Insight | February 2021

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THE VOICE OF REAL ESTATE IN NORTH CAROLINA

Making  Your Mark Kelly Marks 2021 NC REALTORS® President

Plus Top Tips to be the Best Negotiator The History of Residential Segregation in America Surviving the Pandemic as a Rookie

VOL 100 NO 1 | FEBRUARY 2021


SM

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support@TechHelpline.com Monday – Friday: 9 AM – 8 PM EST Saturday: 9 AM – 5 PM EST


February 2021 14 Making Your Mark How 2021 NC REALTORS® President Kelly Marks plans to support and celebrate NC REALTORS® members this year.

18 The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of

14

How Our Government Segregated America NC REALTORS® Government Affairs explore Richard Rothstein’s book on the history of American housing.

20 Top Tips to be the Best Negotiator As the real estate market becomes more competitive, negotiation skills for transactions are essential.

25 New Kids on the Block Two rookie REALTORS® share their experiences of what it’s like to be a new agent during the pandemic.

18

28 BRIC by BRIC: Federal Natural Infrastructure Funding for the Future New FEMA rules enhance natural infrastructure’s competitiveness for federal funding.

20 4 PRESIDENT'S LETTER 5 INSIDE NC REALTORS®

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NC REALTORS® William C. Bass Leadership Academy Class of 2021, 2021 NC REALTORS® Association Executive Scholarships, 2020 NC REALTORS® PAC Major Investors

8 TECH HELPLINE

8 important tech terms emerged with the coronavirus outbreak

11 LEGAL QUIZ

Test you knowledge on real estate advertising

TALK TO US

28

Have something to talk about? Sure you do—and we want to hear it! Send us your comments, ideas or success stories to mallen@ncrealtors.org and you could be featured in the next Insight. ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  3


Insight, Volume 100, Issue 1 President Kelly Marks, ABR®, CRS, GRI

Treasurer Laurie Knudsen, GRI

President-Elect Wendy Harris, ABR®, CIPS, CRS, MRP

Immediate Past President Maren Brisson-Kuester

Regional Vice Presidents Region 1: Kim Endre, Kitty Hawk Region 2: Tony Harrington, Wilmington Region 3: Bruce Gates, Goldsboro Region 4: Jon Fletcher, Durham Region 5: Kathy Haines, Greensboro Region 6: John McPherson, Clemmons Region 7: Dennis Bailey, Shelby Region 8: Brenda Hayden, Charlotte Region 8: John Ogburn, Charlotte Region 9: Katie Wangrin, Asheville Region 10: Teresa Pitt, Fuquay Varina Region 10: Renee Smith, Apex At Large Representative: Sofia Crisp, Greensboro Chief Executive Officer Andrea Bushnell, Esq., CIPS, RCE Vice President of Communications & Marketing Mckenzie Allen Graphic Design Coordinator Raquel Stubblefield Content Marketing Coordinator Aliyah Ross Contributors Troi Bachmann, Porter Graham, Lee Nelson For advertising information, visit ncrealtors.org/advertise or contact Keri Epps-Rashad at (336) 217-1049. INSIGHT (ISSN 24714127) (USPS 17170) is published four times a year in February, May, August and November by NC REALTORS®, 4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407. Periodicals Postage Prices paid at Greensboro, N.C. and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to INSIGHT, 4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407-7877. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information regarding the subject matter covered. Articles which appear in Insight are an informational service to members and consumers. Their contents are the opinions of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent those of NC REALTORS®. Advertising of a product or service does not imply endorsement, unless specifically stated. To opt-out of paper copy mailings, email hello@ncrealtors.org with a subject line of “Insight opt-out.”

Forest Gump’s mom always said, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” That pretty much sums up 2020, and thankfully we made it to 2021! Even though we continue to figure out our new normal, there is hope for better and brighter days. I am excited to take the helm as president of NC REALTORS® this year and look forward to taking this journey with all of you. This year, NC REALTORS® turns 100 years old. That’s 100 years of advancing North Carolina by advocating for private property rights, maintaining the highest standards of professionalism for clients and providing members with the tools to achieve success. Every single one of you is an integral part of this organization’s rich legacy. But that history is only half of our story. The best is yet to come. As your president, I hope to raise awareness of the private property issues impacting our state and local communities so that we are all better advocates for our industry. I want to ensure you know that NC REALTORS® keeps you top of mind and provides numerous tools to boost your professionalism and success in this industry. I also want you to take our commitment to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics seriously, on social media and beyond. When was the last time you thought about Fair Housing? It was probably covered during your licensing class or maybe touched on in a continuing education course over the years. Article 10 of our Code of Ethics addresses it. Can you remember the specifics of what our Fair Housing laws require us to do or, conversely, what they say we cannot do? Is Fair Housing something you keep top of mind as you enter into every transaction? NC REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) provide numerous resources to ensure all REALTORS® are protecting housing rights in America. NAR recently launched Fairhaven.realtor—an innovative online simulation training, where agents work against the clock to sell homes while confronting discrimination in the homebuying process. During the training, learners also walk in the shoes of a homebuyer facing discrimination. I’ve taken the journey through Fairhaven, and I hope you will take the time to do the same. It is critical for the future of our industry. I hope you will also visit ncrealtors.org/FairHousing for free training, tools and resources to further support your commitment to protecting housing rights for all. I am proud to serve as your president this year and look forward to talking with you via Zoom, or hopefully in person soon. I want to hear your stories of the past and your ideas for the future. I look forward to helping you find your value proposition in this great time of transition. NC REALTORS® celebrates you and supports you, and we plan to do so for another 100 years.

4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407 Phone: (336) 294-1415 ncrealtors.org

Kelly Marks, 2021 NC REALTORS® President


NC REALTORS® WILLIAM C. BASS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY CLASS OF 2021 Due to the pandemic, the class of 2020 will continue into 2021 and graduate during NC REALTORS® Convention & Expo in October 2021. For more information about the Leadership Academy, please visit ncrealtors.org/leadershipacademy.

2021 NC REALTORS® ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE SCHOLARSHIPS

Top row from left to right:

Bottom row from left to right:

These scholarship recipients were selected based on financial need, commitment to professional development and continuing education, time in present position and NAR/NC REALTORS® participation.

Jim Logan Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS®

Kurt Rogerson Carteret County Association of REALTORS®

The following AEs received a $750 scholarship to the Regional AE Conference:

DeJane Perry Kerr Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®

Stephanie Estrada Land of the Sky Association of REALTORS®

Nikki Pratt-Nunley Canopy REALTOR® Association

Magda Esola Canopy REALTOR® Association

Sandra Barnhardt, Mid Carolina Regional Marianne Bartlett, Mountain Lakes Board Morgan Harper, Central Carolina Elizabeth Hensley, Burke County Board Carmen “Ellie” Lacey, Union County Duncan Martin, High Country

Sofia Crisp Greensboro Regional REALTORS® Association

Kim Perkins Jacksonville Board of REALTORS®

The following AEs received a $1,000 scholarship to NAR’s AE Institute:

Olita Boone Johnson County Association of REALTORS®

Cathy Robertson Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS®

Morgan Harper, Central Carolina Carla Rose, Salisbury Rowan Terry Stevens, Rocky Mount Area

Charles Umstead Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® David Zeitz Longleaf Pine REALTORS®

