Paul Hendriks Installed as 2018 PRO Chairman of the Board

Paul Hendriks of Gulf to Bay Homes and Estates was installed as the Pinellas Realtor Organization Chairman of the Board at an event on Wednesday, January 17th at the Birchwood Hotel in St. Petersburg, FL. Past Presidents passed the gavel in a show of support for Paul and the 2018 Board. Congratulations to all!




 Executive Committee

  • Chairman of the Board 
    • Paul Hendriks, Gulf to Bay Homes & Estates
  • Chair-Elect
    • Kevin Batdorf, Batdorf & Associates
  • Secretary
    • Glen Richardson, Smith and Associates
  • Treasurer
    • Cyndee Haydon, Future Home Realty
  • Immediate Past Chairman of the Board
    • Tom Shelly, Sunshine Homes Sales

 Returning Directors

  • Vanessa Bustamante, NextHome Gulf Coast
  • Marsha Gordon – Coldwell Banker Residential
  • Manuela Hendrickson – Global Lifestyle, LLC
  • Fred Hintenberger – Charles Rutenberg Realty
  • Xina Rim – Coastal Properties Group

 Incoming Directors

  • Jill Long – J Long Realty Group
  • Todd Pillars – Pillars & Associates Real Estate
  • Tom Steck- Century 21 Real Estate Champions

PRO REALTOR of the Year, Achievement Award and Rookie of the Year Recipients

PRO presented three awards at the Installation event to recognize members who have gone above and beyond and who excel in our industry. The awards were presented on Wednesday, January 17 at the Birchwood Hotel in St. Petersburg.

REALTOR OF THE YEAR – Mindy Rovillo, IMAPP Realty Group
The  highest and most coveted award that can be bestowed by one’s peers. This award is based on the outstanding contributions of a Realtor to the Pinellas Realtor Association, the Florida Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.

The recipient must demonstrate what is called “Realtor Spirit” which is embodied by faithfulness to the principles of the Realtor Organization, professionalism and the Code of Ethics.

Mindy Rovillo:

  • Has been a Realtor for a minimum of 10 years, with current, active leadership involvement at the local, state and national level
  • Is recognized as an industry leader whose performance is exemplary
  • Has more than 16 years of real estate experience in management, training and sales
  • Served as the PRO Board Chair in 2016
  • Is 2018 District 6 Vice President 
  • Serves on the MFRMLS Board of Directors
  • Currently a Florida Realtor Director
  • Serves on the National Association of Realtors Real Property Valuation Committee

ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Cyndee Haydon, Future Home Realty

The PRO Achievement Award goes to a member who has proven professional and real estate industry accomplishments, and who participates in networking, professional development courses, charitable activities, and other special events organized by the Pinellas REALTOR Organization.

Cyndee Haydon is extremely involved with the REALTOR® Industry.  She has earned seven designations, chaired for several committees, and has been a board member since 2014.

She is a major investor in RPAC, achieving the President Circle for three years, and this year is a Golden R contributor as well. She is a member of the Leadership Institute for Leadership Pinellas, has been their program Chair from 2014 -2017 and is their 2017-2018 President Elect.

She is a member of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Women’s Guild and is active with the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.  The last two years she has been awarded the PRO Service Award and the Florida Realtor Honor Society Award. In August, she was awarded District 6 Leadership Institute Hall of Fame Award. She has been featured in two Florida Realtor Magazine articles this year and has just authored her first book for Home Sellers.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – Bailey Makris, Keller Williams St. Pete Realty
Each year the Pinellas Realtor Organization recognizes the newest Realtor® member with the highest total sales volume who is not part of a team and has been licensed from January 2015 to present as the Rookie of the Year.

This year’s Rookie of the Year closed over $8 million in sales in her first year. She is a St. Petersburg native and attributes her success to being a part of the community where she sells the majority of her listings. Since launching her career, she has implemented successful business models from Gary Keller’s Millionaire Real Estate Agent.

PRO REALTOR Emeritus Members Recognized

PRO recognized 16 new REALTOR Emeritus designees at the Installation event on Wednesday, January 17 at the Birchwood Hotel in St. Petersburg.

