REALTORS® gathered virtually to inspire, inform, and celebrate accomplishments together at the 2021 Texas REALTORS® Winter Meeting, February 16-18.
The event drew 2,241 registrants, many facing significant challenges during Winter Storm Uri. The panels and sessions will remain available at texasrealestate.com/wintermeeting.
“We move into 2021 still geographically and socially distanced. However, we continue to move towards goals that help our members and their clients succeed,” said 2021 Chairman Marvin Jolly at the beginning of the opening session.
Executive coach and former NBA player Walter Bond gave a keynote address that encouraged REALTORS® to build relationships and seize opportunities. Being committed to the result, and not the strategy, allows for pivoting to more successful strategies.
“Adversity will increase our value if we let it. I don’t care where you go. I don’t care how you study. Anytime you see someone who did something great, already know they went through adversity,” Bond said.
Shad Bogany of the Houston Association of REALTORS® was named 2020 Texas REALTOR® of the Year. The 2013 Texas REALTORS® chairman’s positive influence on real estate includes educating audiences through TV and radio; industry leadership at the local, state, and national levels; and civic participation on housing issues.
“My goal has always been to give back to the real estate industry by being a vessel, a gateway to the American Dream of homeownership,” he said in his acceptance speech. “Real estate is not just a career or a job for me. It is part of my everyday life.”
The following award winners were recognized: William C. Jennings Award for commercial transaction of the year: Alison Blalock of the Lubbock Association of REALTORS®; Educator of the Year: Candace Cooke of the Williamson County Association of REALTORS®; Tom D. Morton Award for association executives: Connie Coots of the Odessa Board of REALTORS®; Texas REALTORS® Good Neighbor Award: Sydney Ealy of the Houston Association of REALTORS®; Texas REALTORS® Grassroots Advocate of the Year: Lee Overstreet of the Granbury Association of REALTORS®; Mark Lehman Governmental Affairs Achievement Award: Austin Board of REALTORS®; Education Program of the Year – Innovation: Houston Association of REALTORS®; Education Program of the Year – Marketing: Houston Association of REALTORS®; Education Program of the Year – Series or Short Program: MetroTex Association of REALTORS®; Education Program of the Year – Legal: MetroTex Association of REALTORS®.
Regional vice presidents heard member feedback and offered updates during caucus meetings February 16.
The Texas REALTORS® Board of Directors met February 18. They approved the election of 2022 regional vice presidents:
Region 1: Vanessa Dirks, Lubbock; Region 3: Tim Schoendorf, Denton; Region 3: J.R. Martinez, Greater Fort Worth; Region 4: David Long, Collin County; Region 4: Nick Kline, Collin County; Region 8: Jack Stapleton, Williamson County; Region 10: Gail Robinson, Brazoria County; Region 11: Carl Leatherman, Harlingen; Region 12: Cathy Mitchell,MetroTex; Region 12: Judy Jones, MetroTex; Region 12: Taylor Walcik, MetroTex; Region 13: Jan Hicinbothom, San Antonio; Region 13: Grant Lopez, San Antonio; Region 13: Sara Briseño Gerrish, San Antonio; Region 13: Marquis Williams, San Antonio; Region 14: Mario Arriaga,Houston; Region 14: Chaille Ralph, Houston; Region 14: Richard Miranda, Houston; Region 14: Cathy Trevino, Houston; Region 14: DeLora Wilkinson, Houston; Region 14: Shae Cottar, Houston; Region 14: Cindy Hamann, Houston; Region 14: Lorraine Abercrombie, Houston; Region 15: Teresa Scott-Tibbs, Austin; Region 15: Susie Kang, Austin; Region 15: David Pruitt, Austin; and Region 16: Andrew Haggerty, Greater El Paso.
NAR president-elect Leslie Rouda Smith updated the directors on REALTOR® priorities that were included in federal COVID-19 relief in December. Those included $25 billion in rental assistance, a fresh round of funding and simplified forgiveness for U.S. Small Business Administration loans, and more direct payments to Americans. She also described advocacy goals: additional relief, tax incentives for homeownership, construction of affordable housing, preserving Section 1031 like-kind exchanges, and a more inclusive national housing policy.
