Untitled. There are plenty of ways to keep in touch without them turning off, such as through memorable gifts and personalized cards, or even sneaky ways to get connected to their voice mail without risking interrupting them with a phone call. A lot of it comes down to intuitively judging what your clients want in a relationship with you after a transaction, Hanna says. For example, is your relationship more of a friendship or strictly professional? How do they prefer to be contacted—which of them are phone persons and which are e-mail types? Something else to keep in mind: They probably want you to stay connected. The odds appear in your favor that past clients will use you again. Eighty-four percent of sellers say they are likely to use the same agent again or recommend that agent to others, according to the 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. But if you disappear into the shadows following a transaction, will they really call when they — or their family and friends — need you?
For example, Desiree DiDonato with Century 21 Rauh & Johns in Sewell, N.J., likes to send her past clients a “hello” e-mail that includes home sales in the area where they own. Or, she might call them with current rates on mortgages. (You can find the latest mortgage rates through Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey at freddiemac.com.) Or offer home maintenance reminders (e.g., changing out smoke detector batteries once a year), home design tips, or remodeling ideas (cite Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report) to show what remodeling projects offer the biggest return at resale). You also can find helpful articles — on everything from home maintenance to selling advice — to send to clients at HouseLogic.com.
2 Offer an unusual gift Shelley Tinnel with Boulder Bay Realty Group in Valparaiso, Ind., likes to make gifts memorable. She’ll send past clients an odd gift usually at the beginning of every year. Last year, she sent “dirty/clean” magnets for the dishwasher. Or she has mailed rival sports team schedules so they can root for the other team, or once she sent bags of popcorn with stickers that say “Real estate is popping; give me a call.” “Mostly they call to laugh, but they remember me,” Tinnel says. “I love to get a smile or a kick out of people, and little odd items do the trick.”
Real estate professionals sent in some of their best ideas for keeping in touch with past clients. Find some inspiration from what they do and apply it to your own customer relationships.
1 Deliver some news they can use Clients won’t be so turned off when you provide them with useful information, such as the latest news of the community and the local housing market. “The real estate market is tense in a lot of areas of the country right now and many home owners are interested in information on the mortgage market, foreclosure information, or the value of the home they have now,” Hanna says. “Everything you send out to a former client has to have some pertinent, valuable information to them,” otherwise they’ll disregard your messages completely.
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Marketing cont. Need more ideas? See 10 Cheap Prospecting Giveaways (bit.ly/ejr6ww) or get some do-it-yourself gift ideas (bit.ly/ dPI7MJ), from homemade cookies to becoming a handy helper for the day.
3 Make your cards memorable and personal Remembering important events in your clients’ lives and sending a card in the mail or a simple e-mail message can go a long way in building memorable relationships.
Phone calls for past clients’ birthdays or special days also can make a great personal touch. But how about if your client isn’t really a phone person, but you still want that personal touch a voice offers? Phone services such as SlyDial allow you to connect directly to someone’s mobile voice mail to leave them a message without disrupting them with your call. You simply call the SlyDial number (267-759-3425) and then at the voice prompt, enter the mobile phone number you want to reach. You’ll be directly connected to that person’s voice mail to leave a message.
5 Follow up with a survey
Hanna isn’t big into popular holiday cards because she says they get mixed up with everyone else’s cards and are quickly forgotten. Instead, to stand out, she likes to send off-season cards, such as “Welcome to Spring” or Thanksgiving cards.
Hanna always uses customer feedback surveys following a transaction. It’s a way to not only make contact with your past clients but also show them you care about finding ways to better serve them in the future.
Here are some more ideas:
Experts recommend sending customer-satisfaction surveys two to three weeks after closing. Keep the surveys brief, asking your customers what services they liked and what needs improvement, Hanna suggests. You can easily build customer feedback surveys online, such as through SurveyMonkey.com, KeySurvey, FreeOnlineSurveys.com, or Zoomerang.
• Birthday cards with an extra touch: Vincent Prestileo Jr. with RE/MAX Hometown in Media, Pa., sends a birthday card each year to his clients that includes a $1 scratchoff ticket. And don’t forget Fido: Pet birthdays count too, adds Donna Mikesh with Century 21 Pro Service, REALTORS®, in Johnson City, Tenn. • Home anniversary cards: Send out cards each year celebrating the anniversary of closing on the clients’ home. • Congratulatory cards: Remember graduations, wedding anniversaries, or a new baby in the family. • Important date reminders: Consider card reminders about daylight savings time or upcoming deadlines for home energy-efficiency tax credits. Every month, Vicci Hall with ERA Real Estate Professionals in Ridgeland, Miss., will select 50 past clients with whom she has a close relationship and send them a special letter, which she calls a “Letter From My Heart.” She’ll handwrite the envelopes to add a personal touch, and the letters will include inspirational stories or focus on a special holiday or event. For example, she recently used breast cancer awareness envelopes and stamps and pink stationery for a letter to past clients to show them she also supports a cause that is near and dear to them. “I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of positive comments and feedback from this letter,” she says. “This contact with past clients ensures that they don’t forget me and also reminds them to refer me to friends and family.”
