Insight | August 2022

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THE VOICE OF REAL ESTATE IN NORTH CAROLINA VOL 101 NO 3 | AUGUST 2022 Building Bridges 2022 NC REALTORS® President, Wendy Harris Plus: + Vote for your 2023 Officers + NC REALTORS® Gives Back + 2022 Residential Forms Changes NC REALTORS® Convention & Expo | Harrah’s Cherokee Resort | October 16 – 19 LEVEL UP! STAY SAFE & SELL WAYS TO Real estate can be risky business. Learn how to protect yourself.

SECU is committed to offering the best member service experience in the industry, and we look forward to working with you.

Must be an SECU member to apply.
NMLS #430055 Check out SECU’s


7 NC REALTORS® Gives Back REALTORS® across the state make a real difference by serving their neighbors and strengthening their communities.

10 2022 NC REALTORS® Convention & Expo

NC REALTORS® gather again for the annual convention, October 16 – 19 at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.

19 Building Bridges That Last 1,000 Years

Get to know your NC REALTORS® President, Wendy Harris.

26 Ways to Stay Safe & Sell

As REALTOR® Safety Month approaches in September, learn the risks you can face as a real estate agent and how to avoid those situations.

Have something to talk about? Sure you do—and we want to hear it! Send us your comments, ideas or success stories to and you could be featured in the next Insight. • INSIGHT 3
August 2022
4 President's Letter
Inside NC REALTORS® RCE Designation Recipient, 30 Under 30,
REALTORS® Election Information 13 Legal Quiz Top Ten Changes to 2022 Residential Forms 7 10
2022 NC

Insight, Volume 101, Issue #3


Wendy Harris, ABR®, AHWD, C2EX, CIPS, CRS, e-PRO®, GRI, PSA, SRES®, MRP, WHS


Leigh Brown, ABR®, AHWD, C2EX, CIPS, CLHMS, CRS, e-PRO®, SFR®, SRES®

Treasurer Laurie Knudsen, C2EX, GRI

Immediate Past President

Kelly Marks, ABR®, AHWD, CIPS, CRS, GRI

Regional Vice Presidents

Region 1: Adam Upchurch, Topsail Island

Region 2: Brooke Rudd-Gaglie, Oak Island

Region 3: Bruce Gates, Goldsboro

Region 4: Jon Fletcher, Chapel Hill

Region 5: Ray Alexander, Greensboro

Region 6: John McPherson, Winston-Salem

Region 7: Carol Bradley, Monroe

Region 8: Edward Baesel, Charlotte

Region 8: Brenda Hayden, Charlotte

Region 9: Renee Cooney, Franklin

Region 10: Lewis Grubbs, Raleigh

Region 10: Renee Smith, Cary

At Large Representative: Kim Dawson, Durham

Chief Executive Officer

Andrea Bushnell, Esq., AHWD, CIPS, RCE

Vice President of Communications & Marketing

Mckenzie Allen, AHWD, C2EX

Graphic Design & Production Manager

Raquel Stubblefield, AHWD, C2EX

Content Marketing Coordinator

Aliyah Ross, C2EX


Will Martin, Lee Nelson

For advertising information, visit 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 with a subject line of “Insight opt-out.”

We have been busy building bridges this year! I was so glad to connect with you in Washington, D.C. at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in May, then at our Legislative Meetings in Raleigh, where we came together to meet with our elected officials. Now, more than ever, it is important to fight for legislation that protects our clients and helps make home possible for all North Carolinians.

In this issue of Insight, you will get to see the countless ways you gave to your communities through housing-related service projects during our annual NC REALTORS® Gives Back event.

You will also get a first look at our annual convention speaker line-up. This fall, we’re hosting our NC REALTORS® Convention & Expo in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. Registration is now open! I hope you will join us October 16 – 19 for multiple days of education, networking, motivation and fun.

Lastly, you will get to learn a little more about me and my heart for real estate, our organization and REALTORS® impacting our local areas and beyond.

This market is changing daily, and we need to continue to rise and be the professionals that The Code calls us to be. I want to see all 56,000+ of you succeeding in your businesses, communities and industry. We will make it through every challenge and hurdle together.

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

Wendy Harris, 2022 NC REALTORS® President



NC REALTORS® congratulates Kate Morley of Triangle MLS for receiving her REALTOR® Association Certified Executive (RCE) designation.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, RCE is the only professional designation designed specifically for REALTOR® association executives (AEs). The RCE designation exemplifies goal-oriented AEs with drive, experience and commitment to professional growth. Candidates earn this designation by accumulating points through experience and education-based application form and a comprehensive written exam.

