September is National Preparedness month

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It’s no secret that disasters, both natural and man-made, seem to be occurring frequently in the U.S.  September is National Preparedness month and the perfect time for Virginia families to get ready for whatever may come, including tropical storms. Being prepared for emergencies doesn’t have to cost a lot.

  • Make a plan.  This may be the single most important thing you can do, and it’s free.  Make sure everyone in your family understands where to go and what to do in case of an emergency.  Update your contact information and post it in visible places in your home and workplace. For help, use the free emergency plan worksheet or get the Ready Virginia app from the App Store and Google Play.
  • Set aside emergency supplies. Buy preparedness items throughout the year instead of all at once. Choose the essentials that fit your needs and budget.
  • Request a gift.  Suggest preparedness supplies as gifts from friends and family.
  • Store water.  Have at least a three-day supply of water on hand – that’s one gallon per person per day.
  • Check your policy.  Take a few minutes to review your insurance policy during National Preparedness Month.  Get with your agent to make any necessary changes.

Encourage your loved ones and clients to get ready for emergencies during National Preparedness month, click here for additional resources http://www.vaemergency.gov/ReadyVirginia.

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Introducing the business tech guy: John Mayfield

John Mayfield, the "business tech guy"

John Mayfield, the “business tech guy”

The VAR Convention and Trade Show bring you industry thought leaders and authors including John Mayfield, who is known as the “business tech guy”. You’ll get dozens of steal-able ideas and hear what’s next for you and the industry on October 6, 2015. Check out John’s education sessions below.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Technology Risk Management for Today’s Real Estate Office
Making sure clients’ and customers’ data is protected and safe from outside sources is extremely important. This session will help brokers and managers understand the importance of having a good technology policy and procedures manual in place. Plus, you’ll learn ways to make certain all of the agents and staffs in the office take the necessary steps for proper Internet security.

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Brokerages
Are there secrets or common traits that successful real estate offices employ to achieve profitable results? This session provides participants the findings from research on what high performing real estate brokers and managers are doing to create success in their companies.

Click here to register and get the best rates by September 28th.

When & Where:
October 6-8, 2015
VAR’s Convention & Expo
Williamsburg Lodge
310 South England Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185

Presented by:
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Sponsored by:

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Getting sued for using your printer or your Wi-Fi….could cost you hundreds of dollars

Tell your Virginia U.S. House Representative to vote now and support bill number H.R. 9 – The Innovation Act.

Tell your Virginia U.S. House Representative to vote now and support bill number H.R. 9 – The Innovation Act.

Did you know that you could face a lawsuit for using your printer, your Wi-Fi  router or many other pieces of commonly used technology?

Every day, small business men and women, like you, are getting threatened with lawsuits from “patent trolls”.  Patent trolls are companies who threaten lawsuits on individuals for components of technology that we all use.  These lawsuits have no merit, but because of how the law is written could cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to settle… or make it just go away.

We want Congress to pass a bill to protect you from these frivolous, but costly lawsuits. Please take action and show your support of our efforts to protect you from patent trolls.  Click here.

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September is designated Realtor® Safety Month

NAR’s Realtor® Safety Program has also expanded its distribution of safety tips. Every Monday, NAR now shares safety tips via its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. The image-based tips offer safety information on an assortment of topics, including open house safety, garage safety, cyber security, home security and more. These tips can easily be shared with and by associations, members and clients.

These new and expanded safety resources for members and associations—including materials to share in the office, online or for safety presentations; videos; articles; and archived webinars—are available online at www.realtor.org/safety. Information on safety smartphone apps and safety products are also available as well as a list of safety experts.

NAR established the Realtor® Safety Program more than a decade ago to empower and inform members of the potential risks they face in this profession and how to navigate them safely. The entire month of September is designated Realtor® Safety Month and is dedicated to bringing more awareness to Realtor® safety among members.

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The Virginia Association of REALTORS® July 2015 Home Sales Report shows encouraging signs for the housing market in the Commonwealth. Despite the seasonal decline that is typical in late summer, Virginia home sales for the past month rose 13.3 percent from the same period in 2014.

July 2015 sales represent 3.86 billion dollars in transactional value. Median sales price for July 2015 rose nearly 3 percent from the same period last year from $267,848 to $275,000. Current home sales numbers have rebounded to around pre-2008 recession levels. Virginia residential sales in July 2015 (11,520), surpassed July 2006 sales (10,524) and nearly reached the number of sales in July 2005 (11,694), a benchmark established well before the housing market bust.

As the graph below illustrates, despite the typical slowdown in the pace of home sales in the second half of the year, numbers from June and July of 2015 are higher than any time in the past seven years.  Also, Virginia’s seasonal decline has been more gradual in recent years, suggesting a strong August finish as well.

Click here to download the report.

Virginia's Monthly Pace of Residential Sales 2007 through July 2015.

Virginia’s Monthly Pace of Residential Sales 2007 through July 2015.

