New and Updated in the Library – March 2016

The following Field Guides have recently been updated in the Library:

Private Property Rights

Americans are passionate about their property rights, and disagreements can pit neighbor against neighbor. The issue of eminent domain can arouse the fury of many citizens, who take seriously the last clause of the Fifth Amendment—nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. The infamous 2005 Kelo v New London Eminent Domain case (the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of New London) generated anger and discussion on both sides of this debate. These articles and links examine property rights, government regulations, eminent domain and much more.

Home Automation

Home automation—the ability to monitor and control all your home’s gadgets from afar—is now a booming industry with major players and mass adopters. Automation technologies have been around for decades (recall The Clapper), and consumers can still purchase separate technologies to control thermostats, sprinkler appliances, or door locks; this is known as DIY automation. These days, whole home automation systems are available to manage disparate functions through one centralized interface that can be accessed on a user’s smart phone or tablet. Homeowners and renters alike have taken notice. They want home automation systems, or “smart homes,” for lots of different reasons, but security and energy management are among the most significant. Read on, and learn why some say the global home automation market will be worth over $21 billion by 2020.

Compensation Plans for Real Estate Agents

Get the latest news on compensation plans. Are salaries a better idea than commissions? What’s the best way to modify your compensation plan? Find the answers to these questions and much more.

Real Estate Office Policy Manuals

How do you keep your office running smoothly? These days it’s essential for companies to have written documentation about office policies and procedures. An easy-to-understand guidebook for salespeople to refer to in their daily business can help solve and prevent disputes, and helps ensure the success and reputation of your company. The articles and books in this field guide provide you with the necessary tools and tips to create a policy manual for your real estate office.

Warehouse Market

The outlook for the industrial/warehouse sector continues to brighten for 2015, including expected decreases in vacancy rates and projected gains in rental rates. The demand for warehouse space is on the rise and gaining the attention of companies and investors. This Field Guide provides you with market data and statistics; innovative ways to market and utilize warehouse space; and insight into the how the legalization of marijuana is making an impact on the warehouse industry. You’ll also find some useful resources available from the National Association’s Virtual Library.

Vacation, Resorts & Second Homes

Vacation home sales boomed in 2014 to above their most recent peak level in 2006, while investment purchases fell for the fourth straight year. For transactions in 2014, vacation-home sales catapulted to an estimated 1.13 million last year and vacation sales were up 57.4 percent from 717,000 in 2013. Investment-home sales in 2014 decreased 7.4 percent to an estimated 1.02 million in 2014 from 1.10 million in 2013. Owner-occupied purchases fell 12.8 percent to 3.23 million last year from 3.70 million in 2013. The sales estimates are based on responses from nearly 2,000 U.S. adults who purchased a residential property in 2014, and exclude institutional investment activity. In this field guide, you will find information on the activity in the vacation/second home market as well as tips on working with the vacation/second home buyer. You’ll also uncover a variety of resources available from the National Association in addition to updates on the RSPS certification.

Facebook for REALTORS®

With over 1.3 billion members worldwide, Facebook remains the largest social network site. According to the 2013-14 Realtor Technology Survey Report, the majority of REALTORS® who do use social media for their real estate business tend to use it mainly to build relationships/network (70%) and for visibility, exposure, marketing (64%). Are you using Facebook as part of your real estate marketing? Beyond the basics, how are REALTORS® using Facebook in their business? This updated field guide goes over the basics, reviews current security settings, and explores how REALTORS® are using the social network to build their brand.

Working with International Clients

The topic of international clients garners great interest and attention amongst real estate professionals and news providers these days. The real estate markets in the United States offer lucrative investment opportunities that attract a global audience. How can you capture the attention and interest of these prospective clients? Review the articles, reports, and resources below to learn more about international clients.

Writing a Business Plan

Writing a business plan may seem a daunting task as there are so many moving parts and concepts to address. However, the NAR library offers a plethora of resources on this topic to get you started. Take it one step at a time and be sure to schedule regular review (quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) of your plan to be sure you on are track to meet your goals.

Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud is one of the most notorious crimes in the United States. It has left many home owners with “underwater” mortgages that are substantially higher than the valued price of their home, many lenders with defaulted loans and foreclosed homes, and many real estate professionals in the precarious position of needing to rigorously screen new clients’ financial portfolios while keeping apprised of major regulatory changes and new procedures. Learn about the different types of mortgage fraud and discover how to recognize the signs, take precautions, and report incidents.