The following AEs received a $500 scholarship to NAR’s Leadership Summit: NC REALTORS ® WILLIAM C. BASS

LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

Elizabeth Hensley, Burke County Board Terry Stevens, Rocky Mount Area ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  5


2020 MAJOR INVESTORS Platinum R’s Maren Brisson-Kuester* Leigh Brown* Bradley Cohen* Asa Fleming* Wendy Harris Valerie Mitchener

Golden R’s

John McPherson*

Dan Kingsbury

Jeffrey Barfield

Steven Norris*

Marcus Larose

James Barnes

Sandra O’Connor*

Laurie Linder*

Michael Barr

Buddy Rudd

Amanda Martin*

Chester Bartlett

Ea Ruth*

Tim McBrayer

Mary Basnight

Renee Smith

Jonathan McBride

Robert Bates

Tony Smith

Timothy Mock

Kelly Benton*

Leland Thomas*

Eric Norman

Virginia Black

Cady Thomas

Elijah Pitman

Beth Blevins

Linda Trevor*

Erika Pitman

Colleen Blondell

Joshua Tucker

Teresa Pitt

Kirk Booth

Charles Alexander

Stephanie Walker*

Robert Rabon

Deana Bowen

Marvette Artis*

Patrice Willetts*

Brooke Rudd-Gaglie

Carol Bradley*

Hadi Atri

Shaleen Young

Kourosh Sharifi

Phyllis Brookshire

Randall Blankenship*

Myra Zollinger*

Wilson Sherrill

Shawn Brown

Douglas Brindley*

Andrew Sims

Jeb Brown

Andrea Bushnell*

James Townsend

Jennifer Burns-Koonce

Crystal R’s

Cynthia Walsh

Michael Butrum

Charles Allen

Leslie Williams

Teresa Byrd

Brett Bushnell Brenda Carroll Robert Carter* Cindy Chandler* Renee Cooney* Kimberly Dawson* David Deal Crystal Franklin-Copas* Anne Gardner* Bruce Gates* Jason Gentry Tony Harrington* Amy Hedgecock Phillip Johnson* Tommy Lawing*

6  INSIGHT • February 2021

Jane Cannon

Louis Baldwin* Margaret Bishop

Janice Carlisle

Diana Braun

Sterling R’s

Kathryn Carpenter

Shannon Brien

William Aceto*

Jacob Cashion

Brooke Cashion*

Kellie Adams

Clifton Cheek*

Ray Alexander

Michael Davenport

Mary Burt Allen

Anne Marie DeCatsye

Terri Alphin Smith

Treasure Faircloth

Jimmy Anderson

David Fialk

Barbara Andrews

Peter Gallo*

Christina Asbury

Lewis Grubbs

Samuel Aubrey

Christi Hill*

Dennis Bailey

Olivia Cecil Diana Cooke Jamie Cooper Wade Corbett Connie Corey David Costner Cirila Cothran* Daniel Cottingham Diana Davis


NC REALTORS® PAC continues to be one of the largest PACs in the state. In 2020, we raised $928,000 reaching 103% of our $904,200 goal. More than 12,400 NC REALTORS® members invested in the PAC, bringing our statewide participation to 26%. We also ended the year with 255 major investors, 43 President’s Circle members and 34 local associations met or exceeded goal this year. Your voice, time and investments are greatly appreciated and helped us promote homeownership, protect property owners’ rights and keep over-regulation away. Thank you!

Heather Dodson

Cindi Hastings

Patrick Morgan

Tom Smith

Rosemarie Doshier

Brenda Hayden

Jamie Moss-Godfrey*

Laurie Smith

Charles Douglas

Debra Hays

Elizabeth Motsinger

Allen Smith

John Dowdy

Stacy Hiers

Gabby Murillo

Kristi Snyder

Anita Emery

Nicholas Hinton

Matthew Myatt

Margaret Sophie

Kimberly Endre

Bruce Hubbard

Kristin Nash

Jennifer Spencer

Bonzie Everson

Ruth Hudspeth

Erin Nixon

April Stephens*

Kristie Ferguson

Jessica Hughes

Chet Oehme

Jeffrey Stewart

Regina Fie

Sandra Hurst

John Ogburn

Sandra Stewart

Margaret Fisher

AnnMarie Janni*

Nicole Orringer

Ben Styers

Danica Fletcher

Tony Jarrett

Mollie Owen

Sean Sullivan

Trevor Foote

Tiffany Johannes

Mark Parker

Ida Terbet

Jordan Forrest

Larry Johnson

Wallace Peiffer

Lawrence Terry

Peter Frandano

Marsena Jones

Robert Percesepe

Monica Thibodeau

Susan Franks

David Kennedy

Kimberly Perkins

Stephanie Thompson

Jennifer Frontera

Adam Kiefer

Jean-Paul Peron

Caitlin Thompson

Pam Furtney

John Kindbom

April Pike

Henry Troscianiec

Thomas Gale

Eric Knight

Melissa Polce

Luke Waddell

Melanie Gates

Dolores Knudsen

Joan Posey-Neumann

David West

Thomas Gongaware

Melissa Kolodziej

Tammy Register

Kristina White*

James Goodman

Scott Lerew

Thomas Rempson

Stacey White

Heather Gool

James Logan

Ward Ricke

Nancy Whitt

Kevin Green

Stephen Long

Soni Rider

John Wilander

Byron Greiner

Todd Long

Linda Rike

Bruce Williams

Christina Grifaldo

Lolita Malave

Catherine Robertson

Mary Edna Williams

Lynne Griffin

Kelly Marks

Ginger Robles

John Wood

Lynn Gulledge

Pamelia Matthews

Justin Roy

Scott Wurtzbacher

Sharon Gupton

Sandra McAlpine

Raymond Ruais

David Zeitz*

Kathy Haines

James McCook

David Sattelmeyer

Mark Zimmerman

Mary Halter

Debbie McFayden

Patrick Serkedakis

Jaime Hamlett

Paul McGill

James Sherrill

*Indicates President’s Circle

W. Neal Hanks

Zan Monroe

Elisabeth Shuey

As of November 2020. ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  7


TECH HELPLINE

TEST YOUR TECH TERM KNOWLEDGE:

8 TERMS EMERGE WITH THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK The World Economic Forum and others have examined the intersection of technology and the coronavirus. Here are a few technologies and terms that have emerged or become more popularized with the onset of COVID-19. Test your

knowledge on how well you know each of these:

This article was pulled from a recent post on the Tech Helpline blog. Read more at techhelpline.com/blog. For any of your technical needs or questions, reach out to Tech Helpline for support. Fast, friendly tech support is just a call, chat or email away. Tech Helpline is a free member benefit for all NC REALTORS®. Learn more at ncrealtors.org/techhelpline.

8  INSIGHT • February 2021


1

5G

It’s all about timing. 5G, the new superfast or “ultrawideband” wireless service, just happened to be released throughout the U.S. by several major wireless carriers during the pandemic. But that has been a good thing, especially for parents working from home who have to share their home internet services with their kids who are learning from home. 5G offers blazing speeds that typically range from 100 – 400Mbits per second, with the potential, as our built-in smartphone modems improve, to deliver gigabyte speeds.

CONTACT TRACING APPS

2

COVID-19 tracing mobile apps have emerged, such as SaferMe, which was made free for business use by the New Zealand government. In China, the download and use of its contact tracing app was required. The purpose of these apps is to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.

