Archive for September, 2010

NAR Director election results

On September 30, 2010, the Delegate Body elected four NAR Directors:

  • Mary Dykstra, Roanoke
  • John Powell, Colonial Heights
  • Cindy Stackhouse, Dumfries
  • Melanie Thompson, Fredericksburg

Board of Directors election results

On September 30, 2010, the VAR Delegate Body elected nine new members to the Board of Directors.
  • Robyn Burdett, Reston
  • Billy Coons, Virginia Beach
  • Peggy Holloway Burke, Woodbridge
  • Donn Irby, Chesapeake
  • Elizabeth Kistler, Harrisonburg
  • Zinta Rogers-Rickert, Fairfax
  • Henry Scholz, Roanoke
  • Pat Sury, Charlottesville
  • Garrett Weddle, Blacksburg

Feelin’ Groovy? Stop by VHDA’s booth at the VAR Annual Convention

Stop by VHDA’s booth at the VAR Annual Convention in Virginia Beach this Friday and Saturday, October 1 – 2. We’ll be in booths 201 and 300, right between the themed “1960s” and “1970s” aisles — just look for our big psychedelic posters and you won’t be able to miss us! We’ll have free postcard reproductions of our groovy poster art while supplies last, and plenty of info about VHDA products, including 100 percent financing with our FHA-Plus mortgage (ask us for details or visit See you this weekend!

6 Things Home Buyers Want You to Know (But Won’t Tell You)

Are you frustrated by mixed signals from home buyers? Now you can finally know what they want you to know—and close more business because of it. Here’s what buyers won’t tell you (but you can easily find out with the help of an experienced company that understands real estate):

1. I stopped returning your calls a year ago—but I started looking again.
2. You’re still talking about 3BR ramblers, but as of last week I’m thinking about a condo.
3. I think I might be ready to get pre-approved.
4. I am tired of endless searching: I just want listings that match my needs by email.
5. I AM reading your email.
6. I need your help.

How do you read their minds? You don’t need a sixth sense—just a few powerful online tools that help you communicate better and see what homes they’re looking at. To learn more about tools like these, click here. You’ll also receive a free 2010 Business Plan to see the smarter way to know what they’re thinking, plus get a complimentary business consultation.

Mandatory HOA dues struck down by court

A Chesterfield County Circuit Court judge has found in favor of a Richmond-area homeowner who sued his homeowners association claiming he shouldn’t be forced to pay membership dues because he never wanted to be a member, and the dues were not in place 20 years ago when he purchased the home.

While homeowners associations use dues to care for the property in the community, it is unfair to impose mandatory fees on homeowners after they have already purchased a home in the neighborhood, the judge ruled. 

Read more at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Ally’s shortcuts may imperil thousands of foreclosures

imageSo there was this guy, see? He ran Ally Bank’s foreclosure document processing department. There were four things he had to do with foreclosures: 1) Make sure the proceedings were legally justified, 2) make sure all the information was accurate, 3) get a notary to watch him 4) sign the documents.

He only did one of those: Number 4.

Maybe at another time or in another place this would be filed under "Oops," but Ally (neé GMAC) is the fourth-largest mortgage lender in the country. Jeffrey Stephan’s shortcuts, which may have affected 10,000 documents a month for five years (math: 600,000 foreclosure docs), forced Ally to halt evictions in 23 states, and, as the Washington Post explained, "Now it appears hundreds of other companies, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, may also be affected because they use Ally to service their loans."


Click here to read the whole story, and keep an eye out. This one may come around again.

Last chance to pre-register for the REal Show

Everything’s MORE about this year’s convention — except for the price (just $289 for VAR members, but only if you register by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 20):

  • MORE CE than ever before (up to 11 hours!)
  • MORE big name speakers than ever before
    • Superbowl winning Redskins QB Joe Theismann
    • NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun
    • Realtor funnyman & trainer Terry Watson
    • Social media marketing ninja Jeff Turner
    • Associate Publisher of HousingWire magazine Richard Bitner
    • Risk management mastermind Dale Carlton
  • MORE exhibitors than ever before (biggest tradeshow in VAR’s history!)
    • Practical hands-on training on the tradeshow floor
  • MORE networking than ever before
    • Hob-nob with leaders from NAR, VAR, Virginia Housing Development Authority, Virginia Real Estate Board, and other organizations

Click here to register now!

Go Green: Get More Mileage from Your Marketing

If your marketing just isn’t driving the success you want it to, maybe it’s because you are using dead trees like newspapers and postcards—but buyers don’t.

Most buyers search for homes online. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 buyers search for homes online, according to NAR.

What’s interesting these days is that the most effective and methods to increase the effectiveness of your marketing budget are also green. By going digital with your marketing, you gain more clients and drive more business.

If you are ready to increase your return on your marketing dollar, it’s essential to learn how you can generate active buyer prospects online in your area.

To start getting more mileage from your marketing right away, click here and receive a complimentary Agent Powerhouse Tool Kit filled with email templates, social media tips and other helpful information.

Legal Division enhancements will help serve you better

In coming weeks, you’ll notice a number of changes and improvements in the services you receive from VAR’s Legal Department. These enhancements will allow us to serve you better and more timely, and are driven by four member-focused objectives:

  • To provide a dynamic suite of risk management services to our members, whose business success relies in part on the legal information we provide;
  • To improve our timely responsiveness to broker inquiries, particularly related to the Legal Hotline;
  • To enhance the variety and organization of VAR’s legal resources for members, particularly online, as a means of providing quicker access for our members to legal information when they need it and in a format they can use.
  • To streamline Legal Hotline structure and processes to enable us to handle increasing call volume and provide a proper level of legal information to brokers.

These are the specific changes we’re implementing:

  • The operating hours for the Legal Hotline are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Our pledge is to return any Legal Hotline call within 24 hours.
  • For calls received outside of the operating hours of the Hotline, a voice mailbox is available, and those calls, too, will be returned within 24 hours.
  • To enable us to handle a higher call volume, Legal Hotline questions may be received in writing, but all replies will be by telephone.
  • The Legal Resources section of the website will be reorganized to be a first-stop for members who have routine legal questions, and we’ll be creating a robust “Frequently Asked Questions” section. (We estimate that as much as 70% of the questions we receive are routine in that we get the same questions from many different callers.)
  • VAR attorneys will provide callers clear guidance on what the law says about the issue in question, but scrupulously refrain from offering legal representation to the caller.

Former State Delegate and DPOR chief Jay DeBoer has joined VAR as our Vice President of Law & Policy and will have responsibility for implementing these enhancements and overseeing our legal services. In addition to VAR staff attorney Blake Hegeman, we’ll soon be adding an additional real estate attorney to work with our Legal Hotline and provide risk management support and training to Virginia REALTORS®.

VAR legal staff will be available to provide in-person legal updates and other training (for CE credit in most instances) at your local association or company as schedules permit.

Thursday funny: Neighborhood associations