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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW -- Rising to the Challenge

“Rising to the Challenge” is the theme selected this year by President John Myers, exemplifying his belief in the importance of an involved membership committed to addressing challenges through service on committees, as committee chairs, and as officers and directors.

We began the year looking at market influences that impact availability and affordability of housing, and the use of our data by outside forces. We contributed to the Dayton/Miami Valley Tornado Relief Fund and to help with the Opioid crisis have partnered with OAR to provide drug deactivation bags, free of charge.

We also launched the Homesnap App, an industry-endorsed platform that leverages real time data; hosted our first ever Real Estate Exchange, a revamped version of Sales Associates Day, turned on our online new member orientation class; and kicked off our commitment to sustainability.

In addition, REALTOR® Care Day turned 15, and a record number of members, family and friends came out in support of our annual day of service. We continued to experience robust real estate sales activity; and participated in a wide variety of programming that were planned and implemented by Columbus REALTORS® leadership and the 35-member committees.

Due to space limitations, we can’t list all the accomplishments that took place this year, but we can share some of the highlights:

As of this printing, Columbus REALTORS® membership was 8,293 (8,216 same time, last year), which includes 613 new members (710 last year). Columbus REALTORS® is the largest Association in Ohio and ranks 42nd in size in the National Association of REALTORS® (of 1,128 local Boards/Associations.)

Columbus was a hot market in 2019! Ranked in the top 10 housing markets since 2017, Columbus was named #1 hottest housing market in March by based on home listing activity and days on the market.

Demand outpaced supply throughout the year. As a result, homes were selling quickly. During the month of September 2019, homes selling for $350,000 or less took about 26 days to sell and homes selling for $350,000 to $500,000 took about 42 days to sell. Homes in the $500,000 to $700,000 price range sold in an average of 59 days and homes that sold for over $700,000 were on the market for an average of 86 days.

The average sale price as of 9/30/19 was $242,986 (compared to $229,330 last year). Freddie Mac reported that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate in September 2019 was 3.61 percent.

The Leadership Academy, established in 2011, has become one of the Association’s premier programs. REALTORS® participating in this program complete an in-depth nine-month curriculum designed to develop their expertise in business, public speaking, leadership, government, outreach and, of course, the real estate industry. Candidates go through a nine- month program, with a mandatory session every month, beginning in September and commencing with graduation in May of the following year.

Following are the graduates of our class of 2018-2019:  Diane Cheatham, Coldwell Banker King Thompson; Sue French, RE/MAX Impact; Justin Gwinn, e-Merge Real Estate; Joe Herban, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Plus Realty; Denisa Hiles, RE/MAX Connection; Ann Otte Hunger, Keller Williams Greater Columbus; Philip “Tony” Macaluso, Coldwell Banker King Thompson; Meghan Martin, Keller Williams Capital Partners; Jeff Osborn, Keller Williams Consultants; Travis Shaw, HER, Realtors® and Karen Smith, Keller Williams Capital Partners.

The incoming class of 2019-2020 includes: Cody Butler, Coldwell Banker King Thompson; Eric Cliffel, KW Classic Properties Realty; Ryan Conway, Keller Williams Consultants; Jeff Cotner, Key Realty; Lisa Evelinn, Keller Williams Consultants; Carie Igel, Fathom Realty Ohio; Greg Kullman, Street Sotheby’s International; Betsy McCloskey, HER, Realtors®; Fred Rector, Keller Williams Capital Partners; Stephanie Rucinski, Cutler Real Estate; Vanessa Simmons, Coldwell Banker King Thompson; and Marc Van Steyn, RE/MAX Premier Choice.

More than 640 local REALTORS®, family and friends came out to participate in this year’s REALTOR® Care Day on June 5, 2019, where over $60,000 was re-invested in the community. This day involved 24 groups, 643 volunteers working on 41 projects all over central Ohio! Since its inception15 years ago, REALTOR® Care Day has resulted in almost $559,000 invested back into our communities.

For the main project, we returned to the Milo Grogan where our co-chairs, Nikki Johnson, Mary Sguerra and Cassandra Welch, worked with representatives from the Milo Grogan Area Commission and the Milo-Grogan Civic Association to identify the needs and wants of this community. Here nearly 160 volunteers helped improve 10 homes, the community garden, picked up litter and hosted a Kids Zone.

