2011-02-09, Jim Parks and Harry Hansen, Let's Talk About Real Estate

President Richelle Ponder called the meeting to order.  Barbara Rose Farber asked for a moment of silence to remember Jared Szalay, Frank’s son and Elaine’s grandson, who unexpectedly passed on January 31, then gave the invocation.  After President Richelle led the Pledge of Allegiance, Ross Ramsey led the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”   After singing “Happy Birthday” for our eight Rotarians with February birthdays, we had the chance to visit with everyone there, including mystery greeter Harry Hansen. 

President Richelle introduced a number of Rotarians to introduce their guests.  February student guests were also introduced.  Mel Parish presented flutist (or maybe flautist) James Blanchard from Oñate High; James performs in several ensembles, including the El Paso Symphony.  Charlie Yaryan introduced Ginger Franco from Las Cruces High, where she is in several honors classes, show choir and cross country; she introduced her parents, who attended the meeting as well.  Keith Houser told us that Amber Lalla from Mayfield High wants to be a doctor; she is in the MHS Key Club and National Honor Society.  Harry Hansen introduced Riley Rice from Mesilla Valley Christian School, where she participates in volleyball and basketball.  Riley plans to study accounting (naturally, with two CPA parents) and biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona. 

Happy dollars came from Rick Jackson, happy to have a healthy new granddaughter; Barbara Rose Farber, newly on the Las Cruces Symphony Association board; and Earl Phillips, happy the Sun-News ran the story and pictures on last month’s students. 

The Program

February program chair Blaine Goss led a discussion about “What’s Up in Real Estate” with Jim Parks and Harry Hansen.  Blaine had several questions for them.  First, “What has changed in the industry over your career?”  Jim, who started his second career in real estate in 1985 as a Realtor, believes that technology has brought big changes.  The Internet and instant listings have replaced the printed MLS, cell phones have brought mobility, and consumers are much better informed, with access to much more data on the Internet.  Harry, who has been doing real estate appraisals since 1968, when he started working with Socolofsky and Steinborn, noted that regulatory oversight of appraisals has gone from non-existent to significant, that the online tools available (the virtual trip to the courthouse) have saved much time, and that the clientele of appraisers has changed from being builders, developers and realtors, to being primarily lenders. 

Jim Parks & Blaine GossBlaine’s second question was “What does the public misunderstand about what you do?”  Jim gave two answers: first, buyers often don’t realize that sellers pay the commissions for realtors, and, second, just how much work Realtors do.  He noted the recent regulations concerning lead-based paint, mold and radon as things with which Realtors assist buyers and sellers, along with contracts, appraisals, inspections, lenders and title companies.  Closing documents for a typical sale range from 65 pages for a local lender, to over 100 pages for a loan from an out-of-town bank.  Harry noted than many people don’t realize the roles and responsibilities of the many people and companies involved in a real estate transaction:  seller, buyer, lender, surveyor, appraiser, various home inspectors, title insurers, and title companies, among others. Harry Hansen

As time was beginning to run short, Blaine opened up for questions from the floor.  Bob McPherson asked about radon; Jim said that was not a very common issue here, except in areas near the mountains.  Barbara Andrew asked why Realtors did not charge up front for services; Jim responded that it is not permitted by law.  Charlie Yaryan asked how our local market is holding up compared to others in the southwest, such as Phoenix or Las Vegas; Harry said we had experienced some loss of appraised value, but not like Las Vegas, and noted that until you sell the property, there is no “loss.”  Mary Ellen asked about a website called “Zillow” that provides real estate values; Elaine Szalay responded that they have misrepresented property values, and have not been very responsive to resulting complaints.  Finally, Jim noted that more sophisticated customers still want a personal touch from a Realtor; he noted a survey that found in 2000, 69% of buyers used a Realtor, while the same survey in 2010 found that 82% used Realtors. 

After the Program

Bill Harty won the 50/50 drawing before President Richelle led the Four Way Test and adjourned the meeting. 

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians

Guest    Host
June Briggs Dinus Briggs
Jim Berry Barbara Nelson
Alice Franco Club
Joe Franco Club
Don Padgett Gary Lenzo
Jennifer Taylor Andrew Taylor

Visiting Rotarians

Rotarian Home Club
Phyllis Denton Dillon, Montana

Student Guests

Student School
Ginger Franco Las Cruces
Amber Lalla Mayfield
James Blanchard Oñate
Riley Rice Mesilla Valley Christian


Rotarian Date Club
Dinus Briggs 1/25 Brookings, SD
Kim Hakes 1/19 Rio Grande
David Hansen 1/19 Rio Grande
Elaine Szalay 2/2 and 2/8 Rio Grande

Submitted by Bill Harty Bill Harty