FRAR Association Newsletter - September 2017

President's Address
Greeting fellow Realtors!  Fall and football are back and the buying and selling season still seems to be moving right along.  As we move into the crisper air and upcoming Holiday season, we tend to reflect on the year, friends, family and career.  In the spirit of reflection, I wanted to share with you the State of The Association; where we began and where we are today.  To all of you, and to all of those who have served the Four Rivers Board in any form or fashion, Salute!

Merger Background:

The former NBCLAR, SMABOR & Seguin Board Leadership, with the strong support of member brokers, recognized increasing overlap of listings with neighboring associations and a loss of MLS subscribers in the outlying areas. Considering the growth of the service area combined with the threat of absorption by neighboring metropolitan associations, Leadership from all 3 Boards came together with an Industry Consultant to put together a progressive and decisive agreement to grow, protect and serve the collective Members and to:

  • maintain relevance within their respective communities,

  • strength in numbers and a unified voice in negotiations with the larger associations,

  • leverage the numbers into a Board that could no longer be "absorbed", by a neighboring Association and thereby maintaining relevance within their respective communities,

  • more member services and benefits.

The driving forces and benefits to Members still hold true today.

Forming a regional MLS:

During discussions with the brokers regarding the merger, the importance of a strong, better-leveraged association was clearly expressed. More importantly, our brokers emphasized their desire to have a regional MLS.

Discussions were initiated with area Associations (including Austin & San Antonio) to explore the formation of a regional MLS.  The primary benefits of membership being fewer MLSs Brokers had to join and increased MLS services and add-ons for all members.  

Ultimately FRAR, Temple-Belton (TBBOR) and Williamson County (WCOR) agreed on open regional MLS that was inclusive of smaller associations. The three original members determined an organizational structure to protect the MLS revenue for individual associations and allow access to the larger market area, using a superior product. CTXMLS continues to grow and offer increasing coverages.

CTXMLS continues to move forward with our broker's goals at the heart of our mission.

Future of the Association:

Unless the association dramatically changes its operations, FRAR will continue to rely on the MLS revenue generated from reselling the Central Texas MLS access. The success and growth of the Central Texas MLS will solidify the value of the product and facilitate discussions with neighboring associations regarding reducing the burden of multiple MLS subscriptions on our members. The success of the local association is tied to the members seeing the value in the local association and/or needing access to the MLS.

Since the creation of FRAR:

  1. The number of members has increased from 1057  to 1668.   An increase of 37%

  2. The NAR recognized service area has grown to 5 counties.  This allows Four Rivers to be relevant in many cities and counties as they expand and experience growing pains.  

  3. The scholarships awarded within our communities has grown from 3 to 12.  Making an impact on our high school graduates and ultimately their future.  This has been a goal for our Association since its inception.

  4. Four Rivers education classes have expanded from 61 classes with 633 participants to 80 classes with 1383 participants. An increase of 24%.  Providing Legal 1 and 2 and Broker Responsibility to members, free of charge annually, showing its commitment to the continuing education of our members. Partnership with Champions School of Real Estate offering pre-licensing courses and generating revenue for the Association. We have partnered with the CE Shop and Vanguard to offer online classes with discounts on the classes for FRAR members. Four Rivers continues to attract agents from other neighboring Associations because of our learning environment, comfortable facilities, ease of registration and quality of offerings.

  5. Four Rivers Board of Directors has demonstrated exceptional stewardship of the members' finances.  Within 4 years of completing construction at 936 Gruene, the original building construction loan has now been paid in full.  Your leadership is conservative with its financial decisions, always committed to the betterment of all members.  Contributions to Habitat for Humanity were made to three (3) area county Habitat groups and to Wimberley.

  6. Four Rivers embraces the involvement within our TAR Region 7 and the now Mega Regional meetings. Your leadership understands the benefit in relationships with other Associations located within a proximity.  Many of our government representatives transcend Association boundaries and necessitate a multi-Association approach to candidate support.

  7. Because Four Rivers is an expanded service area covering 5 counties, it's imperative that TREPAC dollars are raised to address the variety of property rights issues that are arising within our cities and counties due to rapid growth and government intervention. Four Rivers represents many cities, counties and school boards.  It is incumbent on our Association to support those government officials that support our values of homeownership and fairness of property taxes.

