March/April 2018: VOLUME 4 ISSUE 2
YEARS OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT
COMPLEXITY OF DIVERSITY IN REAL ESTATE WHO ARE NEW JERSEY'S BUYERS?
Frank J. Williams, REALTOR® Chicago, IL
“There weren’t any people
that looked like me. Frank Williams has witnessed a lot in nearly 80 years. After growing up in Flint Michigan — and being expelled from high school for dating the white girl he later married — he moved to Chicago in 1962. Despite having never considered real estate as a career because, “as a young black man, we didn’t see many people in our community in positions of power,” he received his real estate license in 1966 and opened his own firm in 1969. His practice faced immediate resistance for helping African Americans find homes in historically white neighborhoods. In 1971 demonstrators entered his office to demand who he could sell to, and in 1975, his home was firebombed. Overcoming these obstacles, he ascended to president of the Chicago chapter of the NAACP, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, and was voted REALTOR® of the Year. “As a black American, a REALTOR®, and a parent, I am determined to help erase discrimination from the housing landscape.” April 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. We recognize that progress made stands on the broad shoulders of people like Frank Williams. We’re grateful for the work he’s done and sacrifices he’s made, and understand there’s more progress to be made. Visit www.FairHousing.realtor to read more about Frank and to join the commemoration.
President's View: Fair Housing Declaration
16 Impacts of Student Loan Debt on
CEO's Desk: Potential License Law Changes Coming
18 More than Meets the Eye: the Complexity
Legislative Update: Meet the 2018 Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development
New Jersey Legislative Bills
of Diversity in Real Estate
22 Style Guide: Creating Kid-Friendly
Spaces (that parents love, too)
24 Who are New Jersey's Buyers and Sellers? 26 Do You Know the Perks of Membership?
10 Town Spotlight: Gems of Ridgewood
28 Board/Association News
12 50 Years of the Fair Housing Act
29 RealTalk: Seeking Realtor
NJRealtors @NJ_Realtors NJRealtors
10 Sudoku puzzle solution:
22 NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 1
PRESIDENT'S VIEW New Jersey REALTOR ® A publication of New Jersey Realtors®
10 Hamilton Avenue Trenton, NJ 08611 Phone: 609-341-7100 njrealtor.com
BY CHRISTIAN J. SCHLUETER
Jarrod C. Grasso, RCE Chief Executive Officer COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT Allison Rosen Director of Communications Alexandra Hoey
Fair Housing Declaration
2018 OFFICERS Christian Schlueter
First Vice President
ADVERTISING SALES Scott Vail | 973-538-3588 firstname.lastname@example.org Laura Lemos | 973-822-9274 email@example.com DESIGN Rebecca McQuigg | Encompass Media Group firstname.lastname@example.org New Jersey Realtors® provides legal and legislative updates as well as information on a variety of real estate related topics solely for the use of its members. Due to the wide range of issues affecting its members, NJ Realtors® publishes information concerning those issues that NJ Realtors®, in its sole discretion, deems the most important for its members. The content and accuracy of all articles and/or advertisements by persons not employed by or agents of NJ Realtor® are the sole responsibility of their author. NJ Realtors® disclaims any liability or responsibility for their content or accuracy. Where such articles and/or advertisements contain legal advice or standards, NJ Realtors® recommends that NJ Realtors® seek legal counsel with regard to any specific situation to which they may seek to apply the article. New Jersey Realtor®, publication number 13260. Published bi-monthly each year. Member subscriptions allocated annually from annual dues: $3. Non-member annual subscription: $10. Known office of publication: 10 Hamilton Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08611. Periodicals postage paid at Trenton, NJ 08611 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address change to Editor, 10 Hamilton Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08611.
2 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
s we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act, it is important to look back on the progress made within the real estate industry. Just one week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Act on April 11, 1968. Since then, federal law has prohibited discrimination in the sale, leasing, and financing of dwellings based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and disability. In July 1985, New Jersey adopted its own Law Against Discrimination, which offer additional protections against discrimination beyond what federal laws cover. The LAD also prohibits housing discrimination based on ancestry, martial or domestic partnership or civil union status, gender identity or expression, military service, affectional or sexual orientation, and the source or lawful income or lawful rent payment. As Realtors®, we do not need laws to tell us not to discriminate. We are bound by a Code of Ethics that holds us to the highest standards in the industry. But, it is imperative to understand why these laws exist. I challenge all members to recite the National Association of Realtors®’ Fair Housing Declaration and practice its tenets every day: I agree to: • Provide equal professional service without regard to the race, color, religion, gender (sex), disability (handicap), familial status, national
origin, sexual orientation or gender identity of any prospective client, customer, or of the residents of any community. • Keep informed about fair housing law and practices, improving my clients’ and customers’ opportunities and my business. • Develop advertising that indicates that everyone is welcome and no one is excluded, expanding my clients' and customers' opportunities to see, buy, or lease property. • Inform my clients and customers about their rights and responsibilities under the fair housing laws by providing brochures and other information. • Document my efforts to provide professional service, which will assist me in becoming a more responsive and successful Realtor®. • Refuse to tolerate non-compliance. • Learn about those who are different from me, and celebrate those differences. • Take a positive approach to fair housing practices and aspire to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law. • Develop and implement fair housing practices for my firm to carry out the spirit of this declaration. I encourage you to print and post the Realtors® Fair Housing Declaration in your office. Obtain a copy at nar.realtor/ fair-housing/fair-housing-program/fairhousing-declaration and send me a photo of it on your wall at email@example.com or at facebook.com/ChristianSchlueter.
