The Buzz

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.


August 2016 sales bring boost back to this year’s residential market

According to the August 2016 Home Sales Report released by the Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR), residential real estate sales have strengthened markedly relative to August of last year. Following a month of slight contraction from its prior year benchmark, the number of August transactions grew year-over-year by 12.5 percent, from 10,204 sales to 11,482. Atypical of industry seasonality, August 2016 sales were slightly higher than July sales; the market typically peaks in June and begins to taper through the end of the year. Greater August sales may reflect that more inventory has come onto the market, expanding buying opportunities and boosting sales and volume.

The value of transactions for August 2016 was $3.793 billion, a significant 14.8 percent jump from August 2015. Volume through the end of August 2016 exceeded $25.941 billion, a gain of 6.8 percent from last year’s accumulation of $24.294 billion. Year-to-date measures continue to build significantly upon 2015 and prior year performance.

Following seasonal tendency, August median price declined slightly month-over-month and from the June peak, but was 1.7 percent higher than in the same month last year ($272,500 over $268,000 in 2015). Average length of time on the market was significantly lower, declining 13 percent (from 69 days last August to 60 in August 2016). The Federal Reserve’s indication to hold off on a rate hike offers buyers continued access to historically low interest rates and may contribute to buoyed market activity through the coming months.

Click here to view the full August 2016 Home Sales Report.


Wednesday re-cap: 2016 VAR Convention

Wednesday was the third and final day of the 2016 VAR Annual Convention. The morning started off bright and early with the Champagne Breakfast honoring VAR Past Presidents, where 2016 VAR President, Bill White, bid a fond farewell to the 2016 leadership team as he joins the ranks of our esteemed VAR past presidents. Bill was presented with a gift from VAR, as well as a gift and letter from NAR, presented by Kevin Sears, NAR 2017 Vice President of Government Relations, on behalf of Tom Salomone, NAR 2016 President. breakfast-1  breakfast-2
Following the breakfast, Bill led the VAR Board of Directors meeting to discuss association business.
There were then two education sessions, “Run Your Business Like a Business, Not like a Hobby,” taught by Marguerite Crespillo, Owner, Realty First; and “Succession Planning, Exit Strategy, and Mergers & Acquisitions: a Primer for Buyers and Sellers of Brokerages,” led by Jose Perez, Executive Vice President of Sales, Proxio.

The final edelegatevent of the convention was the Delegate Body Meeting, facilitated by Deborah Baisden, 2016 VAR Immediate Past President, in which new board members were elected.

Thank you to all attendees, members, speakers, leaders, award winners, sponsors and staff for making this incredible event possible. Stay tuned for more information on the
2017 VAR Annual Convention in Roanoke, VA on October 3-5, 2017.


Tuesday re-cap: VAR Annual Convention 2016

The second day of the VAR Annual Convention was filled with education, governance, and a lot of fun!


Hoss Pratt: “Top Producing Mindset”

Tuesday’s education sessions included:

  • Legislative Update – 2016 New Laws,
    Laura Farley, VAR Deputy General Counsel
  • What’s Congress Up To, Chris Bird
  • Success Super Hero: Busting the Myth of Work & Life Balance, Regina Brown
  • TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule, Lisa Bosse, Esq.
  • Top Producing Mind Set, Hoss Pratt
  • Personal Safety and Self Defense for REALTORS®, Joe Rosner

    Lisa Bosse, Esq. "TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule"

    Lisa Bosse, Esq. “TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule”

  • The Listing Boss: Go From 0-30 Listings in One Month, Hoss Pratt
  • Answering How’s the Market, John Heithaus
  • The Taz Impact of Residential Real Estate Investments, Chris Bird

Tuesday’s governance sessions included:

  • FPC Forum Meeting
  • AE Council Meeting
  • Local Associaion Presidents/Presidents-Elect Forum

    REALTOR® of the Year: Brad Boland

    REALTOR® of the Year: Brad Boland

  • Broker Discussion Forum Meeting
  • RPAC Trustees Meeting
  • Property Managers Council Forum Meeting
  • VLA Alumni Board
  • NAR Directors Meeting
  • Information Management Committee Meeting
  • Local RPAC Fundraising Forum
  • CRS State Meeting
  • VAR Past Presidents Forum Meeting

Following Tuesday’s education sessions, the evening began with the 2016 VAR Real Estate Awards and 2017 Installation Ceremony & Reception.

