Deborah A Baisden brings attention to Homes for Our Troops

2015 VAR President Deborah A Baisden celebrated the Virginia REALTORS® contribution to Homes for Our Troops on television last week. Appearing on Coastal Connections, a show broadcast to the Hampton Roads region, with CEO of Homes for Our Troops Major General Tim McHale, Baisden praised the efforts of the Virginia Leadership Academy class that launched the partnership and the contributions of local associations and REALTORS® throughout the state. Looking forward to long-term support of this important organization and Virginia veterans, she emphasized the commitment of REALTORS® to impacting their neighbors, saying “REALTORS® care and we are in our communities.”

For more information on Homes for Our Troops or to contribute to this lasting partnership, contact Jenny Wortham, VAR Director of Community Outreach, at

Coastal Connections still




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New standards for energy efficient homes

HUD energy efff

The Mortgagee Letter updates the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) EEH program, minimum energy efficiency standard, to the most recent International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) adopted by HUD for mortgages on new construction homes and adds the use of the Home Energy Score option for mortgages on existing construction homes.

FHA’s EEH program recognizes the savings of energy efficiency in the overall cost of home ownership and allows borrower’s income qualifying ratios to be increased by two percentage points above the standard limits (stretch ratios) for homes that meet the energy efficient standards. Accordingly, this Mortgagee Letter announces a new partnership between FHA and the DOE that incorporates the use of DOE’s innovative Home Energy Score into FHA’s EEH program.

Click here for additional details.



Presenting the 2015 Good Neighbor Awards winners

Over the last 16 years, the Good Neighbor Awards have recognized REALTORS® from across the nation who dedicate countless volunteer hours to improve the lives of their neighbors and serve as leaders in their communities.  The five individuals named as this year’s REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Award winners embody this incredible commitment to helping those around them and serve as an example of how REALTORS® build and strengthen communities.

The 2015 Good Neighbor Award winners are Daniel L. Goodwin, The Inland Real Estate Group Inc., Oak Brook, Ill., for founding New Directions Housing Corp.; Nancy E. Hines, CRS, GRI, F.C. Tucker Co. Inc., Avon, Ind., for cofounding Ovar’coming Together, Inc.; John Kersten, CRB, Century 21 Town & Country, Utica, Mich., for raising $15 million for Easter Seals Michigan; Barbara Mills, RE/MAX Realty One, Inverness, Fla., for founding Operation Welcome Home; and Susan Stearns, GRI, Berkshire Hathaway, California Properties, Calabasas, Calif., for serving New Horizons for 30 years.

More information about the Good Neighbor Awards winners is available at


Foreclosure starts drop to lowest level since November 2005

A total of 45,072 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process for the first time in August, down 1 percent from previous month and down 19 percent from year ago to lowest level since November 2005. So far in 2015, foreclosure starts have averaged 49,362 per month, below the pre-crisis average of 52,279 per month in 2005 and 2006.

Foreclosure starts decreased from a year ago in 30 states, including California (down 29 percent from year ago), Florida (down 40 percent), New Jersey (down 38 percent), Texas (down 17 percent), and Maryland (down 26 percent).

Counter to the national trend, foreclosure starts increased from a year ago in 19 states, including New York (up 20 percent), Virginia (up 16 percent), Missouri (up 77 percent), and Massachusetts (up 61 percent) and Minnesota (up 20 percent).

Click here to read the complete story.


Source: RealtyTrac


Come out of the cold and join the Broker Day conference

Broker Day Winter 2015 Karen Hall Save the date video

Video: Karen Hall, Broker Day – Winter Workgroup, Chair

Attention Brokers: Save the dates for VAR’s December 18th Broker Day and come away with the tools to improve your agents productivity.

Featured speaker
Licensed since l971, Marcie has worked in all facets of the real estate profession: broker-owner, developer, and educator. Marcie believes in giving back to the industry that gave her so much.  Marcie’s quick wit and ability to convey difficult material in an understandable fashion is an asset to her audiences. Marcie’s education sessions include:

  • Managing & Leveraging Teams
  • There ain’t’ no Wizard of Oz

Save the dates for the winter Broker Day
Friday, December 18, 2015
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel & Conference Center
Glen Allen, VA

Registration will open in mid-October.





