Fannie Mae Study: What are the real or imagined obstacles to having the American dream?

Fannie Mae consumer-study-121015-2

Click here to download the report.

A recent Fannie Mae study indicates that consumers are either unsure or misinformed on the requirements necessary to obtain a mortgage.  Consumers might have to overcome three challenges including:

  • down payment
  • credit score
  • back end debit-to-income ratio

REALTORS® are expert professionals, who have the knowledge and experience that make their clients feel confident when making one of the most important financial decisions in their lifetimes.

Click here to download the report.





Advocacy Alert: Call For Action Continues; Agency and POA/HOA Bills Advance

The Virginia House of Delegates is currently considering House Bill 741, which creates consumer protection by requiring professional home inspectors to be licensed in Virginia. On Tuesday, VAR issued an all-member Call For Action asking Virginia REALTORS® to contact their state Delegates to vote “yes” on House Bill 741.

This is a different Call For Action than last week’s which targeted state Senators. The Senate version of the legislation, Senate Bill 453, passed the Senate 30-9.  Click here if you haven’t taken action on the current House Bill 741 initiative.

House Bill 684, a bill that tweaks Virginia Property Owners Association and Condominium Owners Association Acts, passed 20-0 out of the full House General Laws Committee on Thursday.

House Bill 567, which makes amendments to Virginia real estate agency law, passed the full House of Delegates on a 97-0 on Wednesday.  The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

Continue to visit for regular updates on the status of VAR’s Legislative Agenda.

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Duke Dodson: Advances in property management technology

Guest contributor: Duke Dodson, Founder, Dodson Property Management

PHOTO_Dodson_DukeOver the past decade, property management technology has come a long way. Ten years ago, property managers were being inundated with phone calls for showings, posting ads in newspapers, creating inspection reports by print, and keeping tenant ledgers by hand or on an Excel spreadsheet.  Today, all of these processes can be automated in a cost effective manner using digital software.

The first wave of technology to hit our industry was enterprise software. These vendors streamline the syndication of our listings, put our accounting data safely in the cloud, easily track our owner and tenant data and allow tenants to apply for properties quickly online.

The next wave that came along was the inspection software movement. These vendors allow us to take time-stamped pictures and create visually appealing reports that can easily be stored in the cloud and emailed to owners and tenants.

The new wave is here now, which is the pre-leasing services movement. These vendors allow potential tenants to schedule a showing without having to call or email the Property Manager. This software can pre-screen tenants to weed out the folks who are not likely to become a tenant. It can also track all sorts of important leasing data for you (days on market, conversion rates for listing sites, etc).

I hope you are taking advantage of these great tools to make your property management business more efficient and profitable!


Upcoming property management events:

Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act Seminars 
Speaker: Chip Dicks, Esq. President of FutureLaw, L.L.C.
April 6, 2016       Richmond Association of REALTORS®
April 12, 2016     Virginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®
April 29, 2016     Dulles Association of REALTORS®
May 3, 2016        Fredericksburg Association of REALTORS®

Co-sponsor: Virginia Association of REALTORS®

Click here to register today!

Save the dates: VAR Property Management Conference
November 16-18, 2016
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Charlottesville


Advocacy Alert: All four VAR legislative initiatives see action this week

The Virginia General Assembly enters its third full week of the 2016 Session and several VAR Legislative Agenda items are advancing through the policy making process.

House Bill 577 (Del. Roxann Robinson) passed the full House of Delegates on an uncontested 98-0 vote. This bill gives discretion to General District Court judges to send stranded earnest money deposits and escrow funds to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund when both parties fail to show up to court. It now moves to the Senate to begin the committee process again.

House Bill 567 (Del. Jackson Miller), which makes amendments to Virginia real estate agency law, is scheduled for a vote by the full House of Delegates on February 3rd. Last week, the House General Laws Committee gave the legislation its stamp of approval.

House Bill 684 (Del. Chris Peace) was approved by a House General Laws subcommittee on Wednesday.  The bill will be heard next by the full committee.

House Bill 741 (Del. Jackson Miller), which creates a licensure system for home inspectors, was reported from the House General Laws Committee to the House Appropriations for further consideration.  VAR issued an all-member Call For Action on Tuesday encouraging REALTORS® to contact their state Delegates in support of this important consumer protection legislation. Its companion legislation, Senate Bill 453 (Sen. Bill Stanley), passed the Senate last Friday on a 30-9 vote.

Continue to visit for the latest updates on legislation important to Virginia REALTORS®.

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New Legal Hotline Video: Disclosure of proposed interstate gas pipelines (in Virginia)

Legal Video Disclosure of Proposed Interstate Gas PipelinesBlake Hegeman discusses the following in this new video on “Disclosure of proposed interstate gas pipelines”:

  • If a listing agent has actual knowledge that a proposed gas pipeline path goes through a client’s property is there a mandatory disclosure to the purchaser?
  • Does it make a difference that the interstate pipelines are proposed?

Click here to watch the video.

As deputy general counsel for the Virginia Association of REALTORS®, Blake Hegeman counsels association staff and volunteers on legal best practices. Additionally, he teaches more than 60 educational sessions each year, writes the “Legal Lines” section for Commonwealth Magazine and answers the VAR Legal Hotline.

