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Legal hotline wrap-up

Hello, Positive!

2011’s FAQs to the WRA’s hotline.

Make your attitude your altitude in 2012.

MAGAZINE

January 2012 $5.00

2012 Economic

Outlook Déjà vu All Over Again


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table of contents

january

2012 |

vol.

28, no. 4

16 6 features 6

13 articles

2012 Economic Outlook: Déjà vu All Over Again

2

13

2011 Hotline Highlights

10

16

Short Sale Survival: Part One

26

25

Sales Tip: Welcome 2012!

A review of foreclosures, growth potential and Yogi Berra, and how they involve the future of housing in Wisconsin.

A look back at 2011 of the questions asked the most to the WRA’s Legal Hotline.

The first of a two-part series to help REALTORS® face short sales head-on in 2012.

In 2012, jump on the road to success – and it starts with your attitude.

wisconsin real estate magazine

25

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january 2012

28

Now For Some Good News WRA President and CEO Mike Theo highlights the positive trends in Wisconsin housing and what to expect in the future.

“Do Not Call” Y’All Put down that phone! Violating the Do Not Call Registry brings serious consequences.

More State Senate Recalls The signature gathering process involves efforts to recall Gov. Walker – and more.

State Lawmakers to Consider New Nonconforming Structure Regulations

At the WRA’s request, the state will soon look at legislation that provides nonconforming homeowners with better specificity for the repair, maintenance and improvement of property.

1


News

inside the wra

with mike theo

Top News Stories in and Around the Industry United Way Honors the Stark Family for Service to Community United Way of Dane County

Wisconsin Receives Millions to Ease Foreclosure Crisis

Now for Some Good News

substantially increase funding for rental assistance, particularly help for working families.

Milwaukee Business Journal (WI) (09/30/08)

NAR Releases Free FHA Toolkit United Way of Dane County recognized the Stark The state of Wisconsin is due to receive nearly $39 Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (10/30/08) Family with the 2008 Tocqueville Society Award million in federal funds to stabilize neighborhoods for outstanding service to the Dane County and stave off a spate of abandoned homes. According NAR and the WRA are eager to help you meet the community and United Way. The to HUD and Gov. Jim Doyle, the funds are separate percent from $137,000 last November, makes economy. We re you sick and tired of all the media coverage current challenges of the troubled Tocqueville Society Award celebrates from approximately $9.2 million the government is housing in Wisconsin a tremendous value for focusing only on the negative aspects of today’s realthe foreclosure and acknowledges people or families, awarding the city of Milwaukee, where know that you need resources that can help you buyers. estate made markets? Yeah, too. Wish wasHUD someis awarding such as the Starks, who have rate isme currently 9.9there percent. the close transactions, and you need them at little or no good newsof that we could all Neighborhood focus on so potential a major impact on the quality funds via its Stabilization Program, One housing cost notjust included in an theall-new HAI index cost. that NARishas released FHA Toolkit and sellersservice aren’t scared away? Yeah, me$4 too. life in Dane County throughbuyers their exceptional under which almost billion is being allocated to is taxes. While Wisconsin remains far too over-reliant online for FREE to help you get clients the financing and commitment to the community. local and state governments for the redevelopment Bill Malkasian on real estate taxes to fund our local governments Well there is good news: Housing in Wisconsin is extraordinarily of abandoned and foreclosed houses. they need in a credit-strapped environment. It is WRA President

A

affordable! Today’s market is characterized by low prices, high City Housing Authority Receives interest Not rates.Just This combination has for Personal 100-Unit Grant inventory and historically low Sites: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (09/25/08) Pabst, Georgia made housing in Wisconsin anConnections incredible buy, and we should be Anymore

and schools, the new state budget passed last summer one of the most comprehensive toolkits NAR has capped property tax levies, allowing only for increases ® evernew produced, and it’s or available to all based on net construction passage of REALTORS a local right now by visiting the linktax below. They alsoare have Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal (09/29/08) Grayson, referendum. For 2011 school property bills, which singing the praises of this market loud and far. The city of Milwaukee’s housing authority is due Katharine launched a new page called “NARthis Helps You Navigate the biggest part of most property tax bills, means a drop to receive $6.7 million in federal Hope VI money So how do we get the wordSt.out? Perhaps the best way is by of 1 percent the from a totalEconomy” of $4.69where billion to $4.65 to build 100 new housing units. The 100 units will Paul, Minn.-based REALTOR® Teresa Boardman Current youlast canyear find dozens of using ourand ownwill Housing IndexFacebook (HAI). Thisand index shows be constructed in a 2.5-mile area includeAffordability says Flickr, other social networking billion in 2011, theproducts first decline since 2005-06, to great and resources, like the according FHA Toolkit, much of a median-priced homemake a median-income buyerpeople can whothemight 29 public housing and how affordable rental units; sites it easy to meet respectedforWisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. While individual free or at a steep discount. Visit www.Realtor. afford.for More precisely, the HAIeventually shows the fraction of theWhile mediannine affordable housing units income-eligible become clients. many professionals tax bills will vary widely, the caps on property taxes can only org/NARHelpsYou for links to these great programs priced homeopen-market that the family are withusing median income affordbusiness to families; and 62 moderately priced, these sites can to make contacts further help housing affordability in Wisconsin. condominiums. HUD Secretary Steven C. aPreston use current them tointerest conduct background purchase, given 20 percent and downcompanies payment and and products. comments, “Milwaukee’s rates. housing authority has checks or recruit new workers, many simply Ourwant experts predict housing affordability will remain very high demonstrated it has the leadership to lead and to connect with people who have similar interests. for the foreseeable as state inventories for homes Homefuture Loans Going Strong, Albeitremain a index in Wisconsin for October was 245, which wassell is above revitalize neighborhoods The andHAItransform lives. According to Boardman, “The hard dead. It14 months. This means that given the average monthly Bit Tighter, in Area Cities like Milwaukee change doesn’tThis work door-to-door, doesn’t work up and fromgrow 226and justneed one to year earlier. means a buyer and withitthe pace on of salesWisconsin over the last year, selling the existing homes State Journal (10/17/08) Balousek, Marv revitalize housing to makemedian sure many aren’t in priced social networks.” On$62,800, Flickr, Boardman connected income Wisconsin, approximately could on the market will take 14.4 months. A balanced inventory is out.” Milwaukee is one of a half-dozen housing with a fellowofphotographer eventually used her qualify for a house that is 245 percent the October who medianDespite the ongoing national credit crisis, considered to be six months of supply. Interest ratesproperty are also authorities nationwide topriced receive newofHope VI services the to purchase a home. home $129,000. Overall, higher the affordability expected to remain affordable, albeit likely to increase slowly in professionals say mortgage money remains available grants. index, the larger the share of homes in the state that can be the next couple of years. southern Wisconsin to home buyers throughout Foreclosures Push Rents Higher, purchased by the typical median-income family, so it’s clear that Housing Study Delay Frustrates Squeezing Low Income Families So it’s time for with solid credit. Ronand Steinhofer, manager of us to tell the media, anyone else who will many homes in the state areMinnesota within reach for those with even Advocates Public Radio (MN) (09/21/08) Olson, Dan Marshall & Ilsley Bank’s regional home lending listen, that Wisconsin homes are as affordable now as they’ve more modest means. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (10/07/08) Williams, Scott In Minnesota’s Twin Cities, a wave ofbeen home “There’s of money for home in many,group, manystates, years. It’s timeplenty for some good news for Two years after promising Milwaukee metro are not foreclosures has pushed more people rental Butthe homes in Wisconsin just affordable compared to lastinto the a change! loans out there. It is slightly more difficult to qualify area’s first major housingyear, studythey in three decades, apartment result is an intensifying are more affordable than justsector. aboutThe anywhere else than two or three years ago, but if you have a good the Southeastern Wisconsin ® rental housing demandAssociation on Minneapolis and St. Paul’s in theRegional country. Planning Using the National of REALTORS ’ Commission (SEWRPC) is still struggling to get the stock, so much so that the vacancy rate is very low credit score, a good job and a down payment, money October HAI figures from across the nation as a benchmark, effort launched. Proponents hope the study will and rents are on the rise. This, in turn, means lowis available.” Steinhofer adds that banks still are Wisconsin affordability was higher. This makes our housing more serve as a catalyst for improving affordable housing income working families face higher monthly rents affordable than the nation as a whole with an HAI of 198, as well making loans via such programs as Fannie Mae opportunities throughout the city’s suburbs. But even though their income hovers at unchanging as assemble our neighbors in the Midwest with a regional score of 242, and and Freddie Mac. Furthermore, credit standards commissioners have yet to an advisory levels. Since 2005, the Twin Cities apartment better than all the othervacancy regions rate in the Northeast committee to oversee the much research or set a specific hasnation: dippedthe from 7 percent to closer to remain about the same as they were six months ago, at 163, thePhil South at 202 and4the West at 165. Tell that torents thoseover that same timetable for conducting the survey. Evenson, percent. Average monthly meaning that qualified home buyers can get loans the commission’s executiveout-of-state director, said buyers other issues looking totime move here as than those$25, whorising to more span areasupwell more if they have the proper income verification. On the keep getting in the way. The delays have frustrated aren’t sure if now is the time than to buy$850. that The first St. home. And tellWilder that Foundation Paul-based Mike Theo downside, banks have been less willing to make housing advocates the most. Bethany Sanchez, recently reviewed income data for several Twin Cities to anyone else, for that matter! vice president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair counties. The organization’s research found that the Housing Council, laments,The “It’sWRA beenHAI a long has time remainednumber aboveofthe 200in mark, with the people those markets paying too much coming.” The Pewaukee-based commission has month, exception of only one September While from around for since their rental housing2009. will double not conducted a comprehensive of has housing 70,000 to a family whopping 140,000 by 2010. incomereview growth been weak sincecurrently the median income patterns since the 1970s. hit bottom in June 2010, theSome say a partial solution interest would be for the U.S. combination of favorable

to reverse course on housing policy and rates, currently at 4 percent,government and moderating housing prices, a median price of $134,000 in November of this year is down 2.2

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wisconsin real estate magazine

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january 2012

loans with higher loan-to-value ratios. In addition, conventional financing without a down payment has indeed disappeared. However, 100 percent financing is still available with Veterans Administration and Rural Development home loans.

www.wra.org/wrem


Real Estate

Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine™ is published by the WISCONSIN REALTORS® ASSOCIATION. Trademark issued pursuant to Wisconsin state statute; federal trademark is pending.

notes from the wra

Rob Keefe, Chairman rob@rkeefe.com Renny Diedrich, Chairman-Elect rdiedrich@coldwellhomes.com

College Scholarships Available The selection process is now under way for the 2012 Wisconsin REALTORS® Foundation REALTOR® Children’s Scholarship program. This program awards college scholarships to children of WRA members. The foundation is offering 10 scholarships in the amount of $750 each. The deadline for submitting an application is March 9, 2012. The application is available online at www.wra.org/ChildScholarshipAppl/?terms=scholarship or by contacting Sandy Bolgrihn at Sandyb@wra.org.

