Oklahoma Donates Cruise to REALTOR® Relief Auction

Celebrity SilhouetteThe Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® has donated a Caribbean cruise to help raise funds for the NAR REALTORS® Relief Foundation, which provides financial assistance to members affected by natural disasters, and YOU can bid on it (and a lot of other cool things, too!)

The online silent auction begins next week, with items available for preview Nov. 5. The auction is next week in San Francisco at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, and, because it’s online, members not attending the conference can participate as well.

Realtors Relief Foundation Logo

Auction items include a seven-day Caribbean cruise (contributed by OAR), an Alaskan adventure, New York and Las Vegas trips, tickets to the Indianapolis 500, private wine and food tastings, and popular electronic devices, among other items.

Whether or not you are attending the conference in person, you can bid on items online or at kiosks located at the REALTORS® Relief Wall at the convention center. Bidding opens Friday, Nov. 8, at 5:00 p.m., Central Time, and ends Sunday, Nov. 10, at 4 p.m., Central Time. Access the auction site and get ready to bid!!!

Touchdown, IRS?

It’s Week Nine of the 2013 football season, and millions of Americans are following every play. The Kansas City Chiefs are still undefeated. The New York Giants have finally won a couple of games. And playoff races are already starting to take shape. (Bengals, anyone?) So, what does any of this have to do with taxes?

Today’s National Football League is the biggest spectacle since the Romans packed the Coliseum to watch the Christians take on the Lions. (Needless to say, the Lions were heavy favorites—and usually covered the spread.) Last year, the league generated $9.5 billion in revenue from a combination of TV rights, ticket sales, stadium concessions and licensing agreements. The biggest part of that cash geyser goes to the players (who naturally pay tax on their salaries). More chunks go to the owners (who pay tax on theirs), and stadium vendors (who pay tax on all those $8 beers).

The NFL’s league office, which promotes the sport and organizes the teams, took in $255.3 million last year, mostly from team dues. That same year, the league spent $332.9 million, including $35.9 million to a construction company for new office space (who naturally paid tax on their share), $29.4 million in salary for Commissioner Roger Goodell (who of course paid tax on his share), and what must seem like a token $2.3 million in grants for community groups like the United Way.

So, it sure sounds like the receivers at Team IRS are catching their share, right? Well, while the team owners, the players, the t-shirt sellers, and beer vendors are all in it for the money, would you believe the league office itself is a “not-for-profit” entity? That makes it sort of like the American Red Cross — if the Red Cross were in the business of giving concussions instead of treating them. (Technically, the Red Cross is a “501(c)(3)” public charity, while the NFL is a “501(c)(6)” trade association.) And that means the league office itself could earn $100 million or more per year without paying a dime in federal income tax. Talk about an end run around the IRS!

Last month, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) introduced the PRO Sports Act to revoke the tax exemption for professional sports leagues earning more than $10 million. This would of course affect the NFL, along with the National Hockey League, the Professional Golf Association, and other pro sports groups. Coburn is joined by 275,000 Americans who have signed a Change.org petition to strip the league of their nonprofit ball. Senator Coburn alleges unsportsmanlike conduct, saying that “working Americans are paying artificially high rates in order to subsidize special breaks for sports leagues,” and estimates that his bill could generate at least $91 million of new revenue every year from the NFL and NHL alone. (So far, Coburn hasn’t found any co-sponsors. Do you think he would be so bitter if Oklahoma City had a team?)

There’s certainly no reason a league office needs a tax exemption to operate. Major League Baseball gave up theirs in 2007, partly to avoid the salary disclosures that come with tax-exempt status. The National Basketball Association has always been a for-profit entity owned by the various teams.

And if the NFL does lose their tax-exempt status, they can still avoid paying any tax. How can they do that? Through smart planning, of course — the same sort of planning we use to minimize your tax. But the clock is counting down for 2013, and there are no overtimes in this contest. So call now for your game plan!

