During CDAR’s Installation event in December 2020, three people were recognized for their outstanding work in the community and with the association: Robin DuFault, the 2020 CDAR President, was awarded the esteemed REALTOR® of the Year award; Kathleen Buys was awarded the Affiliate of the Year award for a record fifth time; and Stephenie Zinn, the 2020 C.A.R. YPN Chair, was given the President’s Award. The three of them recently took some time from their busy schedules to answer a few questions and provide insight into their background, their lives and their passions.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Robin DuFault: I’ve had a variety of jobs/opportunities in my working life, from working in film and TV to advertising to the Better Business Bureau. In Film and TV I worked as an extra and as the “stand-in” for Meredith Baxter and David Cassidy. Also, did a lot of behind the scenes as a production assistant and interned on the 3 camera TV Series “Mork and Mindy.” I wrote and produced a documentary for KNBC Los Angeles which was narrated by Ralph Waite about the effects of alcoholism on families.
Kathleen Buys: I was born and raised in San Francisco during the ‘50’s and ‘60’s! The eldest of three daughters, and my father was a 3rd generation San Franciscian, and a judge! I moved to the desert in 1974, and raised four children here! My second husband, John Buys, owned the first men’s store on El Paseo in the ‘60’s…John Buys Menswear! I entered into the title industry in 1976 and opened Orange Coast Title in 1980, along with Derek Walker! I have managed numerous title companies in the valley, but my biggest dream was to work at First American! I saved the best until last…five years ago, my dream came true! I have received the Affiliate of the Year for CDAR over 5 times in my 45 year career! I also help start many of the committees for the board in the early ‘80’s….Scholarship, Membership, Sunshine Committee, and Community Services!
Stephenie Zinn: I’m a 3rd generation Coachella Valley native and I started my career in real estate at nineteen years old. I earned my license eight years later in 2006 and have found my passion in real estate through leadership and building real estate careers. I’m the daughter of two athletic coaches who both kept their focus on the fundamentals and I like to think I followed in their footsteps, just in a different industry.
What is a typical day like for you?
Robin DuFault: I started in Real Estate in 2003 and have been with Bennion Deville for 17 years. It is both challenging and rewarding to work with buyers and sellers of properties. During the early 2000’s I was appointed to the Indio Planning Commission which added another dimension to my working knowledge. One of my first sales was a large land parcel to a Builder and I became hooked on dirt. I would say that is where my passion is since there is so much to research with the land, zoning, land use, etc.
Kathleen Buys: This industry has changed so much in the past few years. Title companies are so limited to what they can and can’t do! Along with the Insurance Commissioner, and COVID-19, our jobs are changed tremendously! My job every day, is to get my agents/clients the support they need in getting their transactions opened and over the finish line! I pride myself and FA team with the experience, knowledge, tools and support 24/7, in being the number one problem solver in the industry!
Stephenie Zinn: I’m usually up by 5:30 for a quick workout and to browse the MLS for the latest hot properties. I’m in the office by 9:00 to lead generate and grow the Better Homes and Gardens Desert Lifestyle Properties office I manage on El Paseo in Palm Desert. The late morning is reserved to check in on my agents. While, early afternoons are when I hold most of my appointments. I do my best to regroup for the day and be home by 6:00 to have dinner with my mom, who I started caring for full-time last year. Each evening I spend a little time unwinding by meditating and cuddling with my 11 year old Maltese, Westley.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
Robin DuFault: My advertising career was in print sales of directories for Paramount Studios and The Better Business Bureau (at one point was promoted to Director to oversee production of the books). I also sold print ads for the alternative newspaper, The LA Weekly. Around this time, I enrolled in college and eventually earned a BA. I only mentioned this because in High School I was told by a Counselor that I wasn’t college material.
Kathleen Buys: I turn 70 this year, have 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren! I love my job more than I ever have.
Stephenie Zinn: While I’m a desert girl at heart, I really unwind when I’m near the water. Ocean, lake or river, I just love to be outside and the movement of a natural body of water reminds me that there are greater forces at work in life than all of us.
What do you find to be most important when it comes to volunteering?
Robin DuFault: My volunteer work with CDAR began in 2008 with DACIE, the commercial MLS for CDAR. In 2015 I was asked to volunteer as a Board of Director member. The more I understood about the workings of the Association the more involved I got with various Committees. Most anyone who volunteers will admit it is rewarding to give back, but I’ll add that hearing different opinions in a group dynamic is eye-opening and often inspiring.
Kathleen Buys: I still cherish my time volunteering, whether it’s on a board committee, community events, charities, like Shelter From the Storm, which I also help start…giving back is my passion! I still hear from many past recipients of the Scholarship Awards…10- 15 years later, because we made a difference and touched their lives!
Stephenie Zinn: I was raised with the belief that we have a duty to leave things better than we found them. I feel very fortunate to have been blessed with some amazing mentors who have dedicated their time and efforts to my success. I’m often reminded of my Dad’s words to his baseball players, “Take what you need while you’re here. Someday, you have to give it all back.” It is my greatest honor to give back everything this desert and our industry have given to me.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Robin DuFault: It has been said that REALTORS® never retire so in five years I expect I will be doing much of the same.
Kathleen Buys: I plan to be retired!
Stephenie Zinn: Oh no, I don’t play that game any longer. Ha ha! I spent the first 40 years of my life planning for lots of things while life happened all around me. I’m excited for the journey I’m on and feel like I’m continuing to evolve into a better version of myself. If I could describe the path I’m on, it’s more about learning to roll with the punches rather than to be the one throwing them. With that said, I am currently studying for my broker license while I wait for my test date and I’m always looking for the next way to step up my game. I don’t have an intention for where that will lead me. I just know I want to be better tomorrow than I was yesterday.
