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You’ve Been Served – Legal Extortion from Patent Trolls

Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News | 0 comments

By Ernie Cowan NSDCAR Vice President of Government Affairs A nicely dressed man walks into your real estate office. He has a friendly smile and you are anticipating he could be a good client. You welcome him, reach to shake hands, but he hands you an envelope and says, "You've been served." What a great way to start your day. As you begin to read the legal documents, it appears you are being sued for patent infringement. How could this possibly be? Unfortunately this is happening in real estate offices across the nation, along with other businesses from grocery stores to hotels. This new form of legal extortion is growing at an estimated $29 billion annually. This is money being taken from businesses, including REALTORS® who are being sued for their unwitting use of such things as routine office equipment or web tools.  In the past few days, the National Association of REALTORS® has sent out a Call For Action, urging REALTORS® to contact their Congressmen to support legislation that would address this abuse of the legal process. H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, has been introduced to create reforms in the nation’s patent litigation system. When passed this new legislation would address abuses by practitioners known as patent trolls. Perhaps you ignored or did not get the NAR Call for Action. It could cost you thousands of dollars. The NSDCAR Government Affairs department has been monitoring this situation and would like to provide additional insight into why REALTORS® should care and exactly how they can help defeat this abusive practice.  This is how the patent abuse works. Companies purchase broad patents and because of vague language and complicated patent laws they are able to threaten lawsuits to end users who legally purchased a product. Some examples are suits threatened for the use of scan-to-email software, map search tools used by many REALTORS® on their websites, copiers or online tools used every day. The goal seems to be to force payment rather than go to court. The patent troll knows it will be cheaper for a business to settle rather than incur the cost of litigation. H.R. 9 has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and has momentum, but also opposition. That is why NAR issued the Call for Action. Take a moment to visit www.realtor.org and click on the Call for Action screen on the home page. This will help let your representative know that you support reforms that will protect Main Street businesses and REALTORS®. If you have not already done so, you can also download an iPhone or Android app that will allow you to respond to calls for action with just a few clicks of your mobile device. Visit the Apple App Store, or Google Play for android devices. Look for the REALTOR® Action Center app. Take a moment to enter your NRDS number. After that when you receive a Call for Action, you can simply click on “Take Action” and your representative is notified. This simple tool makes you even more effective and the Voice of Real Estate even louder and more powerful. Take action today.

Election Results Are In!

Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

To view the NSDCAR 2015 Election results, click here.

NSDCAR Announces Inman Select as a NEW Member Benefit

Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News | 0 comments

The North San Diego County Association of REALTORS® is pleased to announce Inman Select as a NEW Member Benefit for all members.

The annual subscription, a $199 value, is now available to NSDCAR REALTOR members, Associated Professionals and Affiliate members. Real estate industry professionals from around the world turn to Inman for accurate, innovative and timely information about the business. Known for its award-winning journalism, cutting-edge technology coverage, in-depth educational opportunities, and forward-thinking events. Inman is the industry's leading source of real estate information. For questions on how to activate your subscription email inman@nsdcar.com. NSDCAR - Providing Tools to Build a Strong More Knowledgeable You!

NSDCAR’s Vista Service Center is Now Open Until 6:00 pm!

Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News | 0 comments

Have a last-minute to-do on your list at the end of the day? No Problem! Our Vista location is now open until 6:00 pm EVERY Friday! Vista Service Center Hours Mon-Thurs: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Friday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

New Member Benefit Provides Exclusive Consumer Insights

Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News | 0 comments

As part of the resources provided by the new Center for California Real Estate (CCRE), NSDCAR REALTOR® members now have a brand new member benefit from C.A.R. C.A.R.’s Thought Leadership program has partnered with a leading think tank, The Futures Company, to provide California REALTORS® with special access to a suite of invaluable data, research, reports, consumer trends, and economic insights. Available through the CCRE website, this collection of consumer-centric research offers access to the critical trends shaping today’s consumer marketplace – helping REALTORS® better understand their clients and competitors. Additionally, members receive analyses about topical economic developments, marketplace dynamics, and emerging industry trends. What's available:

  • Webinars on key trends
  • Special reports on hot topic issues
  • Interactive graphics featuring insights on key consumer segments
  • Big-picture reports on the critical dynamics shaping the future of the marketplace
  • As a member-only benefit, members can use any of the new content for their own marketing purposes. Visit CCRE and enter your C.A.R. username and password to access this new and exciting information.

