Young. Professionals REAL ESTATE. How they succeed in a challenging market. September 13-15, Seminar & Webinar Schedule.

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1 Where The Stars Are Young Professionals How they succeed in a challenging market p Rookie REALTOR Seminar & Webinar Schedule p 16 Maryland Association of REALTORS Meet the Staff * REAL ESTATE MAIN SPONSORS: September 13-15, 2010


3 President s Perspective Steve Meszaros MARYLAND HOME MAKEOVER Begins Its Next Renovation In July, Maryland REALTORS and the Partnership for Housing (PFH) Foundation announced its second home renovation project through the Foundation s Maryland Home Makeover program. Danny Barry suffered a traumatic brain injury at 9 after a diabetic stroke and subsequent coma. Now 22, his everyday life is challenging and the Barry s split foyer home required changes to adapt to Danny s needs. Danny s father is a career military retiree, now a civilian, serving with the military in Iraq. Maryland Home Makeover Program funded the renovation of the lower level footprint of the Barry home, with a new handicapped entrance in place of the garage door, expanded living and sleeping space for Danny, closets and a family gathering area. The project was made possible through the efforts of Harkins Builders Inc., and support from the Anne Arundel Association of REALTORS and its local Women s Council of REALTORS. Through this program, we are making an impact on Maryland families and communities. For additional information about the Barry family and MARYLAND HOME MAKEOVER, visit IN THIS ISSUE Read the profile of eight Maryland Young Professionals, selected as NAR s 30 under 30 finalists over the last ten years. We asked them how they succeed and what they would do differently if they were just starting out. Look for our new feature, Commercial Connections, written by MAR attorney Celeste Filoia. Although the column is focused on issues of importance to commercial practitioners, it will also provide relevancy to the residential practitioner. September marks REALTOR Safety Awareness month. NAR will host a series of Webinars on Open Houses, Social Media, Identity Theft, and Distressed Properties. Visit to learn more details. HANDSFREE CELL PHONE DEVICE REQUIRED Effective October 1, 2010, Maryland joins states that prohibit the use of handheld phones by drivers while operating a motor vehicle. The law prohibits a driver over the age of 18 from using a handheld telephone while driving a motor vehicle in motion. THE STRENGTH OF VOLUNTEERS It has been an honor to serve Maryland REALTORS and our Association. Special thanks to the 2010 Leadership Team Cathy Werner, Pat Terrill, Carlton Boujai, Iona Harrison, CEO Mary Antoun, and the Executive Committee for their support. Consider making a commitment to volunteer at your local association. You will be rewarded in countless areas of your personal and professional life. Danny Barry proudly wears a REALTOR pin given to him by Steve Meszaros MARYLAND REALTOR August/September

4 August/September Features 8 Maryland association of realtors A Conversation with 2011 President Cathy Werner Rookie REALTOR Seminars Taking it on the Road Realtor safety Tips: Clients need safety too! rookie realtor seminar & webinar schedule 16 Maryland association of realtors Meet the Staff 20 cell PHONES AND DISTRACTED DRIVING 22 WHERE THE STARS ARE Young Professionals How They Succeed in a Challenging Market table of contents 38 UNCLAIMED MONEY MAY BE YOURS Departments 3 president S LETTER 6 MAR 2010 LEADERSHIP TEAM commissioner S CORNER Commission Considers Licensing for Property Managers 30 MARYLAND REAL ESTATE COMMISSION NEWS Condo Buyers May Request Refund of Earnest Money 31 RESIDENTIAL SALES After the Tax Credits 34 FROM THE HOTLINE First-Time Homebuyer Addendum: Who Pays Transfer Taxes? MRIS UPDATE Real Estate in Real Time 37 commercial CONNECTION NEW COLUMN! Business Owners Find Value in Cost Segregation Studies 4 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010


6 2010 Maryland Association of REALTORS Leadership Team Steve Meszaros President Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc. 802 Landmark Drive, Suite 111 Glen Burnie, MD Fax Patricia A. Terrill Secretary Prudential Carruthers REALTORS 7500 Coastal Highway Ocean City, MD Fax Iona C. Harrison Immediate Past President Pioneer Realty Inc Declaration Lane Potomac, MD Cathy A. Werner President-Elect RE/MAX American Dream 9414 Belair Road Baltimore, MD Fax Carlton J. Boujai Jr. Treasurer Exit Realty Prosperity Group 5300 Westview Drive Suite 105 Frederick, MD Mary C. Antoun Chief Executive Officer Maryland Association of REALTORS 200 Harry S Truman Parkway, Suite 200 Annapolis, MD Maryland Association of REALTORS 200 Harry S Truman Parkway Suite 200 Annapolis, MD Executive Leadership Team Steve Meszaros President Cathy A. Werner President-Elect Patricia A. Terrill Secretary Carlton J. Boujai Jr. Treasurer Iona C. Harrison Immediate Past President Mary C. Antoun Chief Executive Officer Editor Deborah L. Hager Advisory Committee Lee Hatfield Chair Ken Montville Vice Chair Advertising & Publication Design Art Comp & Design Alison Cooper Senior Designer 1921 York Road, Timonium, MD Mission Statement The Maryland Association of REALTORS exists to support all segments of its membership and their specialties. The Maryland Association of REALTORS, through collective efforts with local boards/associations and the National Association of REALTORS : Develops and delivers programs, services and related products that maintain and elevate the high standards of the real estate business and the professional conduct of its practitioners; Assists members in ethically and professionally serving the public; Promotes and preserves the right to own, transfer and use real property; and Protects the right of members to conduct business within a framework of fair and reasonable laws and government regulations. In principle and in practice, the Maryland Association of REALTORS values and seeks diversity and inclusive participation within the field of real estate and recognizes each member as a unique individual. Maryland REALTOR (USPS ) is published bimonthly by the Maryland Association of REALTORS, 200 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD Periodical postage paid at Annapolis and additional mailing offices. Postmaster send address changes to: Maryland REALTOR, 200 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD Member subscriptions of $3.81 are paid with annual dues. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information regarding the subject matter covered. It is offered with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Articles that appear in Maryland REALTOR are an informational service to members. Their contents are the opinions of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent those of the Maryland Association of REALTORS. Permission to reprint articles appearing in Maryland REALTOR magazine must be requested in writing. Also include purpose for request. While this magazine makes a reasonable effort to establish the integrity of its advertisers, it does not endorse advertised products or services unless specifically stated Maryland Association of REALTORS, Inc. 6 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010


