Chris Smith: Only quality creates quantity

Real estate visionary Chris Smith will be sharing 10 business principles designed to grow your profits for the next decade and beyond as the keynote speaker during the upcoming Ohio Association of REALTORS Annual Convention & Expo in Cleveland.

Smith is a highly sought after speaker on the cutting edge Peoplework movement…a new approach of running a people-first business in a digital-first world.

Last week we offered a look at another of his Peoplework principles — that person-to-person will be replacing business-to-business and business-to-consumer as a way to run your business. In this video, Smith looks at the principle that quality creates quantity. Specifically, that products and services of the highest quality, not the highest quantity, enjoy positive word-of-mouth, social sharing and business growth. In a word, they’re more remarkable:

Smith, recently named one of the most influential people in real estate, is co-founder of Curaytor and serves as chief peopleworker for dotloop. He also co-authored the book Peoplework with Austin Allison, founder and chief executive officer of dotloop. (SPECIAL NOTE: OAR will be giving away 500 copies of the book at the event!)

Click here to secure your seat for this one-of-a-kind, “must see” presentation on Sept. 9

Tags: Association news

Legally speaking: Don’t let divorcing sellers get you in hot water

By Peg Ritenour, OAR Vice President of Legal Services/Administration

The OAR Legal Assistance Hotline receives an array of real estate-related legal questions — including license law issues, disclosure, contract law, ethics and commission problems, among others. In an effort to help you work within the law, our “Legally Speaking” series spotlights some of the timely questions that are being asked by REALTORS. This one involves the delicate issue of selling a home when the owners are the midst of a divorce dispute…

I listed a property owned by a couple who are divorcing. I have been working with the wife exclusively, who is still living in the home. I’ve had the property in the MLS and a sign in the yard for about 10 days. I was just contacted by the husband who is demanding I take my for sale sign down and remove the listing from the MLS because he wants to list with another brokerage. I don’t have the husband’s signature on my listing because the wife told me she had the sole authority to list the house. According to her husband that is not true. What should I do? Can he list the house with someone else without his wife’s consent?

A:  Unfortunately, handling the sale of property where the owners are in the middle of a divorce can often result in agents getting caught in the cross hairs of disputes that have nothing to do with them.

In this situation the first thing you should do is ask your client  (the wife) for written documentation that she had sole authority to list the property. If she provides this, you should be fine. However, you should advise your client to contact her attorney to handle this issue, as her husband is obviously disputing this.

On the other hand, if the wife misled you and didn’t have the right to list the property on her own, you could have a problem.

Why? Because under Ohio license law, a licensee must have the consent of the owner or the owner’s authorized agent to do any of the following:

  • offer property for sale or lease;
  • advertise the property; or
  • put a sign on the property offering it for sale or lease.

The Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing takes the position that this provision requires a licensee to have the consent of ALL of the owners of a property before providing the services listed above. Therefore, now that you know that one of the owners (the husband) is objecting to your listing, to avoid a violation of the license law, I recommend that you stop offering the property for sale until this matter is resolved between the couple and their attorneys . This means you should take it out of the MLS, take your yard sign down and cease all other marketing efforts.

As to the husband’s ability to list with an agent of his choice, any other agent is also going to have to comply with the license law, meaning that his wife will likewise have to consent to that other agent offering the property for sale, advertising it or putting a sign in the yard.

To avoid problems when dealing with a divorce situation, I always recommend to REALTORS that both spouses sign the listing. This will provide documentation that you have the necessary consent of both owners before you spend time and money on marketing property. If one of the spouses claims to have the sole authority to list the property, I definitely recommend that you get documentation confirming that for your protection.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking

Ohio Market Watch: Low appraisals continue to impact contract completions

(EDIT 8/19/2014:  A number of appraisers have expressed concerns with the way the survey findings have been presented. To clarify, this survey reflects REALTOR respondents that said they encountered problems with a contract due to low appraisals. 44 percent of REALTOR respondents said they have not encountered problems so far this year. This chart does not represent total purchase contracts written. For example, REALTOR “A” might have written 20 contracts and only expressed problems due to low appraisals with one. The post has been modified to more accurately reflect the findings. We apologize for any confusion.)


By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research

Consistent with findings over the past few years, 44 percent of Ohio REALTORS surveyed have not encountered contract problems attributable to low appraisals.

REALTORS say the issues arising from lower-than-anticipated appraisals include renegotiated contracts (40 percent), delays in the closing process (25 percent) and contract cancellations (23 percent). Respondents saying contracts have been cancelled or delayed due to appraisal issues are down from previous surveys. However, the percent claiming that contracts are being reworked has ticked upward from the level a year ago.

Survey results are based on responses to a monthly survey, designed to capture the effects of the existing economic conditions and trends on the real estate industry, sent to a pool of 1,500 OAR participants. Click here to participate in future OAR Housing Confidence Surveys.

Tags: Appraisal, Ohio Market Watch, research

Coaching Corner: Are you making the correct adjustments?

