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Regional Brokerage Takes Life At Mid-Atlantic Conference

If you live in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania the odds are pretty good that you could not find a broker during the past week. The reason: More than 8,000 Realtors were in Atlantic City for Triple Play 2000.

Organized real estate is generally divided into three components: local, state, and national. But Triple Play is likely to change the organization chart in a way the impacts both brokers and consumers.

Triple Play, in essence, was a regional real estate convention put together by the New Jersey, New York, and Pennsyvania Realtor Associations. That doesn't sound especially interesting until you do the math.

With 750,000 members the National Association of Realtors is the country's largest trade association. It follows that state chapters are also big as organizations go -- but individually they're not anywhere near as large as the national group nor are they big enough to make much of an impact with major conventional facilities.

But with a regional convention the numbers change:

  • Combine a few states and you get a larger pool of potential attendees.
  • With more attendees, you can get better deals from conventional facilities.
  • Bigger conventions mean more dollars are available to attract top speakers.
  • Bringing together large numbers of brokers and agents in one place is a natural attraction for vendors, thus you can fill an exhibit hall and offset meeting costs.
  • Regional meetings naturally bring together various state regulators and provide a common ground where they can discuss interstate issues such as reciprocity and continuing education.
  • Perhaps most important, regional meetings are accessible by car. You don't have to fly, and if you want to stop by for a day you don't even need a hotel room. Parking at the Trump Taj Mahal was $2 -- for the day. The result: Lower costs to attend, a benefit not to be overlooked.

None of this is just theory. At the Atlantic City meeting, Walt Baczkowski, executive vice president of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, says that more than 6,000 members signed up in advance and another 2,000 registered on-site. As to vendors, 200 filled the exhibit hall and Baczkowski says more than 40 others were turned away because all available space was sold out.

There will always be national conventions, but at the state level the Atlantic City meeting opens new options. A quick look at the map suggests any number of combinations among neighboring states, and given the huge success of the New Jersey meeting it's likely that regional conventions will become increasingly popular.

Question Of The Week

Q I want to buy homes before they're foreclosed. How do I find such properties?

A Most jurisdictions want to limit both foreclosures and their abuse, and virtually all lenders want to avoid foreclosures, so owners facing foreclosure typically receive a number of notices and warnings before a property is auctioned off.

The process tends to vary by location, thus two suggestions: Contact local property record offices and ask where notices are filed and also subscribe to local newspapers for attorneys, publications which often carry such notices.

Weekly Resource

Ever hear of "Section 32" loans? If not, it would be wise to see the what the Federal Trade Commission has to say.

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