8 Maryland Association of REALTORS A Conversation with 2011 President Cathy Werner MAR 2011 President Cathy Werner shares her thoughts on the past and the future of the real estate industry. Q: A: Q: A: Q: A: When were you licensed? I received notice that I had passed the real estate exam on Christmas Eve in My daughter, Nicole, was 9 years old at the time and I was a stay-at-home mom. Pursuing a career in real estate seemed attractive to me because it was something I could do part-time and contribute financially to the household. The idea was that my husband could watch Nikki on evenings and weekends while I sold real estate. How hard was it for you to get started? Very hard. I was late for my first listing appointment because my car had a flat tire - I did get the listing though. It was 9 months before I had a sale and 11 months before I received my first commission check. With almost a year s investment of time and money without any income, I almost quit. The flat tire clients were happy with the service I gave them and did refer me to others that s when things finally started to kick in for me. How did your real estate career progress from there? It was slow going for some time. I had plenty of time so I decided to focus on education. I wanted to learn as much as I could about buying and selling real estate since we advise our clients and customers on what may be the largest financial investment of their lives. I earned my GRI first, then CRS and then my associate broker license. Later I received my ABR designation and most recently my CDPE. It took a while, but eventually I increased my production to the point that I was among the top producers in the office. I feel strongly that the amount of education I received contributed greatly to my success. 8 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010

9 Q: A: Why did you decide to start your own brokerage? What I love about the real estate profession is that one s potential is unlimited. Having my own brokerage was the next logical step to get to know them they will be impressed. I invite all MAR members to visit the MAR office in Annapolis. I think they will all be amazed at the number of services that are available to them and the level of effort that is directed on their behalf. for me. I wanted to help others accomplish their dreams, just as I had through my career in real estate. I purchased a RE/MAX Q: What do you like to do in your spare time? Q: A: franchise and named the company American Dream because I feel that, to many people, homeownership is the foundation of the American Dream. What changes have you seen in the real estate industry in the past 26 years? Everything and nothing. When I started, there were no computers. In fact, when fax machines came out, the agents in the office voted A: Q: Balance is also important to me. I encourage everyone to support a charity of choice. I love spending time with my family every chance I get. I have several hobbies vacationing in the Caribbean, reading, cooking, golf, gardening. I am a licensed Coast Guard Captain. But I stopped riding my Harley when I became a grandmother. What would you like to say to the members of MAR? against having one! We received listings daily by mail. Technology has changed the way we work information is readily available to A: Get involved you can make a difference. everyone. What hasn t changed is that real estate is still a contact sport. Relationships are the key to success. Q: How did you become involved in the association? A: As I became more successful in my business, I wanted to give back to the industry that had given me the opportunity to become successful. I started volunteering on committees at the local and the state levels. Over time I served at the officer level and became the 150th president of the Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS, the oldest real estate board in the country. As president of GBBR I was selected to serve on MAR s Executive Committee. I met Q: A: wonderful REALTORS from across the state and my interest in serving at the state level grew. As incoming MAR President, what do you think are the challenges Maryland REALTORS face? We are all facing financial, political and other issues. MAR is active in monitoring and lobbying on issues such as proposals to tax real estate commissions, property tax increases, property values, financing, appraisals and other issues affecting the ability of Marylanders to buy and sell homes. The strength of our 24,000 members gives us a powerful voice in Annapolis on housing issues. I am honored to be representing this wonderful organization. The MAR staff is incredible I would like for all of our MAR members MARYLAND REALTOR August/September

10 Clients Need Safety Tips, Too! MAR and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS have worked hard to keep REALTOR Safety foremost in everyone s minds. But what about your clients? They, too, face some dangers in allowing strangers into their homes or visiting other people s properties. Share this valuable advice with everyone, and you ll help them learn to protect themselves against crime: m Remind sellers that strangers will be walking through their home during showings or m Warn your clients that not all agents, buyers and sellers are who they say they are. Strangers who open houses. Tell them to hide any valuables in a safe stop by a listing unannounced should be asked to make an place, including prescription medications and alcohol, as well appointment with the listing agent. Stress that your clients as personal information such as bank statements that could should never show a home without an agent present. be used for identity theft. 10 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010