4 Give them a call Sabena Branche with Pulte Homes in Newburgh, N.Y., likes to follow up with her clients with a phone call a few days after they move in to check on how the move went and offer her assistance if needed.
6 Make a social networking connection Social networking sites online can make it easy to keep in touch with past clients on an informal and more friend-type basis. Deb Counts-Tabor with Oregon Realty in Portland, Ore., makes sure to connect with all of her past clients on Facebook. “I use it for everything, from knowing when a past client is having a baby to reminding folks to check basements during the first heavy rain of the year,” CountsTabor says. “I’ve only lost contact with two clients in four years — I count the rest as friends.” Tip: You can use Facebook’s friend lists feature to group your friends into customized lists (e.g. “first-time home buyers,” “past clients,” “industry contacts,” etc.) to better manage all your contacts on Facebook. (You can put friends into multiple lists.) By categorizing your friends on Facebook, you’ll then easily be able to view news feeds based on your contact lists or send messages to certain lists of contacts. Just be careful what you call your lists — some friend lists can be made public and even notify your contacts about it. Check your privacy settings. Also, to stay on top of what your clients are doing online and find excuses to connect again, you can use plug-ins to your e-mail systems to reveal what your contacts are doing online. For example, services such as Xobni and Rapportive create an address book of all your e-mail contacts and show you profiles of each contact, including their latest status updates on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
For example, Mikesh of Century 21 Pro Service sends a letter and copy of her clients’ HUD form to them at the beginning of the year following their closing. “The HUD form is greatly appreciated because of tax preparation, the fact that they have moved recently, and — in most cases — they’ve misplaced their paperwork temporarily,” she says. • Come to the rescue: Consider what information your past clients may need to make home ownership happier for them and put yourself in the “save the day” role. For example, offer past clients a list of vendors — from handyman to electricians to plumbers — to help them with any home problem they may face. Or, many home owners, despite having a drop in market value of their homes, have had to face rising property taxes. You can help point them to information on how to appeal their property taxes. (See realtor.org for an article titled “Time to Appeal That Tax Bill?”)
Make Lasting Connections Regardless what you do to keep in touch, be consistent in your contact. Many real estate professionals use a customer relationship management solution, whether it’s an online or computer software program, to better manage all of their past contacts and set notifications to alert them to establish contact at certain times of the year. Hall manages all of her past clients in a database. She sends about 175 cards a month to people on her list, such as postcards for holidays or mailings that offers different types of advice like home maintenance tips.
7 Get creative! Special events or extra helpful touches also can go a long way in getting your past clients’ attention and set you apart. Here are three ideas: • Host a party: Counts-Tabor has created a Halloween tradition among her past clients. She invites them to her home on Halloween for a party; costumes are optional. The early part of the evening is kid-friendly with her clients’ children trick-or-treating; people at the party will take turns answering the door to hand out treats. About 75 past clients showed up last year. Also, in the past, CountsTabor rented a hotel suite on the fourth of July across from where the fireworks in the city would be set off and invite all of her clients to watch the fireworks from there. • Help them get organized: To help your clients better organize their housing paperwork or prepare for tax time, create a binder containing copies of paperwork generated during the transaction, such as appraisals, inspection reports, warranties, and settlement statements.
“I’ve been doing this for about six months, and it is truly paying off now,” she says. “I’m getting new business every few days, most of which are somehow related to this mailing list. People on my list are referring me to friends of theirs, which is the idea behind it.” Branche has a “Keep in Touch” program that goes into action immediately after closing for every client. It includes mailings and e-mail from her every holiday, birthday, and anniversary of their closing. “I have found being consistent with these actions opens the door to repeat business,” Branche says. “Also, it allows me to continue building my referral base, which has created much more business to come directly my way.”
Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online, March 2011, Melissa Dittman Tracey, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
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Local Association News Local boards/associations are encouraged to submit information for this section. Pictures must be at least 300dpi. Send all association news to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cumberland Valley Board
Kentucky Barkley Lakes Board
The CVBR Public Relations Committee made a commitment to feed the residents of the Christian Homeless Shelter, which can house up to 60 residents, at least one time per month for the entire year. REALTORS® are volunteering to provide the food and donating their time to serve the residents. By the end of the year, the Board will have had over 50% of their members participate in this project.