Michael Theo, cae, President mtheo@wra.org Editorial Staff:

REALTOR® and Government Day 2012 Michael Theo

Take a stand on issues that impact you! REALTOR® & Government Day is your opportunity to help shape laws that affect you. Every year, hundreds of REALTORS® from across the state assemble to demonstrate the strength of the real estate industry and to meet with state legislators to discuss issues such as property taxes, land use, property rights, license regulations and more. Gov. Scott Walker will be attending.

Publisher

Robert Uhrina Managing Editor

Lauren Bizorik Editor

Mark your calendars now for February 29, 2012. Registration is $20 to attend, with the first 500 registrants free!

Joe Leschisin

GOVERNMENT

D Y

REALTOR

Steve Lane, Treasurer lanes@firstweber.com

2012

FEBRUARY 29 | MONONA TERRACE | MADISON

Senior Designer Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine, USPS 597-850, ISSN 1548-0526, is published monthly by the WISCONSIN REALTORS® ASSOCIATION, 4801 Forest Run Road, Ste. 201, Madison, WI 53704. Periodical postage paid in Madison, WI and additional mailing offices. An annual subscription rate of $5 is included in membership dues and a copy is mailed to every paid REALTOR® and affiliate member of the association. Nonmember subscription rate: $60. POSTMASTER: please send address changes to the WISCONSIN REALTORS® ASSOCIATION, 4801 Forest Run Rd., Ste. 201, Madison WI 53704-7337.

Large Donor Council

Permission to reprint or quote any material from this issue is hereby granted, provided the Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine is given proper credit in all articles or commentaries, and the WISCONSIN REALTORS® ASSOCIATION is provided with a copy of any reprint. Advertising of third party products and services herein does not imply endorsement by the WRA unless specifically stated. Furthermore, the WRA does not endorse, approve, or otherwise warrant the accuracy or legality of any information or content contained in advertisements. Any questions regarding advertising policies should be directed toward the editor.

Contact Us:

Seated Tammy Maddente, Renny Diedrich, Karen Pavlicek, Joyce Bytof, Sue Decker, Rita Blenker, Jacci See, Becky Merwin, Joan Seramur, Bill Malkasian

4801 Forest Run Rd., Suite 201 Madison, WI, 53704-7337 (608) 241-2047 • (800) 279-1972

Middle Row Joe Murray, John Flor, Otto Bytof, Ron Zahrt, Corky Hellyer, Steve Lane, Scott Swick, Tom Sykora, Rob Keefe, Joe Horning, Peter Shuttleworth, Mike Theo, Ken Lee, John Horning

legal hotline: (608) 242-2296 • (800) 799-4468 general fax: (608) 241-2901 products/education fax: (608) 241-5168 legal hotline fax: (608) 242-2279 president fax: (608) 242-2267 e-mail: editor@wra.org Website: www.wra.org

Back Row Jim Imhoff, Peter Wiese, Kevin Donnell, Roger Rushman, Dave Stark, Dan Lawler, Charlie Wills, Rich Chronquist, KC Maurer, Tom Larson, Dan Lee, Mike Spranger, Kevin King Not Pictured James Barry III, Linda Bucher, Ann Cardinale, Barbara Clinard, Barry Chavin, Dan Cohen, Chris Cramer, Michael Fardy, Michael Fardy, Michael Fardy, Michael Fardy, Robert Flood, Norm Flynn, Cindy Gerke-Edwards, Larry Gleasman, Judy Gull, Patricia Hasenbank, Sharon Helwig, Philip Hilgenberg, Terry Hilgenberg, Michael Keefe, Jeff Kitchen, Darren Kittleson, Kitty Kuhl, Laurie Logan, Jerry Lyons, Steve Mills, Libby Monson, Thomas Nielsen, Jeff Petersen, Jeff Petersen, Steve Pollock, Fred Prassas, Ned Purtell, Scott Revolinski, Jeff Rosenberg, Mary Rufledt, Mike Ruzicka, Roger Stauter, Mike Tainter, Jim Villa, Terrence Wall, Robert Weber, Bob Webster, Scott Welsh, Marilyn Wille

facebook: www.facebook.com/wisconsinrealtors twitter: www.twitter.com/wirealtors linked-in: www.wra.org/linkedin youtube: www.wra.org/youtube wisconsin real estate magazine

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3


Chairman’s Corner

Robert Keefe

H

appy New Year and welcome to 2012! You and your association have been through much in the last 12 months, and the excitement is only beginning. We are looking at a double - or triple? - election year with recalls as well as statewide and national offices on the ballot. The future shape of our industry depends in a very real way on the decisions we will make over the coming months. You can count on our great staff to help sort through the factors at play and the candidates’ positions on our industry’s issues, to present in a clear and concise form and to help educate you and your clients on the real estate issues at stake. I want to highlight another major initiative going on at the WRA which might be flying a little below your radar. The association has been making a consistent and meaningful effort to provide enhanced market statistics and information available to us as members and to the general public. If you haven’t seen the Housing Statistics tab on the www.wra. org website lately, you will be surprised. Our site allows you to analyze sales and pricing statistics for nearly every county in Wisconsin on a quarterly or even monthly basis. Need the information for a presentation? The charts are available for download for Excel format. On the public side, our monthly Wisconsin Real Estate Market press releases are regarded as the definitive source for a big-picture look at the statewide market and are widely quoted in the Wisconsin State Journal, the Capital

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Times and local TV news. More than just a dry recitation of numbers, these releases include analysis and commentary by economist David Clark of Marquette University, adding meaning and relevance. Finally, President Mike Theo has several initiatives in the hopper to expand the market data in availability, timeliness, and insight. Stay tuned. Why is this so important? One of the chief roles of our profession is to create efficient markets in real estate, where prices are well-established, sellers can gain easy and accurate information on the available housing inventory, and the broad market trends are clearly known. This is never more important than during a period of market uncertainty and buyer nervousness. By leveraging the power of our 13,000 members and our MLS relationships, the WRA is in a unique position to provide that sort of clarity to the markets. In the end, buyers should feel more comfortable, sellers will be better educated, and we will serve our clients better.

Have a great start to the year!

Respectfully,

Rob Keefe

www.wra.org/wrem


news monthly wisconsin housing report

Home Sales Continue to Grow as Median Prices Moderate View all housing statistics at www.wra.org/housingstatistics

By David E. Clark, Economist, C3 Statistical Solutions

> WISCONSIN HOUSING STATISTICS MONTHLY ACTIVITY - NOVEMBER 2011

YTD-2011

YTD-2010

% Change

101,131 47,596 $133,000

119,491 48,005 $141,600

-15.4% -0.9% -6.1%

Statewide

NOV-2011

NOV-2010

% Change

New Listings Closed Sales Median Sales Prices

5,358 3,829 $134,000

6,412 3,334 $137,000

-16.4% 14.8% -2.2%

Region

Median Price NOV-2011 NOV-2010 % Change

Existing Home Sales NOV-2011 NOV-2010

% Change

Southeast South Central West Northeast Central North

$138,500 $152,900 $135,000 $118,950 $110,000 $132,000

1,359 754 368 686 227 429

21.4% 25.2% -6.6% 7.9% -5.0% 27.7%

N

ovember home sales in Wisconsin were well above last year, and the trend of declining prices moderated somewhat, according to data released by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA). Existing home sales were up 14.8 percent in November relative to that same month last year, and the statewide median price fell just 2.2 percent to $134,000 over that period. “We are definitely closing out the year on a strong note,” said Rob Keefe, Chairman of the WRA Board of Directors, noting that the seasonal pattern of home sales typically slows as winter approaches. “The strong market of the last few months has pulled sales in 2011 nearly even with the 2010 level,” he said. Keefe noted that year-to-date home sales through the end of November are now less than 1 percent below last year, and that is without any bump from the federal government to stimulate existing home sales. Home sales were up in four of the six regions of the state, with three of the six regions seeing their November home sales grow more than 20 percent. The strongest region in the state was the North, where sales rose 27.7 percent over November 2010. This was followed by the South Central region, which was up 25.2 percent, and the Southeast region, up 21.4 percent. The Northeast region was up a solid 7.9 percent, whereas November existing home wisconsin real estate magazine

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$153,300 $157,000 $134,000 $125,000 $95,000 $123,000

-9.7% -2.6% 0.7% -4.8% 15.8% 7.3%

sales fell 5 percent in the Central region and were down 6.6 percent in the West compared to November sales last year. The statewide median price of existing homes fell 2.2 percent in November compared to November 2010, and year-to-date, median prices fell 6.1 percent. “This is clearly a buyer’s market, and while inventories are down from October, they still remain high at more than 14 months,” said WRA President and CEO Michael Theo. “This means buyers will be in the driver’s seat for the foreseeable future.” Regionally, there was some volatility with half the regions showing median prices down: the Southeast down 9.7 percent, South Central down 2.6 percent and the Northeast down 4.8 percent. The Western region was essentially flat, and median prices in the North and Central regions were up 7.3 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively. “The economy did get a little good news in November with an improvement in the national unemployment rate and even an uptick in consumer confidence and consumer expectations,” said Theo. The national unemployment rate improved to 8.6 percent in November, and the Wisconsin unemployment rate has also been trending downward recently. In addition, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index improved, as did their Leading Economic Indicator Index due in january 2012

