IREC Audit Stumbling Blocks: How to Avoid the Most Common Citations

During a recent First Friday Legal Forum, Gayle Brixey and MiChell Bird from the Idaho Real Estate Commission (IREC) stopped by to share some common issues they see while performing audits. As you prepare for your next IREC audit, keep these tips in mind to (hopefully) help you avoid citations.

Trust Accounts and Ledger Cards
Brokers are often cited for either not having an accurate ledger card or not creating one at all.

Even if your brokerage no longer has its own trust account, Idaho statue Section 54-2044(2) says that ledger cards are required as it assumes the brokerage will “touch” the earnest money, even if it will be delivered directly to and held by a title company. Article 8 of NAR’s Code of Ethics also refers to this, as it requires REALTORS® to keep “special account” of client funds and earnest money.

The best way to avoid a problem is to track everything; either by creating a ledger card when the broker takes physical possession of any earnest money, or, upon assumption of responsibility for earnest money when the purchase and sales agreement is accepted. The purchase and sales agreement should state how the earnest money will be handled (for example, if the buyer, agent, admin, courier, etc., will deliver it to a title company).

Don’t have a ledger card built? Check out this example from IREC.

Earnest Money Handling and Receipts
Earnest money is another common area for citations, resulting both from handling errors and a lack of receipts.

When deciding who should handle the earnest money, keep in mind that while it may seem easier not to take possession of earnest money, consider whether your buyer will have the same level of urgency as you would to deliver everything on time and as outlined in the purchase and sale agreement. The buyer’s failure to comply with the earnest money deposit terms in the contract may result in cancellation of the contract, loss of earnest money, etc., creating more issues than you were trying to avoid in the first place.

Regardless of who handles the earnest money, you should always get a receipt from the title company (or whichever entity is holding the earnest money) that shows:

  • The date the earnest money was delivered/received;
  • Who delivered the earnest money;
  • Who received the earnest money and their signature;
  • The property the earnest money relates to; and,
  • The amount and type of earnest money received (cash, check, etc.).

If no receipt is provided or made available, an email confirming delivery and receipt might be acceptable (but not always) and should specify the elements noted above. You can never be too cautious when it comes to earnest money — record everything.

And remember, if the listing agent requests a copy of your buyer’s earnest money check or receipt, redact any bank account or routing numbers before sharing to protect your client’s personal information.

Purchase and Sale Agreement Elements
Brokers are also regularly cited for not having in writing all the elements in the purchase and sale agreement as required by statute, specifically Section 54-2051(4) and Section 54-2048(d), or, not having rejected offers marked and dated as such in their transaction files.

To prevent a citation and violation of Article 9 of NAR’s Code of Ethics, ensure all appropriate signatures and the dates of such signatures are completed, and that any change to the agreement is initialed and dated by the parties to the transaction. Especially when an agreement, amendment, or addendum is drafted digitally, any additional information that is added by hand should also be initialed and dated by the parties since it is not known if that information was added at a later date. For example, let’s say you prepare a purchase and sale agreement for your buyer, filling out all the information except the offer price and closing date. You then handwrite those elements in once your buyer decides, and then scan the paperwork in for digital signatures. Be sure to include initials and dates next to those handwritten price and date elements.

Any handwritten information on a Purchase and Sales agreement, regardless of whether it was added before it was presented to the other party, should be considered a ‘change’ to the agreement, and therefore INITIALED and dated for proper recordkeeping and audit purposes.” – Gayle Brixey

Other commonly missed elements in purchase and sales agreements:

  • If the form of earnest money delivered is different than what was noted in the agreement, an addendum is required which must be signed and dated by all parties. For example, the buyer says they’ll provide the earnest money with a personal check but then delivers it as cash.
  • Regarding the legal description, if the purchase and sale agreement says something like, “See Exhibit A,” the exhibit showing the full legal description must be acknowledged by buyer and seller, with signatures or initials and dates, and then be included as part of the contract.
  • Regarding rejected offers, the statute states that these must be “clearly marked and dated as rejected,” however it does not specify “who” should mark and date it. It is recommended that brokerages create a policy to follow consistently about who and how rejected offers will be marked and retained in transaction files, so it’s done so consistently.

