Some say in Wisconsin our shortest month of the year feels like the longest.  And Punxsutawney Phil once again tells us we have 6 more weeks of winter.  But in many ways, this is a great time of year.  Winter is a wonderful time for good books, warm fires, connecting with old friends, planning, organizing and winter activities.  Complaining about the weather certainly isn't going to change it...so embrace it. 
And while you are doing your planning don't forget the following dates:

February 7 - Realtor & Government day
March 11 - Youth Foundation St. Patrick's Day 5k-Hart Park
March 23-31 - Realtors Home and Garden Show
April 4 - Brewers Bash
April 20 - Youth Foundation Gallery Night-Third Ward
Have a fantastic February...it's almost ¼ of the way over!

Vickie Kelsall
Your 2018 Chairwoman

When we published an update on the electronic lock box system the GMAR is implementing later this year, we received several similar questions.  Just like in high school math class, if one person has a question, so does just about everyone else.
So, here is a list of questions we've received, and corresponding answers. If you have additional questions, please contact Mike Ruzicka
What is the net benefit to switch to these lock boxes?
The benefits (the reason the Directors voted in favor of using electronic lock boxes in our market) are related to who can access a property, when it can be accessed, and having a record of when it was accessed and by whom. 
The SentriLock system (which the Directors decided to use as our provider) would allow a listing agent to grant access to a showing agent within a specific time frame, so the listing agent will know who and when someone accesses a property.  The listing agent will also be able to grant access to other parties (i.e. an inspector or contractor) with a "one-day code;" again, good for a specific time.  The listing agent can also set the time they want the house to be available for showings, i.e. not before 8 AM or only between 12PM and 3PM.  The SentriLock system is also compatible with Showingtime.
There is also a corollary security benefit to agents and properties being shown.  There will be a record of when a property is accessed, and which REALTOR® enters a property.  Members will be able to use a smart phone app to access a property.  When they open the lock box with the SentriLock app - within their specific time period - it will record the time the REALTOR® entered.  It will be significantly more difficult, if not impossible, for anyone but the person who is granted access to a property to gain entry.  The days of giving out combination box access codes should be gone.
Are we mandated to use them?
No, using the electronic lockbox system is not mandatory.  Anyone can continue to use combination boxes just as they have in the past.  However, all members will be assessed the electronic lock box system fee.
Who will be subject to the fee?
Anyone who is a REALTOR® member of the GMAR will be assessed the fee.  It is not a per lock box fee, it is a fee to access the entire lock box system.
Will the monthly fee be charged with MLS fee or the yearly GMAR dues?
The estimated $12 fee is separate from MLS. 
The GMAR is currently finished the agreement with SentriLock, so we do not have a final answer on billing.  We would like to be able to bill members quarterly with a credit card, or add it to members' dues on an annual basis.
How will boxes be allocated?
SentriLock is going to do a census this spring, when listings are at their highest for the initial distribution.  In late summer/fall, the GMAR will distribute the new boxes to the membership. 
Approximately, 2 times a year they will be reallocated.
If at any time, an agent needs some boxes they can get them from the GMAR, or at a few larger broker offices.
When my personal inventory increases to adjust with the market, do I need to purchase more boxes?
No, all the boxes are "free," or better stated, "included with the system."  The Association will be getting about over 10,000 boxes from SentriLock, and initially distributing them with a 110% of listings formula (if you have 10 listings, you get 11 boxes), but then they'll be reallocated periodically.  If you need more, you just go to your office or the GMAR office for additional boxes.
Is there a plan for the old lock boxes?
No, we don't have any plans for old combo boxes.  Members may want to use them occasionally, use them on other properties (i.e. cabins), or give them to buyers, etc.
Why wasn't everyone surveyed about electronic lock boxes? 
The Directors role is to look down the road and try and figure out what policies and services will benefit members, similar to any elected official.  They felt putting the subject of electronic lock boxes to an up or down vote was too simplistic, and would be too difficult to concisely package the discussions and analysis that went into their decisions over the last two years.  They were elected to take a deep dive into these types of issues, and vote on what they feel is in the members' best interests.
Order your personalized VIP tickets for the REALTORS® Home & Garden Show (March 23-March 31) as a "soft" contact to your client base. They offer 3 targeted opportunities to touch people:
  1. "Contact me for..." email.
  2. Send or deliver the requested tickets.
  3. Follow up with "Hope you enjoy...".
The marketing

