Listen to your FOMO: Register today for Forecast 2017 and you won’t miss a thing!

You’re a REALTOR, and you know that our local economy is critical to the ebbs and flows of your business. Prepare yourself for changing market conditions in 2017 by attending our perennial favorite Forecast event. Forces Shaping Tomorrow’s Economy will consider the DFW economy from many angles.

Will there be housing for all? With the rise in median prices quickly outpacing income levels, the ability to obtain housing is becoming increasingly difficult for hard-working families. Did you know that in Dallas, the median household income is $50,118? That equates to a home purchase price of less than $200,000 for the average buyer, a prospect that is becoming increasingly difficult. Join us as we welcome Bill Hall, CEO Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity to discuss the housing needs in this area and what is being done to ensure safe, affordable housing for all.

What about the economy? The DFW area is experiencing tremendous growth in business and in population. What lies ahead and what factors will influence our future economy? Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist realtor.com will be here to address the dynamics of the North Texas economy.

Who needs Houston? With the rapid expansion and development of Texas on the whole, it’s no surprise that the triangle formed by San Antonio, Houston and DFW is quickly becoming a vital part of the nation’s economy. Meet David Winans, author of Texaplex and listen to what he has to say about the vibrant, vital and interdependent Texaplex economy. (For a video previewing his book ,visit https://youtu.be/FC16-4fh-Qc).

What will the real estate market do? The always popular Dr. Jim Gaines, CEO Real Estate Center at Texas A&M will be discussing future real estate trends for Texas as a whole and North Texas in particular. Know the current market and what to expect in the coming years.

Friday, October 21, 2016 at the Marriott Las Colinas from 8:30 – 12:00. Includes continental breakfast and 3 hours CE credit. $35 for members and $45 for non-members. Register today at mymetrotex.com or call our Professional Development Dept. at 214-540-2751

Protect your business! What you need to know now about ransomware

There is a tremendous advantage to having a paperless, mobile office. You can work from anywhere, any time, and can act quickly to keep your deals alive. It also makes your business a victim of cybercrime. Ransomware is rapidly becoming a common – and profitable – tool for criminals. Most frequently it comes in the form of an infected email or a malicious web site disguised as something entirely different. If your computer becomes infected with ransomware, the program will encrypt critical files or your entire hard drive. You’ll find yourself locked out of your system, losing access to photos, contracts, and client contacts. Once the encryption is in place, you’ll get a message that you need to pay if you want to access your files again, and most often payments must be made in Bitcoin.

If you fall victim to ransomware, deciding whether to pay the criminals for the unlock key is a tough decision. After all, the more victims that pay, the more common this crime becomes. On the other hand, if your business depends on having access to those files, you might not have much choice. There is no guarantee that the cybercriminals will actually release your files, or that the decryption process will work on your computer. And there’s a good chance that you have other malware or viruses on your computer in addition to the ransomware. You should certainly report the crime to the police before you do anything. If you do manage to get your computer unlocked, it’s vital that you make sure it’s clean from viruses and malware before you start using it again.

You can protect yourself and your clients by regularly backing up your files. Use an online service to back them up for the best protection, or back up files on external drives that are then disconnected from your system. You can restore your files to a wiped computer if necessary. Remember to test your backups to make sure they work before an issue arises. Make sure that you routinely update your malware and anti-virus protection software. And if your computer is asking for a system update, don’t put it off. System updates will often offer some protection against the latest malware codes. Using a cloud-based server for the majority of your business files will offer you protection as well. You’ll be able to access your files from another device even if your primary device becomes locked.

Protect yourself from malware attacks in the first place by using an abundance of caution when opening email. Don’t open suspicious emails or click on links that come from unknown sources. Email hackers will often make it look like the email comes from a known source, like your friends or your bank. If the email seems a little off, or if it’s confusing, don’t click on a link in it. Call the sender or go directly to their website and connect with their customer service to verify the information in the email first.