 

William T Zumwalt CPA, PLLC 
5416 South Yale Ave
Suite 120
Tulsa, OK 74135
918-583-1040
www.teamzumwalt.com

Thanks and Gratitude to our 2013 RPAC Investors

I Am The Realtor Party and I ActWhat a great year this has been to raise money to fight for home owner’s rights and the rights of our industry. I know we seem to be a bit pushy at times, and yes we do get that way, but when issues are before us that are so important to fight against, then extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Most importantly you responded and we cannot thank you enough.

This has been the greatest year in Oklahoma for RPAC, especially for major investors. Our NAR President’s Circle goal was six and we had 11 who gave $3,000. Our goal for the Triple Crown level was 56 $1,000+ Sterling R investors and we had 75! And I would add that last year we had 53. All you can say is wow.

A special wow goes to Mo Anderson of OKCMAR who became Oklahoma’s first Platinum R investor, which means you either gave $5000 a year for the last three years or made a one-year $10,000 investment in 2013. Mo, thank you for your commitment and for the dedication of our other major investors.

One goal we did not meet is the participation goal. And for that we were about 500 investors short. I should note that this is the first year where the minimum investment was $15 instead of the $1 allowed in the past. The total dollar amount increased in this category but the number of investors did not. This I believe is still a huge victory for RPAC.

When you take the total membership and hone it down to those full-time REALTORS® who derive their primary income from real estate, then you have more like 75% participation, and that is why I feel like celebrating. Thank all of you who invested the $15 fair share amount; this was voluntary and you stepped up.

Finally I want to give a big shout out to two people: Kathy Fowler is the Oklahoma RPAC Trustees Chair, and she did her usual great work! Get some rest Kathy. Stephanie Carter, formerly Gaddy, is OAR’s RPAC staff liaison and kept me up to date about our progress almost daily. Both of you showed great leadership, and this would not have succeeded without you. For those of you who took on the local work, and those REALTORS® and affiliates who stepped up to get others to invest, you are the best.

To quote the old NFL football coach who said this about the Super Bowl and using it for the new goal of getting to the RPAC President’s Club next year, “This year we knocked on the door. Next year we are going to kick it down!”

October Update from OAR

Things don’t slow down at OAR for ANYTHING, not even a shattered kneecap. But that’s another story. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s been happening this fall:

First, the September financial statement summary showed us at a very healthy 71.21% of current budgeted income for the year-to-date, and at 62.79% of budgeted expenses for the year. The Association Meetings Committee under Chairman Shohreh Woessner blew the doors off on September’s Education Conference & Trade Show exhibitor and sponsor income this year (thank you!!), with exhibitors at 120% of budget and sponsors at a whopping 296% of budget! Remember, the sponsors and exhibitors are what keep our registration fee as low as it is and allow members from all over the state to hear top-notch speakers and earn continuing education credit!

We’ve begun the process of reviewing proposed concepts for rebranding OAR, which will include not only a new logo and “look” but also a redesign of our website and member (and public) facing presence. Stay tuned; this promises to be a very exciting process under the direction of our Communications & Outreach Committee led by Anne Wilson.

OAR Social Media Graphics - September-04Did you know home sales in Oklahoma are up 15% for September? If you haven’t yet seen our home sales infographics, you’re missing out. These one-page summaries of Oklahoma home sales can be used in your sales presentations, at office meetings and more. See the latest report at OklahomaRealtors.com.

We just held a very successful GRI class with Amy Smythe-Harris, followed by a networking happy hour – these GRI folks really know how to work their connections! The next class on Nov. 13-14 features Pat Strong on the topics of Short Sales & Foreclosures and At Home with Diversity.

Congrats to Mo Anderson of the Oklahoma City Metro Association; Mo is among the first class of Platinum Rs—a brand new investment level for RPAC in 2014 that was voted into place by the NAR RPAC Fundraising Trustees last month. These investors have shown their unwavering dedication to RPAC by investing either $15,000 over the past three years or $10,000 in 2013.

Staff Update: Returning to our staff next month after a brief absence is Melissa Rawlings, who will be working with our Professional Development team. We are so excited to have Melissa back at OAR!

Task Forces and Committees continue their hard work: upcoming meetings include:

  • OAR/OREC Property Manager Certification Task Force – Oct. 31
  • Association Membership Committee – Nov. 5
  • NAR Convention, San Francisco – Nov. 7-11
  • Government Affairs Committee – Nov. 19

Committee appointments will be finalized on October 30; if you have not yet made your requests or interests known to us, please send an email to President-Elect Mary Terry and let her know of your interest. Her email address is: MaryTerry@cableone.net.

Have a great weekend,

Lisa Noon
CEO

P.S. Shameless plug: Did you know you can save 8% of thousands of products from OAR Partner Lowen Signs? Click here to get your discount!

Oklahoma Housing Data Tracker for September 2013

553_OAR_Infographic_SEP2013-01In Oklahoma, preliminary trends show upward momentum in average sales price in September. Prices went up 2.43% to $161,992. The average number of days homes spent on the market before selling decreased by 9.40 days to 71.80 in September 2013 compared to last year’s same month at 81.19.

Use the infographic for a quick look at current housing sales trends in the six regions of the state.

A complete report can always be accessed at
OklahomaRealtors.com.

Oliver Earns DREI Designation

Steve OliverOAR congratulates Steve Oliver on obtaining the Distinguished Real Estate Instructor (DREI) designation. This designation was designed by the Real Estate Educators Association (REEA) to recognize excellence among real estate instructors. It is awarded only to those REEA members who demonstrate outstanding knowledge of their profession, experience and classroom performance.

Oliver is a branch office broker for Coldwell Banker Select in Oklahoma City and operates the Steve Oliver Real Estate Academy. He is a 2008 graduate of LeadershipOAR and is a member of the OAR Professional Development Committee.

The time and commitment involved to obtain this designation is extensive, and currently there are only 62 instructors in the United States with the  DREI designation.

OAR Sad to Report Loss of Two Past Presidents

Judy-DavisJudy Davis, president of OAR in 1995, died Sunday, October 6 in Oklahoma City. Judy was a Life Member of OAR and Oklahoma REALTOR® of the Year in 1999.

The family is having a private funeral service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.
Read more in Judy’s obituary.

Jim-Nicholas1987 OAR President Jim Nicholas of Enid died Wednesday, October 16. Jim was a Life Member of OAR and active in the industry until his death.

We will update OARHotsheet.com with any updates on service arrangements.

Update on Jim: funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Friday, October 18 at First Presbyterian Church, Enid.
Read more in Jim’s obituary.

Mid-Del-Moore Raising Money for Komen Race

MDM-Cancer-Walk-Shirt-BackThe Midwest City-Del City-Moore Association of REALTORS® is participating in this year’s Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Race for the Cure and needs your help.

Their team name is REALTOR® Posse and they are “Rounding Up For The Cure.” If you would like to donate to this cause please go to their team page to help them reach their $2,000 goal.

Also, they will be selling t-shirts to go toward their donation goal. The cost is $20 for one shirt and $30 for two.

If you’d like to purchase t-shirts or have any questions, please contact Blair Calvo at 405-737-3023 or AE@MDMRealtors.com.

Committee Volunteers Still Sought

OAR MeetingHello everyone. As your incoming president for 2014, I would like to challenge each and every one of you to step up and sign up for a committee.

We will be selecting chairs and committee members in a couple of weeks, so please visit the OAR website or email me at MaryTerry@cableone.net before October 30. I encourage all of you to sign up just one time; we need input from all over the state, so please volunteer and get involved for the up coming year. Together we can make things happen!

Thank you!
MaryTerry
Mary Terry
2014 OAR President

Tetsworth Sworn In as Newest Real Estate Commissioner

Julie TetsworthJulie Tetsworth was sworn in as the newest commissioner to the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission today during their monthly meeting. In her role, Tetsworth will belong to a board of seven members that grants real estate licenses to Oklahomans and safeguarding the public interest. Commissioners are appointed by the governor to serve four-year terms on the board.

“I’m honored for the opportunity to continue to give back to the real estate profession,” Tetsworth said. “I’m looking forward to serving real estate licensees across Oklahoma by upholding the highest standards when it comes to the licensing process.”

Tetsworth, who has called Oklahoma home for 33 years, serves the state’s residential realty needs through her work at Coldwell Banker Select in Tulsa. She has held many positions, including current Northeast Oklahoma Real Estate Services (NORES) president, 2004 Oklahoma Certified Residential Specialists (CRS) president, two terms as CRS regional vice president, 2010 Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors (GTAR) treasurer, GTAR and NORES board of directors member and GTAR education committee member.

In 2005, Tetsworth was awarded with Certified Residential Specialist of the Year in Oklahoma. She also received accolades for being the top Coldwell Banker Sales Associate for Oklahoma for four consecutive years, 2006-2009.

“We’re always glad to see Oklahoma Realtors giving back to the real estate community,” said Joe Pryor, OAR president. “We are enthusiastic that Julie will make great progress in her role as commissioner and be a positive role model for Realtors throughout the state.”

Tetsworth will serve as interim commissioner until her position is confirmed by the Oklahoma Senate in early 2014.

 

Try Looking in the Couch Cushions

People lose things all the time. Usually it’s no big deal. We misplace our phone, keys or sunglasses — then they show up an hour or a day later, or we replace them. Sometimes it’s more serious. We lose money in a stock or a mutual fund, then we make it back over time. But every so often, someone loses big. We just hope it’s not our public officials doing the losing!

Last month, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”), an IRS watchdog, released a report titled “Affordable Care Act: Tracking of Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund Costs Could Be Improved.” That report reveals the the IRS can’t account for $67 million set aside to administer the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Now, we’re not here to take sides in the ongoing debate over the new law. But we think even those who oppose the law would agree that the agency responsible for administering all the new taxes under that law should be able to track what it spends to do that job!

One of Obamacare’s lesser-known provisions established the Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund (“HIRIF”) to pay administrative expenses to carry out the law. From 2010 through 2012, the IRS spent $488 million from the fund to implement the Affordable Care Act, hiring 1,272 full-time equivalent employees. TIGTA audited that spending “to determine whether the IRS has an adequate process to accurately account for and report selected ACA implementation costs charged to the HIRIF.” And what did they find?

  • Some costs were inaccurate or not tracked, and supporting documentation wasn’t always kept. “Specifically, the IRS did not account for or attempt to quantify approximately $67 million of indirect ACA costs incurred for FYs 2010 through 2012.”
  • Charges to the HIRIF were sometimes inaccurate and “not always substantiated by reliable supporting documentation.”
  • Finally, the IRS didn’t even bother tracking indirect costs, like rent, communications, and information technology support for employees involved in implementing the new law. “For example, while the IRS may have been able to place most new employees hired for the ACA in existing leased space, it still had to pay rent on this space, could not use the space for other purposes, and could not consider the space for inclusion in its ongoing space reduction efforts.”

TIGTA made several specific recommendations. Mind-blowing ideas, too, like cross-checking travel records against employee hours to make sure the travel is related to the purpose of the fund, keeping better records to substantiate direct labor costs, and including indirect expenses in the total cost. The IRS didn’t really have much of a defense, so they agreed with all of those recommendations. Unfortunately, the HIRIF money is all gone, so that promise doesn’t mean much!

If you’re fortunate enough to have $67 million in the first place, you’re going to want help keeping it. That’s where we come in. We give you the plan you need so you don’t lose anything to unnecessary taxes. But time is running out to get that plan before the end of the year — and if you wait too long, you’ll be losing money just like the IRS!

 

William T Zumwalt CPA, PLLC 
5416 South Yale Ave
Suite 120
Tulsa, OK 74135
918-583-1040 

www.teamzumwalt.com

Oklahoma Housing Data Tracker for August 2013

553_OAR_Infographic_AUG2013In Oklahoma, average prices are up and days on market decreased in August. There were 6,339 new listings, up 1.62 percent from last year. Furthermore, there were 4,278 closed listings this month compared to 4,127 last year indicating a 3.66 percent increase.

Use the infographic for a quick look at current housing sales trends in the six regions of the state.

A complete report can always be accessed at OklahomaRealtors.com/HomeStats.

Have an "Apptastic" Time at GRI Oct 23-24

Amy Smythe-Harris at GRI 301 Oct 23-24

Amy Smythe-Harris is one of the leading national speakers recognized for her expertise in technology and using mobile apps.

At GRI 301, you’ll learn how to use mobile apps designed to make you more streamlined and successful. Amy will start with the basics … but will make you a pro by the end!

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Hear Amy Smythe-Harris 

And complete GRI 301!

Day One:

  • Cloud Computing
    (Elective CE: 2 ICC)
  • Foundational Apps
    (Elective
    CE: 3 ICC)
  • Ultimate Mobile Agent
    (Elective CE: 2 ICC)
  • Apptastic Time – Other Apps for Your Biz
    (Elective CE: 2 ICC)
 Day Two:

  • e-PRO (Elective CE: 6 SAM)
    This counts toward NAR’s e-PRO Certification!
    Click Here For More Details!

  

When: October 23-24, 2013

Where: Oklahoma REALTOR® Building, OKC

Cost: $255 by Oct 16 ($298 after Oct 16)

Boxed lunch included both days!

 

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The New Definition of a Part-Time REALTOR®

NAR REALTOR RallyIt is a normal occurrence that I hear full-time REALTORS® whose primary occupation is selling real estate without a spouse fall-back position to complain how part-time agents are ruining the business and should not be allowed to practice. The problem with this is I know people who are REALTORS® with a full-time job who do a great service to their clients and keep up with the changes in our industry. I thought maybe the term part-time REALTOR is not based on having a full-time job or the number of hours worked or the amount of production in a year. Maybe it could be something else that makes it part time.

I had a discussion with a REALTOR® recently ranting about this problem—and of course there are some who probably fit the rant—but I decided to ask him if he had given to RPAC? He said, “No, why should I do that?”

Light bulbs went off in my head, and I decided on a whole different way to determine what a part-time REALTOR® might be in 2013. Read on.

After a recent discussion with a six-figure producer about investing in RPAC, it occurred to me our perception of part-time agents goes deeper than what conventional wisdom tells us. My question to you is this. Are you fully engaged in this business? Let’s start with how a full-time REALTOR® might actually be someone else.

First, I think it is important to know how this industry fits together. You start with how NAR, OAR and your local board work together. When you pay dues, what do they go for? Sure we know the dues for MLS give us access to listings, and electronic lockboxes are an easy fee to understand. But how do these three levels of governance work together to protect property owner rights and our industry? Can you answer this?

Do you understand how important it is to lobby our state and national legislatures and how Citizens United is a tough competitor when it comes to how corporations would like us and those we serve to foot the bill for government instead of them?

Do you understand that when Oregon was trying to institute transfer fees, NAR spent a lot of money defeating it? Or when Kansas tried to eliminate the mortgage interest and property tax deduction, NAR spent a lot of money defeating it? Why? Because we could be next.

I love this business and I love this industry. Do you know of an industry more gender neutral? Do you know of an industry more centered on the American Dream for all citizens? Do you know of an industry that sets no limits on your success based on hard work and dedication to your craft?

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Here is where I get harsh. If you do not contribute even the minimum $15 to RPAC, you aren’t really in this business full time.

If you understand how the industry works, if you understand how those who would take it away and show the danger, if you truly

 

care about those you serve who give you a profession you don’t need a college education for, then you are a full time REALTOR®.

If you are one of those who I have to beg to invest even the minimum $15 to protect what we hold dear, then I think this is the new definition of the part-time REALTOR®.  Please don’t make us beg. The deadline is October 15. Show the world you are a full-time professional.