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Welcome! In celebration of MIBOR's centennial, we are going to post 100 blogs in 2012! We have a LOT of great things to share with you.

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Final Centennial Blog

After many years of planning, anticipation, excitement and hard work we are about to bring our MIBOR Centennial year to a close. Projects like the Centennial Celebration don't just happen; they are the result of many hours and in this case, years of hard work by a dedicated group of volunteers. As chairman I would personally like to take a moment to acknowledge the core committee of MIBOR members John Creamer, Brad Osborne, Amy Englert, Kurt Simmons  Sue Applegate and Pam Aguirre. Without their leadership, dedication and hard work the Centennial projects would not have been possible. Also special thanks to the members who turned out for various events and volunteer days throughout the celebration year.

The year began with the Super Bowl which spotlighted the city as well as a tremendous opportunity for MIBOR's Centennial Cabinet, lead by Bill Hacker to work together with the city and the Boner Center as part of the Building a Living Legacy project. This philanthropic component of the centennial year raised $500,000 specifically for the project which included a commitment for over 30 homes in St. Clair Place. This commitment was over and above the monies pledged by the REALTOR® Foundation to raise awareness of the homeless in our community. Job well done!

The other major part of the centennial year was the production of the centennial book, REALTORS®: Opening Doors for 100 Years, and its companion DVD. With the help of our author, Todd Gould, WFYI and the history committee we were able to produce a beautiful and informative history of our industry. In addition the book illustrates our profession's role in the development of central Indiana, various neighborhoods, industry growth, how we overcame some of our prejudices of the past, and the inspiration to better our industry by giving back to the community in which we live and work. REALTORS® have always played an important role in strengthening communities and now through the development of the REALTOR® Foundation we are focusing on the true meaning of what Bud Tucker always called "paying our civic rent." If you haven't added this book and video to your office or home library, its not too late. Call today to reserve your copy while they are still available. 

Because the Centennial Celebration lasted throughout 2012 the committee opted for several events beginning in January with our book launch party at WFYI and the celebration kickoff at the MIBOR ball. February brought about the day of service to our communities by MIBOR members. March included the Central Indiana Housing Summit and the St. Patrick's Day parade. May showcased several "Centennial" runners in the One America Mini Marathon followed by another volunteer day in June. Also in June we participated in the Medallion Block Party Celebration held on site at the Building a Living Legacy Project near the Boner Community Center at 10th and St. Clair. The block party consisted of self guided tours of restored properties and some newly constructed homes, remarks from the CEO of the Boner Center and Executive Director of the Indy-East Asset Development and testimonials from residents. REALTOR® Night at Victory Field was held in July to a capacity crowd which included over 600 REALTORS®. A good time was had by all including the Indians who won the game!

As you can see MIBOR celebrated its 100th birthday in true REALTOR® Fashion. None of these special events would have been completed if not for the time and talents of many MIBOR members under the leadership of a talented and dedicated staff led by Claire Belby and CEO Steve Sullivan. 

We hope that you have been able to participate in some of the centennial festivities and that you enjoyed learning more about your industry and your city and its progression over 100 years. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


During this time of year, many like to reflect on past accomplishments and look forward to new beginnings. Our CEO, Steve Sullivan, took time to reflect on his tenure at MIBOR and came up with this short list of accomplishments that he is most proud of: 
  • That the overall quality rating of our service by members has improved so dramatically over the years.
  • That over 90% of members in 2012 think that MIBOR is headed in the right direction
  • Control of expenses over the last decade, including the resulting minimal increase in dues/fees.
  • Broker Listing Cooperative® - re-establishing and re-branding the culture of a cooperative. Secondarily obtaining trademark protection for the BLC® Listing service.
  • BLC® Policy Committee - the deeper inclusion of brokers in the decision making process.
  • Staff Reorganization in 2010 – focused on business services and solutions. Resulted in improvements including response rate and quality of service. 
  • Quality of the management team.
  • Restructuring of BOD with addition of specialty seats, which ensures not only voice but diverse viewpoints.
  • The Building a Living Legacy Project.
  • public website in 1996 – putting listings online which was unheard of at the time.
  • The success of the REALTOR® Community Investment Initiative (2006-2010).
  • Recreating the for-profit subsidiary resulting in significant annual tax savings.
  • Seamless transitions of surrounding local associations and subsequent creation of geographic divisions.
  • MIBOR’s second lockbox conversion (approx. 8 years ago) – how smoothly it went.

It’s your turn! What are you proud of this year?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Guest Blog: Scott Miller "Partners in Progress"

Wow, what a year it has been! We at the Indy Chamber have been doing a little reflecting on some of the major wins from the past year and we are very excited to have been a part of some of our Region’s biggest moments.

Of course, one of the things that has made 2012 so memorable is the outstanding celebration of MIBOR’s Centennial. One hundred years of working with a true passion for the success and wellbeing of the Greater Indianapolis community – that is something to be proud of.

