With YOUR help, another hero gets a home

As we approach the celebration of our nation’s freedom this 4th of July, take a minute to listen to Marine Corporal Kevin Blanchard express his thanks to Charlottesville REALTOR® Michael Guthrie on Real Estate Matters news radio. A mortgage-free home, specially suited to Corporal Blanchard’s needs, is a life-changing gift. “Your support will never be forgotten. It will have a very positive effect on me and my family’s life. I hope that one day I am in a position to give back on a similar level.”

In continued partnership with Homes for Our Troops, Virginia REALTORS® – you – have given thousands of dollars to help build specially adapted homes for servicemen and women that were severely injured in service to our nation. Have you given to this year’s cause? Even one dollar can make a difference in continuing to offer homes and restore comfort to our heroes.

Each year, Virginia REALTORS® have pledged $50,000 to Homes for Our Troops to ensure that homes are built for the heroes in our communities. We need your help to meet this goal so that homes continue to be built for our heroes.

Click here to give now in honor of their service and in celebration that YOU make homes a reality. 

Color Guard in Nokesville  regional partner


New VAR Legal Hotline video: Duties to clients vs. customers

Legal video 2016 Duties to Clients vs. Customers

In this video, VAR Deputy General Counsel Blake Hegeman takes part in a discussion with REALTORS® Rebecca and Michael Straley regarding licensee duties to clients vs. customers. It portrays a scenario in which a listing agent is holding an open house for the seller client. During the course of the open house, a buyer asks a the listing agent substantive questions and asks the listing agent to represent the buyer.

The listing agent chooses to solely represent the seller as a client. The buyer is advised that he can hire a REALTOR® from another firm to represent him or the listing agent can treat the buyer as a customer. REALTORS® are allowed to perform ministerial acts (basic administrative functions) for customers.

This video addresses:

• REALTORS® have different duties to clients vs. customers
• A REALTORS® duty to a client is primary but he/she must treat all parties honestly.
• When working with a customer a REALTOR® must not provide advice – only ministerial acts are allowed for a customer – advice is reserved for clients.

Click here to watch the video.


Who will you call? NVAR members call on their peers to invest in RPAC

On Wednesday, June 22, a group of dedicated Northern Virginia RPAC investors gathered at NVAR headquarters for the Phone A Friend for RPAC phone bank program. Peter Kelley, Director of RPAC Technology & Online Fundraising, NAR, was on-hand to assist with the program and train the volunteers to use the Phone A Friend phone bank system. The application proved simple to set-up and intuitive to use as the phone-bankers quickly jumped into action and began calling fellow REALTORS® in their companies to educate them on the value of RPAC and the REALTOR® Party.

phone bank

During the two hour session calls were made to members asking them to invest in RPAC.  It was not long before the first new investment was announced to celebratory cheers.  At the end of the day new investors had been gained with the promise of more by members who were doing things like driving or going to home inspections. NVAR’s first Phone A Friend for RPAC event can be deemed a great success thanks to the dedication of those NVAR members who made the calls.

Callers enjoyed pizza and camaraderie and had fun throughout the day. Several were energized by the effort, noting that they were going to go out and make more prospect calls because they forgot how easy it can be to talk to people on the phone.

Another Phone A Friend phone bank is being planned for the fall at the NVAR Fairfax Headquarters.

If you’re interested in scheduling a Phone A Friend event at your local association, please contact Kathy Felton, Director of RPAC Development/PFR, VAR.


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Congratulations to the 2015 VAR Honor Society Inductees

honor society
Each Spring, we proudly induct several qualified members into our Virginia Association of REALTORS® Honor Society, which recognizes outstanding VAR members who participate in leadership and educational activities within local, state and national REALTOR® organizations.

Applications for the Virginia Association of REALTORS® Honor Society are reviewed by the applicant’s Local Association Executive prior to being submitted to VAR.