3

Cash might contain the virus, since cash is notorious for being covered in germs. Credit or debit cards are the preferred way to pay these days. Contactless payment includes everything from using cards with NFC chips to using your smartphones via Apple, Samsung or Google Pay. Some drive-through vendors even offer a lowtech solution: a pole with a credit card magnetic reader on the end for you to swipe your plastic.

4

Technology has saved jobs during the pandemic, allowing more people to work from home than ever before. Businesses learned they need to have digital readiness—the ability to switch jobs or processes in an office or facility to the home through technology. Digital readiness has allowed many businesses to survive. The longterm impact is stunning, as many major companies have learned to revise their policies and approaches to working from home completely. Some firms have gone so far, such as Zillow, to offer employees the option of working from home permanently.

5

From kindergarten to grad school, students are housebound and learning remotely through video streaming and online platforms. Distance learning has driven home-based tech upgrades, like faster internet speeds and new accessories, such as LED ring lights, microphones, headsets and video cameras.

6

Your next checkup with your doctor may be a video chat. Medical centers are not the best place to be during a pandemic for routine health care issues, so more and more medical professionals are using secure apps for a videobased appointment. Today, there are even chatbots online that collect symptoms and can make initial diagnoses.

7

This is one of those not-so-nice impacts on technology during the pandemic. If you don’t take the right precautions, folks can crash your Zoom meeting. Zoom quickly responded by securing their software and making it easier to prevent others from “bombing” your Zoom meeting. This lessened the chances of a classroom presentation or business meeting being hijacked for nefarious purposes.

8

When you’re housebound for a long time, it can become maddening, but Zoom has come to rescue extroverts with the creation of Zoom parties. Graduations, happy hours, reunions, weddings and more have all fostered a new way for groups of people to connect—remotely. The whole idea is to bring some fun to the virtual meeting experience.

CONTACTLESS PAYMENT

DIGITAL READINESS AND REMOTE WORK

DISTANCE LEARNING

TELEHEALTH

ZOOM-BOMBING

ZOOM PARTIES

ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  9


Providing resources to

CREATE, EXPAND AND ENCOURAGE HOMEOWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES for North Carolinians

ncrealtorshf.org

NC REALTORS®

Property Management Division WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN

BENEFITS

The Key to Opening New Doors The business opportunities in property management are expanding constantly, but the demands on your time are increasing just as fast. The objective of the NC REALTORS® PMD is to provide legislative, educational and networking opportunities to North Carolina’s professional property managers so they can you stay up-todate on trends and developments.

+ PMD Legal Handbook + Educational Meetings + Legislative Participation + Statewide Professional Networking

10  INSIGHT • February 2021

How to Join Any member of NC REALTORS® may join PMD. Visit ncrealtors.org/PMD or contact Amy Kemp at akemp@ncrealtors.org for more information on PMD.


legal

QUIZ Test your knowledge of real estate advertising BY WILL MARTIN, GENERAL COUNSEL

1.

Is it ethical for a listing agent whose property has gone under contract to put a “sold” sign on the property and/or indicate on the internet (social media, website, etc.) that it has been “sold” prior to closing?

2.

May a listing agent advertise that they have “sold” a property after closing if they did not represent the buyer?

3.

Is it ethical for a buyer agent, whose client has put a property under contract, to advertise that the property is under contract without the listing agent’s permission?

4. 5.

Can a buyer agent put a “sold” sign on a property after closing?

If a buyer agent tours a listed property with her client, is it permissible for the buyer agent to post her own photos of the property on her social media without

permission of the listing agent’s firm, if she gives credit to the listing firm?

6.

May a REALTOR® advertise properties on her website/ social media that her buyer clients have purchased without the consent of the firms that listed the properties or without including the listing firms’ names?

7.

If a REALTOR® changes firms, may he continue to display the properties he helped sell while he was affiliated with his old firm on his website/social media?

8.

May a REALTOR® include another firm’s listing in her print or social media advertising without the other firm’s consent so long as the other firm is identified?

HOW DID YOU DO? Turn the page to discover the answers. ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  11


legal

QUIZ Answers 1.

Yes, it is ethical. However, listing agents are advised not to advertise a property as “sold” unless and until it has closed based on guidance from the NC Real Estate Commission that the term could potentially mislead the public, which understands the word “sold” to mean a fully completed transaction. [Use of “Sold” signs on property that is under contract Category: Advertising]

2.

Yes. Although brokers may draw a distinction between “listing” a property and “selling” a property, the average person probably does not. So, the use of the word “sold” by the listing agent would not be considered misleading in violation of the real estate license law or the Code of Ethics. [Advertising “sold” properties as a listing agent Category: Advertising]

3.

Standard of Practice 12-4 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics prohibits REALTORS® from advertising property without authority. Even if the buyer agent’s purpose is to promote the agent’s services, it’s still advertising the property from an objective point of view. Thus, in order to avoid a potential complaint that they have violated Article 12, cooperating agents should obtain permission from the listing agent prior to closing before advertising that the property is under contract.

4.

Yes. Provided that the purchaser gives the buyer’s agent permission to do so, it is permissible under the Code of Ethics and the real estate license law for a buyer’s agent—who was involved in a transaction that has closed— to claim that they “sold” the property and to put a “sold” sign on the property without having to get approval from the listing agent. [Can a buyer agent put a “sold” sign on property after closing? Category: Code of Ethics]

5.

As noted in the answer to question #3, even if the buyer agent’s purpose is to promote her own services, she is still likely to be considered as advertising the property. The prohibition in the Code of Ethics against advertising another REALTOR®’s listing without their express permission applies to any kind of advertising, including social media advertising. An MLS’s IDX rules allow a participant to create a limited electronic display of another participant’s listing, but the display must comply with the IDX rules. [Can I advertise another firm’s property on social media? Category: Advertising]

6.

Yes. Neither the real estate license law nor the Code of Ethics obligates a buyer agent to obtain a listing firm’s consent in order to advertise the completed sales transactions in which she participated or to mention any of the listing firms’ names. [Advertising “Sold” Properties as a Buyer’s Agent Category: Code of Ethics]

7.

Yes, provided that viewers would understand that some of the sales had occurred while the agent was affiliated with a different firm. [May I advertise my role in sales after leaving a firm? Category: Code of Ethics]

8.

