August 3, 2015 we endeared the third step to form a COB when we forwarded our application to the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® (OAR) for their comments before they forward the application to the National Association of REALTORS(R).    September 10, 2015 we made a presentation to the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® Executive Committee. We spend about 45 minutes answering questions posed by the Committee.  On October 9, 2015 we participated in a Webinair - an OAR Board of Directors PREVIEW, designed to provide a forum for questions and answers about agenda items.  There were no questions about the COB proposal.   October 13, 2015 we entered step four of the process for creating a Commercial Overlay Board when the Oklahoma Association of Realtor's Board of Directors approved our application, and the application will be forwarded to NAR's Member Policy & Board Jurisdiction Committee.

Primary Focus

In our strategic plan, we decided to focus on three primary areas:

  • Education
  • Advocacy
  • Networking

Town & Gown CE / Fundraiser

            Early on, we decided that we wanted to have as our official
charity the Real Estate Program at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) - our first official event in September 2015 was a combination CE Class / Fundraiser / Networking Event with the university.  Dr. David Chapman, Ph.D. heads the real estate program at UCO (and also owns real estate brokerage companies in central Oklahoma and NE Oklahoma.)   We filed a Continuing Education requests with the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission, using the one of Dr Chapman's Real Estate classes as curriculum to explain Oklahoma's Landlord Tenant Act.  Before the class we invited real estate licensees and property managers to attend, and make a voluntary contribution to the UCO Foundation.   Both David and Bert Belanger, JD (adjunt UCO Professor of Real Estate and a manager of Sperry Van Ness Land Run properties) taught the class.  Before and after the class there was networking between students and real estate professionals.

             The Town & Gown CE / Fundraiser is designed to be an annual event.  The CE Classes focus on the required courses for real estate license renewal, and the students get to network with local real estate professionals.  The UCO Real Estate program graduates about 1/3 for residential real estate, 1/3 for commercial real estate, and 1/3 for finance/mortgage, appraisers, and property management occupations. 

Creation of the Commercial Real Estate Summit

Not knowing when the COB request with NAR would be approved, we decided that we should

not wait for approval to continue the momentum we had when organizing the new commercial

real estate organization. So we registered a dba with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, the

Commercial Real Estate Summit ™ - designed to be a Deal Making Event whose purpose is to
bring all aspects of the commercial real estate industry together at the same time, networking sessions between CE events were designed to negotiate deals.  CE credit for the Summit was available from Oklahoma Real Estate Board, Oklahoma Board of Real Estate Appraisers, and The Congress for the New Urbanism.  Future Summits will also include CE Credit from the Oklahoma Bar Association.

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Because the goal of the Summit in to include all aspects of commercial real estate (not just real estate licensees or property managers) is operated as an independent operating division of SWREA ™ with its own bylaws, President (and other officers) and Board of Directors, who need not be REALTOR® members of COCAR ™.  The conference is managed by UCO's Office of Customized Education and, after reserves, excesses of revenues over expenses are split 50% to SWREA ™ and 50% to UCO Foundation - Real Estate Program.

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In September 2015 we started planning for a January 2016 Summit.  The event was held at UCO's Nigh Center and the conference was managed by the UCO Office of Customized Education.The Keynote for the event was Grant Humphrey (town founder of Lake Eufaula's Carlton Landing) who made a  seminal talk of the nature of and a new definition of  Sustainable Developments in his talk "Crafting an Intrinsically Sustainable Place" 

(video may be viewed at https://streaming.uco.edu/media/Grant+Humphreys+-+CRE+Summit/0_tbbm9yok/26986922). 

Chartering of the Central Oklahoma Commercial Association of REALTORS®

On November 16, 2015, the Board of Directors of the at their annual meeting in San Diego, the National
Association of REALTORS®  board of Directors voted to approve, without objection, the application of the
Commercial Overlay Board.  However, at the meeting, they did not approve a name, so the COB initially
operated under its original corporate name, SouthWest Real Estate Association (NAR ID # 6931).  We needed to wait until January 2016 before we could operate the COB under the name "Central Oklahoma Association of REALTORS®"  and we registered the trade name (DBA) "COCAR" with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. 

Advocacy

While political Advocacy (educating public officials concerning commercial real estate issues) is a foundation of why we were created, we also anticipated slowly growing into this aspect of a primary focus...  Until, the City of Oklahoma City suddenly announced their version of a mechanism to raise funds for streets - the Impact Development Fee.

Oklahoma City Impact Development Fee

        In the last weeks of December, 2015, the City of Oklahoma City introduced an ordinance to create new development impact fees, with a Parks and Recreation component (phased in over several years) and a Transportation component (roads and streets, effective January 1, 2017).  

