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MARCH 2011

Chairman’s Corner

Dear Member,
In my column last month, I spoke about the start of the 82nd legislative session, which looks to be a unique one as lawmakers will be working to deal with the shortfall in the state’s budget. Now, more than ever, it is important for REALTORS® to be part of the legislative process.

That being said, I encourage you to get involved by signing up for the 2011 Texas REALTORS® Hill Visits on April 12. It will be REALTOR® day at the Capitol! The schedule is full of meetings with legislators and their staff, where we can keep our representatives aware of the issues that affect the real estate industry and private property rights. Plus, you’ll have a great opportunity to network with other REALTORS® from around the state.

Help us make this year’s trip to Capitol even more successful than years past. Sign up to participate today! We are located right here in Austin, the home of our State Capitol, so we should have a great showing! For more information on the Hill Visits, contact Christina Ortiz in ABoR’s Government Affairs Department at 512-454-7636, ext. 1501.

In addition to all of the political action taking place, there is so much more going on at ABoR! Ranging from educational offerings, new tools to use in your business and even a chance to win a Mercedes-Benz and trip to Germany in the Foundation’s 2011 raffle, there is no shortage of activity. The market seems to be picking up and there is much excitement around, so don’t forget to make the most out of your membership at ABoR.

Judith Bundschuh
2011 Chairman of the Board

 
ABoR Works to Protect You

Every day, we work hard to deliver services that help you succeed. From improving the MLS system to researching ways to update and redesign AustinHomeSearch.com, we’re actively seeking new ways to better serve you.  

As your professional association, we take our role seriously and strive to provide you with the tools to conduct your real estate business successfully. After evaluating member feedback, we’ve continued to work with our MLS vendor to improve MLXchange and explore options for upgrading the MLS. We’ve launched an IDS solution to make MLXchange more Mac-friendly. ABoR also created our online Learning Communities to provide you with a forum to share ideas with fellow REALTORS®, provide feedback to ABoR and address your concerns. Our Government Affairs Department fights to protect REALTOR® interests at City Hall, the State Capitol and in Washington. Our public awareness campaign focuses on promoting the value of REALTORS® and the health of the Central Texas real estate market to consumers.

Our focus throughout the year is on serving you. Learn about the ways ABoR is working to bring you more value for your membership.

 
ABoR Welcomes Communications Executive Neal Spelce

Attention, ABoR Members! ABoR is pleased to announce that the first Membership Meeting of the year is set for April 14. Our first Membership Meeting of 2011 will feature Neal Spelce, a prominent communications executive and journalist. In his keynote presentation, “Austin: The Past as Prologue to the Future,” Spelce will offer a historic perspective and snapshot to the future of Austin’s economy.

As a membership benefit, primary and secondary ABoR members are encouraged to attend the April 14 meeting. Space is limited to the first 140 ABoR members who register. In order to guarantee your seat, reserve your spot today!

Check-in will begin at 9:15 a.m., along with breakfast. The meeting will officially run from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Auditorium A at the ABoR offices, located at 10900 Stonelake Boulevard.

For more information about April’s Membership Meeting, contact Vicki Harris in ABoR’s Executive Department at 512-454-7636. We look forward to seeing you in April!

 
TREC Announces Mandatory Corrections for Revised Forms

The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) has announced several updates to certain real estate contract forms that were previously updated and went into mandatory effect on March 1. These changes impact the new Paragraph 15B on the revised forms, which has been removed and restored to the previous Paragraph 15.

The contracts that were affected by the most recent change include the following:

  • One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale)
  • New Home Contract (Incomplete Construction)
  • New Home Contract (Completed Construction)
  • Residential Condominium Contract
  • Unimproved Property Contract
  • Farm and Ranch Contract.
Effective immediately, REALTORS® should begin using the amended forms, which can be downloaded online by visiting the “Forms, Laws and Contracts” section of TREC’s website. Additionally, the Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) notified ZipForm of the latest changes in mid-February, and the corrected versions are now available for use.

Read more about the most recent changes from TREC.

 
Earn MCE Credit at Social Media Live

This April, earn mandatory continuing education (MCE) credit by attending Social Media Live, an informative workshop that will examine social media trends within the real estate industry. Join Platinum Top 50 REALTORS® on April 6 at the Oasis on Lake Travis, where you’ll learn about what social media—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gowalla—can do for your business. You’ll hear from speakers Jeff Turner of Inman NEWSTop 100; National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Social Media Manager Todd Carpenter; and Texas Association of REALTORS® President Travis Kessler.