The Board sponsored their first Red Cross Blood Drive with Jennifer Fisk, RE/Max Real Estate Associates, as the Community Service chairperson. A total of 33 donors participated with 28 pints being donated. The goal set by the Red Cross for the drive was 20. Board member H. Pat Hurley attained REALTOR® Emeritus
Greater Louisville Association GLAR introduces leadership program GLAR is launching a new local program to assist participating REALTORS® in developing leadership skills and motivate them to become more aware of real estate and association management issues and challenges. Participants will be involved in problem-solving activities on issues of current interest and will provide a network of leaders to become actively involved in improving our profession and their local, state and national associations. There is an application process and only 20 REALTORS® will be chosen to participate. New Raise the Bar award Many of us forget to thank or encourage REALTORS® when they do a wonderful job and are great to work with. The Raise the Bar award was created to help change that by honoring the success of a Member who has devoted his/her time, energy and efforts to making our industry better. Members can submit an award form to GLAR with the name of a Realtor® they would like to recognize. Award recipients will be announced at the Annual Membership Meeting. Charity Bowl-a-thon helps REALTOR® This is the sixth year that GLAR has hosted a Charity Bowl-a-thon. What makes this year different is that the recipient is a Realtor®. GLAR member Mike Brown, founder of this event, is recovering from a recent stroke and when the Community Relations Committee heard about this, they unanimously decided that this year’s funds from the Bowl-a-thon should go to him. Over 200 people bowled at the event and $3,300 was raised!
status on December 30, 2010. Pat was associated with Peel & Holland Real Estate in Benton for 32 years before moving to RE/Max Real Estate Associates. His father, Harold Hurley, received the first Marshall County real estate license in 1948 and worked with Pat at Peel & Holland until the age of 97. In 1972, Pat served as president of the Kentucky Barkley Lakes Board and was selected REALTOR® of the Year. Pat was the State GRI chairman for three years and has also earned the CRS, CRB and GRI designations. He has worked with Habitat for Humanity and various other community projects.
REALTOR® Association of SKY
The REALTOR® Association of Southern Kentucky is excited to announce the grand opening of their REALTOR® store, complete with clothing items, REALTOR® accessories from safety items to listing and selling items and much more! Also, to increase membership participation in both local, state and national REALTOR® events; the REALTOR® Association of Southern Kentucky has incorporated an award point system for every event, meeting, etc. that is attended. Points will be accumulated through the year and will end in December with an auction to bid on items based on their point totals. Get Involved…Get Rewarded!
Greater Owensboro seeing aggressive development Big transformations have begun, or are near completion, in the Greater Owensboro area since the 2006 KAR Annual Convention was held here. Now, stretching south along the Ohio River from the performing arts’ River Park Center, to the future site of a planned $27 million convention and events center, the $50 million Riverfront Park/Plaza is due to open in June of 2012. Part of a 17 acre downtown plan, this development also sports a unique outdoor theater and a new $20 million 150-room convention hotel due for completion in 2013, all part of an $80 million dollar redevelopment project.
Also scheduled for completion in 2013 is the Owensboro Medical Health System’s new $385 million, 447-bed, regional hospital. The OMHS facility is currently the region’s largest employer with 3,300 employees and an annual payroll of approximately $163 million. The new OMHS hospital campus is located adjacent to construction of the new Interstate 64/65 Corridor Connector, infrastructure certain to improve commercial growth for Owensboro. Still other transformations include the expansion construction of the U.S. Bank Company’s national mortgage-servicing center which will employ 500 additional local area workers, and the 20 acre, $14 million Kentucky National Guard Readiness Center.
city’s population totaled 741,096 during 2010 - up nearly 7 percent from the 2000 Census. Jefferson County, which is now Metro Louisville, grew slightly more than 4 percent during the previous decade.
Lexington named the “best city for jobs this spring” by Forbes The employment services firm Manpower has surveyed more than 18,000 employers in 100 metropolitan areas to find out who’s hiring, who’s firing and who plans to maintain their current staff levels in the second quarter of 2011, April through June. The survey revealed that the metropolitan area with the most optimistic forecast of all for hiring this spring is Lexington-Fayette, Ky. “Lexington has a vibrant and growing economy, and I am no longer surprised by our growth and overall rankings,” said Bob Quick, president and chief executive of Commerce Lexington, Inc. “It is one more piece of economic information that highlights many years of hard work in building our economic and quality of living infrastructure.”
Louisville ranks high as a “digital city” Louisville was named a top-ranked municipality in the 2010 Digital Cities Survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government and Government Technology. In the largest category for populations more than 250,000, Louisville ranked second, getting edged out by Boston. The survey measures and assesses the use of information technology by local governments. This year’s survey focused on measurable achievements by showing that a project delivers “hard-dollar” returns or could quantify their improvements.
Lexington and Northern KY ranked as best housing markets in 2011 In an article by MSN, housing markets across the country were analyzed by Local Market Monitor and they shared their predictions for the five best (and worst markets) for those who are ready to buy in 2011. LMM analyzed more than 300 housing markets and identified markets that were “suitable for investment.” At #4, the Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. area had prices remaining flat, while #5, the Lexington-Fayette, Ky. had the market at the bottom with prices declining about 1%.
Jefferson County population grew faster than any other in Kentucky Jefferson County grew faster than any other Kentucky county during the last decade and outpaced its growth from the 1990s, according to 2010 Census data released Thursday. Overall, the
Lexington-Fayette is a more than $20 billion economic area with consistent, sustained growth. The region’s economy grew 20% between 2001 and 2008, and its unemployment rate is the lowest in the state. The area enjoys a 24% net employment outlook with health care, bioscience, life science and high tech emerging as industry leaders over the past few years.