No. While it wouldn’t violate the Real Estate Commission’s advertising Rule, advertising another firm’s listing without authority is a violation of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Even though the other firm and its client might not object to such advertising, the lack of objection cannot be assumed. [Can a REALTOR® include one of my listings in her print advertising without my consent? Category: Advertising; Can I advertise another firm’s property on social media? Category: Advertising]

STUDY HARD If you’re not doing so already, be sure to read the Q&As that appear in the REALTOR® Rundown every Monday. 12  INSIGHT • February 2021


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14  INSIGHT • February 2021


Making Your Mark How 2021 NC REALTORS® President Kelly Marks plans to support and celebrate NC REALTORS® members this year. We made it to 2021, and no one is more thrilled than NC REALTORS® President Kelly Marks. Not only does he take his place at the virtual podium during the association’s centennial celebration, but he also takes this position of leadership during a pivotal moment in our association’s legacy. And Marks takes this role very seriously. For the past 100 years, NC REALTORS® has proven that we are the driving force in shaping North Carolina and the communities we serve. The men and women of this organization have fought hard for the real estate profession, tax reform, equal opportunity and affordability. We’ve weathered the storms of war, depression, recession and most recently, a pandemic. Our history proves that REALTORS® matter. But that’s only half the story. One hundred years of achievements and lessons learned now bring us to this pivotal point. Where do we go from here? President Marks is prepared to have those conversations with you this year. He is determined to help you find your value proposition. He is eager to share the ways NC REALTORS® supports you and your business success. He is prepared to continue the important discussions on diversity, equity and inclusion. He is ready to turn the spotlight on you and the many ways you contribute to your industry and community. But, before we do that, let’s take a look at the man behind the Zoom screen. Marks is a 36-year real estate veteran and has served at the local, state, and national levels of the REALTOR® organization, including consecutive terms as NC REALTORS® Treasurer. He’s also very proud of his work in the Triad community. But there is more to him than just the accolades. Insight Magazine caught up with President Marks to learn more about his real estate background, why the REALTOR® organization is vital to business success and what hopes he has for the future of the industry and this association. 1. Why real estate? I secured my real estate license while at UNC-Chapel Hill with absolutely no thought of ever being in the real estate profession. I intended to use the license to better understand buying and selling real estate as my parents were always in real estate investments by building apartments. My mother and brother became REALTORS®, and I worked for the world’s second-largest computer company. I quickly got frustrated with the corporate world, and since I had been helping my brother, John, with his real estate business,

I decided to try real estate as a career for a one-year experiment. Obviously, the experiment was a success. 2. What advice would you give a new agent? The best tip I have for any new agent is to invest in education with REALTOR® designations and create a network with other agents with those same designations. I also recommend that you do not become a “secret” agent where no one knows what you do for a living. Tell EVERYONE you know! 3. What is your essential tech tool as a REALTOR®? The tech tool I rely on more than anything is a smartphone. Enough said. 4. What is your favorite thing about being a REALTOR®? I enjoy being a REALTOR® for the opportunities it provides me to impact others every day. 5. What is your favorite part of living in Greensboro? Greensboro has been a wonderful place to live and work. Our parks are top-ranked, sports have always been good, the PGA Tour is played here and there is plenty to do within 90 minutes of the city. Being geographically central, it is easy to travel to the beach and mountains, to Washington and Atlanta and beyond. 6. What is one thing you can’t live without? I cannot live without a positive attitude, determination and laughter. You must have a positive attitude to see the possibilities and not waste opportunities. You need determination to get through the obstacles of life and business. A sense of humor will get you through daily challenges and brighten your and others’ days. 7. What was your first job? My first real job was working in a Hardee’s restaurant at the age of 15. 8. What is #1 on your bucket list? I would love to travel more than I do. Australia and New Zealand are high on my “bucket list” of destinations. 9. Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. Most people might find it unusual for a southern boy to learn to play ice hockey, and it is. I played in the Greensboro ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  15


REALTORS® can support one another by helping those around you be better. Readily share your knowledge, experience and insight to help your fellow REALTORS® succeed.

– Kelly Marks, 2021 NC REALTORS® President

recreation league and then went to Toronto for ice hockey camp. I wound up playing through college for the UNC Club Team, where we won an ACC Championship over Duke. After graduation, I decided to quit hockey since I had all my teeth and concentrate on golf where I did not have to worry about it.

the most important member benefit is forms and contracts. Hopefully, an Association Health Care Insurance program can be realized in 2021, which might be a distant second.

10. What is your favorite motto? I live every day understanding that there are people on this side of the “grass” and the other side of the “grass” that would love to have my worst day and even my problems. I try hard to make the most out of each day and do something positive.

15. What are your goals for your term as president of NC REALTORS®? NC REALTORS® is now approximately 51,000 members strong and is the seventh-largest state REALTOR® association. My priorities as president include the continuation of the Fair Housing initiatives and increased awareness and education for leadership and members. Once federal hurdles are cleared, Association Healthcare Plans for our members is a high priority as the prohibitive cost of healthcare has led a significant percentage of our members to have no healthcare coverage. And as always, I want our members to understand that they are a priority and that NC REALTORS® provide them numerous services to help them in their business.

11. What is your greatest life accomplishment so far? I have been truly fortunate to have many highlights in my life, such as serving on charitable boards, being involved with the Guilford County School system, serving in a leadership role with the Greensboro Jaycees when the organization grew to be the largest chapter in the U.S. and second largest in the world, and being General Chairman of the 1993 Kmart Greater Greensboro Open (a PGA Tour event). My leadership within the REALTOR® organization has been my most significant professional accomplishment, and of course, my family has been more fun than I ever thought it could be, which is incredibly rewarding. 12. What is the biggest hot topic in real estate now? The hottest topic in real estate is the low inventory levels of homes in most marketplaces throughout the country. Building can only do so much to get us out of a 10-year gradual reduction in housing availability, which is driving up pricing and reducing the ability to have affordable housing. 13. How did you get involved in the association? My involvement with the Greensboro Regional REALTORS® Association was limited to occasionally teaching orientation and participating in events. One day, I received a call from Past President Jolaine Lanier, who wanted me to run for the Board of Directors (BOD). A few days later, I called her to tell her that I would run, but she said that she no longer wanted me to run for the BOD but for president. I ran for president and won. That started my leadership career in the REALTOR® organization. 14. What is the most valuable NC REALTORS® member benefit? I believe that most REALTOR® members would feel that 16  INSIGHT • February 2021

16. Why does homeownership matter? Homeownership is the “American Dream.” It provides wealth accumulation and improves one’s net worth, typically 30 or more times greater than renting. Homeownership results in an improved economy through investing in home updates and maintaining a home. And those who own homes are more likely to be more involved in the community, and the children are more likely to perform better in school. 17. How can REALTORS® support each other? REALTORS® can support one another by helping those around you be better. Readily share your knowledge, experience and insight to help your fellow REALTORS® succeed. 18. What is the biggest change you would like to see during your term as president? REALTORS® have a responsibility to treat everyone fairly, equally and without any bias or prejudice. We are privileged to be in a profession that impacts others as much as it does, and we should not lose sight of how we can change and impact other’s lives. The least little thing that we do or say can give the impression of “steering” our clients when that is not intended. Education and training will be necessary for both the leadership and members of this organization.


