When you're serious about Real Estate Education

GREC Selects New Commissioner New Broker Course USPAP 2008 Update
Cruising for Some CE? NACHI Events GA MLS New Pricing Policy
Caution on FHA Appraisals! Technology Corner Accept Credit Cards
Link Exchange
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GREC Selects New Commissioner
Gwen Fulcher Young, Chair of the Georgia Real Estate Commission, announced in July that the Commission has selected Jeffrey T. Ledford as Georgia's new Real Estate Commissioner. The Real Estate Commissioner serves as the executive officer of the Commission and the Georgia Real Estate Appraisers Board. In that capacity Mr. Ledford will oversee the day to day operations of the Commission and the Appraisers Board.

The Commission and the Appraisers Board completed a four month search and evaluation of candidates for the position left vacant with the retirement of Real Estate Commissioner Charles Clark. Applicants considered included regulators from other states and Georgia and industry practitioners from Georgia. In her announcement, Ms. Fulcher Young expressed appreciation to the all of the strong field of candidates for the position. She cited Ledford's excellent administrative work with the Agency and its investigative unit as Deputy Real Estate Commissioner and his sound proposals for the future as decisive in the Commission's decision making.

A native Georgian, Mr. Ledford is a graduate of Georgia State University. He has been serving as Georgia's Deputy Real Estate Commissioner since January of 2004. He holds both a real estate brokerage license and an appraiser classification. Prior to joining the Commission's staff Mr. Ledford had ten year's experience as a regulator in Georgia State government.

Upon being told of his selection, Mr. Ledford stated:

"In light of the very good candidates considered, I especially appreciate the Commission's confidence in my abilities and look forward to validating their decision. While I plan no major changes in the Commission's operations for the immediate future, I do plan to work aggressively with the Commission, the Board, the staff, and licensees to implement the Agency's Strategic Plan effectively. I support particularly that Plan's provisions for (1) devoting more resources to reduce the backlog of pending investigations and to fight mortgage fraud, (2) enforcing the state and federal laws for which the Agency is responsible in a fair and effective manner, (3) providing more information to licensees and the public on the Agency's web site, (4) increasing the Agency's use of technology in order to regulate in a cost effective manner, and (5) working with educators and practitioners to improve education of licensees so that they can provide the consuming public with better service."

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New Broker Course
Become a Broker or Associate Broker

In October, AREA will debut a new course for elevating your real estate sales license. The all new 60-hour Broker Course, taught by Dick Viti, will satisfy the GREC education requirements for licensure as a Georgia broker or associate broker. Advancing your license is an excellent way to increase your knowledge, secure your future, and to add prestige to your real estate credentials.

The course is available to anyone who has at least two years active licensure as a real estate salesperson. After completing the course, you will be eligible to take the state exam to qualify as a real estate broker. Once you pass the exam and have completed at least three years as an active salesperson, you can either 1) open your own office as a broker, 2) become a qualifying broker for one for more firms; or 3) remain in the employ of your current broker - as an "associate broker" instead of as a salesperson.

As an associate broker you will have the prestige and recognition of a broker with the ability to start your own business or become a qualifying broker whenever the time is right - no "missed" opportunities. Licensure as an associate broker will also expand the managerial possibilities which can lead to greater compensation in the form of over-ride commissions.

AREA's Broker Course is new and specifically designed to assist you in passing Georgia's new simulation-based broker's exam. A portion of the class time will be devoted to reviewing some of the fundamental concepts of real estate. However, the focus of the course will be on developing problem-solving strategies associated with listing properties, buyer services, property management, settlement issues, financing, and broker management.

Bring your knowledge and experience with you to the classroom and learn through case study and simulation exercises the best way to solve everyday situations that arise in the operation of a real estate brokerage.

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USPAP 2008 Update
Get Your CE in Sync with the AQB!

Warning! Don't take USPAP this year if you can avoid it. Recent changes in AQB policy should make you rethink your schedule for taking the USPAP Update course. If you can postpone taking the 7-hr Update course until next year - do it. If you have already taken it in 2007, you will want to take again in 2008 to synchronize your USPAP Update cycle with the AQB. Here's why.

The AQB has changed its policy and will update USPAP and the National USPAP Update Course every two years beginning with 2008. Simply, that means that the information will be "fresh" in the even numbered years and "stale" in the odd number years. If you took USPAP in 2007 and don't take it again until 2009, you will be learning what others have known for a year or more from the new 2008 USPAP Update Course that they took in 2008. Georgia law permits you to take the update course anytime during two consecutive renewal periods - which are tied to your birthdate. However, USPAP is updated based on calendar years. Depending on your birthdate, Georgia requirements may be satisfied by taking the same USPAP course twice or by taking it at the end of the AQB's cycle which means that you would always be 2 years behind.

AREA suggests you sync to the AQB cycle and take the update course early in every even year so that you stay abreast of all the important changes to USPAP. That will not only keep you current on USPAP but it will automatically satisfy the Georgia renewal requirements. AREA recommends that you plan to satisfy all future USPAP requirements by scheduling your update courses for sometime between January and June in each even numbered calendar year.

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Cruising for Some CE?
Last issue AREA announced a fun way to satisfy real estate or appraisal requirements, CE At Sea - Cruising to the Western Caribbean! Because of the great deal many students grabbed balcony cabins but asked for more. Okay, how about two different classes to gain a full 12 Real Estate CE hours, or 14 Appraisal CE hours (7hrs USPAP Update course)!

This cruise began with USPAP in mind but several students asked for another course to earn more CE hours. Now Valuing Unique Properties - Part 2 course has been added. Picture yourself attending class with a commute just past the dining room or the casino on your way headed for Cozumel, Mexico or Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.

Why not take a relaxing 7 day cruise from Port Canaveral on the Glory, one of Carnival Cruise Line's beautiful cruise ships. While you are enjoying the pampered onboard life (beautiful cabins, delicious food, outstanding entertainment) and en route to your next port of call, AREA will slip in the CE courses. You'll barely notice.

Treat yourself, and your family, to a USPAP/CE cruise early next year - your family will be much more interested in what you do for a living - I promise you that.

The USPAP and Valuing Unique Properties P2 courses will be presented during the at-sea portion of the cruise so you won't miss out on any port visits, maybe bingo. The first USPAP Update/CE Cruise is scheduled for early 2008. You can take the 7-day cruise for as little as $596 per person, double occupancy. You can take one class, both or none! Each course registration is $115. If you are interested, send an email to Check with your accountant or tax advisor as to the deductibility of any of the cost associated with this educational opportunity.

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NACHI Events
Wonder what is happening around you that would aide in your professional development as an Inspector and increase business? Become involved with your local NACHI chapter and consider attending additional events sponsored by nearby chapters.

NACHI maintains a page on the national website which posts in reverse chronological order events to enhance your education and development as a professional home inspector. This Upcoming Events page is regularly updated and waiting for you to visit and expand your opportunities and business network. If you are active in your chapter, make sure you submit your events to the national site as early as possible to allow others the opportunity to consider attending. Why not visit a local chapter event that offers a program which interests you and incorporate a mini excursion or family vacation.

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GA MLS New Pricing Policy
FREE Websites
On August 1, 2007 Georgia MLS changed its fee structure for appraisers. Initiation and monthly access fees for appraiser offices are eliminated. They have also added a feature to provide free customized agent websites. As an appraiser who is already a real estate salesperson this may not affect you. Verify with GA MLS as well as FMLS that your real estate licensee information is on file as it may affect your account charging you higher fees or worse, have your lock box key inactivated. Real estate agents can benefit immediately from the FREE website.

An appraiser may subscribe to the Service as a member of an appraiser office, a real estate office, or as an individual. If you subscribe as an individual appraiser, you are responsible for all payments and administrative requirements of Georgia MLS. Monthly subscription fees per registered, licensed or certified appraiser will increase from $17 to $39 per month. Remember that Appraisers who subscribe to Georgia MLS are entitled to lease a full access SupraKey.

Variable excess usage charges will apply to appraisers utilizing the system at levels far above the average system usage among other appraisers.

Real Estate agents gain a new service this month to enhance their online services for customers. You can now customize your website address, add more photos, post featured listings on your homepage and more. Data is uploaded every 30 mins, 24/7. Your clients will really appreciate how current you are!!

Visit GA MLS to find out more about their services.

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Caution on FHA Appraisals!
FHA Changes
Caution FHA Appraisers!
FHA has made it easier than ever to get on its approved appraiser roster. There are no special courses required and the FHA has eliminated the examination fee by incorporating a ten question "open book" exam as part of the application form. If you are a licensed or certified appraiser and can copy and paste the answers to the ten questions, you can be approved to appraise residential properties for FHA financing. Caution needs to be exercised though as FHA expects you to be familiar with its inspection requirements and reporting protocols.

To assist AREA students in keeping up with the changes in the FHA registered appraiser program, a new webpage with important information and links was added to the AREA website.

For over a year now, the FHA has required the use of FNMA's 2005 version of the URAR appraisal form and eliminated the use of the Valuation Conditions (VC) form. It has also relaxed some of its underwriting requirements. However, FHA still expects appraisers to conduct a thorough inspection of the property, test systems, report property deficiencies, and render "as repaired" valuations where appropriate.

Don't be misled by the simpler approval process or the relaxed standards. Be sure you have read the HUD 4150.2 Handbook and its important Appendix D: Valuation Protocol which explains how to inspect and report using the new URAR form. You worked hard to gain your appraisal license. Following ALL the guidelines are required when performing an FHA appraisal. Know what FHA expects of you before you accept the assignment.