LBAR AE Receives High Honor Elaine M. Hangis, association executive for the LexingtonBluegrass Association, was recently inducted into the Dr. Almon R. (Bud) Smith, RCE, AE Leadership Society at the NAR Midyear Meeting in Washington, DC. The Society recognizes association executives (AEs) who have shown themselves to be leading contributors to the industry and the profession. These AEs excel in the association management profession by demonstrating uncommon leadership, a willingness to help others, and acceptance of a responsibility to constantly improve themselves. Nominees for the Society have brought credit to the profession of association management through their personal involvement in advancing the purposes of the organization at the local, state, or national level; provided leadership in ways that have benefited the organization, the members, or other association executives; or made other significant contributions that have advanced their organization in meaningful ways. Candidates must have a proven track record of identifying and sharing innovative ideas. Members will play an active, ongoing role as innovators and mentors for the AE community.
SPRING 2011 KENTUCKY REALTOR® 23
By The Numbers
16% vs. 4%
The fastest growth for social network site usage has come from internet users 74 and older. Usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%, according to a Pew Internet report.
The value of a square foot of housing in the U.S. is up 58% from its January 2000 level, according to data from housing analytics firm Radar Logic on the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. That represents an average annual gain of 4.3% in the value of one square foot of housing.
The U.S. Latino population drove more than half of the country’s population growth between 2000-2010 and now accounts for approximately 17 percent of Americans, according to data from the U.S. Census. Increases in Hispanic residents topped estimates in most states, and are on track to be nearly a million more nationwide than previously anticipated, a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of the data shows. Another surprising demographic development was that numeric growth of Asian-Americans in the last decade was higher than that of African-Americans. The nation’s largest racial group, Caucasians, inched up a bit in terms of overall numbers, but their segment of the overall population shrunk, going from 69 percent to about 64 percent.
58 percent 10%
According to Web metrics firm Hitwise, Facebook represented 10 percent of U.S. Internet visits in November 2010, compared with 7 percent for search engine Google.
Nearly 60 percent of all U.S. Internet users, or 127 million people, use a social network at least once a month, says research from eMarketer. (And most return multiple times a day to chat with friends, watch video clips, and play games.) By 2014, that number is expected to jump to two-thirds of all U.S. Internet users.
Number of consumers who are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site, says a new study by comScore and TMP Directional Marketing. 81 percent of consumers using social media say it’s important for businesses to respond to questions and complaints. Concerning reviews and ratings – 78 percent said they’re important when deciding what to buy.
When it comes to homeownership, about one third of Generation Y, currently between the ages of 18 and 32, are already homeowners. Here’s what The Kiplinger Letter reported about Generation Y’s tech habits: 90% use the Internet, 75% use social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, 60% access the web wirelessly while on-the-go, 83% keep their cell phone nearby even when asleep and 40% don’t even have a landline.
HubSpot analyzed the volume of search queries for the term “real estate” at search engines relative to the appearance of the term in blog posts and postings at social media sites. Search engines saw the bulk of activity for the keyword “real estate” (about 52 percent), followed by blogs (about 26 percent) and social media (about 22 percent). An analysis of the online activity for the term “real estate” at four social networks revealed that LinkedIn accounted for about 50 percent, followed by Twitter (about 28 percent), YouTube (about 12 percent) and, lastly, Facebook (about 10 percent).
95 % 72 %
A survey by the American Attitudes About Homeownership found that in today’s challenging economy, 95 percent of owners and 72 percent of renters believe that over a period of several years, it makes more sense to own a home. In addition, an overwhelming majority of home owners are happy with their decision to own a home - 93 percent of owners surveyed would buy again. The same study revealed that 43 percent of home owners are very/extremely satisfied with their community life compared with 30 percent of renters.
Housing Stats Housing may see the light this summer Pending home nationally were up in March which may signal good news for housing in Kentucky as we move forward into the summer months. In fact, analysts at both Standard & Poor’s and Barclays Capital agree that the additional uptick in home resales in March (increasing 3.7 percent nationally) is a favorable sign of things to come. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has reported that home sales have risen six of the past eight months and with rising jobs and excellent affordability conditions, they project moderate improvements into 2012. The Mortgage Bankers Association has estimated that home sales nationally will rise 4.1 percent to 5.1 million in 2011, with the biggest increases in the second half of the year. In Kentucky, home sales have gotten off to a shaky start in 2011 while median prices have shown a glimpse of improvement. For the first quarter of 2011, home sales were down 7.4 percent compared to the same period in 2010. The median home price in Kentucky rose 1.7 percent for the first quarter of the year versus first quarter in 2010. “A rebound in home sales, especially for Kentucky, will depend largely on the availability of jobs and the confidence of the public in the economy,” said Tony Clark, president of the Kentucky Association of REALTORS® (KAR). “With the state’s March unemployment rate declining and the report that jobs are being created in most all sectors across Kentucky, we hope to see a trend of strong housing numbers pick up over the remainder of the year.” As for new homes, work has begun on 549,000 houses annualized as of March, up 7.2 percent from the prior month, figures from the Commerce Department showed. A good sign that demand for housing may be picking up and buyers are entering the market. Looking at all the data, is buying now really a good idea? Falling prices have made real estate the best buy in at least four decades. Housing affordability reached a record in December, according to NAR data that go back to 1970. The group bases its gauge on property prices, mortgage rates and the median U.S. income. Part of the buying incentive up to this point has been low mortgage rates but that won’t last forever. The rate in March was 4.84 percent but the Mortgage Bankers are saying that by the fourth quarter of 2012, the rate may rise to as high as 6 percent. Couple this with the uncertainty of what’s to come with government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and now may be the best time for buyers to jump off the fence and into ownership.
