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St. Louis

The Voice for Real Estate in St. Louis

Volume 11 - Number 1

The Industry Forecast


The 2015 Industry Forecast


he industry is rapidly changing and I believe will continue to do so. With many changes ahead for our industry in 2015, including technological advances and Dodd-Frank Act, it is important that we be prepared as REALTORS® and as an Association.

The Association in 2015: You might be wondering why this is our first print issue of REALTOR® Report in many years. Yes, while it’s important that we leverage technology, as an Association we also need to be preparing for a major demographic shift coming our way: the millennials. While the baby boomers continue to email, millennials and generation X are texting, tweeting and snapping pictures to post on Instagram. And… they love magazines. Being brightly colored, easily digestible and made for scanning are the key components of a magazine’s success with this group. A recent study of more than 1,000 millennials found that 93 percent of the sample group read a paper magazine in the past 60 days. The PEW report confirms this with their study that found 60 percent of millennials prefer a “print-like experience” over tech features like audio, video and complex graphics. As millennials continue to enter our industry, it’s important to adjust to the way that they retain information. Online versions of our magazine will continue to be available for those who prefer a digital experience.

The Industry in 2015: Of course, the Association is just one side of the industry. The other side is the working agent and broker. The recent FHA announcement of a significantly lowered mortgage insurance premium (PMI) as well as relaxing Fannie and Freddie underwriting guidelines is predicted to bring a fresh wave of first-time buyers, many of whom will be millennials. Those previous homeowners who transitioned to renting due to a foreclosure or short sale will also re-enter the market as buyers. Nationwide, the housing market has seen improvements. According to Steve Murray of REAL Trends, The REAL Trends Housing Market Report for December 2014 shows that housing sales increased 8.7 percent from the same month a year ago. The annual rate of new and existing home sales for December 2014 was 6.395 million units up from a rate of 5.884 million in December 2013. Housing prices rose an average of 1.8 percent from December 2013, continuing the slow decline of year over year price increases in housing sales. Price increases have now settled to a mid-single–digit growth rate for the past five months. This all sounds like great news for 2015. I hope that you will embark on this year’s journey with us by using the Association as your resource for professional development.

The influx of millennials in the work force isn’t the only trend the Association is looking at. We understand that responsive design and the cloud will change expectations about our website and we are working with a firm to help us leverage that trend. In addition, there will be a continued focus on member engagement. As the new Congress settles in, we will also become more involved with advocacy to ensure the protection of our industry.

9 The Ethics Process 10-13

TABLE OF CONTENTS CEO Corner 4 From Around the Industry

SLAR Stats

Legislative Report 8 It’s a Big, Big World


It’s a Big, Big World

6 14-15

Law & Ethics 18 Welcome to the Neighborhood


LEADERSHIP & STAFF DIRECTORY 2015 Board of Directors Executive Committee

REALTOR® Directors:

Janet Judd, President Sandy Hancock, President-Elect Barry Upchurch, Vice President/Treasurer Jan Thomas, Secretary Glenn Vatterott, Member-at-Large Beth Braznell, Immediate Past President William Stenger, Commercial Division President Dawn Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer

Term Ends 2015

Term Ends 2016

Term Ends 2017

Gail Brown Kimberly Cameron Adam Kruse Jan Thomas

Tom Kennedy Mickey McNearney David Townsend Glenn Vatterott

Jeff Bosch Jill Butler Angie Ignatowski Suzi Mattus

National Association of REALTORS® Directors

REALTOR® Associate Directors:

Janet Judd (Board President)

Marc Levinson

Sandy Hancock (Board President-Elect) Bob Bax (Director)

Glenn Vatterott (Large Firm Representative) Bruce Aydt (Distinguished Service Award)

Sharon Hutson

Katherine Berry

Affiliate Director Kathleen Crowley

St. Louis Association of REALTORS® Staff Executive Department

Membership and Finance

Dawn M. Kennedy, CEO, MSPS, RCE, e-PRO, GREEN | 314.576.0033 ext. 318

Rick Capelli, Senior Vice President of Membership & Finance | Direct Line: 314.590.2313

Kim Russell, Executive Assistant/Human Resources Manager | 314.576.0033 ext. 318

Judy Partsch, Membership Specialist/REALTOR® Shoppe | 314.576.0033 ext. 320

Glenda Strong, Administrative & Member Services Coordinator | 314.576.0033

Emily Whitlock, Supra Administrator | 314.576.0033 ext. 339

Legislative Department

Tammy Williams, Membership Specialist | 314.576.0033 ext. 315

Maureen McDonnell, Director of Governmental and Public Affairs | Direct Line: 314.590.2307 Martina Johnson, Public Affairs Fundraising Coordinator | 314.576.0033 ext. 309

Jessica Perez, Finance & Member Services Assistant | 314.576.0033 ext. 314

Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations

Lauren Smith, Director of Marketing & Communications | Direct Line: 314.590.2301

Professional Development

Karen Dunn, Director of Professional Development | Direct Line: 314.590.2312 Monica Wilson, Professional Development Coordinator | Direct Line: 314.275.7888

Commercial Division

Susan Wagner, Vice President, Professional Specialties & Standards | Direct Line 314.590.2305 Tina Luehrmann, Commercial Specialist | 314.576.0033 ext. 308

Becca Grober, Technology & Events Specialist | 314.576.0033 ext. 304 Paul Vogl, Community & Media Relations Coordinator | 314.576.0033 ext. 317

For advertising information, please contact Lauren Smith at 314.590.2301 or To submit articles for consideration in the REALTOR® Report, email Editor-in-Chief, Dawn Kennedy at

