Page 1

The monthly magazine of My Florida Regional MLS January 2012 Volume 1, Issue 8

Happy 2012! Looking back at 2011... Looking forward to 2012. A Recap of 2011 MFRMLS Changes page 9

Changes in 2012? Sneak Peek!


page 10

Top My Tips of the Week for 2011 page 3

Florida Realtors速 Top 10 Stories for 2011 page 3

New MFRMLS Member Benefit Stats IQ launching Jan. 24! page 11

My Florida ReSource Magazine January 2012 Volume 1, Issue 8 My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS)

January 2012

5032 Goddard Avenue Orlando, FL 32804

In this issue... 9 A Recap of 2011 MFRMLS Changes Featured 10 Changes in 2012? Sneak Peak! Featured 11 Stats IQ—New MFRMLS Member Benefit 13 Call to Action: Update Your Email Address 14 MLXchange Reports and “Green” Fields

In every issue... 3 Training & Tips

Tel: (407) 218-8607 Toll-Free: (800) 686-7451 Fax: (407) 293-6461 About MFRMLS My Florida Regional MLS is Florida’s largest multiple listing service with over 32,000 subscribers. Owned by 15 Shareholder REALTOR® Boards and Associations in Central and Southwest Florida, MFRMLS offers a comprehensive suite of productivity and marketing tools to professionals in the real estate industry. Positioning Statement

—Top My Tips of the Week for 2011


7 Compliance Corner 15 Resources —Are you business blogging?

2011-2012 MFRMLS Officers

19 Real Estate News —Florida Realtors® Top 10 Stories for 2011

My Florida Regional MLS is the only real estate information resource that helps our members deliver quality service to their customers by providing the tools and opportunity to succeed in their profession.


23 Spotlights —Team Member: Connie Kazakowitz, Member Services Specialist —Product and Services: Down Payment Resource

27 Commercial Real Estate News (presented by MFCRE) —Did you sign up for the MFCRE holiday promotion? —The Growing Business of Green

28 Around the House (an article for current and future homeowners) —Keep Your Home Sale from Falling Apart

31 Off-Property 32 Upcoming Events

Bill Dryburgh, President Melody Hall, President-Elect Steve Amburgey, Vice-President Bob Grant, Jr., Treasurer Aaron Chandler, Immediate Past President MFRMLS Executives Merri Jo Cowen, CEO Jay Markell, CFO, COO Deanna Rogers, VP of Business Development Carole Burgess, VP of Administration Jennifer Thompson-Kersting, VP of Marketing and Education Editorial Staff Natashia Ford, Editor Doug Wise, Editor, Creative Director

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 2




New My Tip of the Week logo Have you seen the new My Tip of the Week logo in recent weeks?


of the WEEK

Moving forward it will be presented whenever and wherever a My Tip of the Week is posted. So next time you see this logo stop and take note: It’s My Tip of the Week!

Looking for past My Tips of the Week? Please visit for an archive of previous tips.

3 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Volume 1, Issue 8

Top My Tips of the Week for 2011 MY

of the WEEK

Were you aware you could access Transaction Desk on your iPad or other tablet device? Here’s how! 1. Go to 2. Select the button titled Login via Safe Single Sign-On 3. This will take you to a login screen that looks exactly like MLXchange. Enter the same ID and Password you use to access MLXchange. You now have access to Transaction Desk! 4. To view a webinar on how to best utilize Transaction Desk, go to

Did you know that your consumer website,, speaks many languages? 1. Go to (or use your custom link (i.e.”YourName”)) 2. Go to the bottom of the page and click on a flag other than the U.S. flag... 3. Now you will notice many sections of the search and results pages translated into your chosen language, which may open your business up to the rest of the world!

Do you have a favorite report that you would like to customize by adding or removing fields for printing, viewing or emailing? 1. In MLXchange, click on Reports from the Home Page or in the upper right hand corner. 2. Click on Report Manager, locate the report and check or select the box,; then click the copy button. 3. Add fields by dragging the field name from the Data Fields box on the left and dropping the field into the page. 4. Remove fields by selecting and using the delete red X button at the top of the screen or the delete key on your keyboard. 5. Use the save icon to name your custom report which is now available for viewing, printing and/or emailing.

FAVORITE REPORTS (Tips continue on page 6) January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 4

Class is Now in Session!

Go Big "U" Have you been to MFRMLS University? This training portal will connect you to the many courses available to you as an MFR Member. Online, or in person, we’ve got a class for you. Looking to learn in your pajamas? With easy registration and no waiting, you can bring our trainers into your home through live and recorded webinars. Available online, you can save gas and you can save time. Best of all, the courses are free. Need face time? No problem. MFRMLS University also connects you to live courses taught at your association/board by MFRMLS instructors. With interactive sessions in a classroom setting, you’ll be an expert in no time. In-person or online, MFRMLS University can help you boost ered with your membership. Log on today to learn more!

5 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Volume 1, Issue 8

Top My Tips of the Week for 2011 MY (continued from page 4)

of the WEEK

How do I obtain the statistics of how many consumers are viewing my active listings on 1. Click on the “Members Only” link at the bottom right hand corner of the home page of 2. Log in with your MLXchange id and password. 3. Click on Agent Activity for your active Listings and then, click on an address to get a more detailed statistic report that can be emailed to the seller or yourself. 4. Brokers may click on Office Activity for all of the activity of listings within their office.