The board also approved the election of the 2022 Texas REALTORS® Leadership Team: Chairman Russell Berry, Chairman-Elect Marcus Phipps, and Secretary/Treasurer David Alan Cox.
The Governmental Affairs Forum, “Advocacy in Action,” featured Jolly interviewing Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar about the Texas economy. Hegar said while the COVID-19 pandemic and lower oil and gas prices impacted Texas significantly, sales tax revenue has lessened the impact of the economic downturn. Hegar also discussed the state’s budgetary shortfall, the Economic Stabilization Fund, and pensions.
“The Texas economy still has a way to go to get back to pre-pandemic levels; however, it’s held up better, thankfully, partly because of you and I, the consumers, adapting to try to continue to engage with the economy,” he said.
Texas Rep. Cody Harris and Kristy Wages, Region 5 appointee to the Political Involvement Committee, talked about the two-way street between legislators and advocates.
Governmental affairs leaders discussed firsthand experiences with local, state, and national political advocacy. Shannon McGahn, NAR chief advocacy officer; Tray Bates, Texas REALTORS® vice president of governmental affairs; and Adam Majorie, Collin County Association of REALTORS® chief advocacy officer talked about how REALTORS® can get involved.
The YPN and Global, Commercial, and Diversity Committees examined increasingly diverse consumers, millennial homebuyers, the rise of global climate-conscious investing, and how commercial development can create inclusive communities across Texas. “A Common Thread” featured 2021 Diversity Committee Chairman Chauncey Pham, 2020 Diversity Chairman Sara Briseño Gerrish, 2021 Global Committee member Bahman Davani, 2021 Commercial Committee Vice Chairman Amber Gilbert, 2019 Commercial Committee Chairman Kenny Gross, 2019 YPN Committee Chairman Nick Kline, 2021 Global Committee Chairman Brenda Taylor, and 2020 YPN Committee member Cameron Willmann.
“Contract Issues Old and New, Especially New!” was moderated by Risk Reduction Committee Chairman Cathy Trevino. TREC General Counsel Vanessa Burgess, TREC Deputy General Counsel Abby Lee, Allegiance Title Company CEO Dawn Moore, and Texas REALTOR® member Rob Cook discussed contract changes, including delivering the termination option fee to the title company, the residential lease addendum, and the residential fixture addendum. They also talked about multiple offers and backup contracts.
During the Tech/MLS Forum, “What’s Ahead for the Real Estate Business and its Practice,” NAR Senior Counsel Charlie Lee and NAR Director of MLS Engagement Rene Galicia talked about the recent U.S. Department of Justice settlement and MLS rules. Lee said no actions are required at this time pursuant to the settlement; NAR and the DOJ are finalizing the language of future changes, which must be filed and submitted for approval. Galicia discussed other MLS rules that took effect at the beginning of the year.
WAV Group Managing Partner Marilyn Wilson led “How Mergers Are Shaping the Real Estate Industry.” She discussed companies’ greater interest in referrals and data and the impact of Facebook Marketplace, among other topics.
TREPAC celebrated the year’s accomplishments with “TREPAC Together: 2020 Awards and Recognition Program.” Leaders reported raising $5.16 million in 2020. TREPAC counted 152 Hall of Fame members, 129 President’s Circle members, and 1,036 major investors.
Special recognition went to Mike Brodie, $200,000 RPAC Hall of Fame tier, and Mary Francis Burleson, $225,000 RPAC Hall of Fame tier. Brodie and Burleson are the two largest investors in the U.S.
“I believe that when you’re in business and you care about what you do, that you put your money and your time where your mouth is,” Burleson said.
A special guest, Texas Sen. Cesar Blanco, said COVID-19 relief and recovery, the biennial budget including public school financing, and redistricting would be major issues for the 87th Legislature.