Ready to teach? The Extraordinary Educator Series is coming soon!

From the idea to the delivery, turning a topic into a course that is compelling, memorable and engaging isn’t easy!  Through this special offering, you’ll learn what makes a good training course, how to decide just what to cover, how to be flexible and infuse innovation, the importance of strong starts and finishes, how to extend the learning beyond the course, and how to evaluate your program for success!  Working with the adult learner can be very rewarding.  Understanding a few key approaches to adult education makes the training experience a success for everyone.

This one-day class is being offered at the Virginia REALTORS® headquarters on both May 24th and May 25th. Click here to register and become the next great instructor.

Note: your Virginia REALTORS® login is required to register. Seating is limited, so sign up today!

 

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February Home Sales Reflect Limited Inventory and High Buyer Demand

Residential real estate sales continue to indicate a year of market strength. Though year-over-year transactions remained static, the spike in price and accompanying decline in average days on the market point to high demand and restricted inventory. Year-over-year, the number of transactions in February varied by only 7 units (6,569 in 2016 and 6,562 in 2017). Contributing to the static sales were limited inventory and also fewer days to record transactions (as last year was a Leap Year, there was an extra day in February’s sales). Typical of the industry’s seasonality, February sales were 1.9 percent higher than January’s (6,440 units). February 2017 volume (the sum of all transactions) exceeded $2.074 billion, rising 3.9 percent from last year’s February volume. On the month, volume rose 2 percent (from $2.033 billion). The rise in volume was magnified exclusively by the strong performance in price, since pace was unchanged. Statewide median sales price for February 2017 was $260,000, 6.1 percent higher than the median price last February ($245,000). Typical of the season, February median price rose from January’s $255,000 (2 percent). Also reflecting buyer motivation, the average number of days on the market declined significantly year-over-year by 9.5 percent, from 84 to 76.

Click here to view the full February 2017 Home Sales Report.

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VREB Update: Accepting Compensation

At a recent Real Estate Board meeting, the VREB expressed concerns about agents accepting compensation from someone other than their broker.

Remember that the Real Estate Board regulations state that it is an improper brokerage commission to accept a commission, fee, or other valuable consideration, as a real estate salesperson or associate broker, for any real estate services from any person or entity except the licensee’s principal broker or supervising broker.

If you have any questions about who you can receive compensation from or what activities are covered, make sure to talk to your broker for guidance.

Laura M. Farley, Vice President of Legal Operations / Deputy General Counsel

 

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Legal Video: Advertising Listings Online

Are you compliant with the way your listings appear online? Virginia REALTORS® attorney Laura Farley offers up-to-date information on the rules regarding internet advertising. Click the video to watch.

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Buffini! 5 Reasons to Attend Brian Buffini’s Success Tour in Richmond

Get the tips, strategies and inspiration to make 2017 your best year ever! Brian Buffini’s Success Tour 2017 will be pulling into Richmond, Virginia, on March 29 and 30 with special guests Joe Niego, bestselling author Andy Andrews and communication expert Kevin Buffini. This two-day real estate event is sure to give you the tools you need to have your best year ever and lead a thriving business. Here are five reasons to attend Brian Buffini’s Success Tour in Richmond:

Learn how to increase your database. As real estate agents, we’re natural givers. Brian Buffini will help you understand how to leverage this gift to increase your database and get more referrals.

Get the tools to reach your full potential. Are you living up to your full potential? If you’re like many people, the answer is ‘no.’ Brian will delve into the common fears that hold people back from reaching their potential and outline the path to becoming a high performer.

Use your skills to make this your best year ever. We’re all blessed with a unique set of talents. Learn how to discover yours and find out how to use them to have your best year.

Get inspired by the incredible story of Andy Andrews.  After the death of both of his parents, Andy found himself homeless and directionless. The bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift shares his tips to achieve both meaning and success in life.

Watch it in-person or from the comfort of your home or office.  Don’t miss a second of the two-day event! Secure your spot at the live event at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Or, if you can’t make the live event sign up for the live Broadcast and watch it from your home or office with a few of your friends or colleagues.

Visit Buffini & Company online to reserve your spot today!

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Storyboard: The Year of Ramen Noodles

Finding opportunities to gain knowledge, learning the local neighborhoods, and practicing patience are all things REALTOR® Ritchie Vaughn, a member of the Harrisonburg/Rockingham Association of REALTORS®, managed to tackle during her first year in the business. Ritchie likes to refer to her first year of being a REALTOR® as “The Year of Ramen Noodles,” because that’s just about all she had time (and money) for. She was focused on building her brand and expanding her real estate skills. Ritchie takes a keen interest in politics and governance and was thrilled to attend the 2017 Legislative Advocacy Conference as a first timer. She believes that one of her main goals as a REALTOR® is to back legislation that is beneficial to the REALTOR® community and expands business opportunities.  Ritchie is attentive to local politics as well, attending her bi-weekly city council meetings to voice her perspective on issues that impact REALTORS®, residents, and the community.  For Ritchie, being a REALTOR® means so much more than selling a house. It’s her way of staying connected to her community. The gratitude of her clients, the amazing and caring REALTORS® she works with, and the diversity of her daily work are all things that keep Ritchie motivated and passionate about her job.