1st Quarter 2011 vs 1st Quarter 2010 BOARD/ASSOCIATION
SOLD SOLD SOLD MEDIAN MEDIAN MEDIAN 2011 2010 % PRICE 2011 PRICE 2010 %
REGION ONE Henderson-Audubon Board of REALTORS® Hopkinsville-Christian Board of REALTORS®
77 -31.17% 92750
Kentucky-Barkley Lakes Board of REALTORS® Madisonville-Hopkins Board of REALTORS®
Mayfield-Graves Board of REALTORS®
Murray Calloway County Board of REALTORS® 35 57 -38.60% 145000 Owensboro Board of REALTORS® 221 209 5.74% 88625 ® Paducah Board of REALTORS 109 117 -6.84% 140450 Pennyrile Board of REALTORS® 65 56 16.07% 97500
REGION TWO Central Kentucky Association of REALTORS® 110 87 26.44% 80000 75500
Heart of Kentucky Association of REALTORS® Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS®
350 434 -19.35% 117500
REALTOR® Association of Southern Kentucky Russellville-Logan Board of REALTORS®
279 288 -3.13%
Shelbyville Board of REALTORS®
66 33.33% 134000
South Central Kentucky Association of REALTORS® 53
59 -10.17% 102300
REGION THREE Greater Louisville Association of REALTORS® 2162 2340 -7.61% 130000 130350
REGION FOUR Lexington Bluegrass Association of REALTORS® 1200 1421 -15.55% 131250 130900
REGION FIVE Northern Kentucky Association of REALTORS® 828 862 -3.94% 123125 115500
75 20.00% 100450
REGION SIX Ashland Area Board of REALTORS® 148 151 -1.99% 85000 86600
Cave Run Association of REALTORS®
Cumberland Valley Board of REALTORS®
117 -23.08% 107900
Eastern Kentucky Association of REALTORS® Madison County Board of REALTORS®
98 -26.53% 120000
165 160 3.13%
Pioneer Trace Board of REALTORS®
Somerset-Lake Cumberland Board of REALTORS® 107 126 -15.08%
632 7164 -7.43%
* Statistics are unavailable for the following local associations: Cynthiana-Harrison Co. & Dix River **The statewide median price is derived from the total data submitted for the quarter by the local boards/associations
“If you can jump through the hoops to get a mortgage, and there will be hoops, then this is an amazing time to purchase real estate,” said Robert Stein, former head of the Treasury Department’s Office of Economic Policy. “There are going to be a lot of people kicking themselves a few years from now because they didn’t take advantage of the low prices and the low mortgage rates.”
SPRING 2011 KENTUCKY REALTOR® 25
Community Profile Paducah, Kentucky By Valerie A. Russo
Paducah has earned its nickname, Quilt City, USA. This Kentucky town is home to the world’s largest quilt museum and the annual American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show and Contest. In addition, six museums, two theaters, two racetracks, an art film cinema, symphony orchestra, more than 35 art studios and galleries and many annual events and activities are at the heart of this small town. Not bad for a city of 27,000 people. Also, Paducah is a hub of the river industry. In 1827, William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) platted the grid for a new town at the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio rivers, part of the nation’s network of connecting waterways. He named the town for Chief Paduke, legendary leader of the native people from whom the land was purchased. Today, Paducah remains a busy port, boasting two major shipyards and a training center for tugboat captains.
Quality Quilts On Jefferson Street, one block from the flood wall murals, is the National Quilt Museum of the United States, founded in 1991 by Paducah residents William and Meredith Schroeder, who also founded the American Quilter’s Society. The 30,000-square-foot museum currently has 300 contemporary quilts in its growing collection, with about 150 quilts on view at any time. It also has a large museum shop with quilts and quilt-making supplies and classrooms for quilt workshops, which are held year-round. As you enter the lobby, admire (but don’t touch) the hand-carved, hand-painted wooden quilt sculpture by Fraser Smith and the stained glass windows, which are patterned after quilts in the museum’s collection, by Jack Wallis. In the three galleries, see the changing exhibitions of contemporary full-size and miniature quilts from the museum’s collection, as well as quilts on loan for themed exhibitions. Quilt styles vary, from block to pictorial, and methods vary, too, from handmade to machine-made. Artists from all over the country are represented, including Paducah resident Caryl Bryer Fallert, who has won Best of Show in prestigious quilt shows, including the Houston International Quilt Festival and the American Quilter’s Society Contest in Paducah.
