Actor, author, and speaker Mark J. Lindquist opens Winter Meeting
The Opening Session of the 2018 Winter Meeting on Friday was filled with energy by motivational speaker Mark J. Lindquist. Author of Passion! 8 Steps to Find Yours, Lindquist said surveys have shown that fewer than 20% of people are passionate about what they do. He exhorted the crowd to reignite their passion for what they do and led them through his eight-step process to do it, with a focus on getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. “Somebody is going to do everything on your bucket list,” Lindquist said, “And it might as well be you.”

2017 Texas REALTOR® award winners announced
At the STARs Reception on Monday night, Dan Hatfield of Comfort was awarded the REALTOR® of the Year. Other awards announced during Winter Meeting include:

  • William C. Jennings Award for Commercial Transaction of the Year: Heather Konopka-Chaves of the North Texas Commercial Association of REALTORS®
  • Tom D. Morton Award for Association Executive of the Year: Ed Moore of the Greater Tyler Association of REALTORS®
  • Texas REALTOR® Hero Award: Angela Williams of the Lufkin Association of REALTORS®
  • Educator of the Year: Mary Miner of the Williamson County Association of REALTORS®
  • Legal Program of the Year: MetroTex Association of REALTORS® for “Course Feud”
  • Innovative Program of the Year: Houston Association of REALTORS® for “Moving to Matrix”
  • Marketing Program of the Year: Austin Board of REALTORS® for “Social Media: Branding and Lead Generation”
  • Series or Short Program of the Year: Houston Association of REALTORS® for “Certified Strategic Marketing Specialist”

How Texas real estate is changing
During Saturday’s Public Policy Forum, attendees learned from William Mellor of Angelou Economics how the federal tax reform bill will impact Texas homeowners. See the full report at Texas REALTORS® also heard from Lila Valencia of the Texas Demographic Center, who shared demographic trends related to Texas real estate, such as state-to-state migration, aging populations, and household income. Click here to download the presentation.

Updates from the Governmental Affairs Forum
On Sunday, Congressman Kevin Brady, who serves as chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, opened the Governmental Affairs Forum. Brady explained how several tax incentives for real estate consumers were preserved during the federal tax reform debate.

With early voting for the March 6 primary election only days away, Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project, moderated a panel featuring Democratic strategist James Aldrete and Republican strategist Leslie Pardue, who offered their insights on state-level races to watch.

Keynote speaker Kayleigh McEnany, author of The New American Revolution: The Making of a Populist Movement, shared stories from her experience writing about the local impact of politics.

Recognizing grassroots advocates
TAR also honored several Texas REALTORS® and local associations for their dedication to fundraising, grassroots advocacy, and engagement in local initiatives:

    • Governmental Affairs Outstanding Achievement Award: San Antonio Board of REALTORS®
    • Strike Force Award (recognizing dedication to grassroots political activity):
      • Liz Braden, San Antonio Board of REALTORS®
      • Bobbi Hannon, Kingsville Area Association of REALTORS®
      • Mel Harris, Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS®
      • Tena Kirkham, Bee County Board of REALTORS®
      • JR Martinez, Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS®
      • Scott Morgan, Nolan County Association of REALTORS®
      • Toni Gill, Nolan County Association of REALTORS®
      • Kendra Norwood, MetroTex Association of REALTORS®
      • Barbara Russell, Greater Denton-Wise County Association of REALTORS®
    • Grassroots Advocate of the Year: Mel Harris, Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS®

Forums and Speakers Deliver Insights to Texas REALTORS®
Texas REALTORS® who attended Winter Meeting had the opportunity to attend numerous informative and engaging meetings, forums, panels, and courses.

At the International Forum, immigration attorney Brent Huddleston explained the impact of immigration status on property transactions. Huddleston gave an overview of different visa types, including EB-5 investor visas that were the subject of questions from Texas REALTORS® in attendance. He also advised that recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or Dreamers, should designate power of attorney to a person with legal status in the country to handle any property transactions should they be deported.

Charlies Gilliland of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and Manfred Sternberg of Manfred Sternberg & Associates gave a presentation on the future of crowdfunding for real estate, how it works, and how REALTORS® can incorporate it into their businesses.

At the Technology/MLS Forum, TrustStamp CEO and Co-Founder Andrew Gowasack spoke about the impact of biometrics on the real estate industry, including how his company works to verify identities and what tools it’s making available for REALTORS® in the future.

Texas REALTORS® had multiple opportunities to learn more about cybercrime threats and how to protect themselves. Instructor Craig Grant taught a course on how not to let technology ruin your businesses, and FBI agents led a meeting on how to protect yourself from cyber-threats.

New officers, industry updates, and special recognitions at the Board of Directors Meeting

  • NAR First Vice President Vince Malta spoke about the national association’s four areas of focus—increase professionalism, increase political advocacy, better manage real estate data, keep REALTORS® essential to the consumer.
  • Economist Jim Gaines from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University said that the economic momentum in the state will continue and that real estate sales in Texas are expected to set another record in 2018.
  • CEO Travis Kessler recognized the four newest RCE designees from Texas: Robert Gleason, Greater Fort Worth; Adam Majorie, Collin County; Andrea Pennington, TAR; Richard Throop, Corpus Christi. Read more about these four and the RCE designation.
  • Rich Thomas, retiring CEO of the MetroTex Association of REALTORS®, was honored for his 23 years of service to the REALTOR® organization.
  • The board approved the 2019 officers of the Texas REALTORS®: Secretary/Treasurer Marvin Jolly, Chairman-elect Cindi Bulla, Chairman Tray Bates, and Immediate Past Chairman Kaki Lybbert.