By definition, any person who has held membership in the National Association as a REALTOR, REALTOR-ASSOCIATE or combination of both, for a cumulative period of 40 years in one or more Associations of REALTORS is eligible for REALTOR Emeritus status.

Upon approval by the Board of Directors of the National Association of REALTORS, no further payment of dues is necessary to the National Association by the member. In addition, once a person reaches REALTOR Emeritus status, their MLS fees are waived and they are also exempted from the NAR Code of Ethics Training requirement every 2 years!

Congratulations to all of you on this outstanding achievement!









Pictured above:

    • Sharon Seiden -1975
    • Marcy Daniels – 1976
    • Cynthia Brinson – 1977
    • Robert Gascon – 1977
    • Bob Hendry – 1977
    • Jill Melkonian – 1977
    • Tom Shelly – 1977

    These members could not attend the event and are not in the photo above.

    • Philip Anibal – 1966
    • Annette Lawler – 1970
    • Albert Ferraro – 1972
    • Ray Cassano- 1973
    • Elliott Ross – 1974
    • William Jardine – 1976
    • Richard Butler – 1977
    • Robert Cargo – 1977
    • Robert H. Sackett – 1977

PRO Good Neighbor Award Recipients

The Pinellas REALTOR Organization recently recognized four outstanding members who make a huge difference in our community. These Good Neighbor Award recipients were presented with pins and each received a check for $1,000 made out to their charity at the PRO Installation event on Wednesday, January 17 at the Birchwood Hotel in St. Petersburg.




Pictured at left, from left to right: Katie Shotts, PRO COO, Katie Phelps, Betty Granucci, Sue Ellis, Sophia Dottin and Nikki Mozell (community representative for Sophia’s project)



Sophia Dottin, Century 21 Coast to Coast – Volunteer for Gulfport Pirates Youth Sports

Sophia looked around her community and answered the call to help at risk youth. She knew they had a better chance of success if they were given the right tools. Her passion to help children focus on education, discipline, teamwork, and respect through youth sports has made a tremendous impact on the community of Gulfport. 

Sophia negotiated a contract with Boca Ciego High School for the use of their fields for Gulfport Pirates Youth Sports. She can always be there helping the young athletes, or on the sidelines with the cheerleader program. When not on the field, she’s creating marketing flyers, designing uniforms, or creating team memorabilia. Her creative and diverse fundraising ideas have helped raise funds for the organization and she even negotiated an annual sponsorship from the Gulfport Police Department.

Through her guidance, she not only provides resources to children, but it also helps families. The range of services offered includes tutoring, mentoring, motivational speakers, and spiritual enrichment, just to name a few.

Sophia has tirelessly volunteered thousands of hours over the past 6 years and her dedication to the organization shows in the success of the children in the community.  She is an incredible role model who we are proud to recognize.


Sue Ellis, Berkshire Hathaway Properties Group-Volunteer for Homeless Leadership Board

Sue Ellis is a volunteer with Cold Night Shelter which provides our local homeless population a warm place to stay when weather temperatures dip to 40 or below. The shelter is hosted by her church which is Peace Memorial Church. Sue is the shelter coordinator who oversees and works hands on with staff volunteers preparing the shelter with mats, blankets and pillows for their guest’s arrival. She assists in food preparation for the homeless always lending a hand to make sure they have breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

The planning process is monumental, but Sue is extremely organized and ensures there are enough dedicated volunteers available to make sure each shift is covered.  She was also instrumental in hiring a security officer to keep guests safe.

Sue felt a warm place to stay when it was cold was not enough help for the homeless and she took it upon herself to gather donations and create a room at the shelter where guests could find clothing, shoes and other items they needed. Shelving, racks, hangers, and other donations, along with items she purchased, were used to create a welcoming environment for those in need.

Sue sums up her dedication best through her belief that “While we all strive to help those with homes, I have developed a passion for those without homes.”


Betty Granucci, Charles Rutenberg Realty – Volunteer for Build a Bed At Bridgepoint Church

When Betty Granucci learned that 7,000 children in Pinellas County went to sleep without a bed every night, she knew she had to try to make a difference. Betty has been a volunteer at The Build a Bed program at Bridgepoint Church for the last 16 months. Her goal is to make sure each child has their own bed so they wake up rested, ready to learn, play and do whatever the day holds for them. 