We also had 24 area realty and trade associations participate in REALTOR® Care Day, taking on community service projects all over central Ohio.
REALTOR® Care Day is funded through the Columbus REALTORS® Foundation.  Area realty and industry trade associations can apply for matching grant funds (up to $500 each) to help fund their community service efforts.

This year, Gahanna Area Realty Association and the Greater Dublin Realty Association were awarded the REALTOR® Care Day Weiler Grant, which recognizes realty association projects that exemplifies the principles of REALTOR® Care Day. Both grant recipients will receive an additional $500 in funding to use towards their 2020 REALTOR® Care Day project.

We also received grants from the Joseph A. Jeffrey Fund at the Columbus Foundation and Scott’s Miracle-Gro Foundation Community Garden Academy. Additional assistance was also received from many individuals and companies through in-kind donations of money, goods and services.

Videos, photos, volunteers, and project descriptions from REALTOR® Care Day can be found here!

This year, the Affordable Housing Committee and Columbus State Community College held it’s first-ever joint housing fair, participated in the Franklin County housing fair, grew our Facebook Group to over 100 subscribers; and awarded one committee member with the Certified Affordable Housing REALTOR® (CAHR) Certification.

The Committee also held forums on central Ohio neighborhoods, lending and down payment assistance programs, affordable new builds, condo financing, ADDI, OHFA and tax reduction strategies for the real estate professionals.

The Foundation Board of Trustees’ mission is to support real estate related charitable programs and entities that improve the real estate environment in central Ohio. This year, the Foundation awarded $187,000 in community and industry funding and bringing our total commitment, since the Foundation’s inception in 1991, to over $1.5 million!

Out of the $187,000 allocation, 13 deserving students and future real estate leaders were awarded scholarships totaling a little over $23,000; $140,000 was awarded to 11 local non-profit housing related organization, and $18,700 went to support this year’s REALTOR® Care Day project, with matching mini grants given to 24 area associations hosting improvement projects in neighborhoods throughout central Ohio.

The Foundation also participated in the following special projects: 2019 Area Association Spring Fling (benefiting charity); Joseph A. Jeffery Endowment Fund (grant recipient); O-Zone Tailgate (benefiting charity); REALTORS® Dayton/Miami Valley Tornado Relief (special grant); and Scott’s Miracle Glo Garden (grant recipient).

  • 2019 Community Grant Recipients
    The Buckeye Ranch, Community Shelter Board, Franklinton Rising, Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, Habitat for Humanity, Homeless Families Foundation, Joseph’s Coat of Central Ohio, Melissa’s House, Move to Prosper, South Side Renaissance and YWCA Family Shelter.
  • Foundation Partners
    Columbus REALTORS® Young Professionals  Network (YPN); Columbus REALTORS® Past Presidents; Dean & Connie Salts Memorial Fund; Hondros College, John G & Linda Hondros; Keller Williams of Central Ohio Realty – Nate Katz Memorial; Independent Brokers Association; and the Women’s Council of REALTORS®.

Also, through third quarter 2019, we had 373 donors contributing $102, 591. For more information on the Foundation and to donate, visit

The Foundation Fundraising Committee is the fund-raising arm for the REALTORS® Foundation Board of Trustees. To-date, the Committee has raised $102,591 (70 percent of our goal). All donations raised by the Committee go directly to funding the Foundation’s four areas of interest: Local Non-Profit Housing Grants, Educational Scholarships, REALTOR® Care Day and the REALTORS® Benevolence Fund (REALTORS® Emergency Assistance Program).

The Foundation host three fundraisers each  year — the Wine Tasting Reception, the O-Zone Tailgate, and the Foundation Luncheon.

This year, our annual Foundation Wine Tasting event was again held at the Exchange at Bridge Park in Dublin on Thursday, March 13, 2019, with nearly 340 real estate leaders in attendance. Attendees were treated to a beautiful evening of mingling with friends, exquisite hors d’ oeuvres and a sampling of a variety of homemade wines, all while toasting to what makes central Ohio great — the community! It was a good night and the committee was excited to announce that we had raised over $14,000 and that 100 percent of the event proceeds will benefit our Foundation!

The Columbus REALTORS® Foundation was again selected as the charity of choice for the October 26, 2019, Wisconsin vs. Ohio State O-Zone Tailgate on Lane Avenue. More than 45 volunteers came out to help sell drink tickets, pour beverages, check I.D.'s, and maintain order for the day. We are pleased to announce that 100 percent of the day’s proceeds will benefit the Columbus REALTORS® Foundation and its mission to build community.

