Confused About the Core Course?

Written by Walter Boomsma, instructor. See his blog.

door_decision_pc_400_clr_2583-300x218The Maine Real Estate Commission recently introduced a new core course. Well, more accurately, TWO new core courses. This means a lot more options for licensees but it also means a lot more potential confusion.

Let’s start with the basics. Most know that 21 hours of continuing education are required to renew a real estate license and those 21 hours must include a core course.  The confusion often comes about when there is more than one core course being offered. This newest release means that for a few months, there will actually be three core courses available. Which one do you take?

The answer lies in knowing when your license expires and what type of license you will be renewing. If your license expires on or after April 1, 2015:

  • If you are renewing an Associate Broker or Broker License, you’ll need to take the Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers – I.”
  • If you are renewing a Designated Broker License, you’ll need to take the “Core Course for Designated Brokers – I.”

It’s really that simple–on or after April 1. Just understand, the course required is based on the license you hold. Designated Brokers must take the Designated Broker Course. If you are a Designated Broker, taking the course for Brokers and Associate Brokers will not satisfy renewal requirements. Likewise, Brokers and Associate Brokers must take the Broker and Associated Broker Course. Taking the course for Designated Brokers will not satisfy renewal requirements.

It may well be that the best approach is to take both courses! You’ll still get three hours of credit for the course that isn’t required. For example, a Designated Broker must take the “Core Course for Designated Brokers – I” and would earn three credit hours.  That Designated Broker could then take the “Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers – I” and earn three credit hours for a total of six towards the requirement of 21.

What if your license expires before April 1, 2015? In an attempt to keep it simple, all that happens is you have one more option and this third option is the same for all licenses.

The two courses already mentioned work the same–you would take one of those two courses based on what license you are renewing. All licenses have a third option of taking theWorking With Buyers – What Have We Agreed To? Core Course”

In other words, if your current license expires before April 1, 2015, here’s how you could meet the core course requirement:

If you are an Associate Broker or Broker:

  • Take either the Working With Buyers – What Have We Agreed To? Core Course” or Core Course for Brokers and Associate Brokers – I”

If you are a Designated Broker:

  • Take either  Working With Buyers – What Have We Agreed To? Core Course”  or Core Course for Designated Brokers – I”

On or after April 1, 2015 the “Working with Buyers” course will NOT satisfy the core course renewal requirement.

This really sounds harder than it is, but you do need to be certain you “get it right.”

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Mr. Boomsma, Walter, or Professor Boomsma?

Written by Walter Boomsma, instructor. See his blog.

Husson UniversityWhen I sub at school, the kids are required to call me Mr. Boomsma. Most comply, although it’s not at all unusual for the kindergarteners to call me “Mrs. Boomsma.” The idea of a man teaching kindergarten is still a bit alien to most five-year olds.

You won’t have to call me “Professor Boomsma” but thanks to a collaboration between the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate and Husson University’s Center for Family Business, I’ll soon be teaching a Sales Agent Course at Husson that makes it possible for students to receive 3 hours of credit for a Business elective, PL 201 Real Estate Law, Paralegal elective or Open elective through Portfolio Assessment.

The course begins on May 27th, so you’ll need to act fast! You’ll find more information available on the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate website or by calling the school at 856-1712. To inquire about Portfolio Assessment to obtain credit for the course, please contact Marie Hansen, Dean of the College of Business, hansenm@husson.edu.

The course begins on Tuesday evening, May 27th from 6 PM until 9:30 PM, then meets for three weekends–Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM until 5 PM. The final exam takes place on Tuesday, June 17 from 6 PM until 9:30 PM. Students are required to attend at least 90% of the scheduled class hours and achieve a passing course grade of at least 75%  in order to qualify to take the required state exam prior to licensing.

The Sales Agent Course starting on May 27th is the regular/normal/usual course and should be taken by anyone interested in becoming licensed. It is not just for those seeking college credit. This is the usual course with an added option for college credit from Husson.

