Archive for February, 2011
<span><span>VAR VP of Outreach Lisa Noon has been named CEO of the 9,000-member Oklahoma Association of REALTORS®. She leaves VAR next week, and later this month will be relocating with her family to “where the wind comes sweeping down t
he plain.” Congrats and best wishes, Lisa!</span></span>Rich Text Area <SPAN data-mce-style="3d'font-size: 11pt=
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VAR VP of Outreach Lisa Noon has been named CEO of the 9,000-member Oklahoma Association of REALTORS®. She leaves VAR next week, and later this month will be relocating with her family to “where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.” Congrats and best wishes, Lisa!
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Background (in rough, laymen’s terms): Virginia law says that, if you refinance your mortgage with a different company than your original mortgage, you must pay (the full) recordation tax. But if you refinance with your existing lender, the transaction is exempt from paying the recordation tax again. (VAR fought to change this law this year.)
However, because of so many bank closings and mergers — not to mention the secondary lending market and the entire mortgage securitization issue — it can be difficult to determine whether the re-fi lender is the same as the original lender. (Chances are it’s not, because most loans are sold quickly even if the original lender still services them.) In general, though, Virginia Circuit Court Clerks have taken homeowners at their word when they refinance and claim the exemption.
But Fairfax County has just imposed a requirement for an additional level of proof. Quoth a letter from John Frey, the Clerk of the Court for Fairfax County:
Frey made it clear that he supports eliminating the refi tax entirely — as the bill VAR introduced this year would have done had it passed. He went so far as to call the current law "intellectually dishonest" because some taxpayers are being taxed twice on the same debt; "This double taxation is wrong.," he wrote. Nevertheless, Frey is required to obey and uphold the law. That means a homeowner is not entitled to an exemption just because the servicer of the old loan is the same as the lender of their new loan. And that, Frey points out, means the vast majority of homeowners are not eligible:
Frey’s experience is that many homeowners’ advisors (formal or informal) are telling them — incorrectly — that they qualify for the refi tax exemption. That leads to some unhappy homeowners when they’re presented with the bill. If you’re giving advice to your clients, be aware of the letter of the law, and — if you’re in Fairfax — of how strictly it’s being enforced.
If you work with clients who are doing short sales, thinking about short sales, or who you believe should be thinking about short sales, the Federal Trade Commission might be interested in you. You might not realize you’re engaging in what’s considered mortgage-relief counseling — when you cross the line from helping someone do a short sale to giving them advice about it.
If you cross that line, you enter the world of FTC’s regulations.
Watch this four-minute video for an explanation of the rule, and the guidelines NAR has released.
24 Feb 2011
Posted by: VAR in: Uncategorized
Attention AE’s and Leadership: VAR Honor Society Applications are due April 1st
Click the link below for the online application.
Please submit applications to Awards@VARealtor.com or fax to 804-262-0497
Once we receive your Honor Society applications, you will receive a e-mail confirmation from VAR.
In Virginia — based on data from the state’s various MLSs — sales were down about 6.75% in January (compared to 2010), with the number of new listings dropping 15.7% year to year. Pending sales dropped sharply over 2010 — down 43.7% January to January.
The average closed price was down slightly (-1.4% over 2010).
That’s statewide. Locally, things are different. Sales in both the Richmond and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News regions were up close to 17% January to January; Charlottesville saw an 11.4% increase and the Lynchburg area was up about 2.3%.
But these numbers were offset by declines in the Washington region, as well as the Roanoke, Winchester, Blacksburg, and Danville areas.
Forget the fancy prose. Here’s the gist of housing in January, nationwide.
Sales of existing homes were down almost 30% from December (from 404,000 to 284,000 units), but up slightly from January 2010 (from 275,000 to 284,000 units, or about 3.3%). Click here for the NAR spreadsheet (Excel format).
Meanwhile, sales of new homes were down sharply — off 12.6% over December.
And, of course, there’s the whole issue of the last 10 years’ worth of home-sales data — things might have been worse all along.
Virginia numbers coming soon..
The folks at HomeGain (they provide marketing tools to real estate pros) did a survey — FSBO vs. Realtor. They asked more than 1,000 homeowners about their experiences selling a home.
You can read the details here, but here are the basics:
Used a Realtor and were successful selling: 59%
Used a Realtor, were able to sell their home, and would use a Realtor again: 88%.
Went FSBO, couldn’t sell, turned to a Realtor: 24%.
The survey didn’t go into things like ask vs. sale price, which is probably good — the FSBO numbers are skewed because so many are done between people who know each other beforehand.
24 Feb 2011
Posted by: Andrew Kantor in: The Buzz
Back in the Long Long Ago (July 2009), "Buy a domain name" was one of the must-do tips I covered in Commonwealth.
Yesterday Inman "Read it now before it goes behind the paywall" News echoed that advice and expanded on it.
I don’t agree with all the advice (for example, the suggestion to get a long domain name):
("The long tail," by the way, doesn’t refer to long domain names. It’s the idea that there’s a lot of money to be made in smaller, niche markets.) Otherwise, the general advice is sound — as it was a year and a half ago. If you haven’t gotten your own domain name, consider this your second warning.
Inman News published a column over the weekend, "How public record errors hurt real estate sellers." What the column doesn’t say, though, is what kinds of trouble a Realtor can get into by relying on those (inaccurate) public records.
Enter Virginia’s HB 1907 — otherwise known as "the agency bill." VAR introduced it, and one key provision is that "Real estate licensees will be provided immunity from lawsuits when relaying publicly available information from localities that turns out to be inaccurate."
It’s passed the House and Senate (unanimously) and the governor is expected to sign it. So, while errors in government documents will always be a problem, at least Realtors won’t have to take quite as much heat.
20 Feb 2011
Posted by: in: Uncategorized
Thanks to all who participated in the 2011 Realtor® Day on the Hill. The entire Get Active conference was a great success, and our Law & Policy team thanks you for making your voices heard and supporting this year’s legislative agenda. Pictures from Day on the Hill, the legislative reception at the Jefferson, the RPAC lunch, and the Virginia Real Estate Awards reception are all online for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
CLICK HERE to begin browsing photos.