General admission tickets for Social Media Live can be purchased online for $50. Your ticket will also provide you with breakfast, which will begin at 8:00 a.m. The program will run from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. View the online event page for more information and to purchase your ticket.

 
MLS Participation Fees Due March 15

As a friendly reminder, your semi-annual MLS participation fees are due next Tuesday, March 15. The MLXchange MLS system was designed to help you effectively conduct your business. Don’t miss a moment of your MLS access; submit your payment today. By submitting your payment by March 15, you will avoid any late or reinstatement fees.

You should have received your invoice for MLS fees in mid-February. You can pay online, at the ABoR office or through our new Interactive Voice Response (IVR) phone system at 512-651-2625. Should you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact ABoR’s Membership Department at 512-454-7636. A member services representative will be happy to assist you.

 
Win a New Mercedes-Benz

Sales for the ABoR Foundation’s 2011 Mercedes Raffle have officially begun. Don’t miss out on your chance to support the ABoR Foundation, while entering for a chance to win a new Mercedes-Benz car. Your $100 raffle ticket will enter you for a chance to win a grand-prize package that includes:

  • a trip to Germany with five nights in luxury hotels in Germany and Austria;
  • Mercedes-Benz factory tour; and
  • the opportunity to participate in a self-guided auto rally from the Mercedes factory. This rally will take you and your new Mercedes through the Black Forest into the Austrian Alps and onto Munich, Germany.
Only 1,500 tickets will be sold for the Foundation’s Mercedes Raffle and tickets are already heading out the door. Purchase your ticket today to avoid missing out on this special opportunity. The grand-prize winner will be selected at the Mercedes & Martini’s Raffle Event on June 10 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Domain II.

Proceeds from the Mercedes-Benz raffle will benefit the ABoR Foundation’s Scholarship Fund, which provides graduating Central Texas high school seniors with scholarships to attend Texas colleges, universities and trade schools. For more information, contact Rita Barousse in ABoR’s Education Department at 512-454-7636, ext. 1602.

 
Home Sales Volume up 14 Percent in January Compared to 2010

Sales of single-family homes in the Austin area were 14 percent higher in January 2011 than January 2010 with 975 homes sold, according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. 

In the same time period, the median price in Austin was $190,000, up six percent from January 2010; and homes spent an average of 93 days on the market, 11 percent longer than January 2010. In addition, new listings were down 14 percent in January 2011 compared to January 2010 and active listings were down five percent, indicating a decreasing inventory of homes.

“The latest figures show that we are seeing the economic recovery continue in Austin,” said Judith Bundschuh, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®.

View the complete greater Austin housing market report.

 

 

Sales

Change from
Last Year

Median
Price

Change from
Last Year

Months'
Inventory

Amarillo

122

up 14%

$122,700

down 6%

6.9

Austin

1,066

up 8%

$186,300

up 6%

5.6

Corpus
Christi

175

up 11%

$128,500

up 2%

9.8

Dallas

2,043

down 8%

$150,100

up 7%

6.4

El Paso

339

up 34%

$127,900

down 2%

6.6

Fort
Worth

407

down 12%

$105,000

up 2%

6.8

Harlingen

56

down 20%

$76,000

down 11%

unavailable

Houston

3,085

up 8%

$136,600

down 4%

7.4

Lubbock

135

down 3%

$110,000

up 2%

7

Odessa

50

up 56%

$136,700

up 16%

4

San Angelo

63

up 7%

$118,900

up 40%

6.3

San Antonio

951

up 11%

$143,900

up 4%

7.7

Temple-
Belton

77

down 9%

$125,000

up 19%

8.1

Tyler

143

down 11%

$120,600

down 13%

12.6

Wichita
Falls

80

down 10%

$90,000

up 3%

7.8

Texas

10,628

up 2%

$139,100

up 2%

7.3

Source: Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University (RECON, 02/25/2011)

 
Wrap-Around Sale Contracts

In this month’s Legal Topics column, Don R. Hancock, J.D., of Hancock and McGill, L.L.P. discusses wrap-around sale contracts and the issues involved with preparing this type of contract.

 
Make the Most Out of Your Mobile Marketing Strategy

ABoR recently partnered with Goomzee to provide you with new mobile marketing tools for real estate business success. Mobile MLS and Realty Connect allow MLS subscribers to stay connected with their clients through mobile phone technology and supplies text message marketing tools to communicate listings to potential buyers.