Am I A Criminal?

Written by Walter Boomsma, instructor. See his blog.

 

For real estate licensees, this question arises at least several times. The application for a license is the same for sales agents, associate brokers, and brokers. Very close to the top you must decide:


CRIMINAL BACKGROUND DISCLOSURE
NOTE: Failure to disclose criminal convictions may result in denial, fines, suspension and/or revocation of a license.

1. Have you ever been convicted by any court of any crime?


And there are only two possible answers: “Yes” or “No.” There is no option “I’m not sure.” Given the warning that “Failure to disclose criminal convictions may result in denial, fines, suspension and/or revocation of a license,” you probably would like to get this right. (A similar question applies when renewing a license or applying for an agency license.)

The second time this arises is not a fixed event, but falls under Title 32 §13195 (that would be page 13 in the Maine Real Estate Law and Rule Handbook published by Abbot Village Press): “…criminal convictions… must be reported to the director no later than 10 days after…” In what will at first seem plain language, if you are convicted of (not arrested for) a crime, you have ten (10) days to so inform the Maine Real Estate Commission. As with most legal questions, the answer is not always a s straight-forward as one might think.

law_book_and_gavelThere are some not so obvious cases that most people wouldn’t consider a crime. In a recent consent agreement a licensee agreed to a fine for failing to disclose a criminal conviction within ten days. His crime was “operating an unregistered motor vehicle.”

If you are surprised by this, raise your hand. I thought so. Since I was also I did a little research and found that there really isn’t a clear definition of which motor vehicle violations are considered criminal. The two answers I received that made some sense are:

  1. Consult an attorney.
  2. It should indicate whether or not it’s considered criminal on the actual ticket.

Bear in mind this also is not limited to traffic violations–there are fish and wildlife violations that may also be considered criminal offenses.

But there’s good news. We can make this complicated topic very easy. If you run afoul of any law and are found guilty (convicted), you don’t have to figure out whether or not it’s a criminal case, you can just report it. I suppose parking tickets might be an exception… but what I found in my research is that almost any violation can rise to the level of a criminal offense.

Understand I’m not providing legal advice, just being practical. Every so often I will cover Title 32 §13195 in a licensing class and see a deer in the headlights look accompanied by an “uh oh.” We have to remember that our licenses are privileges and that privilege is easily endangered when there is a “change in the conditions or qualifications set forth in the original application” that we fail to report. Remember, we’re not just talking about “bad” things–a change of address qualifies.

Some of the basic changes can be completed online at the Maine Real Estate Commission website. Some require the completion of a form and payment of a fee. Others (such as criminal convictions) can be accomplished by sending an email, letter or fax – if available, the notification should include the judgment and commitment document or decision/consent agreement for professional discipline. Be sure to keep a copy in your file–probably with your Continuing Education Credits!

Much like the wisdom we apply to property disclosures, “when in doubt, disclose.” Getting convicted for operating an unregistered motor vehicle doesn’t mean you’ll be disciplined by the Maine Real Estate Commission. Failing to tell them it happened could.

REEA Spotlight Member

The December 26, 2013 Spotlight Member of the Real Estate Educator’s Association (REEA) website is Arthur R. Gary! See their front page announcement here, where Arthur’s photo and profile will be featured for the day.

Beware Of Zombie Property Titles

Article from Your Realty Insider.

 

HHouseWith the economic downturn, anyone dealing in real estate quickly became familiar with previously little-known terms such as foreclosure and short sale. Now that the housing market is picking back up and people are moving on, a new term is coming to light – zombie titles.

The Zombie Title
This is when a home has been vacated because the owners defaulted on their loan and their bank started the foreclosure process. However, for some reason or another the bank never completed the foreclosure and sold the home. So, when the city starts fining someone for the overgrown grass and dilapidated structure, the homeowner who thought they were finished with the property gets the bill.