Mark your calendar for the annual Foundation Luncheon set for Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at the Hollywood Casino Columbus, where its anticipated that nearly 500 will be in attendance and over $35,000 will be raised.

Also, remember each time you shop at Kroger and Amazon, a percentage of your sale will go to the Foundation. Just visit, click “Enroll Now” and type in Organization #80316. For Amazon, visit (bookmark), select charity, Columbus REALTORS® Foundation – EIN” 46-4401521. Please note that you must use portal each time you shop.

The Benevolence Committee oversees the Columbus REALTORS® Foundation Benevolence Fund and is responsible for identifying potential donors, and determining distribution of funds. This year’s Bowling for Benevolence fundraiser was held Oct. 22, 2019 at Columbus Square Bowling Palace, where 222 bowlers (44 teams) came together to raise over $5,000 to benefit the Fund and REALTORS® in need. Since its inception in 2012, an incredible $62,000 in emergency aid has been provided to 32 families and colleagues.

Your contributions to our Central Ohio REALTORS® Political Action Committee (CORPAC) are the lifeblood of our CORPAC Governing Board and allows us to have a seat at the table when local legislative issues come about that impact our industry.

Members have several opportunities to help support CORPAC each year. First and foremost, please remember to include at least a $30 contribution with your annual-dues renewal. Then there are the great fundraising events sponsored by the committee:

  • CORPAC Auction
    This year, more than 350 REALTORS®, affiliates, and friends participated in the CORPAC Auction helping to raise $75,000 to benefit and protect private property rights! The auction was held on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at St. Charles Preparatory School in Bexley. Attendees again used the committee’s mobile bidding app to complete for 130 exciting silent auction items and 10 one of a kind live auction packages.
  • CORPAC Chili Cookoff
    The Committee held it’s first-ever chili cookoff on March 21, 2019, at Columbus REALTORS®. Fifteen participants vied for the best chili east of the Mississippi, with Anthony Wharton, Wharton Home Inspections, taking home the prize.
  • CORPAC Golf Outing
    More than 262 golfers came out on a blistering hot day to help make this year’s CORPAC Golf Outing a tremendous success — raising just over $32,000 to benefit CORPAC and home ownership! The golf outing was held at Kinsale Golf & Fitness Club and Scioto Reserve on Sept. 10, 2019.

CORPAC has been in existence since 1994 and is one of the largest political action committees (PACs) in the state of Ohio, raising $251,239 with 2,885 individual contributors in 2018. These investments are used by CORPAC locally and support the larger RPAC (REALTORS® Political Action Committee) at both the state and federal levels of government.

For more information and to contribute to CORPAC, visit

Starting out as a task force in 2018, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee officially became a standing committee this year. Its charge is to help increase awareness of fair housing issues, eliminate intolerance and bias behavior among real estate practitioners and the public, and to grow diverse leadership within the Columbus REALTORS® Association.

The Committee kicked off its inaugural meeting in January with the National Association of REALTORS®’ workshop on “Leading with Diversity” presented by Fred Underwood, Director, Diversity and Inclusion | Federal Policy and Industry Relations for the National Association of REALTORS®.

In March, the committee hosted a forum on “Growing your Business through Diversity, with Dr. Jason Reece, Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning Section at The Ohio State University, serving as the Keynote speaker on the demographics changes happening in and around Columbus, the link between those changes, and why diversity and inclusion in real estate is important. Dr. Reece also facilitated the roundtable segment of the forum that featured representatives from the following four diverse communities:

  • African American Community – Ronnell Tomlinson, Ohio Civil Rights Commission
  • Latino Community – Emily Bibyk, REALTOR®, RE/MAX Metro Plus
  • Somali/immigrant community – Ismail Muhamud, attorney and Democratic consultant
  • LGBTQ Community – Bill Lafayette, Ph.D, Regionomics, LLC

In addition, the committee held two Lunch & Learn events, one on Financial Planning for the Self Employed and Independent Contractors co-sponsored with the local chapter of NAGLREP and the other on challenges faced by military individuals and families looking to purchase homes.

