House to House: Surveys Strongly Recommended when Purchasing Real Estate By Gary Isom, Executive Director of the Arkansas Real Estate Commission By far one of the biggest mistakes buyers make when purchasing real estate is choosing not to have a new survey completed. Several complaints have been filed through the years with the Real Estate Commission about property lines, driveways, access to property and other issues of confusion as to whether a certain strip of property was or wasn’t included in their purchase of land. Of course, for the Real Estate Commission to have jurisdiction over the issue, the complaint has to be filed against a person licensed by this agency, usually a Realtor®. All too often in these situations, a buyer will decide that he doesn’t need to obtain a survey of the property. Sometimes the buyer will ask for a copy of the latest survey done on the property, usually done for a current or previous owner when that individual purchased the property. This is not advisable, however, as the property may have been affected by various events since the latest survey. Other times, a buyer may see no reason to assume the property lines are anywhere other than where they appear to be and choose to save money by not ordering a survey. It’s understandable why a buyer may decide this. After all, if the property is in a subdivision, shouldn’t property lines have been clearly sorted during the development phase? And what of fences? It’s perfectly logical to assume that a fence at the edge of a property was positioned on the property line, or that a driveway that is shared with the next door neighbor has a property line running down the middle. Another presumably safe assumption would be that a fairly new storage building was built within the property lines. When purchasing real estate, however, assumptions, logical or otherwise, are never safe. The only way to determine for sure what you are buying is to have a survey completed. In any of the situations listed above, the buyer will almost always be left holding the bag. Simply put, it’s difficult to hold anyone else at fault when the buyer learns after closing that there’s a problem with some element of the physical location of the property, rights of access to the property or usage of the property. The real estate licensee cannot vouch for all the geographical aspects of the property. Sometimes, even the seller may be confused. The Real Estate Commission once had a complaint where the seller actually believed a portion of property nonadjacent to her property belonged to her. She had tended the area as though it was hers. Unfortunately, the person who bought the property from that seller would later learn that the seller was wrong and did not own the additional strip. Another buyer who filed a complaint against their real estate agent was satisfied at the time of purchase to have the seller just “mark the corners”. That didn’t work out well either. Even though there are a myriad of professionals working to bring a real estate transaction to pass, the only professional truly capable of establishing property lines, rights and access is a surveyor. A title insurance company will prepare a title insurance policy to cover the property described in the legal description; however, while that policy may include recorded disputes over property boundaries, the title insurance company doesn’t define where the property lines run. An appraisal report may include some information taken from the legal description about property boundaries but will not likely include information about access to the property or rights of usage. Neither can a home inspection be counted on to address the layout of the land. The property insurer is focused on the improvements to the property, not where the lines run. And unless the lender requires the buyer to obtain a survey, they do not establish where the property lines run. So what exactly is a survey? Surveys show property lines, right-of-way easements, utility easements and they detect encroachments upon adjacent properties. These are all issues that often become central to a property owner’s dissatisfaction and discontent with their new purchase. Surveys may also help a buyer determine before closing the transaction whether the property can be used for what they intend. For example, if the buyer plans to put a double wide mobile home on the property, a survey will reveal setbacks and utility easements that could prohibit placement of the mobile home on the lot. The bottom line is that buyers of real estate should consider two facts when deciding whether to obtain a survey. First, only a survey will determine with any degree of certainty what is being purchased. Second, if the buyer decides not to obtain a survey, they need to be prepared to “own” that decision and its consequences because no other party other than a surveyor will likely be held responsible for those things that only a survey will reveal.