FROM THE CEO'S DESK
Potential License Law Changes Coming The association has been working hard on a key piece of legislation that, if passed, makes beneficial changes to our license law, while also protecting you, your community, and New Jersey’s real estate industry. Bill A-2726/S-430 is a New Jersey Realtors®-backed legislation and already has the support of Asm. Tom Giblin and Sen. Nellie Pou. In a nutshell, the bill is intended to help Realtors® work smarter, safer, and to the best of their abilities. It proposes to: • Remove the category of referral licenses and create referral companies to be in line with the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. Please note: agents in these companies will still be exempt from continuing education • Clarify that a real estate licensee can be an employee or independent contractor • Prohibit tier 2 and tier 3 sex offenders from receiving a real estate license • Add two new core topics of real estate licensee safety and financial literacy • Eliminate correspondence courses for Continuing Education Currently, New Jersey is the only state that does not align with the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. Removing the referral agent category and instead having referral agents only refer prospects to their broker, ensures our state’s compliance with federal law.
The Real Estate Commission currently does not have the authority to deny individuals registered under Megan’s Law from being issued a real estate license. A-2726/S-430 will change this alarming reality. If passed, tier 2 and tier 3 sex offenders registered under Megan’s Law, or under a similar law in another state, will be unable to receive a real estate license. In 2014, Arkansas Realtor® was murdered while showing a house. Stories like hers are sadly far too common. Adding licensee safety as a core topic will empower you to learn lifesaving skills and simultaneously receive credit for it. Financial security is another major area of concern for the industry, and one we are committed to fixing to New Jersey. Adding financial literacy to our core continuing education requirements will give Realtors® the tools to prepare for the future, plan for retirement, and manage your taxes. Correspondence courses that are acquired through purchasing a book and mailing a test to the Real Estate Commission would be eliminated to ensure licenses are obtained properly and fairly. Online courses, which are timed, will not be eliminated. You can view a webinar about the bill by going to njrealtor.com/S430-webinar. If you have further questions, please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In July 2017, NJ Realtors® requested that the New Jersey Real Estate Commission adopt a rule that a real estate licensee can either be an employee or an independent contractor. We believe it is imperative that it also be codified in the state statutes. This will provide flexibility for brokers and their agents and ensure federal income taxes are not being withheld from an independent contractor’s earnings.
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 3
LAST YEAR WE GAVE $50,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS TO DESERVING STUDENTS
DEADLINE APRIL 6, 2018 NJREALTOR.COM/EF
Educational Foundation 4 | NEW JERSEY REALTORÂ® | Mar/Apr 2018
@ 5 p.m.
I M P O R TA N T D AT E S
TaxBot member webinar 12 p.m. http://bit.ly/2o4pXBc
Office Depot Discount Program webinar 12 p.m. http://bit.ly/2Creiky
Standing Out On Social Media webinar 1 p.m.
NJ Realtors® Educational Foundation scholarship application deadline 5 p.m.
Tax Day Executive Committee Meeting 11 a.m.
Getting Started with Email Marketing webinar 12 p.m.
MAY 10 14 28
LifeLock member webinar 12 p.m. TaxBot member webinar 12 p.m. http://bit.ly/2o4pXBc
NJ Realtors® office closed Memorial Day observed
Executive Committee Meeting 11 a.m. Board of Directors Meeting 1 p.m.
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NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 5
L E G I S L AT I V E U P D AT E
Meet the 2018 Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development BY DOUGLAS M. TOMSON
very two years, at the start of each new legislative session, leadership from the Democratic and Republican parties meet to appoint legislators to the many different committees in the State Assembly and State Senate. The difficult part is determining which committees a legislator will be assigned to—and it depends on a number of factors, including seniority, personal preference, or their background prior to becoming a legislator. For example, a legislator who also holds a medical degree is likely to be appointed to the Health and Senior Services Committee. The party with the majority of members has the authority to appoint the committee chairs and vice chairs, and historically, that same party will take most of the committee appointments.
Before a bill can become law, it must pass through the relevant committee. As you might imagine, one of the committees most important to New Jersey Realtors® is the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. For the 2018-19 legislative session, the committee is comprised of five members: returning members Chairman Jerry Green and Assemblyman Rob Clifton, plus new members Assemblywoman Holly Scepisi, Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, and Vice Chairwoman Annette Chaparro. Developing relationships with these five legislators is a key part of our lobbying efforts to ensure that New Jersey Realtors® is the first point of contact when real estate-related bills are proposed. I invite you to get to know these legislators a little better!
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Chairman Jerry Green (D) District 22 “Jerry” Gerald B. Green has served in the New Jersey General Assembly since 1992 and is currently the longest-serving representative, succeeding John Rooney. He has represented the 22nd legislative district since 2003 and previously represented the 17th Legislative District. Green has served as the Assembly’s Speaker Pro Tempore since 2008, was Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore from 2004-07, and was the Deputy Speaker from 2002-03. Green chairs the Housing and Community Development Committee and Health and Senior Services Committee. Assemblyman Green served on the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1982-84 and again from 1989-91, serving as the Board’s Chair in 1990. He served on the Union County Planning Board, the Parks & Recreation Committee, and the Human Services and Economic Development Committee. He was also involved with the Union County Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, the Private Industry Council, the Union County Municipal Utilities Authority, and is an honorary member of the Union County Police Chiefs Association. A Plainfield resident, Green was one of the facilitators responsible for bringing the Union County College campus to Plainfield. Green also played a key role in returning Plainfield to Abbott District status, which has brought over $12 million per year in education dollars and close to $200 million in construction dollars to renovate and build new schools.