The Indy Chamber shares that passion and as you may know, we have undergone a few structural changes of the last year as we have merged with three fellow business-oriented economic development organizations: Indy Partnership, Develop Indy and Business Ownership Initiative. Among other things, this merger has intensified the Indy Chamber’s mission to increase our economic attractiveness to business and top talent from around the world.

Bringing our four organizations together to work in unison to increase jobs, bring in more capital investment to our communities, advocate on behalf of businesses and grow our member network will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the economic wellbeing of Greater Indianapolis.

That is why we are so proud to have the support of MIBOR and your membership as we all work toward the goal of making our community a great place to live, work and play.  We’ve all come a long way, but there is still much to be done.

Remember the great words of Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” On behalf of all of us at the Indy Chamber, we congratulate you on this milestone and are excited to be your partner in progress for 100 more years!

In relentless pursuit,

Scott W. Miller
President & CEO
Indy Chamber

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Guest Blog: Tamara Zahn "We Have Much to Celebrate."

Three cheers for MIBOR as you celebrate 100 years.  Thanks for all you've done – collectively and individually - to make Central Indiana a better place to call home.  You have made a difference. 

We've come a long way.  We have much to celebrate.

I vividly remember just twenty years ago when Indianapolis Downtown Inc. was being formed to develop, manage and market Downtown Indianapolis.  There were huge craters Downtown where the development of Circle Centre had stalled.  More businesses and residents were moving out of Downtown than moving in.  

Thankfully, an “army” of public and private sector civic leaders, active advocates, resident pioneers and a handful of brokers shared the belief that a strong heart was vital to the success and well-being of the entire region.  

Over the years, many worked tirelessly to develop and market compelling Downtown residential options and an irresistible package of cultural, entertainment and dining options, especially to empty nesters and young professionals, within a safe, convenient and very walkable environment.   We put a face on urban living. 

The result is Indy’s largest and most diverse neighborhood.  More than 20,000 residents now call Downtown home.  Equally as important, Downtown’s success generated positive momentum for the surrounding neighborhoods.  In fact, Indianapolis was second only to St. Louis with the largest percentage increase of young professionals who chose to live Downtown or the neighborhoods around Downtown, according to research conducted by CEOs for Cities.  There’s still more to do.  

If we work together, the future is bright!

I am excited for Indianapolis and Central Indiana.  I don’t recall a time, at least in the last two decades, that our community was more open to and engaged in embracing new leadership and new ideas.  The possibilities are endless.  The passion and energy of our own neighbors to build a better community is truly inspiring.  Examples of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things are everywhere…in business, in the not-for-profit world, in neighborhood, community and economic development.

Now is the time to stand on what Indianapolis does best.  Reach for the inconceivable, put agendas and egos aside, break down boundaries and work together to build powerful relationships, collaborations and results. 

Together we can continue to make Indianapolis a special place that we all are proud to call home.   

Tamara Zahn is the former president of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. from 1993 – 2012. She is also the daughter and sister of residential real estate professionals. While an undergraduate at Indiana University, Tamara was the recipient of the F.C. Tucker Real Estate Award.      

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just 3: Featuring Regina Jones

Today’s “Just 3” features thoughts from former REALTOR® Foundation President and current Carpenter, REALTORS® agent, Regina Jones:

Question: Tell us three jobs you had before being a full-time REALTOR®. What are a few lessons you learned from those positions you bring to real estate?
Answer: I had three jobs I had before real estate. I worked in the restaurant industry as a server, bartender, as a hostess and in management. I worked as a salesperson in the retail industry and I also danced professionally with dance companies and for NBA and NFL teams. When I danced professionally, I usually had a part-time job somewhere else. So that part of my life really taught me time management. The retail and restaurant industries really gave me insight into the importance of providing the best client/customer service possible.  

Question: You are in REAL this year, what has been the coolest part of being part of the Real Estate Academy of Leadership (REAL) so far?
Answer: The coolest part of being part of REAL has to be the opportunities we have been given to meet the people who are shaping central Indiana. I am really learning so much...much more than I ever expected. And of course it is wonderful to learn leadership skills when I’m with other real estate professionals.

Question: Lastly, what was the best part of serving as REALTOR® Foundation President?
Answer: The best part of serving as REALTOR® Foundation President was working with amazing people. To be able to work with people who give their time and talent to help communities and families in need is really wonderful. There is the Board of Directors, MIBOR staff, volunteers, committees and the service providers (grant recipients). They all come together with a common goal of helping those in need. I know I may sound sappy, but it was truly humbling and I am proud to have served as the 2010 REALTOR® Foundation President. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

REALTORS® Honored by Historical Society

Last night, MIBOR was among the 21 organizations recognized by the Indiana Historical Society for reaching its centennial year. The Historical Society hosted its annual Founder's Day dinner to recognize organizations throughout the state. They began this tradition in 1992 by creating a registry of century-old Indiana companies. 

