Posts belonging to Category Membership

Legal Update: Emails Can Get You Into Trouble


It is a crime to tape record a conversation in Florida without the permission of the other person involved. It is not a crime to share an email that is sent with no expectation of privacy. But when the contents of the email may constitute a crime, that communication may put you in jail and get a million dollar judgment against you. 

This is the case with antitrust. Some people, even after decades of education and reformed practices in real estate, think there is a minimum commission for REALTORS® to charge. Some think that there is a “standard” split. Some think that the Board of REALTORS® or the MLS corporation suggests commission amounts or commission splits. Some think it is okay to call for a boycott of other real estate professionals. None of that is true. Any REALTOR® who promotes that picture is facing civil and criminal penalties. 

If you do not like the offer of compensation related to a listing, do not work it. Spend your efforts on tasks that will award you better, if that is your choice. 

But it is illegal for you to call for a boycott of that brokerage that offers you less than that which you somehow think is “standard.” There is no standard. 

There was a time when lawyers had a minimum fee schedule, for certain tasks. It was generally put out by the local Bar associations. That was illegal price fixing and stopped. 

Now there is news that some currency traders conspired to set the value of certain currency or matters related to that. If proven true and that it violated the antitrust laws, those individuals may be jailed and fined, and their companies may be fined and subject to a large judgment, which is automatically tripled. 

And when a REALTOR® emails or speaks antitrust comments, he or she puts at risk every other REALTOR®. The actions of one REALTOR®, when viewed as in concert with other REALTORS®, may get all of them sued, and the Board put in harm’s way. 

It is undisputed that the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS®, CATRS, Florida REALTORS® and NAR are intolerant of any hint at price fixing, split fixing, boycotting, or other conduct that might be anti-competitive and may be illegal under antitrust laws. 

So, repeat after me:

  • There is no standard commission.
  • There is no minimum commission.
  • There is no standard split of commission.
  • There is no boycotting because of compensation issues.
  • And every REALTOR® is free to work or not work on any listing, for the compensation offered. 

If you have any questions, visit NAR’s website for more details.

Joe R. Boyd
TBR Legal Counsel
Board Certified Real Estate Attorney
Boyd & DuRant, P.L.

Galloway Scholarship Report


Editor’s Note: Mary Applegate was awarded a Galloway Scholarship in 2014. Applications for the 2015 scholarship are being accepted through January 30, 2015.

I want to thank the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® and the Galloway Scholarship committee for providing me a scholarship in 2014 to complete my Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation. I strongly encourage every REALTOR® to take the GRI series of courses.

I relocated to Tallahassee from southwest Florida in July 2011, where I worked previously as a REALTOR® from 2005 until 2011. Tallahassee and the surrounding counties are different than southwest Florida—different hospitalities, lifestyles, much less traffic, and totally different contracts. It felt all new to me and, yes, I felt as if I was starting all over again in my real estate career! Goals for me are important, and when I came on board with TBR, I knew I needed to start all over again, so I purchased the REALTOR® Enrichment Program (REP) pass and attended several courses and the weekly marketing meetings.

In 2012, I decided that I was going for my GRI designation, and I passed my GRI II and GRI III classes online. Then, in 2013 GRI classes weren’t available online and it was very hard for me to take time off to complete the classroom training.

In early 2014 I knew I was ready to make a change. I noticed that the Bay County Association in Panama City was offering the GRI I course, the last course to complete my GRI designation, and it was close to home; so, I took seven days off work and took the GRI 1 classes.

What a wonderful learning experience! I am thankful I took the time off for myself. I learned more in the classroom than both online GRI courses previously taught me. The instructors were Patti Ketcham, broker of Ketcham Realty Group in Tallahassee, and Stephanie White, Bay County Executive Director and former REALTOR® member of TBR. Their training provided practical knowledge, legal but common-sense training, and important tools: networking, negotiating, making a presence in the market, knowing your niche, advertising, and continuing education.

If you’re a hands-on or visual learner, or enjoy networking with other REALTORS® in different areas, you may want to consider taking GRI classes. To anyone that is sitting on the fence, I highly recommend the GRI program; you have five years to complete the three courses.

In 2015, I will purchase TBR’s REALTOR® Enrichment Program (REP) pass to keep up with contract changes further my professional development, continue to volunteer on TBR committees, and attend marketing meetings and socials. Networking with my peers is important, as is continuing my education and training, and I also plan to attend FAR and NAR conventions.