1,119 602 394 636 239 336

part to better consumer expectations. “These are both positive signals on the economy, but they are very preliminary and it will take sustained improvements, including significant job growth, before many homebuyers are comfortable diving back into this market,” said Theo. “However, if these trends continue, new buyers will be greeted with very affordable housing in the state, with Wisconsin housing among the nation’s best values.” The WRA’s report showed that the November WRA Housing Affordability Index was at 242, meaning that the family with median income can afford to buy 242 percent of the medianpriced home in the state, given current 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates and a 20 percent down payment. Comparing Wisconsin’s index with a recent National Association of REALTORS®’ Affordability analysis, Wisconsin housing was found to be more affordable than the U.S., where the index was just under 200, as well as all of the four broad census regions, especially the Northeast where the index was 163 and the West where the index was 165. “We’ve always known that you get a lot of home for your money in Wisconsin, and that is especially true in this market,” said Theo. For more information, contact David E. Clark, Economist, C3 Statistical Solutions Office phone: (414) 803-6537

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Déjà vu All Over Again

Readers of a certain age will know this title from one of the most enduring quotes from baseball great, philosopher and lifelong learner, Lawrence Peter (“Yogi”) Berra. By stephen malpezzi

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www.wra.org/wrem


F

or the past few years, I’ve shared some of my views about the state of Wisconsin’s housing market as well as the nation’s with readers of Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine. My main points in recent Januarys can be summarized as follows: •

wisconsin real estate magazine

Circa 2005 to 2006, both Wisconsin and national housing prices fell out of line with economic fundamentals, such as incomes, rents and interest rates. This trend appeared less in major Wisconsin markets than in much of the rest of the country.

Despite our relative stability in Wisconsin, we weren’t immune from some correction, nor were we immune from the recession and the slow-growth economy that gripped most of the country.

By last year, housing prices were largely back in sync with fundamentals. As long as buyers were looking to hold rather than flip for short-term profits, they could return to the market with some confidence due to low rates and reasonable prices, despite the potential for additional price weakness.

january 2012

Well, a year later, we’re following Yogi’s dictum. House prices are still largely back in line with fundamentals. And though we have seen some additional price weakness, buyers looking to hold rather than flip for shortterm profits have taken advantage of those low rates and reasonable prices. And these factors together aren’t a bad summary of the outlook for this coming year. In other words, we’re seeing “déjà vu all over again.”

“You can observe a lot by watching,” said Yogi. And like most of Wisconsin Real Estate’s readers, I keep a close eye on housing price data. Figure 1 shows the WRA’s median house prices for selected metro areas and counties. The quarterly data are not seasonally adjusted but are adjusted to 2011 dollars, as Professor Berra recommends when he notes, “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” The gray area indicates the time in which the First-Time Homebuyer Credit was in operation from the first quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2010. Nationwide, between 2006 and 2009, the National Association of REALTORS®’ median house price fell 8.2 percent, adjusted for background inflation. At that time, prices

7


stabilized, relatively speaking, falling by about half a percent in 2010 and again in 2011. In Wisconsin, though experience in some individual markets varied, the decline between 2006 and 2009 was a little softer at roughly 5 percent. The 2010 Wisconsin decline was about the same as the national at 0.5 percent, while last year’s decline was a little steeper than the national at 1.5 percent for Wisconsin as a whole. This same qualitative picture was found in most of our major markets: A. Substantial decline from 2006 to 2009, albeit at rates below the national average.

Nevada. So while we might be less than thrilled with the past year, homeowners in those sand states would view a one or two percent real decline in house prices as a real turnaround in their markets. Figure 2 gives one rough-and-ready look at these regional differences with the comparison of Wisconsin’s two largest markets, Madison and Milwaukee, to California’s Capitol. To crudely control for income differences, we divide each annual median house price by the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) per capita income for each metro area, year by year.

B. Relative stability in 2010. C. And a bit more decline, or a smaller increase, in 2011. Let’s look specifically at a few Wisconsin markets with this pattern. Metro Area

2006-2009

2010

2011

Milwaukee

- 4.6%

- 0.4%

- 3.0%

Madison

- 4.9%

+ 2.1%

+ 0.7%

Green Bay

- 4.8%

+ 1.0%

+ 0.7%

Eau Claire

- 3.6%

+ 2.5%

- 3.4%

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” In theory, the First-Time Homebuyer Credit was supposed to stabilize the housing market, but in practice, prices at first appeared to fall faster - possibly because transactions were held back in the early days to await the credit. Because many sales were moved to take advantage of the credit, the first to second quarters following the end of the credit saw another sharp decline. In the end, proving exactly how much impact the credit had on the market would be tough. The one positive impact I can confidently predict is that the credit will provide fodder for dozens of Ph.D. dissertations and research papers over the next few years as we try to determine whether it did matter.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Compared to some markets - especially the “sand states” of California, Arizona and Nevada - we borrowed and lent more conservatively. Wisconsin’s land use and development regulation, while not without problems, has been less extreme than some coastal markets, especially California. And our demand pressure from income and population growth has been solid rather than overheated. Most of the statistics regarding defaults and foreclosures put Wisconsin well below national averages. For example, according to our colleagues at the Mortgage Bankers Association, in the first quarter of 2011, about 1.6 foreclosures were started per hundred mortgages outstanding in Wisconsin, compared to 1.7 for the U.S. as a whole, 4.2 in California, 4.9 in Arizona and 10.3 - yikes! - in

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By this rough comparison, Wisconsin’s boom in the early 2000s as well as the subsequent bust were and are quite modest. But as I’ve argued before and still maintain: we should not be complacent because Sacramento and the markets it represents is our problem too. We may have been spared the worst of the housing excesses of the previous decade, but we’ve been hurt by the national recession that transmitted the pain from California and Nevada to the rest of the country and indeed the world. Still statewide, our income drop has been lower than average. Wisconsin’s real per capita income fell 0.2 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to the BEA; national real per capita income fell 1.2 www.wra.org/wrem


percent during that period. California fell over 4 percent and Nevada 12 percent! But if you’re in a market that took above-average hits to employment and/or income, such as Janesville or Racine, or you’re in the construction industry, your recent experience was probably not so sanguine.

“You have to give 100 percent in the first half of the game. If that isn’t enough, in the second half, you have to give what is left.”

What will next year see? “I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question,” says Yogi.

Yogi must be disappointed with our inability to grapple effectively with some of the challenges presented to us on both the policy and political fronts. As we’ve argued repeatedly from the Graaskamp Center, effective remedies to handle distressed sales and the foreclosure overhang are needed to help right the housing market and the overall macro economy in the short run. See wisconsinviewpoint. blogspot.com/search/label/WI-FUR. And in the long run, we have to do a better job tackling our fiscal problems on both the spending and tax side. Read more at wisconsinviewpoint.blogspot.com/search/ label/economic%20crisis. So far on both sides of the aisle, we’ve seen one strikeout after another and a lot of dropped fly balls by both the administration and Congress.

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Well, I’m not so tired, though my answer is much like last year’s. In the end, we’re back to prices at or near fundamentals; employment is growing, albeit slowly; the biggest short-run risk is still the foreclosure overhang; and another year has passed without effective action. I see another year of flat-to-modest growth in housing prices, with some downside risk if a big chunk of the foreclosure glut hits the market, though this will be less of a problem here than in the sand states. If we did see further declines, these would, in the main, be temporary overshooting until we work through the foreclosures and other distressed sales. If we can keep economic growth positive and slowly bring down the rate of unemployment, that will be another big plus for our industry, to say nothing of a huge plus to the firms and workers concerned! Potential homebuyers who will be in place for five years or more and can qualify for a conservative mortgage at today’s low rates will find it a good time to buy. But we should end every economic outlook discussion with another lesson from Professor Berra: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Stephen Malpezzi is Lorin and Marjorie Tiefenthaler Professor in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business.

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legal

“Do Not Call” Y’all

By cori lamont

Revisiting Telephone Solicitation Rules

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ith the recent 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case, Charvat v. NMP, LLC, Case No. 10-3390 (CA6 August 30, 2011) www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions. pdf/11a0248p-06.pdf, it seemed appropriate to revisit a topic that has not received much attention in recent years: the Do Not Call Registry. In this case, Philip Charvat claimed in 2008 that he received 33 telemarketing calls over a three month window to his Ohio home for the purpose of selling him a membership in the NASCAR Membership Club. According to Charvat, the first call was prerecorded, the second and third were from a live agent, and the remaining 30 calls were prerecorded. Charvat claims to have told the agent during the third call to place his name and residential telephone number on the caller’s “do not call” list. The primary discussion surrounded whether Charvat could recover $500 in damages for each violation during each call. Charvat alleged that each call contained five violations, ranging from the company failing to maintain a company-specific “do not call” list to failing to honor his request not to be called again.

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The trial court determined that Charvat was only entitled the $500 per call and threw out his case because he did not meet the $75,000 jurisdictional minimum for federal court. While on appeal, the Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that Charvat could only recover $500 per call, and the Appellate Court also determined that there were violations of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) automated call rules. The Court determined that if Charvat could prove that the company “willfully and knowingly” violated the automated telephone call requirements of the FCC, he would be entitled to $1,500 plus $1,500 for a willful and knowing violation of the “do not call” list requirements. If Charvat could prove these violations, his damages would be upwards of $93,000, which is calculated from 31 calls at $3,000 each. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. As Charvat shows, violating the Do Not Call Law has serious consequences. Therefore, the following is a discussion of the Do Not Call regulations and how they may affect your real estate practice. www.wra.org/wrem


Federal Regulation

Wisconsin Regulation

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates interstate telephone solicitations and the national Do Not Call Registry. The FCC regulates calls that are both intrastate, within the state, as well as interstate, or between states, including calls made within Wisconsin. Both the FTC and FCC regulations became effective in 2003.