CDAR continues its over thirty-year tradition of awarding scholarships to high school seniors
The California Desert Association of REALTORS® awarded a total of $12,000 in academic scholarships to high school seniors in the Coachella Valley, continuing the thirty-year tradition of assisting students to aspire towards and achieve their higher education goals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, a total of 12 local students were awarded $1,000 scholarships each, including the third straight year of awarding one of the scholarships to the child of a CDAR member. The CDAR Scholarship Fund, which was started in 1988, has awarded scholarships to over 300 high school seniors over the past thirty years, amounting to $200,000 total in scholarship money awarded.
Although the annual CDAR Scholarship Breakfast, an event that celebrates the recipients with a ceremony and their families in attendance, was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, CDAR made the decision to still award scholarships in 2020 to support local students.
“The CDAR Scholarship Fund is very close to our hearts and means so much to our organization,” said Mary Funk, the CDAR Scholarship Committee Chair. “Even though we were not able to award as many scholarships as in previous years, we remain fortunate enough to still provide assistance to our Coachella Valley students so that they can continue to pursue their education goals.”
This year’s list of recipients, selected by the CDAR Scholarship Committee from a large pool of well-qualified candidates, are:
Monies for the CDAR Scholarship Fund is raised at events such as the CDAR Scholarship Golf Tournament and the CDAR Scholarship Wall, located at the CDAR Corporate Office in Palm Desert, CA. To find out how to donate or support the CDAR Scholarship Fund, please contact the office at 760-346-5637 for information.
A strong economy, low unemployment, low mortgage rates, and alluring mortgage rates are making it a great time to buy a home, according to a newly released report from LendingTree, an online financial services marketplace. The amount of income that buyers spent on their mortgage payments also dropped from 2010 through 2019, despite higher home prices.
“If you are in a point in your life where you’re considering buying a home today, it’s a better time to buy than 10 years ago,” Tendayi Kapfidze, LendingTree’s chief economist, told realtor.com®. “If you can get a mortgage, you’re getting much lower interest rates, and it enables you to afford more. But that also means that you’re competing with more buyers, who are bidding up the prices.”
Indeed, median sales prices jumped 53.5% between early 2012 and summer 2019, according to realtor.com®. But a decrease in average mortgage rates—by more than a percentage point from the start of the decade—is helping to offset some of that uptick. Mortgage rates have dropped from 5.09% to 3.74% during that time period. That drop could save borrowers hundreds of dollars a year to tens of thousands over the life of the loan, realtor.com® reports.
Since the Great Recession, borrowers are being more responsible too, Kapfidze says. They’re “much healthier financially than they were 10 years ago,” Kapfidze says. “One reason is because of low mortgage rates. If you refinance, [you can] reduce your monthly mortgage payments.”
Homeowners are also sitting on more equity. In 2012, nationwide equity reached a low of $8.2 trillion. In 2019, it grew to about $18.7 trillion.
(Republished from REALTOR® Magazine)
All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR “®” logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again. Our members abide by a strict code of ethics and have access to a wide variety of business services that are not available to non-REALTORS. This gives them a competitive edge in the marketplace, enabling them to provide superior services to buyers and sellers of real property.
(Information herein © 1995-2014 National Association of REALTORS®)
As a prerequisite to selling real estate, a person must be licensed by the state in which they work, either as an agent/salesperson or as a broker. Before a license is issued, minimum standards for education, examinations and experience, which are determined on a state by state basis, must be met. After receiving a real estate license, most agents go on to join their local board or association of REALTORS® and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, the world’s largest professional trade association. They can then call themselves REALTORS®.
The term “REALTOR®” is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics (which in many cases goes beyond state law). In most areas, it is the REALTOR® who shares information on the homes they are marketing, through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Working with a REALTOR® who belongs to an MLS will give you access to the greatest number of homes.
An agent is bound by certain legal obligations. Traditionally, these common-law obligations are to: Put the client’s interests above anyone else’s; Keep the client’s information confidential; Obey the client’s lawful instructions; Report to the client anything that would be useful; and Account to the client for any money involved.
NOTE: A REALTOR® is held to an even higher standard of conduct under the NAR’s Code of Ethics. In recent years, state laws have been passed setting up various duties for different types of agents. As you start working with a REALTOR®, ask for a clear explanation of your state’s current regulations, so that you will know where you stand on these important matters.
Suppose you sign an offer to buy a home for $150,000. You really want the property and there’s a chance other offers are coming in, so you tell the broker that “We’ll go up to $160,000 if we have to. But of course don’t tell that to the seller.” If you’re dealing with a seller’s agent, he or she may be duty-bound to tell the seller that important fact. In most states, the seller’s agent doesn’t have any duty of confidentiality toward you. Honest treatment might require that the agent warn you that “I must convey to the seller anything that would be useful so don’t tell me anything you wouldn’t tell the seller.”
TIP: If you’re dealing with seller’s agents, it’s a good idea to keep confidential information to yourself. These days many home buyers prefer instead to hire a buyer’s broker, one who owes the full range of duties, including confidentiality and obedience, to the buyer. A buyer’s broker is often paid by the seller, regardless of the agency relationship.
In making your decision to work with an agent, there are certain questions you should ask when evaluating a potential agent. The first question you should ask is whether the agent is a REALTOR® . You should then ask:
(Information therein © 1995-2014 National Association of REALTORS®)