The committee ended the year with an interactive Global Beads forum titled, “Diversity Consciousness, Inclusion and Culture,” facilitated by James A. White Sr., CEO, Performance Consulting Services.

YPN started the year with a jam-packed happy hour, titled “Halie Hour” at the brand-new Nostalgia Brewing Company, located at Creekside in Gahanna. More than 50 real estate professionals attended this event that included an evening of networking, sampling new craft beers and getting to know YPN’s new staff liaison, Halie Rogers.

In March, YPN announced its 10 Under 40 award winners for 2019. Recipients of this award are our industry’s up and comers, who are not only successful in their careers, but who have showed enthusiasm, innovation and a commitment to raising the bar in real estate. Checkout this year’s list of honorees under Awards in the next column.

YPN’s “Coffee Hour” was debuted early this year at the Roosevelt Coffee House and has become a tradition for YP’s to interact over a cup of coffee and yummy breakfast treats.

This year, YPN’s Mingle with the PAC was held at Core Ohio Realty Advisors on May 9, 2019, where Carrie Arblaster, Ohio REALTORS® Assistant Vice President of External Affairs, shared political hot topic updates, and information on CORPAC/RPAC investments, first-time homebuyers and other major statehouse/federal issues.

YPN participated in REALTOR® Care Day, volunteering at numerous community service projects all around central Ohio, and then hosting a celebratory happy hour at Seventh Son Brewing for all RCD volunteers.

In addition to its donation of Drive Germain Columbus, YPN also teamed up with WCR Columbus to host its first-ever Family Feud event. Eight teams battled it out through three knockout rounds to reveal the 2019 Family Feud champion, World Class Title. Half the ticket proceeds from this event were contributed to CORPAC.

YPN hosted its Unplugged Retreat at Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center, Aug. 27 and 28; an Axe Throwing event on Oct. 24, 2019 at Throw Nation in Dublin; and monthly happy hour mixers to raise funds for their scholarship program and to provide opportunities to give back to local charities.

Columbus REALTORS® 2019 award winners are Robert “Bob” Kutschbach, Carleton Realty, Broker of the Year; Jan Jedlinsky, Metro II Realty, Salesperson of the Year; Jason Hottle, Modern Columbus Realty, Rising Star of the Year; Scott Stevenson, The Holfinger Stevenson Law Firm, Affiliate of the Year; Marilyn Brown, Member, Franklin County Board of Commissioners; Citizen of the Year; and Larry Schottenstein, RE/MAX Revealty, Instructor of the Year.

Five members, Phillip Eichhorn, Howard Hanna RealCom Realty, Ray Harris, Harris Realty Co., John Peck, YHS Realty Group, Ann Salyer, Key Properties, REALTORS®, and Jerry White, Coldwell Banker King Thompson, were recognized for 50 years of membership; 33 members for 40 years; and 59 others were recognized for 25 years of membership.

10 Under 40 Award honorees are Rachel Ally, Keller Williams Capital Partners, Sara Marie Brenner, Keller Williams Capital Partners, Andie Brown Frisky, Cutler Real Estate, Katie Fussner, Keller Williams Capital Partners; Nicole Harrison, The Harrison Co., Real Estate Group; Katrina Judd, The Realty Firm; Gregory Kullman, Street Sotheby’s International Realty; Sahar Shalash, Key Realty; Josh Uminski, Key Realty; and John Yoder, Key Realty.

Spotlight on Community Service Recognition is given to members throughout the year who volunteer their time to benefit the community. This year, recognition went to Diane Cheatham, Coldwell Banker King Thompson; Katie Conway, Wagenbrenner Professional Real Estate Services; Jeff Cotner, Key Realty; Sue French, RE/MAX Impact; David Gill, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Calhoun Co., Mark Hance, eXpRealty; Joseph Herban, Berkshire Hathaway HS Plus; Christine Hinton, eXp Realty; Brian Hitchcock, First Financial Bank; Jason Hottle, Modern Columbus Realty; Carie Igel, Fathom Realty Ohio; Jennifer Kessel-White, Keller Williams Classic Properties Realty; Michelle Madosky, Coldwell Banker King Thompson; Betsy McCloskey, HER Realtors®; Heather Mershon, Keller Williams Consultants Realty; and Jeremy Pape, CRT, REALTORS®.

The Multiple Listing Committee is charged with addressing issues and policies involving the operation and services provided for members of the Columbus and Central Ohio Multiple Listing Service.