11 m Inform your clients that they are responsible for their pets. If possible, animals should be removed during m When you leave a property, whether after an open house or a showing, make sure that all doors and showings. Make clients aware that buyers and agents are windows are locked. Thieves commonly use open sometimes attacked, and the owner will be held liable. houses to scout for valuables and possible points of entry, then return after the agent leaves. m At an open house, be alert to the pattern of visitors arrivals, especially near the end of showing hours. In some areas, a group of thieves will show up together near the end of the open house and, while a string of supposed buyers distracts the agent, the rest of the group walks through the house, stealing valuables. m Let your clients know that you will take all of the above safety precautions, but that when they return home, they should immediately verify that all doors are locked and all valuables ARE accounted for. Visit NAR s REALTOR Safety Web site at This article is part of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS REALTOR Safety Resources Kit. (Sources: Nevada County Association of REALTORS (CA); Realty Times) GRI The Next Level Here s what you can expect from attending GRI networking and referral opportunities increased knowledge on a wide array of topics and skill enhancements confidence building through in-depth knowledge, skills training and better understanding of industry practices earn a national designation which has proven greater income potential receive continuing education credits, and earn credits toward your broker/associates brokers license. Why wait? For class schedules and program details, visit Click the Education tab and scroll to REALTOR Institute (GRI), GRI Overview. MARYLAND REALTOR August/September

12 The 2010/2011 Rookie REALTOR seminar series is going on the road; traveling to four areas around the state and we hope you ll join us! Rookie REALTORS are encouraged to register and attend seminars at any location. During the winter months, we will conduct four Webinars, open to ALL MEMBERS! Online registration will open September 1. Registrants will receive attendance confirmation and detailed directions to the onsite seminar locations. Open to all REALTORS November 3, The Eleven Secrets of Business Planning Success (WEBINAR) Just as you may not always need a map to find the best route to your destination, having a written business plan requires less energy, saves time, and helps you avoid the chaos of taking a "wrong turn." In this fast paced, content rich session you will learn how to create the key business plans that every successful agent must have: a strategic business plan and a daily task plan. You will also learn eleven business planning secrets that will help you handle peaks and valleys in revenues while keeping your production and lead conversion strong no matter what the market does. December 8, Lead Generation & Prospecting Strategies (WEBINAR) Designed for both the new agent and the agent who needs a jump-start, this program will help agents generate more leads than they can handle! Learn how to drive prospects to you by developing a response marketing program. This program contains the information needed to develop a rejection-free, low cost prospecting system and to build a power base of loyal customers and clients with winning scripts and dialogues. All of this PLUS the Hour of Power! January 7, Taxes (WEBINAR) This seminar will not only include the latest in Tax Write-offs for the Self Employed but will also include tax and financial planning tips based on the new tax laws included in the Health Care Bill of Other major issues that are taking shape in Washington, such as the elimination of the tax benefits of the S Corporation, the new 1099 reporting requirements, current IRS priorities and the status of the Federal Estate Tax will be covered in detail. February 4, Social Media (WEBINAR) Nationally recognized technology speaker Amy Cherow will use LinkedIn to illustrate 7 Tips to Social Networking Success. Learn how to successfully leverage your profile for business using Facebook and the dos and don ts for using Facebook as a prospecting tool. How to gain clients using Twitter, make money with this micro blog phenomenon also the basics for using Blogging as a Marketing Tool. Webinars Rookie REALTOR Seminar & Webinar Schedule October 8, 2010 Negotiating LOCATION: Pearlstone Retreat and Conference Center, Reisterstown You have not because you ask not! You will walk away with strong negotiating techniques and be able to demonstrate how to respond and interact appropriately so that each side gets what they want. March 2, 2011 Foreclosures, REOs, Short Sales LOCATION: La Fontaine BleuE, Lanham Get a much needed road map to help your buyers or sellers navigate through the Foreclosures, REOs and Shorts Sales Processes. April 13, 2011 Friendly Persuasion... Perfecting Your Listing Presentation LOCATION: Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown If you are constantly being confronted with seller resistance; your commission is too high, we need to sell for more, we have lots of time, can t we just try. Would you like to be more masterful in handling that resistance? This session is designed for you! You will learn the 3 Fundamental Elements that affect the outcome of any negotiation, and the application of each, the 3 Predictable Forms of Resistance, and how to overcome each and, the secret to eliminating, handling, and answering the most common seller objections. Rookie REALTOR Seminars May 18, 2011 Financing LOCATION: Sailwinds Park, Governors Hall, Cambridge There are ways to get your clients approved for financing even in the midst of lenders tightening their requirements. Discover the tips to get even the most challenged buyer financed in today s market. Taking it on the Road Onsite seminars 12 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010

13 MARYLAND OFFICES Annapolis Bethesda Canton Crofton Elkton Federal Hill Gaithersburg Harford County Howard County Ocean City Ocean City West Ocean Pines Pikesville Roland Park Salisbury Severna Park Silver Spring Towson VIRGINIA OFFICES Alexandria Not All Companies Are the Same See how the other companies compare: PCR Company X Locally Owned and Operated Offices National Brand with 98% awareness TeamBuilder Bonuses for Helping the Company Grow 1,000 s of Sales Leads from Business Development Department First Class Office Facilities and Agent Workspace Full Time Non-competing Managers Comprehensive Ongoing Agent Training Programs Sales Professional Services (Annual fee) Including 50% Company Paid Sphere of Influence Mail Program, Free Just Listed/Just Sold Mailing Program, Free Color Listing Brochures, Free Color House Business Cards, Free Customized Listing/Buyer Presentations, Free High Speed Color Copies, Free Post Yard Sign Installation, Free Wireless Office Internet Connectivity, Free Agent Web sites, Free Web Based Contact Management, Free 24/7 Home Watch System, Free Neighborhood Watch System, Free ecard Mailing System, Free Long Distance Calls, Free Scan to Service, Free Online Contracts and Forms Legal Services (Annual fee) Including $2,000,000 Errors and Omissions Coverage and Full Time In-house Legal Counsel One Stop Shopping through PCR Home Services Including Mortgage Services, Settlement Services, Warranty Services, Insurance Services, Property Management Services, Resort Management Services, Alternative Sales, Moving Services, Real Estate Exchange Services, Home Connections, Homebuyers Premium Rewards Package Fairfax/Oakton Hamilton Lake Ridge Leesburg Manassas/Gainesville Vienna Winchester D.C. OFFICES Capitol Hill Uptown With TeamBuilder, our sales associates who participate in the growth of our company will have the opportunity to receive: 1% bonus on recruits GCI for life 2 ½% bonus on sales associates own GCI for one year for productive recruits Earn bonuses on more than one person with no limit Bonuses paid quarterly Bonuses count towards earned income for commission level determination under sales associate s commission schedule An independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. Let s Grow Together.

14 Maryland Association of REALTORS 10th Anniversary Leadership Academy Honoring Academy Graduates from Judy L Blowe James E Campbell Jackie H Gerrior Joshua J Harrison Debora E Hileman Timothy N Hopkins Marla Johnson Robert L Johnston Shirley A Joyce Shirley L Matlock Sue D Pakulla Barbara S Payton Jon E Phillips Beverly Rasmussen Elizabeth A Skidmore Jeffrey Z Slavin Edward J Smith Andrew Van Den Heuvel Patricia A Waggoner Charles W Windsor 2002 Paul J Aldridge Jr George W Brookhart Melvina Brown Collette B Cavegn Patricia A Coan James C Diamond Thomas M Ettz Elizabeth A Green Norman L Hatfield Jr. Oliver T Henderson Sr M Steve Jacobson Charles W Kraus David E Maclin Susan A Padgett Joel T Pautsch Frank M Powell Silvia S Rodriguez Patricia B Smallwood Maria A Terry Gary L Vreeland Frederick L Washburn Cuvator H Armstrong Ann C Bangert Antionette Braglio Kristin Gerlach Christine A Giglio Elaine B Gordy John A Hurly Mary Frances F McColgan Dennis B Melby Arlene C Murray Bea P Rodgers Gerrie M Sims Robert B Sommers Connie M Stommel Charles F Sullivan Reata B Swanson Patrick A Weed Jeffrey M Weese Krenda L Weisenmiller Patricia D Weller Susan E Zorn Ginger C Allen Wendy Aloi Deborah L Borror Chris W Haddaway Scott M Lederer Aaron J Marsh Julia Mattis Barbara F Miles Melanie Pratt Dimaio Jamie M Rice Lawrence R Riggs James P Schaecher Kenneth R Snyder Patricia A Terrill Frederick A Thoms Sr Sarah E Toppins Jan M Waddell-Brown CELEBRATING YEARS Diane M Olsen Dorcas M Quynn Linda F Simpson Donna A Turing 2006 Rusling D Blackburn Mary Calder Carol Sue Crimmins Melanie Gamble Daniele C Griffith Thomas H Hough Patricia D Howard Karyn K Keating-Volke Bob Kimball Anita L Land Nicole D Lapera-Holler Barbara M Linthicum Jeffrey A Matthews Kenneth R Montville John G Allen James H Billingslea Jr Alease R Bowles Sherwood T Brooks Julian Coiner Melinda Gossard Stephanie A Hodges Diane M Marsden Kathleen A Miller Donna Moffett Sandy L Moreland Lisa E Nordan-Haller Judy A Plowman Melinda K Roark Robert R Rossi Bianca M Smith Richard A Trott Ruth C Wright 2007 James R Hyatt Michael Kurtianyk Cassandra Lewis Cassie C Mead Susan Myszkowski 2008 James M Blaney Sonatta S Camara Michael F Cerrito Julie P Duley Ronald C Edelmann Leslie G Fulford Elizabeth L Glass April L Heim Dennis Helmstetter Humberto Benitez Kunnigunda M Biener J. Russell Boyce F Kathy Buckus Jeffrey Cline Steve L Ferguson Melba S Gaillard Charles M Gregg Charles P Hawley Richard Hebert Jason Herzberger Karol A Hess Kristin L King Shawn L Lewis Kathryn A McKenzie Joan McLernon Yolanda R Muckle Stephanie H Rall Erica L Solomon Judith Stull Merry M Tobin Sharon E Wilkerson 2009 Robert W Carney Terence F Daly Sandra M Fouche Tracy Franck Mary E. Gawler Deborah A Henninger Gregg B Holland Judith E Isom Linda Kangrga Mallory M Kubicek Fredericka A Lloyd Linda McKinnon Richard M Rall Jr. Paula B Ruckelshaus Bob Simon Sue Stouffer Noel T Wood 2010 Lane A Chaisson Lou Ramsay Cotta Jennifer L Cropper-Rines Marianne S Ferguson Shari Gaister Janet J Greene Susan E Hale Doris Hall-Scheeler Tim Hodgin David Lidz Tasha Linton George E Mitchell Christopher B Richardson Marie E Shantz Kenneth W Smallwood Pamela D Stone Jeanne L Turnock Pamela J Wadler

15 Simply the Best Commission Program in Maryland! 100% Only $99 per month 85% No monthly fee Call Today (866) Benefits: No minimum sales quota Commission paid in 48 hours E & O Insurance only $180 per year A single admin/transaction fee only $395 All listing, advertisement leads go directly to the responsible agent Free in-office copies, phone & fax Conference rooms/general use computers Free online contract forms Free business cards Free marketing on all listings Full Broker support, training and mentor program NO Desk Duty! All leads from listings go directly to the listing agent Recruiting Bonus Open your own Branch Office Where the Traditional Office meets the Virtual Office. We take full advantage of technology so there is no need to ever visit the office. Work from anywhere in Maryland! Office (410) NEW OFFICE: 2608 Mountain Rd. Suite #7 Pasadena MD 21122

16 Maryland Association of REALTORS Meet the Staff Administration Chief Executive Officer Mary Antoun has been the MAR top staffer since In addition to overseeing the Association s operations, she works closely with volunteer leadership to develop and implement policies and initiatives to promote the real estate industry and private property rights. An attorney and economist, Mary believes the Association s primary responsibilities are representing member interests before the legislature and advocating REALTOR professionalism with members and the public. Director Arlene Robertson and Executive Assistant Sommer Jackson are responsible for the administrative functions of the Association. They keep the organization operating smoothly, from building operations to the Association s management functions. Mary Antoun Arlene and Sommer staff the governance committees Executive, Bylaws, Nominating, and Strategic Planning. They also support the Board of Directors and General Membership meetings as well as the Presidential Council, made up of local Board Presidents who meet to exchange information, develop ideas and share experiences. They organize the MAR Former Presidents meetings, the MAR Reception at the National Association annual convention, and other events during the year. They also oversee the prestigious Life Achievement Award. Arlene and Sommer assist members at Registration during the MAR Annual Conference. Receptionist Rebecca Baker greets and talks to more members as the first point of contact at the Association offices than any other staffer. She answers hundreds of questions every week from members and the public, referring them to the appropriate staff person or other resource. Rebecca assists with meeting logistics, mailings, and other tasks requested by other departments. 16 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010 Sommer Jackson (left), Rebecca Baker (seated) & Arlene Robertson (right)

17 Government Affairs Vice President Bill Castelli, MAR s Chief Lobbyist, heads a team that includes Director of Regulatory Affairs Mark Feinroth, Director of Government Affairs Susan Mitchell, and Assistant Sheryl Bergman. Bill, an attorney and former aide to Rep. Steny Hoyer, develops and directs the Association s legislative strategy in representing Maryland REALTORS in the statehouse. Mark, also an attorney and lobbyist, represents MAR s interests on regulatory matters that come before various agencies with responsibilities that affect the real estate profession and private property rights. Prior to joining MAR, Mark was Assistant Secretary with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, supervising the operation of all licensing commissions, including the Real Estate Commission. In addition to her lobbying responsibilities, Susan also directs MAR s grassroots advocacy efforts, including our calls to action, and oversees MAR s Local Government Affairs Director (GAD) Program. MAR provides all local boards/associations that do not have full-time local GADs with contract government affairs assistance to help strengthen REALTOR voices in local jurisdictions. Currently, the GAD Program provides lobbying assistance to 12 local boards. Prior to joining MAR, Susan was the Government Affairs Manager/Washington Representative for Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceutical company in their Washington DC office, responsible for both the federal and state grassroots lobbying program & PAC, and served as their Washington representative to the industry trade association. Sheryl provides administrative support for the entire department, including helping to organize Legislative Day and other political events as well as coordinating and e-publishing Political Buzz (the RPAC E-Newsletter). Sheryl also serves as MAR s staff photographer. The team also includes contract lobbyists Joel Rozner and Frank Boston. Government Affairs committees include Public Policy, Legislative, Grassroots and Political Affairs, and Legal Action. Left to right: (standing): Kimberly Cavallaro, Celeste Barton Filoia, Shannon Reed, Chuck Kasky, (sitting) Colette Massengale &Don Martin Legal Affairs Chuck Kasky, Vice President of Legal Affairs, oversees the Department s operations, assisted by Staff Attorneys Colette Massengale and Celeste Barton Filoia. Shannon Reed is the Legal Affairs and Professional Standards Assistant. Prior to joining the Maryland Association of REALTORS, Chuck was engaged in the private practice of law, served as Legislative Counsel to several Committees of the Maryland General Assembly, and was Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Howard County, Maryland. The Legal Department staffs the MAR Legal Hotline, the service REALTORS routinely identify as one of their most valuable MAR membership benefits. Members call or submit questions via an online form, which is available at the Legal Services tab of the MAR website. The Department also provides support for Maryland RPAC, the Statewide Forms Committee, the Commercial Alliance, and the Real Property Operations Committee. Department attorneys also provide in-house legal and compliance assistance to the other departments within MAR. As a service to member boards, associations and firms, the Legal Department offers continuing education classes on risk reduction, agency law, real estate contracts, Code of Ethics, fair housing, legislative and legal updates and broker supervision. To assist in compliance with the NAR Professional Standards program, we offer annual training to local Grievance and Professional Standards Committees. Legal Affairs also has responsibility for member services. Don Martin, Director of Board and Member Services, is MAR s principal outreach to firms and local boards. A 20 year MAR veteran and a former practicing REALTOR, Don spends most of his time on the road speaking at sales meetings and teaching continuing education classes. Don is your primary resource on Professional Standards issues, and staffs that MAR committee. Kimberly Cavallaro, Manager of Board Professional Standards Services, oversees outreach services for dispute resolution and Professional Standards. She administers the Professional Standards Services program for many local boards/ associations, offering MAR resources to provide seamless assistance to their members and the public regarding ethics cases and arbitration procedures. Kimberly also staffs the Professional Standards Instructors committee that delivers risk-reduction training to local boards, to ensure member understanding of the ethics and arbitration procedures. She manages the Dispute Resolution area of the MAR website, which addresses dispute resolution issues and alternatives. Left to right: Mark Feinroth, Bill Castelli, Sheryl Bergman & Susan Mitchell MARYLAND REALTOR August/September

18 Meet the Maryland Association of REALTORS 2010 Staff Lisa Haynes (top) and Lisa Kinsman Education Lisa Kinsman, Department Director, has been a MAR staff member since She supervises activities and staffing for GRI, Leadership Academy and Mediation Oversight. The department coordinates the education programs for the Annual Conference, and oversees the dissemination of all continuing education certificates for all CE programs provided by MAR and contracted providers. Education Assistant Lisa Haynes provides all Department administrative support, and is the point person responsible for issuing certificates, handling replacement certificate requests for programs submitted for continuing education through MAR and any other general education question callers may have. MAR maintains an extensive educational database whereby attendee records (member and nonmember) are updated for every CE or non-ce program MAR offers. This system verifies attendance and confirms classes taken to track designation courses, mandatory state licensing renewal courses and any association training required sessions. Finance and Technology Patti Schmitt, MAR Controller, has primary responsibility for developing and tracking MAR s annual budget, managing MAR and affiliate organizations financial operations and working with its auditors and financial advisors. She provides economic and financial information to the CEO, Board of Directors and officers, Finance Committee and staff. Patti also oversees the operations and staff of the Technology Department. Left to right: (standing) Michael Cunningham, Kim Dansker, Patti Schmitt, (sitting) Halle Papai & Cindy Sellers Prior to joining MAR, Patti was Assistant Controller for HRi, ASO & PEO Outsourcing, serving more than 150 employers with over 1,700 employees across 17 states. Patti also successfully started and operated a contracting business for fourteen years before selling her interest to her partner. As Assistant Controller, Kim Dansker administers MAR s accounts payable and assists with daily financial transactions. Kim also maintains financial records for RPAC. Accounting Specialist Halle Papai administers MAR s accounts receivable and assists with daily financial transactions. Halle also maintains financial records for several affiliated organizations. Technology Coordinator Michael Cunningham worked with MAR for almost ten years as a consultant before joining the staff in Michael provides IT support and management, custom software development and programming, and website design and management for the Association, staff, and affiliate organizations. Membership Manager Cindy Sellers maintains databases for MAR and some affiliated organizations, and assists in helping staff with computer hardware and software systems. 18 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010

19 Communications & Public Affairs The Communications and Public Affairs Department is the public voice of MAR, charged with overseeing our communication with members and the public. The Department staffs the Annual Conference, Communications/PR, Rookie REALTOR, Community Action and REALTOR Excellence (CARE), and REALTOR of the Year committees, and manages and coordinates all aspects of the Fair Housing Poster Contest. It produces the bi-monthly Maryland REALTOR magazine, publishes the Hotsheet, and develops brochures and pamphlets, as well as the popular Fair Housing Calendar. Communications cultivates and finalizes non-dues affinity partnerships as membership benefits. The Department oversees much of the content and enhancements to the MAR website: and is managing aspects of the MAR presence in the social media arena. Left to right: Jermaine Hawkins, Melissa Lutz & Debbie Hager Department Director Debbie Hager spearheads the MAR public and media relations efforts, which includes promoting Maryland REALTORS and the real estate profession. Prior to joining MAR, Debbie was a vice president of marketing for an investment banking firm, and a public relations manager for four school districts and other trade associations. Event Manager Melissa Lutz (pronounced Loots) is the key contact for the Annual Conference held in Ocean City each September. She manages a large tradeshow and oversees all of the onsite logistics. Melissa also assists other departments with event planning. Jermaine Hawkins is the Communications Assistant, supporting all department activities for its committees and events. He is also the first point of contact for Rookies who have questions or want to register for the monthly seminars, which he organizes and supports onsite. Housing Programs The Housing Programs Department, headed by Director Fern Dannis, researches and identifies available programs through housing counseling agencies and other community-based, nonprofit housing organizations, as well as state and local government housing agencies. The Department oversees data collection to identify financial assistance programs for homebuyers, featured on the MAR consumer websites and The site has localized, useful information for both REALTORS and consumers. The Department also manages the process and renewal for REALTORS to obtain the MAR Workforce Housing Certification (WHC). Fern is the Association s liaison with NAR on its various housing programs, with Freddie Mac s CreditSmart program and with statewide and national housing coalitions. Fern staffs the Housing Affordability Committee and the Equal Opportunity/Cultural Diversity and has primary responsibility for MAR housing programs and housing policy development efforts. As part of these programs, Fern develops and supervises efforts to encourage Maryland REALTORS to learn about credit literacy, housing finance programs and involvement with creative housing programs, activities and policy initiatives in their communities. Fern has worked in the housing field for 30 years and has collected experience in property management, multi-family housing development, affordable housing policy, loan packaging/underwriting, nonprofit administration and also as a real estate salesperson. Left to right: Fern Dannis & Kara Ardison Housing Programs Assistant Kara Ardison assists with the staffing of the Housing Affordability Committee and Equal Opportunity/Cultural Diversity Committee. Kara provides administrative support for all the department s work, and is the first point of contact for REALTORS regarding the Workforce Housing Certification (WHC) program, which she administers, along with the Education Department onsite. Fern and Kara both staff the Partnership for Housing Foundation (PHF), including the Maryland Home Makeover. MARYLAND REALTOR August/September

20 Cell Phones & Distracted Driving The advent of wireless communication allows real estate agents to conduct business anywhere at anytime. The cell phone has become a standard tool for the modern real estate practitioner. However, there is a dangerous downside to cell phone usage: distracted driving. Research has found that a driver's reaction time is slowed by an average of 30 percent while talking on a cell phone, similar to that of a drunk driver. Recently, courts have awarded substantial damages in lawsuits involving distracted driving. Employers may be held vicariously liable for the car accidents caused by their employees who were talking on their cell phones when the accident occurred. A real estate broker could face liability if an employee or real estate salesperson is involved in a car accident while dealing with some aspect of a real estate transaction on his or her cell phone. In a recent case, an attorney killed a pedestrian while allegedly making business calls from her cell phone. The court has ruled that the jury can consider whether the law firm should be vicariously liable for the attorney's negligence. Every broker should establish a policy that cell phones should not be used in settings where that use is illegal. Also, the broker should make it known to all salespeople who are not employees that the broker does not permit the conducting of brokerage business on cell phones while driving. Effective October 1, 2010, Maryland joins the list of states that prohibit the use of handheld phones by drivers while operating a motor vehicle. A driver over the age of 18, while driving, a motor vehicle that is in motion, is prohibited from using a handheld telephone. The offense is enforceable as a secondary action only. Accordingly, a police officer must detain a driver for another violation of the Maryland Vehicle Law before issuing a citation for using a handheld cell phone. 20 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010


22 Where The Stars Are Young Professionals How they succeed in a challenging market Many come to real estate after spending years in other careers, but some know what they want far sooner and go on to prove that youth and inexperience are not impediments to achievement. Over the past decade, some of the most successful young Realtors have been recognized by the National Association of REALTORS with its 30 Under 30 award. 22 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010

23 Several local Realtors and Maryland Association of REALTORS members have been among the honored. These young professionals demonstrate their dedication and success through more than volume of business. They also exemplify the best in superior customer service, commitment to their industry and the integral role they can play in their communities. Recently, MAR spoke to several local award-winners to find out how they ve fared since winning recognition from NAR, what they ve learned along the way, and the advice they d give others entering real estate today. Volunteer service and the Ability to Connect Despite a disheartening start in the business, Koki Adasi-Efuya believed things would turn around for him. Koki sold only two houses his first year, earning just $7,000. That s how I knew I picked the right career, because I loved the work even though the money wasn t coming, he says. What helped me turn the corner was really just having faith, and knowing that if you do the proper things, providing great service and being a constant student of real estate, eventually you will be successful. And succeed he did. In 2007, his second year, he sold every listing he had, achieving $6.3 million in sales and landing on the 30 Under 30 list in For Adasi-Efuya, now 28 and an associate broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Silver Spring, sticking to the fundamentals of the real estate business has continued to fuel his achievement. In real estate, the basic rules are prospecting, so you need to figure out what your prospecting tools are going to be, whether it s cold-calling, going to networking events, sending mailers, social media whatever it is, if you consistently apply that basic fundamental over a long period of time, without fail, you will be successful, says Adasi-Efuya, whose sales volume has continued to rise, to $8.6 million in For Koki, meeting people and forming positive relationships through his volunteer work with the YMCA and social activities including playing in three basketball leagues is what works for him. One strategy he wishes he had taken sooner, however, is focusing on listings. Starting out, a lot of agents want to focus on buyers. They think buyers are easier to work with, he explains. But if you focus on sellers and getting listings, the buyers will be generated because they ll be seeing your signs and calling. Knowing what I know now, I would have focused on listings earlier. A success story despite initial self-doubt Koki Adasi-Efuya became interested in going around and looking at houses he was unsure of success. I was never a good student, and I guess I was selling myself short and wasn t sure I d take to the business as I did, says Muren, 27, who heads the Mike Muren Team at Macintosh Inc., in Frederick. Muren was a 30 Under 30 winner in Michael Muren Muren attributes his success to a strong work ethic that meant spending 6 to 7 days a week in the office during his first three years and simply delivering on what he promised clients. There are so many people in so many businesses that don t deliver on their promises. They overpromise and under deliver. I ve always tried to do the opposite. I at least deliver what I ve said or more, he says. Muren, who sold almost double the properties he aimed for in the business plans he drew up when he started, says a big mistake new Realtors make is not being organized or getting out enough. Get a Web site, get a blog, try and get articles in your local newspapers or magazines, anything you can do to get your name out. I found that the more people who have heard your name, the more they will trust you and the more they re willing to work with you. Seventy percent of your job is finding the way to get the work, not to handle the work, he says. When Muren began, he focused on real estate magazines, newspapers and mailers. Since then, he has used more personal approaches, like thank-you happy hours for clients and collecting and publishing his clients home-buying experiences. I ask them to keep a journal of what happens. I offer them a one-year home warranty if they do. First-time homebuyers in particular read other people s stories and can relate. They say, let s call this Realtor, says Muren. Muren advises new Realtors to stay humble and continue working. Some people reach a point and think they re at the top of their game and start getting lazy and forget what it is they did to get where they are. I don t think that is something that should ever be forgotten, he says. Joining the family business and excelling Brian Pakulla, an associate broker with RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Columbia, went into real estate when he was just 21. But if he had had his way, he would have done so even earlier. Even though Michael Muren had considered real estate as a career when he was just 11 years old after his family moved from St. Louis to Frederick, he I wanted to get into real estate at 18, but my father encouraged me to go to college to get more well-rounded experience, says Pakulla, who earned MARYLAND REALTOR August/September

24 a marketing degree from the University of Maryland before joining his family s profession. His parents have been Realtors since 1972 and he, his brother and sister have followed suit. In fact, Pakulla works with his father and siblings as part of Pakulla Professionals, the top performing RE/MAX group in Maryland with annual sales at Brian Pakulla around $100 million. Pakulla, one of the 30 Under 30 in 2004, says his own sales account for about $30 to $40 million of that figure. I joined my family and they were very helpful about teaching me the ropes of the business so I was very lucky, says Pakulla, adding that if he were entering the business cold, he d seek out a good team with leadership willing to spend time sharing their wisdom and leads with new talent. The 33-year-old continues to attribute his success to the Nordstrom level of service he provides to clients, which still includes sending a cake to buyers on the anniversary of their purchase. Put the client first. There s really no gimmick here. Be honest and do a good job and if you do that and stay in touch with your clients, your business will grow itself, he says. Pakulla found early success in part by focusing on listings for condos and townhouses that would draw potential homeowners around his age. Be smart about where your niche market is, pick somewhere where someone is going to identify with you, do it consistently and it can grow exponentially. But it does take time. You have to be patient, he counsels, adding that new Realtors should also learn as much as they can about the business of real estate. We re in sales, so it s very simply: know your contract, know your inventory, know your market, he says. Unlike Brian Pakulla, Cara Pearlman, a sales consultant with Long & Foster Real Estate in Bethesda, initially resisted going into a family business that went all the way back to her grandmother. (Her father, aunt, uncle and brother are all in real estate as well.) Part of my hesitation was growing up and seeing how hard my dad worked. He was connected to his briefcase. He was just always on the phone, says Pearlman. volume of $7.5 million. She attributes her success to her passion for the profession and good old-fashioned perseverance. You can be easily dissuaded because if you re not persistent, you re not going anywhere, she says. Another key to her success is her willingness to join a group and work from the bottom up. I had more experience in two or three years than most real estate agents have in their entire career. You don t have the option of making as much money right away, but in the long term you have a lot more to offer your clients, she says. Pearlman stresses what she believes is crucial: following up with clients, and maintaining and managing your Web presence, because people are going to go to Facebook or Google and look you up. If nothing comes up, they re going to move on. One thing she would have done differently in the beginning is to Cara Pearlman have systems in place to collect client information and aid in that all-important follow-up. It s a lot harder to touch base with someone after a couple of years rather than a couple of months, she says. High-minded principles and Focus on the Middle-market Bo Menkiti, a Under 30 award winner, was drawn to the transformative power real estate can have on individuals and their communities. I ve always seen real estate as a great opportunity to make a difference in people s lives, in the fabric of the community where we re working, says Menkiti, CEO of the Menkiti Group and founder and operating partner of Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, DC. If you look at real estate from a broader perspective, it s a basic human need. It s the largest financial transaction that people make in their lives. And it s also really important if you think of land use and everything associated with societies and democracies and ownership. But after graduating from the University of Miami with a marketing degree and an unchallenging first job, Pearlman decided to give it a try. She hasn t looked back since. Honored by NAR this year, the now 30-year-old member of the top-performing Rozansky Realty Group had a 2009 sales Menkiti, who originally went into management consulting and helped lead a nonprofit after graduating from Harvard, found Bo Menkiti 24 MARYLAND REALTOR August/September 2010

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