Did you know there’s a One Line CMA in MLXchange? In the Search Results screen, click on the “Action” drop down menu and select “One-Line CMA.” Click on the following link for a video tutorial on MFRMLS University’s YouTube Channel:

One Line CMA

Kurio & ShowingTime: Did you know that the ShowingTime “Request A Showing” link is now available on your mobile device, using Kurio? 1. If you don’t already have your Kurio account, to access the ShowingTime link in Kurio you will need to register for your (free) account. Please click on the following link to create your account: http:// (We recommend you create your account with the same ID and password you use for MLXchange.) 2. After logging into Kurio, you will have a link to your Active listings, a link to the Office Active listings, a quick search by address or ML #, as well as an advanced search for beds, baths, subdivision, zip code, etc. 3. While looking at a listing of interest, click on the “Schedule a Showing” link (about half-way down on the page). To view a tutorial on how to register and utilize your mobile device to access your MLS listings through Kurio, please click on the following link on the MFRMLS University YouTube channel: user/mfrmlsuniversity#p/c/AE127CF9A9CBF254/0/syFcH3Hum5M

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 6

Compliance Corner

Thank you. MFRMLS prides itself on accurate data, and one of our goals is to maintain a listing service that is successful for everyone. With that said, we want to thank all of our members who comply with our rules and regulations. If there is a violation, a warning will be issued. Most warning notices allow 24 hours for correction before a fine is assessed. However, failure to change the status of a listing is a more serious offense, which is an automatic fine without any warning notice.

DECEMBER statistics for rules violations: Total number of Warnings: 14,735 Total number of Agents Reported: 1,010 Total number of Fines assessed: 31

Top Five Violations for DECEMBER: 1. Status – failure to change the status from pending to sold within two business days of the closing. 2. Incorrect Photo – failure to add a front exterior or rendering, or aerial photo or water view photo in the first photo slot. If a water view or aerial photo is in the 1st slot, the 2nd photo slot must contain a front exterior photo. If placing a water view photo, it must be a photo from the property/unit. Photos may not contain any contact information, text, etc. 3. Short Sale – failure to add “Short Sale” as the first two words in the Public and Realtor Remarks. 4. Driving Directions – are required and must be for narrative directions that include full street names, beginning and ending points and use standard directional designations. Reference to online electronic mapping isn’t allowed (e.g. Mapquest, Google, GPS is not acceptable.) 5. Active with Contact (AWC) – failure to have seller’s written authorization and/or add the “Active with Contract” in the Public Remarks directly after “Short Sale,” if applicable.

7 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Volume 1, Issue 8

PLEASE NOTE: The following article also appeared in the December issue of My Florida ReSource. Due to the fact that fines are now being assessed on Steps 3-6, we felt it was important to re-publish this article as a reminder, in case you missed last month’s issue.

Scout Remediation: Protecting Your Data By MFRMLS Staff This past April, MFRMLS implemented “Scout Remediation,” a policy to ensure your data isn’t being shared with non-members and/or vendors. The current policy, which is an eightstep policy, includes alerts while logging in, email notices, password changes, as well as further steps to prevent data sharing. If sharing does continue, despite enforcement of the eight-step policy, then a fine up to $5,000 will be assessed and the Hearing Panel will conduct a review.

minder about the remediation policy. Step 4 Email (3rd) notification: sharing has continued; $100 fine assessed; a reminder about the remediation policy. Step 5 Email (4th) notification: sharing has continued; $250 fine assessed; a reminder about the remediation policy.

Step 7 Email (5th) notification: sharing has continued.

Below are the remediation steps, based on each time that sharing has been identified.

Step 8 Sharing has continued, despite previous steps-taken: one-time password is sent via email for each log-in session; a fine up to $5,000 assessed; Hearing Panel will conduct a review; other disciplinary actions may be taken (i.e. suspension of MLS Services).

Step 1 Information and Password change. Step 2 Email (1st) notification: sharing has continued; a reminder about the remediation policy.

If you receive a warning notice, this is just a reminder to make sure you make the necessary corrections. (i.e. update the listing with the new date, etc.). Otherwise, a fine will be issued if the information isn’t corrected within 24 hours. Thank you for your help in making the MFRMLS database as accurate as possible.

Step 6 Information and password change; $500 fine assessed.

Also, the Board of Directors has recently modified the policy, and fines are now being assessed on Steps 3-6.

If you have any questions, please contact the MFRMLS Administration staff at 1-800-686-7451 (Option #3).

Reminder: Expected Closing Date

Since implementation of this remediation policy, there has been a noticed reduction in sharing and “suspect” accounts. So, thank you for helping to protect the MFRMLS database.

Step 3 Email (2nd) notification: sharing has continued; $50 fine assessed; a reJanuary 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 8

Recap of 2011 MFRMLS Changes By MFRMLS Staff

May 2011

One of the best things about a new year is reflecting on the previous year. And after taking some time to reflect, we’ve discovered two things:

—First issue of My Florida ReSource: For all issues of My Florida ReSource, check out the My Florida ReSource library on MFRMLS. com: http:// www.mfrmls. com/news/ my-floridaresource

1) We’ve made mistakes (but hasn’t everyone?). 2) We’ve had a lot of changes (and thrown a lot of information your way). However, rather than going into our mistakes (not that we’re not aware), we figured we would present a list of notable changes, including new products we’ve implemented, in 2011. So, we proudly present a 2011 recap of notable MFRMLS changes (along with links for more information): Are there any changes you missed, during the course of the year?