Agency Representation Confirmation
Agency representation is another area where citations are common. Brokers are often cited for not selecting the correct form of representation, for marking multiple forms of representation on the purchase and sale agreement and for not completing the “Price” section of the seller representation agreement in their transaction files. Idaho statutes Section 54-2051(4)(d) and Section 54-2085(4) require brokers to accurately and fully complete these sections. Article 1 of the Code of Ethics also touches on these responsibilities.

When completing these sections of the purchase and sale agreement, keep in mind:

  • If this seller is a FSBO or if the seller or buyer is not party to a contractual representation agreement (RE-16, RE-14, or similar), the “Representation Confirmation” section on the purchase and sale agreement must still be completed by marking the “NONAGENT” option(s).
  • If the seller (bank-owned, builder, commercial, upon the advice of separate legal counsel, etc.), will not include the “Representation Confirmation” section in or attached to the purchase and sale agreement, the broker should keep documentation in the transaction file showing attempts to get the Representation Confirmation incorporated into the contract.
  • The “Price” section of the seller representation agreement (RE-16 or similar) must be completed. If there are multiple properties or lots associated with this agreement (a new development, for example) an addendum should be added to the agreement, signed and dated by all parties, listing each property and the respective prices.

Advertising
IREC may cite brokers and their affiliated salespersons for common advertising violations that they see or that are reported to them. Some recent issues have included:

  • Not clearly specifying an administrative assistant or other person as unlicensed when shown alongside licensed real estate agents on a brokerage’s website, maybe as part of the office roster, directory, team rosters, etc.
  • Not removing agents who are no longer affiliated with the brokerage from the brokerage’s website, office roster, directory, marketing, photos, team rosters, etc.
  • Not consistently representing your current brokerage across all online and offline marketing. For example, a licensed salesperson’s website, flyers, and Facebook business page all show Brokerage ABC, but their LinkedIn profile shows Brokerage XYZ.

Brokers should make it an office policy to regularly check the advertising for each agent to ensure they are in line with Section 54-2053 of the Idaho Code and Article 12 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

For more information on proper use of the REALTOR® trademark, click here or check out the Five Things You Need to Know About the REALTOR® Trademarks.

If you have additional questions about the audit process, or if you are interested in learning more about common citations, please contact IREC directly or seek advice from your own legal counsel. They can be reached at 208-334-3285.

 

This content was summarized from the discussion at a recent First Friday Legal Forum, offered exclusively to designated and managing broker members of BRR. It is provided here for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be nor, should it be used as a substitute for legal advice regarding any specific circumstance; including but not limited to IREC audits of transaction files and advertising. Every fact and situation is different and you should consult with your personal attorney before acting upon the matters discussed during these forums and in this post.

 

Call for 2020 Directors

Apply for a director position today!Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is the largest local REALTOR® association in Idaho and has two wholly-owned subsidiaries — the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service (IMLS) and the REALTORS® Community Foundation.

The mission of BRR is to bring resources to REALTORS® with the ultimate goal of helping them find success through ethics, professionalism, and connections. To accomplish this, we rely on the experience and expertise of volunteer leaders (like you!) to serve on our Board of Directors, and the boards of the IMLS, REALTORS® Community Foundation, and state and national associations of REALTORS®. In doing so, you will make decisions on professional standards, education, community engagement, public affairs issues, and more, on behalf of all members.

Through your volunteer service, you will gain valuable industry insights, improved leadership skills, and build professional relationships with other leaders — locally, nationally, and across the state — that, in turn, helps you in your own business and other volunteer commitments.