More than 300 companies now hold a place on the registry and MIBOR is now among them. It was a lovely evening of awards, dinner and music all against the backdrop of the stunning Indiana History Center along the canal in downtown Indianapolis. 

The closing remarks for the evening were even offered by James Madison, the Indiana historian who appears in MIBOR's documentary REALTORS: Opening Doors for 100 Years. It was a fitting end to a night that proved the REALTORS® hold an important place in our state's history.

John Creamer holding our recognition award and a copy
of REALTORS®: Opening Doors for 100 Years

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Centennial Photo of the Week: 1920s Master Bedroom

A typical master bedroom in the 1920s - check out those twin beds! This photo taken at the Indianapolis Home Show, an event the Board helped found in 1922. More than 67,000 people attended the first exposition which was held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in April 1922. By the end of the decade crowds for the event surpassed 90,000. Throughout the years the Indianapolis Home Show has been used to introduce many new products to Indianapolis homeowners including electric refrigerators, garbage disposals, dishwashers and central air conditioning. Learn more in the MIBOR history book - REALTORS®: Opening Doors for 100 Years - 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Resurrecting Indy's urban housing market

Today we'd like to share a column published in the Indianapolis Business Journal in response to a housing conversation recently hosted by LISC that featured our own MIBOR President Debbie Morris as a panelist. We posted her comments in a recent blog you can read here. Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

TAFT: Resurrecting Indy's urban housing market
The recession affected some older Indianapolis neighborhoods differently than it did the larger metro area housing market, with areas of Marion County taking particularly hard hits.

These neighborhoods suffer from deteriorated or outmoded older housing, lack of quality amenities nearby, perceived or real weakness of urban school options, and the need for high-quality transit.

However, the right strategies—making it easier to buy and renovate homes, helping developers redevelop entire swaths of the neighborhoods, and improving mass transit—would give these weaker areas a shot in the arm.

That was the consensus of a housing conversation hosted recently by Local Initiatives Support Corp. to determine the major structural challenges facing urban neighborhoods and what it would take to strengthen demand in neighborhoods that have lost population.

The experts convened included Debbie Morris of the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS
®; Leigh Evans from Mapleton Fall Creek Community Development Corp; Adam Thies, the new Department of Metropolitan Development director; and John Watson from Core Redevelopment.

Statistics generated by the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS
® reveal very different housing market dynamics within the metro area.

Since 2000, the nine-county central Indiana area has experienced modest growth in sales prices, while Marion County prices remained flat and prices in the Indianapolis Public Schools service boundaries dropped 26 percent.

Changes in the total number of sales reflect similar trends, with a gradual increase in sales across the region, a small decline in Marion County, and a steep drop in IPS. Downtown has been an outlier, with no growth in sales but a 68-percent increase in sale prices.

While the trends within IPS reflect a steadily declining housing market that now contains most of the approximately 14,000 vacant and abandoned homes in Marion County, the strong growth in downtown values reveals rising demand for urban living. The forum identified a number of clues for how to spread this small-scale urban housing vitality into the surrounding IPS district.

Interest in urban living by generations X and Y could be converted to housing purchases with the right housing product and environment.

The second clue is to make it easier for buyers to purchase older homes that need work. Mortgages will need to pay for a much higher percentage of renovation work in a transaction.

A third clue is that many homes are substandard or so poorly located that they will never attract a resident and should be demolished.

Finally, while home buyers and renters might be increasingly interested in urban living, they still demand high-quality amenities. This primarily means access to quality public education—a challenge that a growing number of magnet and charter schools are beginning to provide to the IPS area.

Since walkability is a major draw to urbanism, these neighborhoods must also offer sidewalks or bikeways to nearby shopping, entertainment or recreation. Ultimately, urban living will maximize its value only when residents can save up to 25 percent of their income by using high-quality public transit instead of owning a car.

It is encouraging that even some non-downtown urban neighborhoods like Holy Cross, Fountain Square and Mapleton-Fall Creek are beginning to offer many of these attributes. Ultimately, to achieve a true rebirth of the urban housing market, there must be significant private investment spurred by public investment in the key amenities.

If Indianapolis is to prosper, we must rebuild infrastructure to revive urban housing.

Taft is Indianapolis executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corp., a not-for-profit that invests in neighborhood redevelopment projects.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Celebrating our Centennial

Just looking back at some pictures from earlier this year and wanted to share! These shots are from the REALTORS® Opening Doors for 100 Years video release and book signing event at the WFYI Studios. If you don't have a copy of the book yet, visit!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What's Next for Neighborhoods

Earlier this month, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation presented its third installment of the “What’s Next for Neighborhoods: A Public Conversation Series.” This forum focused on housing in Indianapolis’ urban core neighborhoods.  As an organization focusing on the health of downtown neighborhoods, LISC felt it was important to talk about the challenges these neighborhoods face. As a REALTOR® who hears daily the concerns and desires of homeowners, I was pleased to be asked to be part of this important discussion.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Indianapolis witnessed large-scale suburbanization, with subdivisions springing up north and west of the White River, along Allisonville Road, east to Fort Benjamin Harrison and along East and West Washington Street to accommodate veterans home from World War II and their growing families.  As suburban neighborhoods continued to grow over the decades, Indianapolis’ once thriving urban neighborhoods began to decline.