February 2011 —New MFRMLS member benefit: TransactionDesk with unlimited DocBox storage: http://www.mfrmls. com/news/370-txransactiondesk-isback —New Income Property VOW fields: news/367-new-income-property-vowfields

April 2011 —Enforcement of Login Sharing begins: news/387-remediation-policy-begins —MLXchange 5.2.08: http://www. —Several defects fixed 9 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

—Expansion: MFRMLS expands to Pinellas and West Pasco listing areas (Pinellas REALTOR® Organization and West Pasco Board of REALTORS® become MFRMLS shareholders) —MLXchange Quarterly Changes: —Elimination of Tampa Area field —Multitude of field changes —New Active with Contract status —New “Quick CMA”

July 2011 —KURIO enhancements: —Added ShowingTime: http:// showing-time —Added Virtual Tours to Kurio (without having to log into or create a KURIO account) —PH Status Rule Change (7 days to 3 days): news/424-ph-status-rule-change

—Authentisign—only $29 a/yr: —MLXchange Release —Several defects fixed, as well as a fix for Agent Webpages

August 2011 —MLXchange Quarterly Changes: —Many changes, including: —HOA/COMM ASSN field now required for all property styles in the RES and INC property types. —Default for the IDX Y/N field in Listing Maintenance is now “YES”. — For HOA/COMM ASSN field, the following field is now required in the RES property type: “Pets Allowed Y/N (please see “Recap” next page) Volume 1, Issue 8

RECAP continued from previous page

September 2011 —New MFRMLS member benefit: Down Payment Resource: http://www. —New Additions! news/445-myfloridahomesmls-newadditions —Removed “Find an Agent” tab for custom links —Added Short Term rental searches —Down Payment Resource —ListHub Integration —Common City Name search —New MFRMLS member benefit: Data Co-op: member-benefits/mlxchange-benefits/ data-co-op

November 2011 —MFRMLS Member Savings: Office Depot partnership: http://www. —New Additions! news/475-more-enhancements-madeto-myfloridahomesmlscom —Lifestyle information powered by Onboard Informatics —Broker Dashboard in secure Members Only section

—Request monthly reports to be emailed

December 2011 —MLXchange adds new “green” fields: news/482-mlxchange-is-goinggreenq-and-with-quarterly-changeson-dec-15 —MLXchange Quarterly Changes: —Combining Pool Options into one field —Combining Public and Additional Public Remarks fields —Creating Condo Fee and Condo Fee Payment Schedule fields —Moving Dock-Rackominium from a Property Description to a Property Style So, as you can see, there have been quite a few changes in 2011. What changes will occur in 2012? Please see the 2012 preview article on this page for information on a few changes that are already in the works. And, of course, don’t forget to stay tuned to, the Message of the Day, our Facebook and Twitter pages and the My Florida ReSource magazine for all of the MFRMLS news, including changes, in 2012.

Changes in 2012? Sneak Peek! By MFRMLS Staff 2012 looks like another great year at MFR with an office relocation first on the list of major changes. Our new office will offer MFR the ability to accommodate local member training sessions and meetings, as well as allow for corporate growth. However, change in 2012 does not stop there. Here’s a look at a few exciting products, product enhancements, and services coming your way this year: • Launch of a new MLS statistics package – Stats IQ • Bilingual interface availability in Transactiondesk Lite and PRO • Rental Redesign in the MLS system • New MLS system called Fusion™ that runs on most major computer operating systems and browsers including MAC OS! • And many more… Needless to say, we have hit the ground running and look forward to communicating these changes, as well as other changes, in the coming year.

Have a great day; have a great year!

—View/print reports —Firm and office level reports

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 10

Stats IQ—New MFRMLS Member Benefit! Stats IQ, powered by RealEstate Business Intelligence, launching Tuesday, January 24! By MFRMLS Staff Looking to get accurate, updated listing statistics for the MFRMLS listing area? Looking to see those statistics in nice, easy-to-read graphs and reports? Then Stats IQ, powered by RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI), is your answer! Stats IQ is being launched as an MFRMLS member benefit on Tuesday, January 24. And, better yet, the basic stats package for Stats IQ is included in your MFRMLS membership! Here are some of the features you can expect with the basic stats package (that’s included in your MFRMLS membership): —Accurate, timely stats, including: • Median Sold Price • Average Days on Market • Average Sold to Original List Price Ratio • Closed Sales • New Pendings • New Listings —The option to view and compare stats according to home types, list prices, square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms and bank-mediated listings. —Easy-to-read graphs and reports that you can embed, export and share.

Or, you can upgrade to rbiExpert, which provides you with more options to view stats according to specific zip codes and listing areas. For more information on rbiExpert, please see the next page.

rbiExpert: an upgrade option...

Please note: The direct URL for Stats IQ will published on, as well as through the MOTD, on the day it’s launched (Tuesday, January 24). A link will also be provided in MLXchange. As with all products we implement, we hope Stats IQ leads to more success! 11 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Volume 1, Issue 8

Stats IQ—New MFRMLS Member Benefit! Q&As How do I access Stats IQ? The direct URL for Stats IQ will published on, as well as through the MOTD, on the day it’s launched (Tuesday, January 24). A link willl also be provided in MLXchange.

Looking for Stats IQ webinars? Be sure to register for one of the upcoming Stats IQ webinars! Multiple Stats IQ webinars have been scheduled each day from January 24 thru 26. Click on the following link to find those webinars and register!

Why the name Stats IQ? Why are we giving RBI the nickname of Stats IQ? Quite simply, RBI—aka Stats IQ— provides you with the statistical information you need to be a more successful real estate professional. Plus RBI stands for RealEstate Business Intelligence. So, we figured why not call it Stats IQ. We hope you like the name, and, more importantly, you like what the name has to offer.

rbiExpert: an upgrade option... Beyond the basic Stats IQ package that’s included in your MFRMLS membership, you will also have the option to upgrade to rbiExpert. Here are the details: Cost for Upgrade: $23.99 monthly (or you will also have the option to pay annually—more information will be provided about an annual subscription, as it becomes available) So, what’s the difference between the basic stats (included in your MFRMLS membership) and rbiExpert? Among other features, with rbiExpert you: —Have access to a mobile solution (i.e. iPhones, Androids, etc...) —Can filter stats by zip codes, counties and regions. So, stay tuned for more information on rbiExpert when Stats IQ is launched on Tuesday, January 24!

