March home sales might have dipped for the first time since Hurricane Harvey, but the market is still doing well. We weren’t sure what to expect after the storm, and we will continue to grapple with this uncertainty for months to come. It is that uncertainty in general that we have most heard has impacted the market. Regardless, we will be here to help home buyers, sellers and renters when the time is right for them. With interest rates expected to climb during the year, now might be the best time for many people though. You may read all about the March statistics here.

The residential real estate market isn’t the only one with news though, as Commercial Gateway just passed the 12,000 listing milestone. The new Commercial Information Exchange system includes commercial properties for sale or lease and is provided by Catylist Real Estate Software, which we switched to following the unexpected demise of our previous vendor. We are looking at it as an opportunity though, and the response to the new platform has been very positive. You may read more about it here.

Another recent issue has been the copyright protection of images uploaded into the MLS. MLS rules require you to own or have permission to use any images you upload to the MLS. Recently, someone uploaded a photo for which they did not have permission. That photo was included in the IDX feed that went out to our members’ and brokers’ websites. Many began receiving copyright infringement notices and associated fines. HAR Legal Counsel Grant Harpold has some tips to help avoid this from happening to you here.

As you know, I am writing this column in my capacity as chair of the board, but I started out as a member of the board of directors (after serving on various advisory groups during the years). The HAR board of directors is where the rubber meets the road. Ultimately, all policies and projects go through the board of directors. If you want to make a difference in your industry and your business, I encourage you to run for the board. You may find out more here.

We will be traveling to Washington, D.C. for meetings with our congressional delegation on May 16 and 17. There are many issues of importance to REALTORS® and homeowners. The reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program should be top of mind for all following the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. With tax reform changing many of the laws that impact homeowners, that is also a focus for us as we all learn what it means for our clients and ourselves. You may read more about these important issues on pages here. And please join us if you are able to go to D.C.

A quick note that just passed 30,000 followers on Facebook. It is a great way to receive information about the market, industry and community, so I encourage you to follow today.

Until next month,

Kenya Burrell-VanWormer
HAR Chair