Paducah’s Largest Event, the annual American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show and Contest, is a four-day event in late April featuring an exhibition of 400 quilts, 400 vendor booths and more than 100 quilting workshops, lectures and special events. Prize money totaling $120,000 will be awarded in various quilt categories. Many award-winning quilts from past shows can be seen at the National Quilt Museum of the United States in Paducah. 26 www.kar.com
River City To learn about the Paducah’s river heritage, visit the River Discovery Center in the downtown’s oldest standing structure, an 1843 restored brick building by the river. Highlights include an eight-foot scale model of the Delta Queen, one of the last steamboats on the Ohio and Tennessee rivers (retired in 2009), recordings of roustabout songs of boat laborers and tales of riverboat captains, including Mary Miller, Kentucky’s first licensed female tugboat captain. There’s also a Pilothouse Simulator, which lets visitors steer a tugboat, coast guard cutter or speedboat on the Ohio River, and an exhibit showing actual river traffic recorded by the museum’s rooftop camera. Don’t miss the exhibit on flood formation (stand back or you might get wet) and the photographs of the Ohio River flood of 1937, the worst natural disaster in Paducah’s history. In 1944, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built 12 miles of flood walls to protect Paducah from future flooding. Step outside the museum and walk along Water Street to see Portraits of Paducah’s Past, a series of 54 handpainted murals on the flood walls by Robert Dafford and his team of artists. Each mural has an interpretative plaque, which explains the historical significance of the scene, and a spotlight for evening viewing.
LowerTown Arts District Bryer Fallert is one of 75 artists who moved to Paducah because of its Artist Relocation Program, which offers 100 percent financing to artists who build or renovate existing structures for residences, studios and galleries in the downtown and adjacent LowerTown areas. The growing community of artists has created a thriving LowerTown Arts District where visitors can meet the artists,
In the evening, have dinner at a restaurant in one of the restored brick buildings in downtown Paducah, such as Tribeca Mexican Cuisine or Max’s Brick Oven Café. Then, attend a performance of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra at the Luther F. Carson Performing Arts Center, which is named for the Paducah businessman who first bottled Coca-Cola; or a community theater production at the Market House Theater; or a new art film at the Maiden Alley Cinema and Gallery. On Friday evenings, April through October, watch late model stock car and sprint car racing at the Paducah International Raceway. And on Saturday evenings, Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, enjoy outdoor entertainment, horsedrawn carriage rides, dancing and vintage car shows in downtown Paducah. Paducah offers a variety of accommodations, from nationally known hotels and motels to one-of-a-kind historic lodgings, such as the Fox Briar Inn, a new all-suite property in a restored brick building next to the River Discovery Center, guest suites above art galleries and the Mary Jane Inn, an 1873 Victorian mansion in the LowerTown Arts District. Reprinted with permission from AAA Journeys magazine.
buy art and take a workshop, such as quilt-making with Caryl Bryer Fallert at Bryerpatch Studio, marbling on paper and fabric with Charlotte Erwin at Working Artists Studios and ceramics with Michael Terra at Terra Cottage. See Paducah’s beautiful dogwood trees on a 12-mile selfguided driving tour of downtown, Lower Town and other residential neighborhoods in mid-April, when the dogwoods are in bloom. Pick up a map at the Visitor Bureau or print one (www.paducah.travel), and follow the Dogwood Trail by day or by night, when the flowering trees and shrubs are illuminated with floodlights.
Paducah History, Restaurants and More To learn more about Paducah’s history, visit the Market House Museum, where you can see an original 1827 map of Paducah signed by William Clark, the woodwork interior of an 1877 drug store and the city’s first motorized fire truck. Tour the 1852 home of Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman to learn about Western Kentucky’s role during the Civil War and see the model train and railroad equipment at the Paducah Railroad Museum. Also, visit Hotel Metropolitan, where famous guests included Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, B.B. King and Ike and Tina Turner. The former hotel now serves as an African-American Heritage Museum.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced recently that Paducah won the 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations “Fan Favorite” award – chosen by the public via an online vote. Garnering more than 30 percent of the online votes, Paducah dominated to win “Fan Favorite.” Since 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Dozen Distinctive Destination program has recognized cities and towns that offer an authentic visitor experience by combining dynamic downtowns, cultural diversity, attractive architecture, cultural landscapes and a strong commitment to historic preservation, sustainability and revitalization. In each community, residents have joined together and taken action to protect their town’s character.
For a change of pace, see live harness racing in the spring at Players Bluegrass Downs and the Fall Classic Dressage Show at the Four Rivers Sport Horse Center.
