ACAR Opens Doors for REALTOR® Safety

Open DoorReal estate agents are often asked to show a property to an unknown person.  If their office isn’t nearby, many will skip the safety of the office visit and just run out to show the home. It takes a whole community to ensure safety. Here’s how how ACAR has gotten involved in the effort by joining Open Door.

As an Open Door partner ACAR welcome’s real estate agents from any company to meet new clients in their reception area for a safety check-in. With a single web-based map displaying available offices in one location, real estate professionals could easily find safe meeting places on the go.

“Meet Me Here First”

“That’s the goal. We should feel comfortable telling every sign call, every Internet lead, every last-second showing request, “Meet me here first. It’s a new nationwide safety policy. And it’s only five minutes from the home,” said Sam DeBord. Using the new web-based platform meetmeherefirst.com you can search for a safe and convenient location.

2016 REALTOR® Membership Dues

 

Your 2016 REALTOR® Member Dues invoice is now available. 

Although you have until December 15, 2015, you are welcome to pay early to avoid the holiday budget crunch. Questions: Contact Judy McLaughlin

Invoice Details

Ada County Association of REALTORS® $170.00
Idaho REALTORS® $180.00
National Association of REALTORS® $155.00
Suggested Voluntary RPAC Investment*
   REALTOR® & Appraiser Member $30.00
   Broker Members $99.00

(Your login and password are the same as your IMLS Paragon login and password).

Payment is due no later than Tuesday, December 15, 2015. A $100 late fee will be assessed after December 15th. NOTE: Annual REALTOR® dues are not set up as an auto debit like your quarterly IMLS fees.

*To edit the RPAC contribution amount, simply click EDIT on the Order Summary before clicking “Pay Now”.

RPAC INVESTMENT – Your voluntary investment in the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) is designated for political purposes to support or oppose candidates and issues that affect the housing industry. From city hall to the state house to the U.S. Capitol, our elected officials are making decisions that have huge impact on the bottom line of REALTORS® and their customers.   RPAC speaks with one voice to build strong communities, promote a vibrant business environment and protect the real estate industry. From defending mortgage interest deductibility to stopping a transfer tax on every real estate transaction, RPAC is there for you. You may refuse to contribute without reprisal and the National Association of REALTORS® or any of its state associations or local boards will not favor or disfavor any member because of the amount contributed.

RULES FOR DEDUCTIBILITY: RPAC voluntary contributions are not deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes.Provisions of the Federal Tax Act regarding lobbying expenses limit the extent to which National, State and Local dues are deductible.

For 2016, with dues at $120 per member, NAR computes $50 to be nondeductible for income tax purposes due to NAR lobbying efforts. Please note the entire $35 Public Awareness Campaign special assessment and $70 of the NAR dues qualifies as fully deductible.

For 2016, with dues at $180 per member, IAR computes $28.03 to be nondeductible for income tax purposes due to IAR lobbying efforts. Please note the entire $10 Legal Review Fee and $141.97 of the IAR dues qualifies as fully deductible.

Social Media and the Code of Ethics

Guest Article: Brenda Kolsen, ACAR 2015 President

This time of year is especially busy, which means we’re interacting with more and more of our fellow REALTORS®. Every one of us has a different way of working and communicating with our clients and other agents. Because of that, there may be times when we encounter an agent that we just aren’t in sync with. Maybe due to a miscommunication, difference of opinion, or straight up mistake.

However, I’ve noticed more and more agents taking to social media to vent about others, even going so far as to post snippets of texts or emails they’ve received, share confidential information, or unfortunately, post outright insults.

Not to get into the weeds, but here’s a recent example… a Facebook post from a listing agent accusing a buyer’s agent of not properly educating their client about how to write offers, after receiving one for their listing. The agent went as far as identifying the property and the difference between the offer and list prices.

There are a lot of issues with this, but from a standard of practice point-of-view, a buyer’s agent is required to submit all offers made by their clients, and listing agents must present all offers they receive to their clients, unless they have been instructed, in writing, not to.

While I don’t know the specifics behind this situation, we’ve all been on the other end of an offer we think isn’t quite right; or as a buyer’s agent, have had a client insist a specific price or term that we know won’t go over well. Whatever side we’re on, we never know the motivation of the other party, and should be respectful in our dealings with any offer.

Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of these situations over the years, and know the stress they can create. But we cannot publically vent or call out other agents. Furthermore, if we see it happening, we need to speak up.

