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December 19th Topic –

Housing Day at the Capitol – February 23rd




Patty ZuzekPresident – MN REALTORS®

Len Sarvela, Past President – MN REALTORS®

Tracie Fogelson, President-Elect – MN REALTORS®

Matt Loskota, Treasurer – MN REALTORS®


The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.


Wyn Ray Wins Good Neighbor Award!



REALTOR® Wyn Ray, with Coldwell Banker Burnet, in Chaska, is one of five winners chosen by the National Association of REALTORS® for REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award. Ray was selected for his work in Wekin, Ethiopia, to improve living conditions, bring clean water, and improve educational opportunities.

“This year’s Good Neighbor Award winners have gone beyond the call of duty to improve communities around the globe,” says NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Margate, FL. “They touch the lives of those they serve in many positive ways while also maintaining successful careers in real estate and supporting their clients on a day-to-day basis. I am proud to honor Wyn’s dedication to saving lives and educating children in Ethiopia.”

Wyn Ray and his wife, Sunny, serve a very remote and forgotten area of Ethiopia. A former g2teacher, Ray created a cooperative effort with villagers to improve living conditions and education, an area where half of children die from water-borne illnesses. Since 2008, the Rays, now working in partnership with the New Covenant Foundation, have constructed latrines and brought clean water to 11,000 people.

Erik Laursen, the foundation’s executive director, says Ray’s eagerness to travel to an easily overlooked part of the world reflects the depth of their dedication. “It’s a real difficult place. There are bugs, the toilets are holes in the ground, and the food can be difficult to eat,” he says. But despite the awful conditions, “Wyn is super happy the whole time.”

The Ray’s work “is not about tax deductions or a pat on the back,” adds Laursen, who traveled with them to Wekin in 2014. “They just have a heart for these people who are suffering and want to love neighbors who happen to be far away.”

To read Ray’s full story and watch his video, go to Ray and the other four Good Neighbor Award winners will receive a $10,000 grant for their charity and will be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.

Legislative Update


As you’ve gone about your summer showing homes and hosting open houses, you have undoubtedly come across political signs set up in yards, glossy print campaign literature stuffed in doors, and you may have even see a candidate or two canvassing a neighborhood. Yes folks, this is an election year. And not just any election year, but one featuring, arguably, the two most polarizing and controversial candidates in the history or our republic.

Regardless of how you may feel about Hillary or Donald, remember that what happens in “down ticket” (Minnesota Legislature, county, municipal, school board) elections will have the most direct impact on your daily life as a REALTOR®. Don’t be so quick to throw those lit pieces away, change the channel when the ads interrupt your favorite show, or slam the door in that candidate’s face. This fall, don’t let over saturation or controversy get you down. Embrace this election, because like the change of seasons, the wheels of government will continue to grind and affect your business life whether you are ready for it or not. But unlike the weather, we humans do have a say in the government we get – if we are willing to engage in the process. The people who are campaigning this summer will be the same folks who will be crafting Minnesota’s regulatory, fiscal, and social policies next fall… policies that will affect your business and the homeowners you serve.

As your “watchdogs” at the State Capitol, we invite and encourage you to find out who your current legislators are and their voting record on REALTOR® related issues. When the political literature starts to arrive or a political discussion arises, take a moment to engage. Find out how your local candidates feel about issues related to homeownership and the real estate market. This isn’t a request for a political contribution. Rather, it’s a invitation to get up to speed on an element or your business that you may have been overlooking.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.




It’s easy, just be where the eyes are.

by Paul Salley, manager of marketing and business development

At REAL Trends, I work with many of the top brokerages in the United States and Canadian with the creation, planning, execution and monitoring of their marketing initiatives. Some of the main questions I receive include:

  • Where is the most effective place to put my  marketing dollars?
  • Which marketing outlets are trending?

The response to these two questions is, “it depends.” Helpful, right? I’ll explain.

With the capabilities of today’s digital marketing platforms, marketers can marketers can market directly to their desired target audience. The audience and goal of the campaign will determine which platform is the most appropriate to leverage. The key is to know which mediums your audience is most likely to consume. Facebook can be a powerful platform as it has the most users coupled with the most user information and cab incorporate elements such as location, uploaded lists, audience lists, re-targeting and more. We constantly see two to tree percent click-through rates on Facebook. Facebook also allows you to send a specific message ensuring that the correct people see the message. One example of this is a first-time homebuyer campaign. Marketers may effectively market to a specific age demographic, relationship status, location and interests that pertain to the physical location of a listing. Another powerful filter is income – this will ensure that the roper listings pages are paired with the appropriate audience, one that can afford the properties being displayed.

When considering staying ahead of the curve in marketing, the answer is hidden in plain sight. You want to be where the eyes are – mobile. Take a moment to view how many people are currently on their mobile devices: emailing, texting, reading, engaging in social media of some form. This especially holds true when looking at anyone age 25 and under. These individuals live a virtual life surrounded by social media platforms, particularly Snapchat.

It’s important that marketers understand who our next-generation buyers are and how to adapt to reach them where they already are, on Snapchat, Instagram and more. It’s also important what relates to and connects with buyers. Millennial buyers are prone to click on an ad that comes across as organic and authentic or something that would add genuine value to their lives.