Several esteemed Virginia REALTORS® were awarded for their achievements in the real estate profession and members of the 2017 leadership team were celebrated upon their installation.

Congratulations to all Virginia REALTORS® who received Virginia Real Estate Awards last night, and thank you for pursuing such excellence in our industry.

Click here to see a list of all Omega Tau Rho inductees
Click here to see a list of all 2016 Award recipients

Claire Forcier-Rowe installed as incoming President of the Virginia Association of REALTORS®

On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, Claire Forcier-Rowe was installed as the incoming President of the Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR) during the VAR Annual Convention held at the National Harbor. Claire will officially begin her term as 2017 VAR President in November, following the National Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo.claire-pic

A REALTOR® for more than 21 years, Claire is recognized for her leadership in the industry. Currently, she is an Associate Broker and Manager at the Hanover and Bay/River offices of Long & Foster Real Estate.

Claire began her real estate career in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She served as the President of the Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® (FAAR) in 2011 and has earned numerous industry designations.  Claire is most proud to have been presented with the VAR Manager of the Year Award in 2011 and FAAR’s Hall of Fame Award in 2014.

Read the full Press Release

Monday re-cap: VAR Convention 2016


Photo: Chandra Patterson, VAR member

The VAR Annual Convention 2016 successfully kicked off yesterday as 500+ Virginia REALTORS® from across the Commonwealth gathered at the Gaylord National Resort at the National Harbor.

Monday’s schedule was jam-packed with education sessions, governance meetings, the keynote session, broker panel, and fun-filled networking events such as the opening happy hour and the New Orleans street party.

Monday’s education sessions included:

  • Critical Contract Issues, Erin Barton, VAR Staff Counsel
  • Real Estate: an Industry Being Redefined, Russ Cofano
  • 10 Simple Strategies to Get More Business in this Market, Brad Korn
  • Proven Lead Generation Strategies, Brad Korn
  • Getting Past No: Negotiation for the Real Estate Professional, Cheryl Knowlton
  • Strategies in a Multiple Offer Market, Thom Brockett
  • When Price Meets Preparation, Mary Chieppa
  • Herding Cats: Best Business Practices for Brokers, Cheryl Knowlton
  • Agency: A Complication Relationship, Blake Hegeman, VAR Deputy Counsel

Monday’s governance sessions included:

  • Grievance Committee Meeting
  • Professional Developement Committee Meeting
  • Professional Standards Committee Meeting
  • YPNVA Committee Meeting
  • Risk Manaement Committee Meeting
  • YPN Roundtables
  • Commercial Day Planning Forum Meeting
  • Public Policy Committee Meeting

In the afternoon, keynote speaker Stefan Swanepoel presented Digital Disruption, in which he covered the latest business models and the most significant shifts relevant for broker/owners, managers, top producing agents and industry leaders. stefan-2

Following the keynote presentation, Stefan led a Discussion Panel with some Virginia’s most influential brokers.

To start the evening, attendees gathered at the Opening Happy Hour sponsored by BB&T Home Mortgage. The fun continued into the night at the New Orleans Street Party sponsored by MRIS, where attendees enjoyed the Dixie Power Trio jazz band, beignets, bourbon drinks, a caricaturist and more.
Stay tuned for a re-cap of Tuesday’s events, featuring more education sessions and governance meetings, followed by the 2016 VAR Awards and 2017 Installation Ceremony & Reception.

