The BIG e is our largest event of the year, and we try to make sure it is more than worth your time and the ticket price. We bring in the best speakers who will give you real, tangible takeaways. This year, we have three targeted tracks for agents; managers and brokers; and hands-on lab sessions. You may read more about the event, which will be held on October 24, here.

They say that people don’t pay attention to the usual fall political goings-on until after Labor Day. I think that is giving people perhaps too much credit, but we are well past Labor Day so I hope all of you are paying attention. We have City of Houston and The Woodlands Township races upcoming, as well as state constitutional amendments. You may learn more here. And I know all of you are registered to vote, but if you know someone else who isn’t, then note the October 7 deadline to register to vote.

The award nominations for REALTOR® of the Year and the John E. Wolf Community Service Award are currently being accepted. These are the two highest honors bestowed by HAR, so please make sure you nominate someone who you feel would live up to these awards. You may find out more about each, as well as the nomination form, on page 11.

Since I have been on the Board of Directors for quite a few years now, I have interacted with HAR Legal Counsel Dick Hargis many times, especially this year as chairman. It was with great sadness that I attended his memorial service last month after his valiant battle with cancer came to an end. Dick was one of those people with whom you could have a disagreement, but you still left with great respect for each other. He will be missed by all HAR members, and you may read a little more about him here.

In HAR’s continuing effort to help our members to be more effective in their business, we have partnered with RatePlug, which is a free service to allow REALTORS® to include mortgage information from up to three preferred lenders within each listing. According to a RatePlug study, REALTORS® using the service have a 15 percent shorter time frame going from list to contract. You may read more about the program here.

There are exciting updates coming to our MLS software that you should look for soon as well. HAR has been working with CoreLogic to enable Tempo to support additional browsers, such as Safari, Firefox and Chrome. This will allow access to Tempo from any device using one of those browsers, which would include Mac, iPad, etc., which previously could not access Tempo. We know this has been a frequent request, so HAR listened. There is also a great Fusion add-on tool called StatsPro to assist REALTORS® with a real-time market conditions report. This is only available in Fusion. You may read all about these and other updates here.