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 12

Call to Action: Update Your Email Address By MFRMLS Staff

Are YOU a Commercial


Are you getting your edition of My Florida Resource magazine at an old email address? Most likely this is occurring because the email address you have on file with your Association is not updated. The MFRMLS system pulls from your Association’s records, so if you want to update your contact information with MFRMLS, you must provide your Association with this information. Now, while we’re on the subject of updating contact information, please be sure to update your records with our upcoming new address, local phone, and fax number.

New MFRMLS contact information, effective February 6, 2012: Address: 555 Winderley Place Suite 320, Maitland FL 32751 New phone number for LOCAL dialing: 407-960-5300 New fax number: 407-960-5450 (Toll free number remains the same: 800-686-7451)

Email For more information about becoming an MFCRE member, a Commercial Information Exchange (CIE), please contact Connie Kazakowitz at 1-800-686-7451 (ext. 8668) or email

Volume 1, Issue 8

MLXchange Reports and “Green” Fields By MFRMLS Staff Hello MFRMLS members! As an update to the new “green” fields in MLXchange, please note the following two changes to your available Reports in MLXchange: 1) “Green” fields have been added to each of the Detail Reports – Page 2 for Residential, Rental, Income and Commercial property types. As an example of these new “green” fields being added to the Detail Reports – Page 2, please find the below link to a listing in MLXchange: aspx?r=224220498&s=MFR&t=MFR 2) A new Residential report named “02 Res Green Features Sheet,” has also been added to your available Reports. As an example of this new, “green” Residential report, please find the below link to a listing in MLXchange: aspx?r=239275939&s=MFR&t=MFR Favorite Reports Both of these reports can be moved to the top of your display, print and email lists by adding it to your favorite reports. To add a report to your favorite reports, click on the icon with the yellow star to the right of the drop-down list of reports. Here is a quick video on the MFRMLS University YouTube channel of how to add reports to your favorite reports: As always, please don’t hesitate to contact our Help Desk at 1-800-686-7451 (option #1) with any questions you have. For more information on the new “green” fields in MLXchange, please click on the following link:

Have you seen this icon? We like to call it the “House in the Hand” and it’s the icon for Down Payment Resource. It could help your client get a down payment for his or her home. For more information please visit http:// member-benefits/ down-payment-resource/dpr-in-mlxchange

Are you business blogging?


By MFRMLS Staff With the rise of social media for business purposes, blogging has definitely carved its way into many marketing strategies and for many reasons, such as: 1. Blogs help to establish credibility regarding industry knowledge. 2. Blogs allow for the blogger to become a resource and a “go to” person for new trends and ideas. 3. Blogs give the blogger an outlet to show their personality while still remaining professional. 4. Blogs help increase search engine optimization (seo).

Check out the new Resources page on! resources

15 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

As you can see, blogs have many benefits; however they do take time, as you want to keep your blog fresh. Posting once a week, on a consistent basis, can seem challenging however a great resource for blog content is the National Association of REALTORS® consumer website They provide free content for blogs on topics like home improvement and maintenance, landscaping, pest control, energy efficiency, tax credits and deductions, finance, insurance, and building a community. Are you already blogging for business? If so, share your blog with us and let us know some of the benefits you’ve seen based on your blog! Email us at with a link to your blog and your thoughts on blogging and its benefits. You might just see your blog appear in an issue of My Florida Resource magazine.

Volume 1, Issue 8

Free Monthly Social Marketing Classes! “FACEBOOK Just The Basics” A Workshop for Beginners

“Make $$ Using FACEBOOK” An Advanced Workshop

 How to set up an account  How to cut through the clutter & manage your time on Facebook  “Open vs Closed” networking  Get conversations started online  Build a professional image  Get your friends telling everyone they know about you!

  Case studies of Local Thought Leaders   Build likeability and trust through video   Strategies for Facebook Pages   How to harvest content and deliver it in a way to go viral  Leverage analytics and mobile technology to stay connected

Friday, Jan. 13th , Feb. 10th , or March 9th 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM PST

Friday, Jan. 20th, Feb. 17th, or March 16th 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM PST

(11:30 – 1:00 PM CST or 12:30 – 2:00 PM EST)

(11:30 – 1:00 PM CST or 12:30 – 2:00 PM EST)

Register at We also provide weekly orientation webinars for…

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 16

a request Tuesday and had TWO calls from houses but she called the second time because I I call responsive! And she couldn’t have been -M. Hunt Altamonte Springs, FL

Eligibility Criteria Real estate professional must be a member of a participating MLS. Real estate professional must be the listing agent for the property. Real estate professional must obtain a signed Borrower Authorization Form (BAF) from the homeowner(s) and submit it to the MLS;


Submission Guidelines issue by working through the servicer. Real estate professional may submit the case in the event the servicer has not provided: an initial response within 20 days,

or, if the real estate professional has received an approval from the servicer for your transaction, but either the mortgage insurer or second lien holder has imposed a closing condition that is not possible for the borrower to meet. Real estate professional must address all “actionable” requests from the servicer before submitting the issue. Where additional documentation is requested, servicer response time will be

17 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

5032 Goddard Avenue Orlando, FL 32804

Volume 1, Issue 8




Mobile MLS Access for Home Buyers & REALTORS®® Compliments of My Florida Regional MLS

Help Them See Inside!

Now with ShowingTime! ®

Welcome to Kurio®, the premier real estate search service that provides you and your clients with real-time access to listing information directly from your mobile phone.