results are proven and the affordable cost is recouped many times with the added business. Click here to read more about VIP tickets and how to order.
Thank you to A+ Mortgage Services and Milwaukee Title for sponsoring the VIP ticket program.
Click here to read this month's REAL Trends newsletter.
Highlights include: Understanding Blockchain Technology, FHFA Moves Closer to Alternative Credit Scoring Decision, Workplaces of the Future and more! 
The GMAR Realtor store is closed and Minuteman Press in Brookfield is now selling Real Estate Supplies! Visit them at 13680 W. Capitol Drive, M-F 8am-5pm. If you have any questions, feel free to contact them at 262-781-9622.
The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® Youth Foundation will award 7 $1,000 scholarships to children or grandchildren of GMAR members during 2018. 
Members must have maintained their relationship with the GMAR continuously for at least three (3) years. Deadline is April 1st. 

February 6th at Jug's Hitching Post in West Bend 
You can still register at the door for $20
Join us at the GMAR Kettle Moraine Council Mardi Gras Party on February 6th at Jug's Hitching Post. For $20 you receive a drink ticket, heavy hors d'oeuvres and free raffle tickets! We will also be giving out an award for the best Mardi Gras mask. Registration is now only available at the door.
Presenting Sponsor: A+ Mortgage    
Save the date: Sunday, March 11th at 10am at Hart Park in Wauwatosa for the 6th Annual St. Paddy's Dash, 5K Run/Walk to benefit the GMAR Youth Foundation.

Thank you to our 2018 Sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor: A+ Mortgage Services, Inc.
Gold Sponsors: Dana Karow, First Weber Foundation, Landmark Credit Union, Nancy B. Meeks - Coldwell Banker, Wisconsin Title Service
Silver Sponsors: Attorney's Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., EXIT Realty Horizons, Great Midwest Bank, Johnson Bank, Land Title, Metro MLS, Realty Executives Integrity, RE/MAX Realty 100, Shorewest Realtors, The Equitable Bank, The Nikolic Group- First Weber, The Stefaniak Group, Title 100
Bronze Sponsors: Benefit Realty, Cherry Creek Mortgage, Chicago Title, Compass Title, Knight-Barry Title, Merit Title, Milwaukee HomesighT, Ryan Katzman of First Weber, Scott  and Sandra Bush, Suzanne Head - First Weber, Suzanne Powers Realty Group, Tom Witkowski, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Friends:  Noel & Donna Karow, Jerry Grosenick - EXIT Realty XL, Joanne Marks - Prime Lending, Racine Kringle, Raffaele Team - RE/MAX Realty 100, Richard Woodside
If you are interested in being a sponsor or donating a silent auction item, please contact Scott Bush at GMAR 414/778-4929
Wednesday, April 4th at 6:40pm vs. Cardinals  
The GMAR Brewer's Bash will be Wednesday evening, April 4th when the Brewers take on the Cardinals. 
No worries about the weather-we'll once again be on the Dew Deck!
Dew Deck/Gates open at 5:10pm - Game time is 6:40pm
Your $55.00 includes:
·        Game ticket
·        All-you-can eat buffet
·        2 free drink tickets
·        Unlimited soft drinks
·        Gift from Event Sponsor A+ Mortgage
·        Chance to win one of 12 - $100 gift cards from Drawing Sponsor: Associated Bank
·        Peanuts, Cracker Jacks, candy...courtesy of our Treat Sponsors:
         Advanced Radon Management, Cherry Creek Mortgage & The Equitable Bank