  8. Upgraded Supra Lockboxes to most recent technology incorporating Bluetooth and use of Ekey for Supra Access.

  9. Data Feeds are now FREE to our members and RESO Compliant!

  10. Added Centralized Showing Service (CSS) to simplify scheduling of showings.  Before implementation of CSS, appointments had to be scheduled with individual agents and offices.

  11. Entered into a reciprocal lock box agreement Austin BOR and maintained a reciprocal agreement with San Antonio BOR.  Thus, eliminating the need for some agents to put multiple lockboxes on listings and making it easier for FRAR agents to access Austin listings in neighboring areas.

  12. Actively provided aid to homeowners and REALTORS® affected by the floods in 2016 and secured contributions statewide to assist in the recovery.

  13. FRAR created the membership loyalty card that offers four 100.00 cash prizes and one year’s NAR/TAR and local dues paid

  14. The Builders Update Tool which provided members access to new builds and to be built properties in our region

  15. FRAR joined other boards across Texas in the Data Relevance project. Monthly market Infographics providing statistical information on each local market area monthly, quarterly and annually are published to the website and to Facebook.

  16. Replaced the website with enhanced features and more modern look.

  17. Partnering with VAREP to provide educate our members and veterans on available programs and assistance in the home buying process.

Warm Regards,
Monica Malorgio McNabb

2017 President, Four Rivers Association of REALTORS®
Scholarship Update with Keely Sonlitner

We are looking forward to this year’s Washer & Bunco Tournament Fundraiser.  Please join us for a fun evening of Washer, Bunco, silent auction, food, and drinks while also raising money for a good cause!  

When:    Thursday, October 12th, 5-8PM

*Washer tournament players MUST be there by 5:15 or they will not be able to participate in the tournament.  It is very important to have all participants there on time so that the tournament can begin on time.

Where:        Freiheit Country Store

Why:    To raise money for the Scholarship Committee, who is responsible for fundraising of designated scholarships given to graduating high school students.

Who:    Both FRAR members and non-members can attend the event, so please invite family, friends, and clients!

Cost:    $25 per person if you pre-register; $35 per person at the door; Price includes 2 drink tickets, food, and entry into EITHER the Washer Tournament OR Bunco Tournament.

Sponsorship Opportunities available:

Food Sponsor (includes 8 tickets to event): $500.00

Beverage Sponsor (includes 6 tickets to event): $400.00

Washer Sponsor (includes 4 tickets to event):  $350.00    

Title Sponsor (includes 4 tickets to event): $300.00

Bunco Sponsor (includes 2 tickets to event): Thank you New Braunfels Title!

Washer Board Sponsors (includes 1 ticket to event): $100.00*

*There are 5 Washer Board Sponsor opportunities available!