Learn more about the RCE designation at




Every year, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) REALTOR® Magazine features 30 real estate entrepreneurs who are under the age of 30. According to NAR, these rising stars are not only successful in the real estate industry, but they have demonstrated leadership in their careers and are making a difference in their profession. This year, two North Carolina real estate agents—Alex Lawrence and Allie Parker—made the 30 under 30 list.

Alex Lawrence of Raleigh, N.C. is a REALTOR® at Costello Real Estate and Investments – Big Al’s Realty. Lawrence obtained his real estate license because he wanted his big personality to make a significant impact. He fell in love with commercial real estate and enjoys helping people buy, build and sell properties. With every transaction, Lawrence donates $150 to WakeMed’s Behavior Health Network. His donations help the facility with mental health, behavioral health and suicide—which have closely affected his family. In 2021, Lawrence had 33 individual transaction sides, which totaled over twelve million dollars in sales.

Allie Parker is a REALTOR® in Cary, N.C. and is all about spontaneous adventures. In 2021, Parker stepped out on

courage and started her own brokerage with Keller Williams Realty Cary. Within the year, Parker had 48 individual transaction sides, totaling over twenty million dollars in sales. She was able to hire her first employee, create a company website and buy an investment property. While forging through the pandemic, Parker was able to sell her home and purchase a new home. Through life’s uncertainties, Parker prides herself for never giving up.

Read more about Lawrence and Parker and/or learn more about NAR’s 30 Under 30 program by visiting • INSIGHT 5
Alex Lawrence
Scan the QR Code to read NAR’s REALTOR® Magazine
Kate Morley Allie Parker



August 29 – September 1, 2022


(Vote for one candidate)

Tony Harrington



(Vote for three candidates)

Randy Dockery CRS

Mountain Lakes Board of REALTORS®

Madalyn Kunow High Point Regional Association of REALTORS®

Tony Smith


Canopy REALTOR® Association


(Vote for one candidate)

Patrice Willetts



The NC REALTORS® elections voting will take place online. The candidates listed on this page have been certified by the NC REALTORS® Certifying/Recruiting Committee. Visit for detailed candidate bios, voting rules and to vote.


(Number to be elected determined after July 31)

Randall Blankenship

ABR®, AHWD, GRI, Land of the Sky Association of REALTORS®

Treasure Faircloth

CRS, GRI, e-PRO®, C2EX Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS®

Tony Smith

ABR®, ABRM, CRS, GRI Canopy REALTOR® Association


(Vote for one candidate)

Chester Bartlett

ABR®, GRI, C2EX Carolina Smokies Association of REALTORS®


(Vote for one candidate)

Christina Asbury


Jacksonville Board of REALTORS®


(Vote for one candidate in each region)


Laurie Linder


Longleaf Pine REALTORS®


Shawn Hays

Durham Regional Association of REALTORS®


Paul McGill

Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS®


Aric Beals


Canopy REALTOR® Association


David Noyes

C2EX, e-PRO®

Hendersonville Board of REALTORS®


Leslie Williams


Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®

6 INSIGHT • August 2022

NC REALTORS® Give Back is a way for local associations and their members to come together and participate in a housing-related service project in their area. This annual initiative began in June 2019 by the NC REALTORS® William C. Bass Leadership Academy and continues on now under the management of the NC REALTORS® Housing Foundation— NC REALTORS® housing opportunity foundation.

This year, REALTORS® across the state stepped up and served their communities in meaningful ways by joining NAR’s REALTOR® Volunteer Days on June 4 – 12, 2022. This event gave members a whole week for volunteering opportunities to make a real difference by serving their neighbors and strengthening their communities.

Thank You Sponsors • INSIGHT 7
The Holt Mortgage Team partnered with Durham Regional Association of REALTORS® and the Home Builder Association’s Professional Women in Building Committee to host their first event, A Habitat for Humanity Build Day. Photo Credits: Chris Holt Durham Regional Association of REALTORS® Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® REALTORS®and affiliate members of Gaston Association of REALTORS® participated in a service project with Bountiful Blessings. Gaston Association of REALTORS® Canopy REALTORS® Young Professional Network (YPN) members cleaned up the Pearl Street Park/Sugar Creek Waterway as part of their quarterly commitment to the local Adopt-A-Stream program. Canopy REALTOR® Association Members of The Jim Allen Group at Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston Midtown office did several apartment makeovers with Families Together, a nonprofit helping families transition out of homelessness. This event was a partnership with the Raleigh Regional Association’s REALTOR® Giving Network. Photo Credits: Tim McBrayer

Members donated 288 pounds of canned goods and much-needed supplies to the Rowan Helping Ministries and Family Crisis Council Shelter. Photo Credit: Carla

Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS® packed 1,600 bags for the Forsyth Backpack Program to help ensure children in the community have food. Two Men and a Truck helped move five pallets of food for the event. The Homebuilders Association of Winston-Salem made a donation to the Forsyth Backpack Program.

Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® and its Young Professionals Network held a food drive benefiting the Beach Food Pantry.

Several REALTORS® and friends did landscape work in the downtown area of Bryson City. Photo Credit: Karen Bartlett

Jacksonville Board of REALTORS®

Jacksonville Board of REALTORS® participated in several activities including cleaning up beaches, donating food to the CHEW! program, doing home repairs and writing cards for senior citizens in rest homes.

8 INSIGHT • August 2022
Several members of Surry Regional Association of REALTORS® participated in a community trash pickup. Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® Surry Regional Association of REALTORS® Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS® Carolina Smokies Association of REALTORS® Rose Salisbury/Rowan Association of REALTORS®


For more information on NC REALTORS® Gives Back scan the QR code or visit • INSIGHT 9
One Community Real Estate® and Leigh Brown & Associates helped Habitat for Humanity Cabarrus County in local neighborhoods. A crew from the Rocky Mount Area Association of REALTORS® partnered with the non-profit Building Shalom on The Duncan and Lucas Project to help stain a front porch and some railings. Photo Credit: Melinda Owen-Greene Central Carolina Association of REALTORS® Rocky Mount Area Association of REALTORS® Monday June 6, REALTORS® in Raleigh harvested vegetables for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. The Food Shuttle gets fresh produce and meals to economically disadvantaged folks in the Triangle. Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® Members of Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® volunteered for the annual Beach Sweep event. Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® The REALTORS® Community Service Committee partnered with “A Simple Gesture” to help take a bite out of hunger by filling up bags with non-perishable foods. Greensboro Regional REALTORS® Association Greensboro Regional REALTORS® Association The REALTORS® Community Service Committee of Greensboro Regional REALTORS® Association showed their appreciation for education by donating a catered breakfast for teachers at Thomas A. Hunter Elementary School. A large group of Longleaf Pine REALTORS® members assisted the Habitat for Humanity in Fayetteville with a home build. Longleaf Pine REALTORS®
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Effective July 1, 2022, twenty-six of the residential forms in the NC REALTORS® forms library underwent a change of some sort. The extent and nature of the changes was typical of changes made in past years. They are for the most part formatting and/or wording changes intended to clarify the meaning of or to emphasize existing language. However, there are a number of more substantive changes, and the purpose of this article is to highlight 10 of what I consider to be the most significant changes that NC REALTORS® members need to be aware of. Five on my list are contained in the Offer to Purchase and Contract, with five other forms each accounting for one of the changes highlighted in this article.

For more details on the forms changes, a bullet-point summary of all the changes, as well as marked-up copies of the forms themselves showing the exact changes, is available on the NC REALTORS® website.

Offer to Purchase and Contract (Form 2-T)

Change #1: Fuel tanks/Fuel (paragraph 7(d)).

To reduce the number of disagreements relating to fuel tanks and fuel, a new section devoted exclusively to fuel tanks and fuel has been created. Wording pertaining to fuel tanks and fuel that appeared in different sections of the previous version of Form 2-T have been consolidated into a single new section. Although much of the wording has remained the same, there are two changes I think are worth noting:

• In a substantive change from the previous version of Form 2-T, the seller may use any fuel in a tank through Settlement (subject to the seller’s obligation to provide working utilities through Closing or possession by the buyer), but the seller is not permitted to remove the fuel or resell it. If there is a significant amount of fuel in a tank at the time of an offer, the seller should take that into consideration in determining an acceptable sales price.

• In an addition to the previous version of Form 2-T, • INSIGHT 13

sellers will be required to identify whether there are any fuel tanks located on the property, and if so, to provide information about them. Sellers are currently required to provide this information in listing their property using the Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement (Form 101). It is believed that requiring a seller to provide the same information in the contract is reasonable.

Change #2: Change in Condition of Property (paragraph 11).

In a substantive change from the previous version of Form 2-T, if the property is not in substantially the same condition at Closing as on the date of the offer and the buyer elects to terminate the contract, the buyer will be entitled to a refund of any Due Diligence Fee paid in addition to any EMD. The seller in such a case will not be required to refund the buyer their Due Diligence Costs, as would be the case under paragraph 23(b) if the seller is in material breach of contract. This change was made in an attempt to fairly balance the parties’ rights and duties in a situation where the condition of the property has unexpectedly changed after contract but before closing, and it may or may not be feasible to return the property to its previous condition.

Change #3: Payment of Owner Association/ Management Company Fees (paragraph 9).

Misunderstandings about whether the buyer or the seller is responsible for payment of a particular fee charged by an owners’ association or management company are common. In the previous version of Form 2-T, the parties’ obligations to pay such charges are addressed in different sections of the contract. It is believed that addressing the parties’ obligations in the same paragraph of the contract should help reduce confusion about which party is responsible for a particular fee. Thus, the parties’ respective responsibilities for the payment of such fees are addressed in a new “Charges by Owners’ Association” paragraph. Although their obligations are not fundamentally different than in the previous version of Form 2-T, I do want to point out two things:

• Under paragraph 9(a)(iii), the seller is specifically responsible for payment of any fees charged for transferring or updating ownership records of the association, and under paragraph 9(a)(ii) for payment of any expedite fee charged for providing statements on owners’ association dues or assessments.

• In paragraph 9(b)(ii), the phrase “charges…for Buyer’s future use and enjoyment of the Property” that appeared in the previous version of Form 2-T has been eliminated in an attempt to reduce disputes about whether a

particular fee falls within the meaning of that phrase. In the new version, specific types of charges are listed that the buyer is responsible for paying. All other HOArelated charges are the responsibility of the seller under paragraph 9(a)(iv).

Change #4: Mobile Homes (paragraph 1(c)).

In the new version of Form 2-T, the parties will need to affirmatively indicate whether or not the sale will include a manufactured (mobile) home. This change was made at the request of the real estate attorneys on the Joint Forms Task Force, and hopefully will reduce the number of problems that arise when the closing attorney is unaware until very late in the process that the sale includes a mobile home.

Change #5: Remedy of Specific Performance

(paragraph 23(b)). In the new version of Form 2-T, the buyer’s right to sue for specific performance is specifically stated. This is not a substantive change from the previous version of Form 2-T, which preserved any remedies available to the buyer if the seller failed to perform the contract. It is believed that specifically identifying the buyer’s right to sue for specific performance will highlight the existence of that remedy as an alternative to termination of the contract and recovery of damages.

NOTE: Change #s 2, 3, 4, and 5 have been made to the Offer to Purchase and Contract (Vacant Lot/Land) (Form 12-T), and change #s 3 and 5 have been made to the Offer to Purchase and Contract—New Construction (Form 800-T).

Buyer Possession Before Closing Agreement (Form 2A7-T) Change #6: Means of Access/Seller’s Right to Enter Property (paragraph 1).

In substantive additions to Form 2A7-T:

• The seller must deliver all means of access to the property to the buyer at the commencement of buyer’s possession.

• The seller is entitled to retain an entry key and has a right of access to the property in case of an emergency.

Seller Possession After Closing Agreement (Form 2A8-T) Change #7: Means of Access/Buyer’s Right to Enter Property (paragraph 1).

In substantive additions to Form 2A8-T:

• The seller is entitled to retain all means of access to the property during the seller’s post-closing term of occupancy, but must provide the buyer with an entry key at Closing.

• The buyer has a right of access to the property in case of an emergency.

14 INSIGHT • August 2022

Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement (Form 101)

Change #8: Dual/Designated Dual Agency (paragraph 17).

• As in the previous version of Form 101, in paragraph 17(e) the seller must initial either the Dual Agency blank or the Exclusive Representation blank. However, the authorization to practice designated dual agency, if offered by the firm and if authorized by the seller, now appears as a subset of dual agency since a seller must first authorize dual agency for a firm to also practice designated dual agency. In the previous version, the formatting sometimes caused confusion about whether the seller needed to authorize both dual agency and designated dual agency. It is hoped that the reformatting of this section will clarify the need for the seller to initial both Dual Agency and Designated Dual Agency.

• It is important to note that if the seller initials the Designated Dual Agency choice, the seller is both authorizing and directing the firm to practice designated dual agency. This is a change from the previous form, and has been made largely at the request of the Real Estate Commission, which has received a number of complaints from sellers involving firms that chose to practice dual agency even though the seller had authorized designated dual agency. In the new Designated Dual Agency choice, the firm may remain in dual agency only if designated agency would not be permitted for some reason or the seller agrees in writing that the firm will remain in dual agency only.

• It is also important to note that if a seller authorizes dual agency, the new version of the form requires the seller to indicate whether the same individual agent will be permitted to represent both the seller and the buyer in a transaction.

NOTE: Change #8 has also been made to the Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement—Vacant Lot/Land (Form 103), the Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement (Form 201), and the Non-Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement (Form 203).

Offer to Purchase and Contract (Vacant Lot/Land) (Form 12-T)

Change #9: Proper Use of Form.

