By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research
Only one in 10 Ohio REALTORS expect rising interest rates to negatively affect their level of sales activity throughout 2014. The Ohio Association of REALTORS’ April Housing Confidence Survey findings show 88 percent of respondents believing somewhat higher rates will not result in lower than expected sales activity. In fact, 31 percent believe their 2014 sales activity will increase regardless of higher rates, while the remaining 57 percent expect no change in activity.
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 surveys.
The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and the CCIM Institute have jointly honored Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) with their 2014 “Legislator of the Year” award, which honors members of Congress who have supported commercial real estate.
Serving his second term as the U.S. Representative from the 15th congressional district, Stivers was lauded for his support of all major commercial real estate advocacies, including Internet sales tax legislation, H.R.684, or the Marketplace Fairness Act. The companion legislation to H.R. 684, S. 743, passed the Senate with a vote of 69 (yes) to 27 (no). The bill would simplify and streamline the tax collection process for online retailers, correcting the inequity that permits them not to pay taxes, while brick and motor stores are required to charge and record a sales tax. Stivers also signed on to a letter urging EPA regulators not to hastily create regulations related to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled “Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting (LRRP) Program for Public and Commercial Buildings.”
By Anne Petit, Superintendent, Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing
As a means to help our licensees comply with Ohio real estate license law and to keep them working, the Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing has decided to kick-start its brokerage audit process after putting it on hold for the past few years. This decision is in agreement with the directives set forth in Gov. Kasich’s recent Common Sense Initiative.
We believe that working proactively with out licensees through positive instruction, when appropriate, instead of reactionary, punitive discipline will be beneficial to the Division, its licensees and Ohioans in general.
How will you know if the Division selects your brokerage for an audit?
You will receive a telephone call from a Division investigator if you have been selected for an audit. Brokerages selected for a compliance audit are chosen at random from those companies in the Division’s database that have not had an audit in the past 36 months. During this initial conversation, the investigator will work with you to schedule a data and time to conduct the audit. The investigator will then send written confirmation of the scheduled audit along with a list of the items the Division will inspect during the audit.
How long will the audit last?
Compliance audits can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on the size of the brokerage. Most single office brokerage audits take just a few hours.
What can I expect after the audit?
The Division will notify the brokerage in writing of any discrepancies found during a compliance audit and will allow the brokerage a reasonable amount of time to correct them. Once the Division receives documentation from the brokerage verifying that the discrepancies have been corrected, the investigator will send correspondence to the brokerage indicating that it has come into compliance.
How can a brokerage prepare for a compliance audit?
There are several preparatory measures you, as a broker of the company, can take to ensure that the audit is successful. First, take a deep breath and relax! Although the audit may reveal discrepancies between your business processes and Ohio real estate license law, the Division’s main goal is to work with you to help you comply with the law. The most important key to a successful audit is cooperation with the investigator conducting it. Click here for an audit overview and checklist.
If you have any additional questions about the broker audit process or need additional information, please contact the Division’s enforcement section at (614) 466-4100.
By Marilou Butcher Roth
A while ago, a friend of mine attended a conference featuring Marianne Williamson as the keynote speaker. The theme of her talk was “being of service” which my friend and I discussed at length. This is such an interesting topic isn’t it? Especially in the real estate profession. I know that you realize this is a service industry, but what does that really mean to you? How do you see yourself as being of service?
I believe that we need to reconnect to our individual core values and project those values out into our business. This society has become one of fear. Consumers are constantly guarding themselves, afraid that someone is going to get the best of them somehow. Agents are afraid that their clients might not buy, or might not buy from them, and they are afraid to present the buyer contract to them to protect themselves because they are afraid they are being too pushy.
Where is the answer around all of this fear? We can only be responsible for ourselves. But, what if you became the change? What would happen if you shifted into wondering each morning how you might be of service? This is a powerful intention and will take you to experiences that you will find delightful. Being of service shows up differently for each of us, our clients and each situation.
I invite you to become an agent of change today! Reconnect to what is truly important, starting with your own values and extend that connection into how you are of service, and enjoy the results!
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
By Carl Horst, OAR Director of Publications/Media Relations
The Ohio Association of REALTORS is a leading source of information for the state’s real estate profession, according to findings of a recent member survey that gauged the effectiveness and content of the organization’s various communications offerings.
The survey marked the first comprehensive review of OAR’s printed magazine and online offerings since the Association revamped its delivery of news and information more than two years ago.
“We’re thrilled that not only do the real estate professionals indicate that they find value in our communication offerings, they also appear to enjoy the variety of distribution channels we are utilizing to tell the story of what’s happening in Ohio’s real estate industry,” said Bob Fletcher, OAR’s chief executive officer. “It’s gratifying to know that the effort to provide daily, Ohio-specific news has a receptive audience.”
In 2012 OAR launched a new approach to its communication products, notably changing the membership publication to a magazine format, creating the OAR Daily Buzz blog to serve as a daily gathering spot for news of interest to Ohio’s REALTORS and property owners and updating the Association’s website in order to make the information easily accessible and current.
Highlights of the Ohio REALTOR readership survey:
- About seven in 10 OAR members read all or most of the Ohio REALTOR magazine, with another 20 percent indicating that they read some of the publication.
- Nine in 10 OAR members believe the Ohio REALTOR magazine has a professional look making it easy to read. 88 percent say its well written and understandable. Slightly more than eight in 10 members agree the content is useful and informative.
- Membership is all business when it comes to reading the magazine, with 69 percent of respondents saying they read it to stay updated on the Association and 87 percent indicate they want to keep apprised of the latest trends.
- OAR members consistently look to the organization for legal information, so it’s no surprise that legal news, along with feature stories, top the listing of most read sections of the magazine. Other leading sections include professional development, Coaching Corner and the President’s message.
- 94 percent of members are either satisfied with the frequency of the Ohio REALTOR (60 percent) or would like to receive it more often (34 percent). The magazine is published twice annually, Winter/Spring and Summer/Fall.
- About two-thirds (63 percent) of OAR members are likely to patronize a company that advertises in the Ohio REALTOR magazine.
In terms of the OAR Daily Buzz blog and the OAR website, both have a majority of members visiting the sites to either read a specific story or obtain information. OAR’s eConnections, a weekly email digest of news headlines, is read by 95 percent of respondents.
“These findings provide us with an excellent overview of where we stand in terms of providing our membership with the news and information they need and want to be successful in today’s ever-changing real estate marketplace, as well as the areas of communication that can be improved,” Fletcher said.