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By Scott Williams, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Public Policy

On ongoing, industry-backed “Call For Action” has unified the voices of Ohio’s REALTOR community, members of the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors, and consumers in urging lawmakers to pass House Bill 211, a measure designed to give home buyers confidence that the inspector they hire is trained to assess the property’s condition.

CLICK HERE to easily add your voice to the thousands of your industry peers that have already spoken up in support of this consumer protection legislation. And…if you’d like involve your buyers, friends and family members in this important effort, click here to access a consumer page that has been created!

Creating a statewide licensure system for home inspectors has long been a top priority of Ohio REALTORS…and HB 211 is a critical step forward to ensure oversight of the last remaining unregulated component of the home buying process. In short, the measure ensures that a regulatory board will adopt minimum standards, conduct examinations, establish ongoing education and provide consumers the opportunity to have complaints addressed.

CLICK HERE to help ensure consumers are protected when making what is likely the largest financial transaction they will make in their lifetime!

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By Coach Marilou Butcher Roth

Currently I am facilitating a book study with my agents, reading the book “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. This has been one of my favorite go to books for myself and my clients for years, as Gay explores what keeps us from being the success that we desire in our life. He speaks to what he calls “the upper-limit problem,” or as we lovingly referred to it during our apprenticeship with Gay and Katie Hendricks, an “ULP.”

In Gay’s words, you are “upper-limiting when you’re doing something that is crimping your flow of positive energy.” Or, in my words, it’s when you are going along, everything is moving beautifully, and then something happens. The somethings vary, but the theme is still the same — where you had a wonderful feeling, you now hit a ceiling of sorts. And it usually hurts, either literally or emotionally.  Let me convey one of my most memorable ULP stories:

The day of my 50th birthday was well thought out and planned — it would include a massage and a nail appointment, finishing with a lovely dinner with my husband. The day was truly incredible, more than I could have imagined. I received so many loving calls from family and friends and also a lovely meeting with our kitchen designer to finalize plans for our long-awaited new kitchen. As I left this meeting to head to my nail appointment, I jumped into my car, which was in the garage, humming a happy tune, and just as quickly as you can imagine, I backed right into my husband’s car which was parked in the driveway. Smash!!! Oh no!  How can this be happening??? This day was going so great!!!!

Now, you may not have a car story, but I have no doubt that if you try, you can go into the darkest corners of your memory and come up with your own tale of upper limit woe! Remember, we do not do these things consciously. We do not declare that “dammit, things are just going too great, I think I will screw things up for myself.” It’s just not the way it works!

Here are a few ways that Gay indicates that we may bring ourselves down: Worry, criticism and blame (of others or yourself), deflecting, squabbling, getting sick or hurt, and integrity breaches. No doubt, you can come up with some others on your own.

This week, pay attention to when you may be creating your own upper-limit problem. Or, if you want more information on this, perhaps you go a step farther and buy the book! Either way, bringing attention to how you limit yourself can only be a positive step for you and your success!

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 Ohio REALTORS Board of Directors and 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

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By Greg Stitz, Ohio REALTORS Director of Research

The Ohio REALTOR Confidence Survey conducted in January asked participants to predict how the residential real estate market will perform in 2018. 60 percent of respondents, 10 percent more than last year and 14 percent more than in 2016, believe the market will improve at a fast or moderate pace. Only 6 percent believe the market will slow and the remaining 34 percent believe the market will continue to perform at its current pace.

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 Ohio REALTORS participants. Click here to participate in future Ohio REALTORS Housing Confidence Surveys.

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By Scott Williams, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Public Policy

It’s time for Ohio to implement a licensure system for the home inspection industry!

It’s time to give Ohio’s home buyers the assurance that the inspector they hire is properly trained to properly evaluate and assess the home’s condition!

That’s why your Ohio REALTORS has recently launched one of its most important “Calls For Action” in an effort to convince Ohio lawmakers to join 30 other states in enacting this consumer protection measure. You should have received an email allowing you to voice your support with a few simple clicks…but if you missed it you can still participate by CLICKING HERE!