Thank you again TBR for providing the Galloway Scholarship; I am ever so grateful!

With appreciation,

Mary Applegate
Rossetti Realty, Inc

President’s Message: Thank You


To TBR’s REALTORS® and Affiliate business partners: 

Thanks for a great year! We have made great strides in getting recognition for ALL that you do for our local community! It helps bring home our message that REALTORS® are truly locally driven, and there is NO industry that “gives back” like REALTORS® and our business partners. 

We started out the year with our Habitat Build in conjunction with FSU Student Habitat for Humanity to construct a home for a very deserving member of our community. I’m reluctant to start naming those who have helped for fear I will forget someone, but I must thank Sarah Kosturko and Debbie Williams for spearheading this effort. 

This spring, TBR members hosted a water station for the Tallahassee Marathon, which benefits the American Lung Association. Thanks to Nancy Stedman for allowing us the opportunity to assist in this community event and Nathan Newell for being the volunteer coordinator. Next up was a great professional float in the annual Springtime Tallahassee Parade. 

Later in the spring, REALTORS® for Relay continued to excel in collecting donations for the American Cancer Society, raising over $19,000. Once again, the lion’s share was raised by Gerri Roberts, who recently passed away and will be sorely missed by all of us. 

As the summer faded and everyone was getting ready to go back to school, we contributed over 150 backpacks and many pounds of school supplies to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Children’s Home Society, and the Early Learning Coalition. Many of our members attended the Annual United Way Kick-off program, chaired by our very own Virginia Glass. 

In October, we had a great time at my Presidential Gala at GoodWood. My heartfelt thanks to Trina Searcy, Sonia Jewell, and the entire Social Committee for organizing and coordinating a successful party and fundraising event. The party featured DeepWater band, 101 Catering, Vegas Casino Nights, and games and raffles, including our fun Diamond Plot. As most of you know, I lost both of my parents to cancer. This year our community also lost our little buddy Trent McElroy at age ten, and in the TBR community we know past-presidents who have battled cancer. Consequently, the American Cancer Society was my chosen charity to be the beneficiary of your donations—an amazing $5,000 for local services and research to help find a cure. 

November, we launched our inaugural “Hoofing it for Habitat” 5K run at Centerville Conservancy, and its success is thanks to Mariela Santurri, Christie Orros, Nancy Stedman, and many other volunteers. This was actually Mariela’s idea, and will kick off our 2015 Habitat Build. We ended up with 123 participants and about 30 volunteers—pretty good for our first time out the chute. 

Premier’s Annual Thanksgiving Together, which Pepper Ghazvini started in 1997, was TBR’s featured volunteer spotlight for November, and in December our members have the chance to help our community through Christmas Connection, the Salvation Army’s “REALTOR® Ring a Bell,” and Toys for Tots. 

Another one of my initiatives this year was to improve communication and cooperation with some of our other local organizations, including The Chamber, Tallahassee Builders Association, Mortgage Bankers Association, Women’s Council of REALTORS®, Springtime Tallahassee, and Visit Tallahassee. We attended many of their events—the Chamber Retreat in Amelia Island, TBA “Hardhat Happy Hours,” various panels at meetings, etc.—and they attended some of our REALTOR® Socials and other events. I hope that this may lead to some joint ventures with these organizations in the future. 

I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to get more of our REALTORS® to contribute the minimum of $15 “fair share” amount to the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) to increase our participation levels. I’m not sure how much all of our members realize the impact of RPAC on their profession; not contributing is like showing up at a potluck dinner with nothing but your appetite!  However, we did end the year with 26% of our members investing in RPAC and raising more than $32,000 (208% of our goal).  Thank you to all the members that did choose to invest in their profession. 

I enjoyed getting to know more of you REALTORS® and Affiliate business partners on a more personal level. Part of what I love about REALTORS® is we aren’t so much competitors—we cooperate with each other, we depend on each other for our livelihoods.  

Thanks very much to all of the past leadership of TBR, particularly my mentor, Immediate Past-President Frank McClean, for guidance and suggestions. 