In fact, this particular issue has been addressed by the Code of Ethics from the National Association of REALTORS®, by which we’ve all agreed to abide. Take note of Article 15 from the Code of Ethics, which states:

“REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices. [This] includes the duty to not knowingly or recklessly publish, repeat, retransmit, or republish false or misleading statements made by others… in person, in writing, by technological means (e.g., the Internet), or by any other means. [Additionally, this] includes the duty to publish a clarification about or to remove statements made by others on electronic media the REALTOR® controls once the REALTOR® knows the statement is false or misleading.” (Source: www.realtor.org/governance/governing-documents/the-code-of-ethics#DutiestoRealtors)

Basically, don’t put down your colleagues, for any reason through any medium. Not on Twitter, Facebook, to another agent, in your blog, to a client, etc. Not only is it a violation of the Code of Ethics, as noted, it’s just bad business.

Remember, in the real estate world, you are your brand. Your presence online and IRL is extremely important to your business. So if a consumer sees an agent being a bully to others, they don’t think, “Hey, that person must really know what they’re talking about.” Many times it’s a huge turn off. And those online comments—or any responses made to a comment—can stick with an agent’s personal brand forever.

So what can we do about it?

Should you run across online venting by agents, or should you become the target of it, you have options.

First, notify your broker of the situation, and ask them to reach out to agent or agent’s broker to get the content removed immediately—especially if you’re not comfortable confronting the other agent directly. Then, reach out to the staff at ACAR or Idaho REALTORS® to discuss filing an ethics complaint, citing Article 15. For some it can be scary to go that route, but it’s much worse to have an agent making negative comments unchecked, potentially harming peoples’ businesses and reputations.

That said, I know that 99% of us don’t engage in this kind of behavior, and I thank you for that. But if you see it happening anywhere online, and especially on social media, please speak up. Doing so will help raise the level of professionalism throughout our industry, both in person and online.

Thank you!
Brenda Kolsen
2015 President
Ada County Association of REALTORS®

Stop Patent Trolls – Avoid Future Lawsuits

REALTORS® across the country receive threatening demand letters and lawsuits alleging patent infringement based on the use of common business tools such as drop down menus or search alert functions on websites and the scanner function on a copier. These patent trolls buy vague patents and use them to turn everyday business practices into potential lawsuits. TAKE ACTION NOW

How does it work? Patent trolls -– or, to call them by a less disparaging name, “patent assertion entity” –- is a person or group who tries to enforce patent rights against infringers in an attempt to collect fees, but who doesn’t actually produce any product or technology related to that patent. A patent troll might buy a patent from a bankrupt company, then sue another company, claiming that one of its products infringes on the patent.

IS MOBILE YOUR THING? GET THE REALTOR®PARTY MOBILE APP BY TEXTING “APP” TO 30644

When there is a Call for Action, you will receive a standard push notification alerting you. The mobile action alert allows you to take action immediately. The new mobile action alert format will make your participation a snap!

April Market Report: Disappearing Inventory

Market Snapshot_AprilThere were 803 single-family home sold in Ada County in April 2015, up 21% from this same time last year. The Median Home Price in April was at $216,200, which was also an increase over last year, by 3.2%. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the low inventory of available homes, compared to the rising demand, is one of the key reasons that many markets are seeing these price increases — including Ada County.

The Months Supply of Inventory was at 3.1 months, which was a year-over-year decrease of 31% (down from 4.5 months in April 2014). A market is typically considered “balanced” between supply and demand when there is 4-6 months of inventory. The low supply has also driven down the Days on Market that sellers can expect. On average, homes sold within 50 days of being listed, which was a full week faster than last year at this time; a decrease of 12%.

Three other factors that have been driving demand, include — increased length of ownership, improved job growth, and increasing rental rates. This is according to a May 2015 Economic and Housing Market Outlook from the National Association of REALTORS® and Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun. More on these statistics:

  • Current homeowners are staying in their homes longer than in previous years – up to 10 years in 2014 vs. 6 years in 2008, nationwide.
  • Job growth is up and unemployment is down, meaning consumers are becoming more confident about their ability to buy and keep a home. Idaho was noted as being one of the best states for job growth over the past 12 months.
  • As rental vacancies drop and rental rates rise (now at a 7-year high, nationally), homeownership could become more desirable and possibly cheaper for some people, depending on mortgage rates and lending standards.