Commercial Corner with Peggy Jones
The Non-Disclosure Agreement, an opinion piece.
We often see Commercial listings require the purchaser’s Broker to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before the listing broker will release any information to the prospective buyer or their agent.  This article applies to Texas Broker’s doing business with other Texas Broker’s.  Since we are all licensed by the State and must adhere to standards of practice that include confidentiality of sensitive information, I wanted to find out why the NDA has become a standard.
The Unilateral agreement is one sided, whereby the receiver of the information must not disclose information. The Bilateral agreement maintains that both parties agree to protect all information given by the other. There is a more complicated Multilateral agreement for 3 or more parties who must all sign an agreement.
The NDA is often used to protect:
  • trade secrets
  • protection of pending patent information
  • disclosure of information preceding press releases
  • customer or vendor lists
  • business practices/strategies
  • financial information
When we are considering a real estate transaction, the NDA, it would seem, only applies to the company’s financial information and rent roll.
Some of the language in the NDA may include:
Upon full execution of this Agreement, Listing Broker will provide certain confidential information relative to the Property’s status, operation and terms of the sale (collectively “Marketing Information”) to the undersigned (“Prospective Purchaser”).
The Marketing Information contains brief, selected information pertaining to the business and affairs of the Property. It is not intended to be an offer for the sale of the Property. The Marketing Information is not purported to be all-inclusive or to contain all the information that a Prospective Purchaser may desire. Neither Seller nor Listing Broker make any representation or warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of this Package or its contents and no legal liability is assumed or implied with respect thereto.
 By your receipt of this Marketing Information, you agree that: its contents are confidential; you will hold and treat it in the strictest of confidence; you will not disclose or permit anyone else to disclose this material or its contents to any other entity without prior written authorization of the Listing Broker and Seller; you will not permit this material or its contents to be used in any fashion or manner detrimental to the interest of the Seller. Photocopying or other duplication is strictly prohibited. Prospective Purchaser agrees not to disturb any tenants in possession of the Property or employees affiliated with the Property, or to reveal to such tenants or employees that the Property is being offered for sale or any matters relating to the Marketing Information. If you do not wish to pursue or discontinue negotiations leading to this acquisition, you agree to return all Marketing Information previously delivered to you, if requested to do so.
(, 8/15/17)
At about 11 a.m., I signed the electronic agreement and received the following message: 
Thank you. Your response has been recorded and one of our advisors will be in touch with you shortly.
So, what does that get me?  Several days later, nothing.  There was no response from the broker and I received no information on the property.
It begs the question, why require an NDA from another broker?  The agreement requires that the information about the property given to the receiving broker cannot be divulged to anyone, including a prospective purchaser.  If the broker does not sign the agreement, but the qualified purchaser does, the purchaser is bound from discussing the property with their agent.  The only way that the NDA could be used effectively, is if both the Broker and the prospective buyer sign the agreement.  But, they are bound to maintain confidentiality.  This then would require that any lender who might be interested in financing, be required to sign the agreement prior to reviewing a loan request. Of further concern, it seems that a standard Commercial Contract for purchase does not relieve the obligation of secrecy.  Thus, other professionals are also prohibited from receiving information during feasibility unless they also sign the agreement, even after the property might be put under contract. 
After review of the benefits or deficiencies of a Non-Disclosure Agreement, it would seem the best interest of the client is better served by releasing information to prospective buyers using some degree of a vetting process but a legally binding document may ham-string the purchase process.  Any hindrance to obtaining the highest and best offer is not in the client’s best interest.
Member Feedback with Robbie English
The Four Rivers Association of REALTORS® has established a new email account for members to provide feedback to the Board of Directors as well as the Association Committees.  If you would like to comment, ask a question, or provide constructive feedback, please feel free to utilize this new email.
Programs Committee Update with Robbie English

September Membership Luncheon:

Joint luncheon with the Women's Council of REALTORS®


Date: September 19, 2017
Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Location:  Show map
425 N. Austin St.
Seguin TX, 78155
Instructor/Provider: FRAR
Contact: LaDawn Jackson
Phone: 8306256954

Thank you to our lunch sponsors: 

TLC Home Inspections

Texas Association of Professionals Federal Credit Union


As always we appreciate your support!

TREPAC Update with Keely Sonlitner

TREPAC will hold a Golf/Bunco Tournament and Silent Auction Fundraiser on October 19th.  The golf tournament will be held at Landa Park Golf Course with the bunco tournament and silent auction will be held at the Comal County Fairgrounds.  More details to follow.  This is a great opportunity to come and raise money for TREPAC!

There will also be a TREPAC Investor Recognition Event on September 19th.  The TREPAC committee is still putting together this wonderful event, but details will be emailed out soon!

Why is TREPAC important?  TREPAC supports candidates and elected officials at the local, state, and national level who have a demonstrated track record of protecting private-property rights, protecting the dream of home ownership for millions of Americans and supporting the strength of the real estate industry.  TREPAC’s many successes include advocating not only for property owners and real estate consumers but also preserving the health of the real estate industry and defending the earnings of real estate professionals.  Some highlights include:

  • 2007:    Prevented a property tax from being imposed on personal vehicles also used in the production of income.

  • 2009:    Defeating multiple proposals to tax real estate, including several bills requiring the creation of a tax on every deed recorded by the county clerk.

  • 2011:    Passed numerous HOA-reform bills that increase homeowners’ rights and promote more efficient, transparent and effective HOA management.

  • 2011:    Helped the Texas Real Estate Commission attain a self-directed, semi-independent status, insulating the agency from future state-mandated budget cuts and enabling TREC to better serve licensees and consumers.

  • 2015:    Required a super majority vote and notification on the taxing unit’s website before a local taxing jurisdiction may increase a property-tax rate.

  • 2015:    Passed a constitutional amendment to ban any tax on real estate transfers and increase the homestead exemption to $25,000 in one motion.