Long story short — implementing a licensure for home inspectors is the top legislative priority of the Ohio REALTORS. Licensing also has the backing of the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Yet despite having the support of two key real estate-related groups passage is uncertain. In fact, time to secure passage during the 132nd General Assembly is quickly running out — so it’s imperative that we get lawmakers to take the first, critical step and pass HB 211 out of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, where it’s been languishing for months. Lawmakers are unlikely to move HB 211 forward unless they hear from you…so please take a few minutes and help make home inspector licensure a reality.

CLICK HERE to help ensure that consumers are protected when making what is likely the largest financial transaction they will make in their lifetime!

NOTE: Our “Call For Action” email was sent yesterday (Feb. 13) using a new delivery system. If you don’t recall seeing the message, please check your “Junk Folder” for an email from “Ohio REALTORS” (publicpolicy@ohiorealtors.org). We urge you to identify us as a safe sender to ensure future delivery.

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Ohio REALTORS is excited to join together with the Dayton REALTORS and the Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS in sponsoring the Xplode Marketing & Technology Conference!

March 19 — 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — Marriott at the University of Dayton

The Xplode Conference is the real estate industry’s longest-running event series focused solely on REALTOR success. This one-day conference brings together the industry’s best speakers and ideas, and helps agents hone their business skills, technology prowess and lead conversion abilities. Each conference is fast-paced, and is packed with actionable concepts you can immediately put to work in your business. If you’re looking to optimize your website, put together an effective content marketing program, incorporate video into your marketing mix, acquire new clients through predictive marketing or simply see what’s on the technology horizon, Xplode delivers.

Every Xplode conference is sponsored by a major real estate association, multiple listing service and a selection of the finest technology and financial companies in real estate. Our content is fluff-free and practical, and 98 percent of our attendees say that they would recommend our event to a colleague, and plan to attend again. Each full-day conference includes presentations from more than a dozen speakers, and our attendees say that our speakers deliver some of the most cutting-edge, yet practical, insights in the business. Xplode is all about what’s current — and what will help you succeed. Whether you’re a brand new agent, or a veteran with a thousand transactions under your belt, Xplode can help you transform your business.

CLICK HERE to register for this exciting conference!

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By Peg Ritenour, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Legal Services/Administration

In a decision issued late last week, the federal district court for the southern district of Ohio ruled that the point of sale ordinance of the City of Oakwood is unconstitutional. Moreover, the court certified the case as a class action, paving the way for the refund of fees to hundreds of sellers who sold property in this Dayton suburb over a six-year period.

The suit was brought by property owner Jason Thompson and the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a non-profit entity. At issue in the case was whether the City’s ordinance violated the Fourth Amendment, because it subjects homeowners to a warrantless inspection of their property. (A similar challenge is also pending in the federal court for the northern district of Ohio involving the point of sale inspection of the City of Bedford, a Cleveland suburb. That case has also been certified as a class action.)

Under the Oakwood ordinance, it was unlawful for a property owner to transfer title or any equitable ownership of the property or change tenants without having an inspection conducted by the city. Upon completion of the inspection the city issued a “certificate of occupancy.” Without such a certificate the new owner or tenant could not legally occupy or use the property. The fee for the inspection was $60 and any owner who failed to comply with the inspection requirement or who occupied the premises without the certificate of occupancy was guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

In its lawsuit the plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the ordinance was unconstitutional, an injunction against the city from enforcing the ordinance and restitution of the $60 inspection fee. Shortly after the suit was filed, Oakwood agreed to a preliminary injunction that suspended its enforcement of certain provisions of the ordinance. Two months later, Oakwood passed an emergency order repealing the ordinance and replacing it with one that provides for an administrative warrant procedure. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit did not challenge the amended ordinance.

