See various tabs for specific policy areas. If you have a question regarding any item not published here, please contact Richard Marshall, CEO.
Note: The following policies pertain to closings & delays due to inclement weather:
- If the College of Southern MD Charles County Campus is closed, all education classes and committee meetings are cancelled and the SMAR office is closed.
- If the College of Southern MD Charles County Campus is set for "delayed opening," all education classes and committee meetings scheduled before 12:00 noon are cancelled. Education classes and committee meetings scheduled after 12:00 noon will meet as scheduled.
- Please call SMAR’s main number, 301-274-4406 for a recorded message. Messages will be posted no later than 7 a.m. the day of the inclement weather.
- Once the cancelled Continuing Education Class is rescheduled, registrants will be notified of the new date. If a Continuing Education Class has been cancelled due to the weather, registrants have the option of rescheduling the class or receiving a refund.
- Must be a Licensed Real Estate Agent or be a Professional in the area they teach.
- If they are a Professional in the area they teach they must be certified, if applicable.
- Have at least 2 years current experience in field of instruction.
- All current SMAR instructors attend an Instructor Development Workshop by January 1, 2011.
- Any new instructors shall be conditionally approved and must attend the next scheduled Workshop.
- All newly approved instructors must teach at SMAR (8440 Old Leonardtown Rd, Hughesville) before they are permitted to teach at off-site locations.
- All those teaching required Maryland Real Estate Commission topics must monitor the class topic before teaching it. The only exception to this policy is the MREC Agency and Supervision Courses. The MREC requires all MREC Agency and Supervision instructors attend their “Train the Trainer” sessions for each topic.
- The Southern Maryland Association of REALTORS® Instructor Application must be completed and returned to SMAR’s Education Director.
- Class outlines must be submitted with the Instructor Application. Instructors are responsible for developing their own outlines.
- Instructor Applications are reviewed at the next scheduled Education Committee Meeting.
- THE PURPOSE and GOALS of continuing education are to provide licensees with current facts, concepts and laws to conduct real estate transactions in a legal and professional manner to protect the public’s interest.
- The outline must include the amount of time you are to spend on each main heading or topic. Classes are commonly approved for either 1.5 or 3 hours, but no more than 6 hours. Please note: An outline must accompany your application to go before the Education Committee for further action.
- Continuing Education Classes are approved for Continuing Education Credit 30 days after the submission date.
- Class outlines must be provided before a class is submitted for Continuing Education Credit.
- The Maryland Real Estate Commission allows a 10-minute break per hour of instruction.
Updated policies from the MD Real Estate Commission (MREC) – Effective April 18, 2011
- A picture ID is required to be admitted into class.
- Course Credit – a student may not receive credit hours for a course if:
- The student arrives after the class instruction has begun or departs prior to the class being dismissed; or
- The student is out of the classroom during the instruction period for more than 5 minutes during a 60-minute period.
- A course provider, instructor, or monitor may not make an exception to the attendance requirements under any circumstances.
- Classroom Conduct
- Students may not take reading material unrelated to the course into the classroom.
- Instructors, monitors, or students may not consult any personal electronic device (Blackberries or i-Phones, for example) during a class session.
- Class time may not be used to promote or sell any materials or services or to solicit affiliation or membership in any business or organization.
- Instructors may not use class time to promote their company, to solicit or gain business advantage, to hold drawings, to collect business cards, or to interrupt class time for meals.
- Full attention must be given to the instructor and material. Sleeping, reading of non-class related material, use of laptops or anything that would distract or prevent you from learning is prohibited.
- There are breaks. Cell phones/pagers must be turned OFF (not vibrate) while in class. Aside from breaks directed by instructor you are NOT permitted to leave the room during class unless it is an emergency.
- If you have registered for a class and are unable to attend, send a written request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org at least twenty-four 24-hour notice to the start of class to be eligible for a refund less a $5 cancellation fee per class. To use refunds paid towards a future class, registration must occur at time of class cancellation. Refunds will be issued via a refund check. Please allow two weeks for processing.
- If you fail to provide SMAR Education with less than a twenty-four 24-hour notice, or fail to attend, you will be liable for the entire course fee.
- Students will be given a 48-hour notice via email if a class will be cancelled due to low registration. If a class has been cancelled and you are unable to attend the new rescheduled class date, you are eligible for a full refund.
- Continuing Education Monitor Cards must be turned in at the end of class in order to received CE Credit. CE Completions must be reported electronically to the MREC within 14 days. You will receive an email from the MREC when the education has been reported.
- Monitors are responsible for checking students in and out of class once it begins. Instructions for handling payments for On-Site Registrations are found below. Those wishing to receive CE credit must arrive ON TIME AND ATTEND THE ENTIRE SESSION – NO EXCEPTIONS. If you run into a problem with anyone, let him or her know these requirements are in place to ensure attendance as required and enforced by the Maryland Real Estate Commission (MDREC) and that SMAR can be audited at any time. Disgruntled persons may contact the MDREC.