Wisconsin law does not create more restrictive guidelines than the federal law. Generally if a company is following federal law, it is also in compliance with Wisconsin law. However, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) also addresses “telephone solicitation,” which DATCP defines as a call that encourages the consumer to purchase property, goods or services or a call that is part of a plan or scheme to encourage the consumer to buy property, goods or services.

These regulations apply to calls to a consumer’s residence or cell phone encouraging the purchase, rental or investment in property, goods or services regulated under federal law. This would include cold calling, calls to owners with cancelled or expired listings, calls to FSBOs and calls to consumers referred by others. Agents should always be reminded to check the national Do Not Call Registry at telemarketing. donotcall.gov/profile/create.aspx to determine if the phone number is on the list, which could include cell phone numbers that are not registered on the Wisconsin list. The penalty for violating the law includes fines of up to $11,000 per violation, as well as lawsuits seeking damages of $500 plus possible attorney fees and costs, and disciplinary actions by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). If a consumer has asked to be put on the company’s “do not call” list, the company may not call even if it has an established business relationship with the consumer. If the company calls again, the company may be subject to a penalty up to $11,000.

Brokers that participate in cold calling in Wisconsin should also register with the DATCP. To request a registration packet, contact DATCP by e-mail at winocall@datcp.state.wi.us, by telephone at (608) 224-4999 or by fax at (608) 224-4939. As with the federal law, DATCP also includes exemptions to the rules. The DATCP exemptions include: 1.

Return calls requested by consumers.

2.

Calls to persons referred to a REALTOR® if the person requested the call.

3.

Calls to a broker’s customers or clients to encourage the purchase of a product or service related to the real estate transaction.

4.

Calls to any party in a transaction in which a broker is providing brokerage services - even if they are not clients or customers of the caller - to encourage the purchase of products or services necessary to complete the real estate transaction.

5.

Calls to any party in a transaction through the time of closing even if they are not clients or customers of the caller - to assist the parties in processing the transaction.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule: •

• •

Established business relationships: Arises out of an existing business transaction, purchase or transaction within the last 18 months or an inquiry or application with the last three months, directly from the consumer. Prior written permission: Requires the caller to receive permission from the recipient in a written agreement to be called at a specific telephone number prior to any stated expiration date by the caller. Personal relationships: Includes relationships with family members, friends and acquaintances. Charitable contributions: While those soliciting charitable contributions are not required to look at the list, they must honor consumer do-not-call requests. Politics and surveys: Calls from political organizations and telephone surveyors are exempt unless the caller is offering to sell goods or services. Exempt industries: Long-distance phone companies and airlines. wisconsin real estate magazine

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Federal Safe Harbor Provisions The FCC created safe harbor provisions that protect a company from liability, or rather a lawsuit, if the company inadvertently calls a number on the registry. If the company accidentally calls a registered number, the company will be provided the protections of the safe harbor provisions if the broker can demonstrate that under its routine business practice: 1.

It has established and implemented written procedures to comply with national Do Not Call Rules.

2.

It has trained its personnel in the procedures established pursuant to the national Do Not Call Rules.

3.

It has maintained and recorded a list of telephone numbers it may not contact.

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4.

5.

The broker uses a process to prevent telemarketing to any telephone number on any list established pursuant to the national Do Not Call List employing a version of the Do Not Call Registry obtained from the national registry no more than three months prior to the date any call is made, and maintains records documenting this process.

“If a person or entity making a call for telemarketing purposes receives a request from a consumer not to receive calls from that person or entity, the person or entity must record the request and place the consumer’s name, if provided, and telephone number on the “do not call” list at the time the request is made.”

And any subsequent call otherwise violating the Do Not Call Rules is the result of error.

Maintaining the Company’s Internal “Do Not Call” List The FCC rules require companies to maintain a list of persons who request not to receive telemarketing calls from the company. The following are the minimum FCC standards that must be met by a company regarding its internal “do not call” list: 1. Written policy. Persons or entities making calls for telemarketing purposes must have a written policy, available upon demand, for maintaining a “do not call” list. 2. Training of personnel engaged in telemarketing. Personnel engaged in any aspect of telemarketing must be informed and trained in the existence and use of the “do not call” list.

3. Recording, disclosure of “do not call” requests. If a person or entity making a call for telemarketing purposes receives a request from a consumer not to receive calls from that person or entity, the person or entity must record the request and place the consumer’s name, if provided, and telephone number on the “do not call” list at the time the request is made. A consumer’s request to not be called must be honored within a reasonable time from the date the request is made, not exceeding 30 days from the date of the request. 4. Identification of sellers and telemarketers. A person or entity making a call for telemarketing purposes must provide the called party with the name of the individual caller, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which the person or entity may be contacted. 5. Maintenance of “do not call” lists. A person or entity making calls for telemarketing purposes must maintain a record of a caller’s request not to receive further telemarketing calls and honor the request for five years from the time the request is made.

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Company Policy and Do-Not-Call For a company to ensure it is clearly within the safe harbor protection, the company should consult with their legal counsel to help create a written company policy. The office policy should set forth the creation and monitoring of the list of individuals who have requested not to receive any further phone calls from the company. When a consumer makes such a request, the company must honor it for up to five years. The company policy needs to address the process for creating the companyspecific “do not call” list, maintenance of this list, and where to go to access the list of names. All agents of the company should have a clear understanding of what actions should be taken when an individual requests the company no longer contact them and where to check prior to making any telemarketing calls. The company-specific “do not call” list policy should include direction as to what actions an agent should take when a consumer requests that they no longer be contacted by the company. The agent needs direction as to where they will record the name of the individual, the name of the person who called, the telephone number called and date and time of the call. The policy should further direct that agent as to where the request should be documented in writing. In addition, the policy should address who is going to be responsible to maintain the list and how long after the individual receives a new name or telephone number the list will be corrected.

Another item not to forget: the Federal CAN SPAM Rules that apply to all unsolicited and solicited commercial e-mails as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” The Federal CAN SPAM Rules regulation would include e-mails that promote or sell a product or service for a fee, such as REALTOR® e-mails offering properties or brokerage services. For more information, read the August 2005 Legal Update, “Federal Laws Impacting REALTOR® Practice,” at www.wra.org/LU0805.

Resources: •

National Association of REALTORS®, Field Guide to Do-NotCall, Do-Not-Fax, and Do-Not-E-mail Laws at www.realtor.org/ library/library/fg707.

Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, No Call- No Fax Resources at www.wra.org/NoCall.

August 2003 Legal Update, “Federal ‘Do Not Call’ and ‘Do Not Fax’ Regulations” at www.wra.org/LU0308.

Cori Lamont is Director of Brokerage Regulation and Licensing for the WRA. www.wra.org/wrem


hotline highlights

with debbi conrad

Looking back to 2011, what topics most often came up on the Hotline? Some of the most frequent inquiries involved e-mail delivery in the offers, listing protection, personal purchases and leasing property for sale.

E-mail Delivery Are the Addendum D and Electronic Consent needed in a new residential, condominium or vacant land offer to purchase? With these offers, does an agent still need to e-mail the consent form and have it e-mailed back? When using electronic documents in a Wisconsin real estate transaction, compliance with federal E-Sign and Wisconsin E-Commerce laws requires two steps: 1.

2.

Obtain electronic consent from parties who are consumers. The consumer must be using a computer to give electronic consent via e-mail or on a website. If e-mail is used, the WRA “Consent for Use of Electronic Documents and Signatures in Consumer Real Estate Transactions” or other electronic consent complying with federal law must make an entire round trip from agent to the consumer and back again electronically. Indicate in the offer to purchase that e-mail is an authorized method of delivery. For the recently updated offers, e-mail delivery is a preprinted option that the parties may choose. Insertion of an e-mail address for a party in the delivery section is a representation that the party has provided electronic consent. wisconsin real estate magazine

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Therefore, the new offers eliminate the need to use the WRA Addendum D but do not eliminate the requirement for electronic consent from consumers who are parties. A common practice is for agents writing offers to use their e-mail address on line 54 of the WB-11 Residential Offer to Purchase and the e-mail address for the listing agent on line 53. This occurs with and without prior electronic consent from the parties. Is this appropriate? If the listing agent receives an offer to purchase and the cooperating agent has inserted the listing agent’s e-mail address in the e-mail delivery section, the listing agent’s next step is as follows: 1.

If the seller has already given electronic consent and agrees to e-mail delivery in the offer, then the listing agent does not need to take any additional steps.

2.

If the seller has not given electronic consent but is willing to have e-mail delivery in the offer, then the listing agent must obtain the seller’s electronic consent before the seller may agree to the terms of the offer.

3.

If the seller has not given electronic consent and does not want to use e-mail delivery in the offer, then the listing agent would prepare a WB-44 Counter-Offer to remove e-mail as a form of delivery.

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hotline highlights

cont’d

If the seller or buyer cannot receive e-mail or do not have an e-mail address, then they cannot provide electronic consent and therefore cannot agree to e-mail as form of delivery. This is true even if the party’s agent has e-mail; electronic consent is required from the consumer prior to including e-mail as a form of delivery regardless of whose e-mail address is inserted in the offer. E-mail delivery resources: “Behind the Curtain: E-Commerce and E-Sign Exposed” in the June 2010 Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine at www.wra.org/WREM/Jun10/BehindCurtain, the “Best of the Legal Hotline” article regarding electronic delivery in the November 2008 Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine online at www.wra.org/ WREM/Nov08/ElectronicDelivery, and the E-Commerce resources at www.wra.org/Resources/BusPractice/E-Commerce_Resources.

