The first six weeks of 2017 have been busy with planning our year’s schedule, our Board planning workshop, OAR winter meetings, and finalizing the books for 2016.
On the national front the 115th Congress has begun and the newest Members of Congress have been sworn in and are getting familiarized with their new offices. What about Tax Reform? Here is what NAR has learned so far. The Trump administration along with the Republican Congressional leadership intends to use a legislative vehicle called Budget Reconciliation to move Tax Reform. NAR is already engaged with key members of the tax-writing committees in the House and Senate, on both sides of the aisle, to outline our positions on Tax Reform. NAR outlined our opposition to the tax reform proposal known as the “Blueprint” in a letter to the Speaker of the House and the Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee in December. The focus of the letter was to oppose potential changes to the standard deduction and the elimination of most individual deductions. This one-two punch would eliminate the tax advantages of homeownership. The letter did not address the many other real estate tax provisions that may emerge as potential targets as the reform process moves forward. NAR is committed to protecting real estate tax policies in their entirety, residential and commercial. Tax Reform Materials are available on NAR.org for you to review.
The OAR Winter meetings were held from January 14th – 17th. For 2017 I am serving as the MLS Forum Vice-Chair and as such I was as to be part of a discussion panel on MLS Consolidation. This is NAR’s new project to follow up Core Standards. The questions that were discussed are listed below;
1. What do you think are the factors putting pressure on MLSs? (Zillow, copyright, etc)
2. How can MLSs work to assist independent brokers and agents of small companies while not interfering with large broker services?
3. With projects like the Broker Portal and Upstream, how does the local MLS stay part of the conversation; Do we have any ideas how MLS rules will be maintained, and do you have any Brokers participating in any of the beta testing.
4. NAR's Danger Report suggests that the current MLS-centric era might be coming to an end. There is a strong likelihood that the MLS may lose its exclusive positioning as the principal source of real estate listings with the entry of a new player. Is it too late to save MLS as we know it? Will a single portal like Upstream work?
5. Does your MLS Committee or MLS Board have an appraiser or appraisers serving on the Committee? Do they vote? If so, have you seen that to be a positive addition?
6. Is it the MLS's position to ensure that consumers are always receiving valuable and accurate information, or the Brokers?
7. Looking into your crystal ball, where is the MLS going?
This was a good discussion and this will continue to be a NAR item at this year’s meetings.
Our Accounting firm was in the office on January 20th and started our tax returns and our financial audit review. All accounts were in good order and all required documents were available for him. We ended the year with a small profit and our tax liability should be negligible.
The office received several calls and emails in regards to Broker items and I will be reading a letter from D.J. on this matter to the Directors. We also have had a complaint concerning advertising claims using MLS statistics.
I received a message from the President of the Hartland Board asking to attend a meeting with their personnel committee to discuss shared services. President Alex and I did travel to Findlay on the 14th and they requested that we continue to explore this matter further.
The registration for the NAR Legislative meetings opens on February 15.
David W. Freitag, RCE CEO
Active - Active is an on-market status and is used when a valid listing agreement exists and no offers have been accepted.
Canceled - Cancelled is an off-market status to be used when the listing agreement has been canceled. This status does not expire out.
Contingent - This means that an offer has been accepted on the property but the sale depends on home inspection, financing, etc.. It may still be possible to tour the property and/or submit an offer in case the current one falls through.
Held - Held is an off-market status when a listing agreement is in place but for various reasons such as repairs, illness, etc...the seller has requested that there be no showings on the property for a limited time not to exceed thirty (30) days.
Pending - The sale of the home is pending closing.
Sold - The house or property has sold.
Withdrawn - This means that the listing has been taken off the market but may be available again. The seller still has a listing contract with his/her broker but is not actively showing the home. This status will change to expired on the date entered.
CEO Report to Board
The year of 2016 is wrapping up as you are reading this month’s report and I would like to take time to look back on the past year.
We began with our year with a goal of visiting member offices and I am happy to report that we were able to visit a large number of offices. The visits were very well received, and I hope that the leadership will continue this practice. At the OAR winter conference DJ presented a class on professional standards to the state executives committee. Class went very well and we received many compliments on this class.
In January we received word from IRS our foundation has been granted Tax Exempt Status.
In February we had 2 RPR sessions for our members and had great attendance for those events.
In March we had our 30 hours of CE at the Board Office at the beginning of the Month. I attended the AEI in San Antonio; the big focus was on NAR’s MLS views. The message is that MLS should not be part of your core value, but focus on advocacy. Our Board is still committed to the MLS and will continue to make it part of our core values.
In April we attended the OAR legislative meetings and once again had our legislative dinner with the state officials and had great attendance by local officials. We also did this in conjunction with the Lorain Co. Board and the Toledo Board of Realtors®. The Charitable Foundation held its first fundraising event and we were able to collect over $6000.00 in contributions.
In May Tammy Steinle and I attended the Mediation Training put on by OAR in Columbus. The officers and I traveled to Washington D.C. for the NAR mid-year meetings and legislative meetings. Once again our leadership team did a great job of delivering our legislative concerns with our federally elected officials.
In June Connie and I attended the OAR Executive Seminar at Mohican Lodge. We also had a by-laws committee meeting to go over changes to be proposed to the Board in the fall. The Forms Committee met in June to finalize the listing agreement.
In July we held our annual CE at Put-in-Bay and had great attendance. July 19th & 20th Rapattoni staff was at the building to work with the staff and leadership team to start the design review of the MLS System. Connie and I also had a web session with Rapattoni to discuss the website’s ADA compliance. We have formulated a strategy to monitor the regulations and add items to bring our site into compliance. Also in July the Legislative Committee met with Lorain Co. Legislative Committee and held legislative candidate interviews for the open Ohio 57th Legislative seat.
In August we held the Annual Bob Stayer Golf Classic. After all bills were paid the event has been the most profitable to date. Also in August, President Elect Alex and I attended 2017 NAR Leadership Summit. In August we also had the 2nd Annual Island Cruise for RPAC.
In September we had the General Membership meeting in Fremont. We also attended the 2016 OAR convention with a great attendance. There was a reception at the Marriott that the OAR Leadership team attended. On September 23rd I attended a breakfast fundraiser event in Toledo for Senator Randy Gardner and followed by a Luncheon for LuLu in Fremont. On the 28th the Community Service committee held a meeting and discussed goals and ideas for the coming year.
In October we had a conference call with Rapattoni to discuss the design review that we are finishing for our MLS. Our Annual awards banquet was held on October 11th and we had a large attendance. October 17th I traveled to Columbus for OAR 2017 Leadership Meetings a long with President Sara Riesen.
In November we started working on plans for 2017. The officers met and assigned committee chairs and vice chairs.
In December DJ and I attended the OAR Attorney AE meetings in Columbus. In today’s meeting you will also see the calendar for 2017 events that have been planned and are committed to.
In the office staff Connie has moved to the MLS office and will now be the MLS Director. On December 12th we welcomed Leslie Bixby as our Administrative Assistant. I feel the staff will be in good shape now and Connie can direct more of her attention to the MLS. I want to thank the Directors who will be leaving the Board. Fran and Tammy, thank you for your valued years of service. And last but not least, Frank Corder for his leadership and hard work on our Board of Directors. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
David W. Freitag, RCE CEO