- A monitor needs to arrive 20 minutes prior to the start of class and assist with setting up, if necessary.
- Once the session begins the Class Sign-In Sheet will be taken off the table so latecomers cannot sign-in to receive CE credit.
- Monitor sheets are picked up by the student when they check in. During the session, if someone leaves, the monitor will request the CE card from the participant and mark on the bottom of the sheet the time they left the class room. The participant is to be instructed to return to that monitor when they return and the monitor will write on the bottom the time they returned.
- At the end of the class the monitor should stand in the doorways to collect the monitor cards and instructor evaluations.
PLEASE DO NOT:
- give a monitor card to a late attendee.
- accept any monitor card before the class ends.
- allow one person to give you more than one monitor card at the end of the session.
- Requests to hold a CE Seminar must be received by the SMAR Education Director at least 30 days in advance (see page 3 of this packet for the Out of Office Request Form). Please note: If the Education Director is not notified prior to an off-site CE seminar, CE hours will not be issued - no exceptions.
- A current member of the SMAR Education Committee must be present to monitor the class. The Education Director at SMAR will request a monitor from the Education Committee. The instructor does not qualify as a monitor.
- Once an Education Monitor has been assigned AND approval has been given by SMAR, the off-site seminar may be scheduled and advertised.
- MREC advertising guidelines will be provided by SMAR. Please send a proof of the advertising material to email@example.com before advertising begins.
- The class topic and instructor must already be approved by SMAR.
- The broker, manager or instructor is responsible for coordinating the Off-Site Location Seminar.
- The off-site seminar must be open to all licensees based upon availability and held in a classroom environment (no disturbances). The course will be listed on SMAR’s Upcoming Event webpage for registration: http://bit.ly/smarevents.
- This service is only available to offices who are members of the Southern Maryland Association of REALTORS®.
- Any class affiliated with SMAR that is held in an off-site venue must meet the following requirements:
- The class must be held in a room specifically designed for meeting or classroom use excluding venues whose principle function is to serve food and/or liquor as deemed appropriate by SMAR.
- The off-site seminar must be open to all licensees and held in a classroom environment (no disturbances).
- The facility must be set up classroom style, have good lighting, sound quality, and if necessary, the appropriate AV equipment.
- An Education Monitor from the SMAR Education Committee must be present the entire duration of the seminar.
- Effective April 18, 2011, the Maryland Real Estate Commission requires that a Government Photo ID must be provided at check-in. No exceptions.
- Attendees must sign-in and out on the sheet provided by SMAR (page 3 of this packet).Names must be printed legibly in order to ensure accurate reporting of CE Credit.
- SMAR CE Monitor Cards (provided by SMAR) must be filled out by each attendee and returned with the Sign-In Sheet. Please note: CE credit will not be issued unless the monitor card has been returned.
- Students must be on time and stay the duration of the class in order to receive Continuing Education Credit.
- ALL electronic devices must be turned off and unrelated reading material during the course is prohibited.
- Instructors may not use class time to promote their company, to solicit or gain business advantage, to hold drawings, to collect business cards, or to interrupt class time for meals.
- There is a $10 CE administrative fee for each student. The fee is the same for both SMAR members and non-members.
- Payment must be in the form of a single check made payable to SMAR. All major credit cards are also accepted.
- After class, mail the enclosed Seminar Sign-In Sheet, Student Monitor Cards, and payment to: SMAR, Attn: Education Director, 8440 Old Leonardtown Rd, Ste 211, Hughesville, MD 20637.
- Continuing education completions will be emailed to students and reported to the MREC within fourteen days.
The most recent Bylaws, which were approved on June 20, 2019 are located in the link below.
The Southern Maryland Association of REALTORS® (SMAR) recognizes that the Internet provides a variety of unique opportunities to participate in interactive discussions, promote and share informational topics using various social media outlets. However, use of social media can pose risks to SMAR’s confidential and proprietary information, reputation and brands, and can also jeopardize the Association’s compliance with its Bylaws and Policies, as well as adhering to THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) Code of Ethics.
This policy applies to SMAR Staff (employees), the Board of Directors, contractors, volunteers, members of the Association or any third party who participates in social media activities with or on behalf of the Association.
Currently SMAR actively participates in the following social media applications:
Social Media Policy For The SMAR Staff And Representatives For The Association
These are the official guidelines for social media at SMAR. If you're an employee, member, contractor, or volunteer of SMAR or NAR creating or contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media both on and off SMAR’s and NAR’s websites, these guidelines are for you. We expect all who participate in social media on behalf of SMAR to understand and to follow these guidelines. These guidelines will continually evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge—so check back occasionally to make sure you're up to date.
