Friday, October 30, 2009

UPDATE: Maine's Smoke/CO Detector Law

Note: Due to law changes in March 2010, this post has been deleted.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

MAR Convention: Day 3 Report

Bart Stevens reports: On the outside, Day 3 dawned bright and sunny, but a little on the windy side. Inside, we prepared for the final morning of Convention ... rushing around gets thinks packed and in the car before arriving at breakfast where we enjoyed a lovely buffet, an industry update from Ron Phipps, 2010 NAR President-Elect and, finally, the ever entertaining Ms. Sheryl Gregory - of prize give-away fame.

Thanks to all the boards and councils that provided prizes and especially Machias Savings Bank for the $500 grand prize. Unfortunately I was not nearly as lucky in the prize category this year as last year - in fact I won NOTHING!! Never confuse me as one to hold a grudge, although thankfully I had the car to myself all the way home to sulk in private!

Thanks also to all the sponsors of this year's convention - without the exhibits, sponsorships and hospitality suites, convention just wouldn't be the same.

After breakfast it was one last class - a choice between Linda Gifford's updates on form changes, energy efficiency, or learning a little bit about twittering, tweeting and all those things!

The convention was a resounding success. Attendance was down slightly but saw a last minute uptick as many were feeling a bit better about our financial situations than when registration first began. Thanks to Cindy, Tanya, Suzanne, Lynn, Chris, Pat and Tammy for making things look so easy. The convention committee also did an outstanding job. Putting one of these events on requires a lot of behind the scenes work.

Special thanks go to Kennebec Valley's very own Tammy LaPierre. Not only is she our Board's AE but she's also the central person for the Maine Chapter of CRS. Tammy does a phenomenal job!

Before you know it we will be arriving in Bar Harbor for our 2010 convention!! In the meantime have an enjoyable, and hopefully busy fall. I hope to see many next month in beautiful San Diego, CA for the NAR convention!

Signing off 'til next time - Bart Stevens, 2009 President, Maine Chapter of CRS

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

MAR Convention: Day 2

Bart Stevens reports: Well another MAR Convention is rapidly coming to an end - but not before another day filled with education, networking and fun! Day 2 (or 3 for some) was jam packed with opportunities - beginning with an early morning opportunity to have breakfast and visit the exhibitors and ending with a "Party Like it's 1999" dance. In between was opportunity to learn - national speaker Bernice Ross on trends; foreclosures; legal updates with the ever popular (and informative) Linda Gifford; industry updates; and tech time with MREIS.

The banquet, emceed by Chris Philbrook and Michelle Flaherty, gave us the opportunity to watch the installation of the 2010 officers: Pres Elect Mike LePage, First VP Tina Lucas, MAR First Vice President; and Gail Rizzo, President of MREIS.

Special congratulations to my business partner and the next President of the Maine Association of REALTORS - Marc Chadbourne! Ron Phipps, 2010 President Elect of the National Association of REALTORS traveled up from RI to perform Marc's installation.

1999 NAR President Sharon Millett (of Maine) presented MAR President Rita Yarnold with a special gift from NAR President Charles McMillan. From there it was onto recognizing the Local Board/Council REALTORS of the Yea. 2005 MAR President Tobin Malone and Leanne Nichols recognized each ROTY and presented beautiful crystal awards.

All this led to the highlight of the evening - the announcement of the State REALTOR of the Year. Don Plourde had the privilege of presenting this year's award to a member Kennebec Valley Board of REALTORS: Marc Chadbourne of Century 21 Nason Realty in Winslow. Congratulations Marc!! This was a banner day for Marc - he started off by winning a GPS in the exhibitor drawings, moved on to be installed as the next President of MAR, and ended the evening as the newest inductee into the State REALTOR of the Year Hall of Fame - what more could one ask for?!

Tomorrow wraps things up for this year's Convention. Special kudos and thanks to this year's Convention Committee for a job well done!

Bart Stevens, 2009 President - Maine Chapter of CRS

Pictured: Ron Phipps, Marc Chadbourne; Art Gary, MAR President Rita Yarnold; Tobin Malone, Bart Stevens

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

MAR Convention: CRS Class, CRS Annual Meeting

Note: On first day of the MAR Convention, students have option of taking regular convention courses or an additional one-day CRS course. This report is about CRS.

Bart Stevens reports: Day 2 found us back in class again. I guess word spread that we had a good CRS instructor as we had a large number of walk-in registrations today - a great problem to have! It's a sizable commitment to hold two classes.
The Maine Chapter of CRS Board of Directors is committed to bringing classes closer to our membership, but can only do so with continued support of membership attendance. Quality education comes with a premium price, BUT well worth it!

Today's class, "Maximizing Your Potential -Personally and Professionally" was very well received. Comments indicate that everyone walked away energized. The subject matter was in not new but made us sit back and rethink where we want to be in a year or more. How do you manage stress? How much stress is actually good for you? How important is a "real" life outside of real estate? What motivates you? The importance of life planning and goal setting. Are you a goal setter? (Note: Most people are not!) Written goals are essential to a successful balanced life. Time management - the benefits, values and objectives - why do most people find time management difficult? Thank you to instructor Mark Given.

