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By Jim Crumbaugh

RISMEDIA, June 11, 2008-At the midyear legislative NAR convention in Washington D.C. this year I was talking with a past NAR President. I asked this past president if he was aware of a law in Tennessee that states if a Realtor lives 50 miles from their broker, they could not work for that broker and in fact would need a different one. He not only wasn’t aware of the law but like myself was somewhat surprised that a law like this would exist in today’s world.

I’m sure that this law was enacted to help the broker to provide supervision over the Realtors working under that broker’s license. Thirty years ago, maybe even 20 years ago, that may very well have been the case, but not today.

james-crumbaugh.jpgYou have to stop and ask yourself the following question: if a Realtor lives 49 miles away and another Realtor lives 51 miles away, is the state actually saying that the agent who lives 2 miles further down the road, can’t be supervised by the broker as well as the Realtor who lives 2 miles closer?

With today’s technology of being able to fax or scan files and documents, and the ruling that electronic signatures are legal, this just seems to be an antiquated law that has yet to be revisited. The supervision is so much better today with technology, because rather than the Realtor having to drive 49 miles to deliver the paperwork to his broker, the Realtor can now have the paperwork to their broker is minutes rather than hours.

So if supervision is the key to this law, wouldn’t you think that the sooner a broker can review the paperwork to make sure everything is copasetic, the better the supervision? I state from experience that having a Realtor that doesn’t do things right sitting across the desk from me never made that Realtor start doing things right. The bad Realtor will always remain a bad Realtor and the only solution is to rid yourself of the bad Realtor. Whereas a conscientious Realtor will always try to do it right, so with technology, a good Realtor can live a thousand miles away.

Now let’s discuss why this law is very “green” unfriendly. In today’s world with global warming and the gas crisis, why in the world would a state require a Realtor to drive to the office every time they have a new contract? Let’s think about this for a moment – a Realtor lives 49 miles away. With this law they have to drive a round trip of 98 miles, polluting the air, burning fossil fuels and supporting our national debt through the consumption of oil purchased from the Middle East. There is just nothing in this law that makes sense in today’s world

I never thought I would be an outspoken advocate of taking care of our planet, but in just the last month on two different occasions, I had cause to say, ” Why are we doing this, it isn’t good for our planet.”

I believe that technology can be a huge asset for the states, the Realtors and most importantly the consumer, when it comes to the supervision of Realtors. We have to assume the major issue when it comes to supervision is that all pertinent documents are legal, completed properly and are reviewed by the broker to insure accuracy.

The technology of today allows the broker to review all documents moments after they have been completed even if the Realtor lives thousands of miles away. The brokers of today usually have the equipment that will turn a fax, e-mailed scanned document into a PDF for permanent and safe storage. The use of electronic signatures saves all parties from driving to sign documents or speeding up the signing of documents by not relying on snail mail.

In short, using technology can help with outdated laws and saving our planet-definitely a win-win combination.

James A. Crumbaugh, III, is the CEO of Allison James Estates & Homes.

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