While downtown Indianapolis has received several notable upgrades recently — including the most recent Georgia Street Corridor and the Near East Super Bowl Legacy Initiative, which was impressive to Super Bowl visitors from all across the country — our urban core neighborhoods have more than 14,000 vacant homes and the highest rate of foreclosures in the state.

As we look ahead and ponder economic growth and development opportunities for our city, our starting point should be not only accommodating, but attracting a variety of residents — from young professionals who wish to live, work and play within the urban core to empty nesters and families alike.

Bill Taft of LISC and Rob McPherson of the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership laid the groundwork for the discussion, and panelists Leigh Riley Evans, executive director of Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation; Adam Thies, director of the City’s Department of Metropolitan Development; and John Watson, managing member of Core Redevelopment LLC, made up the balance of the panel to discuss solutions for this challenge facing the ultimate growth of our city.

As a REALTOR®, I was excited to bring the concerns and desires that I hear from central Indiana residents each day to the table and I look forward to continuing to work with community and city leaders to find innovative ways to strengthen and rebuild our urban neighborhoods.

Debbie Morris
2012 President
Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS®

It's YOUR turn. What are your thoughts on ways to strengthen and rebuild our urban neighborhoods? Leave a comment below!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Centennial Photo of the Week: Ringing the Bell

Ringing the bell at Ed French's annual stag party was a time-honored tradition for that year's president. Having the first female president do the honors caused a stir, but Helen Hirt was up to the task.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Evidence is Everywhere…

Celebrating MIBOR’s Centennial has come about in so many ways. Recently I saw another great example of something meaningful and lasting. Every time I think the centennial is just a birthday, a milestone that has come and will soon be gone, I get my wake-up call. At the Chase Legacy Center on the Arsenal Tech High School campus there is one more reminder that so many people came together to create the Building  a Living Legacy project. And of course that project was the philanthropic splash of the entire centennial year. 

On Tuesday, October 30th, it was rainy, cold and windy. Not the ideal setting for an outdoor reception. So inside we went to unveil a unique sculpture that now stands just outside the garden at the Legacy Center. The sculpture is colorful and dynamic just like the Near Eastside neighbors of Indianapolis it represents. On one side, the names of the most generous Building  a Living Legacy donors are embedded in  clay and mosaic tiles – designed by local artist Jude Odell and created by elementary, middle and high school students. The other three sides celebrate the renewed spirit of the Near Eastside brought about by the completion of many elements of the area’s Quality of Life Plan and of course the 2012 Super Bowl and its Housing Legacy Project.     

Bill Hacker
A few people spoke at the brief reception including Odell and one of the high schoolers who volunteered. Bill Hacker from the Building  a Living Legacy campaign cabinet also spoke quite emotionally and eloquently about what the project has meant to him and how helping families make better lives for themselves strikes at the heart of what real estate professionals care most about. It was a fantastic reminder that because of so many partners and donors, 32 families have fresh starts and are free from the insecurity and uncertainty of homelessness.

The piece itself is beautiful and tells a story. It’s made up of more than 800 mosaic pieces. It’s been fired countless times to withstand the elements. It will last. You should check it out. 

Claire Belby
MIBOR Communications Director

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just 3: Featuring Beth Blake

Today's "Just 3" features MIBOR Centennial Chair, Beth Blake:

Question: If you had to pick one person that you think has defined MIBOR's history, who would they be and why?
Bud Tucker

Answer: There are two equally important people that come to mind. Both were outstanding leaders in the local, state and National Association of REALTORS®. Bud Tucker for his leadership in the development of the city, promotion of the REALTOR® image and his example to give back to the industry, which he referred to as 'paying your civic rent.' Helen Hirt was ahead of her time in the advancement of technology in our industry as well as her advancement and recognition of women in MIBOR. Helen introduced the first computer system to MIBOR and was instrumental in developing much of which is used today.
Helen Hirt

Question: Times and technology have changed. Describe the way showings used to work back in "the day"?

Answer: Good grief! Where do I begin!? First of all you must go back in time 40+ years ago to the old days of BC. Not the biblical reference, but 'before computers'. No MLS books to leaf through and no print outs compiled by areas! Showings were determined by word of mouth at division meetings, calling your fellow REALTORS® at other offices, driving areas and looking through single home flyers which contained limited information delivered in bundles weekly to the various offices by courier. Once you sorted through all those print outs by area and price you placed them in a loose leaf binder for reference. This was a weekly ritual that was performed in order to be current. Once the selection of possible homes to show was made, you placed a call to EACH real estate office for an appointment and then drove to EACH office to pick up the keys. When your showing day was complete, you got in your car and returned all the keys back to the respective offices. When you wrote a purchase agreement, you hand delivered it to the listing agent' and original and three copies written with carbon paper. Sorry, NO fax machines either! You also were responsible for calling the other agent for feedback, sorry NO emails, voice mails or cell phones either! There wasn't the luxury of lock boxes until the 80's. Not all offices used them and not all boxes were the same. One of the larger companies had their own version that hooked over the top of the front door. Since I have always been vertically challenged, showing houses to a normal sized client required carrying a cinder block or ladder to stand on in the trunk of my car. Only then could I reach the key box at the top of the door to access the key to show the house. Sure miss those days!