NOTE (top of page 1). The primary purpose of this Note is to alert users to the existence of a North Carolina statute that limits the ability of a seller to sell property by reference to a subdivision plat that has not received final approval and been recorded. The Note in the previous version of Form 12-T has sometimes caused confusion about whether Form

12-T would be an appropriate form to use for a particular transaction. The purpose of the revisions to the Note is to more specifically describe the limitations imposed by the statute and to specifically cite the statute.

Referral Agreement (Form 730)

Change #10: Assignment.

In a substantive addition to the previous version of Form 730, a new “Assignment” paragraph has been added to prohibit assignment of a Referral Agreement by the Receiving Firm or a change in the individual agent to whom the referral is made without the Referring Firm’s written consent, and to clarify that if an assignment is permitted, the assignee will be bound by all the terms of the Referral Agreement.

Committees help shape the direction of NC REALTORS® and its policies. Serving on an NC REALTORS® committee furthers your professional development by providing leadership experience, expanding your professional network and strengthening your ties within the association. What’s more, committee members are directly involved in identifying new opportunities, guiding projects and offering their expertise.

The NC REALTORS® Residential Forms Committee reviews and develops the standard residential real estate forms used by REALTORS®. Service on the Residential Forms Committee is a one-year term from July 1 to June 30. This committee may meet up to eight times a year in Greensboro, thus requiring an extensive time commitment. If you have any suggestions for the Forms Committee, please e-mail

Join for the Residential Forms Committee or another NC REALTORS® Committee by scanning the QR code or visiting CommitteeForm. • INSIGHT 15
Residential Forms
16 INSIGHT • August 2022 A Facebook Group for NC REALTORS® Watch & Learn On Your Schedule Short videos with tips to boost your business, presented by your peers and top industry experts. Join the Facebook Group Thank you Annual Sponsors
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To escape the concrete and stress of living and working in New York City, Wendy Harris lived on a sailboat on the Hudson River by the Statute of Liberty.

“It was a beautiful time,” she adds. She has resided in many beautiful places, including Ecuador, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom, where she holds dual citizenship with the United States. Her adventurous soul has taken her to live on three continents, in five countries and seven states.

But Harris returned to live, work and stay in Fayetteville, N.C. because of family. This is where she began her real estate career and journey to leading NC REALTORS® as the 2022 President.

Building Teams

Harris is the second-generation REALTOR® owner of Team Harris Real Estate in Fayetteville and has been actively involved in real estate since 2001.

“Real estate stuck. I understand

myself very well, and this was it—fulfilling and challenging. There isn’t a day that is alike,” she states. “The industry has been able to keep my attention, and I feel good about what I do and what I contribute to.”

She feels her father, who had retired from the U.S. Army before getting into real estate, was a forward-thinking man. In the 1980s, he formed Team Harris before teams existed in the industry.

“He had been one of the top agents for a large franchise and saw the side of just working as an individual. He didn’t want his company to work that way,” Harris adds.

When she returned to North Carolina, she was introduced to her dad’s team culture.

“I traveled the world and saw what the other real estate models were. I got it. That culture was very important for me to maintain,” she says. “It feeds into being engaged in the community and allows me to do a lot of volunteer leadership.”

Harris believes a team concept allows everyone to have a bigger impact on others and on each other.

“My team truly is my family. Most of them have been with me for years. It is an incredible culture with a strong work ethic,” she admits.

She has kept the office small with five licensed agents and three unlicensed employees. “We work together within horizontal management structure, and we are at an equal level. Everyone fills in the gaps; each person becomes the leader when needed.”

Building Relationships

Working in real estate in a military town can be quite different than other markets. Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg, a major U.S. Army installation.

“You have to constantly reinvent yourself because half of your market turns over every five years. You always have to stay relevant,” she says.

Harris tries different ways to get the new folks in town to know and trust her. She began hosting a live radio show 15

20 INSIGHT • August 2022
Harris was installed as NC REALTORS® President at the 2022 NC REALTORS® Inaugural on January 27, 2022. • INSIGHT 21
Harris attended the Harvard School of Business where she completed the Governing for Non-Profit Excellence Program in 2018. Harris joined many other NC REALTORS® as an advocate during the 2017 NC REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. Harris is a proud graduate of the NC REALTORS® William C. Bass Leadership Academy Class of 2014. Harris joined NC REALTORS® Global Network members at the 2021 C5 Summit. Harris and her partner, Robson Spinelli, enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends around the world. In 2017, Harris received the NC REALTORS® REALTOR® Champion Award and the NC REALTORS® Regional Service Region 3 Award.

years ago to tell people about real estate and her community.

“I always like to market where no one else markets. When people used to say radio doesn’t work, that’s when I started paying attention,” she adds.

