Coaching Corner: Are you complete?

By “Coach” Marilou Butcher Roth

Those of you who follow this blog have read something similar to this in the past. It does, however, bear repeating. Each year, as it gets close to the end of December, I encourage my clients (and myself), to determine what needs to happen to complete the current year.

I love the idea of moving into 2015 feeling complete with 2014, and eager to jump into the new year!

Examine your business and see what loose ends are hanging. Are there systems that you wanted to put into place that you have not done? Are there classes that you wanted to take that just haven’t happened? And also in the mix needs to be any conversations you have not had that if you did would leave you feeling clear and clean.

Make your list and begin the activities and before you know it, you will be well on your way! Once you feel complete, think about what you want your new year to look like. You can do this in a formal business plan or you can just identify what you plan to accomplish.

Most importantly, do not make this a hardship — think about how good it feels to be complete! So, crank up the tunes and get to work!


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

Ohio housing market experiences “robust” sales activity in October

sold homes on strings


By Carl Horst, OAR Director of Publications/Media Relations

The number of homes sold across Ohio in October increased 5.5 percent from the level posted in September. Activity also rose 8.5 percent from the level reached in October 2013, according to the Ohio Association of REALTORS.

“Activity throughout the Ohio housing market was robust in October, as the pace of sales reached the highest monthly level in nearly eight years,” said OAR President Chris Hall. “Equally as important as the uptick in sales, the average sales price has now reached 32 consecutive months of year-over-year gains.

“With each passing month, it’s becoming more evident that the housing sector is re-establishing a solid foundation throughout Ohio, one that is able to withstand any short-term variances that might occur due to current market conditions.”

October’s average home price of $147,133 reflects a 7.3 percent increase from the $137,161 mark posted in October 2013.

Sales in October reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 141,796, increasing 5.5 percent from the 134,397 level posted last month. The market also experienced an 8.5 percent increase in sales from October 2013’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of 130,733. Sales activity in October 2014 was the strongest monthly tally since December 2006.

Around the state, 15 of the 20 markets tracked reported increases in sales activity levels during the month. All but four local markets showed an increase in average sale price.

Click here to view OAR’s seasonally adjusted Ohio home sales report. To access a market-by-market analysis of sales activity throughout Ohio, click here.

Tags: home sales, research

Ohio Market Watch: Area marketplaces meeting & exceeding sales expectations

By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research

Only 15 percent of Ohio REALTORS responding to OAR’s most recent housing market confidence survey find their area markets performing worse than expected. Survey participants were asked to reflect on the year so far and indicate to what extent their area market performance expectations have been met. For 85 percent of respondents, their expectations have been met or surpassed. More specifically, One-third (34 percent) experienced a market that was better than expected and half (51 percent) experienced a market that met their expectations.

Market-so-far-this-year-11_14Survey 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: Do you need a special license to “sell” a business?

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 whether your real estate license allows you to participate in the sale of a business… 

Q:  I am primarily a residential REALTOR, but I have been approached by a former client to sell his small business. I have never done this before. I assume I can list this business since I have a real estate license. Do I need any other type of license? Can I use the standard listing and purchase agreements that I use for residential transactions?

A:  The sale of a business is a much different transaction than the sale of residential real estate. Depending on the nature of the business it will most likely involve the sale of equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, the business name, good will, etc. Of course such sales also usually involve the sale of the real property where the business is located or, if the owner is leasing space, the assignment of the existing lease to the buyer. Obviously a real estate license is required to handle that aspect of the transaction, which you have. No other separate license is required, unless the sale of the business is going to be handled as a stock transfer. In that case a securities license would be required. (For purposes of this question it will be assumed that this is not the case.)

Other than the licensing question, the bigger question you should ask yourself prior to accepting a listing for the sale of a business is whether you believe you are qualified to handle this type of transaction. This is important to consider because your fiduciary duties to the seller under both the license law and the NAR Code of Ethics require you to act in the best interest of the seller and to act with reasonable skill and care. Moreover, Article 11 of the Code of Ethics provides that  REALTORS shall not undertake to provide specialized services outside their field of competency without fully disclosing this to the client or engaging the assistance of someone who does possess such competency (which fact must also be disclosed to your client).

In determining whether you are able to meet your fiduciary duties to the seller of this business, it is important to think about whether you have the ability to advise the seller on the appropriate pricing for a business, how the sale should be structured, the marketing efforts you would employ to attract a buyer and the transaction documents needed. Certainly the typical residential purchase contract would not be appropriate and instead legal counsel would be needed to draft such a document and to provide other needed legal advice on structuring the transaction and any tax implications that should be addressed.

To conclude, while as a real estate licensee you are technically able to sell a business, it is important to determine whether you possess the skills and knowledge to provide competent representation to the seller. If you do not have prior experience in such a transaction, this fact should definitely be discussed with the seller and the assistance of another professional with such a background may be necessary. Moreover your broker and manager should be involved in the decision making process as you and the brokerage could be exposed to potential liability if you are unable to fulfill your fiduciary duties to the seller because you do not possess the skills and knowledge to handle such a transaction. Remember, while it is difficult to turn away a listing, in some cases it is truly in the seller’s best interests for you to do so.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking

REALTORS ramp up effort encouraging Congress to extend “Mortgage Forgiveness” legislation

capital buildingThe National Association of REALTORS has issued a “Call for Action” encouraging real estate professionals to contact their member of Congress to extend the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Tax Relief Act.

Without immediate action by Congress on mortgage debt cancellation relief, distressed homeowners will have to pay tax on “phantom income” from forgiven debt. NAR supports an exclusion from taxation of the “phantom income” generated when all or a portion of a mortgage loan is forgiven. Some quick facts:

  • Despite significant market recovery, more than 5 million people are still “under water.”
  • Nearly 1 million households are seriously delinquent on their mortgages or in foreclosure.
  • Mortgage debt forgiveness tax relief is vital for these families.

The income tax exemption on mortgage debt forgiveness in a short sale or a workout for principal residences expired at the end of 2013. Unless Congress acts during its lame duck session, homeowners who received reductions or forgiveness could see an increased annual tax in 2014.

The Ohio Association of REALTORS has been working with Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown over the past year urging an extension of relief originally passed in the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. The legislation allows homeowners to exclude from annual, reportable income the discharge of mortgage debt owed on their homes. Individuals who receive assistance through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Ohio’s Save the Dream Program, or other private agreements with financial institutions to save their home from foreclosure may now face additional tax consequences if the law is not extended.

For additional details, or to send a prepared message to your member of Congress, click here.

Tags: politics

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