Psychology of Customer Service: VAR Property Management Conference 2016

Written by guest blwesleyogger Wesley Aleshire, Professional Speaker and Management Consultant, Aleshire Leadership Training & Development

Have you ever walked into a business and observed customers experiencing poor service or see a situation go terribly wrong? Have you ever experienced someone dealing with a conflict in the worst possible way?

Now take a look inside. What does the body language of your team say about your company? How well is the company’s vision demonstrated while dealing with your own customers?

The truth is, we’ve all seen customer service done wrong, some of us have seen it within our own environment. A large portion of missteps in customer service are a simple lack of knowledge or understanding of effective and appropriate communication.

This in-depth, actionable session, Customer Service 101 will explore the three primary attributes of customer service: etiquette, attitude and conflict resolution.

Our discussion pertaining to professionalism and attitude will help you understand how your interaction with others creates a foundation for your level of customer service and how others perceptions impact your success.

Next we’ll talk about conflict, the root of all concerns. Our self-assessment will help you better understand your preferred approach when dealing with conflict. Finally, we’ll discuss different approaches so that you can adjust to each situation and learn about strategies to manage for conflicts. Customer service is multi-faceted, detailed and the key to client retention and satisfaction.

Come experience this truly engaging session facilitated by keynote speaker Wesley Aleshire of Aleshire Leadership Training & Development at the VAR Property Management Conference 2016!

Register early, since this event sells out every year!

Conference Dates
November 16-18, 2016
VAR Property Management Conference

Doubletree Charlottesville Hotel
990 Hilton Heights Road
Charlottesville, VA 22901

Officers of Election: seeking community volunteers

As the November 8 Presidential Election approaches, REALTORS® are invited to serve as Officers of Election to ensure smooth election operations throughout the Commonwealth’s voting precincts.

Officers of Election are stationed in polling places on Election Day, and have two primary jobs—to help citizens vote and to make sure all votes are properly counted.  Specific duties include opening the polls to voters, checking voter identification to ensure voters are eligible, offering assistance to any voter who requests it, and obtaining the count of votes from the voting equipment and reporting the results to the Electoral Board.  Officers of Election are paid both for attending the required training before the election and for working on Election Day.  Payment varies from locality to locality.  Officers of Election must be registered voters in the Commonwealth.

Because voter turnout is projected to be high in this Presidential Election year, many localities have already expressed the need for additional poll workers.  For example, Hopewell City needs 10 more.  Petersburg City is in need of 50.  Richmond City needs an additional 200.  Prince William County needs as many as 400 more.

As ambassadors to our communities across Virginia, and advocates for property rights and homeownership, REALTORS® especially know the value of participating on Election Day. To volunteer as an Officer of Election in your locality or a surrounding locality, please complete this online sign-up form.  Thank you for your professional leadership and service to the Commonwealth.

September is REALTOR® Safety Month

realtor-safety-logoThe National Association of REALTORS®  established the REALTOR® Safety Program more than a decade ago to empower and inform members of the potential risks they face in this profession and how to navigate them safely. The entire month of September is designated REALTOR® Safety Month and is dedicated to bringing more awareness to REALTOR® safety among members.

NAR’s REALTOR® Safety Program has also expanded its distribution of safety tips. Every Monday, NAR now shares safety tips via its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. The image-based tips offer safety information on an assortment of topics, including open house safety, garage safety, cyber security, home security and more. These tips can easily be shared with and by associations, members and clients.

These new and expanded safety resources for members and associations—including materials to share in the office, online or for safety presentations; videos; articles; and archived webinars—are available online at . Information on safety smartphone apps and safety products are also available as well as a list of safety experts.


REALTOR® Safety at the VAR Convention

Learn how to put habits, tactics, and hardware between yourself and criminals to dramatically reduce your odds of becoming a victim of violent crime. This powerful educational experience combines audience participation and humor to accelerate learning and increase retention.  You will learn how to recognize and avoid dangerous situations and strategies, tactics, and techniques to deploy if attacked or threatened.

Personal Safety and Self-Defense for REALTORS® with Joe Rosner
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Register for the VAR Annual Convention by September 12th and save $30.