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By Scott Williams, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Public Policy

Ohio REALTORS will be making a major push starting Monday in hopes of getting its top legislative priority — licensure of home inspectors — approved by the Ohio House of Representatives when it returns to session on April 11.

The industry-backed measure, House Bill 211, was overwhelmingly approved by the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee by a 12-2 margin in late February. Ohio REALTORS, along with the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors, are supporting this common sense, consumer protection measure that seeks to create a regulatory board that will adopt minimum standards, conduct competency examinations, establish ongoing education, and provide consumers a process to have complaints addressed. Across the country, 30 other states have similar protections.

On Monday Ohio REALTORS will be issuing an all-member “Call For Action” via email and text. With a few simple clicks, REALTORS will be asking their lawmaker to have HB 211 added to the House calendar for a vote on April 11.

It’s imperative that Ohio’s REALTORS make their voice heard on this important issue the minute this Call For Action arrives, as lawmakers will be adjourning for a summer recess shortly after session on April 11. Failure to get a vote in the House next week will delay efforts to secure passage in the Senate and, ultimately, have it signed into law by Gov. Kasich prior to the end of this current legislative session.

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By “Coach” Marilou Butcher Roth

Our Spring Legislative meeting is right around the corner — Monday, April 9 through Wednesday, April 11. My guess is that many of you reading this already have made plans to attend…but perhaps not. For many years, although I was heavily involved in our Local Board, I had minimal exposure to our State and National Associations. Obviously, that changed, and I often see agents that do not realize the benefit for them in participating in larger activities outside of their Local Associations. They express thoughts such as, those meetings are for “others,” or, they don’t want to take the time.

If you have never been to any of the Ohio REALTORS meetings, let’s take a look at what you may be missing with next week’s meeting. Yes, there are the committee meetings — what you may not know is that any of you can sit in on most of these meetings without being an actual member of that committee. There are also amazing continuing education classes. This year, there is a CE session “Cover Your Assets! Risk Prevention for RE Professionals.” We can all use that one! Another great session will be “Online and Offline Marketing Strategies to Boost Your Real Estate Business.” Don’t even begin to tell me this one wouldn’t be helpful!

Something special about the Spring Legislative meeting is the healthy amount of legislative information we are exposed to, keeping us apprised of what we as REALTORS, need to know to best represent our clients. Legislative issues play a key role in real estate, and staying informed is part of our job!

Another great feature is the Lunch Box Economics talk by Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS. He brings great information and updates that are always beneficial.

On Tuesday evening, there is a Legislative Reception at the State House Atrium, where we as REALTORS, armed with our talking points, meet our legislators face-to-face to discuss issues impacting our industry.

This particular year, as a result of extensive work, our new logo, brand and website will be revealed! This is very exciting, and how fun to be able to see this first!

OK, I have hit on some of the highlights of this meeting but there is much more available to you. Click here to discover all the excitement surrounding this year’s Conference.

I hope to see you there!

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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(Center) Sue Graham, 2017 President of the Ashland Board of REALTORS, accepts the Ohio REALTORS Certificate of Merit Award from Communications Committee Vice Chair Sara Riesen (left) and Chair Mike Valerino. The Ashland Board was one of 13 Local Boards/Associations that were honored for their community outreach efforts during the Board of Directors meeting at the Ohio REALTORS 2017 Annual Convention & EXPO in Cincinnati.

The Ashland Board of REALTORS’ PR Committee held a REALTOR Work Day, partnering with its Affiliate Housing Partners of Ashland County (similar to Habitat for Humanity) to prepare a home for a new partner family. Housing Partners of Ashland County had received a home back from foreclose that needed help preparing it for a new partner family. Together with the new homeowners, the Board’s PR Committee, and other members and affiliates of ABOR, painting, cleaning, trash out, and minor repairs were completed in one day with accumulated 60 hours of volunteer service.

What were the immediate results of the project?

The immediate result was a home being ready to move-in for the new partner family in one day as opposed to several weeks.

What are the projected long-range results?

The long-range results would be from the Ashland Board’s ongoing, positive public relations coverage of this REALTOR Work Day. Additionally, the event helped develop partnerships with not only an Affiliate Member but also with a Partner Family, showcasing the power of REALTORS working together for the community in which they live, work and sell everyday.

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(Center) Jim Fox, 2017 President of the Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS, accepts the Ohio REALTORS Certificate of Merit Award from Communications Committee Vice Chair Sara Riesen (left) and Chair Mike Valerino. The Akron Cleveland Association was one of 13 Local Boards/Associations that were honored for their community outreach efforts during the Board of Directors meeting at the Ohio REALTORS 2017 Annual Convention & EXPO in Cincinnati.

The Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS (ACAR) Community Outreach and Charity Committee devotes time and efforts to multiple community efforts. To summarize, between August, 2016, and August, 2017, ACAR’s Community Outreach and Charity Committee has supported the Akron-Canton Foodbank and the Greater Cleveland Foodbank. REALTOR and Affiliate members have also denoted time and resources to the Habitat For Humanity ReStore. In addition, the Community Outreach and Charity Committee raised funds through optional contributions through dues billing to raise money for the Real Estate Community Cares Fund and from proceeds at ACAR’s Annual Golf Outing. The Real Estate Community Cares Fund is a charitable foundation whose mission is to support local housing-related charities to benefit the welfare and prosperity of the communities that ACAR members live and work in to create more productive and enriched communities. ACAR members and staff also have a presence in Neighborhood Housing Services and Rebuilding Together and Neighborhood Housing Service.

The ACAR Community Outreach and Charity Committee held Foodbank Volunteer Day at the Akron-Canton Food Bank on April 5. At the Foodbank 21 volunteers, which included ACAR staff, agents and affiliate members, sorted through all types of food, paper products, baby items, beverages, etc. Volunteers not only had to check for expiration dates, but they had to check the packaging of items (ripped boxes, torn and/or broken seals). The Foodbank is a large operation and require many volunteers successfully meet the needs of so many in the communities they serve.

ACAR members and staff assisted at Akron’s Habitat For Humanity ReStore. Habitat For Humanity ReStore is a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center. Proceeds from the sale of donated items supports Habitat for Humanity’s effort to build strength and stability through shelter. Volunteers spent a Saturday assisting by sorting donated household items and furniture, helping shoppers load purchased items into vehicles, mixed and sorted paint, and dried out old paints.

ACAR continued the Necessity Box Program. In October and November, 2016, a Survival Kit for Law Enforcement Officers was distributed to 15 different Law Enforcement agencies that totaled over 150 Survival Kits.

In April, 2017, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland and The Western Reserve received 88 Necessity Boxes of Personal Hygiene items along with some school supplies.

ACAR received a Placemaking micro-grant from NAR to help make the East Akron community a better place to live and work by transforming unused public space into vibrant community places. ACAR used the funds to help the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation create a positive social space (Minson Plaza) for the community of East Akron along its major corridor, South Arlington Street, and address the shortage of public gathering space in the neighborhood. The site is designed to function as a destination for people walking in East Akron at their leisure, and as a space for programmed activities. At the center of the plaza will be a stage, surrounded by seating. When not hosting a performance, the stage will be ideal for children to engage in imaginative play. A large bench and planter will sit at the Arlington Street side, with seating facing both inward and outward, providing a resting spot for people walking up Arlington but also inviting people in to the plaza. A la rge ches sboard will be constructed using paving stones, and a nearby bench and table will feature a small chessboard. A metalwork table, designed by a local artist and given to each of Akron’s neighborhoods through the 500 Plates public art project, will also be placed here.

ACAR participated in Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio’s Building a Healthy Neighborhood project in Cleveland’s historic Slavic Village. Slavic Village was one of the hardest hit communities during the nation’s foreclosure crisis. Work included critical home repairs to more than 10 homes a community fair featuring agencies and companies that help with financial literacy, overall health, community services, etc. ACAR members worked on homes, served as house ambassadors, coordinated the fair vendors and greeted attendees.

ACAR maintains a leadership role in Neighborhood Housing Services. On November 21, ACAR participated in a Cleveland Housing Counseling event. The Cleveland Housing Counseling event was designed to discuss the topic of increasing homeownership by expanding the use of housing counseling. ACAR and Neighborhood Housing Services also works to assist new homeowners become successful homeowners by offering counseling on the responsibilities of being a homeowner. ACAR and Neighborhood Housing Services believes that creating and assisting residents become successful homeowners instills pride in neighborhoods and improves the quality of life for all residents.

What were the immediate results of the project?

Immediately, an awareness of the immense need to help the hungry in the Akron-Canton and Cleveland metropolitan areas. Community Outreach and Charity Committee members talked about their experiences at Volunteer Days at the Foodbanks with fellow REALTORS, which served to garner more volunteers, more donations of food and money as well as more awareness of the strong involvement in ACAR’s communities among the membership. Members find the task of the Foodbanks overwhelming in their efforts to continue to meet the needs of so many in the community who have to seek out help just to meet their daily food needs. At both Foodbank locations, the agencies were very impressed with ACAR’s professionalism, teamwork and how quickly our volunteers were able to sort and package the items At both foodbank locations, the agencies were very impressed with ACAR’s professionalism, teamwork and how quickly our volunteers were able to sort and package the items.