Question: What advice would you give to a new member about this industry?

Answer: Don't take today's luxuries for granted. Many REALTORS® before us have laid the ground work for MIBOR's success. Now it's your turn to carry on the tradition by being the best REALTOR® ever! Get involved!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Building Stronger Communities...

Cinda Kelley-Hutchings

Today's blog post comes from a guest blogger, Cinda Kelley-Hutchings  who is the Executive Director of the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership. 

As local REALTORS® work every day to help families find the best homes in healthy neighborhoods, MIBOR is helping to build stronger communities. MIBOR and the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership (HCEDP) also work together to strengthen communities through a highly targeted approach that helps companies create jobs.

While the nation has struggled economically over the last five years, Hendricks County has enjoyed a net job growth. Like the nation, Hendricks County is primarily made up of small businesses, and HCEDP’s public entities and private partners such as MIBOR have developed programming to support these local employers. Locally based companies make up 61 percent of the Hendricks County businesses community, with 38 percent employing between 10 and 99 people (41 percent employ fewer than 10, and 9 percent are sole proprietors). Those three categories account for nearly 88 percent of jobs in Hendricks County.

In 2010, MIBOR asked HCEDP to implement the Edward Lowe Foundation program in Central Indiana, providing critical expertise to Stage II companies that are facing barriers to growth. Several companies have already been able to take advantage of no-cost expertise that helped them grow, create jobs, and make new investments in their communities.

HCEDP and the REALTORS® working through MIBOR are helping to create opportunities that will strengthen our communities and provide better lives for local residents today and for the next 100 years. We congratulate MIBOR on 100 years of community engagement and service, and are excited to work as your partner for many years to come. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Moving Forward...MIBOR Takes Transit

As champions for improving public transportation in our region, the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS® (MIBOR) staff walked the talk Wednesday, October 10th by commuting to and from work via various forms of public transit. Staff members who typically travel to the office by car experienced getting to work by IndyGo or the Indy Express Bus to highlight the advantages and challenges to our current infrastructure.

Seventeen MIBOR staff (65%) participated in the transit day. Some rode to and from work while others took the bus to and from meetings and lunch. 

Overall, the challenges noted were bus stop amenities like lack of shelters, sidewalks, etc. Staff members also faced longer commutes than usual, especially those coming from outlining areas of the city. Staff definitely noted a need for more frequency. In order to get to work on time, many of our staff had to start their day very early. The challenges reinforce our support for improving the built environment through Complete Streets and the Indy Connect Plan. 

Staffers were impressed by the safety and cleanliness of the busses. Many noted the camaraderie of the passengers and operators and the diversity of the riders. Staff also noted that the busses were full – many citizens rely on this mode of transportation. 

On transit day, staff members captured their experience in photos, tweets, Facebook posts, and e-mails.  

Here are some of their comments and photos:

Pat Cline - Strong ridership this AM, at lunch and now. It seems the demand for transit does exist in Indy. 

Tom Renkert - Nice quick trip on route 4B, did a bunch of email. Time well spent.

Lacey Everett - Easy trip to and from lunch. We're transit pros now!

Sara Laycock - Great 16 minute bus ride into the office. Hardest part was crossing at 20th & Capitol. Let's get more pedestrian friendly Indy!

Chris Pryor - Most riders are busy on laptops and iPads or their phones. One rider just told me this the most productive hour of her day.
Claire Belby – I was surprised how easy bus access way. There are lots of stops. The challenge of course is the limited scheduling. My travel time was long but I went to two distinct areas to drop off my kids - I was surprised at how easy the plan your route tool is online.

Kristi Howard – This commute is absolutely a realistic alternative for my family should we want to save money and go down to one car, or if someone had a car in the shop. 

Kari Smith – I liked to see the interaction among the people who seemed to be regulars. The bus drivers knew them and they all talked to each other as if they were friends.

Jenny Norris – What surprised me the most was the diversity of people on the bus…students, professional people in suits, all ages and all walks of life.

As we look forward to the 2013 legislative session, MIBOR will continue to be an advocate of enabling legislation for the authority to conduct referendums to dedicate local revenue to transit and moving the Indy Connect plan forward. MIBOR is vitally interested in the future of the communities where REALTORS® do business and believes the expansion of transportation infrastructure, including bus, light rail and bike/pedestrian pathways, is an important investment in the growth of local economy and the community-at-large in central Indiana.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Looking Back...MIBOR Political Advocacy

With all the talk of Super PACs and special interests during recent campaign cycles, it is easy to think that these things are a new phenomenon. Political activity has certainly amped up in recent years, but it isn’t a new game. 