I think the Number One thing that I learned from my year as President is how much our staff does for us! Our CEO, Steven Louchheim, is so on top of every aspect of our industry; we are truly blessed to have him on our team. He makes the leadership process a smooth transition from president to president, with the consistent guidance that assures all of us a good year. Susan Ray with her behind-the-scenes suggestions and influence, helps keep us on track. Paul Galloway keeps us on the cutting edge with our extensive technology, and Nicholas Propst is quick to assist members at the helpdesk. Sonia Jewell makes sure that we stay on task with all our social and education responsibilities, and Jo-Anna Dolloff is ready to help our membership, whether it’s someone just joining or veteran REALTORS® and Affiliates.  Keri Matewa is always friendly and informative: “It’s a beautiful day at the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS®!” 

And if you’d like, you can thank me for helping turn the real estate market around during my Presidency! 

Jeffrey D. Doxsee, Sr.
2014 TBR President
Capital Property Consultants

2015 Leadership Academy


A message from the Leadership Academy Deans, Debbie Kirkland and Mike Ferrie 

Debbie: Now is your chance to answer the call of active engagement in a leadership role in your industry. The Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® Leadership Academy is an introduction to the structure of our association, the challenges of our industry, and the role leaders play in the forward momentum of the association that provides all members with business growth and development benefits. Be a part of the Leadership in our association! Learn where you fit and how you can effect industry change and influence others.  This class will have fun, and is guaranteed to produce agents of change! 

Mike: Every couple of years the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® offers the Leadership Academy to better serve and educate those that are interested in our local board as well as serving at the state and national levels. Going through the academy will give you insight into the day-to-day operations—and what teamwork is required—to make a successful board. In 2015 we are looking for ten to twelve candidates who would like to get involved, learn how to better serve our community, and build a prosperous business for themselves. TBR is looking for key individuals with the desire to serve and to build a successful career. Time to apply is limited, as is the amount of participants in the academy, so don’t wait until someone else gets ahead of your next career move! 

Read the application and submit it by January 12, 2015 to be considered for the 2015 Leadership Academy.

The Extra Mile Award


The Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® has had the Extra Mile Award for some time—a way for members to give recognition to fellow REALTORS® and Affiliates who go “above and beyond”—but who do so without an expectation of award beyond a job well done: our hidden gems. In some ways, the award itself has been a bit hidden, and not actively promoted. The Member Resources Committee wants that to change.

We’ve posted a nomination form on our website, so if you catch someone going the Extra Mile, simply fill out the form and submit it to TBR—that’s all it takes! We’ll invite you to present the Extra Mile Award certificate at a Tuesday morning meeting, and we will announce their award in the eBoard Briefs newsletter under “Members in the News.”

Read below for Member Resources Committee members’ explanation of the award and what it means to recognize our members for going the Extra Mile:

“Being a REALTOR® in Tallahassee is a wonderful experience due to our real estate community that is filled with generous and caring individuals. Every day we face challenges to getting transactions closed. I would venture to guess that each of us has someone or many people we would like to thank for an act of kindness, going over and beyond in providing service to our customers. We all have stories about these experiences. Did you know that you can thank those people publicly by recommending them for an Extra Mile Award? This is a special way to say ‘thank you’ and communicates your appreciation for them.”
~Miriam Nicklaus, Armor Realty of Tallahassee

“There are some REALTORS® who consistently work to resolve issues and bring a spirit of cooperation to the table. Recognizing this attribute is one way to promote this type of work ethic.”
~Teresa Hatler, Hatler Realty   

“I think the Extra Mile Award has merit for this reason: most of the time the recipient has no idea what good they’re doing on a daily basis. They are just going about their workday, performing as they should be (which might be to a higher standard than most), and don’t realize the effect they have on others around them. They need to be commended for going that ‘extra mile’ to help others that are in contact with them look better.”
~Jim Butler, Coldwell Banker Hartung & Noblin 

“The power of positive recognition! What does it mean to be recognized? In this fast-paced world, it’s always a little hard to stop and ‘smell the roses’ or, in this case, to recognize a colleague. But when we do, the results that follow can be endless. You never know what is happening in someone’s day, and sometimes the simple act of positive recognition goes a long way. We have a wonderful program—the ‘Extra Mile Award’—that allows our Board Members to do just that. Please take the time to submit a nomination and give someone that positive recognition. You might be surprised the difference you can make in someone’s life.”
~Joy Blomeley, Coldwell Banker Hartung & Noblin

Member Resources Committee
Tallahassee Board of REALTORS®

REP: REALTOR® Enrichment Program


If you plan on being an educated and informed REALTOR® then you will save money with a REP pass. A REP pass purchased at TBR gets you into the majority of the classes that the Board offers throughout the year, at no additional cost. It is a low-priced way to take as many classes you want, including CE and technology classes. The REP is less than the cost of paying for three classes out of pocket, and it’s only available to TBR members. Good for the calendar year, you can buy REP at any time. Our Board offers tons of classes throughout the year on a number of topics—and most of them are covered by the REP pass.