Kurio For Your Clients. A Better Home Buying Experience

Kurio is a valuable, FREE service you can make available to your clients. Access to key property information like beds, baths, list price and more, will help narrow their home search and when they need more information, you are only one click away. Give them a better home buying experience, and they’ll thank you for it.

Location, Location, Location

Schedule showings “on-the-go!”

Kurio For REALTORS®. No Missed Opportunities

Using Kurio on your mobile device you can look up comparable properties, recently solds, roster info, showing instructions and other ‘Realtor only ’ MLS information so your clients are getting the information they need WHEN they need it.

Instant Access to `My Active Listings‘

Kurio provides one-click access to your active listings. So when you get a call from a prospect asking about one of your properties, you can give them the information they‘re without ever

Always Connected

With Kurio's location based searches, your clients can retrieve

With Kurio, you can get a complete picture of the daily real estate activity in your market area. In addition, you’ll

they’re in the neighbhorhood, providing immediate & relevant results.

requests more information on a property of interest. Just

Real Estate Search. Made Easy.

With Kurio, your clients can search listings for sale by MLS number, cross street, address or by a variety of other criteria. ‘Kurious’ daydreamers can look up the biggest McMansions or the smallest, charming starter homes. Searching for local real estate has never been so easy.

Kurio on the Web

be out of the loop.

Sign Up Now! Already using Kurio? Go to *Some carriers may not support, or may limit access to, Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) for location-based services.

© 2010 Kurio is a division of Most Home Real Estate Services, Inc.

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 18

Florida Realtors top 10 stories in 2011 1. Once-in-a-generation time to buy. Who’s in?

3. Commercial market leaves “dire” for “not as bad”

5. Fasten your seatbelts. Property insurance is a bumpy ride.

Most renters want to buy a home: 72 percent consider homeownership a good financial decision, and 64 percent believe the time is right, according to the National Association of Realtors® 2011 Housing Pulse survey. Mortgage rates hit a record low of 3.94 percent this year, homes sold for a fraction of their value five years ago, and excess inventory provided every buyer with a range of options. In some cities, homeownership became cheaper than renting. But job insecurities made buyers nervous to commit. Those who did found it difficult to get financing despite stellar credit scores. As a result, 2011 saw a real estate market with great deals, yet fewer buyers than needed. In 10 years, however, many Americans may look back on 2011 as the best time in a generation to invest in real estate.

Florida investors increasingly want to buy office, retail and industrial properties, says Cynthia Shelton, Florida Realtors’ 2009 president and a director at Colliers International in Orlando. Vacancy rates, while high, have stabilized, along with rental rates. Core assets (essential to businesses) are selling and lenders – including the life insurance companies – are lending again. Banks are more realistic about prices for distressed properties, and 2012 should see the entry of more commercial tenants. “With modest economic growth and job creation, the fundamentals for commercial real estate should gradually improve in the coming year,” adds Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

Lawmakers wrestled with a question that has been around for years: Should property insurance be affordable or available? If affordable, a major storm could bankrupt the state. If widely available, the cost could drive buyers away and hurt current homeowners. Citizens Property Insurance, the state-owned insurer, sits squarely in the middle of the debate since it covers most of the high-risk properties and, should a major storm hit, would force all Floridians to help pay for damages. To attract private insurers to the state and cut down on the number of owners under Citizens, Gov. Scott and lawmakers made changes. Sinkhole coverage became optional and much more expensive. Citizens dropped about 7,500 coastal homes in early December, and policy costs and rules are set to become even stricter in 2012. The uneasy balance between affordable or available insurance shifted a bit closer to the “available” side.

4. Florida Legislature: We got Amendment 4 and scrapped the cap

Florida Realtors had a number of victories in the 2011 Florida Legislature, but none as important as a constituThe Florida economy remained slugtional amendment voters will congish as unemployment rates stayed sider in November 2012, and none so uncomfortably high and home sales hard-fought as a law to “scrap the cap” stayed uncomfortably low; but, across on Florida’s affordable housing trust the board, the state showed signs of funds. Amendment 4, if approved by recovery, with almost every economic Florida voters, will create a property indicator suggesting brighter days tax increase cap of 5 percent each ahead. Home sales edged higher most year on non-homestead real estate, months; selling prices held their own down from the current 10 percent and, in a few cases, median selling cap. It will also give some first-time prices rose. Floridians’ consumer con- homebuyers a property tax break that fidence also rose toward the end of the decreases over time. In 2012, Florida year after bobbing around for most of Realtors will roll out its “Yes on 4” the summer. Employment followed, campaign. In the “scrap the cap” vicand while the state has a long way to tory, the Florida Legislature agreed to go to hit “normal,” it reached a 2011 allow all doc stamps earmarked for level of “better than last year.” the affordable housing Sadowski Trust Fund to actually go into the fund. 2. The economy rebounded, sorta, kinda, a little

19 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

6. Facts at your fingertips: Florida Realtors adds research department Florida Realtors Industry and Data Analysis Department (IDA) opened for business in June 2011. Designed to provide practical information for association members, Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo says the department will help Realtors in Florida deal more effectively with increasingly educated consumers. The services provided by IDA include current analyses of Florida’s real estate market and support for Florida Realtors’ public policy efforts in Tallahassee. IDA products are available to all members and can (see “Top 10” next page) Volume 1, Issue 8

