LDO INFO AT THE GRRA BLOG
If you missed our Land Development Ordinance Brown Bag on Wednesday, catch up at the GRRA Blog! The city of Greensboro's Planning and Zoning staff was kind enough to leave behind a copy of their Powerpoint, which you can find embedded in this post.
AUGUST DEALS AT THE REALTOR STORE
Bill Mangum’s book Greensboro: Roots and Renaissance
Buy Two Get One Free
House Shaped (Home For Rent) signs are now $3.50
Arrow Shaped (Condo For Rent) signs are now $3.50
House Shaped (Saturday or Saturday/Sunday) signs are all $2.50
A-Frames Open House Signs are 10% off.
The REALTOR Store is open every weekday from 8:30 to 5 p.m. -- Members get discounts on all items! If you have a question about the store or its stock, contact Sharon Gray, 854-5868 or email@example.com.
RURAL HOUSING FUND RESTORED
The long anticipated restoration of the Section 502 single-family rural housing program is headed to President Obama's desk for signature into law. NAR has been working on restoring funding since March. Although the legislation increases the guarantee fee for borrowers, the fee can still be financed. This change will make the program completely self-sufficient. The legislation also increases the Rural Housing Service (RHS) commitment authority allowing guaranteed loans. Previously RHS had been providing conditional commitments. RHS will announce new guidelines shortly after the President signs the bill. More details are online
GRRA RECERTIFIED THROUGH NAR
From 2010 President Bill Gill:
“I am proud to announce that on Wednesday, the GRRA received notice that we successfully completed the NAR Organizational Standards Certification, which we must pass every three years. This will ensure that our Association meets the high standards NAR sets for its local associations, and will help us maintain strong relationships at the national level.
"We’re thankful for the work of all those who guided us through the recertification process, and we look forward to a beneficial affiliation with NAR for years to come.”
MLS COMES TO THE MAC, UNVEILS NEW SUPPORT SITE
Two big announcements from Triad MLS:
First, we are very pleased to announce that Marketlinx has provided us with a solution for MAC users in the Triad.
This will allow any person using a MAC Computer to access Tempo. This is NOT the next generation MLS system that will be offered by Marketlinx at a later time and this does NOT mean that users can use Tempo with Safari, Firefox or any browser other than IE. Just for your information, Fusion MLS (the next generation Tempo from Marketlinx) will work on any computer and any browser. I say that so you will see that this is not that.
What this does do is act as a Application Server that allows our users to emulate a Windows IE Browser session within the MAC Operating System. Our users will be able to fully work with Tempo from within the MAC environment. There is no cost for this service.
Read all about it here
Second, we are now ready to roll out our new Triad MLS Support Website.
The address is http://support.triadmls.com
In addition to the help screens located within Tempo, this will offer our members another avenue to easily access information regarding Tempo and give them the ability to search Knowledgebase articles and troubleshooting. In addition, they will be able to submit help ‘tickets’ online and even communicate live with a support representative via an On-line chat utility. All emails currently sent to firstname.lastname@example.org are now routed through this Support system so we have the ability to track and trend these as well.
One of the benefits of this is that we will be able to track these issues and then use that to assess training needs, etc. Others include:
- Ticketed support and email management
o A ticket can be thought of in many ways: an issue, an email, a message or a threaded conversation
- Live Chat and Visitor Monitoring
o Allows us to monitor, engage and interact with visitors in real time.
- Advanced reporting, workflow, and scheduling features
o Allows us to determine trends and issues based on user created help desk tickets
- Publish rich self help resources
o Ability to publish news articles so that they appear on the support page or even broadcasted by RSS feeds
o If relevant, links can be sent out by the auto-responder if the issue is relevant to their question
- Team-working and Task Management
- o Tasks can be set up and managed by staff to ensure we all know who is handling what in a more automated fashion
We are pleased to offer this to all our members and we encourage you to post on your individual websites should you desire. We will be updating the Message of the Day within Tempo of this new utility available to our members.
