Shari Fernandez announced as ACAR’s new Director of Communications

Fernandez-LoRes-1 The Ada County Association of REALTORS® (ACAR) is excited to announce Shari Fernandez as the new Director of Communications, beginning December 1, 2015. Her education paired with her experience in real estate and non-profits, made her an ideal fit for the role.

Shari earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Washington State University, and a Master in Public Administration degree from Boise State University. She is currently involved with Leadership Boise and Boise Young Professionals, through the city’s Chamber of Commerce.

She has served as the Business Development Director for the Heart Walk with the American Heart Association, the Director of Programs for the Community Transportation Association of Idaho, and a Development Associate at Idaho State University. In addition to these roles, her past work as a licensed transaction coordinator and closing agent with a local real estate firm gives her the professional and hands-on experience needed to serve ACAR’s more than 3,600 members.

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The Ada County Association of REALTORS® (ACAR) represents more than 3,600 real estate professionals throughout the Boise region, providing resources to help members conduct their businesses professionally, ethically, and successfully. ACAR has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, the IntermountainMLS (IMLS) and the REALTORS® Community Foundation. Visit,, and for more information.


Distributed to the media on December 1, 2015.

ACAR Members Appointed to NAR Committees; Gail Hartnett Selected as President’s Liaison

Six members of the Ada County Association of REALTORS® (ACAR) were appointed this week, to committees at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). They are:

  • Julie DeLorenzo, Keller Williams Realty Boise — Member of the Public Policy Coordinating Committee and the REALTOR® Party Member Involvement Committee
  • Gail Hartnett, Keller Williams Realty Boise — 2016 President’s Liaison
  • Kit Fitzgerald, Red Barn Real Estate — Member of the Broker Involvement Council, the Leadership Academy Advisory Group, and the RPAC Major Investor Council
  • Brenda Kolsen, Silverhawk Realty, ACAR’s 2015 President — Member of the Business Issues Policy Committee and the Professional Development Committee
  • Georgia Meacham, Front Street Brokers — Chair of the Housing Opportunity Committee, and Member of the Public Policy Coordinating Committee and the Smart Growth Advisory Board
  • Katrina Wehr, Silvercreek Realty Group, ACAR’s 2015 Vice President — Member of the Risk Management Committee

NARAs noted, REALTOR® Gail Hartnett was selected by NAR’s 2016 President, Tom Salamone, to serve as a 2016 President’s Liaison. In this role, Hartnett will serve on NAR’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and will oversee 12 committees, including: Business Issues Policy; Consumer Communications; Conventional Financing and Policy; Federal Financing and Housing Policy; Federal Legislative and Political Forum; Federal Taxation; Federal Technology Policy Advisory Board; Insurance; Land Use, Property Rights, and Environment; Public Advocacy Advisory Group; Public Policy Coordinating; and, Regulatory Issues Forum.

“ACAR is lucky to have such a strong connection to the national association through Gail’s involvement,” said ACAR’s Chief Executive Officer, Breanna Vanstrom. “She will do an outstanding job as President’s Liaison for members across the country — while also making sure that ACAR members stay well informed about the issues she’s working on.”

Julie DeLorenzo and Kit Fitzgerald will also serve on NAR’s Board of Directors — DeLorenzo as the Idaho REALTORS® National Director, and Fitzgerald as the ACAR National Director.

“We are very proud of everyone from our association who has stepped up to take on these important, national leadership roles, in addition to running their successful real estate businesses. They truly exemplify what it means to be a REALTOR® — serving their clients and fellow members,” said Vanstrom.

The following staff from ACAR and IMLS were also appointed to national committees:

  • Miguel Legarreta, ACAR Public Policy Director — Member of the Housing Opportunity Committee and the Public Policy Coordinating Committee
  • Breanna Vanstrom, ACAR Chief Executive Officer — Member of the Association Executives Young Professionals Network (AE YPN) Advisory Board and the Data Strategies Committee
  • Greg Manship, IMLS Chief Executive Officer — Member of the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee








Distributed to the media on October 20, 2015.

ACAR is Proud to Announce the Newly Elected 2016 Officers and Directors

At the Annual Membership Meeting of the Ada County Association of REALTORS® (ACAR), the following REALTORS® were elected to serve on the Board of Directors, starting in 2016:

  • Gary Salisbury of Red Barn Real Estate will serve as 2016 Vice President
  • Danielle Cullip of Silverhawk Realty will serve as 2016-2017 Treasurer
  • Jeffrey Wills of Amherst Madison Legacy will serve as 2016-2018 Director
  • Krista Deacon of Silvercreek Realty Group will serve as 2016-2018 Director

2016 ACAR DirectorsThey will serve alongside ACAR’s 2016 President Carey Farmer of Group One, 2016 President-Elect Katrina Wehr of Silvercreek Realty Group, 2016 Immediate Past President Brenda Kolsen of Silverhawk Realty, and the following Directors: Michelle Bailey of Keller Williams Realty Boise, Jared Cozby of Front Street Brokers, Dianne Hough of Group One, and Bob Van Allen of Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group.

