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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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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!