Betty helps deliver and assemble beds on-site in the family’s home. This process takes approximately 4 to 5 hours. Each child also receives bedding, a set of pajamas, storybook, a variety of toiletries, and a stuffed animal or toy.

Betty took on the responsibility of being the main point of contact for both the caseworkers who are requesting the beds, as well as the families who are receiving the beds. Every day as applications come in, Betty coordinates with each family to get their beds on the delivery schedule.

When the program started in 2015, 56 beds were distributed.  In 2017 to date, over 506 beds have been delivered. The need is enormous and keeps growing. Betty has volunteered over 1,000 hours to ensure our youngest citizens, our children, can sleep in the comfort of their own bed and not on the floor.


Katie Phelps, Luxe Properties International – Volunteer for Babycycle Diaper Bank.

Katie Phelps is a board member and hands-on volunteer at the non-profit organization Babycycle.  Babycycle’s mission is to provide diapers, food, clothing and all other necessities to Mothers and children in need.

Did you know that babies need 6-10 diaper changes per day, which is $18 per week, or $936 per year?

Diapers are not covered by any government assistance programs, even though diapers are a necessity for every child. 

What if you can’t afford diapers for your child?

Katie has unselfishly given up weekends, afternoons and evenings to go to the warehouse and meet partner agencies to get the goods they need to help their clients break out of the cycle of poverty. Because of her commitment to Babycycle, she has built relationships with other agencies such as Suncoast Boley Free Clinic and over 25 others, to ensure many Mothers get the items they need.  With Katie’s never ending effort to obtain donations through diaper drives and her involvement with the National Diaper Bank Network, our local moms can spend their time loving and nurturing their babies.


Realtor® Code of Ethics: Protecting Consumers for 100 Years

Working with a Realtor® gives buyers, sellers and investors many advantages they need to succeed in today’s real estate market. One of those advantages is the assurance that Realtors® subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics which provides their clients with the highest degree of professionalism, ethics and service. And this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Realtor® Code of Ethics.

“Not all real estate licensees are Realtors®,” said David Bennett, President & CEO of the Pinellas REALTOR® Organization. “Only those who are a member of NAR can use the term “Realtor®” and subscribe to the Code of Ethics as a condition of NAR membership. Realtors® are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have access to advanced educational opportunities and training in real estate specialties, bringing value to buyers, sellers and investors.”

The Code is a comprehensive document spelling out professional responsibilities owed to clients, other Realtors® and the general public. All Realtors® must take comprehensive training on NAR’s Code of Ethics at least once every four years to retain their membership. Adopted in 1913, NAR was only the second trade or business group in the U.S. to adopt mandatory ethical standards for its members.

“Real estate is a business based on trust, and working ethically is a way to build trustworthy relationships,” said Bennett. “Buying and selling a home is a major, life-altering decision, and buyers and sellers need to be able to depend on their Realtor® to guide them through the process with their best interests in mind. The Code helps provide an added layer of security to help Realtors® do just that.”

Consisting of 17 articles organized into duties to clients and customers, the public and Realtors®, the Code outlines numerous professional responsibilities. For instance, Realtors® must be honest with all parties in the real estate transaction, including their client, other Realtors® or real estate agents and their clients. Realtors® should also be forthcoming with all parties by disclosing all pertinent facts regarding the property and the transaction. If something seems questionable about a property, the Realtor® is obligated to investigate and make recommendations that buyers consult their own expert and inspectors. In addition, Realtors® must be truthful in advertising and communications with the public. When distributing newsletters, creating websites or placing advertisements, Realtors® must represent only their work and not take credit for the work of another real estate professional.

Celebration of the Code of Ethics Centennial kicked off at NAR’s Annual Conference & Expo in November in Orlando, Fla., and continues through 2013.