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The Color of Law A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America A

BY TROI BACHMANN Director of Field Advocacy

18  INSIGHT • February 2021

merica has a long history of civil rights disenfranchisement, and this year was no different. In addition to the challenges presented by COVID-19, a summer of civil unrest followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. Organizations across the country, including the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and NC REALTORS®, are now grappling with the legacy of individual and institutional racism within our nation. NC REALTORS® released a statement affirming its commitment to private property rights and homeownership

for all—regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. “Without productive, forward-looking engagement of all persons, we won’t come out of this painful time in our state and nation better. Racism has no home in North Carolina,” the statement read. Moved to contextualize the legacy of race in real estate, the Government Affairs Department of NC REALTORS® delved into the history of American housing by reading The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. The book outlines the origins of housing policies and programs at the federal, state and local levels designed to disenfranchise and segregate African Americans. The ensuing discussions deepened our knowledge of the impact of race in housing and the challenges that African Americans face throughout the country. “It was great to see our government affairs team so interested in understanding the history behind the issues in which we are still engaged today,” reflected Mark Zimmerman, Senior Vice President of External Affairs. Most REALTORS® are familiar with blockbusting and steering and how they affect Black American homeownership. Rothstein does not limit his research to these topics. Many of the systems that we see today as equalizers in housing opportunity—public housing, tax benefits, local zoning ordinances, etc.—were created with racially restrictive qualifiers that intentionally blocked access to homeownership for Black Americans and segregated communities that were previously integrated. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was formed in 1934 by President Roosevelt and Congress in order to assist middle-class renters in purchasing their first homes during the Great Depression. Mortgage insurance would only be extended to white Americans purchasing homes in all-white neighborhoods. Despite their ability to pay for the


The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein published by W.W. Norton in 2017. Photo courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute.

same homes as white Americans, Black Americans were locked out of the housing market and the benefits of homeownership. The FHA Underwriting Manual even suggested a number of ways to intentionally segregate white neighborhoods from black neighborhoods, like building highways or concrete walls as barriers between neighborhoods. Rothstein includes moving individual accounts of the discrimination Black Americans faced, as well. One of the most striking accounts is that of the Wade family’s experience in 1954. Andrew Wade—an African American, Korean War Navy veteran—and his wife were able to purchase a home from Carl Braden, a white man and activist in Louisville, Kentucky. Braden purchased a home in a white, middle-class community and sold it to the Wades. When violent protesters appeared as the Wades moved in, police monitored the destruction of the Wade family’s new home, culminating in the use of dynamite. Instead of arresting the white neighbors who perpetrated the

Andrew Wade and his family stand in front of their Shively, Kentucky home after it was damaged by rocks and rifle shots. The house was later bombed on June 27, 1954 by locals who did not want an African American family living in a white neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Enerow.net.

violence, the police arrested Andrew Wade for “breach of the peace,” and a grand jury indicted the Bradens for “stirring up racial conflict by selling the house to African Americans.” These occurrences were not isolated to the 1950s and 1960s. This state-sponsored or tolerated violence continued well into the 1980s. Where does this leave us, then? While private discrimination absolutely played a role in the realities we see today, racial segregation in housing was largely created and enforced by federal, state and local policies. As such, Rothstein argues that as a nation, we are constitutionally bound to remedying these wounds. This history has tangible effects today. According to research from NAR, there was a 30 percent gap in homeownership rates for Black Americans compared to white Americans from 2016 –2019. Among his suggested remedies, Rothstein highlights revision of federal housing subsidies, civil rights lawsuits and bans on exclusionary zoning. More practically, Rothstein

points to education of the general public as a holistic approach to correcting the ills of the past. For the last 50 years, REALTORS® have supported the Fair Housing Act and stood for the principle that all who can and want to purchase a home should be able to purchase the home of their choice. To achieve that goal, we, as real estate professionals, must educate ourselves on the results of segregation in our markets and reflect on how to address these barriers for people of color. As we think about the changes that COVID-19 has brought to our world, we should consider how we can continue to open doors of opportunity to all members of our communities. REALTORS® strive to open doors for so many—let’s open them even wider in the coming years.

Join the Discussion If you are interested in hosting your own discussion group centered on The Color of Law, email Troi Bachmann at tbachmann@ncrealtors.org to request a copy of a discussion guide. ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  19



Top Tips

to be the best

Negotiator BY LEE NELSON

Lee Nelson is a freelance journalist from the Chicago area. She has written for Yahoo! Homes, TravelNursing.org, MyMortgageInsider.com and REALTOR® Magazine. She also writes a bi-monthly blog on Unigo.com.

“Negotiation becomes a big part of life,” says Camille Yates. “We start when we are children. I remember asking my mom if I could stay up later than normal. She replied saying yes, if I cleaned my room first,” says Yates, a REALTOR® at both Blue Ridge Real Estate in Hendersonville and Alex MacWilliam Real Estate in Vero Beach, Florida. “We negotiate daily with friends, family, colleagues, spouses/partners, employers, shop owners and many more.” But real estate transactions involve a lot of negotiating because big bucks and many emotions are on the line. And in this day and age of low inventory and low interest rates,

the real estate market becomes even more competitive. “There are many things that REALTORS® help buyers and sellers negotiate. It’s not all about price,” she adds. “The terms of the transaction are also important such as cash versus financing, time to close or repair requests. It is critical to educate your clients before negotiations begin to set realistic expectations.” Yates earned the Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE) designation from the National Association of REALTORS®. “As REALTORS®, we should continuously educate ourselves so that we can offer superior service to our clients,” Yates explains. She believes the RENE course helped her hone her negotiation skills, enabling her to satisfy more clients. »

ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  21


Why Some Fear Negotiations “Sometimes negotiating gets perceived as petty or haggling,” says Ed Brodow, negotiation expert and author of Negotiation Boot Camp® Seminars. “It’s been a cultural thing. Somehow, it’s (negotiations) cast a bad shadow on people’s character,” he explains. Negotiation becomes all about confrontation, from which many people shy away. But Brodow grew up in Brooklyn, where he says he faced confrontations every day. “Negotiations can be fun if you have the right attitude,” he says. “But many are afraid of losing. They are afraid if they get in a confrontation that they will lose and not get what they want.” Yates thinks people are fearful because they don’t want to be rejected, which is why some people don’t bother to negotiate. “Negotiation doesn’t start until someone says no. Don’t be intimidated. Shy people actually have good negotiation skills that they may not be aware of,” she states. Shy people tend to listen more closely, which means they will better understand the other party, versus an outspoken person who might miss what is being said. “Negotiation should be thought of as a conversation—a conversation with someone whose interests are not 22  INSIGHT • February 2021

perfectly aligned with yours,” Yates says. “The goal is to reach an agreement.” Importance of Boosting Your Negotiation Skills Now more than ever, Savanna Reagin feels that expanding one’s professional development is necessary. “When COVID-19 hit, we were concerned about how our members would be affected,” says Reagin, professional designation manager for NC REALTORS®. “However, the housing market is doing well. Additionally, North Carolina has seen an increase in membership. This raises the competitiveness among brokers in the state.” When potential clients are looking to buy or sell a home, a REALTOR’S® credentials can give them the competitive edge. “We saw a huge increase in members taking classes, which moved to a virtual and online platform in March of SAVANNA REAGIN 2020,” Reagin adds. “I feel that it was an opportunity for members to gain an edge when it comes to standing

out to their clientele. What I saw from my interaction with members—who, for example, started by obtaining one certification or designation—was that they enjoyed it so much that they continued their professional development journey.” Many of the programs overlap with others, encouraging members to pursue additional credentials. “I always try to mention which classes/certifications/designations count towards others as well as offer my contact information for anyone who wants to continue their education but may not know what to take,” Reagin adds. When Patrice Willetts teaches the RENE designation to other agents, she tells them to work continuously to understand what motivating factor is most important to the parties. “Listening is key,” explains Willetts, broker at The Property Shop International in Wilmington. “You don’t just fill in the blanks of an offer and shoot the email over to the listing agent. You need to understand all the pieces, large and small, that will come into play.” She believes and has seen that when REALTORS® have better negotiating skills, they will bring more transactions to a successful conclusion. That not only gains referrals from satisfied