Learn more about protecting your business, your identity, and your health during the annual MetroTex Wellness Month in October. Sign up for the MetroTex REALTOR Safety Training Course here, and join us throughout the month for more great events. We’ll lunch and learn with our favorite personal trainer, join the Race for the Cure, and donate at the Carter Blood Care drive. Stay safe, stay well and do good with MetroTex!

Committee Spotlight: Public Education Committee

If you want tangible ways MetroTex Realtors make a difference in our communities, a great place to start is to take a look at the Public Education Committee. This group of MetroTex members is dedicated to supporting public education in the region. By establishing the MetroTex Charitable Trust, the Public Education Committee is able to provide program grants to schools every year. In the short time since 2010, the Committee has distributed more than $85,000 in educational grants through the Charitable Trust. These grants have been made to 18 different area school districts and charter schools to fund 33 different programs. This year, the Committee awarded seven grants from the 63 applications received. The educational programs support kids of all ages through high school.

The MetroTex Charitable Trust raises funds through ticket sales to the annual MetroTex Awards Banquet. Public Education Committee members promote the event and select grant recipients in the spring. The Committee also monitors school board activities and conducts candidate interviews during school board elections. We recommend and provide political endorsement and/or financial support of the candidates who uphold our mission to the MetroTex Board of Directors.

The Public Education Committee needs your help! Support our efforts by encouraging everyone in your office to attend the annual banquet, or make a direct donation to the Charitable Trust. Join the Committee and help select grant recipients. And if you know any great schools or teachers who could use a grant, watch for next year’s call for submissions in February.

For more information, contact Susan Kaplan at susank@dfwre.com and join the Committee in our monthly meetings. A calendar of meeting dates can be found here.

Upcoming MetroTex Classes and Events

3 Not-to-be-Missed Classes in July

With the market as active as it is, getting the price right the first time is more important than ever before. Whether you’re representing buyers or sellers, you need to have the depth of knowledge to give your clients the very best advice. Fortunately, MetroTex is offering three classes in July to improve your CMA skills.

CMA v. Appraisal, July 8: Provide your clients with the best possible comparables and learn the differences between comps and appraisal. This course will look at legal, ethical and regulatory requirements needed for appraisals as well as help you develop a process for determining the best comps. It will also explain lender requirements when it comes to appraisal, so you can better handle a successful resolution to the deal when the appraisal doesn’t land where you thought it should. July 8, 2016. 9 AM – 12 PM at MetroTex Dallas and via interactive simulcast to Grapevine, Garland, Lewisville, and Duncanville locations.

Next Level CMA, July 8: Take your CMA skills to new heights when you learn how to properly make adjustments to your comps. Price the property correctly for buyers and sellers alike. July 8, 2016. 1 PM – 4 PM at MetroTex Dallas and via interactive simulcast to Grapevine, Garland, Lewisville, and Duncanville locations.

Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA, July 12: Earn the Certification! The Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) certification is specifically designed to enhance your skills in pricing properties, creating CMAs, working with appraisers, and guiding clients through the anxieties and misperceptions they often have about home values. This robust course will teach you how to price homes properly, make adjustments to comps, how to work with appraisers and more. At the end of the session, you will have the skills needed in this fast-moving market to get the price right.  July 12, 2016. 8:30 AM – 5 PM at MetroTex Dallas location.

MetroTex is offering more than 50 classes and webinars in July. Check out our full schedule at mymetrotex.com.

MetroTex Association of REALTORS Partners with The CE Shop!

We've recently partnered with The CE Shop, the leader in online real estate education.  We know our members' time is valuable and trying to stay on top of business and family priorities can be a challenge--especially as your license expiration date nears. 

That's why we've partnered with The CE Shop--to give you more flexibility and control over how to meet your Continuing Education requirements.  All our Members benefit from our co-branded course website.  This means you have a one-stop shop that lists the courses you need and describes them in full detail so you know what's offered before you enroll.  Go to http://dfwrealestate.theceshop.com/ at any time to review and purchase the courses you need.  You can start your course immediately or come back to it later.