From August 19 to September 6, we are accepting applications for the following leadership positions, with terms beginning in January 2020: 

  • Boise Regional REALTORS® Director — four (4) open positions
  • Boise Regional REALTORS® Vice President — one (1) open position
  • Boise Regional REALTORS® Treasurer — one (1) open position
  • Idaho REALTORS® Director from BRR — four (4) open positions
  • National Association of REALTORS® Director from BRR — one (1) open position
  • Intermountain MLS Director from BRR — two (2) open positions**
  • REALTORS® Community Foundation Director, Member-at-Large — two (2) open positions**

More about the BRR Director and Vice President openings:

According to BRR Bylaws Section 11.5, all candidates shall have been an active REALTOR® Member of BRR for the two (2) years immediately preceding the election and shall have served on at least one (1) Association or Association subsidiary committee or task force. Additionally, candidates for an Officer Position shall have the following requirements: Will have served as a member in good standing on the Board of Directors for at least one (1) year in the three (3) years immediately preceding the election, and, Will agree not to serve in an officer position on another REALTOR® Association Board of Directors, or as an officer for IMLS or the Foundation, during their term(s) on the Board of Directors.

Download the full list of positions here, including each positions’ responsibilities, qualifications, terms of service, and related meetings.

Not interested or not yet eligible for a Board position but still want to get involved? Click here to learn about BRR committees. (Call for committee members will open in the fall of 2019.)

** Foundation and IMLS Directors are not voted on by the membership. Foundation applications will be forwarded to the Foundation Board of Directors for selection and appointment, and IMLS applications will be vetted by BRR’s Nominating and Elections Committee, and then appointed by the BRR Board of Directors.

The Use of Criminal History Checks in Rental Agreements

Consider the following tips when implementing criminal background checks as part of your rental screening policies or agreements to reduce liability risks related to housing discrimination.

1. Do not create blanket prohibitions.

Refusal to rent based on an arrest or criminal history alone can be discriminatory. Avoid including blanket restrictions when creating your criminal history policy, such as, but not limited to, refusing to rent to anyone who was convicted of drug use or denying occupancy to someone arrested for disorderly conduct.

The do's and Don'ts of criminal background checks

2. Establish a written policy that aligns with HUD rules.

Include a breakdown of the types of crimes you might encounter (certain felonies, crimes against children, sex crimes, or specific misdemeanors such as theft or property damage), outline the definitions of each, layout how far back in time your background check will go, and explain your decision based on the crime and time elapsed. Be as specific and clear in your definitions and explanations as possible. Your policy and subsequent background check cannot consider arrest records but may only look at convictions.

Also keep in mind that you are responsible for knowing if your rental property would not be suitable for someone on the sex offender registry, due to its proximity to prohibited locations. It may be incumbent upon you, the landlord, leasing agent, or property owner, to check the registry for applicants, even though it’s the applicant’s responsibility to disclose their status. Always double-check.

3. Allow for individual assessments in your policy.

Every case is different so build in other considerations to your written policy such as time of conviction, tenant history since conviction, evidence of rehabilitation, age when the crime was committed, etc., to allow yourself the ability to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. This will also allow you to avoid creating a blanket policy.

4. Apply your policy consistently and fairly regardless of race, gender, or age.

Applying your policy unfairly based on race or gender is a violation of HUD policies and could result in legal ramifications. Once your policy is created and in place, you must apply it equally to each applicant.

5. Don’t run a criminal background check until you’ve done all other checks that may be part of your review process.

Why go through the trouble of a background check if their financials aren’t verified and approved in the first place? Save the criminal background check for last and don’t go digging for information when you don’t need to.

Criminal background checks serve a valuable function in rental agreements but can create issues if not done properly. Remember to create these policies fairly and implement them equally, reviewing them periodically to ensure you are in line with HUD guidelines.

