EXTRA! EXTRA! New Marketing Practices Legal on Nov. 1

Jessica M. Hickok, CEO
Oklahoma Association of REALTORS

Can you give away a branded bottle of water at an open house?

Can you put out cookies or other snacks?

Can you give away a $25 gift certificate in a drawing for people who have recently like your social page?

These questions have tormented REALTORS® for years. And for years the answer from the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission has been, “no,” because the law did not allow real estate licensees to provide prizes or any other items of value to influence a purchaser or prospective purchaser of real estate.

That is, until TODAY (November 1, 2019) of this year when a new law takes effect. So, what happened? How did we get here? And what does it mean for your business?

Looking at the old law, the major issues are “any other item of value” and “prospective buyer.” Both of those terms could be, and have been, interpreted in such a broad manner that they could apply to the simplest of items (like a bottle of water) or any person who might someday buy a house (including a child).

Obviously, these laws have caused problems for REALTORS® to grow their businesses in ways that are afforded to nearly every other industry. So, beginning late last year, we set out to make a change for our industry, and making this change became a top priority in our Legislative Agenda for 2019. Fortunately for us, the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® has 11,000+ members, and when we make something a priority and use the power of our members, we can make quite a splash.

Our government affairs team set out to find like-minded Legislators who understand our issues and could be authors of the bill that would be necessary to make the changes to the current law. It didn’t take long to find two members of the Oklahoma Legislature who would be the perfect authors of the new law: Senator Paul Rosino and Representative Mark VanCuren are both REALTORS!

Senator Rosino took the lead first and the bill originated in the Senate giving it the bill number SB 104. After he moved it masterfully through the Senate, Rep. VanCuren promptly moved it through the House of Representatives, and in April, Governor Kevin Stitt signed the changes into law, which took six more months before they went into effect.

The new law still maintains that “inducing buyers” is illegal, but the statute clearly outlines that giveaways for marketing purposes are permitted as long as receiving the item is not contingent on individuals making an offer or purchasing a specific property.

So, go back to the top, and ask those same questions again.

Water bottles? Drink up!

Cookies? Bake away!

Gift card drawings to increase your social media presence? Go for it!

How about that for a change that impacts your business? And all because an organization you are already a part of, utilized its potential to impact the industry for better. Of course, this is the short version, too. What you didn’t see are the long hours at the State Capitol or the late nights spent talking to Legislators and members and policy experts about how to ensure the best for you, our members.

And if you didn’t know, we did this two more times last session alone, giving us a perfect record in getting our request legislation passed in 2019.

And if you ask me, that’s a performance worthy of one of those delicious cookies you’ll baking for your next open house.

😉

-JMH

—-

JESSICA M. HICKOK, GRI, RCE, CAE

Chief Executive Officer

Oklahoma Association of REALTORS®

 

P.S. – Want to know more about the law and hear more examples? Check out the Talking Real Podcast wherever you subscribe to podcasts where we have even more information.

The Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® has called a special membership meeting for August 19, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. to consider a change to the OAR bylaws concerning the size and makeup of the Board of Directors.

WHAT: OAR Special Membership Meeting

WHEN: Monday, August 19, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Central Oklahoma Home Builders Assoc., 420 E Britton Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73114

Click Here to View the Agenda Packet
The agenda packet includes the order in which business will be discussed and the specific portion of the bylaws which are proposed to be changed. Amendments to propose changes will not be in order at the special membership meeting. To summarize the proposed changes:

  • Past Presidents will be represented by 2 members they elect, instead of all past presidents being automatic state directors
  • Each local board will get one automatic state director to be selected as they determine, and an additional state director for every 500 members of the local board
  • Instead of proxy-voters for individual state directors, local boards can elect an alternate director to represent the local board in the case of an absence of a state director from a board of directors meeting.
  • These proposed changes would reduce the size of the OAR Board of Directors from approximately 134 to 49 (including 14 total officers, District Vice Presidents and Past Presidents)
The proposed changes to the bylaws were generated from a Presidential Advisory Group (PAG) created by OAR President Lisa Weaver and were recommended to the Executive Committee. After approval by the Executive Committee the OAR Board of Directors amended and approved the proposed changes at the July 16 Board of Directors meeting. They are being considered at a special membership meeting so that if passed they may be implemented in time for 2020.

The recommend changes follow the guide of the OAR Strategic Plan: to have business structure which utilizes talent-oriented and project-based framework to facilitate effective business decisions. The PAG believed the core of that statement included a Board of Directors which was smaller, more engaged and ultimately more accountable in guiding the association to an effective and successful future.

Because there is no proxy voting at membership meetings, we highly encourage you to make plans to attend so your voice and vote will be heard! If you have questions, please reach out. We look forward to seeing you for the special membership meeting August 19 at 1:30 p.m.!

Red R® Resource – Message from a Member: David Chapman

Running for Office

By David Chapman

I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was attending one of the last Central Edmond Urban Board meetings of the year where I was simply a concerned Edmond Citizen. At the end of the meeting, our former Mayor Randal Shadid made a comment to members of the committee that there was going to be a very important election upcoming. He announced that Ward 1 City Councilwoman Victoria Caldwell had decided not to seek re-election. He went on to say that Ward 2 City Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner was also not seeking re-election. Long-time Mayor Charles Lamb had two opponents running against him as well.

Edmond City Council is made up of four council members and the mayor. Former Mayor Shadid presented a case that there was a possibility that three members out of five could be replaced and a special-interest group could see this as a prime opportunity to change the course of the City of Edmond.

