No business deal is worth your personal safety.  As you probably saw from the cover of this month’s magazine, the “Foot Fetish Creep” is back. HAR staff has been inundated with calls from members reporting that he has called and harassed them repeatedly. We want to make sure all of our members stay safe, so please read more about how to identify when he calls and what to do if you are on the receiving end of the call. Also, we have negotiated a discount off the first month of a service that will allow you to unblock his calls (or anyone else calling from a blocked number) so you can see his phone number and report it to the police.

This Association is only as good as its leaders. We have been fortunate to have many great elected volunteer leaders during the 90+ years of the Association’s existence. For the last 23 years, we have been even more fortunate to have Bob Hale as our president and CEO. As a well-deserved honor, Bob was just named to the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders list for the eighth year in a row.  You may read more about it here.

As we enter 2013, the greater Houston housing market has never been stronger; well, at least not in several years. Sales prices hit all-time highs, but inventory is also at the lowest point since 1999. We are using our various advertising avenues to try to promote more sellers to list their homes with REALTORS®. In the meantime, you may read the December 2012 and full-year MLS report here.

No association can continue without grooming new leaders to follow behind those currently in office. The Texas REALTORS® Leadership Program (TRLP) has been a huge success in our area, and we are proud to once again offer it to our members. It is a selection process, so you may learn more about the program and how to apply for it here.

Lastly, the long-misrepresented 3.8 percent tax on investment income has gone into effect as of January 1, 2013. That means it isn’t necessary to know about for filing 2012 tax returns, but actions taken during 2013 may result in an unexpected tax if home sellers are not well-informed. You may read the facts about this new tax here. Obviously, make sure you know about it but always ultimately refer your clients to their tax advisor if they want to know about their specific financial circumstances.

Until next month,

Danny Frank
HAR Chairman of the Board