House to House: AREC Protecting Arkansans By Andrea Alford, Deputy Executive Director of the AREC The first five words of the Arkansas Real Estate Commission’s mission statement are: “to protect the public interest.” We see that as the ultimate focus of all that we do. In fact, one of our core values is a commitment to serving the citizens of the state of Arkansas by advancing a secure real estate marketplace. In short, protecting the public is taken very seriously at AREC. For the most part, our current statutory and regulatory authority is sufficient to see that mission through. However, it is often said that the only thing that never changes is that everything changes, and occasionally we find ourselves in need of new laws or regulations to help us as we endeavor to serve the citizens of Arkansas. The 89th General Assembly provided us with the opportunity to seek some of those new laws. Four bills were filed that were initiated by AREC, and all four were passed with little difficulty. The first bill passed was SB208, which became Act 112. This Act allows the staff of the Commission to issue citations with fines for technical violations of the Arkansas Real Estate License Law and Commission Regulations. Essentially, this allows the staff of the Commission to take an action that is less severe to the real estate licensee than a formal disciplinary action. What this means for the consumer is that when a licensee commits a technical licensing violation such as failing to renew his license or failing to comply with education requirements, we can issue a simple citation rather than pursuing formal disciplinary action. Having this ability allows us to free up precious resources that can now be invested in pursuing the public’s protection through focusing on more serious matters than disciplining a licensee for not completing his continuing education. The next bill passed was SB212, now Act 158. This legislation adds the Arkansas Real Estate Commission to a list of claimant agencies for the purpose of pursuing former real estate licensees who owe money to the Recovery Fund. The Commission is responsible for administering the Recovery Fund, which was established to pay damage claims to members of the public who have suffered monetary loss specifically attributable to real estate brokers and/or salespersons who have been found, in disciplinary hearings before the Commission, to have violated the Real Estate License Law or Regulations. With this statute, if a former licensee owes the state for money paid out of the Recovery Fund and has a state income tax refund coming, AREC will now be in a position to attach that refund in order to recover the monies owed to the Recovery Fund. This protects the consumer first by allowing the Commission to collect monies that are owed to the state and second by guarding the Recovery Fund, which exists largely for the protection of the public. The third bill passed was SB897, now Act 710. This legislation provides an update to the Timeshare Act, first passed in 1983. Out-of-date terminology was updated with current market offerings in the resort industry. Additionally, monetary protections and registration fees were updated to better represent pricing and market values in the current resort sector. This ensures greater consumer protection and a more equitable and proportionate revenue stream for AREC as a cash-funded agency supported by those our agency regulates. The final bill passed was SB293, now Act 281. This bill assigns the governance of real estate education in Arkansas to the Arkansas Real Estate Commission. This will allow AREC to dedicate more staff and financial resources to real estate education and provide real estate brokers and salespersons greater input on real estate education. Act 281 also provides a mechanism to improve and offer quality broker pre-licensing education. The market for real estate education in Arkansas has long been unable to sustain quality broker education for those wanting to pursue and hold a broker license. This act clears the way to move in that direction. For the consumer, the logic is simple: a more well-educated licensee means a more secure real estate marketplace and, in turn, a more well-protected consumer. AREC is grateful to the following legislators for their support in sponsoring or cosponsoring the above legislation: Senator Jake Files, Representative Mark Biviano, Senator David Johnson and Representative Robert Dale. We are also grateful to the Arkansas Realtors® Association for their support of not only this legislation but all of AREC’s ongoing efforts to ensure the protection of the real estate consumer in the state of Arkansas. House to House is distributed weekly by the Arkansas REALTORS® Association. For more information on homeownership in Arkansas, readers may visit

Market Review for First Half of 2014


2015 First Half of the Year
Compared to
2014 First Half of the Year
Based primarily on data from the Johnson County Board of Realtors MLS database

In the first half of 2014 raw land sales amounted to a total of 46 units sold for total sales dollars of $1,786,936.00. This year in the first six months of the year we have sold 25 units for total sales dollars amounting to $1,080,757.00. Obviously and unfortunately land sales are down so far this year. There are a number of factors that play into that situation including a scarce supply of land tracts at reasonable prices. The fact that on average a buyer has to have 25% cash down to purchase raw land also plays into the situation.
If it is your desire to buy a tract of land to build a house on someday the best advice that I can give you is to start saving up your down money.