VAR Legal Hotline for Brokers
The VAR Legal Hotline is a free, members-only benefit for brokers. You can receive answers to questions about Virginia real estate law and timely information on legal and regulatory issues concerning the real estate industry. Click here to learn more. The Legal Hotline provides legal information, not legal services. You should consult your attorney if you need representation or advice.

This video series is bought to you by the VAR Legal and Marketing and Communications teams.




REALTORS® Land Institute 2016 Land Market Survey

REALTORS® Land Institute and The National Association of REALTORS® are pleased to present the findings of the 2016 Land Markets Survey. This survey is a benchmark tool for real estate land professionals in all sectors of the business and a great resource.

Here are some of the key findings of the 2016  survey:

  • Prices of land sold in the U.S. rose by three percent between October 2014 and September 2015.
  • Predicted an average growth of two percent across all land types through October 2016, with a six percent growth expected in brownfield development.
  • Individual/Families were the major buyers of recent land transactions both in the US and Canada up to fifty-five percent of buyers.
  • The second largest buying group was investors at twenty-eight percent—up eleven percent from mid-2014. The survey also revealed an increase in foreign and corporate buyers as well as a decrease in buyers who are expansion farmers.

Bob Turner, ALC, 2016 Institute National President of REALTORS® Land Institute, stated “Our RLI land survey showed positive gains with momentum building in all land sectors across the country. Our members are seeing Agriculture land volumes up by two percent with a price gain of one percent, Commercial land volumes were up by three percent with a price increase of five percent, Residential land volumes were up by four percent with price increases of three percent.”

Click here to download the complete survey.



REALTOR® associations contribute to regional planning tool

The VCU Center for Urban and Regional Analysis recently launched a sophisticated tool designed to shed light on regional development trends. The ‘MetroView’ tool was created with support from the National and Virginia Associations of REALTORS® (NAR and VAR), and the Richmond Association of REALTORS® (RAR). In addition to the university’s release describing the capabilities of this new system, Richmond BizSense has highlighted the debut. With comprehensive data from the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area that includes 18 separate jurisdictions, policymakers and professionals, as well as general consumers, will have greater insight on regional planning opportunities and challenges. According to RAR CEO Laura Lafayette, “On the one hand, MetroView provides the kind of detailed, geographically specific data and mapping that will enable users to make decisions about where to locate a housing development, a new business, etc. On the other hand, the trend analysis that is possible within MetroView will enable policymakers to have data-driven conversations about future growth patterns within the region.”

Click here to explore the region through MetroView.

Source: Spiers, J. (2016, February 1). New site from VCU shows Richmond from a ‘MetroView.’ Richmond Biz-Sense.


In the®, Jan. 14th press release, Move, Inc., debuts Top Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers in 2016. These tips will guide everyone from house-hunting newbies to flippers through the market specifics for the next year, cutting through the clutter of real estate advice to highlight what is most important for buying or selling a home.

According to®, a healthy real estate market is predicted for 2016. “The 2016 housing market is forecasted to be mainly a seller’s market, filled with increasing home prices, relatively low inventory and fierce competition between buyers,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for®.

The top tips for 2016 home buyers include:

  • Be the early bird
  • Comparison shop for mortgages
  • Consider a new home
  • Buy a home in the Midwest or South

The top tips for 2016 home sellers include:

  • List during peak season
  • Price a home to the market
  • Offer incentives
  • Sell a home in California

Take®’s 2016 Housing Quiz to give buyers and sellers an edge with the top tips for 2016.

Source: Buying or Selling a Home in 2016?® Helps Consumers Navigate the Process with Top Tips



HUD announces cuts to FHA multifamily insurance rates

HUD Secretary Julian Castro announced today that, effective April 1, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will cut its multifamily insurance rates in an effort to expand the production of affordable multifamily housing.

In a HUD press release, the agency said the “multifamily insurance rate reductions will spur the rehabilitation of an additional 12,000 units of affordable housing per year nationally.”

Under FHA’s new annual multifamily insurance rates, the agency is lowering annual rates to 25 basis points, a reduction of 20 to 25 basis points from current rates, for “broadly affordable” housing in which 90% of the units are under Section 8 contracts and/or covered by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).



Advocacy Alert: Thursday, January 28

Thursday proved to be a productive day for VAR’s legislative agenda as a few of its bills continued through the legislative process.

House Bill 741 (Del. Jackson Miller), which creates a licensure system for home inspectors in Virginia, was unanimously approved by a House General Laws subcommittee.  The bill will now advance to the full committee for consideration.

A companion home inspector licensing bill, Senate Bill 453 (Sen. Bill Stanley), is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate on Friday.  VAR has worked with the home inspection industry and the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation to craft this legislation to protect buyers and sellers in the real estate transaction.

In addition to those bills, House Bill 567 (Del. Jackson Miller) advanced uncontested out of the House General Laws Committee.  The bill, which makes amendments to Virginia’s real estate agency law, will now be considered by the full House of Delegates.

As always, visit for status updates on any of VAR’s legislative initiatives.

Del. Jackson Miller and VAR Legislative Council Chip Dicks answer questions during the House Bill 741 hearing.

Del. Jackson Miller and VAR Legislative Council Chip Dicks answer questions during the House Bill 741 hearing.

REALTOR® Member, Delegate Jackson Miller, presents House Bill 741 to the General Laws subcommittee.