 

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Public Policy Committee vets legislative proposals

On Wednesday, the Public Policy Committee (PPC) of the Virginia Association of REALTORS® met to vet legislative proposals for the 2016 Virginia General Assembly Session.  The 25 member committee met for a five-hour marathon session to review 42 legislative proposals submitted by local associations and individual members. Yesterday’s meeting was the second step in a multi-phase process to refine the REALTORS® state legislative agenda for the 2016 Virginia General Assembly Session.

After deliberating on each proposal, members of the committee voted for one of three actions on each item: i) to recommend the pursuing legislation to address the concern, ii) to research the issue more thoroughly before making a final decision, or iii) to decline moving forward with legislation because there was a non-legislative solution or the proposal was deemed not appropriate for action. The PPC will meet again in October to formalize legislative agenda recommendations to the VAR’s Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will finalize the legislative agenda at its meeting at the VAR Annual Convention in Williamsburg.

After the legislative packaged is finalized, VAR staff and consultants will work with legislators to introduce and shepherd each bill through the lawmaking process. VAR will keep members updated on the status of the legislative agenda on Commonwealth Daily and at www.virginiarealtorschoose.com.

 

VAR 2015 President Deborah Baisden welcomes the PPC and thanks them for their service.

VAR 2015 President Deborah Baisden welcomes PPC members and thanks them for their service.

PPC members deliberate on a legislative proposal.

PPC members deliberate on a legislative proposal.

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Expanding homeownership education

The Dan River Region Association of REALTORS® (DRRAR) hosted a special forum on Tuesday, August 25th, to certify members and affiliates in offering first-time homebuyer education through the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA). VHDA’s mission is to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing. To be eligible for a VHDA loan, a potential first-time homebuyer must complete the agency’s homebuyer education course. The six hour course is taught by industry professionals – REALTORS® included – who have completed the certification to teach. Between in-person classes and online education, nearly 12,000 Virginians each year take the homebuyer education course. Becoming certified to teach is a great way to network with peer professionals and to demonstrate the value of REALTOR® expertise; and, of course, it is a great way to expand the access to homeownership education for all members of the community. With the information from this course, potential buyers are empowered to ask questions and make critical decisions about the homeownership transaction.

Bennis Butler, DRRAR President, said of the training, “We have a significant number of potential first-time homebuyers in our region. It is especially important that both REALTORS® and our peers in the lending community are equipped to offer them the best preparation for homeownership.”

For more information on regional opportunities to enroll in this special certification program, contact Jenny Wortham, VAR Director of Community Outreach, at Jenny@VARealtor.com.

Danville REALTORS and affiliates engage in the VHDA homebuyer course certification.

Danville REALTORS and affiliates engage in the VHDA homebuyer course certification.

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A 10-year housing surge on the horizon?

The housing market is poised for one of its largest expansions in history. By 2024, demographic and economic changes are forecasted to bring 15.9 million additional households on board, according to a new study released by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

That means an average of 1.6 million additional households per year, sparking “housing market growth over the next decade that would be among the strongest the U.S. has ever seen,” according to the report.

The MBA report says the bulk of that growth will be from increases in the number of households who are headed by those age 60 and older and households headed by age 45 and younger. Those age group increases are expected to mitigate the decline among households age 45 to 60.

The Census Bureau projects the following breakdown in ages emerging in 2024, as compared to 2014:

  • 20 million more people age 60 and over than there are today (as Baby Boomers age),
  • 4 million fewer people age 45 to 59 (as the large Baby Boomer cohorts are replaced by smaller Generation X cohorts) and
  • 18 million more people age 18 to 44 (as smaller Generation X cohorts are replaced by larger Millennial cohorts)

Household growth is also expected to be driven by 5.5 million additional Hispanic households. For other races, 3.4 million additional non-Hispanic White households are expected to form by 2024, 2.4 million additional black households, 1.8 million more Asian households, and 730,000 additional other households.

Source: NAR

 

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NAR Good Neighbor Award finalists honored for their commitment

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The National Association of Realtors® has honored 10 Realtors® as finalists for REALTOR® Magazine’s 2015 Good Neighbor Awards. This award honors Realtors® who volunteer in their communities, improve the quality of life for their neighbors and go above and beyond in their commitment to making their neighborhoods better places to live.

On September 30, five winners will be named from among the 10 finalists. Winners will receive a $10,000 grant and national media exposure for their community charity, including a feature in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The winners will also receive travel expenses to the 2015 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego, where they will accept their awards at a presentation in front of thousands of their peers. In addition, five honorable mentions will receive a $2,500 grant.

The public can also vote for their favorite of the 10 Good Neighbor finalists. The finalist who gets the most votes–the Web Choice winner–will take home an additional $1,000 donation. Click here to cast your vote between August 25 and September 25.

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The real estate professional’s guide to new the mortgage disclosures and process

The CFPB has created a suite of web-based materials designed specifically for real estate professionals to understand the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule. The materials provide a guide for real estate professionals to ensure smooth and on-time closings while facilitating the best experience for their clients.

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

 

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