Outreach to Local Government
Regarding “Your Backyard, Your Bottom Line” (March/April
2016, page 20), thanks for a great article. I relocated to Bruns-
wick County, N.C., in 2014
because I saw so much
potential to tap here as a new
commercial broker. My hope
is to get local government
to proactively include the
REALTOR® community, along
with developers, in developing a well-thought-out plan that’s
both economical and functional for this wonderful coastal area.
Michael Washington, Intracoastal Realty Co., Leland, N.C.
It’s Not Financial Profiling
In his Commentary, “Putting a Lens on Listing Photos” (March/
April 2016, page 19), Art Moreno Jr. raises a good point when
he highlights the problem of poor quality photographs some
agents use in their marketing. I disagree, however, with
his statement that “there is both a professional and moral
obligation to treat all clients the same and give 100 percent of
your e;ort to market their home, irrespective of the commission
you earn at closing.” That’s absurd. The sellers of more
expensive homes pay more money for their services and there is
nothing improper with an agent investing more in marketing for
a client who pays more. Mr. Moreno frames this as a moral issue
and suggests the low-priced home owner is somehow a victim.
In reality the consumer—wealthy or not—has, and always will,
hold the power. If a seller wants professional photos and I want
the listing, then I will have to pay for a photographer.
Matt Williams, Realty Executives Williams-Sykes Realty,
LaGrange, N. Y.
In “Rules of Cooperative Compensation” (March/April 2016,
page 10), contributor Bruce Aydt’s company was misidentified.
He is senior vice president and general counsel for Berkshire
Hathaway HomeServices Alliance Real Estate in St. Louis.
The description of imaging company Matterport’s development
of 3-D scans for virtual reality headsets in the article “Insider’s
View of Real Estate” (March/April 2016, page 36) erroneously
suggested that the company would be releasing its own headsets. In addition to scans that can be viewed with Samsung Gear
VR, Matterport plans to roll out scans to other VR headsets.
20 REALTOR®MARCH/APRIL2016 REALTORMAG.REALTOR.ORG REALTORMAG.REALTOR.ORG REALTOR®MARCH/APRIL2016 21
top of mind
Your Backyard, Your Bottom Line
Commercial real estate pros are stepping up to help ailing downtowns.
It’s tough to overstate the impact of
vibrant town centers on the health of our
communities, says Patrice Frey, CEO of
the Chicago-based National Main Street
Center. “Main streets are the heart and
soul of our communities. They play an
outsized role,” says Frey.
Her nonprofit group’s mission is to
help locals working to revive their downtowns. Commercial real estate pros bring
special skills and energy to that task, she
says. Indeed, around the country, real
estate pros are committing their time
and expertise to downtown revitalization—often with striking results.
Small Town, Big Payo;
When it comes to hard-scrabble
downtowns, Kennebunk, Maine, doesn’t
seem to fit the bill. The picturesque
town is surrounded by beaches, histor-
ical sites, a national wildlife refuge, and
swank summer homes. But more than
a decade ago, from the vantage point of
his company’s downtown Kennebunk
headquarters, John Anderson, presi-
dent of Investcomm Commercial Group,
could tell the main drag needed a lift.
Nearby attractions were bringing a lot
of tra;c through the town, he says, but
the downtown was having trouble getting
visitors to stop and take a look around. It
also seemed that disparities in lighting,
pedestrian crossings, and planters were
keeping Kennebunk from presenting a
harmonious front to both visitors and
residents. As a member of the town’s
Downtown Committee, Anderson began
discussing ways to solve these issues
with his fellow committee members back
in 2005. In 2008 the committee created
a temporary downtown revitalization
subcommittee, which Anderson chaired.
The group heard proposals from a num-
ber of companies that design community
improvement projects, finally settling on
one that presented an initial master plan
with a price tag of $13 million.
Then came the work of whittling down
the proposal to a scope that would be
a;ordable for a town with a population
barely topping 10,000. The committee
surveyed residents and followed up with
more targeted workshops. Anderson
says, even for commercial real estate
professionals who are immersed in development and deal-making, it’s di; cult
to determine which improvements will
make the biggest impact. “Just walking through the downtown every day,
you have your blinders on,” he says.
But examining pictures of the existing
downtown gave committee members
a new perspective. The first thing they
noticed was a “big sea of asphalt.” This
demonstrated the need for pavers and a
brick sidewalk to delineate walking areas
from the street.
The group also identified inconsistent
signage standing in the way of a cohe-
The Commercial Association of
REALTORS® Wisconsin spearheaded
a PR campaign—including
billboards, TV spots, print coverage
and a statewide radio buy—to
show that a new NBA arena for
the Milwaukee Bucks would boost
revitalization e;orts downtown.
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Editor’s Note: REALTOR® Magazine’s online exclusive
article “Social Media Posts That Get You in Trouble” advising
REALTORS® not to vent their frustrations with other agents
online to avoid violating Article 15 of the REALTORS® Code of
Ethics was recently cited by a complainant in a COE hearing.
The REALTOR®’s complaint about a disparaging social
media post pertaining to individuals running for local board
leadership positions was found not to be in violation because
the comments did not involve real estate–related activities or
transactions as clarified in the policy statements applicable to
ethics proceedings. Our article did not specify that disciplinary
action cannot be taken in instances when o;ending remarks
have nothing to do with the real estate business or business
practices, though members are encouraged to follow COE
principles in all of their activities.
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