Call to Action: Oppose the increase to petroleum reduction deductible

The General Assembly is considering a measure that would increase the deductible homeowners pay to have underground petroleum tanks repaired or removed, if they are found to be leaking.

Currently the deductible is $500.  The General Assembly is considering a measure to increase it to $2500… that’s a 500% INCREASE.

How many real estate deals have you done, where a tank is found to be leaking and needs to be repaired or removed? Under this proposal, your clients will see the deductible sky-rocket to $2500.  We believe this will have a negative impact on many of these real estate transactions.

There have been two budget amendments that have been introduced that will reverse the course, keep the $500 deductible in place and ask a stakeholder taskforce to look at the issue.

Please send a message to your member of the House of Delegates and Senate to let them know Realtors® stand united throughout Virginia in their concern over this dramatic increase.

 Click here to email your legislators and ask them to OPPOSE the Petroleum Tank Deductible Increase.

 

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Sign up now! This three-day program is designed for real estate instructors and trainers to improve course development and delivery skills. This program, a pre-requisite for all members of the Virginia REALTORS® Institute faculty, is for both experienced and novice instructors.

Dale Carlton, owner of Carlton Realty, and a professor at REALTORS® University will facilitate this professional development seminar. Participants learn to prepare and deliver a presentation and take a video copy home to review.

The Instructor Training Institute will be held at VAR headquarters. Space is limited. Click here to register today http://www.varealtor.com/InstructorTraining.

If you have questions, contact Glenda Puryear at (804)249-5710.

 

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Out and About – VPAR for Core Standards review

Director of Member Outreach, Lynne Wherry traveled to the Virginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS® on Wednesday, January 28 to review the Core Standards with Jim Wetzel, Association Executive.

Ms. Wherry toured the association office and viewed the space that will be remodeled starting next week.

If you have questions about the NAR Core Standards, please contact Lynnew@VARealtor.com.

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VPAR Staff- Jim Wetzel, Association Executive, Cindy Anderson – Director of Member Services Joanne “Jo” McNamara Daly – Education Director, Lynne Wherry – VAR Director of Member Outreach

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Advocacy Alert: Two VAR Bills Pass House

On Wednesday, two of VAR’s Legislative Agenda bills passed uncontested on a floor vote of the House of Delegates.  HB 1452, which adds family trusts to the list of clients property managers can represent in court, and HB 1642, which deals with adding items to Virginia’s buyer beware list, now head to the Senate side of the General Assembly for consideration.

As the General Assembly session progresses, you can track the latest developments of our VAR Legislative Agenda bills and more at www.varrealtorschoose.com.

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Advocacy Alert: Multiple VAR Bills see action today

Tuesday was a busy day for the VAR Policy and Advocacy team.  As activity at the General Assembly kicks into high gear, the team has to keep a keen eye on the many moving parts of the legislative process.

  •  HB 1450, adding flood hazard areas to the Buyer Beware list, and HB 1452, adding family trusts to the list of clients a property manager can represent in court, had their second reading on the House floor.  In the state legislative process, each piece of legislation is required to be “read” or listed on the chamber’s daily floor calendar for three days before it can be voted on.  The process allows everyone to review the bill before the vote. This requirement can only be waived by unanimous consent of the entire body.  Since both of these bills are on the uncontested calendar, meaning no opposition to date, both should have their third reading and affirmative vote on Wednesday.
  • HB 1965, introduced by Delegate Tom Rust, unanimously passed out of the House Subcommittee on General Laws today. This bill fixes a loophole in state law that was hindering some judges from awarding money owed to consumers as a result of a ruling from the Virginia Real Estate Board.  With this fix, courts will now be allowed to award general judgments, which are already allowed for under the Board of Contractors.
  •  SB 868, patroned by Senator Ben Chafin, passed out uncontested from the Senate Committee on Local Government.  This bill closes a loophole that allowed water authorities in two Virginia localities to place a lien on a landlord or property owner to pay delinquent water bills from past tenants before services could be turned back on.  This fix will remove that past due utility charge burden from the landlord or property owner and allow the service to be activated for new tenants.

