Archive for August, 2009

Freddie Mac puts short sale commission policy in writing

From NAR: Freddie Mac has confirmed in writing a policy about renegotiating commissions.

Here’s the exact wording from Freddie Mac, as released in Bulletin 2009-22, available for download on their Web site.

Unless a real estate broker’s sales commission exceeds 6% of the property sales price, Servicers must not, as a condition of the Servicer’s acceptance of an offer, renegotiate the real estate broker’s sales commission to an amount that is lower than the amount that was originally agreed upon between the broker and the Borrower. In the event the sales commission exceeds 6%, the Servicer must renegotiate the commission to limit it to 6% of the property sales price.

Watch this video with NAR Government Affairs staff for more information and an update on potential regulatory changes to the for short sales process on the horizon.

VAR special counsel Lem Marshall says it all the time: Stand firm on your commission and you’ll get what you’ve rightfully earned working these treacherous transactions.

Commish says FHA doesn’t intend to apply HVCC

This should come as welcome news:

In a very positive sign, the commissioner for FHA announced yesterday that they do not intend to apply HVCC to any FHA loans. In his statement he says that FHA is aware of the problems that HVCC is causing. This is a huge positive for the consumer as HVCC has been nothing but a sharp poke in the eye to almost all consumers who have experienced its downsides.

via Mortgage News Daily.

Virginia Managers Council round tables

Have you signed up for the VAR’s Convention & Expo 2009 yet? Well, I hope you have and that you plan to participate in the VMC Broker Round Tables.

The round tables are an open discussion to be held on September 16 from 3:45-5:30. We are offering five different topics of discussion and they run about 30 minutes each. They are:

  • How to run a property management division – moderated by Amy Gianniny and Joe Carney
  • Professional social networking – with Ben Martin
  • Risk management for short sales and HUD properties – featuring Cindy Bishop
  • Creating an inspiring atmosphere in the workplace – hosted by Michael Guthrie
  • Marketing with today cost constraints – with Matthew Rathbun

We hope that you will join us for conversation and networking opportunities plus our mediators are some of the best in the business! This is truly a great way to share ideas and pick up tips from others across the Commonwealth.

Hope you will join us on September 16th!

Congress may extend first-time home buyers tax credit

WaPo columnist Kenneth Harney reports that congressional bills to extend the popular $8,000 first time home buyers tax credit into 2010 are getting traction. The deadline to take advantage of the currently-on-the-books credit is November 30 (less than 100 days away).

Also on the table are efforts to make the credit apply to all home purchases and to increase the tax credit to a maximum of $15,000.

Harney opines:

But can any of this happen before the Nov. 30 deadline? The key complicating factor here is Congress’s heavy load of higher-profile, pressing issues that will get attention before anything else in September and October. That includes health-care reform, climate change and energy, financial system regulatory reform and a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, among others. On top of that, a tax-credit extension would cost billions in lost revenue — a big negative when the federal budget deficit is already wallowing in a record amount of red ink.

In the end, however, given the political economics of the housing credit, the odds favor some sort of extension, probably later rather than sooner. Don’t bank on a bigger credit, however, or on a broadening of the concept to cover all buyers next year.

For it’s part, NAR is working hard behind the scenes to get the tax credit extended.

Local-market data for Virginia Beach

NAR has released a bunch of local market reports for all over the country. No offense to the good folks in Boise, but the only one of the reports that we care about is the one for Virginia Beach. It’s got price info, plus sales and supply figures, all in a handy PDF suitable for printing.

Here be a screenshot

Quick recap of yesterday’s Board of Directors meeting

Minutes will be published shortly, but here are some of the highlights:

  • John Dickinson from Union Hall (Roanoke Valley Association) was elected VAR President Elect for the 2010 membership year.
  • Trish Szego from Fairfax (Northern Virginia Association) was elected VAR Vice President for the 2010 membership year.
  • The board approved VAR’s 2010 budget with revenues of $4.55 million and expenses of $4.46 million.

Home resales jump in July

That’s right — up not only 7.2% over June (marking the first time in five years that sales have risen four months in a row) but more importantly, 5.0% over July 2008. (Remember, the year-to-year numbers are a lot more important than month-to-month.)

It gets better. In the South, the July-to-July jump was even bigger — 5.4%. At the same time, the median home price here was down 7.1% over last year.

Good news, even for the cynical among us.

Read the NAR release here.

My Grass Is No Greener Than Your Grass

Watched a video the other day, presented by Jeff Turner of Real Estate Shows, on the idea that what works for me in the social media world might not work for you in the same way. It was interesting visual, at least for me, and I wanted to share it here. Thanks to Jeff for being so free with his material!

REBarcamp Denver Kickoff: Cutting Your Own Grass from Jeff Turner on Vimeo.

I like my grass. But I don’t take care of it, my homeowner’s association does it for me. That works for me – I get the benefit of having a lawn (granted about 1000 square feet of lawn, but lawn nonetheless) without the work. A friend of mine, though, has a couple of acres of lawn. Almost every day after work, he can be found outside doing something in the yard – aerating, fertilizing, or cutting, for hours on end. Both lawns look nice, but we took different approaches to get there.

Social media’s the same way. You can put a little time into it, or a lot of time into it. Whatever you do, make it work for you, and not for anyone else.  It’s your grass.

VAR & RPAC announce endorsements for statewide elections

The Virginia Association of Realtors and the Realtors Political Action Committee of Virginia have announced endorsements for statewide candidates in the 2009 election:

* For Governor, Bob McDonnell
* For Lieutenant Governor, Bill Bolling
* For Attorney General, Steve Shannon

We chose these candidates for a variety of reasons — but reasons that relate to a single concern: their support of VAR, for Realtors, and for the real estate issues that impact our members and the clients they serve.

We realize that not everyone will support these same people. Elections are personal things, and voters have many reasons for picking a candidate.

But your RPAC trustees’ responsibility is to choose who they feel are the best candidates for the real estate profession. It matters not what the candidates feel about gun control, or health care, or leash laws, or any of the myriad issues that individuals consider when choosing whom to vote for.

VAR and RPAC focus only on representing and protecting your real estate business.

All that matters: Who will best support Realtors®’ issues? Because when it comes to politics, we believe you should support the people who support you. That is, the candidates whose philosophy and voting record we think best reflects the business needs of Realtors®. Continue reading VAR & RPAC announce endorsements for statewide elections

VHA prize winners galore

Money money money. Prizes prizes prizes. Were you a winner? We picked 10 of ’em in the most recent Virginia Homeowners Alliance member recruitment drawing. The more members you recruited, the better your chance of taking home an Amex gift card, an iPod, or a Wii.

Anyone you know on the list?

  • Ka-ching! Carl Manasco from the Dan River Association won a $500 Amex gift card
  • Charlotte Jones from the Williamsburg Area Association won a $500 Amex gift card
  • Buck Heffernan from the Hampton Roads Association won an iPod Touch
  • Autumn Coxe from the Chesapeake Bay & Rivers Association won a Nintendo Wii
  • Cynthia Zalud from the Dulles Area Association won a $200 gift card
  • Janet Frenck from the Hampton Roads Association won a $200 gift card
  • Jason Ciatteo from the Richmond Association won a $100 gift card
  • Jay Ponton from the Williamsburg Area Association won a $100 gift card
  • John Enright from the Williamsburg Area Association won a $25 gift card
  • Kris Jensen from the Charlottesville Area Association won a $25 gift card

Wiiiiiiiiiiiii!Now, $500 or a Wii is nothing to sneeze at, but the Big Prize at the End comes in September, when we give away a Caribbean vacation. (And it’s gonna be a good one — details to come, but we’re not talking about two days on Jimbo & Bobby Ray’s Cruze Line.) We’ll make that announcement at our Convention & Expo 2009 at the Homestead, September 16-18. (Shameless plug.)

Remember: You earn one entry for every five homeowners you’ve recruited into the Virginia Homeowners Alliance between September 1 of last year and August 31, 2009. Sign up your neighbors, past clients, friends and family members by sending them to

So the question is, why are you reading this and not talking to clients?