Ohio Safety Series: Have a distress code

think safety

Over the past 10-plus years hundreds of real estate professionals throughout the country have been murdered, violently assaulted, raped, beaten and robbed in the workplace. In fact, tragedy hit close to home four years ago when two of our own — Vivian Martin and Andrew VonStein — were killed in separate incidents on back-to-back days when showing vacant homes. More recently, the industry was shocked by the tragic, unfortunate murder of an Arkansas REALTOR who was similarly killed doing what a real estate professional does — simply showing a home. These incidents illustrate the importance of taking safety precautions in your daily activities. Our Ohio Safety Series is an ongoing effort to provide you with insights to ensure the safety of you and your clients.

Have a prearranged distress signal: “I’m at the Jones house and I need the red file right away.”

You may be in a situation where you think you might need help; you can use the phone, but the person you with can overhear the conversation and you do not want to alarm him/her. There is were a prearranged distress code can help.

For example, you are in your car with a client that is beginning to make you nervous — for one reason or another, you feel uneasy about the person. You do not want to be in an empty house with him/her. Call the office and tell someone where you are going and ask him/her to pull out the RED FILE. In this case, RED FILE is a prearranged distress code to have someone meet you at the site so you will not be alone. You can make up your own distress code, i.e. DOG FOOD (when you don’t have a dog) or I’m going to MAYDAY Lane (and there is no Mayday Lane).

The distress code should be used if you are uneasy, but do not feel you are in danger. If you are in immediate danger — stop the car and leave the area, or jump out of the car at the next stop. Do not hesitate to call 911.

Authorities agree that most rapists and thieves are looking for easy targets. Be assertive and leave a dangerous situation early, but have a distress code for time you feel uneasy.

Don’t forget to share and practice your distress code with your office, colleagues, family and friends.

Tags: Ohio Safety Series, safety

The People Revolution: Purpose before technology

Real estate visionary Chris Smith explains to Ohio’s REALTORS that technology is amazing…but that it must have a purpose and direction in order to be effective. This clip — taken from Smith’s keynote at the OAR Annual Convention & EXPO — details the importance of knowing what you want to deliver with your technology, rather than just offer the latest and greatest. Click here to see other episodes of Smith’s “peoplework” principles.

Tags: People Revolution

Ohio Market Watch: Job security still an issue for some

By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research

Less than half (40 percent) of Ohio REALTORS believe a lack of job security is negatively affecting the current housing market in their area, according to the results of an October Ohio REALTOR housing confidence survey. Among those citing concerns, 7 percent report it is negatively affecting the housing market “a lot” and 33 percent report a lack of job security is affecting the housing market “somewhat.” For 44 percent of respondents a lack of job security is not an issue in their area and 16 percent report job security is having a positive effect on the market in their area.


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: Ohio Market Watch, research

Legally speaking: Can I market a home for sale before the owner actually owns it?

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 when you can begin marketing a property for sale…

Q: I represent an investor who entered into a contract to purchase a foreclosure property that he plans to flip after making some repairs. Although he won’t be closing on it for a few weeks, my investor wants me to start marketing the property now. Can I do that since he doesn’t own it yet?

A: Ohio license  law contains two specific provisions that address this scenario. First, Ohio Revised Code Section 4735.18 provides that it is a viloation of the license law for a licensee to offer property for sale or lease without the knowledge and consent of the owner or the owner’s authorized agent. Further, this same section also specifically prohibits a licensee from placing a for sale sign on a property or otherwise marketing it without the consent of the owner or the owner’s agent.

Based upon these provisions, the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing takes the postion that in order for you to begin marketing this property for your investor client before he acquires title, you would need the consent of the current owner of the property or his authorized agent. For your protection that consent should be obtained in writing.

Additionally, if the owner does give such consent for you to begin marketing the property for your investor client before closing, you should be clear in dealings with any interested buyers or their agents that your investor client does not yet have title to the property and any purchase contract he enters into should be contingent upon him acquiring such title.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking

Homes put under contract across Ohio reach an all-time high in September

house illustration with contract


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 September increased 8.2 percent from the level posted during the month a year ago.

The rate of purchase contract signings in September rose 11.7 percent from the pace recorded in August 2014.

Ohio’s September Pending Home Sales Index of 159.2, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 8.2 percent from September 2013 (147.2). Activity in September increased 11.7 percent from the pace of agreements reached in August 2014 (142.6).

Pending sale index posted during the third quarter 2014 (146.8) not only bested the level reached in the first quarter (118.3) and second quarter (143.8) of the year, but reached the highest level recorded for all quarters since OAR began recording statewide data in 2008.

“The Ohio housing marketplace is continuing to exhibit tremendous strength, as the number of homes put under contract in September reached an all-time high for the month and marks our fifth consecutive month of year-over-year gains,” said OAR President Chris Hall. “The industry is hopeful that the momentum that’s been established through the first three quarters of 2014 will continue as we move forward.”

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, September’s Index score of 159.2 marks a 59.2 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.

Tags: pending home sales, research

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