Consumers can read more about the Code of Ethics and can find a summary of the Code that explains how it benefits them at

Hysterics Are For the Weak At Heart, Homeownership Is For Americans

Brokerage Design
By: Jeremy Conaway
Hysterics Are For the Weak At Heart, Homeownership Is For Americans

It was by any standards a weird week. It started with the media coverage of Hurricane Irene. Hour after hour of dire and dreadful announcements, horrendous and horrific pronouncements and frightening and onerous representations by a news media that seemed to be trapped in a vocabulary of words and phrases chosen to drive public hysteria. It was an amazing example of manipulation by lexicon. Even when the evidence clearly demonstrated that it was a less than predicted, the intellectual assault continued.

A few days later I was presenting at a REALTOR® event. On the same program was one of the stars of the real estate blogosphere; a fellow whose intellect is overwhelming and whose ability to grasp and analyze the events of the day never fails to impressed me. But on this day he decided that what this audience of bright young industry rising stars needed was a grand dose of hysteria.

He proceeded to deliver a presentation that essentially declared that home ownership is no longer a part of the American Dream or its reality. He embellished his point by articulating what such a disaster will mean to the real estate industry in terms of both commissions and careers.

It was not the first time I had witnessed the “Rental Hysteria” song and dance. Early that same month I attended the Inman Connect conference in San Francisco and watched yet another industry rock star deliver the same message. “No one will have any money, everyone has watched their parents lose their equity, no one will want to purchase a home and the entire industry is headed for doomsday.”

There is just something about this message that is fundamentally wrong and inappropriate. As a student of American history, I am only too aware of the risks and sacrifices that Americans have endured in the name and for the opportunity of homeownership. Each of us has witnessed the terrors and trauma of fires, floods, earthquakes and tornadoes. At the same time we have marveled at the passion with which these same Americans have rebuilt their lost homes. To suggest that a mere forty-eight months of troubled economics is enough to destroy the personal and cultural values represented by homeownership in America is ludicrous on its face.

Our team includes a board certified psychiatrist and, as is often the case, he got my first inquiry. In response to my questions regarding the basis of hysteria and the rational for driving it he had some interesting answers.

First of all hysteria is “an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrational behavior.” It rates way up there on the hierarchy of dysfunctional human behaviors. In other words hysteria is a painful experience that causes individuals to do things that they will most certainly regret later on.

My next question elicited information regarding why an apparently intelligent person would undertake to cause such a potentially painful experience for their audience.

The response was a bit alarming. To make a long story short the basis of purposely causing hysteria is simply a “power trip.” Apparently some individual’s egos are driven by their ability to cause others to become out of control and to act irrationally.

I have subsequently learned that this type of behavior has become a mainstay of our contemporary society. Radio commentators, political analysts, religious zealots, and yes, some bloggers, are leading the way. All are attempting to use their positions within the communications media to cause their audience pain and discomfort so that they can appear to be powerful and influential.

The solution to such an attack would appear to be found in the simple act of research and discovery – sort of a “the truth will set you free” approach. So I decided to engage one of my talents and see whether there was any truth in the idea that the events of the past few years had in fact negatively impacted homeownership as a staple of the American dream.

Consider the following findings.

  • In 2010 Fannie Mae completed a study that determined that “Americans’ desire for homeownership was apparent throughout the survey,” but owning a home is no longer seen as the safest financial investment.

But of course the credibility of Fannie Mae could be called into question so the research continued.

  • In 2010 Meredith Corporation researching for a white paper entitled The Rise of the Real Mom found that 46 percent of men in the 18 – 29 age group were of the opinion that owning a home is important. 76% of women in the same age group indicated that owning a home was important.


  • In early 2011 the Pew Research Center completed a similar survey. A robust 81% of adults said buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center in Washington.

“Owning a home is really a part of the American dream, and that is just part of the American psyche and something that people aspire to,” said Kim Parker, associate director for the center and one of the study’s authors.

“The study’s results were unexpected, given the deep plunge in home prices and the fallout from the mortgage crisis,” she said. “Homeownership topped the list of long-term financial goals for Americans, according to the study; respondents rated homeownership, as well as living comfortably in retirement, more important than sending children to college or leaving offspring an inheritance.”