Designed with you in mind, Goomzee has scheduled multiple comprehensive training sessions on-site at ABoR this Wednesday, March 9 and Thursday, March 10. The training sessions will provide you a full functions guide for using Mobile MLS and Realty Connect. Register online for any of the following mobile marketing sessions:

  • Wednesday, March 9: 9:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 10: 9:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Visit the Partners and Vendors page on Abor.com to begin using these mobile marketing tools today. For additional assistance with Mobile MLS and Realty Connect, contact ABoR’s MLS support team.

 
ABoR Announces Free SupraWEB Training

To ensure Supra Key users make the most of their key services, ABoR is hosting a SupraWEB Keybox Management training course, which will provide you with a comprehensive tutorial for SupraWEB. This course will teach you everything you need to know about registering Supra keyboxes, assigning listings, accessing showing reports, e-mailing listing agents, and customizing your signature, photo and feedback questions.

ABoR offers free on-site SupraWEB training at the ABoR offices throughout the year. Our next two courses are scheduled for Friday, March 18 and Friday, April 15. Reserve your seat today by registering for this course online.

In addition to the training offered at the ABoR facilities, we are happy to bring our resources directly to you by way of office visits for no additional cost. A SupraWEB office visit allows you to learn the same tips and tricks that you’d learn at a class hosted at the ABoR offices, but you get to do so from the convenience of your own office. Office visits offer an exclusive opportunity for agents to increase their knowledge and familiarize themselves with new technology and systems.

ABoR members and MLS subscribers are invited to contact ABoR’s Membership Trainer James Yanz at 512-454-7636, ext. 1121 to set up an office visit today.

 
You Made the Annual TREPAC Chili Cook-Off a Huge Success

ABoR hosted the fourth annual TREPAC Chili Cook-Off on February 24 to raise money for TREPAC, and that we did! Special thanks to everyone who attended and supported the exciting event and invested in TREPAC. As a direct result of your participation and support, we’re happy to announce that the event raised more than $8,000 for the Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee (TREPAC) and the REALTOR® Party. Three cheers to our advertisers—One Source Solutions, John Horton Realty, Austin Title - Theresa De Alejandro and uShip—for their generous support.

The competition was fierce with a total of 12 teams competing in the chili competition and five teams in the salsa competition. While everyone had fantastic recipes, congratulations are in order for the following award winners:

  • Celebrity Judge’s Best Chili: Central Metro Realty (Jason Huval and Nick Nowak)
  • Celebrity Judge’s Best Salsa: Nextage Lincoln Ray Realty (Linda Hall)
  • People’s Choice Best Chili: ABoR: The Directors (Judith Bundschuh, David Burton, Cathy Coneway, Helen Edwards, Janet Murdock, Julie Potts and Sharon Rosshirt)
  • People’s Choice Best Salsa: Neuhaus Realty Group (Ed Neuhaus)
  • Best Decorated Booth: The Cardani Group (Jennifer Archambeault, Chad Cardani and Greg Petrosewicz)
  • Best Decorated Cake: Dolise McClure
  • People’s Choice Cake: Aaron Lujan and Dolise McClure.
We hope everyone who attended the cook-off had a great time. We hope to see you later this year at future TREPAC fundraising events. Be sure to check out the pictures from the festivities on ABoR’s Facebook page.
 
Join ABoR at the State Capitol to Support the REALTOR® Party

The 82nd Legislative session is fully underway, and the time has come to advocate for what matters most to REALTORS®. Join ABoR on April 12 for the 2011 Texas REALTORS® Hill Visits to help ensure the real estate industry and private property owners are protected during the current legislative session. Your attendance at the Hill Visits allows you to not only show your support for the REALTOR® Party, but also allows you to make a positive impact on your profession by advocating REALTOR® interests to lawmakers.

While Texas is looking for ways to combat the shortfall in the state’s budget, Central Texas REALTORS® need to be proactive in order to contest harmful proposals. Transfer taxes on real estate and taxes on your commissions could become the topics of discussion amongst members of the legislature.

Help increase the REALTOR® presence at the Capitol by registering for the April Hill Visits. ABoR encourages all TREPAC investors to register. The deadline to sign up for the Hill Visits is Monday, April 4 at noon. ABoR will provide a complimentary lunch for our participants. However, the Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) plans to host a separate barbecue luncheon that day. Tickets for TAR’s luncheon cost $12 and must be purchased in advance by Friday, April 1 at noon.

For more information, contact Christina Ortiz in ABoR’s Government Affairs Department at 512-454-7636, ext. 1501.