Archive for October, 2013

Key Races: David Bulova, Dave Albo

This Election Day, there are a number of key races for the Virginia House of Delegates that VAR is following closely — these are contests that could have a profound effect on real estate in Virginia. Here’s a summary of two of them.

House District 37 (Northern Virginia): Vote David Bulova

Delegate David Bulova is the REALTOR® endorsed candidate for the 37th House District.  He was the Patron of VAR’s Meth Lab Disclosure bill during the 2013 General Assembly Session.

Delegate Bulova has been a common-sense voice in the Northern Virginia delegation on land use, and on other issues of interest to Realtors, and serves on the House General Laws committee and on the Housing subcommittee.  He is also a member of the Virginia Housing Commission, which serves as the General Assembly’s primary policy arm in property matters. Realtors are delighted to support Delegate Bulova’s re-election this year.

House District 42 (Northern Virginia): Vote Dave Albo

Delegate Dave Albo is the REALTOR®-endorsed candidate for the 42nd House District. Representing the area in which he grew up and now works, Delegate Albo has served in the House of Delegates since 1993. He holds the position of Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee.

Remember to visit for detailed information about candidates, races, and the issues important to REALTORS® and Virginia real estate!

VAR’s new CEO covered by RIS Media

Real estate news publisher RIS Media covered the hiring of VAR’s new CEO, Terrie Suit, in an October 30 article “Terrie Suit Named to Head State Realtors®’ Association.”



Bill will postpone flood-insurance rate hikes

Key House and Senate members have reached a bipartisan deal to delay the implementation of major parts of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. The agreement — which still must be codified into a bill — will ensure the government continues to subsidize flood-insurance for many homeowners who participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) while the impact of higher rates is studied.

The agreement is a result of concerns over the implementation of Biggert-Waters, and the effect it has had on flood insurance premiums since it was passed in July 2012.

Flood insurance in the U.S. is — in the vast majority of cases — only available from the federal government through the NFIP. And since its implementation in 1968, the NFIP’s premiums for many homes have been kept low thanks to subsidies, often in the form of “grandfathered” rates for homes built before flood-zone maps were available.

But claims from recent storms such as Hurricane Katrina and “superstorm” Sandy have put the NFIP more than $20 billion in debt. Biggert-Waters was designed to help erase that shortfall by phasing out those government subsidies and having property owners pay “true premiums” for their policies.

Ending those subsidies, however — combined with new flood-zone maps from FEMA — meant some homeowners were faced with new or significantly higher insurance premiums. Potential home buyers were encountering sticker shock when learning the premiums for insuring a home in a FEMA-designated flood zone.

REALTORS®, local lawmakers, and homeowners were concerned that the resulting higher premiums were making homes less affordable. Various groups urged Congress to at least delay the implementation of Biggert-Waters until FEMA could consider the effects of removing the subsidies and raising rates.

The agreement reached Monday will do just that. It will delay the new rates for primary residences — notably for anyone purchasing a home that already has a subsidized policy, or for homeowners whose property was moved into a higher-rate flood zone because of updated flood maps.

Owners of commercial property, second homes, or whose property has repeatedly been flooded will still have to pay the higher rates; those will increase by 25 percent per year until the premiums reflect the true risk of flood risk.

Bills reflecting the agreement are being introduced in the House and Senate; they are expected to be released next week and will postpone the act for two years after FEMA completes an affordability study. The total process could mean at least a four-year delay in higher rates.

NAR president Gary Thomas testifies on Capitol Hill

NAR President Gary Thomas testifies before Congress on October 29.

Speaking in support of the bipartisan “Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013” — which provides for an explicit government guarantee for the secondary mortgage market — NAR President Gary Thomas testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs today.

Thomas explained NAR’s position that any reform of the secondary market must ensure that creditworthy consumers retain access to safe, secure, and affordable sources of capital in all market conditions. NAR has warned that, without such a guarantee, the government risks a major disruption to the economy:

Realtors® support a stable secondary mortgage market with strong, reasonable lending standards and access to credit. We believe that the current system can be transitioned into a marketplace that is bound by an explicit government guarantee and a sustained flow of private capital while protecting taxpayers from unnecessary risk. We fear that without the government’s backing, the only mortgage products available in the secondary market for the average home buyer would not be aligned with their best interests.

Click here to read more from NAR.

More than 250 property managers descended on Charlottesville last week for the 10th anniversary Property Management Coalition Conference at the Doubletree Charlottesville Hotel.