Commercial sales from January 1st to June 30th in 2014 amounted to only 7 sales for a grand total of $2,791,390.00 in dollars. During that same period this year we recorded 11 sales amounting to $1,423,500.00. As you can see sales in units is up this year although the average prices of those units were obviously lower. That is good news and bad news depending on how you look at it.
Commercial sales in our area have historically been soft with a small number of transactions each year. The annual sales are up and down and there seems to really be no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes our commercial sales are up when the national economy is down and vice-versa.

Residential sales in the first half of 2014 included the sale of 143 homes for a total of $13,201,300.00. In contrast residential sales in the first half of this year included the sale of 161 homes for a total of $13,971,740.00. That is an increase in the number of houses sold of over 11% and an increase in sales dollars of 5.5%. We are slightly ahead of the national average this year which is an increase in sales of 5.1%. It is not much, but we should be happy to have that slight edge over the rest of the nation.

As for income-producing farms, there were no sales of any farms in the first half of 2014. So far in 2015 we have sold one income-producing farm for a sales price of $550,000.00. Sales of income-producing farms are few and far between and have been for more than ten years now. On the upside there have been several new chicken and turkey farms starting up in our county and in Arkansas these past few years. Chicken and turkey meat demand is still strong and cattle prices are at record levels. Local farmers are doing well!

In the first half of 2014 we sold two multi-family units for a total of $360,000.00. So far in January through June of 2015 we have sold one multi-family dwelling for $57,000.00. Multi-family rental units are not selling well now mainly because there are not that many for sale. The rental market is strong here in Johnson County although the competition is quite fierce. A large supply of rentals makes for a renters market where if someone shops around they can find a place with reasonable rent and terms.

When combining all areas of real estate sales the first six months of 2014 amounted to 198 units sold for a total of $18,139,626.00. The average transaction was for $91,614.00. The average time a listing spent on the market before selling was 219 days and on average the sales price amounted to 87% of the original list price. Comparatively in 2015 all areas of real estate sales combined so far also added up to 198 units sold for a total of $17,022,997.00, a little over a million dollars less than the 2014 sales totals for the same period. The average transaction so far in 2015 has been for $85,974.00, somewhat less than the 2014 number. The average time listings have spent on the market before selling so far this year have been 199 days and on average the sales price amounted to 79% of the original list price.
What can we glean from all of these numbers? I’d say we can say that homes sales are up and that more or less the rest of the real estate market is down. It is tough to say how it will play out these next six months and how the year-end sales numbers will end up though. I tend to believe that we will end the year ever so slightly ahead of last year barring some catastrophic national economic event.

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FEBRUARY 26, 2015

Federal Changes Coming to Closing Process
Starting in August, new forms from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will
replace the HUD-1 and Good Faith Estimate and change the way you close sales.
Now’s the time to become familiar with the new forms and rules so your closings
aren’t delayed. Watch this week’s edition of “The Voice for Real Estate” to
learn more.


Is Your Market Affordable?
Share this map to show customers which way your market’s housing affordability
is trending.

Audio: RESPA Compliance Tips
Protect your business: Listen for guidance on how to properly structure marketing agreements.

Protect Homes from Cold
Share this infographic to help owners protect their home from the dangerously deep

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free booklet of the best submissions AND a $50 coupon to use on products!


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Send us one of your best-performing text or email follow-up messages,
and you’ll earn a free booklet of the best submissions and a $50 coupon
to use toward products. Earn with MVP now.


Apartment Boom Likely to Stretch into 2016

ListHub Cuts Off Trulia

After Baby Boomers, What’s Next for Housing?

Bet on These Home Improvements in 2015

Move Inc. Ready to Take on Zillow-Trulia


How Much Can Buyers Afford?
How can buyers ensure their mortgage doesn’t overwhelm their budget?
By calculating their current and future lifestyle goals. Share free
tips from NAR’s REALTOR(R) Content Resource for determining how much
mortgage buyers can afford.

Audio: How to Prosper in 42 Days
Uncover a system to improve your bottom line and your life in this audio
recording from the 2014 REALTORS(R) Conference & Expo. This system
covers how to build a strong network, add memorable value to each
community you serve, build stronger relationships, and more.