TOP 10

Real Estate News

continued from previous page be found on the Research page of “Members are free to pull down and use any information provided by IDA,” says Tuccillo. 7. HAMP, HARP, TARP do little for at-risk homeowners Falling home values and risky mortgages caused more Florida owners to face foreclosure. The government created, and modified, a number of programs slated to help owners keep their homes, but most applied only to about half of those in trouble – owners who had mortgages held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Even then, however the carrots held out by HAMP, HARP, TARP and others didn’t entice lenders that feared principal cuts and long-term changes. The issue led to some strategic defaults – foreclosures where investors could afford to pay but walked away as a financial decision – court backups, and a system that allowed some non-paying owners to live in a home for over two years before authorities finally foreclosed. Analysts expect the problem to improve but continue in 2012. 8. Should we slow the recovery to avoid another crisis? U.S. regulators have conflicting goals: Speed the recovery but, at the same time, take steps to make sure it never happens again. Unfortunately, it hasn’t figured out how to do both. While the federal government has tried to spark home sales through a number of programs (see No. 7 above), it has also created obstacles to homeownership by boosting mortgage rules, tightening appraisal standards and restricting the amount homeowners can deduct from federal taxes. A key concern of

Realtors heading into 2012 is the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule – a minimum standard that mortgage loans must meet before Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will consider buying them. Some lawmakers have suggested a 20 percent downpayment, a high standard that will force many buyers to wait years before they can afford minute; appraisals that came in lower homeownership. The discussion will than hoped; and clients who wanted a continue in 2012. bargain below any reasonable expecta9. Social networking goes from ‘cut- tions. ting edge’ to ‘must do’ Reprinted with permission. Florida New technology no longer surprises Realtors®. All rights reserved. Realtors, who have been inundated Source: with “cutting edge solutions” that now NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=269035 allow them to post videos, track complete transactions stored in a “cloud,” sign contracts without actually signing anything and politely ask their phone to look up information. Social networking was once the realm of early-adopters, and Realtors sold it to clients as “look what I can do for you.” Now, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Goggle+ (new in 2011) and other social networking sites are standard in the real estate business. If you’re a Realtor, you have a Facebook page – it’s that simple. 10. 2011 Realtors are different than 2005 Realtors The skills needed to sell a house have changed. Realtors spend a lot more time talking to banks, trying to find out what’s happening with a client’s short sale; asking what paperwork they needed to file or re-file; and understanding new laws that oversee what they can do – and can’t do – when working with short-sale sellers. Realtors learned to accept disappointment – sales that fell apart at the last January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 20

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21 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Volume 1, Issue 8

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January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 22



l i t g o h p

MFRMLS Team Member Connie Kazakowitz, Member Services Specialist Every month we spotlight one MFR team member, in order to help distinguish the dedicated, hard-working, friendly faces we have on our MFR staff. We truly have an outstanding team of individuals. And, of course, this is no coincidence, as we look to provide our members with outstanding service. So, without further ado, we are pleased to spotlight (drum roll please) … Connie Kazakowitz, Member Services Specialist and active Mom. How long have you been working at MFR? It will be 4 years in February. What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most? I enjoy working directly with members, advising them of the products and services we offer, as well as taking on new challenges – which keeps my job interesting. I love the opportunity to meet with members at tradeshows and other events while promoting our commercial website: (Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in Commercial Real Estate, please don’t hesitate to give Connie a call at 1-800-686-7451) Any hobbies outside of work? I enjoy spending time with my family and watching movies. I especially love watching my son play football and baseball and shopping with my daughter. In my free time you will find me at the mall with my daughter or my son practicing his field goal kicking or driving skills. Where were you born and where were you raised? From Long Island, New York. I spent a lot of time upstate at my grandfathers lake house waterskiing and snowmobiling. I moved to Florida with my family in 1995. If there’s one place in the world, all expenses-paid, you could visit tomorrow, where would that place be and why? Italy. My mom took me to Europe when I graduated high school and I loved Italy, especially Venice. Since we were with a tour, our time in each place was limited and I’ve wanted to go back and spend more time in Italy ever since. Thank you, Connie! 23 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Volume 1, Issue 8

Down Payment Resource

Spotlights (Member Benefit Page:

Opening new doors to home ownership My Florida Regional MLS is excited to bring you the Inman Innovator of the Year product, Down Payment Resource (DPR). Down Payment Resource is a tool used to make home ownership a reality by connecting eligible homebuyers and eligible properties with government funded buyer assistance programs. It’s no secret, lack of down payment is one of the main challenges for homebuyers and a deal breaker for REALTORSŽ. DPR opens up additional opportunities for buyers to secure the home of their dreams and for you (the agent) to close the sale. DPR will also help position you as a local market leader regarding down payment assistance without you having to keep up with all the government programs, their eligibilities, and changes.




Product and Service

MFRMLS has integrated Down Payment Resource in the following capacities (click links below for detailed integration information): MLXchange: IDX Solution: Frequently Asked Questions: article/37-member-support/460-down-payment-resource-faq Missed a recent DPR webinar? No problem. Visit the following link to view a recorded DPR webinar on the MFRMLS University YouTube channel: watch?v=7vyTJmbyUc8

See the DPR case study on page 25!

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 24

DPR Case Study

REALTOR® known for her expertise in homebuyer assistance programs used Down Payment Resource to learn about new programs.

Stephanie Gruver Stephanie Gruver is known in her market as a buyer’s agent. With her real estate license as well as experience working for a nonprofit housing developer, she knows her way around down payment assistance programs and it can directly benefit her clients. Stephanie takes the time to search for local programs she knows exists, looking for cash that her clients can bring to the table. But, Stephanie also admits that the information can be easy to miss -- new programs come along, specifications and funding may change, and it can be time consuming. Stephanie learned about Down Payment Assistance (DPR) through NorthStar MLS bulletins. The new service prompted her to go looking for more money her clients could access. Using DPR, Stephanie searched for funds that her clients needed for the purchase of a foreclosure that needed significant work. Stephanie says that if she hadn’t seen DPR, she’s not sure she would have found 25 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

the program as she thought it was already out of funds. Good news for the homebuyers—the program was still funded and both the home and the borrowers qualified. Stephanie also used DPR to check additional programs to be sure her clients had accessed every possible assistance program available. She felt confident that she had helped her clients find the best program for their needs. The homebuyers were extremely pleased with the process. The down payment assistance allowed them to take on a house that needed a few more projects than usual. They purchased a two story, vintage, single family home and they are now in the process of renovating it.