Five additional members were elected to represent ACAR as State Directors on the Idaho Association of REALTORS® Board, and will serve from 2016-2018:

  • Becky Enrico-Crum of Andy Enrico & Company
  • Shirley Koch of Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group
  • Carolyn Sinnard of Happy Dog Realty
  • Susan Weaver of Group One
  • Greg Winther of Silvercreek Realty Group

2016 State Directors

They will serve alongside ACAR’s continuing State Directors: Chase Craig of Keller Williams Realty Boise, Phil Mount of Front Street Brokers, Gary Salisbury of Red Barn Real Estate, and Katrina Wehr of Silvercreek Realty Group.

ACAR is also represented on the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors by Kit Fitzgerald of Red Barn Real Estate. Her term goes through 2016.

Congratulations to our newest Officers and Directors — a big thank you to all of our volunteer leadership!

2016 Committee Applications Now Being Accepted! your seat at the table!
(Well, not this exact table, but you know what we mean.)

To accomplish ACAR’s Mission, we rely on the experience and expertise of volunteer members, who serve on our various committees, advisory groups, and subsidiary boards. In doing so, members help us plan programs, events, and outreach activities, based on what’s happening in the market today.

Through your involvement, you’ll gain valuable industry insights, improve your leadership skills, and build your professional network — which, in turn, helps you with your own business and other volunteer commitments.

UPDATE — 11/6/2015: Applications for 2016 Committees are now closed.

Still interested in serving? Reach out to the staff liaison or committee chair directly to see if any additional assistance is needed. And check back in the summer when we’ll open applications for the 2017 committees. Thank you for your interest!

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.

Appraiser Process Explained

Missed the last Mingle with the Master’s Panel on Appraisals? What’s Mingle with the Masters? A program that connects new members (those who have been with the association for two years or less) with experienced agents and affiliates, to discuss key industry issues and share best practices in real estate. Read on for highlights from the appraisal panel… and thanks to Danielle Cullip, ACAR Director and Task Force chair, for coordinating and moderating this great event!

Appraisals have become a point of discussion more recently, as they aren’t always keeping up with rising home prices. When you do get an appraisal back that’s lower than the agreed upon purchase price, it throws a kink in the deal… terms have to be renegotiated, closings get delayed, or a deal simply falls apart.

ACAR Affiliate members Bill Schultz with Schultz Appraisal, Jon Nishikawa with 24 Hour Appraisals, Mark Young with Stan Young Appraisals, and Bryan Booth with Fairway Mortgage provided these insights so REALTORS® understand the appraisal process and the research that goes into each one.

The appraisal process explained

Most appraisals are performed for lending purposes and regulations required the lender to “initiate” the appraisal. The lender must have the first contact with the appraiser, and will oversee the process, as follows:

  1. Lender requests an appraisal on the subject property (the house that’s being purchased)
  2. Appraiser pulls comparable properties ( “comps”) usually from the MLS
  3. Then they schedule an appointment to see the home in person
  4. Prepare the appraisal report, making final adjustments to value; and here are two resources if you’re looking for guidance when making adjustments:
  1. Once completed, the lender receives the final report electronically
  2. The lender then typically contacts the buyer with the results

Have a buyer that wants to really get into the details? Download “A Guide to Understanding Residential Appraisal,” from The Appraisal Foundation.

How appraisers determine their comps

Because the Appraiser operates independently their opinion will be based purely on the market and the state of the property… “How do they determine the value?” Appraisers perform market research, data analysis, and then make adjustments based to the comps they’ve selected to determine an opinion of value. To select their comps, they are typically looking for the following, based on the subject property:

  • Listed/sold within the last 90 days
  • 1 mile radius, with prefer the same subdivision*
  • Same property type, and similar in size and age
  • Remove comps on the very high and very low ends of price

* If a home is very unique or there truly aren’t recent or similar comparables, they may pull more properties for comparison, or go beyond the 90 day list/sold timeframe.

Tips for Agents When Pricing a Property

By pricing the property right from the start, you can increase your chances of a smooth appraisal. The appraisers shared these tips for agents:

  • Do not set your price based on price per square footage (alone or at all, depending on who you ask)
  • Pull your comps and do your research using the tools available through IMLS:

When pulling comps for rural properties, or for homes with acreage, ask what a potential buyer might consider comparable to your property — lot size, HOA, property features, etc. — then look for comps accordingly. “You might consider going beyond the 90 day list/sold timeframe with these,” added Mark Young.