Where Everybody Knows Her Name
Lisa Molinari is only a year into the real estate business. But she’s
spent her life learning everything there is to know about her town. See the results.

7 Mistakes You Make With Closing Gifts
You want to make a lasting impression on your client at the end of a
transaction. But it could be the wrong kind if you’re not paying

Maximize Garage Storage for Under $50


A Note of Caution About HOAs
Most horror stories about homeowners associations are rooted in the
owners’ misunderstanding of what they’re buying into.


Broker’s Free Speech Argument Rejected
A Nebraska federal court has upheld Nebraska’s attempt to enjoin a
California broker from listing Nebraska properties without a Nebraska
license. It ruled the state’s regulations didn’t violate the First
Amendment since the broker was offering brokerage services, not simply
advertising the properties.


One Day Left: Submit Speaking Proposal
You have just one more day to submit a proposal to speak at the 2015
REALTORS(R) Conference & Expo Nov. 13-16 in San Diego. Do it now.


10 Gadgets We’re Buzzing About
Check out some of the latest technology that could affect real estate
in a big way.

6 Easy Steps to Skyrocket Your Website
Building and maintaining a business website has never been easier or
cheaper. That means you’re out of excuses for not having a
high-performing hub for your online presence. Here’s how.


Conference: Southwest Residents Save
Do you qualify for the special southwest resident discount for the
2015 National Land Conference in Tucson, Ariz., March 23-25?
Residents of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah are
eligible. Get details now.


Listen Now: RESPA Marketing Webinar
Don’t miss valuable tips to keep your business safe from legal risk.
Check out this audio recording of NAR’s webinar covering how to stay
within the law on marketing and services and other agreements under the
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

FAA Proposes Commercial Drone Rule
The Federal Aviation Administration has begun the rule-making process
to address the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise
known as drones. Get details on what it’s proposing.

Give FEMA Feedback at Flood Hearings
Want to offer input on new flood rules? The Federal Emergency Management
Agency has scheduled four sessions in March throughout the country to
get feedback on the White House’s executive order governing new
construction or development in and affecting floodplains funded by the
federal government. Get details.


What to Look for in a Property Manager
Property management companies make it easy for professional landlords
and investors alike to own and manage rental properties. But it’s
important to choose the right one.


A real estate agent’s vehicle is an integral part of their business and that’s
why FCA US (formerly Chrysler Group, LLC), the official automobile manufacturer
of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(R), is offering NAR members AND immediate
family members a $500 cash allowance on the purchase or lease of select Chrysler,
Dodge, Jeep(R), Ram(R) and FIAT(R) models. Plus, NAR members receive 2 years
(8 changes) no-extra-charge oil changes. It’s time to close the deal on this
offer, so you can help your clients close the deal on their new homes.

zipLogix: Helping real estate professionals do more. So you can be more. Our
suite of products automates and simplifies the repetitive and complex steps
involved in real estate transactions. zipLogix is a proud partner in NAR’s
REALTOR Benefits(R) Program and an NAR strategic investment company.


March 10-13, 2015: MIPIM International Commercial Meeting
Take a big NAR-negotiated discount in registration fees for this Cannes, France,
commercial conference.

March 22-25: 2015 National Land Conference
Head to Tucson, Ariz., to network and hear the latest land news from the best in
the land business.

May 11-16, 2015: REALTORS(R) Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo
Start planning your days with the website for this must-attend meeting in
Washington, D.C.

Nov. 13-16, 2015: REALTORS(R) Conference & Expo
Make sure you save the dates for the big event in San Diego.


Take Action and Get Rewarded Thanks to NAR’s Member Value Plus (MVP) Program

The BPOR (Broker Price Opinion Resource) certification provides the knowledge
and skills to create professional and accurate BPOs along with the opportunity
to receive BPO orders as a preferred provider.

Take advantage of value-added offers and savings from over 30 industry leading
partners.  Visit for more information.


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