The Buzz

25 Most Common Legal Hotline Questions & Answers

VAR recently updated the Top 25 Legal Hotline Q&A brochure. This refreshed content includes changes to the law that have taken place over the past three years.

Download the brochure herelegal-hotline-issu

From January 1, 2016 to-date, VAR attorneys have received an responded to 950 calls from Brokers. This brochure highlights the 25 most frequent asked questions and answers.

Topics in the brochure include: Advertising, Agency, Commission, Disclosure, Earnest Money Deposit, Liability Protection, License Law, Property Management, Property Owners Association Act and Document Retention.

About the VAR Legal Hotline

  • The VAR Legal Hotline is a member benefit for Principal Brokers and one designated staff person from that broker’s office. For example, an associate broker or office manager may register as designees of the principal broker.
  • Before calling the Legal Hotline, you must have completed an application.
  • When you call, please have your NRDS number ready, and put it on any e-mailed questions. Calls and e-mails will be handled by VAR staff counsel.
  • The hotline is not a service for real estate consumers. Consumers and members of the public who have questions about their REALTOR® or their transaction should contact either the firm’s managing or principal broker.
  • Questions about ethical behavior should be directed to the nearest Local Association of REALTORS®.
  • Questions about law or regulation should be directed to the Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB) at (804) 367-8500.

Contact the VAR Legal Hotline
By phone: (804) 622-7955

By e-mail:
Hours: Monday – Friday (except holidays) 10 AM – 4 PM
Learn more about the VAR Legal Hotline

Learnings from Fall Broker Day for Virginia REALTORS®

Last Thursday, October 20, more than 90 Virginia Brokers gathered in Richmond, VA for VAR’s Fall Broker Day 2016. Don Carnesi, Fall Broker Day Workgroup Chair led the day as Master of Ceremonies.

The action-packed day was filled with informative sessions such as keynote speaker Steve Murray, President of REAL Trends, who presented an update on the latest industry trends, including a look at the market in 2017.steve-murray-broker-day

Steve noted that although it is unclear and disputed, the market in 2017 nationwide will likely be determined by these key factors:

  • Economy and household income growth
  • Foreign purchasing
  • Inventory
  • Affordability

An Informal Fact Finding (IFF) Mock Hearing also took place, lead by members of the Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB) Lynn Grimsley, Broker Associate at RE/MAX Peninsula and Lee Odems, Principal Broker/Owner, Buyers Advantage Real Estate Corp., and Jennifer Winters, Adjudication Specialist, DPOR. This session showed Virginia Brokers firsthand what this type of hearing looks like, and the do’s and don’t of what to say and ask during.


Blake Hegeman, Deputy General Counsel, led a discussion on “Broker Supervision the Right Way”.

Thank you to all the attendees, speakers, Fall Broker Day Workgroup and the VAR staff who made this event a success. Stay tuned for information on VAR’s Spring Broker Day on April 5-6, 2016.

Today is national ‘Get to Know Your Customers’ Day

October 20th is recognized as national “Get to Know Your Customers Day”. Get to Know Your Customers Day is observed annually on the third Thursday of each quarter in January, April, July, and October. This is a great day to reach out to your clients!get-to-know-customers

As mass consumerism has become mainstream, much of the personal attention to customers has gone by the wayside. REALTORS® make it a point to get to know our clients and to make each of them feel like they are our top priority.

Keeping in contact, handwritten notes, meaningful questions to understand them better, remembering their children’s or pet’s names, and sending a gift are good ideas for making your clients feel valued.

How do you get to know your clients better? Share your tips with us on social media and use the hashtags #VirginiaREALTORS #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay

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VAR Local Association Leadership Summit 2016 re-cap

On Monday, October 10, 2016, leaders and staff of Local REALTOR® Associations and VAR gathered in Richmond to network, learn and prepare for the upcoming year.

The summit was led by incoming 2017 VAR President, Claire Forcier-Rowe, who provided a warm welcome, her personal leadership remarks and a review of the NAR Core Standards.leadership-summit-2

Guest speaker Steve Rizzo presented “Leadership Secrets from Near and Far.” As a comedian himself, he urged all future leaders to “get their SHIFT together” to inspire change and set an example for others, and while they’re at; laugh a little more!

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist, provided an Economic Outlook to attendees, highlighting major economic factors that impacted the housing market this year, both nationally and across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Following the summit, attendees visited the VAR Headquarters for an Open House. VAR Staff enjoyed having members and local association staff in the building to tell them more about what we do on a day-to-day basis here at VAR.

Thank you to the leaders, staff, speakers, and the sponsors, RPR and HMS for making this wonderful summit possible!

New Green Resource for REALTORS® Now Available

Ever wondered what you can do to be a sustainable REALTOR®, or how to layer some green into your business practices? The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently launched a new program to make the real estate industry and the housing stock more sustainable. This sustainability program will bring a sharper industry-wide focus to sustainability and expand the pool of people who understand the value and principles of resource-efficient homes and communities.

With this movement, NAR is encouraging local and state REALTOR® associations to share the sustainability message with members by directing them to a brand new product from the REALTOR® Store, The Little Green Book: Green Rules to Live By for REALTORS®. green-book

This book was created in collaboration with NAR’s Green Resource Council and Green Designees. It’s the perfect tool for new or seasoned members to help them layer green into their business.

Divided into seven sections, The Little Green Book offers advice on a variety of topics, from working with clients to listing and selling resource efficient homes to the best green advice ever received. It’s a great booklet to add your orientation program too!