After the dreaded "test" it was on to Chapter business - the Maine Chapter of CRS Annual Meeting. The first item of business was to recognize CRS Designee John Lane as Realtor Emeritus. John joined REALTORS in 1959!! Fifty continuous years as a Realtor and a charter member of the Maine CRS. John was present for both classes, is still very active and credits his success in the business to listening, adapting and never passing up an opportunity to learn something new. I had the privilege of presenting John with a beautiful pin and certificate.

We were fortunate once again to have Region 1 Vice President Nancy Rogers join us all the way from Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri to install next year's Chapter Officers and Directors. Lori Gray of Homestead Realty in Winthrop was elected President; Steve Dyer, Keller Williams Rockland as President-Elect; Gail Rizzo, Lakepoint Real Estate in Belgrade Lakes as Secretary; Sheila Bonenfant, Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate in Waterville as Treasurer, and yours truly as Immediate Past President. Additionally the following were appointed to the Board of Directors: Betsy Ames Fitzgerald, Cathy Lamb, Linda DiTomaso, Arthur Gary and Jeff Davis. A great team to continue the work of the Maine Chapter!

From the CRS Annual Meeting it was on to the exhibits, networking and beverages. A great opportunity to catch up with others. The Maine Chapter of CRS has a display booth and is holding a silent auction raising funds for our "Chapter With a Heart" charity - the Rockland Area Habitat For Humanity. Thanks to REALTORS generosity we have been able to donate several thousand dollars to Maine charities in the past several years and we hope you stop by to bid while the opportunity exists.

The evening moved on with hospitality. The Kennebec Valley Board of Realtors hosted a reception honoring Marc Chadbourne, Century 21 Nason Realty, Winslow who will be installed as 2010 President of the Maine Association of Realtors tomorrow evening. There will several other "networking" opportunities available as well - those were great glasses from Machias Savings Bank! Please make sure to find time to stop by the exhibit hall and thank the sponsors for their generosity and support.

The evening ended with a quiet dinner for me with Nancy Rogers and her husband Jim - but boy is it hard to find a restaurant in Rockland serving lobster after 8 PM! Always a great fan of the dances, I instead find myself in bed typing this report - age must be catching up with me! It's been a very full day and tomorrow promises to be equally busy.

Make sure you mark your calendar now for next year's convention in Bar Harbor - you don't know what you're missing if you've never been!

Bart Stevens
2009 President -Maine Chapter of CRS
Century 21 Nason Realty, Winslow, ME

Monday, October 5, 2009

MAR Pre-Convention: Going Green, Going CRS

Bart Stevens reports: Thirty-two REALTORS from around Maine chose to leave their warm beds early this morning to get a jump start on MAR Convention activities. They all have one thing in common - CRS (Certified Residential Specialist). Each is either a CRS designee already (17) or at a stage of receiving the CRS designation - last class for one person, first class for several others.

Monday at 8:30 a.m. found us at the Samoset already hard at work at learning how to "Be Green" and how to "Make Green" ($$). Mark Given, national CRS instructor, traveled from NC to share 2 days of class instruction. Today -"Going Green"; tomorrow - CRS 103 "Maximize Your Potential."

Today's class taught ways to assure we are thought of as the source when someone has a question about being green or going green. It's nearly impossible to open a paper or turn on TV without some reference to Green. And, it's all encompassing - can mean a simple effort at having a more efficient home (changing to CFL's, wrapping a water heater, low flow aerators, etc.) or more complex, such as orienting a new home's direction, solar, wind, geothermal, VOC's or chemical free. Everyone can make a noticeable difference beginning at a very small cost.

Notable statistic: Who is the most likely candidate interested in green? Interestingly enough it's the younger, educated female.

CRS Designees represent 3-5% of all REALTORS nationally. Here in Maine we fall into the mid-range of 4%. CRS offers some of the best instructors in the business, and many of the most popular subject matter. CRS Designees are a close group - very willing to share their knowledge - such as, what has worked and what has not worked for them. We WANT our fellow designees to succeed.

Many REALTORS, including me, work for large franchise companies - but when it comes to referrals we look for the CRS designation first. A CRS Designee knows how much time another CRS has put into education, staying on the cutting edge and knowing what it takes to keep clients satisfied. That knowledge is a crucial consideration when referring valuable clients to another.

I encourage you to check out the CRS designation at your earliest opportunity. The Maine Chapter of CRS has committed to bringing CRS courses and instructors to Maine on a regular basis - to assist in obtaining the skills necessary to stand out from the competition. We hope you take advantage at the earliest opportunity!!

Bart Stevens
2009 President -Maine Chapter of CRS (Council of Residential Specialists)
Century 21 Nason Realty, Winslow, ME