Protected Buyers An agent is writing an offer on a house that was listed by a previous broker and is now listed with a second broker. The buyer is a protected buyer from the first listing. When the agent writes the offer, who presents it to the seller? Buyers may be protected for listing protection in one of four ways. If (1) the buyer submitted a written offer to purchase or (2) negotiated directly with the seller, the listing protection is automatic for the first listing broker. If, during the term of the listing, the buyer (3) attended an individual showing or (4) “negotiated” with a broker, the buyer will be protected only if the listing broker delivered the buyer’s name to the seller no later than three days after the expiration of the first listing contract. “Negotiated,” for these purposes, means that the buyer discussed the potential terms upon which the buyer might acquire an interest in the property. If the buyer were protected under the first listing, the first listing broker would have, in essence, a one-party listing for the protected buyer during the one-year override period. Any offer the buyer writes is to be presented to the seller by the first listing broker. The first listing broker would earn the listing commission if this offer is accepted and closes. As a courtesy, the agent may wish to inform the current listing broker if the seller accepts this offer.

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If a property has been foreclosed and the bank is trying to sell it, do the names of protected buyers go directly to the bank and continue to be protected?

It is prudent for this cooperating broker to enter into a written co-broke commission agreement with the first listing broker. This is because the first listing broker’s offer of cooperation and compensation has ended. Listing protection protects the listing broker’s commission but does not extend to a broker working with the buyer for the first time.

The protected buyers list relates to the original listing between the

See pages 8-10 of the February 2004 Legal Update, “Listing Procedures for the Prudent Broker,” at www.wra.org/LU0402 for further discussion of listing protection issues.

their marketing or may exclude those buyers from their listing so

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owner and the first listing broker. Title has been conveyed via the sheriff’s deed and the bank is the new seller. If the bank lists the property, there are no automatically protected or excluded buyers because the bank did not have the prior listing. Some banks may, if they know the identity of previous buyers, use that list to begin the bank may try to sell directly to one of them without broker involvement. www.wra.org/wrem


of the seller with undivided loyalty when the licensee has his or her own interest as the buyer at stake. It is also inconsistent for a buyer/licensee to act as his or her own agent and collect a commission for representing oneself. Instead, a buyer/licensee can negotiate a buyer’s incentive to be paid by the listing broker or the seller. This incentive can be for the amount of the co-broke commission which would otherwise be paid to the selling broker in the transaction. The buyer’s incentive should be properly documented in writing before closing, preferably before the offer to purchase is executed. An incentive from the listing broker should be documented as a separate agreement between the licensee/buyer and the listing broker. Under the SPS’s interpretation of Wis. Admin. Code § REEB 24.05(4), the seller also must consent in writing to this incentive no later than the time that the offer is accepted, so a recitation in the offer regarding the incentive from the listing broker to the licensee/buyer may be the most efficient way to meet this requirement and avoid any possible SPS enforcement actions. See the “Best of the Legal Hotline: Personal Purchases & Sales,” in the March 2004 edition of the Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine, online at www.wra.org/WREM/March04/LegalHotline and pages 12-13 of the March 2008 Legal Update, “Running a Real Estate Office,” at www.wra.org/LU0803.

Lease Listings The agent procures a buyer who enters into a lease and an option to purchase with the seller. Can the agent secure a commission via the lease or must the agent wait to see if buyer executes the option before the end of the lease to collect a sales commission? The sale and the lease of a property involve two separate types of interests in real estate, and this transaction involves two types of brokerage services: the lease of the property and the sale of the property. The broker must have the authority to provide each type of service in order to earn any corresponding commission.

Personal Purchases A real estate salesperson is looking to purchase a property for herself. Does the MLS agreement between various companies apply even if the agent is writing the offer herself or does she need to make the commission a part of the offer in order to receive compensation? Under the law of agency, the agent is prohibited from competing with the principal. A licensee can be either a principal or an agent in a transaction, but conflicts of interest occur when a licensee tries to be both. When acting as a buyer, the licensee is a principal in the transaction and not the agent for anyone. Therefore, the buyer/licensee should not collect a commission from the seller because the buyer/licensee cannot perform services on behalf

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If the broker had a lease listing, the broker would have clear authority to provide leasing services and earn commission for the lease. If the seller wants additional leasing services, the listing may be modified or the broker may enter into a WB-37 Exclusive Listing Contract for Lease of Real Property. Information about lease listings is available in the December 2010 Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine at www.wra.org/WREM/Dec10 and the July 2008 Legal Update, “Using Land Contracts and Leases with Options,” at www.wra.org/LU0807. Debbi Conrad is Senior Attorney and Director of Legal Affairs for the WRA.

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Short Sale Survival: Part One By tracy rucka

A

s we look forward into 2012, the need for brokers who can successfully provide services for short sale transactions will continue. Brokers who can investigate, organize, multitask and problem solve with the numerous players involved in a short sale will continue to have success in these demanding transactions. Brokers who have mastered the ability to see the transaction from start to finish, respecting and working with not only the buyer and seller but the necessary ancillary participants, achieve short sale success. The ability to keep each participant informed and provide timely and complete paperwork will move everyone forward to the same goal: the closing. Encouraging the seller to use available resources and have tax advisors and legal counsel available will increase the likelihood of success. Part one of this two-part series will examine how the broker can prepare for success even before listing the property.

Prepare in advance for the listing presentation if the transaction is believed to be a potential short sale. Brokers may begin by having a strong relationship with a local title company where the broker may request a preliminary search and hold on the property. This

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The search and hold will also identify what judgments or liens have been attached to the property. A lien is the legal claim of one person on the property of another person to satisfy a debt or other obligation. Liens come in various shapes and sizes, but they all attach to the real estate, such that the property cannot be sold unless the liens are paid or removed. Types of liens include mortgages, judgments, construction liens, various tax liens, child support liens, and condominium and association liens. Having this knowledge upfront can minimize potential stumbling blocks to the sale.

The Listing Presentation

Before the Listing

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will give the broker a snapshot of the condition of title and will identify the property owners. Given the various ways title may be held today, for example, trusts, life estates, LLCs and corporations, the broker will determine who has the authority to sell, the first step to a successful transaction.

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Think of the listing presentation as a two-way job interview. While convincing the seller to list with the brokerage firm, the agent must simultaneously ask exploratory questions and engage their best listening skills to identify the potential seller’s goals and motivations. Careful client screening may result in the broker www.wra.org/wrem


returning to the office without the listing, making the determination that the seller is not able to or is not ready to sell.

a case-by-case basis and will be determined by the seller’s financial situation.

Listening will help the broker sort through the myriad of potential seller motivations. Does the seller really want to stay in their home and needs to know if that is feasible? Alternately, the sellers may acknowledge that they cannot remain in their home but don’t know if they can sell, do a short sale or if they should allow the bank to foreclose. By helping the seller articulate their goals, the broker can determine if the listing is worth taking. The WRA-SSC Short Sale Checklist is designed to help the broker and property owner gather this information and assess the seller’s situation to decide if a short sale is a good solution. The checklist includes background information, potential alternatives and then a roadmap of what will be required to move forward with a short sale.

Even if the seller has received the first notices regarding a foreclosure, the seller may, if the seller can provide clear title, sell the property any time before the judicial confirmation of a sheriff’s sale. The seller may wish to contact an attorney to help communicate with the lender regarding the Wisconsin foreclosure process. Whether the lender would be open to a short sale will depend in some circumstances if it is early in the foreclosure process or close to the sheriff’s sale when the lender has already expended resources on the foreclosure.

If the seller wants to avoid foreclosure and wants to remain in the property, the broker can give the seller contact information for the Homeowner Preservation Foundation at www.995hope.org or 1-888-995-HOPE. Many lenders have created borrower-friendly Web pages to educate borrowers about how to negotiate a loan modification or what to expect if the property goes into foreclosure or if the seller attempts a short sale. Although this conversation may not result in a listing at this time, the homeowner may use the broker’s services in the future if it becomes unfeasible for the borrower to remain in the property.

Short Sale or Foreclosure? The seller may be ready to sell but has more debt than there is equity in the home and is deciding whether to list the property for sale or let it go to foreclosure. Here the broker must walk a thin line between giving general information or engaging in the unlicensed practice of law. The broker may, in general terms, explain that foreclosure is the legal process that a mortgage lender can use to repossess, or take over, the property. When a homeowner does not make his mortgage payments, the lender may have the right to repossess, and in most instances, resell the home. If the property is worth less than the total amount owed on the mortgage loan, a deficiency judgment also may be pursued. More information about foreclosure is available in the January 2007 Legal Update, “Avoiding Foreclosure,” at www.wra. org/LU0701. A short sale is one method for a seller to avoid foreclosure. After the short sale, the lender may discharge the debt or may pursue the deficiency after the sale is complete. The lender’s decision is made on wisconsin real estate magazine

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Property owners will frequently ask if they should continue making their mortgage payments; these potential sellers may be searching for free legal advice from the broker, but brokers must avoid this potential trap. Just because the broker doesn’t get paid does not make answering this question acceptable - giving free legal advice is still the unlicensed practice of law.

Bankruptcy? Filing for bankruptcy does not mean that homeowners can necessarily save their homes; it often may be just a temporary stall tactic. Homeowners can work with their attorneys to determine if a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be appropriate given their financial situation. Bankruptcy Basics information is available at www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics. aspx. In this situation, if the seller is just looking for free legal advice or financial services, the broker may refer the owner to private legal counsel or other resources like the Homeownership Preservation Foundation or the Wisconsin Bar Lawyer Information and Referral Service. In addition, many lenders now have borrowerfriendly websites that give borrowers help to navigate the refinance, foreclosure and short sale processes. The broker may recommend the website of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, at www.nfcc.org, for nonprofit counseling agencies.

Paperwork When preparing for the listing presentation, the broker may consider including the following documents in the listing packet: a WRA Short Sale Checklist, a WRA Listing Questionnaire Regarding Title Issues, and a copy of the Addendum SSL to the Listing ContractShort Sales. Using these documents, the broker and potential seller can identify potential issues and begin to chart a path for success.

