By Bob Fletcher, OAR chief executive officer
News of the tragic murder of an Arkansas REALTOR yesterday is a stark, unfortunate reminder that the day-to-day practice of real estate poses real threats, real dangers and that the profession must always be alert to working smart to stay safe.
Beverly Carter, 51, was found 20 miles from a home for sale that she was showing on Sept. 25. A suspect has been arrested and charged with capital murder, robbery and kidnapping in the case. Arron Lewis, who has pleaded not guilty, remains on $1 million bail. According to various news reports, Carter was targeted because she was “a woman that worked alone.”
The Ohio Association of REALTORS offers its heartfelt condolences to Beverly Carter’s family, friends and peers.
This tragedy occurred during the real estate industry’s safety awareness month, an annual campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers that persist within the profession. Each September the industry spotlights information, news, videos and other materials to assist REALTORS with safety matters at home and on the job.
Ohio, unfortunately, is not immune to crime and violence against REALTORS. In September 2010 Ohio’s real estate community was shocked when two of our own — Vivian Martin and Andrew VonStein — were killed in separate incidents on back-to-back days when showing vacant homes. These horrific events, along with the countless other crimes that occur, served as an inspiration for the creation of a series of brief, highly informative videos on an array of subject matters — from online safety to precautions to take at open houses. OAR’s partnership with a national safety expert, the late Andrew Wooten, resulted in the “Ohio Safety Series,” detailing safety measures that REALTORS should incorporate into their daily practice. This clip offers a reminder of how to exercise caution when showing a home:
I would encourage each of you to view — whether it’s for the first time or as a refresher — the 12 episodes of our Ohio Safety Series. I promise you the time you spend will be invaluable…either providing you with a new insight or reinforcing a smart business practice.
Work smart and stay safe.
By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research
Half of the respondents to OAR’s most recent housing confidence survey indicate they have observed an increase in interest in first-time home buyers seeking to purchase their first home. More specifically, 9 percent indicate interest has increased “a lot” and 41 percent indicate interest has increased “somewhat.” Over one-third (36 percent) see no change in first-time home buyer interest and 14 percent observed a decrease in interest (decreasing “a lot” 3 percent, “somewhat” 11 percent).
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.
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 most common questions involving commission issues…
Q : An agent transferred her license from my company to another brokerage. A transaction on which she was the listing agent just closed. Do I have to make her commission check payable to her new broker?
A: No. This check can be paid directly to the salesperson.
Q: One of my salespersons has asked that I return her license to the Division of Real Estate. She has a contract pending that will close after her license is returned. Can I pay her a commission on this transaction after I return her license?
A: Yes. Because she was licensed at the time the commission was earned (when the purchase contract was written) you may legally pay her.
Q: Can a seller or a listing broker offer to pay a bonus to any agent who sells the property?
A: Salespersons can only collect compensation in the name of the broker with whom they are licensed. Therefore, any bonus has to be paid to the selling agent’s broker. It is then up to the broker to pay their sales agent.
Q: If I show a property, am I automatically considered to be the procuring cause and therefore entitled to the selling portion of the commission?
A: Not necessarily. There are no set rules that provide that a REALTOR is automatically the procuring cause merely because they showed the property. Instead, procuring cause is based upon the entire course of events that led up to the procurement of a ready, willing and able buyer.
Q: Does the fact that an agent has a written buyer agency agreement with a buyer automatically entitle the licensee to the compensation offered in MLS?
A: No. Under the NAR arbitration guidelines, entitlement to compensation offered in the MLS is determined by whether a broker can show he was the procuring cause of the sale or lease. NAR’s position is that agency relationships are not synonymous with compensation; instead they are separate issues. Thus, the fact that an agent has a written contract with the buyer will not, by itself, automatically entitle that agent to the compensation offered to buyer brokers in the MLS. Instead, that agent must still demonstrate that he/she was the procuring cause of the sale/lease.