Major accomplishments this year have included the rollout of the Homesnap App, an industry-endorsed platform that leverages real time data from 170 MLSs and focuses on protecting agents, their listings and their relationships; and the Listing Data Checker, software designed to identify inaccuracies in listing information.

Emphasis was also placed on completing Safe Harbor implementation, standardizing image copyright documentation and vendor agreements, as well as addressing Flex functionality to meet market needs. Efforts to push forward on these and other items are ongoing.

Below are several more updates made in 2019:

  • Approved changing the default showing service in Homesnap from ShowingTime to CSS.
  • Modified MLS policy to clarify that licensed agents could not hold Assistant or Office Administrator only membership status.
  • Added as a voluntary destination for listings on the MLS Broker Distribution Dashboard.
  • Replaced language for #4 of the Exclusive Right to Sell Listing agreement.
  • Clarified language for the ‘Cancelled’ status.
  • Added ‘Consent for Access’ language to the Listing Agreement.
  • Added IDX Approval Process to MLS policy.
  • Clarified that for Business Opportunity listings to be in the MLS, they must be tied to real property whether for sale or for lease. Current business opportunity listings in the MLS can stay in the MLS until they expire but the listings cannot be extended.
  • Approved of Res Rental Listings being entered one listing per floor plan for a rental complex that is representative of other units for rent under the same listing
  • A set of best practices relating to surveillance disclosure is being drafted for review
  • Approved of adding education details to the message board as to how to work with documents on listings in lieu of requiring the Residential Property Disclosure form and the Lead-Based Paint form being added to the listings.
  • Changed period from 2 to 3 days to correct a violation before an additional fine is issued.
  • Rescinded IDX Policy from the MLS Rules & Regulations.
  • Amended the COCIE Rules & Regulations. In addition to several housekeeping changes, the following changes were made:
  • Allow a firm Principal to designate an agent-subscriber to fill the role of Principal Participant.
  • Determined that not all licensees associated with a Principal must join COCIE.
  • Clarified duty to arbitrate and be bound by the decision.
  • Approved of adjusting the CDOM calculation to look back 31 days for a prior listing period instead of the current 365 days, and to restore the display of CDOM on agent-only reports.
  • Changed the “type” field for BB/TR and Sub-Agency to “Dollars” and “Percent” instead of the symbols “$” and “%”.
  • Approved revisions to MLS Rules and Regulations.
  • Approved developing an API solution for data sharing to be available by 2Q20.
  • Approved replacing the Green Features checklist with the RESO Green Fields list.

Early in the year, Commercial awards were presented to the following members:

  • Commercial Rookie of the Year – Corey Taber, Equity, LLC
  • Most Unique Commercial Transaction – Molly Leach, CBRE
  • Most Commercial Co-op Transactions – Andrew Jameson, Colliers International | Greater Columbus Region

Largest Commercial Transactions:

  • Industrial (sale) – Joe Kimener, Matt Lehman, Jeff Lyons, and Michael Mullady, CBRE
  • Industrial (lease) – Joe Kimener, Matt Lehman, Jeff Lyons, and Michael Mullady, CBRE
  • Office (sale) – Jeff Carey, Joe Kimener, Matt Lehman, Jeff Lyons, Brad McMahon, and Michael Mullady, CBRE
  • Office (lease) – Wayne Harer and Ken Isenbarger, Newmark Knight Frank, and Jeff Carey and Gregg Thomas, CBRE
  • Retail (sale) – Matt Cooper, Equity
  • Retail (lease) – Robert Matias, Equity
  • 1031 Exchange – Greg Hrabcak, CCIM, HER Commercial, Realtors®, and Michael Grenert, RJ Boll Realty, Ltd.
  • Top Producers – Brett Cisler, Colliers International; Andrew Jameson, Colliers International; Michael Linder, Colliers International; Jeff Lyons, CBRE; Kevin McGrath, CBRE, Michael Mullady, CBRE; George Skaff, Newmark Knight Frank; Rick Trott, CBRE; Shane Woloshan, Colliers International; and Joel Yakovac, Colliers International.
  • Erika Blumenstein Memorial Award – John W. Royer, Kohr Royer Griffith.

Next year, the Commercial Awards celebration will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at Strongwater, and will be a reception instead of a dinner. Watch the website and In Contract magazine for more information.

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