The classes included with a REP pass cover every aspect of real estate and the business of being a REALTOR®. This year, we’ve had classes on FHA and VA financing, appraisals, IRAs, and negotiating, and tech classes in Twitter, Outlook, Excel, and iPad. Thinking of getting into property management? There was a REP class on that earlier this year.

A lot of the topics covered in these classes change as they are updated with new information. So if you took a class on something like FHA and VA financing two years ago, it’s probably time for you to take it again. Even the two contract classes that the board offers and core law are covered with the REP pass. There is always something new to learn at the contract classes and you have to take core law to renew your license. Those three right there make the REP pass worthwhile!

So if you have taken three or more classes this past year and did not buy a REP pass, then that’s your loss. If you plan on taking classes in the future, take a look at getting a REP pass, if you like to save money. All of the classes that are covered by REP will say so on the registration page. And if you can’t find three or more classes to take in one year, then congratulations—you are smarter than I am.

Need education? Want the REP? Call TBR at 224-7713 and start 2014 with a REP pass.

Nicholas Mihalich
Thomas Acquisition & Property Specialists

The Power of a Team


What is a team? Being part of a team provides a feeling of security. It embeds an image in our minds of a large group working together. But probably the most powerful feeling that a team provides is the feeling of accomplishment, knowing that as an individual, you are part of a bigger picture and that your individual contributions make an impact. The Wisdom of Teams asserts “[a]” team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable” (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993).

Similar definitions of a team include:

People working together in a committed way to achieve a common goal or mission. The work is interdependent and team members share responsibility and hold themselves accountable for attaining the results. (MIT Information Services and Technology)

A team is a group of people working together towards a common goal. (Team Technology, 1995-2006)

A group in which members work together intensively to achieve a common group goal.  (Lewis-McClear & Taylor 1998)

The Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® defines “team member” as “a REALTOR® who is at least in part compensated according to the closing of a transaction.” So as we are approaching the end of our 2013 production year, keep in mind that if you are part of a team, please make sure your team’s production is recorded and that all members of your team are identified—and that you apply for team recognition by the posted deadline. We want to make sure that each member is recognized for their contributions and success. Look for applications online in December, and be sure to complete the application and return it by the deadline—teams must apply in order to be recognized.

Joy Blomeley
Coldwell Banker Hartung & Noblin
Chairman, Member Resources/Products Committee

FDA Services: Your Health Insurance Solution


The Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® has partnered with FDA Services to provide insurance options for TBR members. FDAS is here to assist members with choosing the best healthcare options for themselves, their family, and their employees. We will be here through the implementation of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA), to help TBR members make the tough decisions and weigh all of their options.

Myth: Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® has a large group association health plan.

False! There is not, nor has there ever been, a large association plan. FDA Services offers small group health insurance plans with almost every carrier statewide, as well as individual/family insurance with Florida Blue.

Myth: My local agent can offer rates lower than FDA Services.

False! Health insurance companies file their rates with the state of Florida and no agent can offer rates different than what are filed. While rates can currently (changing in 2014) vary based on medical factor, FDA Services always shows the standard rates to clients and not “best case scenario”, we do not believe in setting false hope for clients. Additionally, your renewal rates with a carrier might be lower than the current rates for a new plan, however FDA Services is able to take over any plan on an agent of record and offer the exact same renewal rates.

Myth: Since FDA Services can offer the same plans as my local agent, there is no reason to use them.

False! FDA Services offers something that most local agents do not, expertise in your field and elite service. While your local agent is after larger businesses, we are here to serve the small businesses, the underserved. With dedicated in-house agents we are here when you need us and to give the advice that you need. We might not be able to offer a different product than a local agent but we can help you get the correct product that meets your needs and budget. Additionally, purchasing insurance through FDA Services is a non-dues revenue source for the association.

Myth: Once the health exchange opens up, there will be no need for an insurance agent.

