No Drone Photos, Unless ...
After a great deal of research, much discussion, the advice of legal counsel, and approval from NAR, the board of directors of the West Michigan Lakeshore Association of REALTORS® has banned from its MLS photos taken with a drone, says association CEO Dale Zahn, RCE, unless the MLS subscriber can submit proof that the photos were taken in compliance with all requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration and other applicable laws regulating the use of drones for commercial purposes.
In its memo to subscribers, the association said the decision was about “safety and security and following the law. The directors are not saying a member cannot use drone photography. They are saying do it right. To do it right, this means obtaining a Section 333 waiver from the FAA.”
The new MLS rule states that any photos, videos, images, or depictions submitted in violation of the rule will be removed from display and the participant will be subject to disciplinary action.
Join NAR in the Centennial Celebration of the REALTOR® Trademark
The trademark term “REALTOR®” was adopted in 1916 to identify the members of the National Association of REALTORS®, a revolutionary group of individuals deeply committed to integrity, community, and protecting the American dream of property ownership. Throughout 2016, NAR will celebrate the association’s history, future, and members. As part of the celebration, NAR will launch an interactive website late this year where members can share how they are making a difference within their communities. Local associations are asked to encourage their members to submit stories and to nominate commendable members whose contributions show pride in who they are and how they are helping consumers understand the power of REALTORS®. Look for more information in early 2016.
The “Home Ownership Matters” float created by the Ashland Board of REALTORS® in Ohio was a popular attraction in the city of Ashland’s bicentennial parade. Members of the association’s Public Relations Committee and leadership wore REALTOR® T-shirts while walking with the float and handing out candy.
The Montgomery County Association of REALTORS® in Pennsylvania hosted its annual golf outing July 20 as a fundraiser for Family Services of Montgomery County. More than 120 people golfed and more than 180 attended a dinner and silent auction to raise a record $18,000.
The South Metro Denver REALTOR® Association and RE/MAX partnered with Habitat for Humanity to provide half of a full-home sponsorship ($42,500). REALTOR® volunteers were onsite in August to help build the house for a deserving family.
REALTOR® Association Featured as Model of Board Governance in New Book
The success story and best practices of the Northern Virginia Associations of REALTORS® and its former CEO, Christine Todd, in cultivating a highly effective board of directors are featured in the new book, Transformational Governance: How Boards Achieve Extraordinary Change. Building on the previous research of member—serving association boards highlighted in What Makes High-Performing Boards, authors Beth Gazley and Katha Kissman focus on the stages and processes CEOs and their staff used to transform volunteer boards—bringing about significant changes in governance practices that had positive effect. The authors explore in depth the actions a board can take to achieve desired results, including techniques for altering expectations and changing bylaws, structures, policies, and roles. Based on research funded by the ASAE Foundation, the book fills a gap in the governance literature by emphasizing diagnosis and problem solving, using the actual tools and activities implemented by 85 transformed associations. Combining the credibility of scholarly research with lively and compelling stories, tools, and teachable moments, this book is designed to help associations and other nonprofit organizations achieve the entire journey to good governance, from first to last steps. It’s available at Amazon.com in hardcover and e-book.
Are Your Members Ready for TRID?
On Nov. 20, 2013, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ruled to integrate disclosures and regulations required by RESPA and the Truth in Lending Act. The final rule, called TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure, or TRID, integrates existing disclosures with new requirements from the Dodd-Frank Act to improve consumer understanding of the mortgage process, aid in comparison shopping, and help prevent surprises at the closing table. These changes take effect Oct. 3.
A recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS® found that most members are aware of the mortgage closing changes, yet when asked if they are ready for the change, slightly more than 20 percent of members said they were not ready or only somewhat ready.
Direct your members to the myriad resources available to help them understand the changes. Among the online resources is a sharable NAR video explaining the closing changes (at nar.realtor/topics/trid-tila-respa-integrated-disclosure), the Field Guide to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (at nar.realtor/field-guides/field-guide-to-the-tila-respa-integrated-disclosure-rule-trid), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Know Before You Owe: The Real Estate Professional’s Guide” (at consumerfinance.gov/know-before-you-owe/real-estate-professionals).
NAR has established a strong cooperative relationship with the CFPB to communicate the resources available to REALTORS®, and to work together to address the impact TRID will have on closings.