Free Bus Transportation Provided by the Kettle Moraine Council: 
Make a reservation with  Michelle  no later than Wednesday, March 28th 
  • Washington County Fair Park - 4:00 p.m.
  • US 41/45 & Cty Y/Lannon Road Park and Ride - 4:15 p.m.
  • GMAR - 4:30 p.m.
    *Bus may leave before end of game
Free shuttle service from Steve's on from Steve's on Bluemound (SOB's), 5841 W. Bluemound Rd, into Miller Park starting around 4:30 p.m.  You don't need to make a reservation, but if you have questions, you can contact Joe at (414) 870-8708 (please remember to tip!).
This is a very popular event and the Dew Deck has a limited number of seats, click here to register!
Our event sponsor is A+ Mortgage 
Delivery on May 8th - in time for Mother's Day!  
Order your flowers now for delivery on May 8th and support the GMAR Youth Foundation!  The hanging baskets and flower pots are being provided by Black's Nursery in Hartford with pickup at either the GMAR or West Bend.  But you need to order no later than Friday, March 2nd--they need time to grow!!!  

UNDERWRITING 101 - Free Education for Realtors
Date: Tuesday, February 6th
Time:  11:00 am (Registration, lunch and forum with Lending Ladies)
            11:30 am - Speaker to promptly begin
            12:30 pm - Questions and Answers
Location: GMAR: 12300 W. Center St., Milwaukee

REALTORS® this is your opportuity to get answers from the top underwriters in our area. You have questions and we are here to get you the answers. Have you had a transaction where it didn't make sense why the underwriter would ask for that? Well there is a reason and you should now know why, as this might make your next transaction go smoother being educated on the changes.

LIMITED SEATING as lunch is being sponsored by "The Lending Ladies Milwaukee". A Reservation is required. Don't miss out on this FREE educational session to make you more successful and knowledgeable. NOTE seating is limited. Please if you make a reservation and can't attend please let us know.

Date: Friday, February 9th
Time:  10:00am - Registration, 10:15am - Presentation Begins
Location: North Shore Bank in Brookfield
                  15700 W. Bluemound Road, 3rd Floor Presentation Room

Please join us and special speaker Jennifer Fahey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP discuss how the new tax laws will effect Real Estate Agency. Throughout her 25 years with the Firm, Jenny has provided tax consulting, compliance and tax provision services to a wide range of Wisconsin manufacturing and financial services businesses.

Tuesday, February 13th from 11:30am-1:30pm
We invite you to join us on February 13th for Realtor exclusive tours of
our two furnished models with yummy Realtor-tine's Day treats and
giveaways. Start at the furnished model and then enjoy a drive through
the neighborhood to view our available homes and sites.

**Free Live Class for Real Estate Professionals**
Envoy's Renovation Loan Expert Course will teach you all there is to know about FHA's 203k programs and the Fannie Mae Homestyle Renovation program. Both variations of the FHA option, as well as the conventional option, are designed to allow a buyer to roll the cost of home renovations and repairs into their mortgage. Becoming an expert in Renovation programs is a great way to set yourself apart from your competition.
Food will be served at 11:45 AM and the live class will begin promptly at noon. You'll be out and back to your day before 1:30 PM.
Space is limited so sign up today!
Location: GMAR - 12300 W Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53222
Date: Wednesday, February 14th
Time: 11:45 Lunch, class starts promptly at noon
To Register (required) and for Full Details visit:  http://www.EnvoyBrookfield.com/WW-02-2018-GMAR
Thursday, February 15 at 10am at the GMAR Office  

New for 2018! Cherry Creek Mortgage is partnering with the GMAR to offer monthly Mortgage Concepts for Real Estate Agents classes. Each individual class will be offered quarterly and they are for both new and experienced agents.
The 3 topics will cover appraisals, offers, and general underwriting/loan process. The next class is Thursday, February 15th at 10:00am and will feature an overview of the loan process from start to finish from the perspective of the lender AND client. As a lender, we sometimes notice that our borrowers will ask their Realtor some loan questions. We will equip you with the information you need to answer their questions and most importantly, help them understand the "why" behind some of those things they are being asked for!  
Please RSVP to Nicole Hanrahan at 414-935-4159 or nhanrahan@ccmclending.com 
To learn more about local real estate or to become a GMAR member visit gmar.com