False! As we look towards 2014, FDA Services will still be here to assist you in making decisions about your health insurance, determining your subsidy eligibility, and assist you through healthcare reform. More than ever you will need a trusted advisor that understands the options and has your best interest at heart.

FDA Services experienced staff is ready to get to work for you. If you feel you need a review of your current insurance policies – call 850-350-7155 or email

Carrie Millar
FDA Services

REALTOR®: The Value of the Mark


Did you know that an independent marketing firm valued the REALTOR® trademark at $3 billion? Even in U.S. government terms, that’s a lot of money! In 1916, members of the then National Association of Real Estate Exchanges thought it was vitally important to distinguish real estate licensees that were practicing under a more stringent standard to protect the public (the Code of Ethics) from those who chose to continue to operate in, shall we say, a suspect manner of doing business.

As a member of the National Association of REALTORS® it is in your best interest to always and proactively protect the mark. Before you continue reading this, take this quiz and see how you do (enter to win a Whole Foods gift card; see details at the end of the article).

Okay, are you a REALTOR® trademark expert or could you use a little brushing up on what to do and what not to do? Have no fear! There is a pretty simple test that can help. Since “REALTOR®” means a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, just replace “REALTOR®” with “member” and see if it works. For example, your business card reads: Frank McClean, REALTOR®. You could also write “Frank McClean, member of NAR” and that is correct. Conversely, “your favorite REALTOR®” is a violation, an incorrect use of the trademark. In this example, the mark is used in conjunction with a descriptive word (“favorite”), and that is a violation. It is okay to use the term as part of your website domain name or email as long as it is used to identify you as a member of NAR; for example, or In both cases, you are identified as a member of NAR.

Remember, it is important not only to adhere to the rules of the trademark but to educate the public about the difference between a REALTOR® and just a licensee. Here are two common mistakes I hear every day:

  • REALTOR® license (there is no such thing)
  • Real-a-tor (only two syllables, please)

Luckily, NAR’s website has a tremendous amount of information on trademark and logo rules. After you’ve checked out the rules, retake the quiz. I am sure you’ll improve your score.

Enter our contest! Simply take the trademark quiz and email a screenshot of your results to for a chance to win a $50 Whole Foods gift certificate. This will be a random drawing of all entries regardless of score. Entries must be submitted via email by October 4, 2013 to be entered; only one entry per person.

Steven Louchheim, CAE, RCE
Executive Director

CE Cinema


If you are like me, my favorite part of going to the movies is the concession stand! Now you can experience that feeling at some of the classes we offer at the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS®. We offered our first CE Cinema break as a part of class on August 1 and what a nice surprise for the attendees.

Florida REALTORS® offers Internet Continuing Education (ICE) classes as a part of their virtual campus series. In total, six classes from this series are on TBR’s 2013 education schedule. Since the class is viewed on a screen and there is no sponsor for the class, TBR decided to add a little “spice” and fun to the break. Now when you attend an ICE class, you will get a CE Cinema Combo courtesy of your Board. The combo includes popcorn, movie candy of your choice, and a soft drink or water!

The ICE classes offer you an opportunity to get 3 or 4 CE credits (depending on the class) on topics and by speakers that would normally cost you a lot more than a REP pass ($69, or $25 per class without REP). Coming to TBR we have Roadmap to a Successful Closing on September 13, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.; First Time Home Buyer Workshop (That Really Works!) on October 17 from 1 – 4 p.m. with our very own Patti Ketcham as the instructor; Tax Law Changes on November 15, 9 a.m.  – 12 p.m.; and Personal Assistants and the Law on December 12, 1 – 4 p.m. Sign up for any or all of these and experience CE Cinema for yourself –and get valuable information presented by instructors from all over the state. (Classes that you missed earlier this year were Negotiating Skills for Today’s Real Estate Professional; FHA/VA Financing, Markets and the Economy; and Risk Management.)

As of this date, we don’t have details of the topics for the ICE series for 2014. If there are specific topics that are of interest to you and you think would be valuable to our members, please let us know. The Professional Development Committee (PDC) is always open to hearing from our REALTORS® about classes they would like to see presented at the Board, and your input will be appreciated as we review the classes for the 2014 schedule. Feedback can be sent to the PDC Chairman, Miriam Nicklaus, by emailing ; or you can contact me, Sonia Jewell at

See you soon at CE Cinema!

Sonia Jewell
TBR Education & Events Coordinator