A Home That Keeps Haunting
Homeowners think they don’t own the property any longer and therefore try to move on by rebuilding their credit score and finding a new place to live. It can be a rude awakening to find out that not only do they still own a home they could have been living in, but also its long vacancy has caused it to fall into disrepair.

It’s Spooking The Neighborhood
These vacant homes can decrease the value of a neighborhood. If the bank or the unsuspecting homeowner are neither one taking care of the property, then it can become overgrown and an eyesore on the block. It becomes a problem with no solution because the owner won’t want to invest any money in fixing up the property when the bank could come back with the foreclosure at any time.

Nail Shut The Foreclosure Coffin
Homeowners who have foreclosed on a home should double check that their bank actually followed through to closing on a sale. They could contact their lender or check public property records just to make sure. Otherwise, they could be haunted by their housing nightmare all over again. Don’t let the zombie title of a past property haunt your future! Check with your bank to make sure you’re free and clear of your foreclosure. If you’d like more information on zombie titles or have other questions about local real estate, please contact your trusted real estate professional.

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Delayed Start for Broker Course

Written by Walter Boomsma, instructor. See his blog.MH900439339

The Broker class scheduled to start on September 11 has been delayed and will now begin on October 9th… It’s a Wednesday class that will qualify you for a broker’s license. In other words, you do not have to  want to be a designated broker to benefit from this course! In addition to going into far greater detail on familiar topics; this course adds some topics not covered in other qualifying education courses such as sales agent and associate broker.

One very important one is “negotiation” — you’ll see the value and benefits of using principled negotiation over positional bargaining. And the topic of “ethics” will certainly make you think. You’ll also benefit from exploring some basic training techniques and consider the role of policy in building your business as an individual as well as a company.

But wait, there’s more! How about “risk management” strategies? Are they ways to minimize your exposure to complaints and law suits?

If you’ve held a broker’s license for a while, you might also consider re-taking the course as a refresher and to see how much things have changed since you were licensed. As a reward for doing so, you’ll receive 18 hours of continuing education credit! (You’ll still need to take the current core course to meet the full CE requirements.)

You can register for the course by calling  207 856-1712 or visiting the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate website.

Everything You Need to Know to Defer Taxes

Written by Patty Flowers. Patty Flowers is AVP for Investment Property Exchange Services (IPX1031®) and a Certified Exchange Specialist®. See her website

As we roll into the summer, it’s refreshing to see continuing economic improvement mirroring the growth of income property sales and 1031 Exchanges. However, the excitement of an increased property sale value can be quickly diminished with unexpected taxes. Many real estate investors are surprised to learn that taxes on their profits are substantially higher this year. When investment real estate is sold in 2013, some taxpayers could pay up to 20% capital gains tax, a 3.8% healthcare tax, depreciation recapture tax and varying state imposed taxes. Added together, these taxes can total anywhere between 30-40%, making 1031 Exchanges an invaluable wealth preservation tool.

Tax deferral is the hot topic in the real estate community and a 1031 Exchange still allows taxpayers to defer all of these taxes by simply rolling their profits into another property or properties. While the concept of a 1031 Exchange is straightforward, some investors and advisors may not have participated in a transaction for many years and may need to be updated on how to properly execute a 1031 Exchange.

Know your options and make informed decisions for your next 1031 Exchange transaction. Register today for IPX’s two complimentary webinars!

A 1031 Exchange Introduction and Refresher Webinar

This webinar will be held on June 12th and will provide a comprehensive foundation of 1031 Exchange information. Learn the basic rules and regulations and how to apply these to your transaction for maximum benefits.

Click here to register for the June 12th webinar

Advanced 1031 Exchange Issues Webinar

This webinar will be held on June 19th and will discuss the most recent changes in tax deferred exchanges and will cover topics such as reverse exchanges, build-to-suit exchanges, using seller financing in a 1031 transaction, and related party issues.

Click here to register for the June 19th webinar

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