As the General Assembly session progresses, you can track the latest developments of our VAR Legislative Agenda bills and more at www.varrealtorschoose.com.

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Out and About – Road Show visit to SWVAR and BTVAR

The 2015 Professional Standards Road Show made a stop in Southwest Virginia on Tuesday, January 27. Training was provided for 32 Southwest Virginia and Bristol Tennessee/Virginia Associations of REALTOR® members. Some traveled as much as 70 miles for the valuable training. The instructors were Erika Almstead, VAR Director of Professional Standards and Legal Affairs and Rick Cockrill VAR Roadshow Instructor of Leesburg, VA.

Every year, VAR sponsors local training for Boards of Directors; Professional Standards and Grievance Committee Members; Certified Ethics Trainers; Executive Officers and staff; and Mediators to learn the concepts and management of professional standards.

For more information on attending a 2015 Professional Standards Road Show, use the following link provide:
http://www.varealtor.com/2015ProfStnd

SWVAR 2 SWVAR

 

 

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Get Active 2015: Join us on Capitol Hill on February 11

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Lend us your voice so we are clearly heard on February 11—our annual REALTORS® Day on the Hill. This is our day. As REALTORS®, we have the opportunity to sit down with our local legislators and let them know where VAR stands on bills that have an impact on our businesses and on our fellow Virginians, homeowners who value their property rights and their investments.

We have a day planned that will inform and entertain you. Highlights of the day include:

  • Our legislative briefing, providing you with a greater understanding of the issues we hold important.
  • Capitol Square visits, where our presence is seen and heard by senators and delegates.
  • Our legislative reception at the Jefferson Hotel, where we will continue our conversations with policy makers and catch up with our colleagues.

For more details and to register for Get Active 2015 please visit VARealtor.com/GetActive. The pre-registration deadline is January 30, 2015.

 

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Virginian Pilot reports on VAR bill on flood insurance

Virginian-Pilot Reporter Adam Applegate filed a story on VAR legislation, HB 1642 bill that is moving through the House this week, and the Senate version, SB 775 that was unanimously approved last week.

He interviewed VAR CEO Terrie Suit. In the article, Terrie provides an overview of our position.

Buyer beware: Check to see if your property is located in a special flood hazard zone

Virginian Pilot, January 24, 2015

When you’re looking to buy a house in Virginia, you’re mostly on your own to investigate it.

The Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act, with a few exceptions, essentially says, “Here are some issues you might want to look into.” These include whether the property is in a historic district, or a sex offender lives nearby, or whether the home lies in a dam-break inundation zone. A proposed bill in the General Assembly would add to the list another item a buyer might want to check out: floodplain information.

Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, and Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, have introduced twin bills advising buyers to “exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary” to investigate whether a home is in a flood hazard zone and if flood insurance would be required.

The Virginia Association of Realtors is backing the bill and requested that Locke and Stolle carry it, said Terrie Suit, the association’s chief executive officer.

“We are very sensitive to flood insurance rates and making sure clients are aware of whether their property or potential property is located in flood zone,” she said.

But some people say the bill doesn’t go far enough.

“It’s a nondisclosure disclosure,” said Meg Pittenger, an environmental manager in Portsmouth who works on sea-level rise and flooding issues. “But it’s a step.” She said sellers or realtors should be required to divulge to prospective buyers whether a property lies in a flood zone.

“There’s no reason not to disclose that,” she said.

Suit said sellers might not know whether they’re in a flood zone, especially if they don’t have a mortgage and aren’t required to carry flood insurance. That means buyers might get incorrect information, she said.

Officials in Portsmouth, where the number of homes in flood hazard areas is poised to jump from about 6,200 to 8,500 in new flood maps, also want sellers to be required to inform potential buyers of past flood damage.

Suit said sellers might not know the history of flooding in the home before they owned it and therefore might pass along misleading information.