MAKE YOUR OFFICE A HOME BASE FOR SAFETY
By Andrew Wooten, president of S.A.F.E.
A safe office is good business. Making your workplace more secure will make your clients feel safe and increase productivity, thereby creating more listings and sales.
Client & Agent Records
The key to staying safe in the real estate industry is knowing your clients and having your office know your schedule-both of which are centered right in your office. Ideally, your workplace has a process in place for meeting clients for the first time, collecting their identifying information, and "checking out" agents for appointments. If your employer does not have a process in place for these standard procedures, here are some tips you can follow that will ensure your safety on the job.
• ALWAYS meet new clients in your office, and be sure to introduce them to at least three different people. A would-be assailant doesn't like to be noticed, knowing a person could pick him out of a police lineup.
• Have all clients fill out a Prospect Identification Form with name, address, work information, phone numbers, and vehicle information-and verify all information provided before you head out the door with them!
• Always tell someone in your office where you're going, who you're meeting and when to expect you back. Create an electronic or paper form for this, or use a white-board that others can check.
• Be sure your office has up-to-date contact information on you in case of an emergency.
What about your safety as you head to the office, or leave for appointments? Criminals watch for patterns, so be sure to change up your daily routine. Arrive at work-including weekly or daily locations-at different times. Leave your house and come home at different times. When driving, take different routes to commonly visited places. Park in a different space than you usually park. Random variances in your behavior move you from a predictable target to an unpredictable, difficult person to surprise.
The Night Shift
If you must work alone in the office at night, be prepared! Have your broker walk the entire office with you before everyone else leaves, and make sure all the windows and doors are locked. It's also important that all entranceways and sidewalks are well lit and that you can see your car. Move your car to a safe, nearby spot before the last person leaves the office.
Remember that law enforcement officers are here to help you. When you're working alone at night, call your local police station and let them know you have hot coffee and ask them to have cruisers use your parking lot for meetings and writing reports. Call the police immediately if you see or hear anything suspicious or have a good reason to suspect a crime is being committed.
You can increase the service you bring to your clients by being more aware and comfortable in even the most familiar surroundings. Don't let your focus on a potential sale distract you from being safe. Above all, always remember Andrew's golden rule:
"You are your best weapon, your mind, voice and body. Listen and trust your inner voice. It is the best weapon you have."
We hope this article is helpful to you. Please feel free to share this information with your staff, family and friends. For additional information on training classes, seminars, keynote speeches or consulting please visit SAFE at www.justbesafe.com. If you would like to reprint this article in your publication, please feel free. Just send us a copy or link to your published work.
Andrew Wooten is a certified crime prevention practitioner and the president of S.A.F.E. (Safety Awareness Firearms Education). He has been in the safety and security industry for over 25 years.
HUD ISSUES NEW INTERPRETIVE RULE
From Old Republic Home Protection
On June 25, 2010, HUD issued a new interpretive rule regarding administrative fee payments to Real Estate Brokers and Agents. You can view the new rule by visiting our website at www.orhp.com and clicking on the HUD Ruling link located under the Quick Links menu.
HUD's new interpretive rule clarifies that real estate brokers and agents may not be compensated by Home Warranty Companies for marketing services directed to particular homebuyers or sellers.
GOING TO MYRTLE BEACH? PRE-REGISTER AND SAVE!
NCAR's 2010 Convention & Expo is happening September 19-21 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. -- if you're going, why not sign up today?
The Early Bird registration rate of $250 expires on July 31. If you sign up before that date, you'll save $45 off the standard pre-registration price, or $95 off the on-site registration fee!
GRRA currently has the second-most pre-registered members of all large boards in the state. Help us get to #1 when you pre-register today!
Sign up at the convention website by clicking here!
NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY (SORT OF) PROTECTS DEVELOPMENT PERMITS FROM EXPIRATION
from Carolina Land Law
In the waning hours of the NC General Assembly's Short Session, a bill was passed will little fanfare but much potential impact upon the development community, state agencies, and local governments. House Bill 683 extends the Permit Extension Act of 2009 that tolled the expiration of all kinds of governmental permits issued to property owners and developers. Building permits, site plans, etc. that were valid at any time during the period January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2010 will now not expire until some time after December 31, 2011.