In reaching its decision that the prior ordinance violated the Fourth amendment, the court relied on a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case as well as a recent federal court case that struck down a Portsmouth, Ohio ordinance as unconstitutional. The Portsmouth ordinance also made it a misdemeanor for a property owner to refuse to allow the city to conduct an inspection of his rental property. Relying on these prior decisions, the court in this case held that a municipality violates the Fourth Amendment when it requires a property owner to consent to a warrantless inspection of their property or face criminal penalty. The court then granted the plaintiff’s claim for unjust enrichment and restitution, finding that it would be unequitable for Oakwood to retain the $60 fee that was collected pursuant to an “unconstitutional and coercive ordinance.”

Finally, the court considered the plaintiff’s motion to have this case certified as a class action. In granting this motion, the court found that there are sufficient members of the class who share common issues of law and that requiring each potential plaintiff to file individual legal action would be cost prohibitive given the dollar amount of each claim.

After reaching the decision to certify this case as a class action, it was also necessary for the court to define the members of the class. Under federal law, class action claims are subject to a two year statute of limitations. However because the court granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs on the unjust enrichment claim the court applied the statute of limitations for that claim, which is six years. Therefore the court certified the class to include all individuals and businesses that have sold houses within the City of Oakwood since May 25, 2010 and who paid the pre-sale inspection fee.

So what does this decision mean for those communities that have pre-sale or point of sale or rental inspection ordinances? Are such ordinances all unconstitutional? The answer to that question is “not necessarily.” Whether an ordinance would be subject to a successful constitutional challenge depends upon the specific provisions of each ordinance. This ordinance, like the Portsmouth ordinance, was struck down for two reasons: (1) there were criminal sanctions for persons who failed to allow the inspections; and (2) the ordinance did not provide for an administrative warrant that assured that there was a judicial determination that probable cause existed to issue the warrant. Like Oakwood, many municipalities have amended their ordinances in recent years to provide for such a warrant process to avoid a constitutional challenge.

At this point it is not known if Oakwood will appeal the court’s ruling. Also, it should be pointed out that this decision is not binding on other jurisdictions outside the Southern District of Ohio (although in my opinion this constitutes a strong precedent that is very likely to be followed by other courts).

We will keep you posted on the future developments in this case, as well as the litigation pending against the City of Bedford.

Legal articles provided in the OAR Daily Buzz are intended to provide broad, general information about the law and is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney. 

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By Scott Williams, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Public Policy

Beginning next week, Ohio REALTORS and their clients and customers will have an opportunity to tell state lawmakers that it’s time to pass much-need consumer protection legislation — specifically, to establish a licensure system for home inspectors.

Home inspections, a critically important part of the home buying process, is the only unregulated component of the home buying process in Ohio. The top legislative priority of Ohio REALTORS, House Bill 211 sponsored by Representative Hughes, would bring much needed oversight to home inspections, similar to what exists in more than 30 states across the country.

The measure has also garnered the support of the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Yet, despite the industry’s strong support, HB 211 has languished in the House Commerce and Labor Committee for months, failing to gain the necessary support for passage. As such, the Ohio REALTORS will be launching it’s largest “Call For Action” ever on Tuesday, Feb. 13 — calling on REALTORS as well as the public to voice support for this common-sense consumer protection measure. Make sure you watch for the email to arrive in your mailbox and, more importantly, encourage your clients and customers to participate as well.

Without a massive effort by our more than 32,000 members, this much-needed legislation will likely never receive the votes necessary to become a law.

So how important is it to establish oversight of the home inspection? Click here to view a news clip from Channel 5 in Cleveland this week that highlights a home buyer’s woes — and thousands of dollars in unexpected expense — attributed to an inspection report. A key takeaway from the story:

They are complaints that have some new home buyers calling for a change in state law.

To make matter worse, Ohio doesn’t require licensing or testing to become a home inspector, just one of several states without the requirement.

(Lanise) Henry said Ohio law must be changed to protect home buyers, that trade organizations, which require some standards, aren’t enough.

