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Kentucky REALTOR® News

Kentucky mortgage recording lawsuit favors banks after appeal
July 21, 2015

U.S. mortgage lenders did not violate Kentucky state law by failing to record the transfer of mortgage loans in county land records, a federal appeals court ruled in the latest win for major banks sued over their mortgage recording practices.

In a decision on Thursday, a three-judge panel found that a U.S. district court erred last year in finding that homeowners could pursue claims against lenders for transferring mortgage loans without documenting the transactions with Kentucky's county clerks. The homeowners are represented by law firms Miller Griffin & Marks and Atkinson Simms & Kermode. Read More

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Kentucky's jobless rate at 5.1 percent in June 2015
July 17, 2015

Kentucky’s preliminary June unemployment rate dipped to a seasonally adjusted 5.1 percent from a revised 5.2 percent in May 2015, and remained below the national rate, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The state rate in June 2015 was 1.4 percentage points below the 6.5 percent rate recorded in June 2014.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate in June 2015 fell to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent in May 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. It is designed to measure trends rather than to count the actual number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and those classified as self-employed.

In June 2015, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,979,652, a decline of 16,012 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was down by 14,335, and the number of unemployed decreased by 1,677. Read More

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7 home improvements that increase resale value
July 2, 2015

Curb appeal is everything when it comes to selling your home, and that means your home’s exterior needs to be in optimal condition. In fact, 71 percent of prospective home buyers say that a home’s curb appeal is an important factor in their buying decision. This infographic from LawnStarter shows seven exterior home improvements that can increase resale value and help sell your home even faster. Read More

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Top issues that will impact real estate
June 30, 2015

Demographic shifts from retiring baby boomers and the increase of millennials buying homes will have the most profound impact on the real estate industry in the coming years, according to a new survey of real estate professionals from the Counselors of Real Estate. CRE's survey identifies the issues that will have the most significant impact on real estate near and long-term. Read More

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Webinar: RPR Basics - Tools for Building Your Business
June 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 14 - 3pm EST
Registration is free!
REALTORS® across the country are enhancing their business by using Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®’s) extensive database. In this class, you’ll learn how top agents use RPR as their all-in-one data and information source to build their business and impress clients. You will learn how to generate stunning property reports, conduct a detailed CMA in minutes, research schools and neighborhoods, and get a sneak peak into RPR Mobile™. Register now

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New study highlights significant job growth in Kentucky
June 29, 2015

A new analysis released by Paul Coomes, senior economic adviser to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, shows job levels are starting to return to pre-recession levels in Louisville and other parts of the state.


Coomes analyzed new job and wage growth data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently through its Quarterly Census of Employment Wages. He found that the highest levels of growth were in Lexington, Louisville and the Bowling Green and Hopkinsville areas of Western Kentucky. Read More

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Your brokerage needs a social media policy for protection
June 26, 2015

It only takes one offensive post on social media to maim the reputation of a business.

Earlier this month, two police offers were shot during a traffic stop in Hattiesburg, Miss. Following the incident, a Mississippi Subway restaurant employee posted a photo of herself in her work uniform on Facebook in an apparent celebration of the killings. The woman, according to news reports, wrote the following status with her photo: "2 police officers was shot in hattiesburg tonight! GOT EM," followed by three handgun emojis. Read More

NAR's sample policy for brokers

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D.A.N.G.E.R. Report lists top 50 threats
June 22, 2015

What challenges will you encounter within 3-5 years? NAR's Strategic Thinking Advisory Committee considers threats to agents, brokers, associations, MLSs, and NAR in the just-released Danger Report. NAR engaged the services of leading industry author and visionary Stefan Swanepoel to help research and write the report. It purposely does not provide any solutions but seeks to encourage an industry wide conversation about the most pressing challenges before laying a foundation for the formulation of solutions. Read More

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Appeals court upholds independent contractor status in win for the industry
June 9, 2015

A Massachusetts appellate court has considered a potential class action lawsuit brought against a broker by former salespeople alleging that they were misclassified as independent contractors.

A group of real estate salespeople (“Salespeople”) who were formerly associated with real estate brokerages (collectively, “Brokerages”) brought a class action lawsuit against the Brokerages for allegedly misclassifying the Salespeople as independent contractors instead of employees.  Based on this alleged misclassification, the Salespeople claimed that there were violations of the state’s wage payment laws, including minimum wage and overtime requirements, and other penalties for the misclassification. Read More

From the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®

On June 3, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court issued its decision in Monell v. Boston Pads, LLC. The Court upheld the Suffolk County Superior Court ruling, affirming that real estate brokers and salespersons have the ability to affiliate as either independent contractors or employees.

Win for Consumers and Real Estate Industry

This decision is a win for consumers and the entire real estate industry because real estate brokers and salespersons will still be able to work as independent contractors. Affiliating as an independent contractor has been the backbone of the profession for more than 100 years.

“We are pleased that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the pro-consumer choice by real estate professionals to affiliate as either independent contractors or employees.” said 2015 MAR President Corinne Fitzgerald, broker-owner of FITZGERALD Real Estate in Greenfield. “This relationship has worked for generations and it is what consumers have come to expect regarding agent entrepreneurship and availability. We’re glad the choice will continue.”

What You Need to Know

REALTORS® may continue to affiliate as either independent contractors or employees. Brokers and salespeople who engage their sales agents as independent contractors should continue to follow the advice of legal counsel, including using and adhering to the provisions of a written Independent Contractor Agreement.

Background

The case was originally heard before the Suffolk County Superior Court and a decision was issued in July 2013. The case dealt with the issue of whether real estate salespersons, who agreed to be treated as independent contractors, should be treated as “employees” for purposes of Massachusetts wage and hours laws by virtue of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute. Had the plaintiffs been successful in this claim, this could have potentially converted all real estate agents into employees. The Superior Court held that the existing practice of brokers and salespersons affiliating as independent contractors is consistent with state law. Further, brokers and salespersons may affiliate as either an independent contractor or as an employee, and the Independent Contractor Statute does not govern the relationship between brokers and licensed real estate agents.

The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the Superior Court’s judgment, thereby upholding the lawfulness of independent contractor status among Massachusetts sales agents.

Attorneys

Stephen Perry and Robert Kutner of Casner & Edwards, LLP represented the defendant-brokers. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, along with the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, filed an amicus brief (“friend of the court brief”) in support of the defendant-brokers. The brief, authored by Philip S. Lapatin of Holland & Knight LLP, clearly explained why the Court should uphold the Superior Court’s ruling. Specifically, the brief argued that overturning this decision would be inconsistent with the legislature’s intent to allow for brokers and salespersons to affiliate as independent contractors and that it is important for practitioners and consumers that brokers and agents continue to have the ability to choose to affiliate as independent contractors or as employees.

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Kentucky wins award for economic development
June 5, 2015

Gov. Steve Beshear recently announced Area Development magazine, a leading economic development trade publication, has recognized Kentucky with a Silver Shovel Award, recognizing the Commonwealth as one of the most successful states in creating jobs and securing investments in 2014.

In the summer 2015 issue, Area Development magazine awarded Silver Shovels in four population categories, with Kentucky’s honor coming in the 3-to-5 million population tier. The awards are based on a state’s top 10 job-creation and investment projects that began to materialize in the previous year. Kentucky’s top projects resulted in nearly 4,000 new and retained jobs and more than $1 billion in investments.

The Silver Shovel is the latest good news for Kentucky economy. Last year, companies announced the most business investment in the Commonwealth since the state began tracking that information nearly 30 years ago. In March, the Commonwealth earned Site Selection magazine’s Governor’s Cup award for the most economic development projects per capita in 2014. Read More

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