As you can see from the cover of this month’s magazine, the Professional Development Department and its many course offerings is the focus of the issue. Our education is second to none. We are continually offering the latest information to our members to help keep you up-to-date and as effective in your business as possible—and many of the courses are free. If you want to set yourself apart from the pack, education is a great way to do it. Also, as the summer selling season begins to wind down, using your time to build or improve on your skill set is never a bad idea. Find out more here.

Speaking of education, we want to once again try to educate our membership (and hopefully you will inform your clients and then pass them on a tax advisor) about the 3.8 percent investment income tax that will go into effect in 2013 for certain individuals. The capital gains exclusion on the sale of a home still applies up to the same limits. Some people with incomes above certain levels will have to pay a tax on any investment income above a certain level. You may read more about it here and help by dispelling the incorrect rumors and emails if you receive them.

Our Nextgen REALTOR® Group (NRG) does a fantastic job of providing programming and information for our members who are younger—or young at heart. One of its annual activities that has now become one of the most anticipated awards is the “40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Real Estate.” It has even been modeled by other associations across the country. You may find out more about it how to nominate someone (or yourself) here.

It is already that time of year again for The BIG e. Gone is the old and now we have the new; whatever the newest and greatest topics and speakers are that we bring to Houston for you. You can find see a preview of some of the speakers here.  You will see why this is a sold-out event each year. With that in mind, there’s no time like the present to purchase tickets to make sure you don’t miss out on this great event that will be held on Thursday, October 25 at the Norris Conference Center in CityCentre.

After last month’s MLS report with an all-time high average sales price and full year of year-over-year sales increases, we didn’t want to get overconfident or too giddy. June numbers did not disappoint though, despite NAR’s June report showing an 8.4 percent national decline in home sales. Locally, there was once again a new record average sales price (after a downwardly revised average sales price in May), and sales volume saw an increase of 15.3 percent across all property types. You can read more about it here, and always read the latest real estate news on HARConnect, but again, we like to remain cautiously optimistic about the greater Houston real estate market.

Until next month,

Wayne Stroman
HAR Chairman of the Board