Thursday, April 17, 2008

"You know how Mainers love their mulch ... "

Cindy Butts reports: A sign of Spring is the raffle prizes at today's Mid Coast Board / St. George River Council local membership meeting: car washes, rounds of golf, and mulch. To quote Council President Elect Mary Bumiller (Jaret & Cohn Real Estate, Rockland), "you know how Mainers love their mulch!"

Local membership meetings bring an opportunity to network and learn. For example, at today's one-hour lunch meeting:

1. Reminded recent changes to the MSHA loan programs. Sponsor will present info at office meeting - but 20 minutes can need 90 minutes; 2. Village Soup explained they started as local online news source, and branched into print too. Which is opposite of many news publications; 3. Decided approach to announce local open house info;

4. Announced upcoming courses on "Intro to Commercial Real Estate"; and free Code of Ethics courses; 5. Gave initial information about a September fundraising event; 6. Recognized Executive Officer Linda Davis for her continued assistance with the Board; 7. Collected funds for MARPAC (Maine Association of REALTORS Political Action Committee) - thank you REALTOR John Bragg for assistance; and 8. Received MAR Updates from MAR CEO Cindy Butts.

If you're not attending local membership meetings, think what you might be missing?

Pictured: John Bragg; Mary Bumiller with Linda Davis

Your Piece of Maine: In the Media, on your sites

MAR's "Your Piece of Maine" campaign has kicked-off with much media and member attention, including:

1. TV: Channel 13 (WGME) and Fox included the YouTube contest as lead story on Sunday night's news; and Channel 8 (WMTW) attended the press conference and aired a report.

2. Print: Newspapers included stories about the YouTube contest.

3. Blogs: Thank you to the REALTOR bloggers who included details in their personal or company blogs.

4. Posting video on sites: Here's an example of a company that included the video on web site; and the Bangor Board of REALTORS site.

You can help spread the word too!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The next MREC Core Course ...

Sherry Gregory, who serves on the Maine Real Estate Commission (MREC) core course committee relays they held their (potentially) final meeting last week; and gives the following report:

CLARIFICATION: This is one step in the process for MREC to approve a new core course. It's also/still subject to review and approval by the MREC Commissioners, and subject to change or further revision should the next step(s) in the process require further meeting or discussion.

The MREC Core Course committee will present a "Train the Trainer" class on (tentatively) June 16 at the MREC building in Gardiner. The committee has been working all Spring to format the new core course on real estate brokerage relationships. The working title is "Who Am I and Who Cares?" Real life case studies will be incorporated into this 3 hour mandatory class.

The MREC looks at complaints that they've received to help determine the thrust of each new core course.

The committee consists of Walter Boomsma, Kim Coit, Edie Fontaine, Arthur Gary, Sherry Gregory, Geoff MacLean, Elaine Richer, Don Turner; plus MREC staff Karen Bivins, Marilyn Lugner and Director Carol Leighton.

Pictured: Sherry Gregory (Homestead Realty, Winthrop) is a past president of MAR and current chairman of the MAR Foundation

Saturday, April 12, 2008

YPOM: Watch, Post, Send our Commercial

This is the first of two commercials MAR produced for "Your Piece of Maine". It airs on cable television and posted on You Tube and Facebook. You can post it too - on your blog, web site or any other site that allows embedded video. It's easy to do. You can upload a video, as shown here. Or sites have "code" that you can just copy/paste onto your site (like YouTube). Or there's a "share" feature on some sites where you can send to friend, family, network group, etc. It's much easier to do than you might think.

A reason to put a video on YouTube is it can give a world-wide audience. For example, if you make a video that highlights Boothbay Harbor, you can tag it "Boothbay Harbor" so if anyone searches "Boothbay Harbor" on Google or on You Tube the video will be among the search results.

Please click the video play button to watch. And consider making a short video "My Piece of Maine" for our contest too!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Your Piece of Maine Launches

The "Your Piece of Maine" (YPOM) social media campaign launched today. Media announcements on April 15. Significant components:

1. Television commercial (put on your web site/blog too)
2. You Tube Contest - $20,000 grand prize
3. Facebook Group
4. LinkedIn Group
5. Print ads (coming)
6. Email blitz
7. Blog
8. Press Release
9. Palm cards distributed at events

How you can help:

1. Post the commercial on personal/company site and blog
2. Announce "Your Piece of Maine" You Tube contest to others
3. Make a YouTube video for the contest
4. Ask Maine notables you know to make a video for YouTube
5. Blog about it
6. Hand out cards /talk about contest at homes shows, meetings
7. Join the Facebook Group ... and invite others to Join
8. Join the LinkedIn Network
9. Ask local media to report on the contest

My Piece of Maine: Greater Portland Board

Check out the Greater Portland Board of REALTORS headquarters building, located at 2271 Congress Street in Portland. Ooh la la.

Pictured at desk: Greater Portland Board Executive Officer Kelley Craig

MAR Foundation selects competitive grant recipients

Sherry Gregory reports: The Maine Association of Realtors Foundation met on April 3 to determine the recipients of the Competitive Grant process. Applications from organizations across the state set forth their requests to help their cliental. 30 groups requested money this year. We distributed $49,700 to 16 different groups.

In past years, our income has allowed as much as $75,000 to be shared and we have had more applications. The committee scored each application with an eye to our mission as well as community involvement in each project and where the aid would make a difference. We felt very good about our decisions this year and are pleased that we can continue to help people leverage money across the entire state.

In attendance: (pictured) Carol Goodwin, Bill Darling, Executive Director Suzanne Guild, (not pictured) Barbara Coleman, Jim Cosgrove, Patty Eddy, George Greenwood, Sherry Gregory, Cindy Hiebert, Stephen Mooers, Trish Ohler, Mary Sherwood, Joe Wright and Debrah Yale. Not attending: Mark Walker & Ed Suslovic

Sherry Gregory (Homestead Realty, Winthrop) is Chairman of the MAR Foundation

Monday, April 7, 2008

Coming Soon ...

MAR is finalizing details on our major public relations and social media effort, "Your Piece of Maine", which kicks off April 15. And a new acronym: YPOM. Here's a first look.

Thank You, Senator Snowe

MAR continues to applaud and thank Senator Olympia Snowe for her leadership and ongoing efforts to improve health insurance options for small businesses. On April 2, she was among the original cosponsors to introduce the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Act in the U.S. Senate.

The SHOP Act offers tax incentives to encourage states to reform poorly functioning small group insurance markets to make health insurance premiums for small businesses and the self-employed more affordable and predictable, and encourages the development of state purchasing polls backstopped by a voluntary, nationwide pool.

Many of the largest concerns on Maine's REALTORS, such as health insurance availability/costs, can only be significantly solved with Congressional, legislative and/or regulatory action. Be sure to thank Senator Snowe!

Pictured: Maine Senator Olympia Snowe with REALTOR Shawn Roy (Vallee Real Estate, Hallowell)