L E G I S L AT I V E U P D AT E Vice Chair Annette Chaparro (D) District 33 Annette Chaparro is an assemblywoman from Hoboken representing the 33rd Legislative District. Assemblywoman Chaparro serves on the Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee, the Law and Public Safety Committee, and the Women and Children Committee. A product of the Hoboken public school system and a mother of three, Assemblywoman Chaparro was elected with the overwhelming support of her community in November 2015. Previously, she served as a board secretary to the Hoboken Planning and Zoning Boards and as a member of the Hoboken Rent Control Board. Aside from her duties as an assemblywoman, she works as a clerk in Hoboken City Hall.
degree from Fordham University Law School in 1997. She is special counsel at the law firm of Huntington Bailey, LLP, where she practices governmental law, corporate law, land use, employment matters, criminal defense, and structured finance. Experienced in public issues, she served as the public defender for the Borough of Oakland from 2012-14 and was the township attorney for River Vale from 200711. She is president of the New Jersey chapter of the Fordham Law Alumni Association and a board member of the Bergen Community College Foundation. She also serves as an advisory board member of Sussex Bank. Schepisi resides in River Vale with her husband and two children.
Assemblywoman Shanique Speight (D) District 29 Assemblyman Robert Clifton (R) District 12 Robert Clifton has been an assemblyman since 2012. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rider College in 1991 and a master’s from the University of Richmond in 1998, both in political science. He has worked as the director of government and community affairs for Comcast Cable Corporation since 2001. Previously, he was director of industry relations for the New Jersey Pavement and Asphalt Association and a deputy commissioner for the state Department of Labor. He was a Monmouth County Freeholder from 2005-11, serving as director in 2011, and was also the Mayor of Matawan from 1996-2005. A life-long resident of Matawan, Clifton and his wife have two sons.
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R) District 39 Holly Schepisi has served in the Assembly since 2012. She earned bachelor’s degrees in both politics and psychology in 1993 from Catholic University of America and a law
A lifelong Newark resident and a Rising Star Award recipient, Shanique Speight is serving her first term as an assemblywoman. She is a district leader in her community and currently chairs the Central Ward Democratic Committee, where she has also served as treasurer. Speight continues to serve seniors in the central ward, coordinating weekly and monthly activities. Previously, she worked as a legislative aide to New Jersey Sen. Teresa Ruiz. Speight was elected to the Newark Advisory School Board in 2007, serving as vice chair as well as on the Personnel and Finance Committee, and was successfully re-elected in 2010. Governor Corzine appointed Speight to serve on the Superintendent Search Committee in 2007 and 2008. Underscoring her commitment to education, Speight completed the New Jersey Department of Human Services Director’s Academy and served as director of The Childcare Center in Newark for many years. Speight also serves on the Rosalean Twitty Scholarship Committee which administers three college scholarships to deserving high school graduates. A graduate of Lincoln University, Speight lives in Newark with her husband of 19 years, Andre, and their four children.
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 7
RPAC of New Jersey
[$189,870.26] raised as of February 1
N E W J E R S E Y L E G I S L AT I V E B I L L S A386 – Jimenez (D32), Schepisi (R39) Requires property record cards and tax maps prepared in conjunction with revaluations to be produced in electronic format.
A685 – Gove (R9), Rumpf (R9) Permits conversion of fines for violation of certain municipal ordinances into tax liens. New Jersey Realtors Position: ®
New Jersey Realtors® Position:
STRONG SUPPORT This bill would require county offices to maintain property record cards and tax maps electronically, making it easier for real estate licensees and members of the public to find the records they need. Bill History: 1/9/18 – Introduced in Assembly and referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee
These types of tax liens can delay closings in a real estate transaction and may transfer from one owner to another, which can hurt the real estate market. Bill History: 1/9/18 – Introduced in Assembly and referred to Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee
S430 – Pou (D35) Addresses necessary updates to real estate license law. New Jersey Realtors® Position:
STRONG SUPPORT This bill would amend the real estate license law to codify the independent contractor status in state law, prohibit certain Megan’s Law offenders from holding a real estate license, and amend other sections of the law in order to provide updates. Bill History: 1/9/18 – Introduced in Senate and referred to Senate Commerce Committee 1/15/18 – Approved by Senate Commerce Committee and referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
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8 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
Oilheat. Know more, sell more. Local Energy Experts — There When You Need Them A decent Realtor might be sufficient for most transactions. But sometimes, the only way a deal gets done is because an expert Realtor was involved. The same goes for home energy providers. Sometimes, any heating oil company will do. But when there’s a problem with an underground tank, or a super-cold snap like we experienced this past winter, having an expert heating oil company on hand can make all the difference. Here are some of the things that expert heating oil dealers can do for you and your clients:
➠ you referrals for critical actions, such as tank ➠ Give testing and tank removal solutions to improving the value of a property, ➠ Offer such as cost-effective upgrades to cut energy bills
Provide answers to questions and support during the deal to help avoid a transaction from falling through
and products to improve curb appeal, like new tanks or tank enclosures
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works with existing systems,
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For Your Clients
➠ service plans, pricing programs and other ➠ Offer options to give homeowners maximum flexibility Provide 24/7 emergency service
over their comfort expert recommendations when it comes to ➠ Give saving energy, saving money and increasing energy efficiency in the home
As a professional real estate agent, you should always be looking for ways to promote your listings or help your buyers understand their choices. Get to know Bioheat and use it to your advantage! For more information, visit MyBioheat.com.
If you are looking for an expert dealer to talk with or recommend to a client, visit FMANJ.org for a comprehensive list.
What PRO$ Can Do For You Realtors in New Jersey love working with PRO$ because we help them turn problems into opportunities. We’ve been supporting some of the most successful real estate offices in the state since 2002 and we’d love to support your business as well. Reach out to us and schedule a brief, 15-minute presentation. You’ll learn everything you need to secure more listings and close more sales. We’ll meet in your office, bring our FREE materials and get you answers to the tough questions that can make or break a deal. Visit OilheatPROS.com/NJ or contact Susan Janett at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your presentation today!
Paid for by the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey and the National Oilheat Research Alliance
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 9
RIDGEWOOD BY ALEXANDRA HOEY
t’s no secret that the Village of Ridgewood is considered one of the most desirable places to live in North Jersey. Often topping national lists for its schools and community, Ridgewood – also known as the Village – attracts families, New York City commuters, and empty nesters.