This attempt to provide some relief to the real estate market, given the uncertainties of the current economy, did not come without intense lobbying from both sides of the discussion. While development interests won a one year extension, local governments triumphed in their efforts to limit this new extension to one rather than two years. Local governments also won the right to opt out of this newest extension. In addition the General Assembly clarified developers' obligations to complete promised infrastructure for new developments.
As a last minute compromise, the new law answers some questions but raises many others. See SML lawyer Tom Terrell's blog "The Permit Extension Act of 2009 -- Extending the Extension" to learn more.
CITY EXPANDS COVERAGE OF URBAN LOOP MAPPING TOOL
The City of Greensboro’s Department of Transportation (GDOT) has revised its interactive Urban Loop Mapping Tool to now include other major City- and state-planned roadway projects. The tool, now called Road Project Mapping Tool, can be accessed from the left column of the City’s website home page at www.greensboro-nc.gov.
The purpose of the new mapping tool is to provide easy Web access to major roadway project locations and design information. Simply click on the Road Project Mapping Tool link, enter an address within Guilford County, and see how close a property may be to a planned major roadway project.
GUILFORD TAX INFO SERVICE NOW LIVE
The Guilford County Tax Department has announced that the long-awaited overhaul of its Billing and Collections system will be unveiled to the public on July 6, 2010. Read about it here (.pdf file).
REALTOR PARTNER NEWS
July Partner of the Month
Think BIG and save along the way! Your NCAR membership entitles you to discounts on UPS ground, air and international shipping every time you ship. Whether you send 50 shipments a month or two shipments a week, the savings add up. With UPS, even small businesses save big! Click here to sign up: www.savewithups.com/enroll/ and enter the promotional code: SER213!
2011 Committee Request Forms
If you would like to serve on the REALTOR® Partner Committee in 2011, please fill out the attached application or visit our website to submit a request online at www.ncrealtors.org.
REALTOR.COM SITE REDESIGN ENTERS BETA TESTING PHASE
We want to bring you up-to-date on the new REALTOR.com® website redesign that is currently in beta testing. The new site enhancements make accessing all the rich data available on REALTOR.com® intuitive and better than ever! The millions of consumers who visit REALTOR.com® each month will be able to find properties, as well as companies and agents, faster and more easily.
The “new” REALTOR.com will have upgrades to the search functionality and mapping presentation for current properties for sale, and the user interface design has been updated with new coloring and a tab layout at the top of the page.
Key Features of the “new“ REALTOR.com – currently in “beta” release:
New “Find REALTORS®” and Free Member Profile Pages for ALL
ALL members will have the opportunity to have a Profile Page within the new Find REALTORS® search experience. All members will be able to:
- upload their photo
- include an “About Me” romance paragraph
- identify designations/certifications
- specify languages spoken, specializations
- Interface with social networking links (Facebook®, LinkedIn®, Twitter®).
- Provide listing metrics – which can be turned off/on by the agent
The following link includes a short video and downloadable instructions for your members on “how to” add or revise their profile:
Improved presentation of listing data and property information
- The Listing Detail Pages are enhanced with more information -- including more prominently displayed Open House section, property tax and sales history, and better integration of neighborhood information
- The New Map Search allows consumer to explore neighborhoods, find points of interest, and learn about home values all on an easy-to-read map.
- Easier access to information that has been available on REALTOR.com for several years, such as the ability to more easily search recently sold properties and area sales statistics
New platform with improved speed and flexibility
In addition to the upgrades in the user experience, this release includes the launch of our new underlying system architecture and unified data base – bringing more technical flexibility to the site and faster search results for all users.
Users may choose to explore the Beta version of the new site now by clicking on the link at the top of the REALTOR.com® home page. We anticipate that the new REALTOR.com® experience will be fully released in Summer 2010.