Habitat For Humanity ReStore project yielded the result of assisting with the organization of donated items, helped customers shop for and locate needed items as well as the generating good will among the community. ACAR’s efforts not only helped Habitat For Humanity but brought a greater awareness to ACAR members about the organization and its important role in communities across the country and worldwide.

ACAR participated with Neighborhood Housing Services on November 21 a Cleveland Housing Counseling event. The Cleveland Housing Counseling event was designed to discuss the topic of increasing homeownership by expanding the use of housing counseling. ACAR and Neighborhood Housing Services also works to assist new homeowners become successful homeowners by offering counseling on the responsibilities of being a homeowner. ACAR and Neighborhood Housing Services believes that creating and assisting residents become successful homeowners instills pride in neighborhoods and improves the quality of life for all residents.

ACAR’s participation with Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio’s Building a Healthy Neighborhood projects completed urgent home repairs to resolve unsafe or unhealthy living conditions that cause preventable injuries or illnesses.

What are the projected long-range results?

Community Outreach and Charity Committee intends to continue scheduling and holding Volunteer Days twice a year at the Akron-Canton and the Greater Cleveland Foodbanks. Committee members are also collecting money and food donations for both Foodbanks on an ongoing basis. The Committee members continue to work on expanding awareness of ACAR’s involvement in both Foodbank Volunteer Days to grow member involvement in donating time on Volunteer Days as well as increasing the amount of money and food donations.

The “Necessity Box” program is a year-long project that ACAR’s Community Outreach and Charity Committee will be working on. Be on the lookout for our next donation drive.

For the long-term, Habitat for Humanity focuses on shelter. ACAR volunteers and staff greatly enjoyed their time spent at Habitat For Humanity ReStore. Volunteering developed a greater connection to their community through volunteerism.

ACAR continues to work with partners such as Neighborhood Housing Services to encourage successful homeownership, and strengthen and revitalize neighborhoods in Northeast Ohio. Through all of these philanthropic efforts ACAR Leadership strives to maintain its impact on the communities that our REALTOR and Affiliate members live and work in.

Through Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio’s Building a Healthy Neighborhood project, residents can remain in their own homes and preserve the history and heritage of a neighborhood so we can welcome and retain new neighbors. Ongoing maintenance is a crucial step to ensuring a safe environment to build a quality life.

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By “Coach” Marilou Butcher Roth

It may appear, at first glance, that I am referring to some sort of filing tip. Nope — not today! Today we are going to look at what we can control in our lives, and what we can’t — this is no easy feat for some of us!

Here is our first order of business =- I want you to grab two files — you remember files don’t you? Those are the manila items that would hold our paper before everything went digital, and if you were really fancy, you had colored ones! So, anyway, get two of them and on one write “Things I Can Control” and on the other, write “Things I Cannot Control.” Good — now put those aside and let’s talk about what to do with them.

I am currently in Wichita, Kan. and although it is usually warm this time of year, it’s 45 degrees. This has been my situation wherever I have been for the past few months, where I continue to hear — “oh, it’s usually warmer, in fact it was 70 degrees just last week.” Seriously, have I done something to irritate the weather gods? It would appear so! Yes, of course, this is silly, however it definitely has the potential to put me in a cranky place. Now, let’s go back to our files. The weather situation would definitely go into the “Things I Cannot Control File.” However, how I choose to react is definitely controllable!

What about someone else’s bad attitude? Or when the grocery is out of your favorite honey? Again, these are items that we obviously have no control over. But sometimes that does not stop us from reacting in an negative manner.

Okay, you all know these things, so why the files? All of us may in fact know what we can control and what we can’t, and, that information alone does not ensure that we are able to let those items go and move on with our lives. Hence, the files! You now have something concrete that you can see and feel, and, if they are not with you, you at least have the mental image of them.

This week, as situations arise that may cause some angst for you, get out your files (or imagine them), and determine which file is appropriate for the situation at hand.

Happy filing!

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 report the pace of single-family homes and condominiums put under agreement in February 2018 decreased a marginal 0.8 percent from the rate posted during the month a year ago.

Ohio’s February Pending Home Sales Index of 144.0, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 0.8 percent from February 2017 (145.1). Activity in February rose 1.2 percent from the pace of agreements reached in January 2018 (142.4).

“The outlook for the Ohio housing market remains positive, as the number of homes put under contract in February nearly kept pace with activity levels posted a year ago,” said Ohio REALTORS President Tiffany Meyer. “Ohio’s REALTOR community understands that the foundation of our marketplace is strong and able to withstand the traditional monthly ebbs and flows that occur.

“We look forward to continuing to build on the momentum that has been established as we move into the traditional spring buying season.”

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, February’s Index score of 144.0 marks a 44 percent 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.

Ohio REALTORS, the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 32,000 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.

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich recently announced the appointment of Cleveland REALTOR John Lynch the Ohio Real Estate Appraiser Board.