Now that she’s been in the industry for a few years, the tip she shares with fellow REALTORS® is: “You have to love this work if you’re going to survive. It’s great to make your own schedule but remember to be flexible.”

Have you had a crazy showing, a challenging client, or a brilliant breakthrough? We want to share your story – big or small – so tell us about your inspirations, obstacles, and lessons. Contact us at Outreach@varealtor.com. Submissions are welcomed on a rolling basis.

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Homes for Our Troops: Third Year of Partnership, Lifetime of Impact

Virginia REALTORS® are noted for leadership in communities and causes. The knowledge and generosity of REALTORS® makes a significant difference in the lives of our neighbors, the quality of our surroundings, and access to the American Dream. We are proud to carry on our statewide partnership with Homes for Our Troops, opening doors to military heroes and their families. Each year, we raise at least $50,000 towards homes that allow severely injured veterans to live in the comfort that suits their needs. Will you join us in contributing to their recovery? Even $1 makes a difference. Please join us in this partnership and in honoring Virginia veterans. Click here to donate – share your gift online and inspire others to give!

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Storyboard: Active Duty Military to REALTOR®

Switching careers can be quite the challenge, but one REALTOR® and member of the
Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association chose to embrace the challenge. Helen Sutton retired from the military in 2015 and has been a part of the REALTOR® community since.  She describes her first year in real estate as being very “scary,” and stated “I always had the security and stability of the military.” Helen started attending various REALTORS® conferences which helped the transition from military to civilian life. She continues to take full advantage of the opportunity to network with other REALTORS®, meet community leaders, and learn other real estate practices outside of her region. Helen was a first–timer at this year’s “Day on the Hill,” where she met with community leaders and gathered with fellow REALTORS® to share thoughts and show appreciation to the leadership.  She believes there is always room for improvement in the REALTORS® industry and knowing what’s being presented during the General Assembly is a start!

Her advice for fellow new REALTORS®? “Be patient and remain involved in your industry. Use other REALTORS®’ successes and some of their positive business practices to grow your success as well.”  

Have you had a crazy showing, a challenging client, or a brilliant breakthrough? We want to share your story – big or small – so tell us about your inspirations, obstacles, and lessons. Contact us at Outreach@varealtor.com. Submissions are welcomed on a rolling basis.

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Need to Know: CFPB Consent Orders

On January 31, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it entered into consent orders with a mortgage lender, mortgage servicer and two real estate brokers for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). As part of the consent orders, the four companies agreed to pay $4 million. The two brokerage firms involved will pay a total of $85,000 in penalties and one will pay $145,000 in disgorgement.

The CFPB allegations said that the mortgage lender entered into illegal kickback agreements for referrals of business. The three main agreements that the CFPB targeted were:

  1. Paid referrals through agreements – the mortgage lender tracked the number of referrals made by each broker and adjusted the amount paid under agreements accordingly.
  2. Paid brokers to require consumers to prequalify with them – Under lead agreements, listing brokers and agents would require consumers to prequalify with the mortgage lender, even if they had been prequalified by another lender.
  3. Split fees with mortgage servicer – the mortgage lender had an agreement with a mortgage servicer to split profits on any refinance referrals the servicer provided.

At this time, it is unclear whether the CFPB will take further action against the “more than 100 brokers” they allege have similar agreements. The CFPB’s press release, and consent orders, can be found here. Stay tuned for more Virginia REALTORS® resources on this important issue.

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Advocacy in Action – General Assembly Adjourns

Over the weekend, the Virginia General Assembly adjourned “sine die,” wrapping up the bulk of its work for the 2017 Session. Each piece of legislation that passed both the House of Delegates and state Senate has or will be communicated to the Governor for his consideration. The Governor can approve, amend or veto any piece of legislation. The General Assembly reconvenes on April 5th to approve or reject the Governor’s amendments and vetoes.

Virginia REALTORS® Legislative Agenda bills have fared strongly throughout the 2017 session and several have been signed already. Here are details on what’s been signed and what’s still awaiting action:

Regarding the sale of rental property:

  • HB 1623 – Signed by the Governor and will become law July 1, 2017.
  • SB 991 – The Governor has until Midnight on March 27th to act.

Regarding the foreclosure of rental property:

  • HB 2281 – The bill passed on February 24th and will be communicated to the Governor.
  • SB 966 – Signed by the Governor and will become law on July 1, 2017.

Regarding property and condo owners associations:

  • HB 2045 – The Governor has until Midnight on March 27th to act.
  • HB 2274 – The Governor has until Midnight on March 27th to act.
  • SB 1231 – The Governor has until Midnight on March 27th to act.
  • SB 1255 – The Governor has until Midnight on March 27th to act.

Regarding the Residential Property Disclosure Act:

  • HB 2034 – The bill passed on February 24th and will be communicated to the Governor.

You can check out the full list of Legislative Agenda bills with descriptions at www.virginiarealtorschoose.com/2017-bills/.

Over the coming months, be on the lookout for information regarding 2017’s new laws and how they may impact your business and your clients. As always, if you have any comments or questions regarding policy issues, please email us at Advocacy@varealtor.com.

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