She suggested buyers hire a (flood certification) professional* to assess flood issues and issue a flood or negotiate to have the seller do it.

Suit said, “If you identify a property you want to buy, do your due diligence.”

* Buzz editor’s note: A flood certification (Flood CERT) indicates if the subject property is located within a FEMA designated special flood hazard zone, in which case a federal law mandates that a federally insured lender or lender issuing a federally backed/insured loan require flood insurance. FEMA enforces this federal requirement. 

Flood certification is a normal part of the mortgage process and is ordered by the lender to assist in making a flood zone and flood insurance requirement determination.  Individual buyers and sellers can order flood certifications for their own use as well.  Professional flood certification companies proficient in reading flood maps provide flood certifications.  A list of such companies is provided on the FEMA website.

 

 

Aaron Applegate, aaron.applegate@pilotonline.com

A motorist stops, examines the situation and decides not to go through a flooded intersection in Norfolk on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. <span class='credit'>(Thé N. Pham | The Virginian-Pilot)</span>

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2015 Virginia General Assembly Update

As we begin the third week of the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session, things are moving at a firm pace. Several VAR Legislative Agenda bills are making their way through the legislative process, while the rest will see activity soon.  These legislative initiatives are just a fraction of the hundreds of bills and budget amendments that VAR’s Public Policy Committee monitors, reviews, and takes positions.

  • SB 775, introduced by Senator Mamie Locke, was approved Friday by the Virginia Senate on a 40-0 vote. This bill adds language to the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Statements, aka the “Buyer Beware” list, which encourages purchasers to do their due diligence in investigating whether a property resides within a special flood hazard zone, including obtaining a flood certification.  SB 775 is the first VAR Legislative Agenda bill to be approved by the General Assembly chamber in which it originated. The bill will now head to the House of Delegates where it will begin the second phase of the legislative process in a House committee.
  • HB 1642, submitted by Delegate Chris Stolle, is the House version of SB775, dealing with special flood hazard zones and flood certification disclaimers. This legislation also incorporates language from Delegate Jackson Miller’s HB1450, which adds storm water maintenance agreements to the same list.  HB 1642 passed the House Committee on General Laws last week on a 21-0 vote and should be considered by the full House of Delegates this week.
  • HB 1452, patroned by Delegate Miller, adds “family trusts” to the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act.  This change in state law will allow property managers to appear in court on behalf of their family trust clients.  HB 1452 also passed the House General Laws Committee on an uncontested 21-0 vote and should be voted on by the full House this week.

As the General Assembly session progresses, you can track the latest developments of our VAR Legislative Agenda bills and more at www.varrealtorschoose.com.

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Virginia closed out 2014 with a boost in home sales

The Virginia Association of REALTORS® released its 2014 Fourth Quarter Housing Report stating that the Virginia real estate market finished 2014 on the upswing.

“This was a great way to finish 2014,” said Deborah Baisden, president of the Virginia Association of REALTORS®. She added, “Year over year, the Virginia real estate market performed well in the fourth quarter; home sales increased substantially in December, with 2.3% more sales and a 4.9% increase in volume (dollar value) over the fourth quarter of 2013.”

  • The number of sales increased year-over-year in every region of Virginia except for Northern Virginia, where sales decreased 2%. The change in number of sales in Virginia has tracked the trajectory of sales in the United States as whole consistently throughout the year.
  • The median sales price in Virginia increased 2.4% over the past year to $255,000. The median sales price for the United States as a whole has decreased steadily since June. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the price decreased marginally from the third to fourth quarter of 2014, exhibiting the typical seasonal trend.

Looking at the longer-term trend, the median sales price has increased by 13.7% over 2011-Q4.  Given the real estate market performance over the previous two quarters, we may even see an increase in median price in the first quarter of this year.

The Virginia Quarterly Housing Report is published by the Virginia Association of REALTORS® with analysis provided by the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech. To review the entire report you may visit VAR Q4 Housing Report.

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