Friday, September 25, 2009

Are You Working As Hard As Charles?

It is not uncommon to feel far-removed from the National Association of REALTORS due to geopgraphic distances. However, we must not forget that these REALTORS working on our behalf ARE UNPAID VOLUNTEERS JUST LIKE YOU!. We have REALTORS out there every day working for us, taking time away from their personal business to better our profession and our industry.

President McMillan has been relentless in his efforts to try and protect and build on the housing recovery. Please take a moment to listen to his message to us as to what he has been doing to help us this week: Click Here

After you have listened to the message go to the REALTOR Action Center and click on the call to action

I can personally attest that the legislators are listening. I answered Charles' call to action last week and have already received a personal letter from Congresswoman Mary Fallin.

I am not asking the membership to work as hard as Charles McMillan- I am asking the membership to take 30 seconds to send a call to action email.

I would then ask EACH & EVERY REALTOR MEMBER to make another $35 RPAC contribution to assist President Charles in this mission to protect our business and the ability to make a living here in OKC doing what we love- real estate. Click Here to Contribute NOW!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

When is it time to say goodbye?

CEO Viewpoint:

I attended the AE session of the OAR conference facilitated by NAR Past President Richard Mendenhall and I really connected to two of his points. One of the slides that I found particularly thought provoking was "Is our association programming decaying or developing?". This may seem an easy answer on the surface but when I thought about some of the examples on the slide I thought that the answers may not be as obvious as they seem.

The first bullet point on the slide with the above title question was Going Paperless. At first, the immediate thought is that this is a developing trend and programming and services should be geared towards that. Then I remembered our 4 generations in membership and remembered that Gen Y LOVES to get mail. As the mom of two Gen Yers I can attest to the validity of that statement. I also thought about the success of our recently launched newsmagazine. There is something to be said about holding something tangible in one's hand. At the end of the session, Carolyn House, AE of the Enid Association of REALTORS distributed their new Enid REALTORS magazine. It too appears to have met with rave reviews. I personally thought it was incredibly well done but I would expect nothing less from this talented colleague.

Carolyn had explained that this was a mission of sorts of one of her board members. One of the reasons OKCMAR launched its magazine was at the request of two directors. I loved that our magazines were so incredibly different- it speaks to the drive and creativity of association staff. So while it appears that going paperless is a developing trend- returning to paper for some things also appears to be a growing trend. Again that multi-generational facet of our membership cannot be ignored.

On our break, I was speaking with a REALTOR who expressed frustration at the low registration of an event that seemed to have high support and a lot of excitement. They ended up canceling the event. I commiserated with our cancelled REALTOR follies. I thought of events I have attended recently (many non-REALTOR). It seems that we are willing to agree their are 4 generations in the marketplace with needs, but have we really accepted it and then the next step, embraced it.

I believe we need to look at (and not be disappointed with) smaller turnouts and smaller groups and perhaps tailor our event programming to these small-scale events. The next step make the event count! Knowing that numbers may be smaller, using our time, talent and resources to make them WOW happenings. A great example of this was the NAR RCA event. I believe there was about 50 of us who participated and NAR pulled out all the stops. I loved how they connected with their demographic- we had a custom tour (our tour guide was fantastic and a REALTOR) of Wrigley Stadium and then we ended the evening with "REAL" Chicago food- sliders and deep-fried Mac & Cheese in a newly opened sports tavern. We had a singing contest with baseball teams (we had to run around and find our teammates which forced us to meet and talk with our RCA counterparts across the nation). It was so much fun and I left with contacts and education about how other RCA's are operating.

My point is that there was no feeling of disappointment in the small crowd instead there was the mindset that with a small crowd they could do something very fun, very unique and have a WOW effect on all who attended. I challenge the committee members of 2010 (and hope you challenge staff right back) to embrace the 4 segments of our membership and tailor events and programming to each segment. Focus on the end result not the number count. How can we WOW you in 2010?

Disclosure Still Applies

Bloggers and Facebook Members-

Remember that you still need to disclose to the public your REALTOR status when advertising properties on Facebook or your blogs! Online advertising is still advertising subject to the REALTOR Code of Ethics and state law.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Show our REALTOR Strength in Numbers- Take Action

NAR has reformatted its REALTOR Action Center and it is fantastic! As an Association Exec I love the new format that has a specific section for staff. There are also sections specific to brokers and specific to sales associates. You all need to check this site out:

I strongly encourage every OKCMAR member to answer the Call to Action on the home page to personally deliver (through NAR software- super easy!) a message to our legislators asking for extension and expansion of the homebuyers credit.