Working with Single Home Buyers

The real estate market in the United States is comprised of a great diversity of buyers, each with unique needs and concerns. Understanding how to best serve these unique needs will assist you establishing an outstanding service and reputation for your real estate business. Single home buyers represent a sizeable portion of home buyers in the current residential real estate market, and are an audience worth knowing and understanding. This updated Field Guide will help you to learn about the needs, concerns, and buying behaviors of single home buyers.

Homeowner’s Insurance

“Homeowners insurance covers the structure of your home and your personal property, as well as your personal legal responsibility (or liability) for injuries to others or their property while they’re on your property.”

Homeowner’s insurance policies may include provisions for:

  • Dwelling (for damages to your house)
  • Other structures (for damages to fences, garages, sheds, etc.)
  • Personal property (for damages to possessions)
  • Loss of Use or additional living expenses (for times when your home is being repaired)
  • Personal Liability (coverage for injured on your property or by your pets on your property)

Source: A Consumer’s Guide to Home Insurance, 2010.

It is important to note that a standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not typically include earthquake damage or flood insurance.

Choosing & Using a Smartphone

Do you need a smartphone to get organized? What features do you need? How do real estate professionals use smartphones? Find out the answers to these questions and much more in the following articles and websites.

The definition of smartphone varies widely, but is generally defined as a cellular or mobile phone that is enhanced with computer technology functions such as internet and email access, personal digital assistant tools, handwriting recognition, and more. (Oxford English Dictionary, smartphone n.)

Multiple Offers

There may be times when you receive multiple offers for the same property listing: how do you review these offers and determine which one seems the most beneficial for your client? In this guide, we explore how to handle multiple offers of purchase on real property.

Technology Tools for Association Executives

This guide will help you learn tips for doing information technology yourself, keep up with legal issues and learn new training ideas.

Strategic Planning for Associations

The strategic planning process is key in helping an organization develop a vision of where it will be in the future and determining the best ways to turn that vision into reality. This page includes resources on all aspects of strategic planning, from beginning the process to monitoring its implementation after the plan has been worked out. Also included are the strategic plan of the National Association of REALTORS® and other resources to assist REALTOR® Association Executives in developing strategic plans for their organizations..

Lead Based Paint

For many years, lead-based paint was used almost universally in homes and apartment units in the U.S. until it was found to have detrimental impacts on human health, especially in children. As with any environmental hazard, lead-based paint testing, disclosure and liability are issues of serious concern to REALTORS®. The following articles, studies, websites, and other resources provide information on all aspects of lead-based paint for REALTORS® and property managers, including disclosure issues, impacts on the industry, and lead poisoning prevention.

Redesigning Association Websites

Web design has evolved dramatically since the Internet was founded. Is your association website W3 or ADA compliant? Do you use XML? Are your navigation menus logical and user friendly? Is the writing acceptable for the Web? Would a blog or twitter feed work on your site? Have you considered hiring an SEO consultant? Consult the information below for articles and helpful tips to assist in the redesign of your association’s website for the 21st century.

China Real Estate

China has a growing interest in real estate, both in China and in the United States. Wealthy Chinese buyers are investing in bricks and mortar. In this updated Field Guide, you will find Chinese-language real estate listings, current articles about real estate in China, Chinese buyers in the U.S., books and website.

Board Histories & Anniversaries

Just as the National Association of REALTORS® celebrated its centennial in 2008, many state and local associations are preparing for significant birthdays and events. The resources on this page offer ideas for recognizing and celebrating an anniversary and writing an organization’s history. State and local associations can also tap into the tap into the extensive resources of the NAR Archives for further assistance.

Doing Business with Brazil

In 2010, Brazil’s economy was bustling, the middle-class was growing, and the 2016 Rio Olympics looming. Today’s outlook – hampered by lackluster GDP growth, investor and political distractions – is quite a bit less exuberant. Find out why in this updated guide to doing business in Brazil.

Risk Management & Insurance Issues for Associations

Just like any business, REALTOR® associations need sound risk management practices and a good insurance plan to protect themselves and their members. Use this Field Guide to navigate the ins and outs of insurance for associations: how much coverage is enough, understanding risk management, professional liability insurance, and more.

Social Networking for REALTORS®

Every junior high kid seems to have a Facebook page. Why should you, a real estate professional? Learn about social networking websites, see how other real estate agents have embraced social networking to increase their presence on the Internet to attract more clients, learn about the variety of social networking websites and much more.

Investment Planning for Associations

Making sound investment and financial strategy decisions is not easy, especially in light of the current economic conditions. While there is no perfect formula for an association or non-profit investment policy, there are many articles, books, and resources that detail common risks and best practices. Read on below to learn more.