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Short Sale Scams Brokers may need to caution sellers about possible scams in relation to short sales and foreclosures. When sellers are approached by persons claiming to be able to renegotiate with their lender for an upfront fee, they need to be cautious of fraud schemes. Wisconsin has adopted mortgage foreclosure consultant rules designed to protect consumers and regulate mortgage consultant conduct. Having the conversation with the seller up front may help avoid the risk. The broker again can direct the seller to non-for-profit and independent resources for assistance. For a summary of common fraud schemes, see the March 2010 Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine article “Out of the Pan and into the Fire” at www.wra.org/WREM/ Mar10/ForeclosureAvoidance.

You Got the Listing Once the broker obtains the listing, the work is only beginning on a potential short sale. The broker can work right away with the seller and lender to identify and gather all the necessary paperwork for the lender’s short sale packet. Tax returns, financial statements and hardship letters will need to be organized for the lender’s consideration. One of the key components is the hardship letter which explains why the borrower’s financial position has changed and why it would be in the lender’s best interest to approve a short sale. The broker may also assist the seller to create a spreadsheet of income and expenses as evidence of the seller’s need for the short sale approval. See again the WRA Short Sale Checklist. Don’t overlook the lender’s website to locate a wealth of information on lender process and expectations. Working with the lender and seller will help prepare the seller for the short sale approval process.

The Successful Sale Next month we will look at negotiating the offer, working with the lender and how to address many issues that may arise as a result of the short sale transaction. The following WRA resources are available to explore short sale transactions.

WRA Resources •

March 2010 Legal Update, “Uniform Short Sales,” online at www.wra.org/LU1003.

March 2009 Legal Update, “Working with Distressed Sales,” online at www.wra.org/LU0903.

July 2009 Legal Update, “Solving the Mysteries of Short Sales,” online at www.wra.org/LU0907.

January 2008 Legal Update, “Short Sales – A Risky Business,” online at www.wra.org/LU0801.

July 2010 Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine, “Advising Consumers about Foreclosures and Short Sales,” online at www.wra.org/WREM/Jul10/ ForeclosuresShortSales.

National Association of REALTORS® Field Guide to Short Sales at www.realtor.org/library/library/fg335.

Tracy Rucka is Director of Professional Standards and Practices for the WRA.

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$68 per month plus a small closing fee

Join us anywhere in Wisconsin, or create your own independent office Low Cost • High Earnings

Call Bill at Homestead Realty, Inc. 1-800-339-4444 • bill@homesteadrealtyinc.com

www.wra.org/wrem


techhottips

View more posts at www.techhottips.com

Technology Tips & Tools for the Real Estate Professional

Tech Hottips writers are Amy Chorew, a nationally acclaimed real estate technology trainer and Kim Wood, a Philadelphia-area REALTOR® involved in both real estate and technology coaching.

Viber Better Than Skype? At the NAR convention in Anaheim, CA, I had lunch with Julie Ryan, a trainer from Australia who is an expert in marketing. She asked me if I had heard of Viber. Pleased that she knew of a tech product that I didn’t, she told me that it’s a great text messaging app, and it’s also a great phone app that many are using abroad. Viber is an application for iPhone and Android phones that lets you make free phone calls and send text messages to anyone who also has the application installed. You can call or text any Viber user, anywhere in the world, for free. Viber integrates seamlessly with your existing address book, has great sound quality, and once activated, does not require a PIN, username or any additional “in application” purchase. All Viber features are 100 percent free! Soon to be available also for BlackBerry! Check it out at www.viber.com!

Reach More Customers with a Google Profile Don’t forget that Google is the most visited website out there, and when people search for you, make sure they can find you! If you really aren’t interested in all this social media stuff – think twice about that, by the way! – you should at the very least have a Google profile set up with links to your website(s).

Your Very Own Digital Magazine

Visit profiles.google.com and sign in to your Google account. And keep these tips in mind when setting up your Google profile:

Digital magazines are gaining popularity as the best way to read content from your social networks, websites and favorite magazine publishers. Accessing your customized collection of what you want to read in an easy-to-read flip format via your smartphone or tablet can be done using a digital magazine.

Make sure you have a picture of you. This is a profile about you – not your business.

When you write your introduction, tell your buyers and sellers what else interests you besides real estate. Tell them a little bit about yourself to build the relationship.

Be sure that you have your website(s) linked to this profile to enhance your reputation with the Google powers that be.

If you want people to be able to contact you, add your phone numbers and e-mail. As real estate professionals, your profile should be visible in searches.

I think digital magazines are a nice way to organize news that interests you rather than visiting various websites or subscribing to an RSS feed. Various digital magazines exist for the iPhone and Android platforms, and like anything else, there are many favorites. Flipboard, Currents and Zinio are great options for digital magazines. •

Flipboard: For the iPhone or iPad, and has over 5 million users.

Currents: For the Android users with a clean display of content.

Zinio: For Android and iPhone/iPad users.

Go get ‘em! Completing the whole profile only takes about 10 minutes, and you only need to update your profile when information changes. If you are a Google+ user, this profile will automatically be your + profile.

Try a couple of different versions, and let us know your favorite!

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REALTOR benefits®

NAR’s REALTOR Benefits® Program When you take advantage of NAR’s REALTOR Benefits® Program, you can choose from a variety of valuable offers and savings from industry leaders. Plus, every partner provides products and services that you can use every day in both your business and personal life. For more details, visit www.realtor.org/realtor_benefits. Marketing Entertainment® Promotions FedEx® FedEx OfficeSM Lowe’s REALTOR.com® REALTOR Team Store® Ifbyphone Technology Dell DocuSign® Hewlett Packard Lenovo relay® SentriLock LLC Xerox zipForm® Ifbyphone

Insurance Victor O. Schinnerer & Company Inc. E&O Insurance Liberty Mutual REALTORS® Core Health Insurance REALTORS® Dental Insurance Financial Services & Personal Protection American Home Shield IdentitySecure® REALTORS® Federal Credit Union

Health Care Reform Update

A

lthough the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a few years away from full implementation, some provisions are being phased in. One of these is the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) provision, which requires insurers in the individual and small group market to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on patient care rather than profit or overhead. Insurers who do not meet this requirement will be required to provide rebates to consumers. Like many aspects of the health care legislation, this provision is still being debated. In fact, Wisconsin applied for an exception, which is currently under review. Nonetheless, insurers are proceeding on the assumption that the law will stand. As

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wisconsin real estate magazine

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january 2012

Educational Tools ABR SRES ePRO SFR GREEN Designation Office Solutions FedEx® FedEx OfficeSM OfficeMax® Travel Avis Budget New! Chrysler Hertz

TM

Wisconsin REALTORS Association ®

insurers review their MLR in each state, they are making changes which they Wisconsin project REALTORS will keepAssociation them in compliance. TM

®

These facts make your review of current benefits and costs to guarantee that they’re still competitive a critical step. REGIT Wisconsin REALTORS Association works with multiple carriers and will provide you with a sideby-side comparison of those available to you. You can do this WisconsinREGIT’s REALTORS Association independently by visiting website at www.regitinc. com/aspwra or by calling an experienced REGIT representative at (800) 537-9786. Impacts of legislation and the current Wisconsin REALTORS Association economic climate make it imperative that you frequently review your health coverage. REGIT simplifies that process for you; call or e-mail today. TM

®

TM

®

TM

®

www.wra.org/wrem


2012

APPRAISAL CONFERENCE

March 13-14, 2012 Tuscany Suites and Casino

Kalahari Resort & Convention Center Wisconsin Dells, WI

Courses Include: • 7-Hour National USPAP 2012-2013 Update (7 hours) - Approved • UAD: Coping with the After-Effects (7 hours) Join us for CE in sunny Las Vegas in March of 2012! What better way to complete CE and catch a break from Wisconsin’s winter weather. Make plans now to join us in Viva Las Vegas.

real estate continuing education www.wra.org/CE-out-of-state

• Residential Style & Design (7 hours) • Real Estate Statistics Without Fear (3.5 hours) • Anatomy of a House (3.5 hours) Courses submitted for Wisconsin Appraiser and Assessor CE, Michigan and Minnesota CE.

www.wra.org/AppraisalConference


education

CRS 202: Sales Strategies February 6-7, 2012 Plaza Hotel and Suites | Eau Claire Co-Sponsored by the Wisconsin CRS Chapter Learn how to tap into the motivations of today’s qualified homebuyers and help them achieve homeownership! You’ll learn about identifying buyers and gaining their trust and loyalty. Earn 16 credits toward your CRS designation with CRS 202. Don’t miss this course - and don’t miss prime networking opportunties with other REALTORS® ! Visit www.wra.org/CRSCourses for more information. Instructor: Jackie Leavenworth, CRS.

Resort and Second Home Markets (RSPS Certification) January 25, 2012

Broker Prelicense Course January 30 - February 2, 2012

Lake of the Torches | Lac du Flambeau

Broker pre-license education will increase from 36 to 72 hours, effective July 1, 2012. Also on the horizon is a proposed change to job experience requirements to become a broker. Under the proposal, Wisconsin broker applicants would be required to show two years of documented experience as a real estate salesperson within the four years preceding application.

Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS®

ABR Elective and Core Course for RSPS Certification This one-day core course focuses on the knowledge and skill base that real estate professionals need in buying, selling or managing second homes in a resort, recreational and/or vacation destination as well as properties for investment or development. You’ll gain specialized skills and expertise to make informed decisions about buying and selling resort and second-home properties. This course is required to attain the Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS) Certification and also meets the elective course requirement for the ABR Designation. Registration for this course also includes the registration for the Winter Convention. www.wra.org/WinterConv

Out-of-State Continuing Education March 5-7, 2012

BPO (Broker Price Opinion) February 9, 2012

Tuscany Suites and Casino | Las Vegas, NV

WICPA | Brookfield Earn the Broker Price Opinion Resource (BPOR) Certification! Whether you are experienced at preparing broker price opinions (BPOs) or are new to the business, this new NAR certification course will provide you with the know-how to produce professional and accurate BPOs. With your BPOR certification, you’ll be able to prepare accurate BPOs, evaluate market tools for productive preparation of BPOs, and identify and weigh all factors influencing the creation of a useful valuation. Upon completing this one-day course, you’ll be required to view a free webinar, submit the BPOR application and pay a one-time fee to earn the BPOR certification. The course also meets the elective course requirement for the ABR designation. www.wra.org/BPOR_overview

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wisconsin real estate magazine

This course covers contracts, trust accounts, escrow and closing statements, personnel business ethics, fair housing, specialty areas and more. Completion of Sales Pre-license education and passing the real estate sales exam are prerequisites. Completion of the Broker Pre-license Course, passing the broker exam and receiving the broker’s license fulfill the 2011-2012 Continuing Education credits. Fore more, visit www.wra.org/Broker_career.