In fact, recognizing the importance of having a voice and participating in politics isn’t new. Pericles famously recognized that “[j]ust because you don’t take an interest in politics, doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you” back when Ancient Greece was first toying with a new idea called “democracy.”

In present day, the same concept lives in the common political axiom that if you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu.

This isn’t lost on REALTORS®.  I love history and was excited to get my hands on early drafts of MIBOR’s Centennial history book, REALTORS®: Opening Doors for 100 Years.  I am proud to work for MIBOR and wanted to learn more about the organization’s history. And while I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised to see page after page of stories detailing the political involvement of MIBOR and its members.

Reading the stories from the book about the origins of RPAC and the early days of political advocacy is both humbling and inspiring for me as MIBOR’s Political Affairs Liaison.  The books shares tales of REALTORS® working on the Fair Housing Act, advancing the rights of women and minorities, economic development and protecting and promoting home ownership.  It talks of our members working with LBJ, Nixon and a visit to one of our board meetings from Robert F. Kennedy.  When I sit in our board room, adorned with the portrait of every past president of MIBOR since 1912, it has a different feel than it did before reading the history; the portraits used to strike me as the kind of old timey photos* you might see at an antique store.

Instead, now I feel like a baseball fan in Cooperstown.  I see the faces of the giants who transformed the role of REALTORS® in the political arena.  I see the face of Delbert Ludlow, who worked with the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission during the civil rights movement.  Just above the spot on the wall where I’ve often stood while pouring myself coffee is the face of Fred “Bud” Tucker, Jr. who was one of 13 REALTOR® leaders from across the country who pushed to establish the REALTORS® Political Action Committee in 1969. While leading NAR, he emphasized the importance of RPAC and Governmental Affairs. He noted that “[t]he REALTORS® of America are in the business of politics and they are in it to stay.”

There are many more portraits on the wall of leaders whose stories are recounted in the book, and for each one of them are a dozen other men and women who worked alongside to advance the cause.  The history of REALTOR® involvement is interesting and humbling, but it also gives me a new perspective.  I see the scores of members who volunteer their time to interview candidates, fund raise for RPAC or meet with their town councilor, mayor or congressman regarding an issue. Often, it is easy to get caught up in the issue of the day – township government, rental registration agreements, TIF districts, the mortgage interest deduction, property assessments, etc. . . – but not recognize the big picture.  I love that I work for an organization that has long recognized the need to be a part of the political process. I see the commitment of the leadership and the members over the decades and I feel the passion when I talk to members who recognize the next hurdle and roll up their sleeves rather than assign blame.  
As MIBOR starts its second century, I enjoy knowing that the members who are currently writing RPAC checks or volunteering their times for an issue may be the same names listed on the first few pages of MIBOR’s bicentennial book.  Our political involvement is rich with history, but also has a bright future.

As the election season we’re currently enduring mercifully comes to an end in less than two weeks, it is comforting to know that the issues important to REALTORS® and homeowners are being advocated. Politics is a messy, and often ugly game, but it isn’t going anywhere. I’m just glad that the REALTORS® aren’t either.

*I’m only referring to the really old photos on the south side of the room, NOT the more recent photos. If you can read this, I’m not talking about you. Don’t hurt me. Please.

Pat Cline
MIBOR Political Affairs Liaison

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Just 3: Featuring MIBOR President Debbie Morris

Recently we introduced a new feature to the blog called “JUST 3”. Periodically we’ll pose just three questions to someone who has something insightful to say about the MIBOR Centennial and the history of the real estate industry. We hope you enjoy their perspectives. If you want share you’re JUST 3 thoughts, let us know. Email Claire Belby with your ideas! 

Today we hear from Debbie Morris, 2012 MIBOR President. Being President in this milestone year offers a certain perspective. Here’s Debbie’s JUST 3…

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given about working as a REALTOR®?   
Treat every client as if they're your only client.

Describe a REALTOR® in three words.   
Trusted. Resourceful. Advisor    

What has been the most surprising thing about your (almost) year as MIBOR President?  
Having served as a Director and Officer, I knew that I would enjoy the Presidency, I just underestimated how much I would enjoy it. Steve Sullivan and the staff ensure that I'm prepared for the various meetings and media appearances so that I've been able to enjoy each opportunity. MIBOR Staff, the directors, and members have been so supportive during our very special Centennial Year, and I will step down in December with even more pride and respect for our association and its members than I had before!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Did you know?

MIBOR wasn't always MIBOR. In 1979, the Indianapolis Real Estate Board merged with surrounding counties resulting in a new name and logo for the organization.