  • Princeton Survey Research Associates International conducted another survey, comprised of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults, from March 15 to March 29, 2010. “The study results are surprising in that so many households still believe that homeownership is a good investment, even after the plunge in home values that has occurred over the past couple of years,” said Celia Chen, a housing economist for Moody’s “The preference for homeownership has deep roots in the history of this nation, and apparently even a severe correction in house prices can shake American’s belief in homeownership only slightly.”
  • Finally, a Heartland Monitor Poll (Sponsored by Allstate Insurance) in March of 2011 illustrates an enduring belief in America and a persistent sense of optimism in Americans’ ability to achieve the American dream. Though the housing crisis has damaged the net worth of families, the poll suggests that Americans believe this downturn is temporary. The survey reflects is strong agreement that home ownership remains a fundamental goal in achieving the American Dream. Despite the recession, Americans are very likely to recommend purchasing a home to a close friend or relative.

The overwhelming evidence to support the proposition that American’s love owning, buying, selling, renovating and living their lives in their own homes can be found in many places. Whether the plethora of surveys conducted by institutions of knowledge or the one million viewers that watch HGTV’s nightly programs that focus on these experiences it is clear that homeownership, while bruised, remains that centerpiece of the American dream.

This is not to suggest that our industry will not experience an increase in the event of rental-based occupancy. In fact that appears to have already occurred. There is no evidence that this will be a long-term situation and there is every reason to believe that we, as a nation and as an industry, will find solutions.

Our challenge is simple. First of all we must ignore those who would traffic in hysteria. Secondly we must work together to design, create and promote lifestyles centered on home ownership and thirdly we must use our talents to develop and deliver homeownership options and alternatives.

What Does QRM Mean to You?


By Brian Shuford
Director of Governmental Affairs

If you haven’t heard about QRM, or Qualified Residential Mortgage, take a minute now to find out how this proposal will affect your ability to list and sell real estate properties.  If regulatory agencies in Washington DC move forward with their plans, QRM has the potential to negatively impact your business–to an even greater extent than banks in real estate would have done.

According to the National Association of Realtors:
“The Dodd-Frank Act requires financial institutions (banks) that securitize mortgages loans to retain at least 5 percent of the credit risk. The Dodd-Frank Act, however, exempts from the risk-retention requirement securities backed exclusively by “qualified residential mortgages,” or QRMs—mortgages with underwriting and product features that historical loan performance data indicate result in a lower risk of default. By exempting QRMs from the risk-retention requirement, the cost of securitizing these mortgages is reduced, thus providing a market incentive for the wide origination of responsible loans.”

To clarify, that means a bank must hold 5% of the loans it makes in its own portfolio. However, if a bank requires 20% down payments on the mortgages it sells or qualified residential mortgages (QRM), the bank would be exempt from the 5% requirement. While this doesn’t sound too bad on the surface, when you consider the long term implications, the picture isn’t very rosy:

  • Banks may use this as guidance for all mortgages they make
  • It may foreshadow what the President wants to do with FHA requirements
  • It could also serve as a precursor for what the successor(s) to the current GSEs (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are likely to be allowed to securitize

In Florida, almost 69% of current homeowners have less than 20% equity in their homes. If QRM were to be imposed by regulators, many of these current homeowners would not have been able to buy a home.

Based on 2009 income and home price data, it would take almost nine years for the typical American family to save enough money for a 10% down payment, and 14 years to save for a 20% down payment. This is assuming that the family directs every penny of savings toward a down payment, i.e. nothing for their children’s education, their retirement, or a rainy day.
The 20% down payment requirement for the QRM means that even the most creditworthy and diligent first-time homebuyer cannot qualify for the lowest rates and safest products in the market without a 20% down payment.  Even 10% down payments create significant barriers for borrowers, especially in higher cost markets.

The QRM requirement will significantly delay or deter aspirations for home ownership, or require first time buyers to seek government-guaranteed loan programs. Another alternative is to enter the non-QRM market, with higher interest rates and riskier loan products without adding a commensurately greater degree of sustainability overall.

The bottom line:  QRM is likely to clamp down the recovering real estate market. Without buyers, there is no market.

For more information on QRM CLICK HERE