SPRING 2011 KENTUCKY REALTOR® 27
From the Helm Security, jobs, confidence and the economy This is what is on the mind of most potential home buyers (and home sellers, too) these days. Until there is security about jobs, Kentuckians, like most Americans, won’t have the confidence in the economy to buy or sell homes. Kentucky Association of REALTORS®’ President Tony Clark summed it up well in the housing article on page 25 when he said “A rebound in home sales, especially for Kentucky, will depend largely on the availability of jobs and the confidence of the public in the economy.” There are a few economic indicators that things are looking up in the Bluegrass state. The March unemployment rate declined and new jobs were created in nearly every sector across the state. Kentucky’s overhaul of its business incentive program, along with the new one-stop electronic business portal, points us in the right direction to bring new businesses and jobs to Kentucky. The recent announcements of new high-tech jobs, the Fort Knox Human Resource Center of Excellence (all Army soldier career management from swearing in to departing service), GM expanding a new product line in Bowling Green and the global expansion of Lexington-based Tempur-Pedic will hopefully lead to confidence in good jobs and security (as well as a good night’s sleep). When looking back at 2011, we may very likely find truth in the statement of Robert Stein, former head of the Treasury Department’s Office of Economic Policy: “If you can jump through the hoops to get a mortgage, and there will be hoops, then this is an amazing time to purchase real estate. There are going to be a lot of people kicking themselves a few years from now because they didn’t take advantage of the low prices and the low mortgage rates.” This couldn’t be any more true than right here in Kentucky. Meanwhile, political eyes in the Commonwealth are watching a highly competitive Governor race where the incumbent Governor Steve Beshear, along with running mate, former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, will likely be facing State Senate President David Williams and current Commissioner of Agriculture and former UK basketball standout Richie
Farmer. The positions and legislative agendas of whoever is elected will affect Kentucky for years to come, especially as it relates to the next hot topic – tax reform. The Kentucky Gubernatorial election may be a bellwether for the 2012 elections nationwide. Because of the upcoming Governor election, the Kentucky legislative session, and subsequent special session, had few significant legislative items passed. Nevertheless, REALTORS® were involved is the passage of several important pieces of legislation in the 2011 session, including radon, metals, AMCs regulation, increasing income limits for the Kentucky Housing Corporation and the SAFE Act. As we move through this election cycle, and into the next; then, into the 2012 session of the Kentucky General Assembly, the political awareness and legislative participation of every Kentucky REALTOR® will be critical. Your responsiveness and engagement will impact your profession and the entire housing industry for years to come. When asked to do so, please participate. Your livelihood may well depend upon it. Optimism abounds for Kentucky for a more prosperous future, the health and well-being of our membership and a brighter outlook for things to come.
Susan W. Helm is the Executive Vice President of the Kentucky Association of REALTORS®
Code of Ethics The Code: Do you know what you need to know? by Julie Johnson, Director of Professional Standards
In the Winter 2010 issue, the Kentucky Real Estate Commission (KREC) shared the top six informal consumer complaints received by their legal department. The top informal complaints identified were: Refusal to Release Earnest Money, Breached Duties in Dual Agency, Verbal Promises Broken, Disclosure of Offer Amounts, Inaccurate Location of Boundaries and False Advertising of Property Conditions.
Like compliance with Kentucky’s statutes and regulations, compliance with the REALTOR® Code of Ethics often depends on the REALTOR®’s knowledge of the Code, and effective communication of information to buyers or sellers. The most commonly cited Articles of the Code of Ethics in complaints received by KAR relate to Articles 1, 2, 12 and 16. • Article 1. Protect and promote your client’s interests, but be honest with all parties. • Article 2. Avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, and concealment of pertinent facts. Do not reveal facts that are confidential under the scope of your agency relationship. • Article 12. Communicate honestly and present a true picture in your advertising, marketing and other public representations.
For 2011, the only change to the four Articles listed above is the revision to Article 12, Standard of Practice 12-5. This Article addresses the reality that electronic displays of limited information (e.g. “thumbnails,” “tweets,” text messages, etc.) make it difficult to comply with the requirement that the name of the REALTOR® firm be displayed in a reasonable and readily apparent manner in advertising. Therefore, those displays are exempt for the disclosure requirement, but only when the electronic display is linked to a display that included all the required information. For information regarding filing an Ethics complaint or filing a Request for Arbitration, go to www.kar.com or contact Julie Johnson at KAR (email@example.com or 800.264.2185).
• Article 16. Respect the exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with their clients. Frequently, consumers call KAR Legal Affairs staff regarding the terminology contained in contracts. Many times they do not appear to fully understand the terms and conditions to which they have previously agreed. Questions received regarding termination of a listing contract and the return of earnest money are numerous. Unwilling or embarrassed to ask their REALTOR® a “dumb question,” consumers seek out the information from other sources. A common misconception among consumers is that the listing REALTOR® is responsible for the content provided by the seller in the Seller Disclosure of Property Condition form. Another issue raised regularly by new homeowners has to do with whether or not agreed upon repairs were made prior to closing and whether or not those repairs were completed in a manner that resolved the problem.
KAR administers the Professional Standards process for 26 of the 28 boards in the state. The statewide Professional Standards Committee is made up of 173 REALTORS® who completed training in February 2011. These members serve on the Grievance Committee, Appeals Panel and Hearing Panel for Ethics and Arbitration hearings. For 2011, there are nine trained mediators available to mediate contractual disputes between REALTORS® across the state. If the dispute is not resolved during a mediation conference, the dispute may be forwarded to an Arbitration Panel to determine the disposition of the funds in dispute.