    C.A.R. Issues Statement on Findings of State Housing Report

    Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

    The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) issued the following statement on March 19, 2015, in response to a report titled, “California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences,” released by California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office: “The Legislative Analyst’s Office report on housing is completely on target. California’s high cost of housing is putting the squeeze on the state’s residents and making it difficult to attain the American Dream or just keep a roof over their heads,” said C.A.R. President Chris Kutzkey. “Providing safe and affordable access to capital and revising outdated underwriting methods will help increase homeownership opportunities. Moreover, to improve housing supply, thoughtful upzoning is one of the best things we can do to get better land use.” The report found that California’s high housing costs make the state a less attractive place to call home, making it more difficult for companies to hire and retain qualified employees, likely preventing the state’s economy from meeting its full potential. Housing has long been more expensive than most of the rest of the country – about 2 ½ times the average national home price, while California’s average monthly rent, $1,240, is about 50 percent higher than the average U.S. rent, according to the report. The higher cost is primarily driven by less housing being built in the state’s major coastal markets, where demand for homes is highest and prices are bid up. For example, between 1980 and 2010, new home construction in the state’s coastal metro areas increased 32 percent, compared with 54 percent nationally, the report said. Home building was even slower in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where the supply of new housing grew only around 20 percent. The California Environmental Quality Act is a significant factor in inhibiting developers from increasing the supply of housing and building higher density housing, according to the report. Local governments must conduct a detailed review of the potential environmental effects of new housing construction prior to approving it. The report urges the legislature to pass laws that would promote more density in urban areas. It also advises the legislature to consider changes to the state’s environmental review process for new development, as well as changes to local land use and authority. View the full report.

    Paragon Releases Enhancements to MLS

    Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News | 0 comments

    Paragon has released new or updated feature enhancements! Highlights of these features include:

  • Auto Save for Listing Input
  • Additional Supporting Documents for CMA Packets
  • Ability to search for List OR Sell Agent, List or Sell Office, List or Sell Firm
  • Ability to search for Active or Inactive Agent Inventory when needed
  • Photo Editing tools within Paragon - Red Pencil Icon
  • Address Number now has search operators for Multiple or Single values
  • Country Code Flags have been added for Contact Phone Numbers
  • How a Decade Has Changed REALTORS

    Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News | 0 comments

    See how NAR's 2005-2014 Member Profile shows how the demographics of REALTORS® have changed over the past 9 years. The post shows how the median age of members has increased overall. The research includes ethnic distribution, country of birth, and education. The data is an interesting look at how the demographics of REALTORS® has changed over the years. Read the full blog post here.

    Gender of REALTORS® 2005 - 2014

    ScreenHunter_1411 Feb. 02 14.33

    See How REALTORS are Using the New .REALTOR Web Address

    Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News | 0 comments

    If you haven't claimed your .REALTOR yet, or you're not sure how to use your new .REALTOR web address, see how other REALTORS® using theirs. Whether it's redirecting their new web address to an existing one, creating a custom website, or using the free realtor.com profile website, see how to get creative. View here

    Appraisers Worry New Fannie Mae Program Could Bust Deals

    Posted by Lynn Sullivan in News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

    A new program that launches later this month from Fannie Mae could lead to slower and costlier home sale closings and more disputes over prices between sellers and buyers. Read the full story from Housingwire. Source: Housingwire

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