Building Communities

Harris has been seen through the years helping in many volunteer capacities. After Hurricane Matthew and devastating flooding hit the Lumberton, N.C. area in 2016, she worked with NC REALTORS® to mobilize dozens of volunteers to assess damaged homes and survey residents regarding their needs. Through relationships, she was able to gain access to places that others couldn’t or wouldn’t go.

“Thousands of people lost everything except the clothes on their back, and NC REALTORS® were there to say, ‘We see you, and NC REALTORS® care,’” she says.

Perhaps no one lived up to this mantra more than Harris. And rightfully so, she was appointed to the Governors Disaster Recovery Coalition in 2017.

Harris also sees hope with her strong commitment to Habitat for Humanity, leading the organization twice in the years she has been involved.

“The gift and reward for accepting the responsibility of homeownership is the ability, hope and possibility to not only break the cycle of generational poverty but build financial independence.”

Building Bridges

During Covid, Harris traveled about every 90 days to see her mother in England. On one of these trips, she watched the news featuring a community protesting a proposed



waste dump. A woman spoke feverishly that this was “Our responsibility to protect those who will be living in this village in 1,000 years.”

“I started laughing. We don’t even think 100 years in the future in the states,” Harris adds.

Coincidentally, NC REALTORS® turned 100 last year, setting up a pivotal moment for the association and its members. It will take all of the association’s resources, relationships, affiliates and brain power to plan for the future.

“I thought, why not add another zero? A thousand years from now -- let’s really look to the future. Under all of this is land. So, what should it look like in 1,000 years?”

She admits people create really good five to 50-year plans. But not many places look beyond that.

“We are sometimes short-sided beyond our own or children’s lives. I want to look at the industry and communities and go to a place we don’t normally challenge ourselves to go,” Harris remarks.

She hopes to focus on three areas: Availability, Affordability and Sustainability.

“There will continue to be an influx of people to this state,” she says. “How do we ensure housing options are affordable for all segments of our society? How do we integrate sustainable practices into decision-making? How do we educate and advocate for best practices in our association?”

Harris also wants to build and enhance the strength of the REALTOR® organization at a time of inflation, legal challenges, a global pandemic and intense competition, both within the business and from outside players seeking to capture consumer attention.

“We face challenges, that’s for sure,” she says, “but REALTORS® are resilient, and we are ready.”

22 INSIGHT • August 2022
After Hurricane Matthew and flooding hit the Lumberton, N.C. area in October 2016, Harris helped load up a van with water for residents. found rock in a planting bed of a house in Lumberton, N.C. after Hurricane Matthew ravaged the city. The house had been flooded and was no longer habitable, but above this rock was a rose bush with some new roses that bloomed in the days following the disaster. The words on this stone echoed the voices of the residents who were so grateful REALTORS® were there helping the community in its recovery.

Providing resources to create, expand and encourage homeownership opportunities for North Carolinians


Property Management Division


Navigating The Pandemic

We know your life and your profession have been impacted by COVID-19. Property managers are on the front lines, keeping our businesses clean and safe, and working with tenants on rent solutions that will keep communities intact. Times are challenging, and we’re here to help. NC REALTORS® PMD provides advocacy, education and tools to support North Carolina’s professional property managers during this time of uncertainty.


+ PMD Legal Handbook

+ Interactive Webinars & Training

+ Legislative Participation

+ Legal & Regulatory Updates

How to Join

Any member of NC REALTORS® may join PMD. Visit or contact Amy Kemp at for more information on PMD. • INSIGHT 23
24 INSIGHT • August 2022 As a trusted agent in your community, help bring relief to homeowners experiencing pandemic-related hardship. The NC Homeowner Assistance Fund provides up to $40,000 in assistance to eligible North Carolina homeowners for mortgage reinstatement to catch up on late payments (first and second mortgages) or other housing-related costs due to a period of forbearance, delinquency or default. All approved funding will be paid directly to the participating servicer. Help by spreading the word. Visit today to access the following resources: • Community Partner Marketing Toolkit • Free Printed Promotional Materials Help is here for struggling homeowners. The NC Homeowner Assistance Fund is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number HAF0019 awarded to the State of North Carolina by the US Department of the Treasury. iBackthePAC | Thursday, October 6, 2022 We’re Celebrating You!

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

Growing up with a father who served as a police detective, Jessica Riffle Edwards realized from an early age that he instilled in her an extra level of awareness for her surroundings and safety.

“When I was 22, I got into real estate, and I understood in the beginning not to run out to see a stranger. You need to have systems in place,” says Edwards, REALTOR® with The Carolinas Finest, Jessica Edwards & Associates with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage in Wilmington, N.C.

The majority of REALTORS® never encounter danger. However, 14 percent said they experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information, according to the 2021 Member Safety Report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). That number was larger—23 percent—in 2020. Seventy-two percent conveyed they have personal safety protocols in place that they follow with every client. This is higher among females (75 percent) than males (64 percent).

26 INSIGHT • August 2022

Safety needs to be a priority no matter how hot the markets are these days or what city or town the agent works in. It’s all about knowledge, awareness and empowerment— the core components of the REALTOR® Safety Program, which began a dozen years ago. It launched to explain the risks REALTORS® can face and how to prepare themselves to avoid those situations. Also, NAR has dedicated September as REALTOR® Safety Month.

Things REALTORS® Do to Keep Safe

Cindie Burns feels lucky that nothing scary has happened to her on the job in her 27 years as an agent. But she doesn’t leave her safety to chance.

She carries pepper spray in her hand, but it’s inconspicuous.

“The pepper spray unit is about the same size as my inhaler, and since I have an inhaler, I hold the pepper spray unit and imply that it is my inhaler if I’m with someone I do not know,”

National Association of REALTORS® 2021 Member Safety Report

adds Burns, REALTOR® at Coldwell Banker Advantage in Creedmoor, N.C. She also is President-Elect of the Durham Regional Association of REALTORS®.

She routinely does certain things when she is showing a home, such as unlocking the lock box on the front door before the clients get there.

“Never have your back to them,” she says. “Give yourself multiple exits. Open up the back door and even open the garage door as an exit.”

She also understands the importance of parking her vehicle so she is never blocked in on a driveway or the street. Burns always has her keys in her hands when she gets out of the vehicle. Keeping her back against a wall most of the • INSIGHT 27
said they experienced a situation that made them
14% of REALTORS® safety of their personal information
fear for their personal safety or
Cindie Burns

time and letting clients check out the rooms in front of her lets her have a good view of what’s going on and allows for quick escapes, if needed.

She feels if someone is questioning her at that point about why she’s standing there and not going into the rooms or upstairs with them, they really aren’t that interested in the house, and it gives her red flags.

“You must always have your eyes open. Know your surroundings and instinctively plan where you are going,” she comments. “Know how you are walking, parking and entering a place.”

“It’s all about common sense,” remarks Jim Weese, REALTOR® at Aldridge & Southerland REALTORS® in Greenville, N.C. He also is a certified real estate instructor for the North Carolina Real Estate Commission and teaches safety classes to REALTORS®.

“I don’t personally do open houses for safety reasons, and I’ve never really sold houses that way. Plus, right now, we don’t need them to sell a house,” he adds.

A few times in his 20 years in the profession, he had a sixth sense that things didn’t feel right. In both of those situations, he had another agent call him within 15 minutes of meeting up with the person.

“Nothing happened, but I know about incidents locally against REALTORS®. They weren’t in the news. The people it happened to were embarrassed or didn’t want it to be in the news,” Weese states.

“Besides somebody doing something to you, there could be a medical emergency,” Weese adds. “If nobody knows where you are and you fall, there’s no one to help you, and they can’t find you,” he states.

For instance, he was in Washington D.C. a few years ago to get recertified. He walked in early to class, and one of the people had a heart attack. All we had was his name from the sign-up sheet.

“He survived, but we didn’t know how to contact family. There is a feature on Android and Apple cell phones that allows you to put in information, such as who you are, your blood type, allergies and more,” he emphasizes.

If you go into that feature, even strangers can access your home page and hit the emergency button.

Training REALTORS® to Take Safety Seriously

Self-defense expert, Hank Hayes, and real estate sales expert, Bill Crespo, had been working together for a while. Crespo had actually taken several self-defense classes from Hayes.

But after REALTOR® Soren Arn-Oelschlegel, 41, was gunned down by an unhappy 84-year-old client in a Virginia Beach murder-suicide last year, they ramped up a workshop called “The Prepared Agent.” They first opened up the class to any local real estate agent in Virginia that

wanted to learn more about self-defense.

“But they can go anywhere that people want them to,” says Crespo, a REALTOR® and owner of Path2Pro Coaching.

Hayes admits that “this is not your standard self-defense program in any way, shape or form.”

“A lot of people take shortcuts to safety. When they leave our class, they can’t leave the same as they were,” says Hayes, founder of Intuitive Self-Protection, a nationwide training organization catering to both personal and corporate environments. “Everything we do is based on selfpreservation. We show a very graphic video of a good person being violated by a bad person. That sets a tone.”