Q: After my buyer’s offer was accepted, the listing broker notified me that he reduced his commission, and that the amount he is paying me is one percent less than what was indicated in the MLS. Can he do this?
A: Standard of Practice 3-2 provides that REALTORS must notify other REALTORS of any change in the offer of compensation before an offer to purchase is produced. If the listing broker did not notify you of the reduced commission until after you had submitted an offer to purchase, he has not complied with this Section. If he does not pay you the amount stated in the MLS, you can file for arbitration at your Local Board of REALTORS and you can file an ethics complaint as well.
Q: A broker from another Board submitted an offer to purchase on my listing. This broker is not a member of my MLS. Do I have to pay this broker the amount I indicated in the MLS I would pay to cooperating brokers?
A: The offer of compensation you made in the MLS only applies to participants of your MLS. Since the broker who submitted this offer is not a participant in your Board’s MLS, this offer of compensation in the MLS does not apply to him. Instead, this is an issue you and this other broker should have discussed in the beginning of your relationship.
Q: Can I rebate part of my commission to the buyer or seller, or is that splitting a fee with an unlicensed person?
A: Although Ohio license law does prohibit splitting commissions or paying fees to an unlicensed person, the Ohio Division of Real Estate does not consider the rebating of a commission to a party of the transaction to constitute such an illegal payment. This is because the buyer or seller was not engaging in conduct that requires a real estate license. Therefore, such a rebate would be permissible. However, if this rebate were offered to induce the buyer or seller to enter into a purchase contract, this rebate would be considered to be an inducement that must be disclosed in the purchase contract.
Want more information on these topics? Check out these other legal resources on ohiorealtors.org:
- Compensation, Commissions, Fees
- Inducements, Referral Fees and Gifts
- Procuring Cause: White Paper & OAR Buzz video
By Carl Horst, OAR Director of Publications/Media Relations
The Ohio Association of REALTORS reports the number of single-family homes and condominiums put under agreement in August increased 8.6 percent from the level posted during the month a year ago.
The rate of purchase contract signings in August was unchanged from the pace recorded in July.
Ohio’s August Pending Home Sales Index of 142.6, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 8.6 percent from August 2013 (131.3). Activity in August nearly matched the mark posted in July 2014 (142.5).
“The number of homes sales put under agreement in August reached a seven-year peak, an indication that the desire to attain home ownership across Ohio remains strong,” said OAR President Chris Hall. “Activity in August is a significant step forward in our ongoing effort of building a solid, stable and growing marketplace.”
Compared to 2008, a historically healthy market that marked the end of five consecutive record years for existing home sales and the onset of the recession, August’s Index score of 142.6 marks a 42.6 increase.
A pending sale or a sale “under agreement” is when the buyer and seller agree on terms of the sale of a home and have a signed purchase and sale agreement, but have yet to close and be recorded as such. Refer to the following report to view the pending home sales index and methods.
OAR, the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 27,000 members, is the only organization that compiles this state wide information from selected Multiple Listing Services each month. The tracking of “pending sales” provides reliable information about where the market is heading in coming months.
By “Coach” Marilou Butcher Roth
As you know, and, as I have written about many times…things happen. They happen in our work life, our home life and anything in between. The big question is, what happens for you when situations occur that are less than favorable? For some people, a sort of numbness occurs. For others, anger may show up. Everyone and every situation is different.
The key for you is to be able to pay attention to what is happening for YOU — not TO YOU. And, to do this, you need to get out of your head and into your heart. How do you feel about what is happening? Are you scared? Sad? Angry? If you are not bringing awareness to how you are feeling, you are shutting down to some degree and, any time that occurs, you run the risk of shutting down around the good things that are happening as well. You can’t turn off one part of you without impacting another.
So this week, if and when something “happens,” I want you to practice tuning in to yourself first, and paying attention to what you notice. This takes practice and is well worth the attention! Enjoy!
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: Marilou@mbr-group.com