The following case study comes from Down Payment Resource (DPR), writing about a REALTOR® who has used DPR to help put clients in new homes. Although this REALTOR® is not a MFRMLS member, it’s always nice to hear how someone is using a product offered through their MLS membership to compliment their business practice.

Product and Service (continued from page 24)

ects, and buy resale and consignment furniture. Searching for homebuyer assistance is another extension of the trend to invest and spend money wisely. For Stephanie, using down payment assistance programs to get her clients into homes that they would have never imagined owning is motivation to continue to use DPR to find additional assistance options.

Find more DPR case studies here: www.workforce-resource. com/site/case_studies

Stephanie believes DPR is helping reinforce her strong reputation as a buyer’s agent. As a result, she’s also gaining new leadership opportunities. The Keller Williams Integrity Realty Lakes office asked Stephanie to teach a class on down payment assistance programs and DPR. Her favorite part of the journey with her clients is going to their house warming parties, meeting their friends and family, and seeing what they’ve done to make the new place their home. She says her buyers today are incredibly savvy with their money. Many take home improvement classes, complete their own projVolume 1, Issue 8

What is Down Payment Resource ? SM

Why Down Payment Resource ? SM

Finding a Homebuyer Assistance program today can be confusing and complicated, here’s why: Programs are highly fragmented » No standard of regions » Overlapping coverage Lack of standardization » No uniform application » Programs ask for information » One-of-a-kind eligibility rules » Hard-to-automate program descriptions » Diverse incentives with complex terms and conditions The Solution: Down Payment Resource. No more searching the Internet and making dozens of phone calls, only to be disappointed. Down Payment Resource improves the search among Homebuyer Assistance Programs for: » Mortgage Lenders » REALTORS® » Home Builders/Developers » Housing Finance Agencies For more information visit:

An easy-to-use, interactive, web-based application that: » Tracks and describes all Homebuyer Assistance programs including eligibility guidelines » Customizes searches based on homebuyer’s unique information » Automates the matching of homebuyers to assistance resources » Provides consumers, REALTORS® and lenders timely and accurate information » Captures, educates and informs consumers earlier with consumer-facing portal (optional) » Increases volume of home lending » » » »

Buyer’s market = Too many housing units for sale Credit guidelines tightened = Harder to qualify Bewildering array of assistance = Missed opportunities Assistance programs under-marketed, customers under-served

Down Payment ResourceSM connects home buyers to the incentive/ assistance programs that are right for them!

Down Payment Resource’s web-based system helps you: » Save time identifying options for your customers » Expand the pool of homebuyers for your listings » Value-added service for home builder and developer accounts » Market REO listing inventory » Improve customer service by reducing errors » Serve more customers, more For more information or a live demonstration, please contact: Rob Chrane, President Workforce Resource, LLC tel: 404.272.7054

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 26


presented by

Real Estate

Did you sign up for the MFCRE holiday promotion? Did you sign up for our 60-day free MFCRE trial membership over the holidays? Well get the most out of your membership with MFCRE training.

MFCRE for your mobile phone

If you are interested in attending a training session, contact Connie at Please note training sessions are held online on Wednesday’s at 11:00am and are limited to 26 attendees per session. Remember, free trial memberships expire February 28, 2012.

The Growing Business of Green Pike Research estimates the market for bringing energy efficient to commercial buildings will increase to $100 billion by 2017. Companies doing retrofits — as well as property managers — are promoting the cost savings and other benefits of energy efficient buildings. President Obama is making a renewed pitch for his green buildings initiative, with an additional $4 billion pledged for energy retrofits. The government has been a leader in making its buildings green, using its longtime horizon to make the energy investments pay for themselves. However, the private sector will need to see a return on investment in the two-year time frame, not the six to 20 years the government will wait. Even though increased energy efficiency can pay dividends in lower energy costs, it has yet to prove its value in rents and resale, according to Eric Bloom of Pike Research. He adds that while there is plenty of anecdotal evidence about the energy efficiency and desirability of green building, “there still isn’t enough data to factor the added value of green into appraisal and lending processes.” There is a push to establish the value of green building. The Department of Energy and the Appraisal Foundation want energy performance to be considered and is training appraisers how to do it. Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission. Source:; “Going Green Could Be a $100 Billion Business by 2017,” CNBC News (12/14/11) (c) Copyright 2011 Information, Inc.

27 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Volume 1, Issue 8

Around the House

An article for current and future homeowners

Keep Your Home Sale from Falling Apart By: G. M. Filisko After finding a buyer, all you have to do to make it to closing is to avoid these five traps. Mistake #1: Ignore contingencies If your contract requires you to do something before the sale, do it. If the buyers make the sale contingent on certain repairs, don’t do cheap patchjobs and expect the buyers not to notice the fixes weren’t done properly. Mistake #2: Don’t bother to fix things that break The last thing any seller needs is for the buyers to notice on the preclosing walk-through that the home isn’t in the same condition as when they made their offer. When things fall apart in a home about to be purchased, sellers must make the repairs. If the furnace fails, get a professional to fix it, and inform the buyers that the work was done. When you fail to maintain the home, the buyers may lose confidence in your integrity and

the condition of the home and back out of the sale.