Over One Million Downloads of REALTOR.COM® iPHONE APP in Five Months
We are also pleased to announce that the REALTOR.com iPhone application has had over 1,300,000 downloads since it was launched in January 2010! The REALTOR.com® iPhone application is the most comprehensive real estate search on iPhone. Consumers can search based on GPS location, search nearby Open Houses, show listings on a map, and “one tap” call to the listing agent. The REALTOR.com® iPhone app can be downloaded from Apple iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/app/real-estate-search/id336698281 or visit our iPhone information page at www.realtor.com/iphone
VISIT THE GRRA BLOG
Visit the GRRAblog at its new home on Blogger.com! You can now find us at http://greensbororealtors.blogspot.com. It's a great place to catch up on REALTOR happenings at the local, state and national levels.
To make sure you don't miss anything, be sure to add us to your RSS feeds. If you don't know how to use RSS (which stands for Really Simple Syndication), check out this entry for a quick tutorial.
And don't forget, the GRRA is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Workshop on New Greensboro Land Development Ordinance – TREBIC is hosting a training workshop on the new Greensboro Land Development Ordinance on Tuesday, August 31, 8:30-10:30 at Greensboro Regional REALTORS Association, 23 Oak Branch Drive. This session will be geared toward developers, professional design consultants and commercial brokers. Please come and spread the word. RSVP to email@example.com.
HP Conditional Use Zoning Changes – In February HP Council began considering in earnest changing from quasi-judicial Conditional Use District Zoning to legislative Conditional Zoning, a more user-friendly process that allows applicants and neighbors to talk to Council members about the project outside of the public hearing. TREBIC supports the change and has a task force working on the change with the city. The new ordinance is now set to go through the public hearing process which Council hopes to complete for a decision before the November elections. All our concerns have been resolved except one: Since the city is adding language allowing conditions to require road building, we would like to see that limited to comply with case law: road improvements should be “at-site” (not “off-site” – down the way), and should not exceed what is needed to meet the new traffic demand that is 1) directly attributable to the development and.
High Point City Council Elections—When the filing period for City Council ended July 16th some 24 candidates had filed for the 9 seats. The Joint Elections Committee has surveyed the candidates and will interview them on August 18th and 19th. Look for recommendations to come from your association in September.
Residential Rental Inspection Ordinances (RUCO) – During budget discussions in June, Greensboro City Council decided to take a hard look at the proactive Rental Unit Inspection Program (known as RUCO) to determine whether to go back to a complaint-driven system due to costs that might not be justifiable. At its July meeting a majority of the RUCO Board members voiced a desire to scale the program back, so a task force was appointed to work out a specific proposal for the RUCO Board to consider at its August 5th meeting. The current program inspects all rental units, regardless of whether there is any reason to suspect code violations. Data collected in recent years show that 93% of rental properties pass on the first inspection, suggesting that 93% of the efforts are unnecessary. Implementation of the program is riddled with problems and inefficiencies, including lost RUCO certificates and inspection of exempt properties. Most recently it was revealed that staff was not conducting annual proactive inspections of problem properties as the ordinance requires. Meanwhile, elected officials in High Point and Winston-Salem are searching for ways to deal with problem rental properties. Therefore, TREBIC is studying the myriad problems and extraordinary public and private sector costs of Greensboro’s RUCO program, and developing much more cost-effective alternatives.
GSO W. Lee/High Point Rd Gateway Corridor Plan: This summer the Central Gateway Corridor Partnership citizen’s committee is reviewing a final proposal for a Streetscape Plan and working on regulations and voluntary design guidelines tailored to the three sub-districts of the corridor. Public meetings will likely begin in August or September with City Council approval possible by year end. In general, standards are flexible taking into account constrained spaces, nonconforming uses, and expansion of existing uses. Parking standards are flexible offering deferred parking, custom demand studies, and reductions through various incentives, e.g. sharing, mixed use development, re-use of historic structures, sustainable development, etc.