  • 2015:    Repealed a $300 fee that double-taxed brokers for their two year license.

  • 2015:    Revised the property appraisal process to ensure equal and uniform property valuation.

(Source: Texas Association of REALTORS® Website)

For more information about TREPAC you can visit OR

You can also join the TREPAC Committee or attend a TREPAC meeting held the Third Thursday of each month from 2:30-3:30pm.

Safety Tips with Cinderella von Hach
Watch for red flags and trust your gut 
Safety is a concern for people in all professions, particularly those that require workers to work one-on-one with prospective customers in the field. Whether holding open houses, showing homes, or attending listing appointments, real estate agents can be particularly vulnerable to criminals, as evidenced by the numerous media reports of crimes against licensees. “Anytime you’re alone with a potential criminal, you’re vulnerable,” says Nancy Hightshoe, a former police detective, professional speaker, and president of Nancy Hightshoe Seminars, Inc. in St. Louis. “REALTORS® are alone with strangers all the time—that’s the nature of their business.” And where criminals were once out to rob homes or the agents themselves of cash and valuables, some are taking the crimes to the next level by attacking, sexually assaulting, and even killing their victims. “Crimes, in general, are getting more violent,” says Hightshoe. Robert Siciliano, CEO of in Boston, says the faltering economy is also breeding more criminals. “Desperate times mean desperate measures, and ‘regular’ people end up committing crimes,” says Siciliano. “Combine that with the fact that real estate is a high-risk profession, and you really have to keep your head up and be aware of how vulnerable you are right now.”

Jeanette Armstrong, a REALTOR® with Keller Realty of Frisco, found that out a year ago when she received a phone call from a supposed cash buyer who was interested in $600,000-plus homes, but who wanted to see her $289,000 listing. “That was the first red flag,” says Armstrong. “The second was that he wanted to close in three weeks, but was vague about what he wanted in a home.” Not comfortable meeting the man alone, Armstrong brought her husband along on the appointment. She had also asked her team leader to meet the prospect in person at the office prior to the showing. The buyer refused to sign a buyer’s representation agreement or Information About Brokerage Services form (yet another red flag), and a nervous Armstrong neglected to get a copy of his driver’s license. For the showings, the prospect drove his own car, following Armstrong and her husband. He was “barely interested” in any of the new home builders that the REALTORS® introduced him to. “He acted like he couldn’t wait to get out of there,” recalls Armstrong, who has been licensed for eight years. “He then told me that he was meeting someone for dinner and that he’d call me tomorrow. He never called.” Looking back, Armstrong is relieved that she went with her gut instinct by protecting herself and bringing backup along on the showing appointments. “I don’t know what this buyer’s intentions were, but I know they weren’t to buy a home,” says Armstrong. “When we saw a shovel in the back of the rental truck he was driving, we knew that he could have been dangerous.” Knowing that she did everything she could to protect herself, Armstrong urges other agents to “trust their gut” and do what it takes to make sure they don’t go to showings, listing appointments, or open houses alone. “Whenever I work with a buyer who I haven’t met, I always have someone 

What would you do if …?
One of the best steps agents can take to protect themselves is to have a plan in place that addresses any scenarios that could take place, says Cheryl Watterson, president at Grainger, Indiana-based Personal Security Solutions. Think about what you would do if you found yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, says this self-defense expert, and then mentally walk through the steps you would take to get out of it safely. Watterson compares her 20-year stint in sales for a national alarm company to the work of a real estate agent. Both are out in the field most of the time and are exposed to a wide variety of people on a daily basis … sometimes under potentially unsafe circumstances. To make sure she wasn’t victimized while working at someone’s home, Watterson trained herself to watch how doors were shut and/or locked behind her, avoided basements when possible, maintained a safe distance from customers, surveyed her surroundings regularly, and knew what she was going to do if someone grabbed or attacked her.

Watterson also urges agents to follow Armstrong’s lead by always carrying pepper spray or mace, particularly when working alone in the field. A fully charged cell phone is equally as valuable, she says, as are self-defense classes and safety-awareness seminars. Siciliano says a little suspicion can also go a long way in keeping agents safe from harm. “Be suspect of everyone,” he says. “While there isn’t any benefit in being paranoid, being a little guarded can keep you from getting into a vulnerable situation.” And remember that criminals don’t always make their move on the first meeting (as Malone found out). “They like to gain your trust so you feel comfortable carrying cash and jewelry,” says Siciliano, “and then they decide it’s safe to move in.” 

