Any of you who know me well know that I am a big social networker. ( or @danfranktx on Twitter)  It is an area that can be used very effectively or can be a huge waste of time, if you don’t know what you are doing. As you can see from the cover of this month’s magazine, we are focusing on how to make social media work for you. You may read more about it here and learn more about how to obtain your Social Media Pro designation here.

If you saw the latest MLS figures when they were released (or you may read about them here), then you will note that the biggest news is the low number of houses currently available for sale. Speaking to REALTORS® all across our area and beyond, it is probably the most common thing I hear: We need more homes to sell. HAR is undertaking a multi-pronged campaign, including print, online and TV, to try to deliver the message that now might be the right time for consumers to sell…and of course us a REALTOR®. Look for those in the marketplace soon.

If you are an “international REALTOR®” (and really we all are), then you will want to consider obtaining your Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. It is only offered at HAR once every two year, so now is your opportunity. It is an intense but rewarding five-day course covering a wide range of topics, including ways to do business in other countries, international tools available, anti-money laundering guidelines and more. You may read more about the course and how to register for it here.

Effective as of April 1, 2013, the time period allowed to update a listing’s status from Active to Option Pending, Pending Continue to Show, or Pending will be reduced from five days to three days after a contract has been signed. This was approved by the HAR Board of Directors after much feedback from both REALTORS® and consumers. You may read more about it here.

April is Fair Housing Month, and that topic has made the industry news lately. You may read about the lawsuit in Florida here. You may also read about the Fair Housing guidelines here. Our MLS has a filter on it that tags listings that might include a word that we know is considered potentially troublesome under any of the various Acts that cover discrimination. That filter is not a 100 percent failsafe though so you should make sure you are aware of the law and follow it. We have had situations where members have entered comments or even a caption on a photo that resulted in them being fined by HUD. Avoid the hassle and just make sure you comply with the law.