For more information on criminal background checks, visit the resources listed below:

HUD Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Window to the Law: Learn about New HUD Guidance, National Association of REALTORS®

Fair Housing Act: Criminal History-Based Practices and Policies, National Association of REALTORS®

Voice for Real Estate 44: Criminal Records, Reverse Mortgage, National Association of REALTORS®

4 Issues to Watch for Property Managers, REALTOR® Magazine

Tuesday Tip: HUD Rules – Arrest Vs. Conviction, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners

Fair Housing Act: Criminal History-Based Practices and Policies, Chicago Association of REALTORS®

HUD’s Guidance for Criminal Background Screening and What it Means for SmartMove Users, SmartMove

This content was summarized from the discussion at a recent First Friday Legal Forum, offered exclusively to designated and managing broker members of BRR. It is provided here for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be nor, should it be used as a substitute for legal advice regarding any specific circumstance. Every fact and situation is different and you should consult with your personal attorney before acting upon the matters discussed during these forums and in this post.

Professionalism Award Recipients

BRR's Professionalism Award

BRR’s Professionalism Award is an impartial, peer-to-peer based program that recognizes REALTOR® members for their professional and ethical behavior during transactions. BRR REALTOR® members are able to nominate other BRR REALTOR® members for outstanding professionalism anytime throughout the year.

Award Recipients are nominated and approved by their peers through our awards process. Recipients are recognized on our website and on our social media accounts each quarter once they have been vetted by their peers. To learn more about this program or to submit a nomination, visit our Professionalism Award page.

 

Congratulations to our Professionalism Award Recipients!

March 2019:

  • Sydney Burtwell, Silvercreek Realty Group
  • Becky Enrico-Crum, Andy Enrico & Co. 
  • Gennie Fishburn, Boise Premier Real Estate
  • Alicia Ralston, Ralston Group Properties
  • Becky Schiebout, Keller Williams Realty Boise
  • Dawn Templeton, Templeton Real Estate Group

June 2019:

  • Tracy Brault, Silvercreek Realty Group
  • Cristine Klag, ERA West Wind Real Estate
  • Phil Mount, Amherst Madison

There is an app for that – Seven Apps for REALTOR® Safety

The nature of the real estate profession requires awareness and preparedness when it comes to safety. A REALTOR®, when meeting new clients, showing properties, or sharing information online, may find himself or herself in unsafe situations. Luckily, there are a variety of tools available through a smartphone that can enhance safety practices. Adding one or more of these applications can help REALTORS® be prepared to handle unforeseen safety issues.

 Please note: These apps noted are provided for reference only and BRR does not endorse or warrant any specific service. Please do your own research before installing or purchasing any app.

 

Forewarn
Price: Free / Must have an active Forwarn Account to use the app
Rating: 2.7 out of 5 stars

Forewarn helps real estate agents have safer engagements and smarter interactions with new clients. Input a client’s name or phone number and get background information before your next meeting. Forewarn can positively verify over 80% of prospects, including their criminal and financial background information. With Forewarn, you can safely plan for in-person interactions with a higher level of confidence.

 

SilentBeacon
Price: Free / Premium features available for $1.99 a month
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars

The Silent Beacon apps allows you to contact emergency personnel or loved-ones when you find yourself in a dangerous situation. This app will send distress text messages, track your location, and call emergency services if you activate the distress beacon. SilentBeacon’s subscription plan allows you to customize your emergency text message content and have access to a live tracking view.

 

BSafe
Price: Free
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars

BSafe provides agents with a live tracking feature, a distress button, and a live streaming option where you can share a video of your situation with your contacts. You can even activate the included alarm using your voice, eliminating the need to have physical access to your device. As an added bonus, this app can send you fake phone calls to get you out of uncomfortable situations.

 

SafeTrek
Price: Free / Additional features available for purchase
Rating: 4.7 out of 5

The design of this app allows you to discreetly activate the program in your pocket. When concerned, simply open the app and hold down the button that appears. Once you feel safe, release the button and input your 4-digit pin, deactivating the alarm. In serious danger? Release the button but don’t enter your pin and your location will be sent to local authorities. Premium features include automatic crash response, plug-in connections for smartwatches and Lyft accounts, and voice alarm activation.