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Technology Corner
 special section highlighting new products
Geni - This amazing site allows you to build a family tree and have the entire family participate in the process. Each member of the family can add information based on his or her own knowledge of the family's history. You get it started and then invite the rest of the family to pitch in to grow your own family tree. It is FREE at
OhDon'tForget - This incredible website allows you to set reminders that will be sent to you cell phone via text message. You can set reminders for the entire year for birthdays or set a reminder to pick up milk on the way home. It is simple to use and an extremely handy tool. Just enter the cell phone number, the date and time of the message and the message. That's it! Your phone will announce the message at the appointed time. Oh, yeah - it is FREE to use!  Try it at

LiveScribe - Imagine a plain sheet of paper is a computer screen and a digital pen is your interface. LiveScribe will allow you to take notes during a meeting, your pen records the conversation and digitizes your notes, automatically synching the ink and audio. Later you tap the ink and the pen replays the conversation from the exact moment the note was written.

You can upload the notes and audio to a computer where they can be stored, saved, replayed, or sent by email. The product is anticipated by this fall on the web only by special order. Initial units are expected to cost less than $200. The product will be sold nationally in stores in 2008. Take a peek into the future of computers - check out

Pandora Recovery
- Have you ever deleted something by accident and wish you hadn't? Well here is a FREE program you will want to keep handy for just such emergencies. Pandora Recovery is a powerful tool that provides its users an effective way to attempt recovery of permanently deleted files. And that does not mean restoration of a file from Recycle Bin. Pandora Recovery actually recovers files permanently removed from Recycle Bin; files originally deleted using Shift + Delete keys bypassing Recycle Bin; and files deleted from DOS prompt.

Pandora Recovery is not a backup tool - it can recover files that have been deleted months before Pandora Recovery was installed. And while the likelihood of successful recovery is negatively affected by the time passed since the deletion of files Pandora Recovery users were able to recover files deleted more than five years after deletion and from re-formatted drives!
The new program was rated "Very Good" by PC World Magazine. It is relatively easy to use - it looks similar to Windows Explorer making it easy to navigate. Be sure to read the "help" file so you will be aware of some technical issues, but otherwise early reports are favorable. Check it out at

- Tubes will quickly build a pipeline (called a "tube") from your computer to any computer in the world. Once installed it immediately builds secure synchronized connections between your desktop and the desktop of your friends, family, business associates - any computer including any others you use (office to home). Anything you drag and drop to a "tube" is whisked to the desktop of anyone you choose - and vice versa. Tubes lets you instantly share photos, media, and other documents with everyone you know and have them share their files with you through the same tube. This is a neat little service. It's easy to use and handles large files (up to 2GB).

This application is designed to let you create instant personal sharing networks of friends, family, classmates, colleagues, or your own devices. With online backup and automatic syncing capabilities, Tubes is an effortless way to share access and experience digital content across all your devices with all your communities. Tubes combines the speed of IM (instant messaging) with the convenience of mobile communication and the reach of email. Try it - it's FREE for now.
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Do You Use Your Credit Card?
Well, So Do Your Clients and Customers!

If you are not taking credit cards – you may be taking unnecessary risk with payments and even worse – you may be losing business. Real estate appraisers and home inspectors can expect sales to increase by taking payments by credit cards. Your competition is taking credit cards and you need to take them too.

If you think that establishing an account is a lot of trouble or that the costs are high, let AREA introduce you to the service we use. This is the simplest, easiest, and least costly service we were able to find and they are located right here in Alpharetta. We have been so pleased with the service the last five years that we have partnered with them to offer our students this low cost merchant account.

With a merchant account you will be able to receive payments through your website or process electronically all payments you receive over the phone or in person. The service includes all credit cards, debit cards, and on-line checks. This company caters to small business and offers AREA students:

  • Free Setup
  • Free Application
  • Free Technical Support
  • Free Shopping Cart Software
  • Free Internet Check Software
  • Free Search Engine Submission
You can complete the application online in about five minutes – no paperwork. You can start accepting credit cards in less than 24 hours. Be sure to use this link to to expand your business by adding convenience to your list of services for your customers.
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Link Exchange with AREA
If you have a website, and if you don’t we can help you, a good way to increase search engine recognition is to have other websites link back to yours. AREA is actively promoting link exchanges with students. We can offer over 20 links to your website if you agree to display links to AREA's sites.
To utilize this important tool for promoting your website, here is what you need to do.

  • First, create a links page for your website where you can promote agents, real estate schools, lenders, home inspectors, professional organizations, or anything else related to your real estate business. To view a sample links page, check out one of AREA's.
  • After you have your links page created, send an email to to indicate you are ready to link to AREA websites.
  • You will receive AREA links along with a brief description of each site to include on your links page. When you have the AREA links posted on your website, email your link(s) and site description(s) to so your links can be posted on the AREA's websites.

Help your clients find your website on top!

Aug/Sept 2007 Back to Top

America's Real Estate Academy, Inc.
6199 Hwy 92, Ste. 108, Acworth, GA 30102
770-591-5552 * 888-883-9720