With a tagline of “Business from Every Angle,” the conference had the largest turnout in its decade-long history. It featured networking opportunities, a cocktail reception, and the popular Casino Night (where all the house’s winnings were donated to charity). The conference is hosted by VAR along with its coalition partners: the National Association for Residential Property Management Virginia Chapter, the Institute of Real Estate Management Chapter 38, the Community Associations Institute, and the Virginia Apartment Managers Association.

Check out these pictures from the conference, and see (and download) more on our SmugMug page:




Representatives of all 28 local REALTOR® associations traveled to VAR’s offices for our annual RPAC Training Program. Over the course of two days, association executives, government affairs directors, and others from across the state heard informational and inspirational talks from VAR and NAR representatives; they learned how to spread the word about RPAC and what it has accomplished on behalf of REALTORS®.

Local-association representatives packed the VAR classroom to learn about RPAC fundraising.

Local-association representatives packed the VAR classroom to learn about RPAC fundraising.

Iona Harrison, NAR's fundraising liaison and chair of the RPAC Major Investor Council, speaks to representatives of REALTOR® associations from across Virginia at VAR's annual RPAC Training Program

Iona Harrison, NAR’s fundraising liaison and chair of the RPAC Major Investor Council, speaks to representatives of REALTOR® associations from across Virginia at VAR’s annual RPAC Training Program.

A silent auction helped raise funds for RPAC at VAR's annual RPAC Training Program.

A silent auction helped raise funds for RPAC at VAR’s annual RPAC Training Program.

VAR Out & About: Charlottesville

VAR team member Legal Counsel Blake Hegeman drove to Charlottesville to give a class on “Dilemmas Facing Real Estate Licensees.” Blake travels across Virginia to offer risk-management training for REALTORS® at their local associations.

Charlottesville REALTORS® attend VAR General Counsel Blake Hegeman’s course on “Dilemmas Facing Real Estate Licensees.”

More than 300 members of the Richmond Association of REALTORS® attended its Real Estate Trends conference on October 22 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Guest speakers Chris Chmura (President and Chief Economist at Chmura Economics & Analytics) and Bob Holsworth (founder of and managing principal of DecideSmart) gave members an insightful look into the current economic and political climate, as well as a glimpse into how these developments will likely shape the near future of the housing industry. That was  followed by a cocktail reception in the marble hall.

VAR team member Political Field Representative Kathy Diradour was there, and she took some photos:

(l. to r.) Sterling R contributor Philip Innes, Richmond Association of REALTORS® Immediate Past President Scott Ruth, RPAC Sterling R investor Jody Korman, and RPAC Sterling R investor Blake Eudailey pose with a local RAR affiliate.

Richard Bower (left) and Nancy Cheely pose with VAR Vice-President Bill White.


Richmond Association of REALTORS® 2014 President-Elect John Finn (left) and RAR RPAC Trustee and 2012 Trustee Chair John O’Reilly

The South Central Association of REALTORS® held its first reception for members who contributed $99 or more to RPAC in the 2013 campaign year.  The event was attended by VAR CEO Terrie Suit and 2013 VAR President Mary Dykstra. It was held Wednesday evening, October 23, at the office of member Navona Hart, Real Living Cornerstone, in Farmville. SCAR exceeded its 2013 RPAC goal with over 130 percent raised!

(l. to r.) VAR Political Field Representative Kathy Diradour, South Central Association of REALTORS® member Larry Atkins, SCAR board member and past president Jason Meeks, VAR 2013 President Mary Dykstra, SCAR President Dempsey Jones, VAR CEO Terrie Suit, SCAR CEO Michelle McCadams, SCAR past president Linda Yoder, SCAR member Dallas Neel, SCAR 2014 president-elect Navona Hart, and SCAR 2014 President Marshall Thackston.

SCAR President Dempsey Jones addresses members.

South Central Association of REALTORS®

More than 200 Realtors descended on Charlottesville this week for the tenth anniversary of the Property Management Coalition Conference.  The Charlottesville Daily Progress stopped in and chatted with members on Wednesday.  Check it out:


Led to other opportunities by a soft market, Realtors are starting to appreciate property management’s business potential based on its own merits.

“I think when the market started turning in 2007 and 2008, a lot of folks entered the industry by necessity because they weren’t selling enough houses,” said Duke Dodson, president of Richmond-based Dodson Property Management.

But without past experience or professional guidance, Dodson said, “ when things go wrong, those Realtors were exposed that they didn’t know what they were doing.”

Dodson was a featured speaker Wednesday at the Property Management Coalition Conference, which drew about 225 people to the DoubleTree hotel in Albemarle County .

Brad Conner of Montague Miller & Co., one of the local Realtors in attendance, said his growing interest in property management sprang from “the amount of potential business.” The conference, he said, represents a chance to get firsthand professional guidance.

Continue reading REALTORS discuss potential of property management