          Nationally, NAR has adopted a policy that generally opposes impact fees.  The Central Oklahoma Commercial Association of REALTORS® (COCAR™) has adopted a policy that supports the concept of using sales taxes to fund a municipality's operating expenses, and modifying state statutes to earmark property tax to fund municipal infrastructure improvements (something already available through TIF and BID districts).

         We have committed to the city for the topic of our 2017 Oklahoma Commercial Real Estate Forum™ to be ways to diversify municipal funding sources.

        When the original ordinance was first introduced, COCAR™ submitted a request to NAR to study the ordinance under the Land Use Initiative program.   The resulting memorandum analysis of the original ordinance was provided about two weeks after the initial request, and was used by a stakeholder group of general contractors and developers to help negotiate changes to the ordinance.

        The OKC Impact Fee Final Ordinance contains a provision for the city council to annually review the effect of the ordinance.  COCAR™ has requested to be involved in this annual review.

Oklahoma Commercial Real Estate Forum ™

We envisioned our primary advocacy event to be a public Town-Hall styled annual event, the Oklahoma Commercial Real Estate Forum ™  - organized to be a multidiciplinary event designed to address a single question of interest to the real estate industry, and brainstorm potential solutions.   The Forum event is coordinated through the Advocacy committee of COCAR. 

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The Forum's 2016 topic is Earthquakes. Speakers at the 2016 Earthquake

Forum include:

  • Dr Jeremy Boak, Director of the Oklahoma State Geological Survey
  • Dr. Christopher Ramseyer, Director OU's Fears Structural Engineering Lab, discussing building codes
  • Buddy Combs, JD,  Director of Public Policy and Assistant General Counsel, Oklahoma Insurance Department
  • Trent England, VP Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs - will lead a brainstorming session where the public can help our panelists develop ideas for how our industries can work together to deal with the increasing frequency of earthquakes and make recommendations for the future.

For the 2016 Forum, participants received CE Credit, 3 hrs from Oklahoma Real Estate Commission and 4 hrs (non ethic) from the Oklahoma Bar Association. 

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The Forum's 2017 topic will involve municipal funding in Oklahoma.

Creation of SouthWest Real Estate Association

During the first part of 2015 (immediately after the 2015 NAR Mid-Year Convention in Washington DC)
it became apparent that the needs of commercial real estate professionals in the Central Oklahoma area
were not being met by the residential Local Board affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS®.

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In April of 2015 a small group organized the SouthWest Real Estate Association as an Oklahoma based non-profit corporation, with the intent of petitioning the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to create a "Commercial Overlay" Local Board to serve the needs of commercial real estate practitioners in the central Oklahoma area.  The original corporate organizers and trustees were Bart Binning, Andrea Frymire, Joseph Ramsey and Jack Werner; all former Chairs of the residential board's REALTORS® Commercial Alliance, an independent "structure" with separate officers and bylaws but part of the  local board's corporate organization .  In a suprise move, the Local Board's membership voted to end that relationship.

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During the month of May we recruited additional members and created a bylaws and completed other documents required by NAR to charter a Commercial Overlay Local Board (COB).  During this time, in an attempt to resolve our differences, both NAR and OAR requested that we initiate a mediation request with our former Local Board affiliate of the NAR .  We initated the mediation request and the Local Board refused to participate in the mediation process - the mediation request was dismissed in November, after the 2015 NAR Annual Meeting that approved our COB, the Local Board never responded to any requests from the assigned mediator. 

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June 9, 2015 we entered step two of a five step process when we mailed Announcement Letters to the Oklahoma Local Board Presidents and Association Executives.  In June and July 2015 we received  permission from two Local Boards (Midwest City - Del City - Moore Association of REALTORS® and Shawnee Association of REALTORS®) to Overlay their territories. This meant that since we were not infringing on any Local Board's territory, there was no grounds for a Local Board to protest the application.  This also meant that, because of NAR's Local Option policy, any commercial REALTOR® in Oklahoma or an adjoining state may join the COB.

In two afternoon tracks, other speakers for CE Credit at the 2016 Commercial Real Estate Summit ™ included:

  • Jeff Hobbs - Cost Segregation
  • Joe Foster - What's New in Environmental Assessments
  • Bert Belager, JD - Are your Cobbled Together Contracts Compliant
  • Shane Snyder - What you Need to Know about Commercial Uses of Drones

    In a moring technology session we were scheduled to have Doug Curry, CEO Xcenlgent and had Michael Griffin, EVP Strategic Relationships for Xceligent, and founder of ClientLook, an ERP system for commercial real estate professionals.

    Participants received 3 hours CE Credit from Oklahoma Real Estate Commission, Oklahoma Board of Real Estate Appraisers, and the Council for the New Urbanism. There was just under 200 real estate professionals in attendance.