 

SafeShowings
Price: $9 monthly subscription / Enterprise plan available for Brokerages
Rating: N/A

SafeShowings is a tool for REALTORS® to add an extra element of safety to your showings. When conducting a listing, input the location, date, and time into the program. Then, using the app, capture an image of each visitor’s driver’s license as they enter the home. This information is stored under your listing in case you have concerns down the road or, if you do not press the end showing button after an allotted amount of time, your emergency contacts and authorities are alerted and sent the images you have captured. This app is only available online and is not available through the app store.

 

React Mobile
Price: Free / Optional panic button for purchase at www.reactmobile.com
Rating: 3.6 out of 5

Similar to other apps on this list, this program allows you to send an alert to an unlimited number of contacts telling them you need help. React Mobile has three modes that are specialized for different safety situations: I’m Fine, Follow me, and Help me. Follow me begins a live tracking feature that sends your selected contacts regular updates on your location until to return to the “I’m Fine” mode. If you are in serious danger, switch to the Help Me mode (or press your panic button) to send out an emergency text message, an email to your contacts and authorities, and a post alert to Facebook. This app is best used with the React Sidekick panic button.

 

Kleard Pro
Price: Free / $19.99 a month depending on the plan purchased
Rating: 4.4 out of 5

This app allows you to sign visitors into your open houses, capturing their contact information and giving you the opportunity to run it through a verification process within the app. This program also works well for showings, allowing the REALTORS® to capture the buyer’s information through a verification process. As part of this process, the buyer will give you a verification code to enter, which allows Kleard to track the buyer’s phone until you end the showing. If something were to happen during a showing, this feature would allow the police to track the perpetrator’s phone and location. You also have the ability to use the information you capture during a showing or open house to send follow-up content to leads. Learn more at www.kleard.com.

 

Remember, these apps are only one tool to keep REALTORS® safe during real estate transactions. Keeping the phone charged and maintaining a strong signal when meeting someone new is also important. For additional ways to stay safe on the job, visit nar.realtor/safety for additional tools and resources.

 

The REALTOR® Trademark and Logo in Member Marketing

As part of the charter issued to BRR by the National Association of REALTORS®, BRR is required to enforce NAR’s trademark rules surrounding the use of the term “REALTOR®” (a registered trademark owned by NAR) by our members and within our jurisdiction. We’re sending this notice to all of our REALTOR® members as an annual reminder on how to how to properly use the REALTOR® trademark and logo in your marketing.

Below is information about what’s allowed and what is not regarding the trademark rules. REALTOR® members of NAR may refer to themselves as a “REALTOR®” but only in connection with their full name or their brokerage, as follows, and not with team names, adjectives or descriptors: REALTOR usage examples

Agents who have incorrectly used “REALTOR®” in connection with a geography or other adjective, usually ask why the BRR and Idaho REALTORS® (IR) names are allowed. It’s due to an exception that NAR has for associations; however, that does not extend to members.

Often the misuse of the trademark is unintentional; nevertheless, it must be corrected in all instances, including but not limited to advertisements, websites/URLs, email addresses, social media profiles, business cards, signs, etc., as soon as possible — expenses we’d much rather see members avoid. This is why BRR shares this information with new members and sends an annual reminder (this email) to all members. We ask that you review it when considering changes to branding and before new materials are created.

To get the ® symbol, use Alt+0174 on PCs, Option+R on Macs, or type “(r)” and hit “Enter.”

More information about NAR’s trademark rules is available at nar.realtor/logos-and-trademarkrules, including the requirement to use the term in all caps and with the registered “R” symbol. Additional information about using it on social media is at nar.realtor/logos-and-trademarkrules/trademark-use-on-social-media, for instances where the registered “R” symbol is unavailable. We also have this information in a printable guide.