We represent OVER ONE MILLION US CITIZENS- would it not be amazing (and could congress ignore) for congress to hear all 1.1 million REALTOR voices. Our strength is in our numbers and in our organization. Flex our proverbial muscle and TAKE ACTION- TODAY!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Have You Checked Your Profile Lately?


As I have dived head first into the social media world, I have come accross an interesting problem. I believe it is important that as the CEO of one of the best trade associations in the US that I am always a step ahead, being able from a vantage point to offer guidance to the membership. Here is my concern: In a virtual world the only means by which the public knows you is through your profile. I question the wisdom of blending the "Two Yous" (public and private) in the virtual reality.

Recently, what has come to my attention is that members use the same facebook site and profile for their professional life as they do for their personal life. When a profile is checked, information that family members may consider clever or endearing can be quite off-putting to a potential client or customer. Please check the profile picture to which you are posting to the OKCMAR facebook, a professional site. What message are you sending to the public? If you were searching for a physician or other professional, what picture would you expect to see and what would her profile look like?

Also, knowing that the world has access to public sites, what do your postings say about you? I would caution against too much private information. I strongly advise you to review your public profile and to have two facebook sites. One for your professional life with your professional email and one for your family and friends with a personal email address- and keep your personal site private. Email addresses are free through many online providers, google, yahoo, msn and aol. Just visit any of their websites and click on email for a free account.

To keep your personal facebook site private go into your facebook site and in the upper right corner click on the link entitled "Settings". Here you will be led to privacy settings where you can control who has access to your site and also who can search for you through your site. You also have the option of blocking people who you inadvertently allowed on your site. Protect your privacy and the reputation of professionalism you have worked so hard to build by creating two virtual world profiles.

Affiliate Trade Show & Expo is One of the Best Events of the Year


Here at OKCMAR we are always looking for channels to bring value to the membership. This year we have amped up our table top by expanding space and keeping all tables on the same floor.

If you have yet to attend an affiliate table top you have missed one of the key benefits of your membership" networking with service providers in the real estate industry. OKCMAR affiliate members are deeply involved in the association and have a tremendous volume of information
to share with the REALTOR membership.

There may be ideas you wanted to explore but didn't know how, you maybe looking for member discounts, perhaps you have questions about a process but are reluctant to ask in a formal setting. This is the opportunity to ask questions in depth about the products and services provided by the OKCMAR affiliates.

The tabletop expo is a great place for affiliates to share new programs and new information with the OKCMAR membership. In addition to a comfortable walk through including demonstrations OKCMAR is providing beer & wine and heavy Hors D'oeuvres. So after a hard day of pounding the pavement, come to the Marriot, Thursday, October 15th 4pm-7:30pm and enjoy a relaxing drink, delicious snack and GREAT OKCMAR COMPANY! The expo is free to attend for information on becoming an exhibitor click here.

One of My Favorite Subjects- Trumping

My family loves to play cards! I cannot tell you how many nights we sit around the table playing sheepshead for hours. When we owned our own restaurant (we lived in the attached housing) we were closed on Mondays in the winter off season. Every Monday we would load up the kids and the cards and go to a little hole in the wall resort, where often we were the only people there, eat dinner and then play cards until 9pm. On New Years Day, the Kennedy family holds a large family gathering where cards rule the day. It was a common site to see several groups of Kennedys playing sheepshead. When I got married to my husband over a quarter of a century ago it was a pre-requisite that I liked to play cards (my family played pinochle with the same fervor the Kennedys play sheepshead) and that I learned the game- every Kennedy learns the game with the average player starting in earnest around 8 years of age. It was through cards that I learned the concept of trumping.

Trumping allows one card to override the other and hence takes the "trick" or all the cards played. I think that because I am such an avid card player I was able to easily wrap my mind around procuring cause. As REALTORS you have all agreed to abide by the Code of Ethics where procuring cause trumps every other card played in the transaction. Procuring cause can even trump a contract because as REALTORS you have agreed through your membership that you will concede a commission to the member who has procuring cause.

While the concept of trumping helps us to understand how one can lose a commission the definition of what constitutes procuring cause can be a little murky. Procuring cause is conceptual which means that each situation must be reviewed individually by a panel of your peers. Your OKCMAR Board of Directors is committed to educating the membership in professional standards. Twice per year, spring and fall, we bring in national speakers (both attorneys) who take us through the procuring cause concept. This Octber 22, Bruce Aydt will host the procuring cause session for brokers and their associates. I especially like the format of this session.

During the day Bruce will offer two Professional Standards Core Courses. This is a great opportunity to complete your required CE with instruction from a national instructor. Again, OKCMAR is offering this wonderful educational opportunity to its members at no cost! That evening OKCMAR's Broker's Quarterly Committee hosts a dinner at the Marriot (this year they have opened up the event to REALTOR-Associates as guests of the broker for $10) where Bruce will present an overview of procuring cause followed by an open question & answer discussion period. This session is not a CE course but the chance to ask those nagging questions about procuring cause and receive an answer from a national expert. I encourage all to attend. To register click here

OKCMAR Board Votes in New Officers

OKCMAR bylaws require that the board of directors (and incoming directors) hold an election for the officers of the Board. Your 2010 officers are:

President:Dave Moeller
President Elect: Steve Mann
Vice-President: Chuck Harris
Secretary/Treasurer: Lorna Koeninger
Past President: Judy Lindsay

Congrats to all!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


This has been a week that has warmed my heart! Just now I received the news that Don & Susanna Lorg will be blessing our Brokers Quarterly dinner with a duet during our invocation. I hear their harmony is just spectacular. We had many, many new volunteers (as well as those we can always count on) as electoral judges and auction workers, & the Call for Volunteers for the COBHA Home & Garden booth workers filled up within days- the fastest and best response I have received since my two year tenure! THANK YOU, THANK YOU OKCMAR MEMBERS FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN OUR ASSOCIATION!!!!!!

Every time we band together as a united front for a greater cause- be it through involvement in leadership, raising funds to continue to lobby for private property rights and home ownership incentives and support positive legislation, presenting information the consumers need to know about REALTOR services we raise and protect the professionalism of our industry. An association only has as much value as members are willing to contribute. We could have all the money and technology in the world but that doesn't give the association value. ONLY YOU, the member can give and take value to and from the association.

For many years outside forces have sought to devalue the REALTORS' importance in the real estate transaction and to devalue our professionalism. We are licensed, educated professionals but most importantly we are organized professionals through our association. It is our duty and obligation to maintain the integrity of our profession. I am so proud of all of you who stepped forward this month with RPAC contributions and contributions of your time and talent. It makes me so proud to be affiliated with OKCMAR. Thank you again.

Voting Results

By now you have seen the results of the election. Yesterday, Wednesday, we had our first Board meeting with the newly elected Directors present.

This was the first election that we used the Online Voting process that is now available through the OKCMAR site. The majority of the voting took place online making the program a great success. We will see many items of concern to the General Membership utilize this process in the future.

Please help to get the word out to your fellow Realtors about utilizing the Blogs and websites that are available to all of us through OKCMAR.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Results Are In...

Welcome, Welcome New OKCMAR 2010 Directors! If you missed the e-blast your new 2010 OKCMAR Directors are: Bill Bateman, Gigi Faulkner, Barbara Harris, Ryan Hukill, Jennifer Johnson, & Mike Malone. I ncourage all our members to get to know your incoming leadership. We have such a diverse group this year!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

CEO Viewpoint:

The reason they call old adages, an old adage, is because they generally are true. Tomorrow marks the end of my second year with OKCMAR and the beginning of my third year. I wish to thank all of the membership and especially the current and past directors for this wonderful journey they have walked with me. Just like in a marriage, learning to live together has its ups and downs, but I sincerely hope you are as committed to OKCMAR as I am to you. Thank you again for a wonderful and challenging two years and.... Happy Anniversary to Us!

Oh yes, remember to VOTE-VOTE- VOTE !

Remember To Vote!

As our illustrious President-Elect, Dave Moeller, says VOTE-VOTE-VOTE. See his blog below. You can make a difference! Remember if you vote electronically you may not vote in person tomorrow- I hope to see many, many members participating in the RPAC auction. We need to support RPAC because it directly supports our ability to sell homes.

The Housing Market is Not A Stock Market Ticker Tape

CEO Viewpoint

Today I was interviewed by the local press to see if I had an answer as to why a neighboring city's closed home sales decreased this month while OKCMAR's closed home sales went up.

I think it is very important that as professionals we educate the public that real estate is a LONG TERM investment. The average consumer should anticipate investing in his home for 10-30 years. Slight monthly fluctuations in the housing market are normal- just as grocery and consumer goods fluctuate in price. Since the inception of the stock market, real estate has out performed the stock market over time without fail.It is the BEST investment a person can make. This investment is more than financial it is in investment in our community and society as whole. Neighborhoods with strong home ownership rates tend to be low in crime, support their local schools and support the bonds of human friendship- something we all need.

