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WASHINGTON (August 25, 2015) — The National Association of Realtors® has selected 10 individuals as finalists for REALTOR® Magazine’s 2015 Good Neighbor Awards. This award honors Realtors® who volunteer in their communities, improve the quality of life for their neighbors and go above and beyond in their commitment to making their neighborhoods better places to live.

This year marks the 16th year the Good Neighbor Awards program has recognized Realtor® volunteers. The Realtors® being honored donated their time, money and passion to enrich the lives of the people in their communities.

“The Good Neighbor Award recipients remind us that Realtors® build communities in many, many ways,” said NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker of 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. “Seeing the level of passion and dedication to helping those in need from this year's top 10 finalists makes me proud to be a Realtor®.”

On September 30, five winners will be named from among the 10 finalists. Winners will receive a $10,000 grant and national media exposure for their community charity, including a feature in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The winners will also receive travel expenses to the 2015 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego, where they will accept their awards at a presentation in front of thousands of their peers. In addition, five honorable mentions will receive a $2,500 grant. The public can also vote for their favorite of the 10 Good Neighbor finalists; the finalist who receives the most votes will be named the 2015 Web Choice winner and awarded an additional $1,000 grant.

The 10 REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Awards finalists are:

George Demchak, Kissinger Bigatel & Brower, REALTORS®, State College, Penn.
Demchak saved the 120-year-old Howard Volunteer Fire Company when the lack of funding made it difficult to pay bills and buy new safety gear. As a volunteer firefighter himself, Demchak founded a fall festival to raise money for the station. The event featured a Punkin Chunkin' contest in which sponsored pumpkins are catapulted into a lake, drawing 18,000 people to the event. Demchak was credited with raising $115,000, which represents up to one-third of the station’s annual budget.

Daniel L. Goodwin, Chairman & CEO of The Inland Real Estate Group Inc., Oak Brook, Ill.
Goodwin founded New Directions Housing Corp., a nonprofit that provides affordable housing for low-income residents. Since 1994, NDHC has built or rehabbed nearly 500 multifamily units throughout Illinois. The nonprofit partners with other groups to provide residents with services like Meals on Wheels, after-school programs, free flu shots, and recreational activities. Goodwin has also served on the board of the Illinois Housing Development Authority Trust Fund and chaired the first Affordable Housing Task Force for DuPage County.

Nancy E. Hines, F.C. Tucker Co. Inc., Avon, Ind.
As a four-time cancer survivor, Hines has been a source of support, hope and encouragement to countless women. In 1996, she cofounded Ovar’coming Together Inc. with two women she met while they were all undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer. Since then, the organization has raised $2 million to increase awareness about ovarian cancer symptoms and early diagnosis. She played a key role in founding the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and has served on the Indiana health department’s Office of Women’s Health for 10 years diagnosis, support survivors and caregivers, and fund research.

John Kersten, Century 21 Town & Country, Utica, Mich.
For 23 years, Kersten has volunteered his time and talent raising funds for Easter Seals Michigan. He started out organizing rubber duck races but quickly found a way to maximize fundraising by utilizing his business and marketing skills. Today he runs five annual car and cash raffles, which net more than $1 million a year. The $15 million he has raised over the years supports children and adults with disabilities, including the Miracle League baseball team for children with disabilities and the Agrability program, which serves farmers with injuries, illnesses or aging conditions.

George S. Lucas, RE/MAX, Harbor Country, Union Pier, Mich.
Lucas is board president of Chikaming Open Lands, which preserves beautiful, open space in Berrien County, Mich., including the Lake Michigan shoreline. His experience in real estate and business has proven essential for successful land acquisition and financial management. Lucas implemented a strategic planning process and a system to rank the importance of potential preservation projects. Through his leadership, Chikaming Open Lands has grown from a small volunteer organization to a sophisticated land trust with four employees and 550 member households that have protected 1,575 acres of natural resources.

Barbara Mills, RE/MAX Realty One, Inverness, Fla.
Mills started Operation Welcome Home in 2007 to honor soldiers as they return from Iraq or Afghanistan. A military mother herself, she has raised more than $200,000 to hold welcome-home parties for nearly 500 veterans and National Guardsmen and provides baskets of gift cards for food, gas and shopping. She often provides additional services to help the soldiers; for example, she recently helped rehab a home for a veteran who was living in an unfinished structure. She also organizes trips for Honor Flight so that area World War II veterans can visit the memorial in Washington, D.C.

Ida M. Petkus, Keller Williams, Medford, N.J.
Petkus is co-founder and executive director of the Domestic Violence Advocacy Center, which provides support groups, emergency overnight stays, educational workshops and other confidential services to help men and women experiencing domestic violence. The nonprofit also provides volunteer court advocates to help victims navigate the family and criminal court system. Since 2009, the nonprofit has helped hundreds of victims to escape their abusers and be safe. Petkus is a frequent speaker on domestic violence issues and recently spoke at the county court program for high schools about teen dating violence.