Here is a look at the logo:

"Former Board President John Lewis recalled the shift, 'There was a big push from the Hamilton County Board, and that's what really made us decide to open up. Hamilton County was an attractive area to market real estate, and we wanted to be a part of that just as just as the Hamilton County Board wanted to work freely with the Indianapolis Board. So that was our first merger. From that point, it didn't really take long to realize the benefits of expansion outside all areas of Marion County. Soon we were merging with Johnson County, Hendricks County, and so on." -- excerpt from REALTORS®: Opening Doors for 100 Years.

Friday, October 5, 2012

JUST 3...

Starting today, we are introducing a new feature to the blog called “JUST 3”. Periodically we’ll pose just three questions to someone who has something insightful to say about the MIBOR Centennial and the history of the real estate industry. We hope you enjoy their perspectives. If you want share you’re JUST 3 thoughts, let us know. Email Claire Belby with your ideas. 

Today we start at the source of your association’s quintessential history, Todd Gould. Todd is an award-winning author and television producer/director. A graduate of the IU School of Telecommunications, he has produced documentaries and features for PBS, ESPN, the BBC, The Learning Channel and other national and international video distribution outlets. He is a 18-time Emmy Award winner and a six-time winner of the Indiana Film Society Award for “Best Documentary”. He is the author of REALTORS® Opening Doors for 100 Years and the producer of the video documentary of the same name (hint...available for sale in the REALTOR® Store). He is your historian and here are his JUST 3:

Did you have any professional experience telling the story of real estate or trade associations before taking on this project?
While I had done several historical projects that explored the history of the city of Indianapolis in a variety of videos and publications, I had never examined the growth of the city in such a dynamic and diverse way as when we first began doing research work on the MIBOR history project. It has been fascinating to learn how the social and cultural history of our city was shaped largely by the men and women of the real estate industry, and how cultural, social and political leaders followed this visionary blueprint for success that created the booming city and its amenities, which we all enjoy today.

What was similar about the MIBOR history to other projects you’ve worked on?
Typically with any interesting and expansive history such as this, there are a number of influential leaders and intriguing characters who share in the trials and triumphs of the industry and help chart a course for the future and shaped the who we are as Hoosiers and residents of the city of Indianapolis. The same holds true here. From James S. Cruse, the first president of the Indianapolis Real Estate Board in 1912, to other influential leaders with names like Tucker, Binford, McClain, Booth, Justus, Savage, Carr/Boyd, Graves, Hirt and many, many others, MIBOR has enjoyed a history as rich and colorful as any about which I've ever researched and published works.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about REALTORS® while writing the book or producing the video?
I was very impressed with the many, many ways in which real estate professionals played such a critical role in the development of the city. From the rise of an industrial power, to the growth of neighborhoods, to civil rights, to women's suffrage, to the rebirth of a city's identity, REALTORS® had a tremendous influence on each of these important areas of our city's growth. Their history parallels the history of all of us who proudly call Indianapolis "home." 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Then and Now...

The times may change, but some traditions live on. They just evolve. Check out this picture from a MIBOR Annual Ball of yesteryear compared to the 2012 event. Can you guess the year in our first photo?  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Looking Forward...on Public Education

This year, as we celebrate our centennial, we have had the opportunity to look back on our years of service, on the evolution of the real estate industry, on economic development, neighborhood development and the overall growth of our region.  Through this blog, we have reflected on our achievements, on the challenges we have faced and on the role we have played in our communities.

However, we aren’t just looking back this year – we’re also looking forward. What will the next 10, 50 and 100 years bring? What will our role be as our region continues to grow and change?

A few days ago we launched the MIBOR Membership Survey, which is conducted twice a year and provides valuable member feedback on the services provided to members. We use the results to evaluate performance and guide resource allocation for each budget cycle. For the current survey period, we have streamlined the questions and have for the first time we’ve included questions about an important and timely issue – public education. The questions are focused on member opinions related to public education and MIBOR’s role in advocating in this area. We know that education is critically important to your customers and their housing decisions, and we are eager to know your thoughts.

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to take the time to fill out the membership survey, which has already been sent to your inbox.

We also welcome you to share your thoughts by posting a comment on this blog. Below are two of the questions that are included in the survey.

1) On which sources do you believe buyers rely for information about schools? 
               1.  REALTOR®           4.      Co-workers / Employers
               2.  Family members     5.      Other sources
               3.  Friends                6.      DON’T KNOW

2) To what extent should MIBOR be involved in the area of education policy?
            1.      Extremely involved     4.      Not very involved
            2.      Very involved            5.      Not at all involved
            3.      Somewhat involved    6.      DON’T KNOW

Answer these questions and provide any other thoughts by clicking “comments” below!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Then and Now...

With the release of the iPhone 5 today, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at one of the first ‘mobile’ phones. 

Remember this?

Wow, we've come a long way, haven’t we?

From paper listing cards to the BLC® Listing Service, from bag phones to smart phones, and so much more - REALTORS® have embraced the many changes in the technology world over the years. 