Project Economic Impact Study (EIS) Letter Program – Remember that TREBIC has a very affordable program for getting EIS letters for individual projects from UNCG Professor Emeritus and economist Dr. Don Jud. Letters can be generated for as little as $300. Custom studies can cost several thousands of dollars. Using an EIS in rezoning hearings helps you win project approval AND raise awareness that land development is economic development. Call us for more details.
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If you have news you'd like to share with your fellow REALTORS, send it to Glen Baity, firstname.lastname@example.org or 854-5868.
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August 3 - GRRA Membership Luncheon - 11:30 a.m. - Come hear the candidates in the upcoming GRRA Elections speak - RSVP to Sharon Gray, 854-5868 or email@example.com.
August 9 - Voting begins for GRRA Elections - 12 p.m.
August 10 - RCSC Blood Drive - 8:30 to 12:30 - Contact Megan Tasman for more information, 854-5868 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 12 - Triad MLS Brown Bag Lunch - 11:30 a.m. - MLS EVP Richard Renton joins us to talk about new features and field your MLS-related questions. RSVP online here.
August 10 - REALTOR Night at the Greensboro Grasshoppers - Contact Charles Hinerman, 854-5868 or email@example.com for more details.
August 17 - Transportation Improvement Program Brown Bag - 11:30 a.m. - GDOT's Craig McKinney returns to the GRRA to discuss the contents of the new draft TIP - RSVP to Sharon Gray, 854-5868 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 19-20 - Get a Kid Ready for School Sorting and Distribution
August 24 - GRRA-RCA Joint Membership Luncheon - RSVP to Barbara Gilliland, 854-5868 or email@example.com
August 26 - Healthcare Reform Coffee Talk - 9 a.m. - Stan Park of Craft Insurance joins us to talk about the first changes from the healthcare reform bill, and what you can expect down the road. RSVP online here.
August 31 - LDO Information Session - 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. - Open to members of TREBIC, GRCA, GBA, NAIOP, TAA and HPRCA - Contact Glen Baity at 854-5868 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
September 1 - GRRA Annual Meeting
September 6 - GRRA Closed for Labor Day
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'Cloud computing' wins OK from federal government
Google Inc. is gearing up to sell its e-mail and other Web-hosted applications to a wider range of government agencies after winning a prized security clearance.
Smartphones: One size does not fit all
Smartphones provide unprecedented, around-the-clock connectivity between business owners, their employees and their clients. When used correctly, they can enable more efficient and effective business operations.
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PTI ridership off 10% since Jan. 1
The recession is keeping people from flying out of Piedmont Triad International Airport.
Editorial: Who's got the money
Not everyone wants to clean house in Congress this election. Far from it.
Home prices may fall further
Thought the housing crisis was over? Not quite.
Scams find new home on the web
The Greensboro Police Department and Better Business Bureau agencies across the nation have been warning potential buyers about fake companies posing as legitimate, well-established dealerships.
Triad community banks clink to TARP funds
Triad community banks are still holding on tight to the more than $337 million in federal money they received from the Treasury Department’s Capital Purchase Program, part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP.
GSO officials ready push for $15M for Downtown Greenway
Public and private officials in Greensboro are preparing an application for up to $15 million in federal funds to complete the majority of the Downtown Greenway.
Mortgage rates of 4.56% attract refis
The lowest mortgage rates in decades are just too good for some people to pass up.
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HondaJet moving closer to delivery
Honda Aircraft Co. has reached more technical milestones toward production of the HondaJet at Piedmont Triad International Airport.
How much risk with new hotel?
Developers of a 180-room luxury hotel in downtown Greensboro are headed to a state commission to make their case for $26 million in federal recovery zone bond financing.
PTI planning $50M in land buys
Piedmont Triad International Airport officials are planning $50 million worth of land acquisitions during the next decade in hopes of accommodating large aviation tenants setting up operations nearby.
Area strong in exports, report says
A national report released today offers the Greensboro-High Point metro area a way to help it climb out of the deepest economic hole the region has encountered since the Great Depression.
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