A safe bet NAR recently held its fifth annual REALTOR® Safety Week to raise awareness about this important issue. You can find safety tips, articles, and videos online at www.Realtor.og/safety

Articles provided by Texas Association of Realtors
Government Affairs with Keely Sonlitner

Why should you join the Governmental Affairs Committee?

  • To gain knowledge of proposed regulations, ordinances, codes, and district expansions in your community, adding value to your clients by offering local market knowledge.

  • To have a voice in the endorsement of your local candidates, elections, bond elections, etc that will affect your community growth, development, and success.

  • To gain knowledge of proposed state legislation that may affect your client’s private property rights, property taxes, and the real estate industry.

The Governmental Affairs Committee is welcoming new members, specifically from Canyon Lake, New Braunfels, and Seguin communities, that are interested in expanding their knowledge of local governing bodies, elections, activities, and rules & regulations.  The GA Committee stays actively involved in all local and political races and reviews proposed regulations/rules within local governing bodies.

If you are interested in joining the Seguin subcommittee, please contact Melissa Trost at

If you are interested in joining the New Braunfels subcommittee please contact Mark Hampton at

If you are interested in joining the San Marcos subcommittee please contact Laura Dupont at

If you are interested in forming a Canyon Lake subcommittee, please contact one of the GA Committee co-chairs, Laura Dupont or Mark Hampton.

Education Spotlight
Look forward to meeting you at one of our great classes.  Please click the link below for the full calendar and updates. 
30 HR SAE- GRI Law
Date: September 11, 2017
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

30 HR SAE- GRI Law
Date: September 12, 2017
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Intro and Advanced Matrix Training
Date: September 15, 2017
Time: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

1 CE HR DPA & First-time Homebuyer Programs
Date: September 18, 2017
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

6 CE HR- Turbo charge: Maximize your CMA
Date: September 22, 2017
Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1 CE HR-1031 Exchanges Overview
Date: September 25, 2017
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

No CE- Great Information, Tax Strategies program
Date: September 28, 2017
Time: 10:00 am - 11:30 am

8 CE HR e-PRO Certification course - Day 1
Date: October 2, 2017
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm 3 CE HR Real Estate Safety Matters
Date: October 5, 2017
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

3 CE HR Conveying Pricing Concept to Sellers
Date: October 5, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

4 CE HR- Legal Update 1
Date: October 6, 2017
Time: 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

4 CE HR- Legal Update 2
Date: October 6, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

1 CE HR The Flood Water Blues
Date: October 10, 2017
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am 6 CE HR Broker Responsibility
Date: October 13, 2017
Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Intro to Matrix Training
Date: October 20, 2017
Time: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

3 CE HR Discovering Commercial Real estate
Date: October 27, 2017
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

8 CE HR Generating Buyer & Seller Leads
Date: October 30, 2017
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

8 CE HR Generation Buy
Date: October 31, 2017
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

16 CE HR Seller Representative Specialist Designation course
Date: November 13, 2017
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

16 CE HR Seller Representative Specialist Designation course
Date: November 14, 2017
Time: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Sign Up for Education Classes
Thank you to the Communications Committee for their hard work and dedication in creating this newsletter issue.

Copyright © 2017, Four Rivers Association of REALTORS®, All rights reserved.
Headquarters: 936 Gruene Road, New Braunfels, TX 78130
Satellite Office: 1628 Aquarena Springs Dr, San Marcos, TX 78666
Contributions to the Texas Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee (TREPAC), the Texas Association of REALTORS® Federal Political Action Committee (TAR FedPAC), and the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. Contributions to TREPAC, TAR FedPAC, and RPAC are voluntary and may be used for political purposes. The amount indicated is merely a guideline, and you may contribute more or less than the suggested amount. The Association will not favor or disadvantage anyone by reason of the amount of their contribution, and you may refuse to contribute without reprisal by the Association. Your contribution is split between TREPAC and TAR FedPAC. Contact the TREPAC administrator at 800.873.9155 for information about the percentages of your contribution provided to TREPAC and to TAR FedPAC. The TAR FedPAC portion is used to support federal candidates—via contributions by TAR FedPAC to RPAC—and is charged against your limits under 52 U.S.C. § 30116.

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