National Recognition for RPAC Hall of Fame

Two of Virginia’s distinguished REALTOR® leaders have been officially welcomed into an elite National Association of REALTORS® RPAC group. Trish Szego, 2012 President of the Virginia REALTORS®, and Bill White, 2016 President, were accepted last week as official members of the Class of 2016 NAR RPAC Hall of Fame. They join a dozen fellow Virginia REALTORS® who have been previously honored for their major contribution to REALTOR® advocacy through RPAC support. Hall of Fame members have contributed a cumulative amount of at least $25,000 to RPAC.

Szego and White will be honored on stage at the national Legislative Meetings (‘Mid-Year’) event in May.

Posted in The Buzz | 3 Comments

Announcing the Virginia Leadership Academy Class of 2017

The Virginia REALTORS® are pleased to recognize the members that have been accepted into the 2017 Virginia Leadership Academy (VLA). Classmates were introduced at the conclusion of last week’s Legislative Advocacy Conference. The Virginia Leadership Academy is conducted once every two years and identifies promising leaders through a competitive application process that prioritizes professional achievement in our industry and leadership in communities throughout the state. VLA cultivates talent and prepares Virginia real estate professionals for industry leadership at the state and national level. The REALTORS® and their hometowns are:

  • Valeria Alphin- Roanoke
  • Jennifer Cool- Virginia Beach
  • Deborah Crigger- Wytheville
  • Lauren Duguay – Williamsburg
  • Beth Grant – Nokesville
  • Christopher Hannan – Newport News
  • Kara Joseph – Warrenton
  • Whitney Minnich- Alexandria
  • Johana Story – Prince George
  • Peggy Todd – Hampton
  • Belinda Tusing – Quicksburg
  • Tom Woolfolk – Gordonsville
Posted in The Buzz | 1 Comment

New Resources: Virginia REALTORS® Brand

We are unveiling a few new resources. There’s a new page on our site that contains brand guidelines and logos for you to use. Our name and our design represent modern efficiency and strength – the same assets that we proudly champion in Virginia REALTORS®. There’s more to come, including the launch of our new website this spring. In addition to our new name and logo, we will continue to introduce more new resources to strengthen our reach to consumers and elevate awareness of the REALTOR® brand… of you. As always, our top priority is REALTOR® business success and the rights of Virginia’s property owners.

Click here for BRAND GUIDELINES and resources.

The brand of the Virginia REALTORS® encompasses the practices of our members and celebrates our diversity. From residential to commercial to property management; from urban townhomes to rural barns; from coast to mountains – and all of the variety in between. The logos are for use exclusively by active Virginia REALTORS® and the staff of Virginia REALTOR® associations, and in manners that enhance the perception and reputation of REALTOR® members.

For specific questions on brand use, contact Jenny Wortham at Jenny@VARealtor.com. Click here for separate resources on use of the trademarked REALTOR® term and marks.

Posted in The Buzz | Leave a comment

Advocacy in Action

Hundreds of REALTORS® are in downtown Richmond this week to represent our industry’s business interests and the importance of homeownership and property rights. Bringing our message directly to Virginia’s lawmakers is important not just during the General Assembly session at our state Capitol, but throughout the year and in every district. Your leadership in Virginia’s communities is our best advocacy in action. It tells policymakers that you add value to Virginia’s economy, to the quality of life in our communities, and to your neighbors and their constituents. As they consider laws and regulations that impact your business and your clients, legislators know that REALTORS® mean business.

Are you joining us for Day on the Hill? We want to hear your voice, see your pictures, and celebrate the impact of our advocacy together. Share your updates! Facebook, Twitter, or Outreach@VARealtor.com.

Posted in The Buzz | Leave a comment

Seeking Good Neighbors

REALTOR® Magazine is seeking nominations for the Good Neighbor Awards. Are you or someone you know doing great work serving the community? Share the story with the National Association of REALTORS®. REALTOR® Magazine has two programs that recognize and nurture REALTORS® who are committed to bettering the world around them.

The Good Neighbor Awards recognize REALTORS® for extraordinary accomplishments in community service. Winners receive $10,000 grants for their charities, as well as national and local publicity for their cause. Volunteering Works is designed to help new and growing community service efforts grow by providing seed money and mentoring from the seasoned experts that make up the Good Neighbor Society. Five finalists are selected to receive a year of one-on-one mentoring and a $1,000 grant as seed money to help implement improvements to a community program.

Nominate an outstanding Virginia REALTOR® today:

Volunteering Works entry form (due Feb 28, 2017)
Good Neighbor Awards entry form (due May 12, 2017)

Contact Jenny@VARealtor.com for more information on these awards or to seek support from the Virginia REALTORS®.

Posted in The Buzz | Leave a comment

FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium Cut – what’s the latest?

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has acted swiftly to encourage the reinstatement of the suspended FHA mortgage insurance premium cut. The reduction of 25 basis points had been set to take effect on January 27, but was suspended almost immediately following the inauguration of President Trump. NAR estimates that the cut would have enabled 30,000 to 40,000 more Americans to become homeowners in 2017. In a letter addressed to Dr. Ben Carson, 2017 NAR President Bill Brown urges consideration of the critical role that FHA has in facilitating access to the American Dream, particularly for low and moderate-income Americans and first-time homebuyers. Read more on the appeal here, and stay tuned to our updates on this industry issue.

Posted in The Buzz | Leave a comment

Legal Video: Copyrights on Real Estate Photos

Who owns the rights to the images of a property that you list? The professional photographer… the homeowner… you? Virginia REALTORS® attorney Laura Farley discusses the limited licenses for images and the liability that may come if you are in the dark about copyright details. Click the video to watch.

Posted in Legal, The Buzz | Leave a comment

Storyboard: Buyer gone AWOL

Have you ever had a buyer who was nowhere to be found?  This week’s story is an anonymous share, but an experience that can frustrate many REALTORS®. You have worked hard with a client, completed the entire home buyer process, reached the closing date, and now you can’t get in touch with your buyer. It happens more than you think and oftentimes it’s hard to understand exactly what went wrong. Selling a house is usually not a simple process, but it can become even more complicated and expensive if the buyer is not communicating effectively. Dealing with an AWOL buyer can produce stress for not only the REALTOR®, but also for the seller and the mortgage bankers. It’s imperative to be on the same page with your buyer, so make sure to stay proactive at all times and to keep that open line of communication.

The member who shared this story anonymously provided some honest wisdom for fellow REALTORS®. “Be aware of warning signs like failure to answer or return phone calls, missing appointments, and sudden changes in communication.”

What’s going on in your REALTOR® experience? 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.

Posted in The Buzz | 2 Comments

Groundhog Day is this week… are spring sales around the corner?

Whether or not the Punxsutawney groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, more buyers may be coming out of hibernation. Nationwide, homes sold 4 percent faster in January than they did last January (2016), according to realtor.com’s Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. Pent-up demand based on limited inventory has persisted in Virginia even through the winter off-season, keeping prices above where they were a year ago and moving properties from ‘listed’ to ‘sold’ at a quicker pace. Rates are motivating buyers, too. With the prospect that mortgage rates are going up in 2017, more home shoppers are feeling the sense of urgency to complete a purchase.

Are you ready for spring sales? Even if we have six more weeks (or more!) of winter, there’s a lot to talk to buyers and sellers about now. Listing in the cold months can have its advantages. Buyers shopping in the off-season are generally more serious and may be ready to close quickly at the ask price. According to Remodeling Magazine’s analysis of over 7 million sales, the winter season ranks second only to spring in how likely a home is to go for above listing price (17.5 percent). Since buyers are already showing interest in Virginia’s 2017 market, it’s not too early to start talking about what to expect from spring inventory and how to get prepared for a home search and purchase.

 

Posted in Community Matters, Housing Market | Leave a comment

NEWS ALERT: Virginia Home Sales Report Shows Impressive Gains for 2016

The fourth quarter of 2016 contributed to a year of significant market strength. With particularly strong sales in November, following consumer reaction to the conclusion of the Federal election cycle and the anticipation of rising rates, the fourth quarter of 2016 outperformed the prior year fourth quarter by 6.8 percent (from 24,639 transactions to 26,308). Likewise, fourth quarter volume grew year-over-year, from $7.830 billion in 2015 to $8.527 billion in 2016. The 8.9 percent increase in volume resulted from the boost in pace, magnified by rising median prices. Median price for the fourth quarter rose 3.9 percent from 2015 to 2016, from $255,175 to $265,000.

The value of transactions for all of 2016 exceeded $37.916 billion, up 8 percent from the accumulated volume in 2015 ($35.095 billion). Despite mid-year inventory constraints, every quarter of 2016 outperformed prior year benchmarks. The strongest relative gains occurred in the second quarter, with the aggregate of sales for April, May, and June rising 10.7 percent higher than for the same months in 2015. Pace for the year rose 6.6 percent, with 116,091 transactions in 2016, over 108,870 in 2015.

Year-over-year, fourth quarter home sales increased in all price bands except the lowest, where limited inventory typically restricts market activity. Sales pace increased in every region of the state, and median price rose in all but the Southwest region.

Though 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgage interest rates remain at enticing lows, they each jumped notably from October to November and again from November to December. Responding to the Federal Reserve Bank’s decision to raise the key rate in December, rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgage interest rates in the fourth quarter rose to 3.81 percent and 3.07 percent, an increase of 10.6 percent and 11.6 percent, respectively, to the third quarter rates. Rising but accessible rates may spur greater activity in 2017, particularly if entry level inventory loosens, as banks balance the prospect of higher margins with the risk of looser qualifications.

“The fourth quarter sealed a year of impressive strength in Virginia’s housing market,” said 2017 Virginia REALTORS® President Claire Forcier-Rowe. “For buyers and sellers, 2016 was a year of opportunity. Particularly as inventory constraints eased in the last half of the year, we saw surges in activity and price. Buyers have been able to take advantage of low rates, even as they rose in the last quarter, and invested confidently at the end of the year. Sellers are poised to profit from sustained high demand as we move into 2017.”

 Click here to view the Fourth Quarter Home Sales Report.

Posted in Home Sales Report, Housing Market, The Buzz | Leave a comment