Breaking Into Commercial Sales

Though both the U.S. and world economies remain in a somewhat precarious state, the commercial real estate market has shown incremental improvements since the economic collapse of the 2000s. Navigating the commercial real estate landscape often requires deft knowledge and skill, however the resources contained in this Field Guide will provide guidance and background on how to get started.  You’ll discover a variety of resources available to commercial practitioners, including efforts NAR is taking on Capitol Hill; commercial industry news and trends; profiles of commercial members; research reports; and much more.

Direct Mail

Effectively reaching your customers and prospecting clients is essential for a successful real estate career. This guide provides tips to ensure your direct mail campaign competes against the mailers of top-producing agents and delivers an effective, targeted message.

Commercial Broker Lien Laws

Commercial broker lien laws allow liens to be filed on commercial properties for the full payment of commissions. In states that have enacted commercial lien laws, there has been a dramatic decline in commission collection litigation and arbitration. Explore the resources on this page for information on how lien laws work, summaries of current laws, news updates, and more.

Effects of Low-Income Housing on Property Values

Questions arise about whether or not the sales prices of single-family homes are made higher or lower when low-income housing is nearby.  Most studies indicate that affordable housing has no long term negative impact on surrounding home values. In fact, some research indicates the opposite.  However, local communities continue to believe the myth, raising a cry of “Not in my Backyard! (NIMBY).” The following articles and studies examine the effects of low-income, public, and subsidized housing on the values of surrounding properties, the challenge of NIMBY, and some possible resources people can use to educate community groups and local governments.

Single-Property Websites

Property marketing is always a challenge. How do you make sure your client’s property gets the attention it needs? How do you make it easy for buyers to learn about your property? Some REALTORS® are turning to single-property websites to feature an individual property on a dedicated site. Is the time and effort of creating a single-property website worth it? See what others are saying.

Escrow Accounts/Earnest Money

Escrow accounts are funds that a lender collects to pay the monthly mortgage insurance premiums, homeowners insurance policy premiums and yearly property taxes. Earnest money, on the other hand, is a good faith sum of money given to bind a contract, for example an agreement to purchase real property or a commitment fee to assure an advance of funds by a lender. This Field Guide will provide you with details on escrow accounts (from the basics to escrow administration) and earnest money as well as information on escrow fraud. You’ll also uncover a variety of case summaries on escrow mishandling, in addition to the numerous digital resources available from the Library’s eBooks collection and related Field Guides.

Home Inspections

Home inspections are a critical part of the home buying and selling process. Failure to obtain a home inspection could potentially cost you a great deal of money and hassles in the long run.  The following information sources will assist you and in turn, your clients, in understanding home inspections, the home inspection process and working with home inspectors.  You will also uncover valuable tips on the importance of a home inspection and helpful links to a variety of professional home inspection organizations and useful information available to you from the National Association.

Flood & Disaster Insurance

Disasters can happen any time. Do you have flood or disaster insurance? Find out what a standard policy should cover, NAR information, pricing and reform issues, aspects of choosing a disaster insurance policy and much more in this updated field guide.

Solar & Renewable Energy Features & Tax Credits

As energy prices continue to rise, solar and other renewable sources are becoming more affordable options for not only large utility-grade users, but also consumers. States help make the switch even more affordable with tax credits and other benefits currently on tap through at least 2016. This new field guide explores the basics of solar energy, how to get in the game, as well as current credits available both from federal and local authorities.

Determining Asking Price

What is the best way to determine the asking price of a house and why is it important? Find out here in this field guide.

Complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

The purpose of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1992, is to assure equal access and services to disabled individuals. The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities. Title III of the Act prohibits entities that own, lease, lease to, or operate a place of public accommodation from discriminating against the disabled. How does this impact the real estate sales office? This page includes articles, books, videos, and websites relating to the Americans With Disabilities Act.


Who benefits from mentoring? Everyone! In fact, current research indicates that all parties gain from mentoring relationships—mentors, mentees and organizations.  In turn, many successful real estate firms have realized the benefits of establishing a mentoring program. And in addition, many successful agents have realized the benefits of working with a mentor. This updated field guide will help you with mentoring basics, mentoring programs, tips to locate a mentor and a section on mentoring and the real estate industry. You will also discover a variety of eBooks, books and other mentoring resources available just for you from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Best Places to Live

What makes a location the best place to live, work or retire? We’ve gathered the top lists into one spot to help you determine just that. Find out which cities are ranked as the safest to live in, which cities have the best job opportunities, which cities are more family-friendly, and much more in this field guide.