Lynch, who served as President of Ohio REALTORS in 1999, will serve on the five-member Board until June 30, 2020. The Appraiser Board oversee’s operation of Ohio’s real estate appraiser registration, licensure and certification program. If a registered, licensed or certified appraiser is found to have violated appraiser law, the Board can revoke or suspend a registration, license or certification, assess a fine or order additional continuing education.

Other members of the Board include Chair John D. McIntyre, Richard Hoffman and Steve Rench. The Public Member seat on the Board is currently vacant.

Lynch, broker/founder of Keller Williams Realty Greater Cleveland West, is currently representing REALTORS in Ohio and Michigan as the 2018 National Association of REALTORS Region 6 Vice President. Additionally, he served as Chair of the Ohio REALTORS Appraisal Committee in 2016, been a member of the Board of Directors for more than 20 years, and is currently serving as the industry’s Federal Political Coordinator with Sen. Sherrod Brown, among other industry involvement.

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By “Coach” Marilou Butcher Roth

As I have mentioned in a previous Coaching Corner post, I am doing a book group with my agents. One of the topics this Thursday was about integrity and integrity breaches. In our current chapter, the author, Gay Hendricks, poses the question, “where in my life am I not telling the full truth?” Eek! That question certainly gets my attention! Let’s look a little closer at this inquiry. Of course, there are the situations where an outright lie is happening, and certainly we can all agree that in those situations, an integrity breach is in play.

The focus of today’s post, however,  is not on lies — the focus is on how we do not acknowledge our amazing selves! Each of us is capable of so much and yet, very often we play small rather than living our lives to the fullest. We may have stories about not wanting to outshine others, or that nobody would be interested in what we have to offer. We may diminish our skills and ourselves in such a way that our light never shines as bright as it could.

Are you with me so far? The truth we are not fully telling is what possible stories, a.k.a. lies, we are telling ourselves about ourselves! When we are not telling the full truth to ourselves about who we are, we are in an integrity breach indeed! If we are not living to our fullest potential, we will not experience the quality of life that is available to us.

So this week, step into your own truth about yourself. You may feel a little shaky at first, that is OK. Perhaps you start with “I am really good at _________, and truly enjoy it”.  And then, make sure that you are doing more of that!

It’s your time to shine!!!

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 Scott Williams, Ohio REALTORS Vice President of Public Policy

Despite the strong backing of Ohio REALTORS and the Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors, the Ohio House of Representatives failed to bring House Bill 211, licensure of home inspectors, up for a vote on the final day of session prior to spring break.

HB 211, which overwhelmingly passed the House Economic Development, Commerce, and Labor Committee by a 12-2 margin in late February, is a consumer protection measure that will create a regulatory board that will adopt minimum standards, conduct competency examinations, establish ongoing education, and provide consumers a process to have complaints addressed. There are 30 states across the country that have already adopted home inspection licensure legislation.

Ohio REALTORS are extremely disappointed that the House didn’t bring HB 211 to the floor for a vote yesterday. In conjunction with ASHI, not only has our leadership provided strong testimony but thousands of REALTORS and consumers throughout the state sent their lawmaker a message of support during a “Call For Action” campaign in mid-February. Additionally, the support it garnered at the Committee level is a clear indication of the widespread desire to bring oversight to the only unregulated aspect of the home buying process.

We’re hopeful that the Ohio House will bring the measure to the floor when it reconvenes on April 11.

I encourage all REALTORS to take every opportunity over the next few weeks to reach out to their Representative — especially since they’ll be back home in the district — and encourage them to support home inspector licensure when they return to the State House.

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The rate of homes sold across Ohio in February fell 1.7 percent from the level posted during the month a year ago, according to Ohio REALTORS.

“The housing market across the Buckeye State was extremely solid in February, as the rate of sales activity nearly kept pace with the record-breaking level established during the month a year ago,” said Ohio REALTORS President Tiffany Meyer. “Additionally, we’re also experiencing continued gains in the average price, an indication that housing is a solid, long-term investment.

“As we move into the traditional spring home buying season, Ohio’s REALTOR community is hopeful that we’ll see an increase in the number of homes being marketed for sale to meet growing demand,” Meyer added.

February’s average home price of $165,889 reflects an 8.8 percent increase from the $152,514 mark posted during the month last year.

Sales in February reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 149,042, a 1.7 percent decrease from the 151,634 level during the month a year ago. The market experienced a 2 percent increase in sales from January’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of 146,091.

Around the state, the average sales price increased in 12 of the 18 markets tracked. A total of six markets experienced an uptick in total sales activity.

Click here to view the seasonally adjusted Ohio home sales report and a market by market analysis of sales activity throughout Ohio and local contact information. To view a market-by-market sales report, click here.

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