One year since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast, but it is still having ramifications, as the August homes sales report is distorted due to the complete shutdown of the city the final week of the month last year. While we presented the figures in various ways to add perspective to the numbers, there was no direct way to compare August 2018 with August 2017. We will likely have some carryover effect into the September 2018 report as well. You may read all about the August 2018 housing statistics on pages 8-13. As we go to press, Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina and continues to dump rain along the East Coast. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.

October 9, 2018 is the deadline to register to be eligible to vote in the November 6, 2018 elections. If you aren’t registered (and we know who you are), then please make sure you vote in this important election. Everything from the U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress to county officials and city propositions will be on the ballot. As they say with every election, this is the most important election we’ve ever had. Find out what HAR did during the August congressional recess on pages 16-18.

I’m really excited about a new feature that has been added to Matrix that helps listing agents identify and communicate with other agents who have clients with saved search criteria that match their listing. The feature is called “Reverse Prospecting,” and it is already live in Matrix. You can read more about it on page 20. Note that it is anonymous, so your client’s information will never be provided to the listing agent—only your contact information so they may let you know they have a listing your client might like. Any agent who wants to opt out of this feature may do so by following the instructions in the article.

Our technology department has also been hard at work developing new marketing tools that will allow you to better market your Open Houses and Listings. You may read all about the features on pages 24-25. From one place, you can create Facebook ads, promote your Open House and Listings on lots of social media platforms, print beautifully designed flyers, create a listing video and more.

If you’ve never attended HAR Engage, then this is your chance on October 24. You may read all the details on pages 28-31. This is HAR’s biggest technology event of the year, and it has speakers from across the country who come to Houston to teach you about the latest and greatest. Terry Watson, Brad Inman, Verl Workman, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and others. All this plus 6 hours of CE too! This is a no brainer.

We unfortunately are experiencing an increase in wire fraud in real estate transactions. The HAR MLS is taking steps to help prevent this from happening to you and your clients, which you may read about on pages 32-33. The MLS Advisory Group and Board of Directors also passed a new rule to not identify the title company in the MLS remarks to try to mitigate that information being used to commit these crimes. We will also be doing a public awareness campaign to try to educate consumers when it comes to wire fraud.

Until next month,

Kenya Burrell-VanWormer
2018 HAR Chair