Beth Dalton and Nancy Page of the New River Valley Association of REALTORS® with their Honor Society certificates.

Beth Dalton and Nancy Page of the New River Valley Association of REALTORS® with their Honor Society certificates.

To qualify for induction into the Virginia Association of REALTORS® Honor Society, a member must have a minimum of 100 points total, 30 of which must be state association activity and attendance at any professional standards class.

In early June, 93 VAR members were inducted into the Virginia Association of REALTORS® Honor Society for their leadership and educational involvement in 2015. Click here to see the full list of 2015 Inductees. 

Congratulations to all of our 2015 Honor Society Inductees!


The world according to IKEA: Life at Home Report

IKEA_Life_At_Home_Report_3 COVER GRAPHIC

This is the third consecutive year that IKEA launched the Life at Home report, which looks at the home life of people all over the world. The report digs deeper into what actually makes a home for people. What ingredients form a home? And in this fast changing world we are living in, how is that “home” being redefined or reinvented?

No matter how we define what makes a home – connected to space, things, relationships or place – what’s important is that we reflect on how the changes in the world around us impact our lives at home. IKEA shares some insights on how people of today feel in their homes, what they need from their homes and how they create meaning in their lives at home. But as the world around us changes, so does our life at home.

Click here to download the complete report.



Commercial drone use set to take flight with release of FAA rule

FAA rules released on Tuesday create a clearer pathway for real estate professionals to use drones for commercial purposes, a prospect that National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone called a win for the industry.

The FAA’s announcement marks a long-fought victory for for the National Association of Realtors®. Since early 2014, NAR has worked with the FAA and industry partners to integrate drones into the national airspace for commercial use. NAR wrote to the FAAon numerous occasions to weigh in on the final Small UAS Rule, and testified before Congress to support the use of drones in real estate.

Despite eliminating the requirement that operators hold a pilot’s license, anyone looking to fly drones commercially will still have to comply with strict requirements designed to protect people on the ground.

Drones are useful in a number of real estate-related applications, including marketing properties, assisting with appraisals, facilitating insurance claims and overseeing utility work. While many real estate professionals with pilot’s licenses have already put drones to use in these arenas, the new rules are expected to open the door for additional operators to do the same.

The rules for operating an unmanned aircraft depend on why you want to fly.

Other resources
Summary of small unmanned aircraft rule (Part 107)
Drones – Frequently Asked Questions

Sources: National Association of REALTORS® and FAA





Recording now available: VAR 2016 New Laws & Forms Webinar

Webinar New Laws 2016 photo laura and heidi

Photo: Laura Farley and Heidi Schlicher

The Virginia Association of REALTORS® presented the 2016 New Laws and Forms webinar yesterday morning. Laura Farley and Heidi Schlicher provided an overview of the 2016 new state laws that will impact your business and your clients. In addition, Laura provided a summary of the changes to the VAR Standard Forms prompted by the updates to the law and changes in business practice that go live July 1, 2016.

Pages from Webinar Deck Final [Read-Only]

If you missed the webinar, VAR has all the resources you need including the recorded webinar and presentation deck. To learn more, including seeing the actual legislation, visit http://www.virginiarealtorschoose.com/bills.



New VAR Legal Hotline video: 2016 New Laws Pt. 4 – Miscellaneous

Legal video 2016 New Laws Misc Pt 4

Laura Farley discusses the 2016 new laws in the fourth video installment. Of the over 2,000 other bills introduced, approximately one-third were signed into law. Often times, there are a number of bills which overlap. A summary of the laws that impact real property, your business or your clients include:

  • Remediation of clandestine drug laboratories will be regulated by the Board for Contractors;
  • Military personnel:

o   There were a number of bills that expanded and clarified the law providing a real property tax exemption for disabled veterans and spouses of military members killed-in-action.

o   There was a bill that amended the law which requires licensing authorities to expedite issuing licenses and/or issue a temporary license to spouses of military service members who accompany the military service member to Virginia.

