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Mississippi one of the first

‘High-energy’ meeting focuses on needs of commercial Realtors

Last month, when commercial Realtors in Mississippi convened for Mississippi Association of Realtors’ annual fall education conference in Jackson, the fruits of their labor were realized. Beginning Jan. 1, 2000, Mississippi will become one of the first states with a statewide association geared solely to commercial Realtors.

“This is very big news,” said Scott Bruner, executive vice president of MAR’s commercial division. “This group got together three years ago and started planning how to better meet the needs of commercial members and, hopefully, enlarge the membership. The result was the formation of the Mississippi Commercial Association of Realtors. Providing that they pass muster with the national association later this month, commercial practitioners, including folks who sell timberland and farm land, will begin meeting in the statewide Realtor association on Jan. 1.”

The MAR has traditionally been perceived as a residential association, even though members specialize in a variety of areas, including industrial, commercial, appraisal, et cetera, Bruner said.

“It’s one of the first statewide commercial Realtor associations,” he said. “Metropolitan areas, such as Atlanta and Chicago, have commercial Realtor associations, but no states.”

The newly developed association will provide options for commercial Realtors in smaller cities who may join the statewide association to handle educational needs and remain involved in a local Realtor association, Bruner said.

“Quite a few real estate licensees in our state are quite successful in commercial real estate but aren’t members of our organization,” he said. “We believe there’s something to be said for being a part of a Realtor organization, not the least of which is subscribing to our code of ethics, which is among the highest ethical codes in professional groups. We’d like to have those folks as members, living by the code of ethics that our current members have.”

John D. Jones of John Jones & Associates in Pascagoula, who will preside over MCAR in its first year, said the marketing session at the conference, where commercial Realtors with mutual property interests shared information “will more than pay for the cost of the conference and the association.”

“This was probably one of the most high-energy meetings I’ve been to in a while,” Jones said. “When I go to these meetings, I’m a little apprehensive, but for the $75 I paid to attend the conference probably resulted in $50,000 to $100,000 in assets for my clients. I’ve already met with two clients and given them up-to-date information on segmented depreciation and the Brownfield Act. Those are very important issues to real estate investors.”

Commercial business panel discussions about limited liability corporations, loan underwriting, tax implications and environmental issues that affect commercial transactions were led respectively by Ben Roberson of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada PLLC, Ken Farmer of BancorpSouth’s Commercial Real Estate Division, Buck Coats of Horne CPA Group and Ron Thompson of Malcome Pirnie Inc.

Jim Conerly of Conerly & Associates in Jackson, said the marketing session with Cindy Chandler of North Carolina “brought us back to basics.”

“The round table discussions about recent tax court findings in commercial real estate deals were very enlightening,” Conerly said.

An informal commercial lien law bill discussion hosted by Bill Renick, MAR political consultant, “was mainly to discuss strategies on how to proceed with the commercial lien bill,” Bruner said.

“Probably 25 other states have passed similar legislation, and this is an issue brought to our association by commercial practitioners as part of their legislative agenda,” he said. “We feel like it stands a real good chance of passage and is one of our two top issues this year. We’ve supported some pro-business candidates, and will hopefully have people elected that understand business issues and will be sensitive to the needs of Realtors, particularly commercial Realtors.”

In numerous instances, commercial transactions result in contracts with one of the parties from out of state, Bruner said.

“More times than not, the real estate licensee gets left out of the picture,” he said. “They’re promised a commission, which is agreed to by contract, and it’s never delivered when the transaction is closed. Obviously, we don’t think that’s fair. These commercial practitioners put an incredible amount of time and lend an incredible amount of expertise to guide parties of the transaction through the process. We believe they should be compensated for it. Legislation would help insure that they would.”

Tommy Morgan of Coldwell Banker in Tupelo said the material covered in the conference was “very timely and thought-provoking.”

“Everything that was said could make us money,” Morgan said. “And I was really excited to see the direction the commercial division is going. It seems to be coming together very well.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com or mbj@msbusiness.com.


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