For a copy of the 2011 Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, go to www.kar.com > Legal Affairs > Code of Ethics.
SPRING 2011 KENTUCKY REALTOR® 29
A Day in the Life of... The CEO of the Kentucky Housing Corporation Richard McQuady Frankfort, KY
How many years have you been with Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC)? 25 years. What is the KHC’s biggest role, serving as the state housing finance agency? Our role, as the state housing finance agency, is to provide affordable housing opportunities to low and moderate income citizens of the Commonwealth. We administer all of the federal programs for housing except for Community Development Block Grant, and we have a wide variety of homeownership and rental programs. We provide resources for a wide network of Kentucky families - from those that qualify for a mortgage loan to those Kentuckians that are homeless. The Governor just signed HB 256 into law. What does this mean for Kentucky? House bill 256 allows KHC to serve a broader base of homebuyers. By extending our income limits for our nonbond, single-family program, it allows KHC to reach many more two-wage-earner families who may need to refinance or buy a home but who were slightly over our existing income limits. It also allows us to provide down payment assistance to more families who need it. The federal government has created several programs to assist homeowners over the past couple of years. How has KHC been tapped to respond in Kentucky? KHC has been the recipient of several programs under both HERA and ARRA to assist with the affordable housing needs of the Commonwealth. A couple of those geared specifically to homebuyers were the tax credit program – where KHC advanced the federal tax credit up front so that buyers could use the credit to purchase a home – and the Unemployment Bridge Program – a program offered by Treasury to help persons who have either lost their job or had a substantial reduction in income make their mortgage payments for up to a year while they find new employment. In your opinion, what are some of the most useful programs KHC offers in relation to real estate agents? Probably the two most useful tools in our single-family purchase program are the DAP, or Downpayment Assistance Program, that helps with a buyer’s down payment and closing costs, and the MCC, or Mortgage Credit Certificate
Program. The MCC allows the borrower to qualify for more house by providing a direct tax CREDIT toward their income tax obligation as opposed to taking a tax DEDUCTION. The CREDIT is 25% of the interest due each month. The borrower can then adjust their withholdings and actually bring home more money, knowing they will have the credit at the end of the year. How are you working to help homeowners facing foreclosure? Will the new Unemployment Bridge Loan program be beneficial? KHC has operated the Home Ownership Protection Center since it was created in 2008, through which over 11,000 families have received counseling and assistance to help them keep their homes. The new Unemployment Bridge Program is designed to assist homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed in making their mortgage payments and will actually pay up to $7,500 to catch up a borrower’s back payments, then given them an additional $12,500 over the course of 12 months to make 100% of their mortgage payments if they qualify. We anticipate helping somewhere between 7,000 – 13,000 families with the UBP, depending on how much money each family utilizes. Hopefully this assistance will allow them to get their finances in order and give them time to find employment so they can stay in their home. KHC created a program to make real estate agents KHC certified. What is it and how is it working? The program is designed to provide continuing education to REALTORS® on KHC’s single-family programs. Once the course is completed, we provide free marketing to those REALTORS® by listing them on our web site. Potential homeowners then look at this list and choose a REALTOR® who is familiar with our products and will work with the family to qualify them for a KHC loan. To date we are very happy with the results of this initiative.
Quick Facts About KHC Total assets as of December 31, 2010=$2.6Billion Provided mortgage financing to over 82,000 Kentucky families Currently have a portfolio of just over 25,000 loans with an outstanding principal balance of $2.2Billion. We also service over 90% of these loans. Mortgages are funded through the issuance of tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds. In addition to mortgage programs, KHC provides financing for construction and rehabilitation of single-family and multi-family housing. KHC also administers the HUD Section 8 Rental Assistance Program in 87 counties and administers various federal block grants designed for housing and homeless programs.
What is the biggest misconception of KHC? I would say the biggest misconceptions are that we are a direct lender and that we are funded with state tax dollars. Actually, we have a network of lenders that participate in our program and we are entirely self funded and not part of the state budget. What guidance would you give potential home buyers wanting to take that next step? If buyers have not owned a home before, I would strongly encourage them to take a pre-purchase class to gain a better understanding of the purchase and financing processes and the responsibilities associated with owning a home. Don’t let emotion control their purchases; stick to the plan and buy with long-term sustainability in mind.
various programs. While these seem to be competing interests we have always adhered to the reality that if we are not successful financially, we are unable to meet our mission of providing safe, quality and affordable housing to Kentuckians in need. Outside of your career, what is your favorite pastime? I enjoy playing golf and attending sporting events. What is the best advice you have ever received? Not sure this is advice, but I have tried to always remember something that was told to me several years ago – just remember when you don’t have time to do something right, you will have to make time to do it again.
What has been your number one success while at KHC? I would say the reason for our success has been our emphasis on making decisions that, in the long term, are beneficial for the sustainability of the corporation’s financial condition and
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SPRING 2011 KENTUCKY REALTOR® 31