The CE Shop's courses not only provide the most relevant and current information, and are delivered in user-friendly language, but you can pause and bookmark any time where you left off in a course.  Return to your learning environment when you have the free time to do so.  Go to http://dfwrealestate.theceshop.com/ to check out the site and to leverage our partnership's monthly promotional discount.

If you can’t make the in-house live course for Texas Legal 1 & 2 you can take it with our new partners at The CE Shop.

Student Loan Debt Causes Homeownership Ripple Effect

For some time, housing industry experts have been discussing the impact of student loans on the ability of many to purchase a home, especially since the number of first-time homebuyers in recent years has dropped and remained lower than usual. In Texas, nearly two-thirds of graduates emerge from college with debt. That’s a lot of potential homeowners waiting longer to buy homes. 

Thanks to a paper by Federal Reserve Board economists, the industry now has a better idea of just how much homeownership is impacted by student loan debt. According to authors Drs. Daniel Ringo and Alvaro Mezza, a 10 percent increase in student loan debt cuts the homeownership rate by 1-2 percentage points 24 months out of school. Additionally, that 10 percent increase in student loan debt increases the probability that a borrower falls into the subprime category (a credit score of 620 or less).

In Texas, students graduating with a bachelor’s degree leave school with an average debt of $26,250. That’s lower than the national average of $37,172 but more than $10,000 higher than it was a decade ago. 

College grads shouldn’t let the news get them down, though. With proper credit management and a bit of financial planning, grads can still find a way to buy a home sooner rather than later. It still makes sense to buy in many cases, too. After all, mortgage rates remain historically low and the cost of rent is rising quickly. If you’re thinking of buying a home in the next few years, it makes sense to speak with a credit counselor and a local lender who can advise you on the best ways to protect and build your credit rating, how much to save for closing costs and down payments, and incentive programs available to first time homebuyers. Do this long before you plan to buy and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you’re ready.

For more information about buying or selling a home, visit dfwrealestate.com or speak to a MetroTex Realtor. 

 

REALTOR Challenge: How Well Do You Know the Industry?

2016 MetroTex Leadership Academy Grads to Shape the Association, Industry in an Era of Massive Growth for North Texas

If you’re not familiar with the MetroTex Leadership Academy graduates, you should be. They are the movers and shakers of North Texas real estate and they are shaping the future of the industry both in North Texas and nationwide. Designed to identify and develop future leaders for the Association, the Leadership Academy pushes members to become active in their communities, to get to know the legislative issues arising that impact homeowners, to become active in leadership roles within the Association and to become their best selves.


Leadership Academy students are expected to commit a significant amount of time and effort in the program; some participants go beyond the strict requirements to graduate with honors. These dedicated members embody the spirit of the Leadership Academy in a special way.
This year’s graduating class produced four amazing honors candidates. They’ve devoted hours to attend civic meetings, volunteer in our community, participated in MetroTex and TAR meetings, and read the words of respected business leaders, all while participating in the program and, oh by the way, running their businesses. 


So kudos to you, 2016 honors grads. You’ve accomplished a lot in 10 months! And congratulations to all of our 2016 MetroTex Leadership Academy graduates. We know you have a bright future ahead of you. 

There are 28 new graduates of the MetroTex Leadership Academy this year. Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

Aundrea Allen*                                                              Tamaria Johns*                                 
Ericka Alvarez                                                        Brenda Kronenberg*
Wanda Arias*                                                         David Lee*
Beth Arnold                                                           Kyle Lyo
Brandon Arnold*                                                   Paulette Mahome*
Kyle Baugh                                                            Chris Martinez*
Andrea Bell* Summa Cum Laude                         Gwen Moore* Cum Laude
Sabrina Bell Summa Cum Laude                          Grant Myers*
Carol Blair                                                              Amy Rakoczy
Matthew Byrd                                                        Leti Ramos Cum Laude
Jennifer Clark*                                                       Laura Stuckey*
Diane Davis*                                                          Chelsea Walley*
Ronnie Eckel*                                                         Maria Ward*
Laneal Ernest*
Jeff Fielde                                                              *Denotes perfect attendance.