FHA and VA vs. Conventional Appraisals

“With FHA and VA home loans, one major difference from conventional home loans, is that once you receive your appraised value, it stays with the home for six months,” said Bryan Booth.

Providing Comps or Information for the Appraiser

Buyers, sellers and REALTORS® are free to ask appraisers or lenders to consider additional property information, and comparisons. They may discuss the unique conditions of a home and its neighborhood with appraisers to assist the appraiser with their report. For example:

  • Comps of similar homes in the subdivision.
  • If the subject property was sold previously in the last 12 months.
  • Information about improvements to the property or any other hidden features/improvements.
  • Indicate if the subject property has a right-of-way, easements, may be in a flood zone, or any other hidden detriments you’re aware of/have disclosed.

Agent-Appraiser Relationship

Tighter lending standards have left real estate agents and appraisers confused about what can or cannot be discussed during the appraisal process, and with whom agents can talk to if they have a complaint about the results of an appraisal.

“If you ever have questions about the process or the price opinion, just call. I might not be able to share everything because of confidentiality, but it’s better for all of us we get along,” said Jon Nishikawa. Bill Schultz added: “There is a perception that agents can’t talk to appraisers. That’s not true, the better relationships, better we have communications equals a better process for everyone.”

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:

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®

ACAR Legislative Wrap Up

It’s already more than half way through the year and ACAR has been working on a number community involvement and public policy programs.

ACAR led a campaign to support the passage a bond for the West Ada School District that brought $96 million in needed funds to build 4 new schools and renovate a high school.  After failing last summer the supermajority bond passed with 71% approval, relieving overcrowding in elementary, middle and high schools throughout Ada County.

ACAR has been meeting with the College of Western Idaho on their plans on expansion in Ada County and downtown Boise (we were also very pleased to have CWI Trustee and former IR CEO Mark Dunham present at our 59 Minute meeting).  In 2007, we were very supportive of the original bond campaign to create the college and which has seen remarkable growth to over 20,000 students (more than any community college in the history of community colleges).   REALTORS recognize education is vital to ensure a healthy environment for education and business.

This year ACAR has worked with the city of Meridian on downtown redevelopment and planning through a placemaking project that was highlighted by NAR .  Additionally, we are working on several other community projects that add value to homes and that improves communities we live and work.  Our work as a whole received national attention by NAR, as we were awarded the 1st ever Community Outreach Award.

The Idaho Legislature adjourned on April 10th (with a special one-day session on May 18th).   There were several impactful issues on the table including additional funding for transportation and education.   Funding in education included increases in teacher pay to make salaries more competitive in addition to ensuring adequate broadband/internet connectivity to students throughout Idaho.   Overall, public schools received a 7.4% increase, colleges and universities received a 3% increase, and professional-technical education received a 5.9% increase.

In addition, the Legislature addressed growing concerns about the condition of roads and bridges by increasing funding through registration fees ($21) and fuel tax (7 cents). These funds are utilized through a 60-40 split between the State Highway Account and local units of government and provides for about $136 million of the $540 million dollar annual shortfall.

Some of the issues concerning REALTORS and real estate include:

Several pieces of legislation passed by the Idaho Real Estate Commission, including cleaning up real estate statute (spelling, errors), changing the certification period for education providers, and clarifying an agent must be the owner of an LLC if they want to be paid through an LLC.

In response to ongoing debate over Urban Renewal Agencies, an Urban Renewal Study Committee was authorized to study urban renewal plans and issues and addressing concerns such as more sideboards and transparency.  ACAR works with a number of Urban Renewal Agencies on economic development, so this issue is important related to economic development.

There were several land use planning bills, but only one passed which prohibits the use of eminent domain by local government for obtaining land for greenbelts and trails, preferring the use of eminent domain for roadways.

There was a rule change by the Idaho Tax Commission clarifying the Homeowners Exemption as follows;

Part Year Ownership. For qualifying taxpayers who claimed the homeowner’s exemption on an eligible property, the homestead that qualified on January 1 of the current tax year shall continue to receive the exemption, provided however, the assessor may remove that property’s exemption if, by April 15 of the tax year, the taxpayer owns a different homestead and requests that the exemption be transferred to the second homestead.

For additional details on passed legislation download the Idaho REALTORS 2015 Session Wrap Up.

It has been a very productive year for real estate and real estate issues, we will continue to protect your business, enhance the communities we live and improve opportunities for home ownership

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

Paint the Town


2015 Paint the Town is right around the corner! The deadline has passed but if you are interested in helping with a team contact Sarah Kestler directly at 947-7236 and we can get you connected with a team.

This year, Paint the Town is on Saturday June 13th.  NHS is having a kick-off on May 30th.  Find out more about the entire Paint the Town event here.

If you can’t volunteer this year NeighborWorks (formerly Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS)) can still use your help. Get involved virtually ‘Buy a Bucket.’