Long weekend hours, 24/7 hustle…real estate agents deserve some breaks, right?

Sometimes breaks come in unusual ways, such as discounts on Xerox equipment and UPS rates — courtesy of membership in local and national Realtor organizations. Members of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors can get 20 percent off suits and ties at Jos. A. Banks Clothiers, and 10 percent discounts at Jiffy Lube. Bedroom carpeting looking worn? CABR members get 10 percent off showroom pricing at Builders Carpet of Woodlawn. “We’ve saved people hundreds of dollars” using the CABR discount, says Sharon Mitchell-Peeno, owner of Builders Carpet. Sure, it’s a marketing technique to draw well-connected folks as clients, but “it’s cheaper to deal with a local company that offers very personalized service.” The Realtor perks don’t make up for the troubled housing market, of course, but saving $240 on a $1,200 Jos. A. Banks Signature Gold wool suit can ease the pain.
Pamela K. Rader has been named human resources manager for Drees Homes. In addition to recruiting and retention, Rader will handle performance management and employee communications for the Fort Mitchell-based company. She previously worked for The Midland Company and Pomeroy IT Solutions. Earlier this year, Drees was named one of the top 30 homebuilders nationwide by Builder magazine.
 
The Southeastern Indiana Board of Realtors recently redesigned its website and, boy, is it good-looking and easier to use. The site (seibr.com) has all the basics — bank rates, ethics policies, member rosters. It adds some homey touches, such as a painting of its historic headquarters and a history of the 58-year-old professional organization. The site offers useful links: to Ivy Tech Community College, the Census Bureau and even the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce (uh...Seattle?) SEIBR’s new web design was created by Necessary Solutions of Lawrenceburg.
Daniel Baker, president and CEO of Baker Concrete, and Peter Strange, chairman and CEO of Messer Construction Co., will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards in October from the Spirit of Construction Foundation, which is composed of Tristate construction companies and organizations. Baker helped revolutionize concrete practices as his firm expanded from a small family-owned business to a national presence. He has been active in the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Boy Scouts. Strange led the employee purchase of the Messer firm in 1990, and helped grow the firm from a local office to a regional business. Strange serves on the boards of numerous local arts organizations.
Richard D. Purtell, general manager of Triple Net Properties in Cincinnati, is chairman-elect of BOMA International, the professional organization representing building owners and managers. Purtell, an Ohio State graduate, joined Triple Net in 2006. He previously served as a vice president at The Andalex Group and at Lowe Enterprises Midwest in Cincinnati, and he spent 19 years with the Galbreath Co. in both Columbus and Cincinnati. BOMA provides advocacy and research for its 16,500 members worldwide who collectively own or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties.
 
Hamilton County expanded its Home Improvement Program (HIP) to include commercial properties. HIP allows qualified property owners to borrow money for 3 percent below typical bank market rates. A HIP loan can be used for a variety of exterior and interior improvements, Launched by county commissioners in 2002, HIP has approved 1,600 loans from a $28 million loan pot. Now, commercial properties valued at less than $350,000 also are eligible for loans, according to Crystal R. Kendrick, whose marketing firm, The Voice of Your Customer, is managing the HIP media campaign. Application details are at hamiltoncountyohio.gov/hc/hc_hip.asp, or by calling HIP Coordinator Patrick Hanrahan at 513-946-8234.
 
Commercial and residential real estate news may be e-mailed to realestate@cincybusinessmag.com.