“It has the wonderful capture of hugging people with making them feel comfortable,” says Frances Hanson Ekblom, a Realtor® of 23 years at Tarvin Realtors®, and a born-and-raised Ridgewood resident who still lives there. “You have the downtown, you have wonderful schools, and you have a diversity of price points. It’s not just for one kind of client.” At 5.8 square miles, it is home to nearly 25,000 residents, with houses that range from $400,000 to $6 million. Families looking to settle down and escape New York City often choose Ridgewood for its community. Its six schools are spread across the Village to avoid busing, allowing caregivers and students the ability to walk to school. 10 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
What else makes Ridgewood so special? New Jersey Realtor® Magazine breaks down its unique characteristics that makes Ridgewood a loved municipality in New Jersey.
Central Business District
Perhaps Ridgewood’s most well-known asset is its downtown district. “Everyone loves a vibrant downtown,” says Ekblom. Though some of the smaller, family-owned favorites have closed, visitors from across the county come for its salons, parks, and boutiques, and over 30 restaurants. Town favorites include Sook Pastry, From Scratch, Ridgewood Coffee Company, and the infamous bookstore, Bookends. “I think the town has grown with the changes but has maintained that sweetness of having a home that you can call home and a downtown where people really do know one another.”
TOWN SPOTLIGHT Summer in the Village
Summers are not complete without Graydon Pool. Not your typical swimming pool, Graydon is a natural freshwater 2.68-acre swimming hole with a sand floor and beach area. Graydon has programs for children of all ages, including “Movie on the Beach,” aquatic swim programs, and book readings for youngsters. Part of the Village since 1929, Graydon is a historic site and considered a treasure to residents. Ridgewood hosts community events year-round, but there is perhaps no better time than summer. Every Friday, the Ridgewood Guild hosts “Music in the Night,” which attracts musicians throughout the county. Sprawled across street corners and storefronts, shoppers and diners can enjoy live performances from musicians, young and old. On the first Friday of June, July, and August, professional and amateur artists showcase their crafts in “Art in the Park”. Movies are also part of summer festivities – every Wednesday, a scheduled film is played on a 25-foot screen in Van Neste Square, the heart of Ridgewood’s downtown, where moviegoers set up picnic blankets and lawn chairs. But it is Ridgewood’s Fourth of July parade that amasses large crowds each year. A 107-yearold celebration, lawn chairs can be seen outlining
Ridgewood Avenue a week before the parade, which has become a village tradition. The Ridgewood Fourth of July Celebration Committee spends an entire year of preparing, and since 1960 has had an annual theme. Over the years, former Governor Chris Christie, NASA Astronaut Garrett E. Reisman, and former Canadian Ambassador Kenneth Taylor has attended as guests. It’s no wonder that the parade has topped 201 Magazine’s “Best Parade” and “Best Fireworks” for over a decade.
Proximity to New York City
Ridgewood has one of NJ Transit’s major rail stations, with at least 50 trains going into New York City on weekdays. It’s accessibility to Manhattan attracts residents from Hoboken, Brooklyn, and Jersey City, looking for lower rents while remaining close to the city. Further proof of Ridgewood’s proximity to New York is apparent on Crest Road. This winding residential street offers stunning vistas of Manhattan’s cityscape. Perched on a woody cliff, Crest Road is home to beautiful Tudor and colonial homes – highlighting the architecture Ridgewood is known for. Photos courtesy of Alexandra Hoey
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 11
wo years ago, James Hughes, chair of the New Jersey Realtors® Cultural Diversity Committee, was on his way to show a house when the seller’s agent called to cancel the appointment. The agent told Hughes, a broker-salesperson with Keller Williams - NJ Metro Group in Montclair, that her client had researched him online and saw his photo. The seller assumed Hughes’ clients looked like him and stated she didn’t want to sell to an AfricanAmerican family. 12 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
YEARS OF THE FAIR HOUSING ACT BY AMY E. CARR
Hughes was stunned. His clients were following behind in their own car. He had to pull over and explain the situation. He offered to find another agent in his office to show the property, but the buyers decided as much as they liked the area, they no longer wanted to do business with that seller. Location is important. It’s a key factor in determining where we go to school, our access to fresh food, job availability, and even our health. If the story above had happened
50 years ago, many people would have sympathized with Hughes and his clients, but there would have been little recourse. The ability to choose where to live could be limited based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The Fair Housing Act — or specifically Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 — changed that. “The Fair Housing Act means equal opportunity for anybody to take part in what we call the American dream — to have their slice of the
American pie,” says Hughes. “It shows us how far we’ve come, and every now and then it shows how far we still have to go.” U.S. housing laws can be traced back to 1789 and the Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution promises that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” But until legislation passed after the Civil War, “no person” primarily meant “no white man.” The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (passed by overturning a presidential veto) — and later the 14th Amendment — declared that all people born in the United States were citizens and had the right to “inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal property.” As a new century dawned, AfricanAmericans and other minorities could legally own property, but cities passed laws confining them to specific neighborhoods. A 1917 Supreme Court ruling declared such laws illegal, but racial covenants — private contracts between property owners governing to whom they could and couldn’t sell their property — were common until the Supreme Court declared them unenforceable in 1948.
