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Forrest Barbee appointed to the Nevada Real Estate Commission

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties business broker Forrest Barbee was appointed…
Lake Las Vegas resident Forrest Barbee is a business broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServ…
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties business broker Forrest Barbee was appointed…
BosBarbee.  (Isabel M. Castro)
BosBarbee.  (Isabel M. Castro)
BosBarbee
Lake Las Vegas resident Isabel M. Castro Forrest Barbee is a business broker for Berkshire…
BosBarbee.  (Isabel M. Castro)
BosBarbee.  (Isabel M. Castro)

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties business broker Forrest Barbee leads a busy life these days.

The Lake Las Vegas resident recently began his term on the Nevada Real Estate Commission after being appointed to a three-year term by Governor Joe Lombardo in March.

A member of the Las Vegas Realtor’s Hall of Fame and former Realtor of the Year, Barbee also oversees offices in Arizona and Southern California in his capacity at Berkshire Hathaway.

Barbee came to Las Vegas in 2000 after moving from Pennsylvania and began his real estate career in Southern Nevada.

Barbee, 75, has a varied background and once worked as a communications officer for nuclear submarines while serving in the Navy. He later served in the Marines utilizing his communications engineering degree and served in a helicopter squadron during an overseas tour.

Barbee earned a management degree from USC while in the Army and eventually used that background, including statistics and organizational psychology, in the civilian workforce.

Barbee worked for AT&T in the Bay Area providing data services to businesses and later moved to New Jersey. He eventually went to Pennsylvania, where he worked as a manager in an adult education program at a community college. He later joined UNLV and worked on improving technology in the classrooms.

Q: How did you get into real estate?

A: I was at UNLV and saw that there were opportunities here in real estate. I really wanted to get into property management. … (It) wasn’t like Vegas today. It was a lot less mature and it seemed that the training requirements in the real estate sector could use a boost.

Question: When was that?

A: I started studying at the end of 2002 and joined Prudential Americana (which eventually became Berkshire Hathaway) in 2003. I knew I wanted to be in management, but I also knew from working at the phone company that you have to start at the bottom and understand what’s going on. I knew I had a lot to learn about real estate transactions. I started out as a salesperson, but then became a member of the training committee for the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (now Las Vegas Realtors) and became involved in board activities. That was an easy way to meet all the real estate leaders and learn what’s happening in real estate in this city.

Q: Where did you go from there?

A: I was in a small office in Summerlin sitting in the bullpen and found myself helping agents even though I had only been there a few days. Because of my military experience and the things I did for AT&T, I always had a good background in contracts and negotiations. It was a strength for me and I found it very easy to help other officers. Sometimes I did more of that than my own trades. That’s when I realized that I enjoy helping agents and guiding agents in the way they need. It went from there and one day the manager asked me if I wanted to be in management and I said, hell yes. It was only a few months later. I had only been in the company for a year when I became a sales manager and then a branch manager. I became a real estate agent in 2006 and had less than three years of real estate experience.

Q: What were you hired to do as a business broker at the time?

A: My responsibility was the day-to-day operations and handling the bad trades, agents going to ethics hearings or arbitration cases or being litigated. That gave the owner, Mark Stark, the freedom so he could work on the vision of the company and where it would go in the future.

Question: Are your tasks the same today?

A: I get involved in more lawsuits and more ethics hearing arbitrations. The only difference now is that I do it for four different companies in three states. Two real estate offices in Orange County and Palm Springs, California, one in Arizona, headquartered in Scottsdale and here. I only recently became the designated broker in Arizona and became the designated broker in California in 2016.

Q: How do you deal with all the states?

A: This concerns approximately 3,000 agents. The trick is a matter of philosophy. One of the things I think most real estate agents do poorly is delegate. Many of them want to be very controlling, and you can do that when you are very little. If you want to function in a larger environment, the only thing you have to let go of is the desire to be in control. You trust your ability to clean up messes and solve things. You have to depend on everyone else and control the chaos.

Q: How do you see the Las Vegas market currently and how does it compare to neighboring states?

A: All states are seeing the same strong demand at the higher end of the market. You see bursts of distressed sales here and there. Prices are still rising in Orange County and softer in the California desert. Prices are moving sideways in Arizona, where the market seems to be more seasonal than us and moving more slowly due to the heat. Here prices show a sideways trend, with a little bit up and a little bit down. It depends on each month. In all these cases you are dealing with a situation in which supply does not match demand.

Q: How will higher interest rates impact Las Vegas?

A: The high end seems to have no problem working around that. It is clear that the challenge is at the lower end of the market, and even in the mid-range. They say I’m going to sell my house, but I have to buy something first. One of the bigger challenges, more so than in the past, is that you see a lot of transactions where the seller asks to stay in their home for a few weeks to a month after closing because they have to move. and go where they go. There is much more that a house is sold depending on the purchase of something else, or that this is dependent on the sale. There are many of these transactions that are connected, and that can be a challenge because if one fails, they all fail.

Question: Who are these buyers?

A: A lot of it is people who come from out of state and run things in Arizona and Nevada. But we have a lot of people here who want to upgrade, which is becoming increasingly difficult. With gas prices the way they are and inflation the way it is, someone who thought it was a good idea to be 25 to 30 miles away from where they work doesn’t seem like a good idea right now like it used to. More and more people are trying to move closer to work if possible. New houses solve many problems. They are energy efficient and people save on their energy bills.

Q: What happens to people waiting for higher interest rates?

A: Some people are waiting to come down, but some have finally realized that maybe I should start in a condo or townhome because it’s more affordable and build some equity and start somewhere. They’ve had a pretty good run. Single-family homes have come to a standstill over the past two years. The new construction market is building many semi-detached houses.

Question: Is an interest rate cut necessary before people put their homes on the market?

A: Those we sold at 3 percent interest, unless they have some other motivation, will be reluctant to leave that situation and take out a 7 percent loan and pay more than what they cost for what they have. There’s a whole crowd that’s going to be sitting on that for a lot longer. When interest rates are below 6 percent, people are less panicky. I don’t think 5 percent and 6 percent are bad rates. Many of us bought when they were at 12 percent or 13 percent.

Q: How did you become involved with the Real Estate Commission?

A: I got involved in 2006 or 2007 and it was an interesting case with one of our people and his client. I had to attend hearings and then I became a regular. I joked about being a season ticket holder for the real estate hearings. I realized how important it is how the real estate commissioners interpret the statutes in light of current practices. It was helpful to guide agents in executing transactions knowing that this is the division’s way of looking at life. I became addicted to it.

Question: What is the Commission doing?

A: The five commissioners work with the manager to ensure compliance. They are like an impartial panel that hears the case and rules on the findings of fact and violations of law. There is a disciplinary side, but also educational supervision and an advisory group for the Real Estate department. We also look at the industry and what changes are needed. A little bit of trying to look ahead in the industry and see where we’re going. That’s going to be a challenge because the industry is changing, and we don’t know how that will impact the things we do at the Real Estate Division when the National Association of Realtors begins supplementing rule changes in the fall ( about how commissions are offered for advertising).

Question: How are you?

A: This is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done. I’m excited.

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