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january 2012

Grab your suitcase ... this isn’t your typical CE program! Break away from the winter blues, and join us for CE in sunny Las Vegas in March 2012! With many CE courses to choose from, the Las Vegas Strip and sunshine, this is an educational opportunity you won’t want to miss! Make plans now to join us in Viva Las Vegas. Visit www.wra.org/ CEOut-of-State for more information.

2-Day ABR Course March 21-22, 2012 Wisconsin REALTORS® Association Do you like working directly with buyer-clients? If so, this is a course for you! You’ll discover how to represent buyer-clients with the same level of service that sellers enjoy. You’ll also learn about methods for bulding your buyer representation business. Complete two of the three days required for the ABR designation and fulfill nine hours of the 2011-2012 Continuing Education with one course. Visit www.wra.org/ABRcourses for additional information.

www.wra.org/wrem


Course Schedule

Visit www.wra.org/CourseSchedule for full schedule. Sales & Marketing Management Date Course Location Thru 1/10

*Plus books January 25, 2012 Resort & Second Home Markets Lac du Flambeau $195 ** early registration applies two weeks prior to the (Includes convention) Thru 1/23 start of the course. February 6-7, 2012 CRS 202: Sales Strategies Eau Claire $199 CRS Members receive a $20 discount ***Wisconsin February 9, 2012 BPO Broker Price Opinions Brookfield $110 # Appraiser section members receive a discount March 21-22, 2012 2-Day ABR Course Madison $250 Conference and Conventions Date Event/Course Location

January 25-27, 2012 March 5-7, 2012 March 13-14, 2012

Real Estate Continuing Education

Date

Winter Convention Out-of-State Continuing Education Appraisal Conference Course

March 2, 2012 March 5, 2012 March 5, 2012 March 6, 2012 March 7, 2012

Location

2011-12 Electives: Elective A – Short Sales & Foreclosures Elective C – Other Approved Forms

Appraisal Continuing Education

Date Course

March 13-14, 2012

Pre-License Available online! sales training program

Date

QuickStart

2011-12 Courses 3 & 4 2011-12 Elective A & C 2011-12 Courses 1 & 2 2011-12 Courses 3 & 4 2011-12 Electives A & C

$205 After 1/23 $210 $120 $260

$225 A.T.D. $230 $140 $280

Price (800) 279-1972 Register for Winter Convention (included in registration fee) Register for Winter Convention (included in registration fee) Call 800-279-1972 $27/m; $40 nm Call 608-755-4854 (920) 553-6227 Call 800-279-1972 $27/m; $40 nm (715) 735-0547 Call 800-279-1972 $27/m; $40 nm Call 920-457-7908 Call 800-279-1972 $27/m; $35 nm Call 800-279-1972 $27/m; $35 nm Call 800-279-1972 $27/m; $35 nm

Woodruff Woodruff Las Vegas Las Vegas Las Vegas

Elective B – Environmental Matters Elective D – Financing

Appraisal Conference

January 30 - February 2, 2012 March 5-8; 12-15, 2012 April 5-8; 12-15, 2012

A.T.D.

Lake of the Torches, Lac du Flambeau Tuscany Suites and Casino, Las Vegas, NV Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells

The 2009-2010 real estate continuing education is still available through On Demand, DVD and Self-Study January 25, 2012 2011-12 Electives A & C Lac du Flambeau Booklets: January 26, 2012 2011-12 Courses 1 & 2 Lac du Flambeau Course 1 – Listing Contracts 2 – Offer to Purchase January 27, 2012 2011-12 Courses 3 & 4 Lac du Flambeau Course Course 3 – New Developments 4 – Buyer Agency Agreements February 2, 2012 2011-12 Courses 1 & 2 (Commercial) Milwaukee Course February 2, 2012 2011-12 Elective C - DVD Janesville Elective A – Risk Reduction February 8, 2012 2011-12 Electives A & C Manitowoc Elective B – 1031 Exchanges and Exchange Opportunities February 9, 2012 2011-12 Courses 3 & 4 (Commercial) Milwaukee Elective C – Condominiums February 14, 2012 2011-12 Courses 3 & 4 Marinette Elective D – Landlord/Tenant and Property Management February 16, 2012 2011-12 Elective A & D (Commercial) Milwaukee Elective E – Financing February 29,2012 2011-12 Course 3 Sheboygan F – Broker Supervision March 1, 2012 2011-12 Courses 1 & 2 Woodruff Elective

After 1/10

Course Broker Prelicense Course Sales Prelicense Course Broker Prelicense Course

Location

Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells

Location

Member price

Milwaukee Madison Madison

$260* $325* $260*

Non-Member price $280* $325* $280*

* Plus books

www.wra.org/QuickStartOnDemand

wisconsin real estate magazine

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product showcase

Understanding the New Facebook Timeline

Annual Renewal of zipForm® 6

A new profile photo, new wall, new layout, new options - new everything!

A new renewal process is headed your way

Facebook’s new Timeline, originally unveiled at a Facebook conference in September, went live last month. This design revamp organizes photos, status messages and more into a timeline feature of your “life” on Facebook. What’s new? Cover photo: The Timeline offers a sleek, oversized cover photo at the top of your profile. This photo stretches across the page, while your user profile photo is a small thumbnail that sits at the lower left of the cover photo. The oversized cover photo allows you to make a statement with your profile page. Layout of profile page: Pinterest lovers will feel right at home with the Timeline since it’s quite similar in layout and design as a Pinterest Pinboard. The two-column display of the Timeline posts will take some getting-used-to for users. Posts still are in chronological order but appear in a zigzag pattern from the left column to the right column and back to the left. Timeline of life: With the former profile, older posts were basically buried; users were able to view only the past handful of posts with each click of the “see more posts” option. With the Timeline, those old posts are back in plain view. The component of the Timeline that appears to be receiving some backlash in the social media/tech community is this exact feature. While this may be nostalgic for some, this feature can also be “information overload” for others. Fortunately, you can customize each and every post by either hiding them from your public Timeline or deleting altogether. The “Activity Log” near the top right of your Timeline page provides a quick and easy way to scan through all previous posts; this log shows everything you’ve ever done on Facebook but is not public. The catch? Whether you like it or not, all profiles will eventually be transitioned to the Timeline arrangement. If you activate your Timeline now by visiting www.facebook.com/about/timeline, you’ll have seven days after activation to tweak your cover photo and manage old posts before your Timeline goes live. But if you don’t move over to the Timeline, your profile will convert to the new interface in the near future.

ZipForm® 6 is an electronic forms product available to REALTOR®, Legal and Appraisal section members of the WRA as a membership benefit. An annual renewal of your zipForm® 6 account is required as confirmation of your current membership status. Upon opening your zipForm® 6 program, you will receive an automatic renewal notification that your zipForm® 6 account will expire or has expired on March 1, 2012.

Changes for the Renewal Procedure The renewal process will change slightly this year. Once the details of the renewal process are completed, step-by-step instructions for the new process will be available at www.wra.org/zipform. Desktop users should be aware that extending the expiration date another year will not update the forms. To update forms, you must perform a forms update either within the program when prompted or by visiting www.zipform.com/support/updates.asp, selecting Wisconsin REALTORS® Association library or your company’s custom library. The forms in the online program are automatically updated. Not currently a zipForm® 6 user? Two software products are available for download: Professional for online use and Standard for desktop. Feel free to try both. Free one-hour training webinars are periodically available and training video tutorials are always available at www. zipform.com/training. For additional questions regarding zipForm®, contact the WRA Products and Services Department at (800) 279-1972 or call zipLogix Customer Support directly at (800) 383-9805.

Is the new Timeline good? Is it bad? That’s up to Facebook’s 800 million users to decide.

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www.wra.org/wrem


Realtor® sales tip

Welcome 2012!

Another year! More opportunities! Resolutions, goal setting and change! What will the coming year look like for you, your family and your book of business?

By marcus wally

A

s we ring in the new year, it’s time to renew our vows … our commitment to the amount of business to conduct in the next 12 months. The great part about making vows is that we are in sole control and are fully responsible for the amount of business we generate as well as the amount of money we make. And said another way: We are responsible for our level of success!

Your attitude sets your altitude! We must develop our personal economic forecast for the budget that will be an integral part of our business plan for 2012. So tell me: what do you want your year to look like? Make this your dominate picture, and envision it happening. Start with these steps: •

Look for the sunshine: Remaining positive can march you through almost anything. This is a market for pros, and they are who survive. Polish your skills so that you shine in the tough times … word will spread! Being busy creates the energy to drive additional business to you! Constantly communicate: Keep prospects in the know. Electronic newsletters, just listed/just sold postcards and websites packed with current and useful data will ensure customers that sales are happening and encourage them to get on the bandwagon. Getting back to the basics is key. Remember the ways we used to generate business when we first got into the business? Try embracing those proven skills … go back to your roots, walk those neighborhoods and knock on doors just like we used to do! Always give Exceptional Customer Service (ECS): Today, our customers and/or clients have the opportunity to experience what working with a polished wisconsin real estate magazine

|

REALTOR® is like, and once the topnotch service bug bites them, they don’t tolerate anything less. With this being our benchmark, we must make it our mission to always under-promise but over-deliver. Let actions speak louder than words, and allow the underlying foundation of the real estate business ring out loud and clear - and that is to build your business from referrals. Referrals are the lifeblood of our business, and when you treat each and every customer or client like they are your one and only, you will never disappoint or damage these folks who can make or break your business.