7 sections of the Little Greek Book:

  • Green Philosophy – 12 Tips
  • Working With Clients – 19 Tips
  • Key Dos and Don’ts – 16 Tips
  • Listing and Selling Resource Efficient Homes – 7 Tips
  • Layering Green Into Your Business-9 Tips
  • Best Advice You’ve Ever Received – 7 Tips
  • Summing Up the Green Industry-13 Tips

Order The Little Green Book by Nov. 1 and you and your members can get 10% off your order when you use code “LGBPPS” at checkout. 

A hurricane can change your life… here’s how to prepare


It only takes one hurricane to change your life and your community. Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful and destructive events, and they’ve caused eight of the ten costliest disasters in U.S. history. Hurricane Matthew has a potential for life-threatening rain, wind and storm surge. Those in potentially affected areas should be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan.

There is the potential for flooding with this storm. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous, and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges and highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around.

Visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website or their Facebook page to learn these and other preparedness tips for tropical storms or hurricanes.

ready_va-make-communication-planComplete a family communication plan.
Plan how you will assemble your family and loved ones, and anticipate where you will go for different situations. Get together with your family and agree on the ways to contact one another in an emergency, identify meeting locations, and make a Family Emergency Communication Plan.

Make a kit.
Having an emergency supply kit is vital to making it through a disaster safely. Make sure to have supplies on hand to last each person at ready_va-make-a-kitleast three days. Put these essential items in your kit:

  • Food, at least a three-day supply of food that does not need electricity for storage or preparation
  • Manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Water, at least three gallons per person for drinking and sanitation
  • Battery-powered/hand-crank radio with weather band and extra batteries
  • First aid kit

get-ready-va-mobile-app-ocrStayed informed.
The Ready Virginia mobile app, created by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management is an interactive tool that makes it easier than ever to be prepared for emergencies.  The free app for iPhone® and Android™ devices provides contingency planning and guidance and other robust features not previously available in any mobile application.

Keep a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and extra batteries available. Get a NOAA Weather Radio so you can hear severe weather warnings directly from the National Weather Service.

Review insurance.
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have insurance to cover flood and winds to repair or even replace your home. Homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood. Click here to learn more about the flood maps.

Hurricane evacuation information.
Monitor local radio or television stations for official emergency information and instructions.  If an evacuation order is issued, leave immediately. During evacuations, roadways can get crowded, and airports might close. This can make it difficult to execute a recovery plan and get your vital records

Please share this information with your clients, friends, and family.

NAR #GetREALTOR® Campaign launches commercial component in Money and Fortune Magazine

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Get Realtor® Consumer Advertising Campaign, which previously focused on residential real estate, has recently launched a commercial real estate component.

To kickoff this commercial segment of the ad campaign, NAR has cultivated a media partnership with Money Magazine and Fortune Magazine to create a 10-part article series designed to showcasing unique, out-of-the-box commercial spaces found for small business owners.

Each article features a cool and unusual space – with before and after photos, and includes REALTOR® expertise from several national commercial real estate industry leaders.

Check out the first two of the ten articles featured in Money and Fortune below.


  1. Adaptive Reuse Stories: From Servicing to Serving, Money Magazine
  2. Climbing Gym Belays Old Building to New Heights, Fortune Magazine


Learn more about the Get Realtor® Campaign.

Register to Vote by October 17th

rp-vote-300October 17th is the deadline to register to vote in Virginia for the upcoming November General Election. While more than 86 percent of Virginia REALTORS® are registered to vote, we can do better. So if you’re not registered to vote or you’ve moved and need to update your registration, the deadline is approaching.

Eligible residents can visit and register online with the Virginia Department of Elections. On the site you can also check your registration status, find out information on absentee voting, and learn about what items will appear on your November 8th ballot.

Our goal is to have 100% of our members registered and at their polling place on Election Day. Register today so you can vote for candidates who support REALTOR® issues and policies that protect your business, community, and the rights of private property owners.

Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features


This report takes a deep dive into the reasons why homeowners complete outdoor remodeling projects, the value of taking on such projects, and the increased happiness experienced by homeowners once a project is completed. It also contains:

  • The typical cost of 10 outdoor projects, as estimated by members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).
  • How much appeal each project is likely to have for buyers, according to REALTORS®.
  • How much REALTORS® estimate homeowners can recover on the cost of the outdoor projects if they choose to sell the home.

Report Highlights:

  • REALTORS® ranked a standard lawn care program as the number one project that appeals to buyers. REALTORS® also estimated that lawn care would recover 303 percent of the cost estimated by landscape professionals.
  • Upgrading the landscape with seed lawn had the highest cost recovery of 417 percent, followed by a standard lawn care program (303 percent) and upgrading the landscape with sod lawn (143 percent).
  • An overall landscape upgrade, new patio, new deck, and soft scape upgrade all rendered roughly 100 percent in cost recovery and each project received a Joy Score of 9.6 or higher.
  • A new pool received the highest Joy Score of 10, but REALTORS® estimate that it would only recover 50 percent of the costs.

Click here to download the report.



#VARconvention2016 photos now available!

Thank you to all members, speakers, leaders, award winners, sponsors and staff for making the 2016 VAR Annual Convention a great success. On September 19-21, almost 600 Virginia REALTORS® from across the Commonwealth gathered at National Harbor to explore, discover and connect.

Attendees enjoyed education sessions, governance meetings, special events, networking and much more. Highlights of the convention include:

View VAR Convention 2016 Photos

Album: General Session (Sept. 19)
Album: Happy Hour (Sept. 19)
Album: Installation & Awards Ceremony (Sept. 20)
Album: Installation & Awards Reception (Sept. 20)
Album: Past President Breakfast (Sept. 21)
Album: Education Sessions (Sept. 10-21)


Stay tuned for more information on the 2017 VAR Annual Convention in Roanoke, VA on October 3-5, 2017.