As a member of the SMAR and/or representative keep the following principles in mind:
- Be professional. Remember that you are an ambassador for our organization both on and off the job. Wherever possible, disclose your position as a representative of SMAR.
- Be responsible and honest at all times.
- Be credible, accurate, fair, and thorough.
- Post meaningful, respectful comments. In other words, no spam and no remarks that are off‐topic or offensive.
- Respect proprietary information and confidentiality of our members and of our internal operations.
- When disagreeing with others' opinions, be objective and respectful.
- Always remember that your online comments are permanently available to all, and may be republished in other media.
- Stay within the legal framework and be aware that anti‐trust, libel, copyright and data protection laws apply. Don’t plagiarize.
- Don’t disclose sensitive or “inside” information, make commitments or engage in activities on behalf of SMAR unless you are authorized to do so. If you are in doubt, avoid any contribution until you have received express permission from the CEO. In other words, “If in doubt, leave it out.”
- Even in your private communications, don’t forget your day job and/or your alliance with SMAR. You are a representative of SMAR.
No expectation of privacy. All contents of SMAR IT resources and communications systems are the property of the Association. Therefore, staff and/or representatives should have no expectation of privacy whatsoever in any message, file, data, document, facsimile, social media post, or any other kind of information or communication transmitted, received, printed, stored or recorded on the Association’s electronic information and communications systems.
Be honest and transparent. Social Media is no place to hide. Use your real name if you are commenting about the Association or its programs and identify yourself.
Make a mistake? If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. For example, if you're posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so.
Be fair. There can be a fine line between healthy debate and hysterical reaction. Do not badmouth ours or other Associations and, even more importantly, other staff, our leaders, members, and their profession in general. See if you can invite differing points of view without inflaming others. Remember that once your words are online, you can't recall them. And once an inflammatory discussion gets going, it's hard to stop.
Add value. There’s lots of traffic on social media. The best way to get yours read is to contribute subjects or information your readers will value. Social communication from SMAR should help our members and co‐workers. It should be thought‐provoking and build a sense of community. If it helps people improve knowledge or skills, build their businesses or solve problems, or if it helps them understand our Association better, then it's adding value. If you are tempted to post about your breakfast cereal or your new haircut… don’t.
Be conversational. Social media is conversational, so talk to your readers like you would talk to people in professional situations. Encourage comments. You can also broaden the conversation by citing other experts in your blogs, or by “reTweeting” others’ comments.
Perception is reality. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as a SMAR employee, you are creating perceptions about SMAR by our members and by the public.
Write what you know. Make sure you write and post about your areas of expertise. Use the first person. If you publish to a website outside SMAR, please use a disclaimer something like this: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent SMAR’s positions, strategies or opinions." Also, please respect brand, REALTOR® trademark, copyright, fair use, confidentiality and financial disclosure laws. If you have any questions about these, see your CEO. Remember, you are personally responsible for your content.
Respecting Association commitments: Social media activities should not interfere with your regular work commitments. Association staff is expected to respect other applicable policies relating to work performance.
Protocol. Any staff members and representatives with a personal Social Media page/s AND with “friends” that are members of SMAR must abide by this protocol.
The SMAR Social Media outlets are provided for the REALTOR® and Affiliate community by the SMAR Board of Directors, its CEO and Communications Director. We will make updates as often as possible to share as much as we can about SMAR and the achievements of our members and staff as well as other relevant community information, education and events.
All comments posted to SMAR’s fan page are subject to review and removal by the page administrator at his or her discretion.
The intent of this policy is not to keep any negative or critical information from being posted, but to protect the privacy and rights of SMAR staff and members. Discussing employees or members in a negative way will not be allowed. The page administrators will review all postings to ensure they do not run afoul of the rules nor of SMAR’s Acceptable Use Guidelines regarding Internet access and practices.
We welcome your thoughts and comments and look forward to what you have to say. SMAR aims to publish all user‐submitted content unless it:
- Contains language that SMAR, in its sole discretion, considers offensive or inappropriate. This includes remarks that are racist, homophobic and/or sexist as well as those that contain obscenities or are sexually explicit.
- Infringes on the trademarks or copyrights of the Association or any third parties.
- Breaks the law or encourages others to do so. This includes respecting copyright and fair use laws. If you are talking about somebody else’s work, reference that work or the person, and where possible include a link.
- Easily identifies members and/or staff of SMAR or the Association in defamatory, abusive, or negative terms. Derogatory, vulgar or offensive comments and statements that are targeted at other organizations or individuals are also prohibited.
- Does not show proper consideration for others’ privacy or are considered likely to offend or provoke.
- Is not relevant to the site or a post that is being responded to.
- Is a commercial endorsement, including spam.
