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VOL. 122 | NO. 46 | Monday, March 12, 2007

Daily Digest

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Center Helps Real Estate Professionals Find Success

     In December 2005, Sheila Hensley was through with real estate. She decided to close the doors on her company, the Real Estate Success Center, after no one had registered for an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) class she had scheduled for the following month.
     But moments after walking out, in the parking lot on her way to the car, Hensley sorted through the day's mail and saw a small, white envelope with a handwritten address. Inside was a folded registration form and check for the class.
     Hensley knew the business would go on.
     "There is an unwritten rule for instructors," she said. "If one person signs up, you perform, you present. They've given you their money. They're depending on you."
Doing it her way
Whether it was launching a relocation company when she thought she could do it better or driving her truck that had a gun rack in the back to pick up clients, Hensley has always gone her own way in the business.
     Even though she didn't want to be a Realtor because she "didn't like Realtors," Hensley worked as a receptionist for Crye-Leike Realtors in 1980 and soon earned her real estate license. After weathering bad times as a Realtor when interest rates were sky-high, Hensley went to work as a subdivision agent, helping people who were looking to buy.

She was hooked.
"What I was really doing, as we know it today, is practicing buyer representation," Hensley said. "When I found buyer representation, I went, 'Oh, that's what I want to do.'"
     She formed her own relocation company, Executive Relocation Services Inc., in 1990, and became affiliated with the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council (REBAC), a division of the National Association of Realtors. Through REBAC, she was turned onto instructing real estate professionals.
     Initially, she was hesitant. But that soon changed.
     "The more I watched instructors - good and bad - the more I became an instructor because I had done the research, I had gone to the classes," she said. "I educated myself, and then all of a sudden I was one (an instructor). But I never wanted to instruct. So the best thing to do was start a school and train instructors."
Realistic academics
Hensley launched the Real Estate Success Center in 2000 to meet the needs of the state's licensed real estate professionals, who are required to complete at least 16 hours of continuing education every two years, according to Tennessee Real Estate Commission rules.
     Hensley's company (www.realestatesuccesscenter.com) offers such designation courses as ABR, Real Estate Professional Assistant (REPA) and Seller Representative Specialist (SRS). Once agents pass these courses, they include the appropriate acronym after their names as those in academia do with advanced degrees.
     Other courses at the center include the Business of Your Business, Contract Law for Real Estate Agents, Effective Negotiating for Real Estate Professionals and Know Your Numbers.
     The extensive catalogue was particularly appealing to Jack Grissom, an affiliate broker at Crye-Leike's Collierville office who left the corporate world after a 33-year career and began selling real estate two years ago.
     As he began learning the business, he discovered a wealth of information that was available through Hensley's courses.
     "For the novice - someone getting into the real estate business - Sheila has the ability to combine, or dovetail, the academics with reality," Grissom said. "When (students) leave there, they don't just have textbook learning, but have some insight based on firsthand information."
     Not only did Grissom enroll in classes, but he realized it made sense to have his employees garner some new skills of their own.
     "Any of my employees going forward will be at Sheila's center as far as education is concerned," Grissom said. "For my business, it's mandated that they attend these classes in order for me to be able to deliver to my client base what I want to deliver."
Career enhancements
Grissom isn't alone. Catherine Brouwer, owner/broker at Blue River Properties-Midtown, is a firm believer in taking the initiative when it comes to professional development.
     "You don't need to wait until you need 16 hours," Brouwer said. "It's better to take it and augment your career."
     Taking classes at the center is advantageous because of the instructor-to-student ratio and the sharing of good practices among class participants, Brouwer said.
     "You can have an in-depth conversation about issues you're dealing with and it's relative to people in the classroom," she said.
     Hensley has five certified instructors and three who are getting certified by REBAC. All of them instruct on the side and serve as independent contractors. She also has just added online courses, hoping to draw more eyes to the Web site and more students to the Center.
     But that doesn't mean Hensley has any intention of growing her business too fast. She likes graduating one student at a time and helping each one become more successful.
     "I'm not doing this for volume; I'm not doing this for money," Hensley said. "If I was, I would have quit that December."

$1.4 Million Wrap-Around Mortgage Filed for Apartment Complex

     Goodwill Village LLC, which is affiliated with Park Place Apartments LLC, has filed a $1.4 million wrap-around mortgage for a 120-unit apartment complex at 4392 McCorkle Road. The two-story brick structure was built in 1967. It is located north of Hale Road on 6.2 acres.
     The Shelby County Assessor's 2006 appraisal is $780,000.

State Supreme Court Vacancy Application Process Reopened

     A judicial selection committee recently voted to reopen the application process to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court.
     Fifteen lawyers and judges who previously applied will have their names automatically thrown back into the hat unless they specify otherwise, and new names also can be thrown into the mix through March 16.
     Gov. Phil Bredesen and the selection committee have been trying to fill the vacancy since last summer. Among the applicants currently before the selection committee is Shelby County Circuit Court Judge D'Army Bailey.

IP CFO Marianne Parrs To Retire at Year-End

     Memphis-based International Paper announced Thursday that Marianne Parrs, its executive vice president and chief financial officer, intends to retire at the end of 2007. Parrs, 62, joined IP in 1974.
     "Marianne is a world-class leader and CFO," said John Faraci, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. "Her business and financial acumen, keen strategic thinking and analytical skills have made her an invaluable advisor and colleague. I speak personally and also for shareowners and employees in saying she will be greatly missed."
     A securities analyst by training, Parrs joined IP as a pension trust investment manager, and since has served as the company's director of investor and shareowner relations, director of corporate communications, controller of printing papers and staff vice president of tax. She twice served as the company's chief financial officer, first from 1995 to 1999 and again assumed the role in 2005.
     Parrs was named executive vice president in 1999, assuming responsibility for information technology, global sourcing, logistics and a company-wide supply chain project. She contributed significantly to the development and execution of International Paper's continuing transformation plan, which led to divestment of more than $11 billion in assets, strategic investments, significant debt reduction and strengthening of the company's U.S. pension fund.
     She serves on the boards of directors of CIT Group and Liaison Technologies Inc. and completed a four-year term on the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council in 2001.
     "I'm really proud to be part of this International Paper team, and have had a tremendously full and satisfying career," Parrs said. "It's an exciting time for the company, and I am confident that International Paper is on the path to success. I look forward to spending this final year with IP continuing to advance our transformation plan and to create strong value for our shareowners."
     The company plans to announce Parrs' successor later in the year.

Oakland Growth Progressing With Starbucks Construction

     Fayette County officially has arrived as the county to the east of Memphis is getting its very own Starbucks Coffee.
     A sign announcing the store's arrival went up late last week. The store will sit along U.S. 64 at the corner of Tenn. 194 in Oakland.
     Financing for construction of the store is being provided by M & F Bank. The Starbuck's site is across the street from a Walgreen's store that opened in 2006 and construction will begin later this year on the county's first Wal-Mart store.
PROPERTY SALES 69 119 21,696
MORTGAGES 64 113 16,530
BANKRUPTCIES 28 64 6,781