As the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors' new president, I want to publicly thank 2012 president Mark Hite for all the time he gave for our Realtors this past year.
Many members do not realize how much unpaid time the GCAR president spends in weekly meetings with fellow leaders and staff regarding specific programs and initiatives. Also, the president puts in countless hours with community leaders and consumers discussing real estate trends and issues.
Mark, again, I thank you for all of your time and efforts.
On Jan. 1, Carol Seal took the helm as our new CEO and replaced Francie Ryder, GCAR's longtime executive officer who retired at the end of 2012. I wish Francie a long and happy retirement.
Despite the sadness over her departure, I am excited about Carol, who comes to us with more than 11 years' experience with the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. Carol joined the GCAR staff in early November 2012 and is quickly learning our local nuances. She jumped in with both feet, picking right up where Francie left off. Welcome aboard, Carol.
Following Francie's and Mark's example, Carol and I strive to keep the momentum going as we address the regular challenges of the real estate industry and GCAR's recent and new initiatives. Items that will have our attention this year include:
• The Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) and other types of legislation that affect the home buying and selling process will continue to have our attention. We strive to maintain the American dream of home ownership and fight for consumers' rights to make this dream an affordable reality.
• www.GCAR.net already serves both the consumer and the Realtor and enables property searches of all types, both residential and commercial. The site will get a new look throughout the first quarter of 2013 and will have new features, including property search by ZIP code, neighborhood demographics, school data and market statistics.
• Throughout 2013, we plan to host regular consumer feedback panels to monitor how GCAR's efforts are serving not only the needs of the membership, but also the needs of the community. We already see GCAR as the most accurate and current source for all local real estate information, and our goal is for the consumer to go to www.GCAR.net before going to other sources for real estate information.
• In recent months we have been working with local appraisers to gather more accurate data, specifically regarding square footage. This cooperative effort is a work in progress and will serve as a valuable tool for appraisers and Realtors to provide more accurate market comparables when serving homebuyers and sellers.
• In 2013, GCAR will provide many free, continuing education classes to Realtors. This member benefit is provided in partnership with Tennessee Real Estate Educational Systems, which will teach classes for our members at the GCAR office.
With the above-outlined priorities in place, the opportunities are plentiful for GCAR to maintain its position as the source for all things real estate. Please join me in making 2013 another positive step forward for the industry. Stay tuned!