Did any of you carry a bag phone with you in your early years in the industry? What other changes in technology have impacted the way you do business? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Looking Back at the Evolution of Giving Back

In 1984, the REALTOR® Foundation was established as the philanthropic arm of the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS® (MIBOR) to provide real estate professionals in central Indiana opportunities to give back to the community that has continuously supported our industry.

Last week’s REALTOR® Foundation Awareness Week gave us an opportunity to look back at the impact so many dedicated volunteers have made. It’s inspiring to think about the individuals and families who have been helped — and in turn helped themselves — to achieve a better life through assistance from organizations like the REALTOR® Foundation. A culture of giving back defines central Indiana, and the real estate community is honored to be a small part.

The foundation’s early efforts focused on neighborhood revitalization and beautification, including an annual event remembered fondly among area REALTORS® called Brighten Up Indy. We also worked with Indy Parks for several years rebuilding and revitalizing neighborhood parks throughout the city. But it was a conscious choice made a decade ago that has created lasting impact.
By 2001, the foundation had reached a plateau, both in fundraising and member engagement. We knew then we had to find a new mission that would re-energize and engage real estate professionals to make an even greater impact in the community.

A United Way presentation on homelessness came at just the right time. We were all touched after learning about the many different segments of the homeless population, especially children aging out of the foster care system. Around that same time, then-Mayor Bart Peterson released the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention’s “Blueprint to End Homelessness,” and a concentrated effort to end homelessness in Marion County solidified.

Our new mission was clear.

A decade ago in the fall of 2002, we dedicated our fundraising efforts solely to the issue of homelessness and began educating ourselves on the complexities of the issue and the needs of the homeless population.

That same year, we gave our first two $25,000 grants to organizations that were — and still are —impacting the homeless population in Marion County, Sheltering Wings and Interfaith Hospitality Network.

Organizations like these have been our greatest resource in learning about homelessness. It’s easy to believe that we see the face of homelessness every day in the men and women on the street. The truth is we don’t see the full picture.

One of the largest segments of the homeless population over the last few years has been families. Just a few months ago, the Foundation celebrated its most successful fundraising effort, one with truly lasting effects. The Building a Living Legacy project, in collaboration with the Super Bowl Host Committee, provided homes in St. Clair Place to 32 homeless families.

While an amazing achievement, it only launches us into the next question: What more can be done to transform neighborhoods and help families on their journey to escape homelessness? As we look to the next decade, we’re excited to continue to be a partner in diminishing homelessness in central Indiana.

Bill Hacker
REALTOR® Foundation Board of Director
Chair, Building a Living Legacy Campaign

Thursday, September 13, 2012

MIBOR: a Force in Economic Development

Today we'd like to share an article that was recently published as part of a Regional Guide, and included in the Indianapolis Business Journal titled, 'MIBOR a Force in Economic Development Celebrates 100 Years.' The article outlines the role REALTORS® have played and continue to play in the economic development of our communities.

Click here to read. Leave a comment below! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Responding to a Nation in Crisis...

More than a decade after the 9/11 attacks, we pause to remember the lives that were lost and the sacrifices that were made. 

The 9/11 Memorial on the Canal
in Downtown Indianapolis
Today we'd like to share an excerpt from REALTORS®: Opening Doors for 100 Years titled "Responding to a Nation in Crisis":

...On September 11, 2001, REALTORS® across the country acted swiftly and significantly following the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., Richard A. Mendenhall of Columbia, Missouri, the 2001 NAR President remembered, "At first I was stunned, like the rest of America...Then I realized that as REALTORS® we must respond immediately by saying, 'No victim's family will lose their home as a result of the tragedy.'"

Within 24 hours after the attacks, NAR leaders established the REALTORS® Housing Relief Fund, seeding it with $1 million from Association reserves, to help surviving family members make their mortgage payments. Checks from REALTORS® began arriving at the homes of victim's families within days of the tragedy, including funds from MIBOR, who collected donations during an annual charity golf tournament held in the days immediately following the tragedies.

"I delivered checks to the wives of five victims," noted George A. Naylor, Jr. a REALTOR® from Southampton, Pennsylvania. "It was the first assistance they received, and it meant a lot. One was already behind in her mortgage payments." Ultimately the National REALTORS® Housing Relief Fund collected and distributed more than $8 million to surviving family members. "It's made a major difference in my life," quoted widow Debra Roberts in REALTOR® Magazine in December 2001.

By the start of 2002, American troops were heading to Afghanistan, and once again, REALTORS® made ardent strides to help families in need. As with past military conflicts, NAR agreed to waive membership dues for those who reported for active duty and members whose spouses reported. Patriotism was running high throughout the nation and within the local community. Many REALTORS® in central Indiana posed for their traditional headshot photographs in front of the American flag and ran patriotic quotes in local advertisements. Pride in the city and in smaller communities around central Indiana was also strong...

It's YOUR turn to reflect. Where were you on September 11, 2001? What do you remember about that day, and the days and years that have followed?  Leave a comment below.