The pair also wrote a booklet, “The Top 10 Essential Strategies to Be a Prepared Agent.” The basis was to give the top 10 skills, tactics and mindset for optimal personal security.

Here are a few of things to remember when doing your job:

• You must flip the switch –Switch on the fact that bad things happen to good people.

• The house you are selling is a kill box – This is a bad guy’s dream: you and him alone in an empty house. The nature of this work will often have you multitasking and distracted.

• Defensive skills begin with strong situational awareness – See what your eyes are seeing. Look around for things that stand out and don’t seem right. Use your voice to distract, defuse and deescalate—only if you can. Don’t take the appointment if you feel uncomfortable – At times, the story the suspect is giving doesn’t make sense or is suspicious.

• Get as many documents to identify the prospect – Get a copy of his/her driver’s license and a lenderapproval letter, plus search the person on social media.

“I came from the Bronx,” Crespo says. “I don’t trust anyone. All we want REALTORS® to do is get out of a bad situation and go home safe. But people discount this and say ‘I’ll be OK.’”

Resources for Personal Protection

A variety of tools can add to your personal safety protocol.

28 INSIGHT • August 2022
Jim Weese Hank Hayes Bill Crespo Photo Credit: Path2Pro

• A taser that looks like a cell phone – “This item offers an inconspicuous yet powerful way to ward off an attacker,” says Hayes. It has a quick access button for the stun gun plus some have loud alarms, too, that can scare the attacker away.

• Pepper spray and other devices – According to NAR, some of the most commonly carried self-defense weapons by agents are pepper spray, pocket knives, noisemakers and firearms.

• Apps – Your phone can offer all types of apps, such as FOREWARN and People Smart, to do background checks on a prospect’s identity and potential risks prior to a face-to-face engagement. NC REALTORS® have access to the SafeShowings App through the REALTOR® Partners Program. The app captures facial images of prospects as well as geolocation, then automatically sends that data to emergency contacts when needed. Learn more at

Biggest Tips to Stay Safe as a REALTOR®

• Stay behind them – Don’t lead your client into a home, building or room, according to the NAR REALTOR® Safety Program. Direct them from a position behind them. Signal them to go ahead of you by explaining certain rooms are to the left or straight back.

• Limit amount of personal information – Sometimes just a personal photograph can trigger a predator.

Consider removing your photo from marketing materials, and don’t use your full name with middle name or initial. Stay away from listing your home address or home phone. Instead, use your office address or no address at all, states the NAR REALTOR® Safety Program.

• Trust your instincts – “You know when the hair on the back of your neck stands up, or it’s just a feeling. Don’t ignore it. Get out of the situation and get safe,” Burns says. You can refer them to someone else or bring someone with you. Your client will have to deal with it.

• Do your due diligence – “Never show a random house to someone that just called you up. So much communication needs to happen before anything actually happens,” says Edwards. “There’s a lot of conversation and prepping before you ever show them a property.”

• Don’t give specifics on social media – “In my own personal life, I take travel groups out of the country,” Weese adds. “I never post anything when I’m gone. The same thing should be true about being careful of what we put out there.” Don’t give specifics like, “I’m going to be at the open house for two hours.”

• Keep your distance – “Don’t let the person get closer than eight feet from you, and don’t let the person out of your 180-degree field of view,” Hayes emphasizes. “Also, you can dress professionally, but wear shoes that you can run in.” • INSIGHT 29
Some of the most commonly carried self-defense weapons by real estate agents are pepper spray, pocket knives, noisemakers and firearms according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

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Grab a Seat at the Table

Are you a North Carolina REALTOR® who is also a licensed appraiser? Joining the NC REALTORS® Appraisal Section advances your professional appraisal career, connects you with other REALTOR®-appraisers in the state, and gives you a seat at the table when important policy decisions are being made. Join us and help promote the appraisal profession and its image to elected and appointed public officials, the users of appraisal services, and the general public.


+ Participation in Advocacy Efforts, including 2 seats on the NC REALTORS® Legislative Committee

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How to Join

The ONE Group Fighting for Homeowners at the NC General Assembly

From insurance to taxes, your representatives make decisions that directly impact your wallet. That’s why the NC REALTORS® started the Homeowners Alliance.

By joining, you can stay up-to-date on some of the most important issues for homeowners. We’ll never charge you for membership, and we’ll never tell you who to vote for. • INSIGHT 31 NC HOMEOWNERS ALLIANCE LIKE the NC Homeowners Alliance on Facebook SIGN UP by typing “NC Homeowners Alliance” into your browser TEXT “JOIN” to 919.813.2660 1 2 3 3 Ways to Join the Alliance from Your Phone
Homeowners Alliance
in the North Carolina General Assembly.
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