Ultimately, to stay ahead of the curve in marketing is to stay relevant. Matching a message to the appropriate audience on platforms that target audience is already using will be key in having a successful marketing platform.

Finally, it’s important to think outside the box. It’s easy to recognize where and how consumers are consuming content; the trick is to leverage these platforms as marketing vehicles, even if a formal advertising platform has not been created around that platform. This grassroots/guerilla approach to marketing will separate your brokerage from others and will allow your message to be accepted in a authentic manner with relatively low competition.^

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2016. 

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.


Are regulatory changes a bigger threat than technological advances?

by Steve Murray, publisher

Most say technological change is the greatest threat to brokerage. Perhaps. What we see as possibly the greatest challenge may be in the regulatory arena. While the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) certainly has our industry’s attention, and while many believe that the mortgage interest deduction may be amended in ways not favorable to our business, it is the myriad of state lawmakers and regulators that may also affect the ability to do business. This also does not take into account recent actions by the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) which may raise the costs of doing business for tens of thousands of brokerage firms, nor does it consider the Federal government’s research into healthy homes.


If history is any indicator, it appears that every time government and regulators get involved with more regulation of an industry, that industry consolidates faster than it may have otherwise.

Look at the market-share increases of the large banks since Doff-Frank was introduced. Also, look what is happening with the CRPB’s recent attempts to regulate the payday lending industry so much that they may cease to exist. Also, we can refer to the shrinking numbers of hospitals and health insurance firms since ObamaCare was implemented.


In brokerage, something happened in 2015 that we have not seen before. The REAL Trends 500 firms have historically lost market share in strong markets and gained it back in down markets. But, in 2015, these largest of brokerage firms gained nearly 5 percent share against the rest of the market. Might it have to do with the CFPB chasing thousands of small- to medium-sized brokerages to abandon their mortgage MSAs, removing a source of profit and reducing their ability to compete with larger brokerage firms? Only the largest brokerage firms can now add profit and revenue from mortgage. Are they using this to compete more effectively with medium and smaller firms that lack this source of profit?


A client of ours was investigated by their state’s department of corporations. The regulator had no complaints, no reason to believe anything was wrong with the brokerage. Nonetheless, this brokerage firm spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal and compliance fees to make the corrections demanded by the regulators. This is not an isolated incident. Several other states are in the process of examining how to increase brokerage supervision, or how to further regulate agent teams – the list is extensive.

So, while many think it’s technology that will fundamentally change out industry and the way we do business, it may be that it is government and regulators who will do more to change the environment in which we do business.^

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2016.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.




Form Changes

The changes will be released on August 1, 2016.

The Minnesota REALTORS® Forms Committee held six meetings, one Commercial Forms Sub-Committee meeting, and one Leasing Forms Task Force meeting this fiscal year. It covered many of the members’ suggested changes. A special thanks due to the Forms Committee Chair, Deb Richmond-Johnson, and all of the volunteer Forms Committee, Sub-Committee, and Task Force members for their efforts in accomplishing a very hefty agenda this fiscal year.

The Forms Committee made numerous forms changes, which are summarized in this article. These changes will be released on August 1, 2016. Please note that substantive changes were made to three main contingencies including the Addendum to Purchase Agreement: Inspection Contingency; Addendum to Purchase Agreement: Sale of Buyer’s Property Contingency; and the three Addendum to Purchase Agreement: Financing Contingencies (Conventional, FHA, and DVA). We strongly encourage you to thoroughly review these revised forms to ensure you understand how these changes affect the applicability, duration, and removal of these particular contingencies.


The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.

Real Estate Q&A’s

DRG blog

Find answers to common real estate questions in the DESKTOP REFERENCE GUIDE. This is a great guide to laws, rules and regulations pertaining to real estate.

You’ll find Q&A’s on all kinds of topics including Department of Commerce Regulations, Environmental Issues, Property Tax, Short Sales and more.

image blog DRG

Here are a few examples:

Q: Is the seller required to disclose the presence of pets in the home? 


Many people have allergies to pet dander and/or pet fur. Dander and fur can remain present well after the pet has no longer been on the premises. The presence of these allergens would have an adverse affect on a buyer’s use and enjoyment of the property, and therefore, is considered a material fact and needs to be disclosed.

Q: Can I use my team’s name in our advertising?


blog Q&AAny advertising by a licensee must include the real estate brokerage name more prominently displayed than the licensee’s name for the purchase, sale, lease, exchange, mortgaging, transfer, or other disposition of real property, whether the advertising pertains to the licensee’s own property or the property of others. If a salesperson or broker is part of a team or group within the brokerage, the licensee may include the team or group name in the advertising only under the following conditions:

  • the inclusion of such team or group name is authorized by the primary broker of the brokerage to which the salesperson or broker is licensed; and
  • the real estate brokerage name is included and more prominently displayed than the team name or group name in the advertising.

The following two options would be acceptable forms of using team names in real estate advertising:

The Smith Team at ABC Realty; or

The Smith Group

ABC Realty

Please see MN Statute 82.69 for more information.


The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.