If you have any questions about this, please contact BRR’s Chief Executive Officer, Breanna Vanstrom, at breanna@boirealtors.com. You can also reach out to Breanna to request a review of your branding, marketing, communications, etc., to ensure the trademark is being used properly. If your marketing materials are currently misusing the trademark, we thank you in advance for getting them corrected as quickly as possible. Thank you for your assistance in protecting the REALTOR® brand in our market.

The Four Most Common Ways I Break Your Deals

Four Ways I Break Your Deals

Guest blog post featuring Tim Tyree, BRR’s legal counsel and principal of Tyree Legal, PLLC.

Recently, I attended a First Friday Broker Forum. The discussion topic was this: When I receive a phone call and the prospective client asks, “I want to get out of my contract,” or asks, “can the buyer break our contract?”, here are the most common ways I can break the deal.

By far the most common deal killer is the lack of a sufficient legal description. This is a double-edged sword because not only does the lack of a sufficient legal description render the contract invalid, it also exposes the agent to liability. Pursuant to the Idaho Real Estate License Law, all offers to purchase must have a legal description. The failure to provide a legal description exposes the agent to liability.

The most common mistake I see is using a legal description taken from the county assessor’s webpage. That description is not always complete, especially when the property contains multiple parcels. If it’s not complete, the contract is in jeopardy.

The fix is easy — obtain a copy of the seller’s vesting deed. Obtaining the deed confirms two points, the legal description of the property and the identity of the seller (more on the seller later). If the deed is just for a lot and block, the Idaho REALTOR® forms make it easy, but if it’s anything more, attach the whole deed and remember to initial all pages. Yes, you can attach just the legal description from the deed, but sometimes the legal description is spread out and there’s no harm in attaching the whole deed.

By confirming the identity of the seller in the deed, you avoid another common mistake — binding the actual owner of the property. This one does not always result in a broken contract because the party making the contract has liability exposure, but if not all parties are listed, their hold out may bust the deal.

The most common mistakes arise when there are multiple owners. We all know we need both spouses to sign, but sometimes there are kids, siblings or co-owners that don’t actively participate in the property. If they’re left out, the contract is at risk.

The third common out is the financing contingency. Line 32 of the July ‘18 RE-21 reads “This Agreement is contingent upon BUYER obtaining the following financing[.]” The usual fact pattern is just before closing the buyer backs out, citing this contingency. Sometimes it’s for legitimate purposes, sometimes it appears the buyer is playing games, but the seller is always upset.

The seller also always points to the lender approval letter, seemingly believing this ended the contingency. We know it does not. If you want to end this contingency, end it. Add a provision that the contingency will end at a certain time.

Section 4 of the RE-21 is my fourth most-common problem source. Often, I see agents adding the phrase “this offer is contingent on an inspection.” I believe agents see the phrase in other deals and so believe it must mean something, and it does. It means you’ve created a new contingency.

Section 10 of the RE-21 already has an inspection contingency, so if you mark the right box, the offer is contingent on an inspection and Section 10 walks the parties through a very detailed step-by-step process. Your new contingency has no end date, so a buyer looking for an out may claim this contingency is not satisfied and terminate the contract. Because of the contingency waivers in the RE-10, this argument may fail, but the concern remains and applies to any contingency added to the contract. Avoid duplicating concepts already addressed in the forms and, when drafting contingencies, consider adding end dates.

My final tip is to encourage your broker to attend the First Friday Broker Forum. Getting to know your fellow practitioners leads to better relationships and better deals, and we all want that.

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This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Every situation is different, and you should consult with your own legal counsel before acting on the matters discussed in this article.

Tim Tyree serves as legal counsel to BRR and is the principal of Tyree Legal, PLLC.

Boise Regional REALTORS® Welcomes New Staff

Marind Amano

BRR Events Specialist Marind Amano

Marind Amano has joined as the BRR’s Events Specialist, overseeing the planning and execution of all membership events and the community engagement efforts of the REALTORS® Community Foundation, BRR’s wholly-owned charitable organization.