I had never thought about running for public office. I was busy working as a tenured professor at the University of Central Oklahoma as well as running a local real estate brokerage and serving as an Oklahoma Real Estate Commissioner. I felt that contributing to REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) was the extent of my political involvement.

The following week, I started getting calls from local people asking me to consider running for the Ward 1 seat. I had been highly involved in real estate sales and land development in the downtown Edmond area and rumors of others running for office could curtail the momentum we had gained and, even worse, threaten property rights of Edmond citizens. As a REALTOR®, I had an understanding of the importance of smart development, property land use, and protection of property rights. Ultimately, this was what led to my decision to run for Ward 1 Edmond City Council.

There were three challenges that immediately caused me concern. The first was I had no idea how to run a campaign. The second was allocating the time necessary and the third was the amount of money it would take to run a successful campaign. Being a REALTOR® and part of one of the largest political organizations in the country turned out to be part of the solution to every challenge.

One of the first emails I received after announcing my candidacy was from Peggy Missel, the Association Executive for the Central Oklahoma Commercial Association of REALTORS® (COCAR) who attached an entire guide to running for office. It turns out that the National Association of REALTORS® publishes a guide for REALTORS® running for office. This guide provided the framework to run a successful campaign.

I was concerned about the amount of time that it would take to knock on doors, deliver talks to civic groups, put out signs, and other day-to-day activities involved in running the campaign. My concern turned out to be justified, but again my REALTOR® network proved to be a big benefit providing much of the labor needed to accomplish these tasks.

My largest concern was financial. Even local campaigns are expensive, and fundraising is the most important aspect of campaigns today. This is where my REALTOR® affiliation proved most valuable. I never had to worry about money once the campaign started. My fellow REALTORS®, home-builders and developers supported financially as individuals, the local Edmond Board of REALTORS® supported me with RPAC funds, and, unbeknownst to me, the National Association of REALTORS® was supporting me behind the scene.

I ended up winning the general election with nearly 75% of the vote, and took office May 6, 2019. It’s still early, but so far, my political experience has been positive, and I have been able to make an impact on local policy. I would encourage my REALTOR® colleagues to get involved and consider serving on local municipal boards and committees, and even running for office. It is an opportunity and obligation to protect and affect land-ownership policy and rights.

Dr. J. David Chapman is an Associate Professor of Finance & Real Estate at The University of Central Oklahoma, a member of the Central Oklahoma Commercial Association of REALTORS®, a current commissioner at the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission, and recently-elected Edmond City Councilor

Priority Legislation Update

Josh Cockroft
OAR Senior Director of Government Affairs

***Update: SB915 has been sent to Governor Stitt Desk for action on May 2.

**Update: Governor Stitt signed SB961 on Friday, April 26.

*Update: Governor Stitt signed SB104 on Tuesday, April 16.

The third reading deadline just passed, meaning we’re reaching the final days of the legislative session, and we have been very fortunate all three of our requests have moved through the process with ease and little opposition. Two of our bills have been signed by the Governor, and the third is on his desk awaiting signature!

SB104: Marketing Clarification Language on Buyer Inducements
SB104 clarifies language on inducing buyers to allow REALTORS®️ to properly market themselves and their businesses. Under current statute real estate licensees may not provide prizes or any other items of value to influence a purchaser or prospective purchaser of real estate. SB 104 maintains real estate licensees may not use these types of items to induce buyers to purchase specific property but clarifies what valuable consideration may be used for marketing purposes, as long as receiving the item is not contingent on individuals making an offer or purchasing a specific property.

Sen. Paul Rosino did a masterful job of guiding this bill through the Senate, and Rep. Mark VanCuren successfully and quickly moved it through the House of Representatives.

SB104 was signed into law by Governor Stitt on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. It will take effect November 1 of this year.

SB915: Remote Online Notarizations
SB915 creates a Remote Online Notarization (RON) process in Oklahoma. Currently, all notarial acts must be performed in-person where the Notary serves as a witness during the signing event. Remote Online Notarizations allow Notaries to perform these services online over secure audio video calls.

The bill unanimously cleared both the Senate Judiciary Committee and a vote on the Senate Floor with Sen. Paul Rosino’s hard work, as well as Secretary of State Michael Rogers’ support and endorsement. After some small changes in committee, Rep. Chris Kannady guided it through a full vote of the House of Representatives, and because of the changes, was sent back to the Senate

SB915 again passed the Senate on May 2 and is headed to Governor Stitt’s desk! He will have 5 days to take action on the bill: either sign it, veto it or allow the bill to become law without signature.

SB961: Home Buyer Savings Accounts
SB961 allows individuals who are first-time homebuyers in the State of Oklahoma to create an Oklahoma Home Buyer Savings Account specifically designed to pay for eligible closing costs (i.e. down payment; escrow account; inspection fees; lender fees; appraisal fees; etc.) when purchasing a single-family residence in Oklahoma. Funds placed in the account are income tax deductible up to $5,000 a year for individual filers and $10,000 a year for joint filers. In addition, earnings on the funds in a Home Buyer Savings Account are excluded from taxable income. An account holder may claim the deduction and exclusion for an aggregate total amount of principal and earnings not to exceed $50,000.

The has been a little longer for this bill, but it is still sailing smoothly! It was double-assigned to both the Senate Finance and Senate Appropriations Committees where it met unanimous approval. On the Senate Floor Sen. Jason Smalley successfully passed it by a vote of 39-4. The measure was assigned to House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Finance. After clearing both subcommittee and committee successfully, Rep. Tammy West successfully guided this important measure through a full vote of the House of Representatives.

SB961 was signed into law on Friday, April 26, 2019. Individuals will be able to open an account with their individual lending institutions January 1, 2020.