As I take the helm as your 2015 chair of the board for HAR, I do so with great humility and pride. To be in the position of leading the best REALTOR® association in the country is a tremendous honor, and I hope that we are able to build on the successes of the past to become even greater.

Last month’s MLS release garnered a significant amount of attention, in large part due to the inclusion of Dr. Ted C. Jones’ forecast that home sales would likely decline by 10-12 percent next year and sales prices would likely climb by six percent. As of the time of this magazine going to press, our sales for 2014 are up one percent, while prices are up 10 percent. While we of course want to see continued strength in our market, a return to a more normalized market is not necessarily a bad thing. You may read all about the latest statistical report here.

As you know, the Texas Legislature only meets once every two years for 140 days (assuming no special sessions are called), which makes it a whirlwind of a time for us seeking to stay on top of the issues that impact our industry and private property rights of our clients. You may read a legislative preview here. There are many issues that are vital to your business, so I also ask for you to look out for any Calls to Action that might be sent out during the session. Only with a united voice are we able to make a difference.

REALTOR® Celebration was held last month, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the event. I was honored to have my Houston City Council Member Dwight Boykins there to present a mayoral proclamation of Nancy Furst Day in Houston, and I loved having my newly-discovered cousin (seriously) Martha Turner swear me in as chair of the board. It was an amazing day for everyone, and you can see some of the pictures from the occasion here. I look forward to serving with each and every one of the new members of the board of directors.

I was also privileged to witness Danny Frank named the REALTOR® of the Year and Mike Huff named the John E. Wolf Community Service Award recipient. These are two of the finest people in real estate, and each was very deserving of the honor they received. I think you’ll see what they were awarded.

I encourage you to read the column on pages 44-45 about balancing your personal and professional lives on social media. Last month, there was a situation with a member posting their personal views on their personal Facebook page. The views were not consistent with those of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, but they were speaking about something completely unrelated to real estate. Even still, it became a social media firestorm, with literally thousands of retweets of the offensive comments. While everyone has a right to freedom of speech, it is important to remember that consequences still result. They say all publicity is good publicity. I think the member who posted his comments would disagree with that after what they’ve gone through. Learn from others’ mistakes and don’t repeat them.

Remember, teamwork makes the dream work,