Please watch your inboxes for the Call for Action on Tuesday morning and take action to pass this consumer-friendly, critically important piece of legislation!

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By “Coach” Marilou Butcher Roth

Do you ever find yourself dragging your nearly comatose body out of bed, and then immediately getting on one of your devices, because of course you have SO much to do? How does that impact the remainder of your day? Perhaps you are forced to get it together by noon, or perhaps not. Here’s the deal — how you prepare for sleep and how you begin your morning will dictate the condition you will experience throughout your oh so busy day!

Let’s chat about night first. I hear on a regular basis how some of my clients work right up until the last moment that they fall into bed — which typically is quite late as well. This plan is not working to your full advantage. Our bodies need down time to operate as fully as we need them to. So let’s make a plan to prepare yourself for peaceful slumber. At least one hour before bedtime (which needs to be a reasonable hour), get off of your devices — no computers or iPads and hopefully no phones. Unwind from your day with reading, meditating, having a lovely cup of tea or whatever brings you down from the busyness of your day. Many of my clients have an appreciation journal in which they recount all of the events, etc. from their day that they found to appreciate. If you are a television fan, choose your viewing carefully — nothing heavy or scary. You may be screaming at me by now — that’s OK. And, you may find that an hour is way too much to start. That’s fine…begin with 15 minutes and move towards longer periods of time. When you delightfully ease your relaxed body into your welcoming bed, make an intention that you sleep soundly and wake up energized. I know…I have some of you out there voicing your disbelief right now. Come on, just try it! What do you have to lose?

Ah, good morning! You awaken from a sound nights sleep due to your individually crafted night time preparations. You gently open your eyes, rather than having to pry them open. You stretch your arms and legs, taking full deep breaths, bringing energy into your relaxed body. You move at a comfortable pace towards your morning, as you think of what food would most support your body. What do you want to do now to set your desired tone for the day? Ease yourself into this new time. Perhaps you sit for a few minutes breathing deeply or meditating. The key is to be easy with this new time of the day and not to jump on your computer or phone. You deserve to have some time to yourself before you give your time to others. And, the cool thing is that when you fill yourself first, you have even more for others!

Good nights = good mornings = great days!!!

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 Ohio REALTORS Board of Directors and 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

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Ohio REALTORS make home happen! The profession helps build communities. And Ohio’s REALTORS help business and industry grow.

Most importantly, Ohio’s REALTOR community is a consumer’s trusted partner in successfully navigating through the complexities of buying, selling or leasing real estate.

Ohio REALTORS are proud to launch a new video series focused on helping consumers gain the insights necessary to make the right move when it comes to their real estate needs. Our 2018 “We Are Ohio REALTORS” video series will share the profession’s expertise — providing you with a better understanding of everything that occurs from finding the right REALTOR to making an offer to reaching the closing table!

Click here for a closed captioned version of the “Trusted Partners” video. NOTE: You will need to click the CC button on the video.

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By Scott Williams, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Public Policy

The top legislative priority of Ohio REALTORS, House Bill 211 sponsored by Representative Hughes, would create a first-ever licensure system for home inspectors. The bill has languished in the House Commerce and Labor Committee for a number of months failing to gain the necessary support for passage.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13 Ohio REALTORS will be issuing an all-member Call for Action targeting the Ohio House of Representatives asking them to pass HB 211. As the 132nd General Assembly winds down we are quickly running out of time to pass this legislation. We have worked diligently with the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors and have gained their support for this legislation.

The Ohio REALTORS lobbying team in conjunction with the ASHI representatives continue to meet with members of the House Commerce and Labor Committee trying to gain enough votes to move the bill and we now need your help. It was clear from the onset that this bill would only pass if there was strong grassroots support from the membership directed at the members of the General Assembly. It is now time to demonstrate that support.

Please watch your inboxes for the Call for Action on Tuesday morning and take action to pass this consumer-friendly, important piece of legislation!

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