  • The Residential Property Disclosure Act had three new issues added to the disclosure statement. In keeping with the current law, these are issues that the seller makes no representations or warranties about:

o   Zoning classification or permitted uses of adjacent parcels;

o   Covenants and restrictions recorded in the land records; and

o   Costs associated with maintaining, repairing, inspecting or pumping septic systems.

o   Additionally, the Housing Commission was directed to study whether there should be a mandatory disclosure of relevant information for historic properties without homeowner associations.

  • There was a bill requiring the Virginia Department of Health to develop a plan to phase out of designing conventional septic systems and provide that report to the General Assembly prior to the 2017 General Assembly Session. Additionally, civil penalties have been added for failing septic systems.
  • The Housing Commission will also review issues related to short-term rentals including registration, land use, tax and other issues of public interest.
  • A bill passed that prohibits localities from regulating unmanned aircrafts (drones) within its boundaries.

Click here to watch the video.

Laura Farley serves as the VAR Deputy General Counsel, monitoring regulatory bodies that effect REALTORS® in Virginia, staffing the Legal Hotline and teaching CE courses. She also serves as liaison to the Standard Forms Sub-committee and the Grievance Committee.

Upcoming VAR events include:
Webinar 2016 New Laws & Forms, June 21, 2016
Relocation Day, August 11, 2016
VAR Annual Convention, September 19-21, 2016
Property Management Conference, November 16-18, 2016


May Sales Boost Virginia Housing Market

According to the May 2016 Home Sales Report released by the Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR), the Virginia housing market continues a strong growth trend. Year-over-year, the number of transactions rose by nearly 11 percent, from 10,369 sales to 11,499. The value of transactions for May 2016 rose above $3.861 billion, gaining 10 percent on the same month last year. Typical of industry seasonality, May sales rose above April figures; historically, the market improves each month through June. Median price rose month-over-month by just over 4.5 percent, from $265,000 to $277,000. Relative to last year, the median price rose slightly from a May 2015 benchmark of $275,000. The marginal change in price from last May indicates that the volume surge this year is because of the significant jump in number of transactions.  Further indicating market strength, average length of time on the market compressed from 67 days last May to 62 in May 2016, quickening by 7.5 percent. Rising median price and declining time on the market reflect limited inventory. With access to historically low interest rates, buyers may be motivated to enter the market with a sense of urgency as inventory constraints continue to press prices up.

Click here to view the May 2016 Home Sales Report.

May 2016 Sales


First-time home buyers facing rise of student loan debt

According to the National Association of REALTORS® Student Loan Debt and Housing Report 2016, released on Monday, 41 percent of first-time home buyers have student loan debt.student debt cover

But, among recent home buyers (not first-time buyers), only one-quarter have student loan debt and the typical amount is $25,000. Even among successful home buyers, this amount of debt is cited as a difficulty in their home buying process. To evaluate those trends, SALT® and the National Association of REALTORS® teamed up to conduct a survey of student loan borrowers who are current in repayment.

According to the report, the U.S. currently has a student debt load of $1.3 trillion, which accounts for 10 percent of all outstanding debt. The magnitude of the debt continues to grow in size and share of the overall debt in the economy. While this amount of debt has risen, the homeownership rate has fallen, and fallen more steeply among younger generations.

The results of the survey demonstrate the impact that student loans, even among those who are managing to pay their bills on a timely schedule, have on their housing situation. Among survey respondents, Twenty-two percent were delayed by at least two years in moving out of a family member’s home after college due to their student loans. While 18 percent are currently homeowners, 17 percent live with friends or family and do not currently pay rent.

student debt

Source: Student Loan Debt and Housing Report 2016 (pg. 10)

Among those non-homeowners, 71 percent cite student loan debt as the factor delaying them from buying a home. This is most frequently the case due to the fact that the borrowers cannot save for a downpayment because of their student debt.

Download the full report here.