NAR has great talking points to use when speaking of the value of home ownership- they can be linked to here...TALKING POINTS

NAR also offered the following when we analyze rate of return,"When considering the investment value of a home, think about this: Dollar for dollar, the rate of return on an individual’s cash downpayment on a house is substantial. Buyers typically use their own money to cover only a small portion of the purchase price, but the home appreciation they realize is based on the total value of the property.

Homeowners benefit from the power of leverage. Over 10 years, a $10,000 investment in the stock market at a normal 10 percent market rate of return would yield $23,600. The same investment as a down payment on a $200,000 home at a normal appreciation rate of 5 percent would return nearly five times the average stock market return, at $110,300...."

Now, add to that rate of return the ability to deduct your mortgage interest and property tax from your federal tax return and calculate the savings in income tax paid over the life of a 30 year mortgage and the return is even greater. This year add another $8000 in one's pocket if one is a first time homebuyer and the yield on investment expands even more!

Just something to think about....

A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words!

Become a part of the movement to extend (maybe even expand) the homebuyers' tax credit.

NAR's 2009 REALTOR® Party Video Contest challenges REALTORS® to make a short, personal video explaining how the Home Buyer Tax Credit has helped their clients buy their first home.

The contest will run until September 30. The winning entry will receive a $500 American Express gift card and be shown at the Annual Convention in San Diego in November. Two runners-up will receive Flip UltraHD Camcorders.

During the contest, please help us get as many REALTORS® involved as possible by encouraging your fellow REALTOR® Family members to enter and letting them know how important it is that Congress expands and extends the tax credit (From OAR).

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Hi Everybody –

I just wanted to remind everybody to vote in the Board of Directors Election this coming week. I would love to see maximum participation at the Luncheon on Wednesday at the Skirvin, but remember that you can also vote online through the OKCMAR website for the Board of Directors.

I have been very pleased this year in seeing the participation of the nominated slate in active canvassing of votes on Facebook and other social media. This is the age of Technology as was evidenced at the NAR Leadership Summit I recently attended in Chicago. I think the Nominating Committee did a fine job in their selection, and I want to thank all of the selected slate for their participation and desire to serve.

As President Elect, I look forward to working with the incoming Board & Staff next year in promoting OKCMAR and moving towards our continued success in the marketplace. Our success can only be achieved by the support of our members and the dedicated hard work of all committees, and the Staff. Vote for the Board that will work for you, and be part of the process of continued growth. Our opportunity is only limited by the support from the membership. Please VOTE!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nobody Asked Me

Tne ASAE Report, The Decision to Join, (called "Impetus to Join" in a prior post), was based on a survey that had over 16,000 association member respondents. When polled about why they did not serve the association, the hands down answer was: NOBODY ASKED ME. OKCMAR is asking- Will you answer the call?

Another analysis of the ASAE findings was level of involvement. Many members would like to participate on some level but cannot commit to committee membership.The report suggested developing a database of one-time, short term "ad hoc" involvement tasks to allow members to particpate at a level they were comfortable with.

Completely understanding that OKCMAR members may get involved if asked and if given the opportunity to serve in an ad hoc manner, a list has been compiled of ad hoc activities and OKCMAR is asking for your help. Click Here to access the form and please become a part of the ad hoc database of volunteers. OKCMAR exists for you and because of you- won't you answer the call to serve?

Do you have time to serve on a committee? Click here to access the 2010 Committee sign up form.

Participation Versus Involvement- I Think I Found My Answer

CEO Viewpoint:

I received the ASAE report today, Impetus to Join, and had my AHA! moment. It clarified the quandary I had in my mind about weighting participation regarding my Warm Bodies post. I knew I was getting at something, I just couldn't figure out exactly what it was. The turning question in my mind was "Why does a body count have so much import?" I just really couldn't pinpoint a value to that. The question came about after participating in several meetings regarding the proposed OKCMAR budget. Each year we invest substantial resources (time, money, staff) in the Inaugural Celebration. The overwhelming sentiment appeared to be (of course this is just my perception and my opinion) ... This event is so successful we have close to 500 members attending. Which led to my question, What is the value of that participation- why is this considered a success?

It seemed that many were very impressed by the turnout but as the CEO I didn't see the perceived Return on Investment (ROI) considering resources consumed. The ROI has to be more than an attendance count. We have 500 people in a room for a few hours- what is the benefit to the membership as a whole and is the greater good of the membership served? Do these 500 go back to their offices and talk about OKCMAR, promote OKCMAR's purpose, recruit committee members, get interested in serving, donate to RPAC,become our future leaders? We have over 500 members contributing to our Facebook and Facebook is free - So if participation is measured by count then Facebook is a far greater ROI because it is free!