Dona Reynolds, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stein & Summers Real Estate, St. Joseph, Mo.
A personal tragedy inspired Reynolds to create a lasting legacy to help children. She founded the Mark J. Reynolds Memorial Bike Fund to honor her son, an avid bicyclist, who was killed by a mountain lion while mountain biking in California. Since 2004, she has raised more than $200,000 and donated more than 1,500 bikes and helmets to underprivileged children and given specially equipped custom bikes to children with disabilities. She also organizes many biking events that promote safety and enjoyment of the sport.

Stephen L. Seidl, Seidl & Associates, a division of ShoreWest, REALTORS®, Green Bay, Wis.
Seidl is board president of Miracle League of Green Bay, an adaptive baseball field for children with special needs. He organized focus groups to raise community awareness and then led a fundraising campaign that has raised more than $750,000 to build and maintain the field, stands, and concessions and add an adaptive playground. With a rubber surface, special equipment and volunteer helpers, children with disabilities can participate in a real baseball experience with their families cheering them on. Players wear Major League Baseball–styled uniforms, and a state-of-the-art sound system at the park broadcasts the play-by-play.

Susan Stearns, Berkshire Hathaway, California Properties, Calabasas, Calif.
For 30 years, Stearns has volunteered with New Horizons, a nonprofit that provides group home and independent living support, employment services and educational and recreational programming to 1,000 adults with intellectual disabilities. Serving as board chair and fundraising chair for 10 years, Stearns founded several fundraising events that have raised more than $2.5 million. As ambassador and advocate for the nonprofit, she has recruited many volunteers, board members and donors.

REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards is supported by primary sponsor Liberty Mutual Insurance and realtor.com®. Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause. To be eligible, nominees must be NAR members in good standing. More information about the Good Neighbor Awards finalists is available at www.REALTOR.org/gna.

Liberty Mutual Insurance (www.libertymutual.com/nar/) is one of the world’s leading and most trusted insurance carriers. For more than 100 years, their mission has been to provide comprehensive, quality insurance products that help their customers live safer, more secure lives. Liberty Mutual has worked hard to develop personal insurance programs that provide long-term benefits to their customers, and constantly strives to improve their products and services. Equally important, is their legacy of working for the public good through philanthropy, safety research, and educational outreach. For that reason, Liberty Mutual is proud to be the 2015 primary sponsor of REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards, expanding their partnership with the National Association of Realtors®.  For more than a decade, as part of the REALTOR Benefits® Program, Liberty Mutual has been NAR’s exclusive partner for auto, home and renters insurance. Through this program NAR members are eligible to receive special savings and insurance benefits.

Realtor.com® delivers consumer real estate’s largest and most accurate database of homes for sale and rent available anywhere. The home and rental listings on realtor.com® and realtor.com® mobile apps are pulled directly from over 800 local MLSs, with most listings updated every 15 minutes. Plus, realtor.com® has a huge database of new home listings, rental properties and property values for millions of homes nationwide, so users can find out about new listings, new homes, price reductions and great deals first. Realtor.com® is also the only national site that offers a complete database of over 1 million Realtors®. Whether you’re buying, selling, renting or researching, realtor.com® has the latest and most accurate information available to help you make an informed decision. Realtor.com® is real estate in real time.

National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


Read more: NAR Good Neighbor Award Finalists Honored for Their Commitment to Good Works, Volunteering

Realtors® Applaud CFPB’s Extended TRID Implementation Deadline

WASHINGTON (July 21, 2015) — The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron in support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s announcement today that the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure, or TRID, implementation date has been moved from August 1 to October 3:

“NAR has worked diligently with the CFPB throughout this process, helping to ensure that the upcoming harmonization of TILA-RESPA disclosures is carried out with as little disruption to the industry as possible. In addition, NAR has worked hard to ensure our members have the information they need to help educate their clients about the rule and continue the business of real estate without interruption.

“August is a busy time for Realtors®, as home buying and selling picks up around the summer season. CFPB’s recognition of the challenge that an August implementation posed for the industry is a big win for Realtors®, for lenders, for consumers and for everyone involved. 

“An October 3 implementation will help ensure that our industry has time to prepare for the changes ahead while helping consumers get to closing without delay.

“NAR will continue to keep members updated on the rule and ensure they have the tools to comply with the changes coming their clients’ way. We will also continue communicating any Realtor® concerns about the implementation to the CFPB and look forward to a continued partnership as the TRID rule goes into effect later this year.”

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Read more: Realtors® Applaud CFPB’s Extended TRID Implementation Deadline

WASHINGTON (August 6, 2015) – Real estate firms are confident in the industry’s future growth and their increasing profitability, according to the 2015 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Real Estate Firms.

“A majority of firms have a positive view of the future, with 95 percent of all firms expecting their net income to either increase or stay the same in the next year,” said NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. “The improving economy continues to fuel job growth, and while some markets are still recovering, the demand for real property is back, and prospects are looking good for the real estate industry.”

The annual survey found that commercial firms are the most optimistic, with 75 percent expecting net income to increase, and 22 percent anticipating it to stay the same. Residential firms are only slightly less optimistic; 69 percent report that they expect to see an increase in their net income next year, 25 percent expect it to stay the same, and 6 percent predict a decrease. Only 3 percent of commercial firms predict a decrease in net income in the next year.