For the past 10 years, Marind has been an Event Producer for a Seattle-based company where she worked on conferences, awards shows, and red carpet events, in addition to projects with Netflix, Ed Sheeran, and E! People’s Choice Awards. Marind earned her degree in Business Administration from Northwest Nazarene University.

BRR Communications Specialist Annie Exline

BRR Communications Specialist Annie Exline

Annie Exline has joined as the Communications Specialist, where she will be implementing the association’s communications plan through BRR’s website, social media, public relations, and more.

Annie’s previous work includes projects for the Nampa School District, Habitat for Humanity, and the “Vote Yes” Meridian Library Committee. She most recently worked as a copywriter for a Boise-based startup providing provided content and digital marketing. She graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in Public Relations and will complete a Masters in Technical Communications from Boise State University in 2019.

In addition to the new hires, BRR is excited to announce internal promotions of two employees.

BRR Government Affairs Manager Cameron Kinzer

BRR Government Affairs Manager Cameron Kinzer

Cameron Kinzer was promoted to Government Affairs Manager. In this new position, Cameron will be taking on a larger role in supporting BRR’s legislative, policy, and advocacy efforts. Since he started with BRR in 2017, his skills in researching and identifying issues that relate to real estate, private property rights, housing, planning and zoning, transportation, and more have proved invaluable to the organization.

BRR Finance Manager

BRR Finance Manager

Kym Reeves was promoted to Finance Manager and is now responsible for overseeing the financial reporting and policies for the association. Her background in finance and accounting as well as her attention to detail and organizational skills make her a perfect fit for this new role. Kym has been with BRR since 2015.

“These staff changes were done to better meet the goals in the association’s strategic plan, capitalize on the strengths of our outstanding staff, and most importantly, expand BRR’s capabilities to take on new opportunities,” said Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer for BRR.

BRR has also added Pam Dilbeck as a Member Support Specialist. So next time you’re in the office, be sure to say “hi” to all of the new staff members!

BRR Member Support Specialist Pam Dilbeck

BRR Member Support Specialist Pam Dilbeck

Award Applications and Nomination Forms

The deadline to submit 2018 Production Award applications, 2018 Honor Society applications, and 2019 Individual Award nomination forms has passed. Thank you to everyone who has submitted, we look forward to recognizing our top producers and award winners at the REALTOR® Awards Gala on March 8.

All nominations, applications, and any required documentation noted must be submitted to awards@boirealtors.com by Friday, January 25, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. MT. Late or incomplete applications received after this date will not be processed.

Have questions?  Visit our FAQ page and find production applications at boirealtors.com/production-awards!

Production Award COE
Honor Society COE

Individual Award COE

Four Steps You Need to Take to Protect Your Clients From Wire Fraud

fraud_sliderAs KTVB recently reported, a local family was scammed out of $80,000 down payment in a wire fraud scheme in which their agent’s email was hacked, and fraudulent wire instructions were sent to the buyer. Now that the money has been wired, it’s unlikely that it will be recovered.

Wire fraud and cybercrime is a very serious issue and one that isn’t going away any time soon. Don’t let your clients become victims, take these four steps TODAY to protect your clients and yourself.

1) Inform your clients that you will NEVER share wire instructions over email, but only verbally over the phone or in person. Educate them about the risks, and insist they call you (using the phone number you provided, not one from a suspicious email) if they receive instructions via email, or if anything feels “off.”

2) Use an email service that provides two-factor authentication and make sure it’s enabled.

3) Change your email password and make sure it’s a strong password. Set up a calendar reminder to change your email password regularly, and then follow through.

4) Add a standard warning about wire scams to your email signature or include a disclaimer at the bottom of your emails explaining that you will not discuss personal financial information over email. (Sample from NAR.) Here’s another example: ALERT! [Brokerage Name] will never send you wiring information via email or request that you send us personal financial information by email. If you receive an email message like this concerning any transaction involving [Brokerage Name], do not respond to the email and immediately contact your agent via phone.

Additional tips and resources: