The Atlantic City & County Board of Realtors faces some unusual challenges as Corrina “Cori” Haberkern, broker/salesperson with Century 21 Atlantic Professional Realty in Absecon, begins her term as president.

The county’s Realtors are in the midst of developing a new strategic plan and helping ensure their estimated 1,600 members meet the impending state licensing requirement for continuing-education credits.

Like her immediate predecessors, Haberkern’s tenure starts during the longest slump in real estate since World War II.

But she thinks that while distressed properties still weigh on the housing market, a more robust recovery is starting to take hold.

“I think things are going to stabilize a little this year. I think we’re starting to see some prices come back up a little because inventory is low for the amount of demand,” said Haberkern, 39, of Northfield.

One factor reducing inventory has been damage from Hurricane Sandy and the time needed to repair and renovate properties. She said some agents had to take houses off the market.

While overall foreclosures and short sales are still a challenge, the market mood has improved and should start showing up in spring sales figures.

“Most of the other agents I’ve spoken to lately, and myself personally, I’m busier that I’ve been the past couple of years,” she said. “I think consumer confidence is coming back a little bit.”

She said some areas might be slowed by concerns over flood maps and the possibility of having to raise houses, but the effect overall will be small. When people see interest rates rising and little inventory available, they’ll start making moves while they can.

Of immediate concern to real estate agents in New Jersey is an April 30 soft deadline for them to earn at least 12 continuing-education credits. Six of the credits must be in core topics and at least two credits must be in ethics.

The New Jersey Real Estate Commission, in a recent notice to brokers, said that while real estate licenses won’t be renewed after June 30 without the credits, as of May 1 it may starting charging a $200 fee to renewing agents who have not fulfilled the education requirement.

Haberkern said the talk among industry officials is that a “scary” number of agents statewide have yet to complete their requirement.

She said the county board will be unable to determine the local level of compliance until brokers start reporting the situations in their offices when the deadlines are reached.

She said her Realtor organization has set up more classes and tried to make sure local agents meet the new requirements.

Haberkern said she’s been a member of the Atlantic County Realtors since 1999 and on its board of directors since 2005.

During those eight years, she has served as secretary, treasurer and first vice president, as well as on numerous committees, she said.

Haberkern’s immediate predecessor was Anthony D’Alicandro, owner of Coldwell Banker Casa Bella Realtors in Linwood, and before him the president was Richard Shaffer III, broker/owner of Resorts Ltd. in Egg Harbor Township.

She said her past presidents have advised her not to be afraid to ask for help and to watch what she says.

As president, “you need to be aware of what you say to the membership and the media, so you don’t put your foot in your mouth,” she said.

She’ll also oversee the organization’s committees and get them the help they need, handle membership situations and serve as a sounding board for ideas and issues, she said.

She will conduct the four to eight board meetings per year, with the next one in May or June.

“I’m looking forward to the year ahead and hoping I can bring some positive changes as we move ahead in this crazy market,” Haberkern said. “The real estate industry has always run in seven-year cycles, and if that holds true, 2013 should be when things really start to pick up.”

Contact Kevin Post:

609-272-7250