Closing process changes: What to expect

New mortgage disclosure rules will take effect Oct. 3, and lenders and real estate brokerages are quickly preparing for what has been predicted to be big changes to home closings.

Mortgage lenders will be required to begin using new consumer disclosure forms on Oct. 3. The changes will merge the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, the Good Faith Estimate, and the Truth-in-Lending disclosure form into two new closing forms: a Loan Estimate and a Closing Disclosure.

Consumers will have more time to review the total costs of their mortgage prior to closing. The Loan Estimate form is due to consumers three days after they apply for a loan, while the Closing Disclosure form is due three days prior to closing. The Loan Estimate form shows the loan amount and interest rate, what the borrower’s monthly payment will be, estimated taxes and insurance, and how much cash is required to close.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published a new guide for real estate agents detailing all the changes with the upcoming “Know Before You Owe” mortgage initiative. CFPB’s toolkit for agents includes sections on how to have on-time closings, an overview of what has changed and the new loan documents, and the ability to share resources with your clients about the new rules.

VAR Convention & Trade Expo offers a session on this topic:
11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Colony ABC    A CE PL
TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure– Countdown to Implementation
Michele R. Freemyers, Counsel, Ekko
The new TRID regulations that take away the HUD-1, give us new forms and change critical time requirements go into effect October 3rd! We will focus on the practical aspects of the upcoming regulation paying special attention to those areas that affect your business. Join us and learn all you need to knowabout the new changes! Approved for 2 Hours Real Estate Related CE; 2 Hours Current Industry Issues/Trends PL.

Click here to learn more about the upcoming event scheduled at the Williamsburg Lodge on October 6-8, 2015.




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Gain insights from Matt Thornhill on generational perspectives

This year’s VAR Convention & Trade Expo has it all: a wonderful location in Williamsburg, new special events including a Casino Night, and lots of ways to get inspired about your business. Now, we’d like to announce one more reason this year’s show will be a top-notch event.

Hear why Millennials Matter

Our keynote speaker for our General Session on Tuesday, October 6 will be Matt Thornhill, President and Founder of Generations Matter. He and his team focus on understanding generational dynamics.

At the General Session, he will be speaking on “Beyond Trends: 10 Ways Millennials are Transforming the Future of Virginia’s Real Estate Market (And What You Need To Do Now).”

Thornhill’s 60-minute session will be based on proprietary knowledge, so you’ll hear exclusive insights to help you better understand the relationship between Millennials and real estate. His talk promises to be both interesting and inspiring.

Last chance to save $60 off onsite rates

For more information and to register today, visit



Guide for real estate professionals on new mortgage disclosures

The CFPB launched 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.

Click here to download the guide here.


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Home values pull up in more states

Home values in 29 states and the District of Columbia are within their historically normal range, according to Freddie Mac’s latest housing index.

The Multi-Indicator Market Index now stands at a value of 81, indicating a national housing market that is on its outer range of stable activity. The MiMi has improved 6.17 percent year-over-year and has rebounded 37 percent since its all-time low in October 2010. Still, the index remains significantly off its high of 121.7.



Add to your knowledge base and earn credits at this year’s VAR Convention

The best rates expire on Monday, September 28th

While catching up with old friends and networking with new ones is one of the best reasons to attend the VAR Convention & Trade Expo, education is at the core of this annual event. Many of our sessions this year support CE, PL or Broker Management credits. You can find the credit listings online at

A wide variety of speakers

Because our industry is always changing, and because we all want to get better at what we do, VAR concentrates on bringing the most up-to-date information and experts to share their knowledge and experience with you.

At this year’s event, you’ll hear how to reach your potential with sessions that range from technology to negotiation.

Make sure you’re part of the excitement

Sign-up for the VAR Convention & Trade Expo held on October 6-8, 2015 in Williamsburg. For more information and to register, visit today.