By “Coach” Marilou Butcher Roth

Thursday involved a trip to the chiropractor, and I was thinking about how we sometimes in our business, encounter deals that we just want to end — sometimes even if that means the deal goes down. I have heard this countless times from agents “thank God this one is done!”

The question I pose today is, what would happen if, following a challenging transaction (closed or not), you reflect back on what happened and make any adjustments that might help you in future transactions. So, essentially, what did you learn? Every challenge will present a learning if you are open to looking at it. It might be about how to qualify your clients differently. Or a different style of communication.

Or perhaps you had buyers that despite your best efforts to explain the progression of the transaction, did not comprehend what you were telling them. In that scenario, you might move forward with the idea that those were just “bad” or “dumb” buyers. If you do that, you may miss a tremendous opportunity for yourself. How can you just notice these situations without blame, for others or for yourself? How do you take responsibility (without blame or judgement) and look to the future with new eyes, so that you do not encounter that pain again?

I suggest that after any transaction that you judge as not being the best that it could, you do a “post-mortem” to look at how you can continue to improve and learn about yourself and what it takes to be the very best YOU in this wild world of real estate!

And, as always, enjoy this process!


Marilou Butcher Roth is the owner of The MBR Group, a coaching and training company working primarily with REALTORS who have a desire to work and live from a more inspired place. She is also the Broker/Owner of Group REALTORS in Cincinnati.

Marilou is a member of the OAR Executive Committee and immediate past chairman of the organization’s Communications Committee. Feel free to contact Marilou to see if coaching is right for you:


Tags: Coaching Corner, training

Commercial property owner scores $1.3 million victory in case with Ohio city

By Peg Ritenour, OAR Vice President of Legal Services/Administration

In an appropriations case decided this week, the Tenth Appellate District in Ohio ruled that visibility and access are key components in valuing commercial property and that property owners must be compensated when these are lost or diminished as a result of a taking of part of the property. In doing so, the court upheld a $1.3 million jury verdict in favor of the property owner. The Ohio Association of REALTORS, through its Legal Action Program, participated in a joint amicus curiae brief supporting the property owner’s position, along with the Federation of Independent Small Businesses and the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

The property in question is a commercial parcel on a busy corner in Westerville, a suburb of Columbus. The parcel includes a building currently leased to a bank. As part of an overall beautification and branding plan, the City appropriated the property’s road frontage on two sides of the parcel, one of which includes a driveway providing access to bank customers. In addition, the City also obtained a landscape easement to beautify a portion of the property that ran directly across this driveway. The City’s overall improvement plan included planting mature shrubs and trees, erecting fencing and masonry pillars with the city name and logo, adding sidewalks, buffering and screening, etc.

The city was unable to reach a settlement with the property owner on compensation and the City filed suit. Following a trial, the jury awarded the property owner $182,000 for the land that was actually taken and $1,135,735  for damages to his remaining property (the “residue”). These damages were awarded for a loss of visibility from the street and the potential for the City to eliminate street access to the property. The City appealed.

On appeal the City argued that it had not interfered with the current road access to the property and its project plans did not include doing so in the future. Therefore, it argued that the jury should not have been allowed to consider loss of access as part of the damages to the residue caused by the City’s taking because no access had been eliminated. The appellate court disagreed. Because the City took a fee simple interest on that side of the property, the City had complete ownership of that strip of the parcel. As such, it could eliminate ingress and egress to the property on the current driveway at any time. The court concluded that with no guarantee that the City will not do that in the future, the jury was properly instructed that it could consider the potential loss of access to the road as a damage to the residue.

Next, the City challenged the instructions given to the jury on how to calculate the damages suffered by the owner to the residue. The trial court instructed the jury that in making this determination it should assume the property will be used by the City in the most damaging way. In this case, the evidence clearly showed that the City has the power to deny access to the property occupied by the bank whenever it sees fit. In affirming the trial court’s instruction, the court stated:

“If the City later decided a bank was not the building it wanted at the gateway to the City and later decided that beautification required a more attractive street view than an aging bank building, the City had the power to make the building unusable for commercial purposes. The only time to compensate Taylor for the losses which could flow from the City’s take was now.”

The City’s final argument was whether the property owner was entitled to compensation for the loss of visibility to the remaining parcel due to the landscape easement. In considering this issue, the court recognized that visibility from the street is an integral component to the success or a commercial business and therefore the value of the property. Because the City’s landscape easement could be used to block views to the property, resulting in the property being devalued, the court ruled that the jury’s award of damages was proper.

OAR participated in this case because of its longstanding policy of supporting private property rights. This decision upholds the fundamental right of property owners to be justly compensated when part of their property is taken and the value of the remaining parcel is diminished. Moreover, the court confirmed what REALTORS in Ohio all know: that access and visibility are crucial components to the value of commercial real estate.

Click here to read the Court’s decision. The City of Westerville has 45 days to file a notice of appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court. We’ll let you know if they do so.

Tags: legal

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