Treat deadlines as sacrosanct. If you have three days to accept or reject the home inspection, make your decision within three days. If you’re selling, move out a few days early, so you can turn over the keys at closing.

Uncle Sam has placed a tax lien on your home or you owe six months of homeowners association fees? The title search is going to turn up any liens filed on your house. To sell your house, you have to pay off the lien (or get the borrower to agree to pay it off). If you can do that with the sales proceeds, great. If not, the sale isn’t going to close.

Mistake #4: Refuse to negotiate any further

Visit for more articles like this.

Once you’ve negotiated a price, it’s natural to calculate how much you’ll walk away with from the closing table. However, problems uncovered during inspections will have to be fixed. The appraisal may come in at a price below what the buyers offered to pay. Be prepared to negotiate with the buyers over these bottom-line-influencing issues.

Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Mistake #3: Get lax about deadlines

Mistake #5: Hide liens from buyers Did you neglect to mention that

Looking for consumer articles for your newsletter or for your clients? has a section for consumer articles that are downloadable and able to be customized with your branding. Here is the link to that section:

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29 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Keeping YOU at the Center of the Transaction.

Volume 1, Issue 8

How does RatePlug help Agents in today’s market?


RatePlug provides your prospective homebuyers with valuable payment information specific to each property they view. MFRMLS PROPERTY REPORT & LINK Online, interactive housing payments & lending info displayed side-by-side with property information on a new Consumer Report Keeps customers on listings longer You choose the lender to display Interactive mortgage tool allows homebuyers to play ‘what if’ scenarios to address their financing needs


Provides marketing material for your Open House functions or general display. PROPERTY FLYER PROGRAM The system creates detailed flyers with property listing information and acurate mortgage payment information Created with one mouse click Can be emailed or printed Promotes both the Agent and chosen Loan Officer


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*Participating lenders pay a license fee.

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 30

Off-Property Florida RealtorsÂŽ 2012 Winter Meetings We had a great time connecting with our members at the Florida Realtors 2012 Winter Meetings. Congratulations to Gene Lofgren, winner of the drawing for the fold-out chair. Enjoy!

Holiday Quiz Update: Congrats to our Winners! Thank you to everyone who participated in our Starbucks & Shopping contest featured in the last issue of My Florida Resource Magazine! Congratulations to Robert Grzeszczak & Kimberly Gordon, winners of a $5 Starbucks card & a $25 Target card—delivered just in time for holiday spending.

Stay tuned for future contests in future issues of My Florida ReSource! 31 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Volume 1, Issue 8

Upcoming Events: Mark your calendar for Great American Realtor® Days! Great American Realtor® Days are two days set aside during Florida’s legislative session when Realtors converge on the Capitol to voice their opinions on legislative issues. This year Great American Realtor® Days will take place February 14-15, 2012. Below is the schedule of events:

February 14 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Registration - Challenger Learning Center 11:00 am - 12:00 pm Live Legislative Briefing - Challenger Learning Center 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Pre-recorded Legislative Briefing - Challenger Learning Center 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Public Policy Committee Meeting – Doubletree Hotel 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Live Legislative Briefing - Challenger Learning Center 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm Downtown Block Party - Adams Street Commons

February 15 8:30 am - 12:00 pm Registration - Challenger Learning Center 10:00 am - 11:00 am Pre-recorded Legislative Briefing - Challenger Learning Center 11:30 am Boxed Lunch - Challenger Learning Center For more information on the Great American Realtor® Days visit

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 32

February 2012 Feature:

What do you love about real estate? Want to be included in February’s issue? Tell us what you love about Real Estate! Drop us a line at

Looking for a calendar of upcoming training classes? Visit for a complete calendar of upcoming courses. Did you know we also offer live webinars? cat.listevents/2011/05/20/Administration and Membership Question? The Administration Department at My Florida Regional MLS has two main responsibilities—ensuring an accurate MLS database and maintaining your membersubscriber information.

Help Desk Hours: Monday–Friday: 7:30 AM–8:00 PM Saturday–Sunday: 8:00 AM–6:00 PM Toll Free: (800) 686-7451 Local: (407) 218-8607 33 | My Florida ReSource | January 2012

Whether you have questions about our MLS Rules and Regulations, listing violations, subscriber fees or simply need to update your contact information, our Administration Specialists are ready to assist you. Department hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. 1-800-686-7451 (option #3)

Please note: Moving February 6, 2012, to new address. See NEW, upcoming contact info on page 13 of this issue.

Address My Florida Regional MLS 5032 Goddard Avenue Orlando, FL 32804 Telephone: Tel: (407) 218-8607 Toll-Free: (800) 686-7451 Fax: (407) 293-6461 Volume 1, Issue 8

Social Media

Converse with MFRMLS. Keep informed. “Like” us on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter! @MFRMLS @MFCRE @MyFloridaHomes

MFRMLS Associations and Boards Shareholder Associations and Boards Bartow Board of REALTORS®— East Polk County Association of REALTORS®— Englewood Area Board of REALTORS®— Greater Tampa Association of REALTORS®— Lakeland Association of REALTORS®— Manatee Association of REALTORS®— Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association— Osceola County Association of REALTORS®— Pinellas REALTOR® Organization— Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port Association of REALTORS®— REALTORS® Association of Lake & Sumter Counties— Sarasota Association of REALTORS®— Venice Area Board of REALTORS®— West Pasco Board of REALTORS®— West Volusia Association of REALTORS®—

Member-Subscriber Associations and Boards Desoto County Board of REALTORS®— N/A Lake Wales Association of REALTORS®—

January 2012 | My Florida ReSource | 34

My Florida ReSource  

The monthly magazine for My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS) members.

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