Grant-Funded Association Welcome Guide
The Santa Fe Association of REALTORS®’ new “Welcome to Santa Fe” guide features a wealth of information for new home owners and residents alike, including extensive information on local affordable housing programs and services. The association received funding from NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program Grant program to produce the guide, which includes a section where members can add their personal information for sharing with clients.
Bring NAR Tech Edge to Your Board in 2016
Contact the National Association of REALTORS® by Nov. 1 if you would like your association to host one of eight NAR Tech Edge events planned for 2016. The event is a one-day conference that brings the latest business technology to your members. NAR speakers and local technology experts present sessions on everything from mobile marketing and online identities to Facebook for business and content creation. For more, visit epronar.com/nar-tech-edge/host.
Indianapolis REALTORS® Score Win-Win With Graffiti Abatement Program
Using a Game Changer Grant from the National Association of REALTORS®, the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS® joined forces with other local funders to create the mobile Graffiti Abatement Unit that responds to calls from residents reporting graffiti and from property owners who are unable to remove graffiti from their own houses and businesses. The program uses a donated fire truck and a trailer fully loaded with equipment and is staffed by Recycle Force, a program helping former inmates reenter the workforce with dignity, viable skills, and a strong work ethic.
The associations celebrated the launch of the Graffiti Abatement Unit on June 24 with a volunteer opportunity and news conference, which brought out about 20 members who painted several high-profile sites along a major thoroughfare.
“The challenges of graffiti are not unique to Indianapolis; communities across the country are dealing with it,” says Chris Pryor, government affairs director of the 6,850-member association. “Programs like this are one way that REALTORS® can have a direct impact on the issue of crime,” he says. “We believe it’s a terrific way for REALTORS® to be a part of the solution in supporting a healthy real estate market and a safer, more vibrant community.”
REALTORS® Help Elect Pro-Business REALTOR® Champion to City Council
When a seat opened up on the San Jose, Calif., city council last January, the 5,000-member Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® took action. It saw an opportunity to elect a candidate who would stand up for its issues on a council that was fairly evenly divided between labor and business. And there were a number of significant property-rights issues looming on the horizon.
Adding a grant from the REALTOR® Party to political action funds of its own, the association supported REALTOR® champion Manh Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American businessman, with a powerful and positive independent expenditure campaign. He won a decisive victory in the June election.
Shortly after the election, Nguyen attended SCCAOR’s annual membership picnic, where he expressed his gratitude and took the time to meet with members. “We invite all the local elected officials,” says association Government Affairs Director Vince Rocha. “Many of them make a point of coming because they know that REALTORS® understand the needs of the community and our neighborhoods.”
Washington State REALTORS® Help Defeat Two Tax Hikes
In consultation with the National Association of REALTORS®’ Campaign Services team, the Washington Association of REALTORS® developed an extended two-part plan it called “Recover Washington” to battle proposed tax hikes. First, in the past election year, the association worked hard to get as many friends as possible in place in the legislature; second, with a significant Issues Mobilization grant from the REALTOR® Party and the participation of a 25-member coalition of small business advocacy groups, the association conducted a major public issue campaign, making use of television, radio, online ads, social media, mailers, and paid calls targeting swing districts, all with the counsel of NAR’s razor-sharp polling services.
Washington Association leadership was deeply involved in the effort, and members responded energetically to the association’s calls to action; they also tackled the tax issue as a focal point of their annual Hill Day, when they meet with members of the legislature to discuss matters that affect the real estate industry. “It was a great marriage of NAR resources, our association’s resources, and the grassroots effort of members out in the field,” says association GAD Nathan Gorton.
By leading a coalition of like-minded groups representing small businesses, he adds, the Washington Association was able to fight a tax on its members without appearing self-serving.
In the end, the “Recover Washington” campaign scored two major wins. First, a 20 percent increase in the gross receipts tax paid by REALTORS® was deleted from the proposed tax package. Then, a new 7 percent capital gains tax on investment properties and second homes was defeated after a bitter battle that went into special session.
“It’s been a long, hard fight, and a real roller-coaster ride at times,” says association CEO Steve Francks, “but in the end, I can proudly say that this was as good a legislative session as WR has ever had. And we could not have achieved this victory without the tremendous support and expertise of NAR.”