By Larry A. Outlaw, Director of Education and Licensing
A record 202 educators attended the annual North Carolina Real Estate Educators Conference sponsored by the Real Estate Commission on March 7-8, 2005. This was the largest turnout in the 26 years the educators conference has been held.
While attendance at these annual conferences is always excellent, educators were especially interested this year in learning more about the Commission’s proposed legislation to establish a “broker only” license structure, strengthen the education requirements for licensing, and increase broker-in-charge qualification requirements.
A majority of the first day’s program was devoted to a discussion of this proposed legislation. The discussion was led by Larry Outlaw, the Commission’s Director of Education and Licensing, who explained that the legislative proposals resulted from recommendations of the 2004 Broker-in-Charge Advisory Committee formed by the Commission to consider broker-in-charge duties and requirements. Mr. Outlaw reviewed the proposals, which had been disseminated to participants prior to the conference, and explained the rationale of the advisory committee and the Commission for the proposals, as well as Commission plans for implementation of the legislation if enacted. Participants then engaged in a lively discussion of the various proposed changes.
Conference attendees enjoyed very helpful presentations by three experienced instructors. Tony Hawkins spoke on “Working with the Adult Learner,” Dick Norwood addressed “Using Real-Life Examples in Teaching the Broker Course,” and Cindy Chandler shared suggestions on “Teaching the Commercial Section of the Broker Course.”
The first day also featured the annual North Carolina Real Estate Educators Association awards luncheon and business meeting. Tom Mangum, NCREEA President presided over the meeting, and Sandy Williams, NCREEA Immediate Past President, presented the Association’s annual awards.
Cindy Chandler of Charlotte received the Program of the Year award for her “Fundamentals of Commercial Real Estate” course, and Priscilla Senecal of Cornelius was honored as the Educator of the Year. Ms. Senecal was also presented the Commission’s Billie J. Mercer Excellence in Education Award by Matthew J. “Rick” Watts, Chairman of the Real Estate Commission.
Ms. Williams also announced during the morning session that the much anticipated NCREEA-recommended salesperson course final examination was now available for purchase following a lengthy development and pretesting process. She reported that the Association would continue working with Commission staff to produce another version of the examination during the coming year.
The second day of the 1½-day conference primarily featured presentations by members of the Commission’s education staff. Anita Burt, Examination and Education Officer, reported on progress being made to update the license examination, describing an online job analysis project that was under way and the development activities of staff and an Examination Item (Question) Review Committee.
Pam Rorie, Continuing Education Officer, reviewed several rule changes and addressed pertinent issues relating to both CE and prelicense education. Tricia Moylan, Legal Education Officer, presented and discussed summaries of several interesting NC court cases relevant to real estate practice.
Finally, Tom E. Smith, President-Elect of the North Carolina Housing Opportunity Foundation, acquainted attendees with the Foundation’s Homes4NC program that seeks to facilitate and increase housing opportunities in the state, noting particularly how NC REALTORS® can contribute to the Homes4NC program by participating in the Interest on Real Estate Trust Accounts (IORETA) program.
Conference participants were also able to gain information from exhibitors that included the country’s leading real estate publishers and had the opportunity to network among their peers. All in all, the 2005 conference was a resounding success.
Follow Commission Guidelines For Homes4NC Contributions
Real estate brokerage firms and individual licensees may contribute interest earned from trust accounts to the Housing Opportunity Foundation’s Homes4NC, the new non-profit established by the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® in 2004. Licensees who desire to do so should review the guidelines set forth below.
Homes4NC derives funds from interest earned on real estate brokerage trust fund accounts and donations from members and community contributors.
The organization awards grants to nonprofit organizations that enhance the ability of those below 80% of median income to secure housing, provides disaster relief funds on an “as needed” basis to non-profits assisting with an emergency disaster, and promotes access to training opportunities for REALTORS® to increase their knowledge of resources to assist with affordable housing. The non-profit completed its first grant cycle last fall.
NCAR, in establishing Homes4NC last year, cited statistics that one out of every five people in North Carolina pay more than 30% of their income in mortgage payments. Earnings over $14 per hour are required to afford an average two-bedroom apartment and almost $27 per hour to afford the average home.
There is a shortage of affordable housing in the state affecting 20.7 percent of homeowners and 33.4 percent of renters, who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing payments, NCAR said.
The Housing Opportunity Foundation is organized to promote decent, safe and affordable housing, support education and research of housing issues, provide technical assistance to groups seeking to deal with housing issues and needs, and enhance the ability of state citizens with incomes at or below 80% of median income to secure housing.
Practices and Procedures
The Real Estate Commission determined that the contribution of trust account interest to Homes4NC is in compliance with the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules when participating brokerage firms and licensed individuals adhere to certain practices and procedures:
• There must be specific written authority from the principals in a transaction for a licensee to deposit trust money into an interest-bearing account. This authority must be obtained by the licensee prior to making the deposit, provide for the disbursement of the interest, and be clear and conspicuous. It must specify that the interest is being disbursed to the Foundation or the licensee, and describe how the disbursement will be made.
• When authority is given to disburse to the Foundation, consumers should be given meaningful disclosure of the nature of the Foundation and the purposes to which the interest will be put.
• If a particular client or customer declines to allow the licensee to earn interest for the benefit of the Foundation (or the licensee) on the funds in which he or she has an interest, the licensee must segregate those funds in a separate account that does not bear interest, or that earns interest as directed and agreed by the parties and the licensee.
• As with other trust money, funds which are earmarked to earn interest for the benefit of the Foundation must be deposited in an insured North Carolina bank or savings and loan with the accounts subject to negotiable instruments of withdrawal.
Additional detail relating to these accounts is provided in a Commission opinion letter under Housing Opportunity Foundation on NCAR’s website, www.ncrealtor.org, or the Commission’s website, www.ncrec.state.nc.us.
This article came from the May 2005-Vol36-1 edition of the bulletin.