Housing Administration and began insuring mortgages for properties that met specific requirements. In defining those requirements, “risky” neighborhoods were identified on maps and outlined in red. In most cases, the “risky” neighborhoods were those that were predominantly African-American or highlyintegrated. The government would not insure loans for property in these redlined neighborhoods and many banks followed suit. This redlining policy encouraged white Americans to leave the city for the suburbs where they could buy a house with a government-backed loan. The same policy made it extremely difficult for African Americans to buy or sell property in increasingly segregated neighborhoods. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights movement gained momentum and spurred efforts to pass civil rights legislation — including that which would eliminate
housing discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It also ended segregation in public places. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 attempted to remove barriers such as literacy tests and poll taxes that were in place to prevent African-Americans from voting, especially in the South. Fair housing legislation proved more difficult to pass. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order banning discrimination in federally-funded housing. A few individual states and municipalities adopted open housing rules, but a more expansive federal fair housing law failed to pass in 1966 and again in 1967. Civil unrest escalated. In 1967 alone, there were over 160 riots. As a result, President Lyndon B.
During the Great Depression, the federal government wanted to boost the middle class by making it easier for Americans to own or continue to own a home. The National Housing Act of 1934 created the Federal NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 13
Johnson created the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, better known as the Kerner Commission. He tasked the 11-person, bi-partisan commission with answering three questions: What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again? After seven months of investigation, on Feb. 29, 1968, the commission published its findings in a 600-plus page paperback that quickly became a best seller. That report can be summarized by its most famous statement: “Our nation is moving toward two societies: one black and one white — separate and unequal.” The commission identified three
primary factors as the cause of the rioting: pervasive discrimination in employment, education and housing; segregation by race into unequal societies; and the poverty and lack of opportunity experienced by so many inner city African-Americans. “Race prejudice has shaped our history decisively,” the commission wrote. “It now threatens to affect our future.” Among the commission’s many recommendations was the call for a federal fair housing law. As Americans were poring over their copies of the Kerner Commission’s report, another fair housing bill came
before Congress. Even after the commission’s findings, its fate was far from guaranteed. Then, on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. King had been a chief advocate for fair housing laws and the riots following his death put even more pressure on President Johnson and Congress to pass additional civil rights legislation. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 became law on April 11, 1968. It addressed interference with federally protected activities (voting, attending public school, receiving federal benefits, etc.) and made it a federal offense to travel across state lines to incite a riot. Titles II-VII addressed Native American civil rights. Title
Reporting a Fair Housing Violation If you witness a violation of the Fair Housing Act, you can file a complaint online with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (https:// www.hud.gov/). You may also send a letter or call your regional HUD office. Be sure to include your name and address, the name and address of the alleged violator, the address of the housing involved, and a short description of what happened and when. HUD will notify you in writing that they received your complaint and what any next steps might be (I.e. an investigation, mediation, or referral to appropriate state authorities). Violators of the Fair Housing Act may be liable for civil penalties, damages, and attorney fees.
Regional HUD Office For New Jersey New York Regional Office U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 26 Federal Plaza, Room 3532 New York, NY 10278-0068 212-542-7519 or 1-800-496-4294 | Fax 212-264-9829 | TTY 617-565-5453 Complaints_office_02@hud.gov 14 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
VIII provided the long-awaited fair housing policy. “Now with this bill, the voice of justice speaks again,” Johnson said at the signing ceremony. “It proclaims that fair housing for all — all human beings who live in this country — is now a part of the American way of life.” Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act begins, “it is the policy of the United States to provide, within constitutional limitations for fair housing throughout the United States.” The act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rent, advertising, financing, and zoning of housing based on race, color, religion or national origin. It prevents real estate organizations and multiple list services from denying membership based on race or any other protected class. The act also provides for the administration and enforcement of fair housing, outlining a complaint process. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 almost immediately became known as the Fair Housing Act. Since 1968, its reach has expanded. In 1974, the act was amended to prohibit housing discrimination based on gender. In 1988, disability and family status (pregnant women and the presence of children under 18) were added to the list of protected groups. The 1988 legislation also increased the penalties for violating fair housing law.
The Fair Housing Act has brought us a long way, but there is still work to do. The desegregation of communities, especially in inner cities, has moved very slowly. The lack of affordable housing prevents many Americans from owning their own home. As society evolves, newly at-risk groups will be recognized and need protection. The National Association of Realtors® and other organizations are currently working to include the LGBTQ community in fair housing law. Discrimination still happens.
arrangements to meet his buyers another day. He went back to his office and contacted the seller’s agent. She was a seasoned agent and he gave her 48 hours to take down the listing from the MLS. Fortyeight hours later, the listing was still up and Hughes called her broker. The broker, knowing his agent had violated the Fair Housing Act, removed the listing immediately.
“When I think of New Jersey and America, I don’t think of one type of person,” Hughes says. “Without the Fair Housing Act we wouldn’t have the diversity that makes us who we are.”
“Maybe someday we won’t need to be reminded to do the right thing,” he says.
Two years ago, after his appointment was cancelled, Hughes made
Hughes is grateful for fair housing laws, but he hopes for a day when a law isn’t needed.
Until then, we have the Fair Housing Act and good Realtors® to champion it.
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 15
The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Millennials BY ALEXANDRA HOEY
It’s no secret that student debt has tremendously impacted the real estate industry. In the past decade alone, the national student loan debt has doubled to $1.4 trillion – accounting for 10 percent of all outstanding debt and 35 percent of non-housing debt, according to the 2017 Student Loan Debt Housing Report by the National Association of Realtors®. In the report, which details the crippling effects student debt has on millennials, it found that homeownership rates have fallen “more steeply among younger generations,” while debt has steadily risen. With about 20.4 million freshman who entered college in Fall 2017– a projection by the U.S. Department of Education – these numbers have a huge significance on the nation’s economy, housing market, and life decisions for generations to come.
IMPACTS ON FUTURE
The impacts of student debt has delayed many life decisions for the borrowers. In particular, employment, continuing education, starting a family, and retirement have been delayed by the majority of respondents. The most important findings? 83 percent said student debt is holding them back from purchasing a home, frequently because they unable to save for a down payment. More than half of the borrowers believe their debt has halted their ability to purchase a car, continue with education, and rent solo or change their current living situation. When it comes to marriage, 41 percent would like to get married, but cannot do so because of their loans.