Here are seven best tips on being successful with negotiating: • Address the personal needs, wants and wishes of the other negotiator. “Sometimes egos are involved, so it’s important to know the other party and work to establish a foundation of collaboration with them,” Yates says. • Don’t give anything without getting something. “You always get something in return. Never make unilateral concessions,” Brodow says. • Slow down what’s happening. “People are used to instant gratification in today’s world, and you can use that to your advantage. By understanding the other side’s impatience to get the deal done, you can figure out what will win the deal,” Brodow adds. • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. “If you feel you are out of your league or having a problem in negotiations, ask your broker-in-charge, manager or mentor. They are all there to help you,” says Willetts. • Be prepared and be knowledgeable. “You can’t fly by the seat of the pants in negotiations,” states Cook-Pace • Ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with yes or no. Yates explains, “It’s amazing how much you can learn by asking and then listening. Pause and make certain that the other person has finished answering your question. Using this skill will enable you to gather more information that will help your client achieve a successful outcome.” • Don’t be demanding or defensive. “Thinking you know it all does not work,” Willetts says

clients but also raises self-confidence to venture into areas that might have seemed intimidating in the past. “I love watching the level of someone’s confidence rise,” Willetts says as a proud teacher. “To get the call from a broker who says they put the strategy in place we talked about, and it worked. Being a good negotiator is a positive thing.” PATRICE WILLETTS When Things Could Go Awry “Negotiation is about the ask,” Yates says. “Sometimes, the way you ask makes a huge difference,” she states. “Be assertive, yet tactful and respectful. Acknowledge the other person’s needs.” “If the other negotiator asks something of you that is unrealistic, be flexible and present a different option. As a REALTOR®, negotiation is about keeping the deal intact,” she adds. If the other person you are negotiating with is unbendable and uncompromising, Willetts says to

take a step back and breathe. Work to find something to which all parties can agree. Tammy Cook-Pace served as a transaction coordinator for six years with such duties as negotiating repairs once the inspections were done. “If you aren’t savvy, the negotiations process will get the best of you. It was tough, and I didn’t want to do it anymore,” says Cook-Pace, REALTOR® for HomeTowne Realty in Clayton. She completed the RENE designation in June. She feels the information helped her to communicate better, even if it’s bad news. “Buyers and sellers want to hear from you. You have to communicate good or bad news,” she says. “I learned to compromise without giving away TAMMY COOK-PACE everything.” One of the biggest takeaways CookPace learned through the years and through the class was to focus on what you did to get the end result instead of what you lost. And she feels she changed her communication style by

being less panicked and taking the time to breathe. “Sometimes just being patient can help your side,” explains Brodow. “You don’t want to stoke that other person. Present things in a way that they perceive that their needs are going to be met,” he says. “Look at the negotiations of the other person’s perspective. You don’t convince others to do something because it’s good for you.” He adds that this type of situation happens all the time in personal relations. You have to show the other person that their needs will be met. “It’s simple,” he adds. “Your clients are counting on you,” Willetts says. “It is your responsibility to bring your best to the table as you work to represent your client,” she adds. In every transaction, agents need to understand all the pieces, including finances, inspections and the why behind someone’s position. “You need to be able to offer a new way of looking at an issue and know what to offer as an alternative. Educate your client and use good communication skills to help the other side see the big picture,” Willetts adds.

ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  23


Keep Your Mind & Skills Sharp ncrealtors.org/education-roundup

NC REALTORS® wants to help you build skills and adapt to changing times. Our website contains a roundup of broadcasts, webinars, courses, tools and programs to help you succeed. Visit ncrealtors.org/education-roundup for more information. + Live Virtual Courses

+ On Demand Webinars

+ Online Courses

+ Discounts

+ Live Webinars

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Got questions? For Courses, Designations, & Certifications Contact Savanna Reagin at sreagin@ncrealtors.org For Webinars, Mobile Mondays, Speakers, & C2EX Contact Rachel Branson at rbranson@ncrealtors.org


New Kids on the Block Meet the New Kids on The Block. No, not the late 1980s boy band, but these rookie NC REALTORS® who are just starting out in the real estate industry. A career in real estate is no easy job. To make it in the industry, you have to put in the sweat equity of cold calling and BY ALIYAH ROSS networking to see a literal payoff. Months of Content Marketing Coordinator no deals, no sign of leads and dead ends can be discouraging for a new agent.

On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic came along in 2020 and made REALTORS® lives even more challenging. Agents were forced to jump over the hurdles of showing houses with new restrictions. Real estate is a customer service driven profession. What do you do when you are not able to connect with clients face to face? Despite the many obstacles of roughing it in the industry in 2020, these agents love what they do. Insight magazine caught up with Katie Lynam of Raleigh and Kerri George of Winston-Salem to learn a little more about what it is like to be a new real estate agent in these changing times.

ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  25


well-meaning friends would frequently ask, “How is real estate going?” or “Have you sold any houses yet?” Lynam felt immense pressure to be viewed as a success. “I had thrown myself into the field full-time and wanted something to show for it. I was commonly told ‘real estate isn’t for everyone.’ But that didn’t satisfy me— I have learned so much in the last somehow, I knew it was for me, and I was determined to prove year, and I’m excited to constantly it to the world,” says Lynam. learn and grow. It’s a privilege to In February 2020, after be a part of what is normally the several conversations, Lynam largest financial decision people agreed to meet with a team make in their lifetimes. I couldn’t in her office, which she later realized was the firm’s topbe more honored and fulfilled! producing team. Weeks later, she joined The Clark Team. This group had the reputation of high-energy, drive and providing fun leadership opportunities and education. But most importantly, they had leads. Katie began training with the team—soaking up information like a sponge—soon started making phone calls and scheduling buyer appointments.

Meet

Katie Lynam

Katie Lynam of Keller Williams Raleigh became an agent in September 2019. “I didn’t always know I wanted to get into real estate. What I did know was I wanted to work with people, and I was starving for a challenge,” says Lynam. A friend of Lynam’s, who had retired from real estate, saw potential and encouraged her to look into becoming a REALTOR®. With Lynam’s heart for service and a strong will to win, real estate appeared to be a perfect fit. HOW IT STARTED Her story doesn’t start with an instant, take-off-the-groundrunning series of wins. She entered her firm full of eager confidence and immediately signed up for an intense 8-week training course geared towards developing a go-getter mindset. “The first four months were challenging. I called everyone in my sphere, sent Facebook messages and even struck up conversations with strangers I ran into in public. I even went as far as going to the mall over the holidays and speaking with shop owners and shoppers alike,” recalls Lynam. While no immediate business was uncovered, she identified opportunities that were several months or years away. In addition to the pressure she had already put on herself, 26  INSIGHT • February 2021

COVID-19 CHALLENGES Momentum was high for this rookie, then March brought COVID-19 lockdowns. “Our offices closed, and the buyers I had been working with put their purchases on hold indefinitely,” remarks Lynam. Months of lockdowns forced Lynam to adapt and reinvent her strategy. Videoconferencing, texts, social media and virtual showings soon became the new norm for serving her clients. “In the last week of May, I got my first house under contract, which then closed at the end of June. It was a monumental breakthrough. I felt like I had crashed through a brick wall, and I couldn’t wait to experience more wins!” says Lynam. That moment was a turning point, and her hard work started to pay off in a big way. Katie went on to put nine homes under contract in the next month. As she gained momentum and experience, her confidence skyrocketed. “My real estate career excites me, challenges me and gives me so many opportunities to help others. I’m so thankful I decided not to give up,” says Lynam. HOW IT’S GOING Lynam’s greatest accomplishment to date is $1 million in pending gross sales. Talk about a comeback! “My advice to new agents is to always ask why. Come from curiosity. Surround yourself with growth-minded people, who will challenge your mindset, hold you accountable to your goals and who you can celebrate and laugh with along the way.” When Katie is not selling properties, she enjoys bike riding, running, outdoor activities and spending time with friends. “I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie and dream of travel adventures, including skydiving, ziplining and surfing.”