The typical residential firm has been operating for a median of 13 years, and the typical commercial firm has been in business for 20 years. The average firm, 79 percent, has one office and two full-time real estate licensees, while 9 percent of firms are larger with four or more offices and have a median of 125 full-time licensees.

In 2014, a typical residential real estate firm’s brokerage sales volume was $5.6 million, and the typical commercial real estate firm’s brokerage sales volume was $4.4 million. The size of a firm has a large impact on its sales volume; firms with only one office had a median brokerage sales volume of $4.1 million in 2014, while those with four or more offices had a median brokerage sales volume of $250 million. Correspondingly, those with one office had a total of 18 real estate transaction sides in 2014, while those with four or more offices had 900 real estate transaction sides.

According to the survey, 82 percent of firms specialize in residential brokerage, making it by far the most popular specialization. Residential property management follows at 7 percent, and commercial brokerage comes in third at 4 percent. Eighty-three percent of firms are independent, non-franchised companies, while 15 percent of firms are independent, franchised companies. The remaining firms are subsidiaries of national or regional corporations. 

When asked to name the biggest challenge facing their firms in the next two years, 51 percent of firms named profitability. The second most common responses, at 46 percent each, were keeping up with technology and maintaining sufficient property inventory.

Firms were also asked to predict the effect of the different generations of homebuyers on the industry for the next two years. The most common concern named, at 54 percent, was the millennial generation’s inability to buy a home because of stagnant wage growth, a slow job market and their debt-to-income ratios. This was followed by baby boomer agents retiring from the real estate industry, and, conversely, the recruitment of millennials and Gen Xers into the real estate profession.

Forty-five percent of firms expect competition to increase over the next year (from mid-2015 to mid-2016) from non-traditional market participants, while 41 percent expect to see increased competition from virtual firms. Only 16 percent expect increased competition from traditional brick-and-mortar firms.

However, these concerns are not preventing firms from growing. Forty-four percent of firms are actively recruiting new agents, with 88 percent citing business growth as their primary reason for hiring new agents. 

Eighty-one percent of all firms offer errors and omissions/liability insurance to independent contractors, licensees and agents, making it the most common benefit real estate firms offer employees. More than half (55 percent) of firms either share the cost of the insurance with employees or have the employee pay the entire cost. Twenty percent of firms offer health insurance to their independent contractors, licensees and agents; in a majority of cases the employee covers the entire cost. 

The most common feature (95 percent) displayed on real estate firms’ websites is property listings. Other common features are agent and staff profiles, mortgage or financial calculators, information about the home buying and selling process, and community information and demographics. Eighty-six percent of firms provide or encourage agents and brokers to use specific multiple listing services, making it the most common software used in real estate firms. Other commonly used software includes comparative market analysis, electronic contracts/forms and e-signature.

The 2015 NAR Profile of Real Estate Firms was based on an online survey sent in July of this year to a national sample of 138,669 executives at real estate firms. This generated 4,555 useable responses with a response rate of 3.3 percent.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


Read more: Real Estate Firms Remain Confident About Future Profitability, NAR Study Shows

WASHINGTON (July 29, 2015) –  The National Association of Realtors®, America's largest trade association, representing more than 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries, has appointed global creative agency Arnold Worldwide as agency of record, effective immediately. As AOR, Arnold will lead the association’s integrated marketing efforts including strategy, creative, digital and brand activation.

The competitive review, which began in April, included 18 agencies and was managed by California-based consulting firm Select Resources International.

“This is an exciting and evolving category to be involved in,” said Pam Hamlin, Global President of Arnold Worldwide. “Our mission is to demonstrate the competitive advantage a Realtor® brings to the home buying and selling process alongside new technologies. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with NAR to tell this story.”

“Arnold’s understanding of the millennial segment, coupled with their ideas on how to position the value of Realtors® in a marketplace that is heavily influenced by digital technology, algorithms and electronic matchmaking, was impressive,” said NAR President Chris Polychron. “We are excited to be partnering with them to communicate Realtor® brand value into the future, engage consumers in bold new ways, and drive increased value for NAR among its members.”

Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®. Realtors® serve consumers as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others within the real estate industry. The association offers its Realtor® members the professional development, information and tools they need to ensure success for their clients and customers in today’s dynamic real estate markets.

Arnold Worldwide is a global creative agency delivering services across all communication touch points – advertising, digital, promotions, direct, design and branded content. We are proud to represent a diverse portfolio of clients including Carnival Cruise Lines, CenturyLink, Fidelity Investments, The Hershey Company, Huntington Bank, Jack Daniel’s, Milk-Bone, New Balance, Ocean Spray, Progressive, PUR, Sanofi, Titleist, Tyson Foods, University of Phoenix and many other great brands. The agency is part of the Havas Creative Group, with offices in Boston, London, Madrid, Milan, New York, Prague, São Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney and Toronto. http://arn.com

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


Read more: NAR Names Arnold Worldwide Agency of Record

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