Anyway, now that the readers have the background, I can go back to my AHA! moment. The report basically said we need to move from Participation as the performance metric for the association and replace the metric with Involvement. There is a huge difference in participating in OKCMAR events/offerings (attendance) and becoming INVOLVED in the association. Participating is attending a luncheon- Involvement is greeting REALTORS as they walk in the door for the luncheon- forcing one's self to actively promote and embody the association and its purpose. Network with all the members attending versus sitting with those REALTORS in your office.

I realized I was trying to grasp the difference of physical versus online attendance and the difference really is moot- the only real measure of success is involvement. Involvement doesn't mean attending everything and sitting in a committee meeting. Involvement is the understanding that one is working with and for the association to further the "greater good". OKCMAR DOES NOT EXIST MERELY TO PROVIDE SERVICES although that is why many join. OKCMAR exists to assist its members in fulfilling an obligation to advance the common good and professionalism of the real estate industry.

So I have my answer- I need to track not just attendance but involvement. Another spreadsheet- my staff will be so happy- LOL!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

To Blog or Not To Blog; That is the Question

CEO Viewpoint:

I received a very interesting comment regarding the benefits of blogging. A blog is meant to start a dialogue but also to serve as an information source. I look at this blog as just one more communication channel. I particularly like blogging because it allows me to expand on messages OKCMAR sends through other channels. I also think it is somewhat like FDR's fireside chats. I hope that through blogging members will get to know OKCMAR, myself, the President & the President-Elect a little better and in turn assist them in feeling connected to the association.

The one comment I received was that to date there have only been 12 comments posted on the blogs (MLS has a tech blog) and was this a good return on investment. Well, the blogs started in earnest about two weeks ago and just as we wouldn't expect a new REALTOR to have a fully developed book of business in two weeks, we shouldn't expect a large readership in two weeks. Ideally I hope this blog will reach about 20% of our membership- realizing it is just another communication channel - one of many.

The second question regarding time spent versus return. Actually I spend very little time producing the blogs and tend to blog on my mythical "off time". However I thought about how much staff and committee time is spent putting together one event. I would like to measure that time against attendance and then measure the time I spend on this versus comments. I will keep you posted as to how this pans out! It will be interesting to see and I sincerely thank the member who took the time to respond to my Warm Bodies post for giving me this very valuable measuring tool.

The same reader also suggested that online presence should not be weighted as heavily as physical presence. So perhaps we measure the online participation as 50%?


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Please post your blog comments on the blog

I have been getting great feedback about the blog BUT ALAS not on the blog. So far the feedback has been verbal, to my email or on our facebook account. I LOVE that you are all reading the blog and commenting on it but it would really help if you posted right on the blog. This way everyone gets to see your comments not just me and they tend to disappear quickly on Facebook with all our Facebook activity. To post a comment just hit the comment link below.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Will you be a part of the solution?

My Dad had a saying he lived by and drilled into our heads growing up "You have no right to complain unless you are willing to be a part of the solution" and also variations like "you have no right to complain if you don't vote,"or "don't ever go to your employer with a problem unless you also have a solution" can you tell my Dad was the eldest child? So am I!

As we head towards the OKCMAR election luncheon and the special meeting called for amending the bylaws following the luncheon, my Dad's voice echoes in my head. I wonder how many of my REALTORS will vote at either event? It is much easier to just complain about how things are run/done than it is to get involved. Voting is a very easy and simple means to shape your association that requires very minimal time commitment.

This year we will have electronic voting for directors thanks to the people who worked very hard on the bylaws committee last year and got this initiative passed. Watch your eblasts for directions on how to vote online. The online voting period begins next week. HOWEVER, the proposed modification to the bylaws last year allowing members to vote electronically for bylaws amendments failed. This means to vote on the bylaws you must either physically attend or assign your vote to a proxy. There is a proxy form on the home page of the website under featured information or you can access it here.

I think members forget that OKCMAR is your association, led by REALTORS, run by REALTORS, funded by REALTORS. The staff only follows the bylaws and policies of the board of directors. OKCMAR is your association. If you don't like how something is done find out why the board made the decision, policy, rule or bylaw. You may change your mind on the subject. If you are adamant something needs to be changed, sign up for a committee. Committee sign up forms will be available on the board home page tomorrow. ALL Policies start at the committee level.

You have the means to directly impact the association through committee involvement and through your vote.

What will they come up with next?

Has anyone else heard of the new TrackStick? It is a GPS tracker that memorizes your route. It uses Google Maps to track where you are and certain geographic factors. To view a short demo

I could see where this might be helpful for logging time spent showing homes or for a potential expense record. Its pricey but new technology always is.