EMPLOYMENT AND LIVING SITUATION
The majority of respondents, 84 percent, are working fulltime and 32 percent have remained in a job despite being unhappy, in order to pay off their loans. 30 percent took a job outside their field and one-quarter work a second job to make their payments. When it comes to retirement, the majority believe they will retire between the ages of 66 and 70.
Student Loan Debt Impacted Either Decision and/or Ability To Do
Generation: Purchase a home
Younger Millennials (born 1990-1998)
Older Millennials (born 1980-1989)
Take a vacation
Continue with education
Rent solo or change living situation
Purchase a car
Start a small business
Purchase daily necessities
Rent or own closer to work or school location
Own a pet
None of these 16 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
member’s home after graduation, 42 percent did. Among those, 22 percent were delayed by at least two years.
Student Loan Debt Effect on Post Higher Education or Employment Decisions Remained in job even despite not being happy to pay off loans
Took a job outside field of study to pay off loans
Took on a second job to pay down loans
Took a job outside that was not interesting, but paid more to pay off loans
AWARENESS OF COSTS
According to the study, more than one-quarter of respondents had an understanding about student debt but knew little about other costs, like housing expenses. Before attending college, 28 percent of borrowers knew school “might be expensive” or “might be cheap”, but had no further knowledge. There were, however, respondents that did know about student loans and the associated fees — about one in five respondents.
Chose private sector employment rather than public sector
Took a job that would pay off loans as a work benefit
Awareness of Tuition Costs Knew minimal amount, but had a feeling it "might be expensive" or "might be cheap"
None of these %
Part of the issue is high tuition rates and lower incomes: the cost of an undergraduate degree has increased by 260 percent since 1980, according to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics, while incomes have only increased by 25 percent. This has forced graduates to move back to their parents’ house or rent with multiple roommates. According to the study, older millennials born between 1980-89 are nearly three times more likely to purchase a house than younger millennials. Most commonly among respondents, 28 percent rent with roommates. While 58 percent did not delay moving out of a family
Understanding of tuition costs, but little understanding of other costs (fees, housing etc.)
Understanding of all the costs including tuition, housing and fees
Had a cost range of total expenses in head
Did not know anything about the cost of attendance
For more information, visit nar.realtor/research-andstatistics/.
Student Loan Debt Living Arrangements
Generation: Own a home
Younger Millennials (born 1990-1998)
Older Millennials (born 1980-1989)
Rent with roommates
Live with friends/family without paying rent
Live with friends/family and pay rent
5 NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 17
More than Meets the Eye:
the Complexity of Diversity in Real Estate BY COURTNEY WESTLAKE
t wasn’t long into Allegra House’s real estate career when she started witnessing cases of discrimination. A Realtor® of 16 years, House took on advocacy roles to address the lack of diversity within the real estate industry. “As a Realtor®, working on the buyer and seller sides, I saw there was discrimination,” says House, who is now a Realtor®/broker for Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Englewood Cliffs. “I would make phone calls to some agents about properties, and they would tell me it was unavailable or ask what ‘type’ of clients I had. I knew these weren’t the types of questions they should be asking.”
House joined the New Jersey’s Fair Housing Committee and the New Jersey Realtors® Equal Opportunity/Cultural Diversity Committee, where she now serves as vice president. “Real estate is a business, and personal views and opinions should not get in the way,” House says. “Maybe someone is not doing it intentionally, but [discrimination] 18 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
could be a lack of education; I wanted to make sure that doesn’t continue.” Over the past 50 years, legislation that enforces inclusion has advanced diversity within the real estate and housing industry. The Civil Rights Act of 1966 prohibited all racial discrimination in the sale or rental of property. In 1968, the Fair Housing Act took it a bit further, federally prohibiting discrimination in the sale, lease or rental of housing, or making housing otherwise unavailable, because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. Learn more on page 12. Today, the National Association of Realtors® has made a commitment to diversifying its membership and leadership ranks. Equipping Realtors® across the country to work effectively with diverse populations is an integral component of NAR’s mission, says Fred Underwood, director of diversity and inclusion for National Association of Realtors®. “Diversity can be very broad and multi-leveled. It’s imperative that our industry, like any other, be
representative of the population we serve,” Underwood says. “We look to make sure different viewpoints, concerns, and perspectives are part of who we are. We want our associations to be aware of what their demographics are and who is serving those markets.” The statistics indicate that diversity is lagging in homeownership. Last year, diversity was low among home buyers in New Jersey, according to the National Realtor® Association’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. In the report, those who identified as white/Caucasian made up 78 percent of home buyers in New Jersey, with Asian/Pacific Islanders at 10 percent, Black/AfricanAmericans at 9 percent, and Hispanic/Mexican/Latino/ Puerto Ricans at 7 percent (Three percent chose “other”; applicants could choose more than one.) It was also reported that 89 percent of buyers identified as heterosexual, while 4 percent marked gay/lesbian, and 7 percent preferred not to answer. “There are very few minority buyers, because many are not educated on how to buy a home or how to save for down payment," House says. "There are not enough resources to move forward in the home-buying process.” Underwood acknowledges that there are pockets in the United States where the racial divide is “stronger than just ignorance and needs to be challenged.” But in the majority of areas, he has witnessed how familiarity and understanding can combat bias. “Anytime a majority and minority group work together, there are conceptions about the other. There can be a lot
of human dynamics to overcome, especially coupled with historical issues in our country,” he says. “But the more people work together, the more they understand each other, and those types of prejudices tend to diminish.” Involvement with a diverse, multicultural national real estate organization can be a positive step for Realtors® who want to help promote inclusion and minority leadership. The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Asian Real Estate Association of America and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers are all thriving and making strides in advocacy, Underwood says. Mary Lou Resner, a real estate agent with Nextage M3 Realty, was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States after college. She hasn’t felt personally discriminated against but occasionally experiences a mix of curiosity and trepidation from neighbors while showing homes. “I can see the way other people talk about people I bring into certain neighborhoods, how neighbors react with ‘who are you bringing through?’ when I am standing outside waiting. They want to know who might move in,” she says. “A lot of people have misconceptions and fear about certain groups of people.” Resner hopes that people will be more open-minded and get to know their neighbors as individuals, not under the label of a certain group. “This is a very quickly changing world,” she says, “and that means acceptance and understanding and getting NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 19
to know each other. It’s getting out of our homes and talking to each other.” From Underwood's perspective, positive changes are on the horizon for the real estate industry. Nationwide, women Realtors® have surpassed their male counterparts in number – at 63 percent, according to the NAR. And as the country’s economy recovers, Underwood notes, minorities are purchasing homes and pursuing careers in real estate again. “There is a lag that exists between the market changing and Realtors® coming into market,” he says. “Right now, the number of Hispanics purchasing homes is booming all over the country. The Hispanic market has a huge cohort of Millennials – close to half – who are starting to become home buyers.” Resner has witnessed a changing culture in her own community of Middlesex, which she describes as “a very diverse area.” “We used to have a big Chinese community, and now we have a big Indian community. It’s a cycle, like everything else,” she says. “I have spoken to a lot of people who are homeowners now who came from other countries, and they originally settled in a concentrated area together. Now, they’re starting to move out to other areas they weren’t aware of before.” For those in the real estate industry, education and awareness of diversity also means advocacy. House, who has been largely involved with advocating against discrimination, encourages Realtors®, home buyers, and sellers to be aware of what their rights are. If faced with an instance of discrimination, individuals can contact their local Housing and Urban Development Department for support, visit the local Fair Housing Council, or file a complaint with the Department of Justice, House says. 20 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
“There is nothing worse than feeling like you’re not treated as an equal and there’s nothing you can do about it,” she says. “We are not going to tolerate discrimination; we want to make sure everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to purchase or sell a home.” Historically, the United States has been known as a “melting pot” of religions, races, ethnicities, and cultures, comprised of immigrants from across the globe. Diversity is seemingly inevitable, and encouraging inclusion, understanding, and acceptance will only strengthen the real estate industry as a whole. “Even if all immigration were to stop now, the level of diversity we already have in our country and the fact that diverse communities are younger than white communities only means that diversity going to continue to increase,” Underwood says. “As our multicultural populations grow, there will be Realtors® serving these people as they move homes, and we will need to make sure our leadership is more diverse to serve those markets. My goal is that it is the norm to be inclusive, as I’m starting to see in various state associations and communities, and I’m hoping to see across the country.”
National Diverse/Multicultural Real Estate Organizations: National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Asian Real Estate Association of America National Association of Real Estate Brokers National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals
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Creating Kid-Friendly Spaces (that parents love, too) BY ALLISON ROSEN
Nobodinoz Barcelona Courtesy of Nancy Fire, HGTV
Meri Meri Courtesy of Nancy Fire, HGTV
erhaps a space that allows for the most creativity is designing one for children, whether it’s a nursery, a playroom, or a room for school-aged kids. According to a recent Houzz Kids & Home Survey, 69 percent of families said their kids’ rooms have a décor theme, with nature and animals being the most popular at a combined 53 percent, followed by sports (17 percent) and princesses (15 percent).
Houzz Kids and the Home
Nancy Fire, HGTV’s Design Director, has been traveling in Europe, scouting out the up-and-coming trends in design. “After spending a day at Maison Objet in Paris reviewing products from around the globe, I’d say kids rooms – or ‘mini-me rooms’ – are exceptionally cool, with prints 22 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
Houzz Kids and the Home
STYLE GUIDE patterns, colors, and style emulating a more sophisticated vibe,” Fire says. “Trending colors like gray, coral, sage, and rust are paired with metallic accent pops mixed with fabrics and textures, giving dimension and depth to interior spaces.” Chip Wade, who appears on HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block and Designed to Sell, is a home renovation expert who has helped many clients with children’s rooms. He agrees with Fire, noting that grays are exceptionally popular color choices for kid’s rooms. “It makes the space versatile and easy to grow into. It’s also neutral enough to add pops of color with wall art, furniture, or other décor,” he says, adding that neutral wall colors will allow a child to grow into the room and save parents from having to make major changes down the line.
Additionally, Wade says, “2018 is all about large animal photography and nature elements for wall coverings.” But, parents say in the Houzz survey, it’s not just about décor and themes – cleanliness and keeping clutter under control are top priorities, though they admit it’s not always an easy task. Today, there are plenty of solutions for keeping homes tidy, functional, and beautiful. Wade says he recommends toddler or single beds that include drawers or shelves to make them multi-functional storage savers and allow a child to make the room his or her own.
child space for play and imagination is vital, and suggests dedicating a section to reading or play, and as they age, an area for homework. Above all, Wade, who is also a Liberty Mutual Insurance consultant, emphasizes the importance of safety. “I cannot stress enough how important it is to anchor large pieces of furniture to the wall. Children love to climb, and a dresser is often seen as a ladder to a child. Children are sent to the hospital every year from furniture tipping over.”
Fire adds that fabric tents, which are unisex must-haves that double as play spaces, decorated with updated accent pillows, are ontrend and create a neat play space. Wade agrees, noting that allowing a Bloomingville, courtesy of Nancy Fire, HGTV
Houzz Kids and the Home
Houzz Kids and the Home
NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 23
Who are New Jersey’s Buyers & Sellers? BY ALLISON ROSEN
Characteristics of sellers
Here’s a look at the typical New Jersey buyer and seller, according to the 2017 National Association of Realtors®’ New Jersey Home Buyer Seller Report:
s a Realtor®, it’s important to know your local market, understand pricing trends, and be a skilled negotiator to close the deal for your client. But it’s equally as important to understand who your client is so you can provide the best possible service and adjust your business plan to meet changing demands.
Characteristics of buyers
The typical first-time buyer was 34 years old, married with no children, and had a median income of $91,800. Last year, they made up 39 percent of buyers in New Jersey. The typical repeat buyer was 56 years old, married with no children living in the household, and had a median income of $105,000. Married couples made up 56 percent of home buyers, followed by single females, at 24 percent. Those who identified at white/Caucasian made up 78 percent of buyers and 89 percent of buyers identified as heterosexual. Ten percent of buyers were veterans, and two percent were active-duty service members. The majority of buyers – 86 percent – were born in the United States.
The typical seller in New Jersey was 61, married with no children living in the household, and had a median income of $90,900. Those who identified as white/ Caucasian made up 87 percent of sellers and 66 percent had previously sold a home. The average seller stayed in their home for 10 years.
The typical buyer first looked online and then contacted a real estate agent. Buyers typically searched for 12 weeks and looked at 10 homes before making a purchase. Those who did not use the internet to find a home spent ten weeks searching but visited just five homes. The overwhelming majority – 92 percent – used a real estate agent, with 41 percent of buyers using referrals to find their agent.
When it came to financing, 83 percent of New Jersey buyers financed their home purchase and made an average of a 10 percent down payment. Most reported using savings to finance the down payment, followed by using proceeds from the sale of a primary residence. While 30 percent reported saving for six months or less, 38 percent reported they saved for two or more years. Of those buyers who delayed savings for a home
24 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
Weeks on the Market
Typical First-Time Buyer Typical Seller
Typically Sell After Years in Home
Married, No Children in Household
Married, No Children
$91,800 Median Income
$90,900 Median Income
BUYERS purchase, student loans, credit card debt, car loans, childcare expenses, and health care costs were cited as the biggest obstacles to saving.
The majority of homes sold in New Jersey were in a suburb/subdivision or a small town and were detached, single-family properties. The average home had three bedrooms, two full baths, and was on the market for five weeks. Previously-owned homes made up 92 percent of the market, with just 8 percent being new construction.
Interactions with agent
The overwhelming majority of sellers contacted only one agent and 41 percent were referred by a friend, neighbor, or relative. Sellers reported that they most
wanted help with pricing the home competitively, marketing the home, selling it within a specific timeframe, and finding the right buyer. When asked if they would use the agent again or recommend to others, 80 percent of sellers said they definitely or probably would. However, 43 percent of sellers never recommended their agent to anyone. Similar to sellers, 41 percent of buyers were referred by a friend, neighbor and also only contacted one agent. They reported that they most wanted help with finding the right home, determining what comparable homes were selling for, help with negotiations, and help with paperwork. Eighty-nine percent of buyers reported they would definitely or probably use the agent again or recommend to others, but 38 percent of buyers never made a recommendation. NEW JERSEY REALTORÂŽ | Mar/Apr 2018 | 25
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• March 8: Taxbot will host a member webinar. Check in to njrealtor.com for more details. • March 15: Join us for a 15-minute member webinar to learn how our partner, Office Depot, can save you money on office supplies. • March 19: Join Animoto for their webinar, Standing Out on Social with Photos, featuring expert local photographer, Vanessa Joy. • April 26: In under an hour, learn the basics of creating and delivering email campaigns that Powered by get measurable results with our partner, Constant Contact, in their free member webinar, Getting Started with Email Marketing. • May 10: Join our perks partner, LifeLock, to learn more about their industry-leading identity theft product. Powered by
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NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018 | 27
B O A R D / A S S O C I AT I O N N E W S Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors®
Metro Centre Association of Realtors®
Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors® recently presented awards to Gloria Woodward and Melissa Fogler for their outstanding achievements in 2017, distinguishing themselves through their contributions to MORR, the real estate profession, and the community.
The Metro Centre Association of Realtors® held a special reception in December to celebrate their $500+ RPAC Contributors.
Woodward was the association’s 2017 Realtor® Service Award recipient, which is presented each year to a dedicated MORR member who has rendered distinguished and outstanding service to the real estate profession and to the Association. Fogler received the 2017 One to Watch Award, which recognizes a MORR member who is a highly motivated and emerging young leader. Pictured left to right: John Calandruccio, Cathy Fernandes, 2017 President Dorothy Bellas, John Zennario, Nora (Jane) Burrows, Susan Giacchi, Chiquita Pittman, Donna Macan, Kathleen Morin, Scott Lauri, Audrey Dalton, Mary Lou Resner, 2017 Secretary/Treasurer Gene Krutyansky, and Roger Sanchez.
Burlington Camden County Association of Realtors® 2017 President Gloria Siciliano and Melissa Fogler
Gloria Woodward and 2017 President Gloria Siciliano
RealSource Association of Realtors® The RealSource Association of Realtors® is proud to have received second place in both the large board per capita and large board member participation categories for the 2017 NJ Realtors® RPAC awards, presented in January.
Committee co-chairs, Cathy Vicky (left) and Angela Ponticelli hold a 2017 RPAC of New Jersey award and are joined by their local RPAC committee members.
28 | NEW JERSEY REALTOR® | Mar/Apr 2018
In December, the Burlington Camden County Association of Realtors® donated ping pong tables, purchased through fundraising efforts, to the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Laurel and Camden County. The association’s Community Outreach Committee also hosted “Keep our Communities Warm,” where they collected hats, scarves, gloves and socks for men, women, and children. Photography by GINO
Pictured left to right: BCCAR staff and members, Boys & Girls Club staff, and Transtar movers pictured with the donated pingpong table and young members of the club.
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