Professional Tips for 2012 1. Increase your knowledge base: We all must live by the mantra of “Education is Power.” This is what truly sets up apart. So register for a new course! Take a course in the specific field in which you’re specializing so you can gain the knowledge to lead the pack. And whatever you do, tell everyone you come into contact with - tell your entire sphere of influence - about your newly acquired skills. Why keep it a secret?! Toot you own horn. This is called being proud! 2. Work off a professional calendar: Buy a 2012 calendar and block out your vacation time. This is one of the most critical elements to any mega-successful professional. Mark those anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, sporting events, weddings and more. Make sure you mark out the vacations that you and your family dream of taking. These important dates are now in permanent ink and may not be changed do to real estate. Remember, I believe that there is no such thing as a real estate emergency!

january 2012

3. Ask for Referrals: Keep the Golden Rule in mind and practice it daily. Also keep in mind my second Golden Rule, which is that everyone has the need to buy or sell estate. Ask each person that enters your life if they have the need to buy or sell real estate. Commit to contacting 25 people that you don’t know each day. Of course, always be aware of the Do Not Call Registry, and verify your company policies regarding cold calling with your broker. With these new contacts, you’ll have more business than you’ll be able to handle. Now that’s a resolution! Lastly, make sure sellers price their homes realistically. The current market is all about price! Know your numbers, such as sales price, the proximity to original price and days on the market, and share them with the seller. I refer to this as our “homework” when speaking with my customers and/or clients. Walk away from sellers who are unwilling to listen and face the mirror on asking price. Remember my “SWSWSWN” philosophy: some transactions will work, some transactions won’t, so what? - Next! Or more simply stated, “Some will, some won’t, so what? - Next!” This is my mantra! Why not make it yours? Happy New Year!

Marcus A. Wally, MBA, is an active Florida REALTOR® in St. Augustine, Florida. Marcus is the founder and broker of New World Realty, which also manages coaching and facilitation of education classes around the world. Marcus earned his MBA from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. He can be reached at (904) 669-1081 or by e-mail at marcus@ newworldrealty.com.

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legislative

More State Senate Recalls By joe murray

T

he signature gathering process to force Gov. Scott Walker into a recall election has received massive media attention over the last two months. But four GOP state Senators are under threat of recall as well. Public employee unions and their allies have been collecting recall signatures to force four more Republican state senators into 2012 recall elections for voting to curtail their collective bargaining rights as part of the budget repair bill in 2011. If organizers succeed in qualifying all four senators for recall elections this spring, they will only have to defeat one of the four to retake control of the state Senate they lost in the November 2010 elections. Republicans currently control the upper house 17 to 16.

Scott Fitzgerald (R) 14th SD Juneau

Van Wanggaard (R) 21st SD Racine

Terry Moulton (R) 23rd SD Chippewa Falls

Pam Galloway (R) 29th SD Wausau

Recall Petitions

Swing Seats Recall organizers have targeted these four seats for two primary reasons. Three of the four – Wanggaard, Moulton and Galloway - are “swing seats,” meaning those districts have elected Democrats as well as Republicans. The other seat, belonging to Fitzgerald, would seem to be motivated by a desire to harass the Majority Leader and occupy his time with a race of his own. That way he may have less time to help the other three with their races. Sen. Fitzgerald’s district will be more difficult than the other three to successfully execute a recall election since it tends to be more Republican-leaning.

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www.wra.org/wrem


State Supreme Court Race 2011

Galloway - Wausau

Fitzgerald - Juneau

Moulton - Chippewa Falls

Wanggaard - Racine

Winner by County Kloppenburg Prosser

Obama

Walker

Prosser

Fitzgerald

47.8%

62.3%

58.3%

Wanggaard

55.3%

53.7%

53.7%

Moulton

55.1%

55.5%

49.3%

Galloway

53.4%

56.9%

53.6%

2012, notwithstanding legal challenges currently under way. Republicans designed the new Senate district lines in July 2011, and thus the new districts would make it more difficult for Democrats to retake control of the Senate or hold it for more than a short time even if they did. Unlike the nine state Senate recall elections last summer, these four Republican Senators will have to compete with Gov. Walker for money, attention and help. The 2011 summer recall elections focused exclusively on the nine Senators who were forced to run. Assuming Walker goes to recall, these four will have to complete for resources and attention, and the unions believe this may improve their chances to defeat the Senate GOP. Signature collectors must submit all their papers to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) by January 17, 2012 for Gov. Walker and all four GOP senators. After that, the GAB must certify all petitions for accuracy, and this could take months. More to come later! Joe Murray is Director of Political and Governmental Affairs for the WRA.

What the Numbers Say Three of the four districts voted for Justice David Prosser in last spring’s contentious Supreme Court race by comfortable margins: Fitzgerald, Wanggaard and Galloway. Republicans view the outcome of the 2011 Supreme Court race between Justice Prosser and Attorney JoAnn Kloppenburg as a model for hints on the possible outcome in future recall elections in their districts. The Prosser-Kloppenburg race became a proxy fight between Gov. Walker and the public employee unions over the collective bargaining issue. If Prosser carried their district, so the logic goes, chances are they might survive a race of their own. Three of the four senators are freshman, elected in November 2010: Wanggaard, Moulton and Galloway. As first-term Senators caught up in a highly charged political environment, organizers hope they can defeat these three before they have more time to solidify their hold on these districts. Three districts - Wanggaard, Moulton and Galloway voted for Obama in 2008, and all four voted for Walker in 2010.Three seats easily qualify as true “swing seats” and give Democrats their best chance to regain the majority by defeating one or more in a recall. Democrats want to force all four Republicans to face a recall election in their current districts before the newly drawn districts go into effect in November

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State Lawmakers to Consider New Nonconforming Structure Regulations

A

t the request of the WRA, the Wisconsin Legislature will soon consider legislation that seeks to provide owners of legal, nonconforming homes and substandard lots with greater certainty as to how they can repair, maintain and improve their property. This legislation would accomplish these goals by (a) defining “nonconforming structures,” (b) allowing property owners to repair and maintain legal, nonconforming homes and buildings, and (c) codifying the standards in NR 115 related to the expansion of nonconforming structures and building on substandard lots in shoreland areas.

Background A “nonconforming structure” is a home or building that does not meet one of the dimensional requirements found in the current zoning ordinance. This could be a setback requirement, height requirement, lot coverage ratio, impervious surface requirement or any other regulation relating to the size or the placement of a building on a lot. Generally, a building becomes nonconforming because a community changes the regulations after the home or building is constructed. When a home is classified as “nonconforming,” significant restrictions are often placed on the ability to improve, expand or replace the building. These restrictions impact the value of the property because purchasers are obviously unwilling to pay the same amount for a home with these restrictions as they would for the same home with no restrictions. In addition, lenders are reluctant to offer financing because these homes are considered “higher risk” due to the fact that restrictions placed on the ability to maintain, repair and improve these structures reduces the functional life on the structures.

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Current law protects the ability of property owners to rebuild their nonconforming homes and buildings if destroyed by natural disaster. See Wis. Stat. §§ 59.69(10m) and 62.231(5m). However, the law does not protect the ability to maintain, repair and improve these structures.

Expansion behind the 75-foot setback.

Vertical expansion (to a maximum height of 35 feet) only between 35 feet and 75 feet of the water if local mitigation requirements are satisfied.

No expansion between 35 feet and the water.

Substandard lots may be built on as long as they have never been merged with adjacent lots.

Proposed Legislation To provide owners of legal, nonconforming structures with greater certainty regarding the use and value of their property, the proposed legislation would include the following changes to state law: Allowing property owners to perform unlimited maintenance and repair: While zoning ordinances will change over time, such changes should not prevent or place artificial limits on the ability of property owners to maintain and repair their existing homes and buildings. Protecting the ability of property owners to keep their homes in good condition and make necessary repairs will help encourage greater investment in homes, buildings and older neighborhoods. Accordingly, the legislation would allow owners of nonconforming structures to maintain and repair their homes without limitations on the dollar value of such maintenance or repairs. Codifying NR 115 Standards for Nonconforming Structures and Substandard Lots: Wisconsin’s shoreland zoning regulations were recently revised to include a more reasonable approach to regulating nonconforming waterfront homes and substandard lots. Under these recent changes, nonconforming waterfront homes and substandard lots are subject to the following requirements: •

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Unlimited maintenance and repair is allowed.

january 2012

By tom Larson

While these regulations achieve a better balance between private property rights and environmental protection, Wisconsin’s shoreland zoning regulations are only minimum standards. This means that local governments can adopt more restrictive regulations on nonconforming waterfront homes, including the 50 percent rule. In fact, many communities continue to enforce the 50 percent rule today. Moreover, local government can prohibit building on all substandard lots or require them to be merged with adjacent lots owned by the same person. To provide owners of nonconforming waterfront homes with greater certainty as to how their property can be repaired, maintained and improved, the legislation would codify the regulatory framework set forth in NR 115 into state statutes. By placing this framework into the statutes, local governments would be effectively prohibited from enacting and enforcing regulations that are more restrictive. For more information on this proposed legislation, please contact Tom Larson (tlarson@wra.org) at (608) 241-2047. Tom Larson is Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs for the WRA.

www.wra.org/wrem


Take a Trip

North

Take advantage of Early-Bird Pricing

and Save $$$$

Early-Bird Pricing Ends January 10, 2012

2012 Winter

Convention

January 25-27, 2012 Lake of the Torches Resort Casino & Convention Center

www.wra.org/winterconvention


Discover the WHEDA Advantage®. The WHEDA Advantage has everything your first-time buyer needs to become a successful homeowner. Low, fixed interest rate, job-loss mortgage payment protection, down payment assistance, access to educational resources, quick loan approval and more! Income and purchase price limits apply and home buyer education is required. To learn more, go to www.wheda.com/Realtors. WISCONSIN HOUSING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY 800.334.6873 ■ www.wheda.com


January 2012 - Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine