Four hurricanes pounded Florida in August and September 2004, and Rob and Marlena Burger are still recovering eight years later. Their Orlando storefront printing and design business was destroyed, and the couple ended up living and working in an old mobile home that suffered from severe leaks, electrical issues, and mold.
The couple was losing hope of ever owning a home, until they found Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando Area. Now, the Burgers are among the 58 families moving into the Stag Horn Villas, an $8 million, energy-efficient, townhome community built by Habitat.
“At one time, we were treading water in a sea of despair,” said Burger. “But since Habitat, we’ve been floating in an ocean of gratitude.”
About 100 REALTORS® volunteered their carpentry skills at the Stag Horn Villas development Wednesday morning. This is the 12th year members of NAR have participated in a Habitat for Humanity build during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo. NAR contributed $50,000 to the Stag Horn Villas project.
“Every nail you drive, every paint brush you use, every item you carry, recognize that you’re not just helping these folks, but you’re helping this country,” Moe Veissi, 2012 president of NAR, told the REALTOR® volunteers. “Not just the economic health of America depends on home ownership, we know that the social and cultural health of this country knits its fabric together by people who live in communities that you are helping to build.”
When Paul Yorkis was young, his mother took him to the Democratic Party headquarters and asked him to stuff envelopes in support of Adlai Stevenson who ran for president twice during the 1950s.
“It was fun and people were happy I was there,” said Yorkis, president of Patriot Real Estate in Medway Mass., a member of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee, a Democratic National Convention delegate, and national chair of the non-NAR affiliated REALTORS® for Obama.
That experience as a child was formative for Yorkis, who continued to explain that politics is deeply rooted in the lives and culture of those living in his home state of Massachusetts. “In Massachusetts, there’s a few sports – the Red Sox, the New England Patriots, the Bruins, the Celtics, and the other sport is politics.”
Yorkis decided to become a delegate representing Massachusetts at the DNC in Charlotte, N.C., last week, because real estate – among other issues – needs to be represented and addressed at the federal level. He knows how important it is to keep housing front and center when talking to lawmakers – especially the accessibility of the American dream of home ownership, as Yorkis himself experienced homelessness for a short time as a child.
“REALTORS® do amazing things. The reason I’m at the convention is because I believe it’s the little stuff that has the ability to impact politics,” Yorkis said.
Yorkis did leave his mark at the DNC. He submitted testimony to the drafting and platform committee of the Democratic National Committee. Part of the platform deals with housing and the last sentence of the approved platform was adapted from Yorkis’s testimony. It states: “The president remains committed to creating an economy that’s built to last, where home ownership is an achievable dream for all Americans.
Yorkis was one of approximately 20 REALTORS® who served as delegates at the DNC this year. This video looks at how members of the National Association of REALTORS® had an impact that the convention and why political involvement – whether it be Republican or Democratic – is vital to the real estate industry.
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Much of the promise of tablet PCs — in terms of both personal and professional use — is still in the future. For most people, these products are still not a viable computing substitute for desktops or laptops for reasons ranging from network power and speed to word processing capabilities. Still, there are a few valuable functions of tablets that real estate pros can take advantage of right now, according to Jeff Lobb, vice president of technology at EXIT Realty.
In his presentation this morning at the MRIS Xplode conference in Silver Spring, Md., Lobb identified the following five uses for tablets in real estate today:
- Immediate access to listing data (Lobb said it was crucial for real estate practitioners to have “Data, on demand, where you stand.”
- Real estate search by location (via geolocation apps)
- Planning calendar
- Listing presentations
- Video/photo capture and demonstrations
In addition, Lobb mentioned these apps as must-haves for taking on these tasks: Continue reading »
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
During the 2010 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Expo a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of watching real estate pros and YPN members Brian Copeland and James W. Nellis II participate in a panel on how to use video as a promotional tool. Here are four tips they offered to attendees:
Make stuff people want to watch. Most people aren’t interested in videos that amount to a commercial. They would rather be informed and entertained. So instead of producing a video of you talking about why you’re so great, make one in which you present yourself as an expert on a topic related to real estate. For example, Copeland, who is based in Nashville, attracts consumers by producing videos that highlight neighborhoods in the area. “I don’t sell homes to start with. My first sale is the neighborhood,” he says. Continue reading »
By Robert Freedman, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
There are many reasons for the success of NAR’s most recent Call for Action, to which more than 18 percent of NAR members—a record— responded.
First and foremost is the compelling subject of the CFA: getting the home buyer tax credit extended and expanded. As NAR Chief Ecionomist Lawrence Yun has been saying for weeks, residential home prices are stabilizing and are on the cusp of heading up—the all-important precursor to restored confidence in homeownership. We’re relying on that improved confidence to boost sales, tighten inventories, and restore healthy credit markets.
Given that, letting the credit expire on Nov. 30 could have stopped sales momentum dead in its tracks.
It was also huge that Congress added the $6,500 credit for repeat buyers, because throughout 2009 much of the sales weight has been carried by first-time buyers. For market stability, repeat buyers needed to get off the fence and Congress saw that. Continue reading »