When George is not working, she: • • • • •

Meet

Kerri George

Become a REALTOR® during a pandemic? Kerri George, a new agent with Keller Williams Elite Realty in Winston-Salem, was up for the challenge. She signed up for a virtual real estate class in March 2020 and never looked back. NAVIGATING COVID-19 CHALLENGES For 17 years, George cared for her five children as a stay-athome mom. About three years ago, she decided to go back to work as a part-time Certified Personal Trainer. After COVID-19 lockdowns hit and all of the gyms closed, George decided to take a real estate class. “Before I became a trainer, I had contemplated getting into real estate, but the timing wasn’t quite right. With all real estate classes taking place on Zoom, I figured now was an opportune time to take the class and get started,” says George.

enjoys spending time with family and friends loves watching sports sits down and indulges in a good book cherishes drinking coffee appreciates just enjoying life

As a stay-at-home mother and trainer, George is no stranger to serving others and helping them accomplish their goals. “I genuinely enjoy meeting and getting to know new people,” she says. Many of the skill sets needed in personal training and motherhood also translate to real estate—i.e., being a good listener and communicator, identifying specific needs and desires, finding a client’s motivation in the decision-making process and reassuring clients throughout their journey. “I’ve sought to approach each hurdle, not just as a roadblock, but as a potential leap towards something new and maybe something better. In the end, it has helped me to continue moving forward no matter what,” George remarks.

LEARNING THE ROPES In any new career or venture, there is a lot to learn. New agents have to be good at asking questions about things they don’t understand. George credits asking questions to more seasoned agents as the key to making things a little easier early on. “To all new agents, don’t feel as though you have to know everything. Take advantage of the expertise of those who have been around longer than you. Ask to shadow other agents so you can get firsthand experience on the buying and selling process. Don’t be afraid to jump right in and get to work,” encourages George. Her greatest accomplishment so far has been showing a house within the first week of having her license. “I was nervous because it felt like I had just been thrown in the deep end, but it was a great learning experience, and I was able to get feedback from the other agent about what I did well and how I could improve.”

A WHOLE NEW WORLD The COVID-19 pandemic shook up the world for everyone. Many small businesses shut down, thousands of people lost their jobs and filed for unemployment and the real estate industry had to pivot to make things happen for clients while staying safe. Despite the changes and the new normal, these agents pushed through. Are you a bright new agent who would love to share your story with us? We would love to feature you in an upcoming issue of Insight. For more information, please email Mckenzie Allen at mallen@ncrealtors.org. ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  27


BRIC by BRIC: Federal Natural Infrastructure Funding for the Future

BY PORTER GRAHAM Shared & Regional Government Affairs Director Issued in October 2018, Executive Order 80 promulgated the framework within which Governor Cooper plans to honor North Carolina’s responsibilities as a signatory to the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of twenty-four states committed to the 28  INSIGHT • February 2021

2015 Paris Agreement regardless of federal climate policy. Executive Order 80’s ambitious emissions and energy consumption reduction targets dominated associated reporting, which underemphasized Governor Cooper’s other notable foci on resilience and adaptation planning. Among Executive Order 80’s underreported elements was a directive that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issue North Carolina’s first comprehensive climate adaptation plan. Released in June 2020, DEQ’s Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan (hereinafter “the Plan”) prioritizes enhancement of natural infrastructure as an “immediate focus” for state and local government. “Natural infrastructure” merited the Plan’s

reference thirteen times, including in Governor Cooper’s brief introduction, all with one specified purpose: flood prevention. The centrality of flood prevention to climate adaptation planning in coastal communities, and evidently of natural infrastructure to the state’s resilience solution toolkit, begs practical questions about the suitability of existing funding authorities to natural infrastructure flood mitigation projects. In an environment of grave budgetary challenges for state and local governments and historical disparities in pre- and post-disaster federal funding, what federal legislative and programmatic support enables interpretation of North Carolina’s new natural infrastructure emphasis


as a serious, actionable proposal for confronting climate challenges? Within the flood prevention context, natural infrastructure refers to engineered shoreline stabilization and flood-mitigation systems that replicate or enhance natural ecosystems’ and morphological features’ potential as physical wave barriers or drainage mechanisms. Natural infrastructure has been promoted by DEQ’s Division of Coastal Management (DCM) as a favorable alternative to conventional “gray infrastructure”, which includes concrete levees, seawalls, and other hard armored structures. Sparsely defined in the Plan as “e.g. oyster, reefs, marsh, living shorelines”, natural infrastructure is often presented in DCM literature as more permanent, economical, and effective than conventional armoring, which involves higher maintenance costs, fails to potentiate cobenefits like aquatic habitat restoration, and often poses erosion hazards to adjacent shoreline. Though North Carolina’s interest in natural infrastructure accords with national and global perspectives on preferred climate-resilient engineering solutions, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidance documents and other seminal literature mostly advertises case studies and similarly anecdotal illustrations of natural infrastructure’s potential. This is because the relative rarity of significant investment in natural infrastructure projects limits available synthetic information justifying said investment; a policy catch-22 that

often functions to disincentivize innovations in institutional capacities (particularly fiscal capacities) to advance novel solutions. Recent academic and governmental investigations profiling barriers to natural infrastructure projects have unsurprisingly identified real or perceived insufficiencies in funding and other resources as the primary impediment to progress. Broad disproportions in pre- and post-disaster federal resources, anachronistic tailoring of federal funding authorities and associated programming to traditional hard armoring, and the discontinuous and highly competitive nature of federal adaptation funding generally, have contributed to a sense of isolation among state agency and local planning staff that undermines exploration of projects lacking adequate state and local financing. This has restricted recent progress in natural infrastructure engineering largely to small, discrete, exploratory projects with short life-cycles involving limited interjurisdictional collaboration. Among the intended vehicles for practical, collaborative, stakeholder-inclusive adaptation planning are the twenty-eight National Estuary Programs established by amendments to the Clean Water Act in 1987. In response to Executive Order 80 and the Plan, North Carolina and Virginia’s AlbemarlePamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) began prioritizing living shorelines to address erosion in the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. Comments from APNEP leadership

preparatory to APNEP’s 2020 Leadership Council Strategic Planning Meeting characterize implementation progress as “a patchwork” of “very localized, restoration-oriented projects”; “essentially a shotgun approach with efforts scattered all over the place”, and “funding meaningful projects” as “a weakness given limited funds” from a variety of siloed state agencies. APNEP’s concerns generalize widely across regional and state entities responsible for coastal adaptation, indicating a need for federal articulation of clear technical standards for planning and implementation and improved guidance as to whether and how state and local natural infrastructure projects can achieve federal mitigation goals and thereby necessary funding. Writ large are broader questions about the status, sufficiency, and prioritization of federal plans for enhanced mitigation funding posed by the historic scale of the U.S. Government’s responses to the Katrina and Sandy disasters. Following these storms, a spirit of national urgency catalyzed political will in Congress for massive federal risk-reduction outlays totaling $2.7 billion in six affected states, dwarfing the $90 million available via FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for the entire United States in 2012. Demands for greater equitability in federal attention to disaster preparedness and a reduction in FEMA’s complexity were underscored by the hyperactive 2017 Atlantic hurricane and California seasons; hence the National Institute of Building Sciences Multihazard Mitigation Council and similar authorities’ sedulous promotion of revised mitigation expenditure-tosavings ratios, and the 2015 OpenFEMA initiative to publically release internal data on mitigation effectiveness. These efforts culminated in the Disaster Recover Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA), the most comprehensive amendment in decades to the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988, which initially authorized executive provision of predisaster assistance to state governments and organized ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  29