For more information on this national market outlook, download the entire presentation here: http://www.realtor.org/presentations/economic-and-housing-market-outlook. And check back in with ACAR next month for updated local numbers.

Drones Taking Real Estate Marketing to New Heights

Real estate agents across the country have been waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to release guidelines permitting the use of drones for commercial purposes, such as marketing real estate. Last month, the FAA released its proposed rules, which would allow realty professionals to use drones to aid their clients in marketing and selling properties.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, are aircrafts without a human pilot aboard. The applications for this new technology are varied and numerous. Property managers are interested in drones’ property inspection applications while real estate agents hope to use drones to capture videos and pictures that help visualize and market clients’ residential and commercial properties.

“New drone technologies can help real estate agents market homes and properties in ways that were cost-prohibitive in the past,” said Brenda Kolsen, Ada County Association of REALTORS (ACAR) President. “Aerial photography and video could someday be an added value that Realtors® provide for all of their clients, creating eye-catching listings that stand out to potential buyers.”

The new rules provide guidance on the various permits and registrations operators will need to obtain, when and where the drones can be used and the requirements for reporting accidents or injuries. It will likely take two years for the rules to be finalized and go into effect.

Some of the requirements included in the proposed rule are:

  • Commercial drones’ flights would be restricted to 500 feet in altitude, 100 miles per hour of speed and daylight hours.
  • All flights would need to be within visual line of sight of the person operating the drone.
  • Operators of commercial drones would be required to pass an aeronautical knowledge test be issued a permit to fly, which must be renewed every two years. This would be different from receiving a pilot’s license.

While drones are exciting new technology, until the rules are finalized Ada County Association of REALTORS® reminds sellers that real estate professionals cannot use drones to aid in the selling and marketing of properties.

“Currently, using drones to market and sell either residential or commercial property can result in heavy fines for agents,” said Kolsen. “But when the rules are finalized, drones will hopefully become an exciting, new tool to help sellers make their property even more attractive to buyers.”

For more information and updates, as they become available, please visit www.realtor.org/drones.

March Market Report- Starts off Strong

Market Snapshot_MarchMarch 2015 is the strongest March we’ve had since 2007. Single-family home sales in March 2015 were 694 in Ada County. YTD total sales are up 14% compared to this time last year; 1,630 homes sold compared to $1,425.

Days on Market for March were 65. That’s slightly down from February and we see it continue to hover around the same number the past few months.

New homes sold in March totaled 134; Existing home sales were 560.

March median home price was $222,000. Our YTD Median Price is $222,700.

New Homes Median Price for March was $282,402. Existing Home Median Price for March was $210,000.

Pending sales at the end of March were 1,208.

In Ada County we now have 3.6 months of inventory on hand, a very slight increase from February, but we can use it as we go into the Spring selling season.

March was strong in both sales and median home price, this should continue into the summer.

On the National level Existing-Home Sales spike in March. NAR Study: Boomerang Buyers Expected to Boost Housing Demand

Looks like we are gearing up for an interesting summer.

It Pays to Take Your Education at BRR

Educational opportunities are available at BRR! We offer a variety of informational and CE classes. Check out the Class Schedule for more information on upcoming classes. There are also classes available online. Learn more on the Online Education page.

Congratulations Award Winners

The 2015 Ada County Association of REALTORS Annual REALTOR Awards Gala featuring our Circle of Excellence Top Producers and Association Award Recipients was a great success!  We are so proud of all the honorees and award recipients, and hope everyone will join us in recognizing their accomplishments:

February Market Report- Has Spring Sprung?

Market Snapshot_FebruarySingle-family home sales in February 2015 were 507 in Ada County, an increase of 10.41% compared to February 2014.

Days on Market were 67, that is slightly down from 70 days last month.

New homes sold in February totaled 109; up 8.12% from last year.

Existing home sales were 398; up 11.11% from 2014.

February median home price was $224,900 with a 9.86% increase over 2014.

With continued increase over last year, Existing home price was $196,750 with 11.25% change.New home median price was $305,000 with a slight decrease of -1.45% from last year.

We had a very slight increase with months of inventory available 3.8 months of inventory. As we head toward spring and summer, we could use an increase in inventory.

February is typically our weakest month for median home price. February 2015 was pretty strong.  This should continue into the Summer.

Bottom line…it’s going to be a complicated first quarter for real estate.