Mid-America Regional Information Systems (MARIS) 1714 Deer Tracks Trail, Suite 200 | St. Louis, MO 63131 | 314.984.9111| Paul Prince, President Denise Bielicke, Vice President of Operations Tracey Yost, Membership Manager Brad Whitrock, Support Specialist

David Price, Senior Vice President & Systems Manager

Katie Otto, Vice President of Member Services

Jason A. Darrough, Support Manager

Hannah Lang, Marketing & Communications Specialist

Carroll Morrow, Accounting Coordinator

MARIS Support, MLS Issues


Looking Forward to the Year Ahead


smiled when I saw the theme for the first SLAR REALTOR® Report magazine of 2015: Industry Forecast. The family joke, thanks to our Russian and Hungarian roots, is that we are all gypsies, as evidenced by our freakishly small hands and feet. Oh, how sometimes I would love to be that gypsy fortuneteller with a crystal ball gazing into the future. Although I do not claim any help from my heritage, here is what I see in 2015:

»» A good sales year as housing values continue to climb and the economy experiences a boost. »» Continued low gas prices will increase consumer confidence. »» A more realistic seller. »» A continued conversation about how to create integrated and diverse communities in the metro.

»» To further the strategic plan set forth by the board with SLAR having increased relevance to all member segments. »» A great training year ahead without the burden of CE. »» Another year of creative innovation from SLAR members and staff. »» Brokerages will continue to innovate in terms of business models and use of technology as a shrinking workforce will continue to put pressure on recruiting strategies. We are starting 2015 with a bang with multiple offerings as early as January. The first quarter of 2015 is showing great promise! I continue to be honored to serve you. Dawn Kennedy is the Chief Executive Officer for the St. Louis Association of REALTORS®. Contact her at

»» A much stronger SLAR brand presence both internally and externally.


REALTORS® with the ABR® designation earn 20% more than their competitors! Adorna O. Carroll, DSA


Laugh while you learn with the sensational and highly reviewed, Adorna Carroll!

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Congratulations! Please join us in congratulating Nate Johnson on his election to the Missouri REALTORS速 Leadership Team. Nate will serve as the 2016 Treasurer and go on to serve as the 2018 President of the state Association.

FROM AROUND THE INDUSTRY FHA Lowers Mortgage Insurance Premiums…predicted to add up to 140,000 home sales this year. In early January, President Obama announced that he will direct the Federal Housing Administration to lower the mortgage insurance premium charged on FHA loans from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent, lowering homebuyers’ house payments by about $900 per year on average. Chris Polychron, the President of NAR, said that NAR was optimistic that more affordable FHA loans will have a positive impact on first-time buyers who have been entering the market at a lower than normal rate. Previously, NAR stated that the lower cost of an FHA loan would add 90,000 to 140,000 additional annual home purchases. The cost of the mortgage insurance premium on an FHA loan was 0.9 percent back in 2010, increased to 1.15 percent in 2011, then to 1.25 percent in 2012 and finally 1.35 percent in 2013.   NAR first addressed this issue back in April 2014 when, then President, Steve Brown wrote a letter to  Carol Galante, the  Assistant Secretary for Housing at the time, to draw her attention to the impact the higher fees were having on the housing market and urging her to take action to lower the premiums. The NAR letter pointed out in 2014 FHA fees accounted for nearly 20 percent of a homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment.

Inconsistencies by Municipal Housing Inspectors & “Shifting” of Utility Bill Balances Causing Headaches for Investors and Property Managers. At our last Industry Forum meeting, Mark Rubin of Austin Realty, representing the interests of investors and property managers, shared that inconsistencies from housing inspectors, both between different inspectors within the same municipality as well as between neighboring municipalities, is a problem for his profession and makes it more difficult and expensive to comply with the local codes. Rubin said

another source of problems for property managers is the practice the utility companies have fallen into of simply “shifting” balances from one account to another just because the same property manager’s name is on it even though the property owners are different.

MBA Pushing for Standardized State Testing for Mortgage Loan Originators and Progress on Getting Some Broker Fees Excluded from QRM Tests. Brad Eimer, US Bank Home Mortgage Business Analyst and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of St. Louis, said his association is supporting standardized state testing for loan originators and that there are currently 44 other state regulated industries that use one standardized test for multiple states. Eimer also shared that a house bill passed in mid-September looks to remove broker compensation and affiliated business fees from the points and fees test in QRM, which would be a big win for the industry!

Application of the Merchandising Practices Act in Missouri to Mortgage Loans a Concern for the Industry. Ruth Battle, Chief Mortgage Underwriter at Central Bancompany, representing the MBA, reported on a lawsuit filed in Missouri against a lender that the industry is watching closely as the plaintiff ’s attorney seeks to apply Chapter 407, the Merchandising Practices Act, of the Revised Statutes for the State of Missouri to a mortgage loan. The legal risks and issues at stake here are complicated, but the short version is that if the plaintiff in this suit prevails, this would allow this act, and liability under it, to apply to the entire life of the loan.

LEGISLATIVE REPORT St. Louis County Launches Online Inspections SLAR, as a part of the St. Louis Regional Permitting Collaborative, has made progress working with St. Louis County on improving their permitting systems. We are pleased to announce that the Code Enforcement Division within the St. Louis County Public Works Department has activated online inspection requests. Permit holders are the only parties that can schedule an inspection, and it will require a login. If you require any help with creating a login please contact St. Louis County by calling Richard Edwards at 314-615-7146 or Kim Blancett at 314-615-7866. For questions regarding SLAR’s permitting initiatives, call Maureen McDonnell at 314-590-2307 or via email at

Congratulations to County Executive Steve Stenger, County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, County Councilman Pat Dolan and County Councilman Mark Harder! On January 1, elected officials for St. Louis County were sworn in at the Lawrence K. Roos Government Building in downtown Clayton. Representatives from SLAR were invited to and attended the proceedings and reception. We extend our congratulations to all elected officials sworn into office with a special acknowledgment of County Councilman Mark Harder, who is a member of SLAR! Congratulations and we look forward to working with you.

Congratulations to Ballwin Alderman Mark Stallmann! When SLAR member and Ballwin Alderman Harder was elected to the St. Louis County Council in November, a vacancy was created in Ballwin. Fortunately, Councilman Harder was recently replaced with another REALTOR® champion, St. Charles County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAR) CEO, Mark Stallmann. Stallmann was appointed by the Mayor of Ballwin to fill the remainder of Harder’s term and will run again in April with the support of SLAR. Alderman Stallmann took office on January 12, 2015 and will continue to protect and advance the interests of REALTORS® and homeowners in Ballwin. We thank Alderman Stallmann for his service and are excited to see what he will accomplish.

Soft dollars refers to political contributions made not by an individual but by a corporation or an organization. Soft dollars are only allowed to be used towards coordinated campaign expenditures. A campaign expenditure is used when an organization decides to support a local candidate by distributing marketing materials on the candidate’s behalf. The Government Affairs department at SLAR is very involved with campaign expenditures and has succeeded in helping several REALTORS® win election to public office. Due to the political atmosphere in the state of Missouri, which has little regulation on campaign expenditures, the RPAC goals for 2015 have increased to match the amount of money that we need to stay relevant in our local races. The 2015 overall dollar goal for RPAC has seen a significant increase to $134,980, a $36,190 increase from the 2014 goal of $98,790. However, changes to the RPAC fiscal year will give SLAR an added two months to strive for this lofty goal. Previously, all RPAC dollars had to be collected by Oct. 7, but to accommodate the November election cycle, the deadline will move to Dec. 7. With your help, SLAR can once again reach its RPAC goals and continue to be seen as a model association in the eyes of NAR. The importance of RPAC must continue to be explained to members of the real estate community who believe that politics has no impact on their business. Without it, there would be no safeguard to protect REALTORS® from harmful legislation that would reduce their bottom line. For more information on changes to the RPAC guidelines or to make an RPAC investment, contact the Government Affairs department at “Contributions are not deductible for income tax purposes. Contributions to RPAC are voluntary and are used for political purposes. You may contribute more or less than the suggested amount. You may refuse to contribute without reprisal and the National Association of REALTORS® or any of its state associations or local boards will not favor or disfavor any member because of the amount contributed. 70% of each contribution is used by your state PAC to support state and local political candidates. Until your state PAC reaches its RPAC goal 30% is sent to National RPAC to support federal candidates and is charged against your limits under 2 U.S.C. 441a; after the state PAC reaches its RPAC goal it may elect to retain your entire contribution for use in supporting state and local candidates.”

RPAC Forecast – 2015 Goals Published by NAR On December 10, 2014, the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors approved a new set of guidelines and goals for RPAC fundraising in 2015. These changes were triggered by the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court ruling in 2010, which erased the limits on soft dollars that can be used when communicating with the public and influencing voter opinions. 8 | Winter 2015 — REALTOR® Report

Maureen McDonnell is the Director of Governmental and Public Affairs for the St. Louis Association of REALTORS®. Contact her at

What Now? The Ethics Process


he St. Louis Association of REALTORS® has more than 7,000 members, the majority of whom have never participated in a Grievance or Ethics Hearing, as either the complainant or the respondent. When we notify a member and their broker that a complaint has been filed against them and send all the paperwork required to be submitted back to the Association, it is a scary and confusing time for the member. When a complaint is filed against a member by another REALTOR® or a member of the general public, it is first sent to the 30 members of the Grievance Committee for review at their next scheduled meeting. Their task, as directed by the National Association of REALTORS®, is to simply review the complaint and documentation provided by the complainant. The Committee can ask clarifying questions and for specific documentation of the complainant. If the Grievance Committee finds that there may have been a violation of the Code of Ethics, they can forward the complaint onto the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing. The Professional Standards hearing is overseen by a Hearing Panel of five REALTORS® who have participated in training. These hearings can last two to five hours. Both the complainant and respondent, who the complaint is filed against, have the option to bring their broker, an attorney and any witnesses to support their position. Both parties have the opportunity to present their position with documentation and witnesses. Both parties can cross-examine each other and the witnesses. The panelists can ask clarifying questions of both parties and their witnesses. At the conclusion of the hearing, all parties are excused and the panelists meet to determine whether they feel a violation of the Code of Ethics occurred and what, if any, discipline should be imposed. Both parties have the right to appeal the decision of the Hearing Panel to the Board of Directors, with the Board of Directors being the final word on the decision. Discipline can range from a Letter of Warning in the membership file, to a Letter of Reprimand, to fines not to exceed $15,000, to education and training, to probation, to suspension, to expulsion or some combination of the above. Discipline has been designed to be progressive, becoming weightier for the members who appear before the panel more than once. Record of the Code of Ethics violation is maintained in the members file for three years from the date of ratification by the Board of Directors. As you begin 2015, take an hour to read through the 2015 Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Think about how you can implement the Code into your daily business transactions with buyers, sellers and other REALTORS® and have your best year yet! 9 | Winter 2015 — REALTOR® Report


November 2014

MARIS - NAR Report Sold Statistics

Summary of All Properties Price Class $29,999 and under $30,000 - $39,999 $40,000 - $49,999 $50,000 - $59,999 $60,000 - $69,999 $70,000 - $79,999 $80,000 - $89,999 $90,000 - $99,999 $100,000 - $119,999 $120,000 - $139,999 $140,000 - $159,999 $160,000 - $179,999 $180,000 - $199,999 $200,000 - $249,999 $250,000 - $299,999 $300,000 - $349,999 $350,000 - $399,999 $400,000 - $449,999 $450,000 - $499,999 $500,000 - $549,999 $550,000 - $599,999 $600,000 - $649,999 $650,000 - $699,999 $700,000 - $749,999 $750,000 - $799,999 $800,000 - $849,999 $850,000 - $899,999 $900,000 - $949,999 $950,000 - $999,999 $1,000,000 - $1,249,999 $1,250,000 - $1,499,999 $1,500,000 - $1,749,999 $1,750,000 - $1,999,999 $2,000,000 - $2,999,999


2 or Less 52 15 18 8 18 24 22 12 39 32 22 12 7 13 3 4 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0


Active,Contingent and Pending

4 or More 10 2 3 1 5 4 4 6 3 8 6 12 11 28 25 31 25 18 12 7 9 11 4 10 4 2 4 0 2 4 5 6 1 2

3 37 15 8 14 14 16 14 17 34 40 46 44 25 51 29 14 12 9 1 4 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

Total 99 32 29 23 37 44 40 35 76 80 74 68 43 92 57 49 37 29 15 12 11 12 6 10 4 2 4 0 2 5 6 6 1 2

Active 87 41 34 31 46 37 46 38 83 73 65 36 41 70 59 36 24 18 11 7 13 6 4 4 3 4 3 3 2 2 5 0 0 0






Average Price






Median Price






Total Amount






Contingent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Pending 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Days on Market Statistics 1 - 30 Days:


Total Units Sold:

31 - 60 Days: 183


10 | Winter 2015 — REALTOR® Report

61 - 90 Days: 137 Avg Market Time:

91 - 120 Days: 94


121 - 180 Days: Avg Sold Price:


180 + Days: 63



December 2014

MARIS - NAR Report Sold Statistics

Summary of All Properties Price Class $29,999 and under $30,000 - $39,999 $40,000 - $49,999 $50,000 - $59,999 $60,000 - $69,999 $70,000 - $79,999 $80,000 - $89,999 $90,000 - $99,999 $100,000 - $119,999 $120,000 - $139,999 $140,000 - $159,999 $160,000 - $179,999 $180,000 - $199,999 $200,000 - $249,999 $250,000 - $299,999 $300,000 - $349,999 $350,000 - $399,999 $400,000 - $449,999 $450,000 - $499,999 $500,000 - $549,999 $550,000 - $599,999 $600,000 - $649,999 $650,000 - $699,999 $700,000 - $749,999 $750,000 - $799,999 $800,000 - $849,999 $850,000 - $899,999 $900,000 - $949,999 $950,000 - $999,999 $1,000,000 - $1,249,999 $1,250,000 - $1,499,999 $1,500,000 - $1,749,999 $1,750,000 - $1,999,999 $2,000,000 - $2,999,999


Active,Contingent and Pending


2 or Less 46 14 14 20 25 20 15 18 52 28 30 17 10 18 5 5 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

4 or More 9 4 5 1 6 4 3 3 7 13 18 20 23 43 32 34 30 25 12 13 11 11 7 6 12 0 3 0 1 5 4 2 2 1

3 50 13 14 26 14 10 23 26 33 55 44 46 29 70 34 22 14 5 4 3 4 2 2 3 0 0 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 0

Total 105 31 33 47 45 34 41 47 92 96 92 83 62 131 71 61 45 31 17 16 16 13 9 9 13 0 5 3 3 5 4 2 2 1

Active 84 29 31 29 30 31 42 23 59 53 42 34 27 49 44 20 19 9 6 6 8 6 2 2 0 4 1 1 0 8 4 0 1 0






Average Price






Median Price






Total Amount






Contingent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Pending 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Days on Market Statistics 1 - 30 Days:


Total Units Sold:

31 - 60 Days: 193


61 - 90 Days: 160 Avg Market Time:

91 - 120 Days: 133


121 - 180 Days: Avg Sold Price:


180 + Days: 88


11 | Winter 2015 — REALTOR® Report


December 2014

November 2014

St. Louis City

Active Inventory as of Nov. 30, 2014 = 1,165 Comparative Metrics by Status

Nov. 2013


Year to Date +/-



12 Months: Nov - Oct +/-




Closed Sales










Pending Sales










Available Listings










Expired Listings










New Listings










Available Listings vs. Closed Sales










Available Listings vs. Expired Listings










Active Inventory as of Dec. 31, 2014 = 994 Comparative Metrics by Status Closed Sales

Dec. 2013 207

2014 241

Year to Date

12 Months: Dec - Dec









Previous 3,133





Pending Sales










Available Listings










Expired Listings










New Listings










Available Listings vs. Closed Sales










Available Listings vs. Expired Listings










12 | Winter 2015 — REALTORŽ Report

Data is inclusive of residential properties and condo/coop/villa.


St. Louis County

Comparative Metrics by Status

Nov. 2013


Year to Date +/-



12 Months: Nov - Oct +/-




Closed Sales










Pending Sales










Available Listings










Expired Listings










New Listings










Available Listings vs. Closed Sales










Available Listings vs. Expired Listings










Comparative Metrics by Status Closed Sales

Dec. 2013 979

2014 988

Year to Date

12 Months: Dec - Dec









Previous 14,056





Pending Sales










Available Listings










Expired Listings










New Listings










Available Listings vs. Closed Sales










Available Listings vs. Expired Listings










All data provided from Mid America Regional Information Systems. Powered by 10K Research and Marketing.

December 2014

Active Inventory as of Dec. 31, 2014 = 3,057

November 2014

Active Inventory as of Nov. 30, 2014 = 2,776

13 | Winter 2015 — REALTORŽ Report


The Inclusion Advisory Group promotes Fair Housing practices and educates members on diversity issue of race, religion, disability, and sexual orientation through programs that promote membership awareness and inclusion.

The MRP Ripple Effect


avy Lieutenant Bryan Bergjans is on a mission. It is one that not only includes serving on the Inclusion Advisory Group at SLAR, but a self-assigned operation to ensure that every Veteran and active-duty military personnel can live the American Dream of home ownership. When that mission was interrupted by orders to deploy to Afghanistan for nine months, it didn’t deter Bryan from staying the course. The St. Louis Association of REALTORS® recognized Bryan’s special skill set early on. His experience in VA lending and working with active-duty personnel, veterans and their families made him stand out. With Bryan’s education, specialized training and experience, there was no doubt he would be the perfect candidate to teach the Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification. After all, he lives and breathes this stuff. Not only was Bryan the first instructor to teach the MRP Certification class at SLAR, to date, he has been the only one. And for good reason. After the first MRP class was held, Bryan was keenly aware of how the REALTOR® attendees had bonded over a common goal of helping the military community.

14 | Winter 2015 — REALTOR® Report

Many of the SLAR members in attendance were Veterans first, REALTORS® second in their careers, so Bryan created the brainchild called the MRP Alumni. It was enthusiastically agreed upon that the MRP Alumni would meet monthly at the St. Louis Association of REALTORS® to network, support each other, and plan. Their goal was to see how they could best put their collective resources, vast knowledge, connections and years of experience to work in ways that would help the underserved — our Veterans. In addition to helping veteran families with home ownership, Bryan is particularly proud of how the SLAR staff and the MRP Alumni have come together to “do good,” as Bryan puts it. Working in partnership with Bryan’s staff at USA Mortgage, a SLAR premier Affiliate, the Forgotten Heroes Project was born. The Missouri Veterans Home in the city of St. Louis is a skilled nursing facility that provides a broad range of services to Missouri veterans. The facility houses some 300 veterans, with very few receiving visitors.

This past holiday season, the Forgotten Heroes Project, under the caring guidance of the MRP Alumni, provided a blowout Christmas party, complete with “high stakes” bingo and food, in addition to gifts for each adopted Veteran resident. Over 70 volunteers from the REALTOR® community, MRP Alumni and USA Mortgage staff, hosted the party. Many brought extra gifts just to ensure that every resident received something special just for them. Not a single resident was left out or overlooked, not even the most severe cases, those confined to a bed, barely able to understand what was happening. As presents were placed before them, many initially seemed baffled by the gesture of kindness and goodwill. Many thought it must be a mistake; they had not been given a gift by anyone for a very, very long time. However, by the end of the day, there was no doubt of the joy this event brought to ALL the residents. Bryan returns from Afghanistan in June after a nine-month tour. While he is anxious to return to his family and friends, he is also very eager to return and carry on with the work he left behind. Bryan’s passion for his work comes from a very personal place. His hope is that the MRP Alumni will

continue to grow as SLAR holds more and more classes. SLAR encourages other Associations to hold the MRP Certification course for their members so they will be known as the people who reach out and help “the Vets in our own backyard.” In the meantime, the MRP Alumni continues to meet the very first Wednesday of each month at the Veteran’s Home and host bingo. Everyone decided this would be one mission with no end in sight — gladly! The MRP Alumni also started a Facebook page to keep in touch and answer calls to action when the need arises to help our military community. As a proud REALTOR® Association and as a community, thank you to NAR for responding to the needs of our membership by developing such comprehensive and essential training as the MRP Certification course. And a very special thanks to Navy Lieutenant Bryan Bergjans for his service and unparalleled dedication to helping those that have served our country. And last, but in no way least, to our amazingly supportive Affiliate, USA Mortgage and the generous, caring MRP Alumni. “Having a vested interest in other souls unconditionally creates a ripple effect that produces miracles in the lives of those around us.” * To quote Molly Friedenfeld, The Book of Simple Human Truths


12140 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 150 St. Louis, MO 63141 314.628.2000

We would like to take this opportunity to thank USA Mortgage for their Platinum Entertainment Sponsorship at the 2015 Installation of President Janet Judd and the 2015 Board of Directors.

Braznell Battles for 15th Ward Alderman


eth Braznell, 2014 SLAR President, has made a bold and decisive move to support her neighborhood by running for the Democratic Alderman of 15th Ward in the city of St. Louis. She participated in her first debate on Thursday, Jan. 22 at the historic Carpenter Branch Library in the heart of the beautiful, eclectic Tower Grove business district. In the 24 years since moving to Tower Grove South, Beth has enthusiastically explored and researched its rich tapestry of culture, its residents and local government as a vehicle to proactively volunteer and improve services in the area. She has given her time to volunteer as a victim’s advocate for abused women, at pet rescue shelters and as a poll manager for the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. “I am passionate about this neighborhood and this city,” Braznell said. “I will be a full-time representative serving the entire community by drawing on my strengths as a leader and building on my experience of working with local government and area non-profits.”

about – education within the city limits. Beth knows that with the many choices available to city residents, children can receive an excellent education. Along with a diverse, urban lifestyle – there are many options for Pre-K thru high school in charter schools, magnet, private, parochial and even public schools. “Many parents say they don’t want to live in the city because they don’t think they can send their kids to public schools,” Braznell said. “I tell them - yes, you can!” As Alderman, it will be important to be knowledgeable about and to promote the public schools. It is equally important to acknowledge that private schools and parochial schools should be lauded for the quality education and stability they provide the community. Transportation also ranks high on Beth’s list of priorities to research and address. She supports the plan to expand the MetroLink with a north-south line through the area. Beth recognizes that St. Louis is a very car-centric city and that it places an extra burden on the 15th Ward and surrounding wards in terms of traffic flow and city planning. While working overseas managing a horse foaling operation, she became keenly aware of how well their public transit worked.

Beth’s list of credentials is impressive, but more importantly, the perfect springboard to enter the political arena and be a highly effective advocate for the citizens of St. Louis city. She is a past president of the Tower Grove Heights Neighborhood Association, has led a neighborhood service organization focused on distressed properties and has served as coordinator for Operation Brightside. Beth’s term as 2014 President of the St. Louis Association of REALTORS® solidifies her reputation as a forward thinking, fair and thoughtful leader — all qualities that the 15th Ward needs in an Alderman. Beth said public safety is one of her top priorities for the 15th Ward. She emphasized the area needs to forge a deeper understanding of issues and concerns between the community and the police department. “The community has a fractured relationship with the police,” Braznell said. “It’s important to start building a bridge of dialogue, a spirit of cooperation and an equitable platform so all residents and police departments can come together, be heard and work toward the common good.” In fact, St. Louis Police Officers Association, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 68 and UAW Midwest States Community Action Program Council have all endorsed Beth Braznell as their candidate. Beth has another ambitious goal, one that she is equally passionate 16 | Winter 2015 — REALTOR® Report

“Public transit was easy,” Braznell said. “It was affordable, fast and it went to all the places we needed to go.” Beth sees the expansion as a win, win for the area. Beth’s recent fundraiser at Friendly’s Sports Bar and Grill, a favorite watering hole of southsiders, garnered a tremendous show of support for her campaign by area residents, colleagues and local government officials. Along with a healthy number of REALTORS®, State Representative Mike Colona, former Alderman Jennifer Florida and Mayor Francis Slay were all in attendance to encourage and endorse Beth Braznell for Democratic Alderman of the 15th Ward.

STL 20/20: Perfect Vision

Ferguson Impact Panel Tackles Issues in St. Louis Area


he Ferguson Task Force kicked of their first event of the year with standing room only in SLAR’s downstairs conference center. More than 200 REALTORS® attended The Ferguson Impact seminar to hear professionals from nonprofit organizations speak about the importance of diverse, stable communities and programs that are available for lowincome and first-time homebuyers. Panelists also discussed the responsibilities of REALTORS® to promote the positives of the St. Louis Community as a whole, not just the areas in which one specializes. Negative portrayals of St. Louis in the media play a large role in the potential negative effects on the St. Louis housing market. “I’m from Kansas City and most people think St. Louis is burning because that is what they see in the media,” said Don Brinker, Homeownership Manager of Missouri Housing Development Commission. “We’ve got to hear the positive.” Will Jordan, the Executive Director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, mentioned that he noticed the same negative opinions of Ferguson. He didn’t believe it was true. “We still live here,” Jordan said. “Ferguson is still a great place to live. We have got to bring the circle together with our own testimony and sticking with the community.” These negative perceptions appear to run deep. One member of the audience said during the Q-and-A that the negative perception of North County around St. Louis tends to come from people outside of North County. Another mentioned that his relatives didn’t want to come to St. Louis for the holidays because they feared that the city wasn’t safe. President and CEO of Beyond Housing Chris Krehmeyer believes that improvements will start with the proper use of resources and REALTORS® on the frontline fighting against negative perceptions. Instead of focusing on getting the Rams and NFL to stay in St. Louis, Khrehmeyer suggests that St. Louis residents continue to fight for a successful public education system as it is the core of all communities. In addition, the panelists discussed resources available to help get first-time homebuyers into homes. Brinker gave an overview of

the Missouri Housing Development Commission’s “First Place” loan program. This affordable choice for first-time homebuyers includes a three percent cash assistance loan for down payment and closing costs and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. One attendee noted that although those programs have been helpful for her and her clients, many lenders won’t approve financing as the total loan amount is too low. Jordan and Khrehmeyer provided a list of lenders to the audience available to do low loan amounts for low-income families looking to transition into homeownership. SLAR CEO Dawn Kennedy also provided input on what REALTORS® can do at the Association level to help eliminate some of the issues facing the St. Louis community and real estate industry. Kennedy did a call to all attendees encouraging them to pursue a leadership position at SLAR so that all Association events can be representative of the audience that it serves. She also encouraged members to get active in their community by joining neighborhood associations or considering a local office position. She also felt it was important to maintain the diversity in the room that day at all future task force events as a way to keep this important conversation going. Khrehmeyer agreed. “We all want the same things, to be happy, healthy, have safe communities.” said Krehmeyer. "To move forward on this topic we have to get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable." Diversity Awareness Partnership Executive Director and facilitator of the panel, Reena Hajat Carrol, summed up the event by saying: “This formal forum ends with a final question. It does not mean that this conversation ends here.” The Ferguson Impact Panel is just the first of many efforts to be hosted by the Task Force in partnership with the Association. Join the Task Force on Friday, April 10 at the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council’s annual Fair Housing Conference. This conference will address barriers to equality in local governments and discuss the ways that housing professionals can effectively foster open and inclusive communities for all people. For more information, please visit In addition to participating in the Fair Housing Conference, the task force is also working on ways to increase diversity and inclusion within the Association by developing as well as identifying potential leaders to run for local office. 17 | Winter 2015 — REALTOR® Report


Patent Trolls and Patent Infringement


ou finally came up with the one great idea that will revolutionize the way the world does business. Everything is going well until you get hit with a demand letter stating you are potentially infringing upon the claims of a patent. This letter will also request that you pay for a license to use said patent. This experience should sound familiar to most REALTORS® as it happened to NAR in 2011. NAR received a demand letter from CIVIX stating that they and some MLSs were using patents based on CIVIX location-based Internet search techniques. These lawsuits can be very expensive whether you decide to fight it out in court or settle. According to NAR, it settled with CIVIX and agreed to pay about $7.5 million to use the license. Big companies aren’t the only ones who receive demand letters. Many small companies receive demand letters and while they may not be required to pay millions, they will still end up investing thousands of dollars in an effort to settle the case outside of the courtroom. For many small companies, even a few thousand dollars can be detrimental to the business. The Wisconsin Association of REALTORS® has a few suggestions about what you can do if you receive a demand letter. • Contact your attorney for guidance. They’ll know more about this than you. • Ask for specific evidence about why the patent owner is sending the demand letter and what patents they believe you are using without a license.

• Negotiate with the patent owner to see if you can come to an agreement to use the license or an agreement to no longer infringe on the patent. • Contact the software vendor or other supplier of the technology and ask for their help. If you firmly believe that you are not infringing on a patent you may opt to ignore the demand letter. Please keep in mind that there is a risk to this method if you are later found liable for infringement. The court may impose damages if it determines that you acted recklessly. A number of these bad faith assertions come from patent trolls. A patent troll, also called a patent assertion entity (PAE), is a person or company who enforces patent rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing fees, but who does not actually manufacture products or supply services based on the patents. In other words, they make money by bringing patentinfringement lawsuits against a number of targets and typically settle them for nuisance value because the targets cannot afford or do not wish to engage in the litigation necessary to fight them.


t the start of 2015, NAR joined the United for Patent Reform coalition to help create laws to prevent abusive patent litigation. The coalition sent congress a letter highlighting seven legislative reforms it supports. This includes: Reform

Abusive Demand Letters, Make Trolls Explain Their Claims, Protect Innocent Customers, and Make Abusive Trolls Pay.

The Missouri State Senate took a first step to curb bad faith assertions of patent infringement (patent abuse) by passing Senate Bill No. 708 in 2014. Here is what the law says constitutes a bad faith assertion of patent infringement: 1. The demand letter does NOT contain the patent number, the name and address of the patent owner and factual allegations concerning the possible infringement. 2. The demand letter does NOT provide the information above in a reasonable time or upon request.

3. The demand letter demands a response in an unreasonably short time. 4. The demand letter offers to license the patent based on unreasonable estimates of the patent’s value.

5. The demand letter was previously presented claiming the same patent under very similar circumstances and the court ruled against the previous demand letter.

7. Any other factors the court finds relevant.

6. The person attempted to enforce their patent through litigation and the court determined the claim was brought in bad faith.

For additional information on patent trolls and Patent Reform, please visit

7 North Beminston St. Louis, MO 63105 314.889.0600

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Gershman Mortgage for their Grand Gala Sponsorship at the 2015 Installation of President Janet Judd and the 2015 Board of Directors. 19 | Winter 2015 — REALTORŽ Report

Welcome to the


All Photos Credited To: Bill Burckhalter

Big Suburb with a Small Town Feel


alled the Queen Suburb of St. Louis, Kirkwood is known for its historic downtown. Located in southwest St. Louis County, Downtown Kirkwood features more than 100 shops and restaurants where citizens can spend the day walking the streets and find almost anything they desire. Founded in 1852, Kirkwood was named after James Pugh Kirkwood, the first chief engineer of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. This helped foster Kirkwood’s love of trains, as evidenced by the historic Kirkwood Train Station located in the heart of Downtown. Built in 1893, the station still serves Amtrak passenger trains every day and is staffed by volunteers from the local community. The Magic House

Kirkwood Farmers’ Market

A fantastic children’s museum is the Magic House on 516 S. Kirkwood Rd. A popular exhibit is the electrically charged ball that makes your hair stand on end when you touch it. In addition, a giant push pin wall allows museum visitors to make a 3-D impression of themselves. A new addition to the Magic House will be Children’s China, opening on February 21. Visitors of the exhibit can experience Chinese culture in six different settings from a Chinese New Year celebration to a panda reserve where visitors will care for pandas. For more information on exhibits and public hours visit

If your client likes to get a taste of locally grown food, the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market is a great place for them. The Market will open for its 39th season on Friday, April 3. Throughout the year, the Market features several seasonal events, like Earth Day celebrations in April and a pumpkin patch in October. To keep up with events at the Market, visit Past vendors include: CJ’s Produce Market & Garden Center, My Coconut Kitchen and Tropical Moose Shaved Ice.

Places To Be In Kirkwood Café Provencal

BLUSH Boutique

Checkered Cottage

Peppe’s Apt. 2

427 S. Kirkwood — Experience authentic French cuisine and atmosphere. This gem has received St. Louis Magazine’s A-List Award. 135 West Jefferson — This one of a kind shop sells art, craft, and home products. Classes on embossing, stamping, and decorative painting are also provided.

110 N. Clay Ave. — This unique boutique combines a coastal vibe with Midwestern values. BLUSH specializes in bohemian, casual women’s clothing. 800 S. Geyer Rd. — Owned by Executive Chef Peppe Profeta, this high-end restaurant features an Italian menu with a Mediterranean twist.

List of Sources and Additional Resources MARIS REALTORS® Property Resource City of Kirkwood Kirkwood Downtown



All Photos Credited To: Bill Burckhalter

More About the Kirkwood Homeowner According to REALTORS® Property Resource, a database you receive free access to as a member of SLAR and MARIS, the characteristics of the average Kirkwood resident are as follows: » 35% of residents hold a Bachelor’s Degree.

» 41% of adult residents are over the age of 55.

» The median household income is $72,946

» 28% of residents work within the education, health care or social assistance industry.

By The Numbers



Number of New Listings in the Last 12 Months

Of residents own their property.

$299,660 <30 Min. Average Sale Price for Properties in the Area

Average commute time for more than 77% of residents.

Named #1 Mortgage Lender by the St. Louis Business Journal for the second consecutive year (314) 628-2000




ome prices between the top and bottom segments of the housing market are rising, which could unleash a “domino effect” that builds first-time and move-up buyer momentum this year, notes a new real estate report by Clear Capital. But the build up in traditional home buyers is coming at the cost of declines in the luxury home market. "The rate of appreciation for top tier homes is stalling, which is a more direct reflection of waning fair market demand,” says Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “While this is a concerning development, there is a silver lining. The moderating upper tier may give traditional buyers a moment to catch their breath, and entice move-up buyers to enter this segment of the market. The ripple effect of opening up inventory all the way down the price spectrum could provide opportunity and motivation across all segments, including firsttime buyers, to enter the marketplace.” The lower and middle-range ends of the housing market is stabilizing, allowing traditional home buyers to re-emerge. “The next phase of the housing recovery is dependent on healthy demand from this segment,” Villacorta says. The lower-end of the housing market was once driven mostly by investor activity, but now doors are opening for first-time home buyers to break in.  Also, as the number of underwater mortgages steadily decreases, home owners in the mid-tier of the home pricing segment can finally trade up to a larger, more expensive home. Lower-end properties have been outpacing price growth in the luxury market, Clear Capital reports. The low-tier has posted double-digit gains year-over-year of 10.2 percent, compared to

22 | Winter 2015 — REALTOR® Report

the top tier, which saw the lowest price growth rate among the three tiers, at 3.6 percent year-over-year. “This divide between a healthy low tier and stalling top tier could kick-off a domino effect,” Clear Capital notes in its report. “Stalling prices in the top tier of the market could create the perception of a good deal. This instills confidence in mid-tier home owners, motivating them to move-up to the top tier. In turn, this opens up more opportunity for low tier home owners to move-up to the mid tier. … This domino effect could be the catalyst for balanced demand across all sectors of the market.” The Midwest is leading the pack, according to Clear Capital. The Midwest posted double-digit gains in the low-tier segment at 13.6 percent, while seeing its top-tier of the market fall 3.3 percent with prices. The Midwest is the only region currently seeing price appreciation in the low and mid tiers, growing above 1 percent. As such, Clear Capital economists are predicting the Midwest to be the first region in U.S. to realize full buyer momentum among first-time and move-up buyers, due to its moderating top tier. Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online (, February 5 2015, with permission of the National Association of REALTORS®. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.


Welcome New Members


David A. Morris David A. Morris, Broker

DESIGNATED REALTOR® Previously REALTOR®-Associate Marius Busauskas Marbus Realty, LLC Kevin Carney Metro Area Real Estate Services, LLC

REALTOR® Nicholas Bahn Stephen F. Bahn Commercial Real Estate

REALTOR® Previously REALTOR®-Associate Kerry M. Westermeyer Real Living Now Real Estate

COMPANY NAME CHANGE Christine Runion Zimmermann Realty Rover, LLC. (Previously Runion, REALTORS®)


With seven independently owned and operated Pillar To Post Franchisees serving the St. Louis market, together we can guarantee your next day inspection or it is free. We also promise that your report will be delivered at the time of the inspection, your inspector is on time and in uniform, and your client will feel confident in your referral and comfortable with their experience.

Daniel Bitza Colonial Life Hollie Bonnes Fifth Third Bank Allen Carter Tope, Inc. Sharon Cheun Raid-On, LLC. Mark L. Goodman Brewer Inspection Service Andrew Haines Lanah Home Inspections, LLC. Michael W. Juede BPG/ABA Inspections & Consulting Dawn Van Houten Fifth Third Bank

The Chad Borah Team 314-645-7871 Chad Borah

The Barry Fondaw Team 636-575-4949 Barry Fondaw

The Scott Frederick Team 314-571-9824 Scott Frederick

The Nathanial Klein Team 314-571-9671 Nathanial Klein

The Kevin Vescovo Team 314-966-7678 Kevin Vescovo

The Andy Way Team 314-394-0094 Andy Way

The Doug Weisbrod Team 636-208-1966 Doug Weisbrod

12777 Olive Blvd. | St. Louis, MO 63141 314.576.0033 |

March March 4

Affiliate Hosted Event: Debunking Renovation Myths — SLAR

March 5

Urban Affairs Forum — TBD

March 11

Executive Committee Meeting — SLAR

March 25

Board of Directors Meeting — SLAR

March 26

Affiliate Council Meeting — SLAR

March 27

RPAC Trivia Night — SLAR

March 31 SLAR Staff Training — SLAR Office Closed All Day

April April 1-2

Accredited Buyer’s Representative® (ABR®) Designation Course — SLAR

April 10 EHOC Conference — Missouri History Museum

April 6

Industry Forum — SLAR

April 15-17

Missouri REALTORS® Business Conference — Kansas City, Missouri

REALTOR® Report - Winter 2015  

This is the first of four editions of the REALTOR® Report to be published in 2015. Look for the second edition in May.

REALTOR® Report - Winter 2015  

This is the first of four editions of the REALTOR® Report to be published in 2015. Look for the second edition in May.