relevant activities under FEMA. DRRA aimed to substantially reallocate federal disaster funding from restoration and replacement to mitigation, principally via an important new funding authority. DRRA Section 1234 created the National Public Infrastructure PreDisaster Mitigation (NPIPDM) Fund, into which FEMA may set aside 6% of aggregate annual grants from the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), the federal government’s primary domestic disaster recovery fund, which as the principal repository of the 116th Congress’s historically large disaster relief appropriations carried a 2019 balance of more than $29 billion. As of October 2020, NIPPDM funding available via the 6% set-aside totaled $956 million, and FEMA anticipates additional annual NPIPDM fund allocations averaging $300 to $500 million, depending on the scale of future disaster events in any given year. The PEW Charitable Trusts estimates that the 6% NPIPDM set aside would have generated at least $650 million for federal resilience investment in 2017 alone had DRRA existed at the time. Prior to DRRA, pre-disaster mitigation funding was determined by discretionary legislative appropriations to the Predisaster Mitigation (PDM) Fund subject to political and other extraneous priorities and thus both highly variable and broadly incommensurate with local needs. NPIPDM provides for federal prioritization of pre-disaster investment with a consistent, significant increase in FEMA’s capacity to incentivize large and complex resilient infrastructure projects. DRRA conditions NIPPDM funding eligibility on the applicant’s receipt of a major disaster declaration at least seven years prior to the funding period start date, an intentionally broad criterion that every state and territory can satisfy. In April 2020 FEMA introduced the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Policy, the framework within which NIPPDM funding will be administered, to supersede the PDM fund and “promote a national culture of preparedness through encouraging 30  INSIGHT • February 2021

investments to protect communities and infrastructure and strengthening national mitigation capabilities to foster resilience.” Intended to transform federal mitigation investment, BRIC will competitively allocate NIPPDM funding to 75% federal cost-sharing for “capability- and capacity-building”, which involves project-scoping and environmental permitting; mitigation project implementation, which involves engineering and construction costs; and management costs, which include pre-award administrative costs incurred at any time in the development of an application. In competitively allocating BRIC funding FEMA will apply a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) predetermined by rulemaking to assess the long-term value of proposed projects’ risk reductions as required by the Office of Management and Budget. Comments in response to FEMA’s publication of its proposed BRIC policy expressed significant concern that the BCA methodology might complicate FEMA’s prioritization of natural infrastructure solutions by limiting their competitiveness relative to conventional grey infrastructure projects. Among the stakeholder concerns most cited in FEMA’s proposed BRIC policy comment summary involved the BCA’s failure to contemplate the range of ecosystem service benefits associated with natural infrastructure, including improvements to air quality, pollutant filtration, habitat restoration, and recreation space. FEMA responded

to these comments by finalizing in June 2020 alterations to the BCA eliminating a benefit-cost ratio threshold designed for conventional grey infrastructure that infrastructure projects were previously required to meet before inclusion of ecosystem service benefits in cost-effectiveness calculations. This exemption for BRIC-funded projects from legacy BCA requirements is intended to enhance green infrastructure’s competitiveness for FEMA awards and thus the diversity of federally-funded resilience projects. Because BRIC’s first funding application period opened September 30, 2020, the exemption’s potential to achieve parity for green infrastructure funding is as yet untested. It is, however, a positive indication of FEMA’s receptivity to programmatic reforms serving adaptation innovation. While rigorous Congressional oversight of BRIC implementation should continue, the program demonstrates a meaningful proactive shift in federal disaster mitigation policy. As additional refinements in the BCA methodology and similar procedural and policy details evolve, the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® will monitor corollary adjustments to state programming and guidance for local governments in keeping with our commitment to ensure thriving coastal communities. Please anticipate additional information on BRIC funding utilization and the Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan in subsequent Insight issues.


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Insight NC REALTORS® Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation Publication Title: Insight. Publication Number: 1717-0. Filing Date: October 1, 2020. Issue Frequency: Four times a year. Number of Issues Published Annually: Four. Annual Subscription Price: $1.60. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: NC REALTORS®, 4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407. Publisher Name and Complete Mailing Address: Andrea Bushnell, 4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407. Editor Name and Complete Mailing Address: Mckenzie Allen, 4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407. Managing Editor Name and Complete Mailing Address: N/A. Owner: NC REALTORS®, 4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407. Tax Status: Has not changed during preceding 12 months. Publication Title: Insight. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: August 2020. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Mailer to all members of NC REALTORS®. Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months. Total Number of Copies: 47,615. Outside County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541: 47,143. In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541: 0. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS®: 0. Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS: 0. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 47,143. Outside County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541: 0. In-County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541: 0. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail: 0. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail: 0. Total Nonrequested Distribution: 0. Total Distribution: 47,143. Copies not Distributed: 472. Total: 47,615. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 100%. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies: 0. Requested and Paid Print Copies: 47,143. Total Requested Copy Distribution: 47,143. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies): 100%. No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date. Total Number of Copies: 48,246. Outside County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541: 47,768. In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541: 0. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS®: 0. Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS: 0. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 47,768. Outside County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541: 0. In-County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541: 0. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail: 0. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail: 0. Total Nonrequested Distribution: 0. Total Distribution: 47,768. Copies not Distributed: 478. Total: 48,246. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 100%. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies: 0. Requested and Paid Print Copies: 47,768. Total Requested Copy Distribution: 47,768. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies): 100%.

ncrealtors.org • INSIGHT  31


THE LEGAL HOTLINE NC REALTORS® have free, unlimited access to the NC REALTORS® Legal Hotline. Did you know one call to a real estate lawyer costs an average of $250 per hour? With just one call to the Legal Hotline, you’ve paid for one year of NC REALTORS® dues in full. Don’t waste your time stressing over forms, disclosure or landlord/ tenant law. Call the NC REALTORS® Legal Hotline to get quick resolution, so you can return to your clients and your business.

NC REALTORS® Lawyers

Will Martin

Bill Gifford

OVER 35 years

collective experience representing REALTORS® on a daily basis

John Wait

Unlimited calls every weekday Call to discuss... + Agency real estate licensing law + Commission disputes + Contracts + Disclosure + Fair housing + Forms + Landlord/tenant law + REALTOR® Code of Ethics

Dial

QA +

NC REALTORS® lawyers have created articles and Q&As on a wide variety of legal topics that are very relevant to your real estate practice. These appear in Insight magazine, the REALTOR® Rundown, and are archived and organized on ncrealtors.org/Q&A.

Email

336.294.1415

legalHotline@ncrealtors.org

and ask for the Legal Hotline

with your legal questions