The page administrator reserves the right to:
- Keep discussion comments positive and productive.
- Remove comments at any time, for any reason.
- Acknowledge criticism that is legitimate and respond respectfully.
- Reproduce postings from members in other media.
- Post pictures and videos from Association events.
Photo / Video Disclaimer
SMAR reserves the right to use any photograph/video taken at any event sponsored by SMAR without the express written permission of those included within the photograph/video. SMAR may use the photograph/video in publications or other media material produced, used or contracted by SMAR including, but not limited to: brochures, invitations, books, newspapers, magazines, television, websites, etc.
Any person desiring not to have their photo taken or distributed must contact SMAR, in writing, of his/her intentions and include a photograph (so you can easily be identified – SMAR will use the photo for identification purposes and will hold it in confidence).
If you have a comment or would like to report an inappropriate comment for us to review, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SMAR maintains compliance with THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’® (“NAR”) guidelines. For more information on NAR’s social media policy guidelines, please visit NAR's Social Media Guidelines for Associations. (http://www.realtor.org/letterlw.nsf/pages/0510rm_socialmedia)
SMAR By‐Laws (Article VIII‐Section 8.2) state that use of the SMAR logo (or name) is expressly prohibited without written authorization.
If you are contacted for comment about the Association for publication including in any social media outlet, direct the inquiry to the Board President or CEO. The SMAR Policy Manual (Article X‐Section 10.8) states that the President of the Board of Directors and CEO are the official spokespeople for the Association.
If your job responsibilities require you to speak on behalf of the Association in a social media environment, you must still seek such approval for communications from the CEO or Director of Communications & Marketing using the guidelines listed below:
Committee Chairs, Vice Chairs or team representative* should utilize the “official” SMAR social media outlets using these guidelines:
- As the Committee/Member Focus Team representative, e‐mail email@example.com to be added as an authorized Editor of the SMAR Fan page. (You will be notified when you have been added.)
- **VERY IMPORTANT*** Any content you wish to publish, including news, events, invites and other information must be approved by SMAR prior to posting.
- E‐mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the information you wish to post/promote. (Your administrator privileges may be revoked if you violate this policy.)
- Absolutely NO individual or company promotion is allowed.
Currently available to staff only.
*Team representative/s are those individuals active on a Committee that have been appointed to represent their interests as the authorized social media administrator in place of either the Chair or Vice Chair.
Board Members, CEO, Staff, Committee and Representatives that find an unauthorized page depicting, using or containing SMAR information or its brand should immediately report the page to email@example.com. The Communications & Marketing Director will contact the party and request the immediate removal of SMAR’s information or brand utilizing the pre‐approved template/letter.
Although negative comments can provide an opportunity to discuss and respond to issues, it is very important to develop response guidelines and policies to deal with negative comments that are unproductive.
In general, negative comments fall in two categories:
- Constructive criticism.
If the comment is constructive criticism, then you should respond as follows:
- Establish whether the problem or complaint is legitimate.
- Acknowledge the problem.
- Assure the poster that they have been heard.
- Your response to the negative poster should be positive and respectful and maintain a friendly voice of authority.
- Once you respond publicly, take the conversation to a private channel such as email, IM or phone.
- Unwarranted attack, commonly referred to as trolling or spam.
If the comment is trolling or spam, then you should respond as follows:
- In many cases, it is best to ignore the poster. But, if a response is warranted, then politely and respectfully respond to the poster and then leave it alone.
- For sustained attacks, especially unwarranted attacks, often other community members will step in, making your response unnecessary.
- In response to unwarranted attacks, it is often most effective to ignore the commentor, which takes away the fuel for their fire.
- More often than not deleting negative comments is not a good practice and will risk creating a larger backlash. We can make an exception for obviously abusive, obscene or socially unacceptable comments (which will be clearly stated in our terms of service on the fan page).
- The SMAR Social Media Administrator is the person who has control of administrative account logins for the social media outlet. The SMAR Social Media Coordinator is the person designated by the CEO to manage all SMAR Communications (currently the Communications & Marketing Director), whether via the website, social media, blog, etc.
- SMAR’s CEO and Communications & Marketing Director serve as social media administrators. Other staff or representatives of SMAR may have a publisher/editor role as determined by the CEO.
- Continuity of the REALTOR® Brand and SMAR’s message to the membership and public is of paramount concern. Continuity of message is accomplished by funneling all messages to the membership and public through the Social Media Coordinator. At times, SMAR’s CEO may designate a social media publisher/editor to contribute to the social media platforms when appropriate.
- SMAR may utilize text messaging to deliver information to members periodically.
- SMAR will send no more than 5 text messages per month.
- SMAR will provide an “opt-in” policy for text message usage.
- Text message communication shall require the approval of the CEO prior to sending.