31 Aug 2016
This week concluded the final forum of a five-part series around the state on rural housing. Yesterday’s event in Blackstone, Virginia, drew 50 stakeholders from the REALTOR® community, housing industry, non-profit organizations, and elected offices. Hosted by the Southside Virginia Association of REALTORS® (SVAR), the event featured data and discussion led by Housing Virginia, a statewide affordable housing advocacy organization chaired by VAR Past President Kit Hale.
Previous forums were hosted by the Martinsville, Henry & Patrick Counties Association of REALTORS®, the Southwest Virginia Association of REALTORS®, the Greater Piedmont Area Association of REALTORS®, and the Chesapeake Bay and Rivers Association of REALTORS®.
Each public forum has welcomed REALTOR® members and others to examine statistics about the rural housing landscape and to engage in discussion about how to improve housing options in rural communities. Outcomes of these conversations are available on the Housing Virginia website and will contribute to recommendations presented at the Governor’s Housing Conference in November. Across all regions, suggestions included improving financial literacy and outreach for residents and increasing capacity of affordable inventory.
The Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR) is committed to contributing to an action plan to improve housing options and the lives of rural residents by continuing to build on the strong member and stakeholder engagement in this series. To share your perspective on rural housing and to learn about further occasions for dialogue with shareholders, contact the VAR Director of Community Outreach at Jenny@VARealtor.com.
10 Aug 2016
-Written by Heidi Schlicher Cook, VAR Director of Political Operations
The REALTORS® Association of Prince William held a legislative breakfast for more 30 members on Tuesday, August 9th. REALTOR® colleague and member of the Virginia House Delegates, Jackson Miller, was the keynote speaker.
Delegate Miller briefed members on the July 1st new laws impacting the real estate industry and highlighted the successful passage of the Virginia Home Inspector Licensure bill that will take effect on July 1, 2017. For more information on the 2016 new laws and how they impact your business, check out VAR’s New Laws & New Forms July 16 webinar.
03 Aug 2016
On Wednesday, the Virginia Association of REALTORS® Public Policy Committee (PPC) held its first meeting in the member-driven process of developing VAR’s legislative package for the 2017 Virginia General Assembly Session. Local associations and individual REALTORS® submitted 46 proposals that were reviewed and debated during the meeting.
The next step of the process will occur during VAR’s Annual Convention, when the PPC will finalize the legislative package recommendations, which will then be considered for approval by the VAR Board of Directors.
In addition to formulating VAR’s agenda for next year, the PPC will meet regularly during the 2017 Session to review and recommend action on introduced legislation that has an impact on the real estate industry and private property rights.
18 Jul 2016
Written by Jenny Wortham, Director of Community Outreach
Housing stakeholders, including REALTORS®, affordable housing advocates, lenders, and public officials, gathered last week in Martinsville and in Abingdon to share insight on rural housing challenges and opportunities. The events, hosted by the Martinsville, Henry & Patrick Counties Association of REALTORS® (MHPCAR) and the Southwest Virginia Association of REALTORS® (SWVAR), were the first two in a series of five forums that local REALTOR® associations around the state are hosting. Members of all associations are encouraged to participate.
Essential to local economic health, housing is a critical concern for all communities. Housing metrics – availability, affordability, and quality – are especially important considerations in the sustainability of rural communities, where demographic changes are more pronounced because of relatively small populations. Rural communities that are disproportionately affected by aging population, increasing poverty, and lagging employment face significant challenges in adapting their existing housing inventory to the evolving needs of residents. Convening policy makers and industry experts is one step towards addressing those needs. The preliminary results of these conversations will be reported at the annual Governor’s Housing Conference in November.
For more information on these forums, or to register for an upcoming event, please visit the Housing Virginia website here or contact VAR Director of Community Outreach Jenny Wortham at Jenny@VARealtor.com.
02 Jun 2016
- Written by Heidi Schlicher Cook, VAR Director of Political Operations
Virginia REALTORS® are continuing to build professional relationships with area legislators and advocate on behalf of the real estate industry. Creating awareness and an opportunity for open dialogue is essential for a successful legislative process; and area REALTORS® are helping to make sure that our voices are heard. Check out these recent advocacy activities:
The Greater Augusta Association of REALTORS® recently sponsored, in conjunction with the local Chamber of Commerce, a legislative town hall meeting with their area state legislators. Delegates Dickie Bell, Ben Cline and Steve Landes provided attendees with a new laws and budget update.
The Women’s Council of REALTORS® Northern Virginia Metro Chapter recently hosted fellow REALTOR® and member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Jackson Miller as their special guest for their May meeting and spirit day.
01 Jun 2016
Last Thursday, the Bristol Tennessee/Virginia (BTVAR) and Southwest Virginia (SWVAR) Associations of REALTORS® hosted Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), to present information on the local real estate market and discuss how national economic factors impact the area.
SWVAR President Evie J. Hunt and BTVAR President Fred McClellan coordinated their groups’ efforts to bring this insightful presentation about the economic and housing outlook to area REALTORS® and other community guests.
“This presentation was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Southwest Virginia Association of REALTORS® and the Bristol Tennessee Virginia Association of REALTORS®. We were very honored to have Dr. Yun as our guest in Southwest Virginia and we are also very proud of the manner in which our two local REALTOR® associations continue to work together to be the ‘Voice of Real Estate’ in our area! Although our two associations are small, our visions are huge and co-hosting this successful event solidifies our commitment to our customers, clients, and the real estate industry,” said Hunt.
You can read a recap of the event from the Bristol Herald Courier here.
05 May 2016
Tuesday’s town and city elections across Virginia showcased some big wins by REALTOR® members who were running for local elected office.
The Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association had two members who successfully ran for re-election. In Norfolk, REALTOR® Angelia Williams Graves won a second full-term on the city council for the Super Ward 7 district by earning more than 58% of the vote in a four-way race. In Chesapeake, REALTOR® Dr. Rick West secured a third four-year term in office by earning enough votes to clinch one of the three at-large seats on the city council.
In Southwest Virginia, Michelle Dykstra, a member of the Roanoke Valley Association of REALTORS®, pulled off a significant victory, finishing second out of six candidates to secure one of three spots up for grabs on the Roanoke City Council. With the help of her fellow REALTORS®, Michelle was able to overcome long-odds for the win in her first run for public office.
Local REALTOR® associations take the lead in interviewing, endorsing and supporting candidates for county and municipal office. The Virginia Association of REALTORS® provides campaign resources to assist with these efforts. Campaign Service Program options include member and public communications, volunteer voter-contact efforts, paid media services, and campaign strategy development.
While we try to highlight as many REALTOR® candidate success stories as we can, with more than 31,000 members across Virginia, sometimes it is difficult keep up with everyone. If you know of a REALTOR® who serves as a local elected official or interested in learning more about the REALTOR® Campaign Services Program, email Anthony Reedy, VAR’s Director of Grassroots.
04 May 2016
By Heidi Cook, VAR Director of Political Operations
The Greater Augusta Association of REALTORS® held their annual tradeshow in Waynesboro on Wednesday, May 3rd.
Over 100 REALTOR® members opened their “Passport to Success” as they perused more than 35 local, state and national vendors covering a variety of licensee and client based services including: mortgage lending, home inspecting, insurance and media advertising.
The day included a special keynote presentation from John Mayfield, “The Business Tech Guy”, on the Seven Secrets to Success Using Today’s Technology. The presentation accredited two hours of real estate CE to those who attended.
The Greater Augusta Leadership Team also encouraged members to contribute to the association’s charitable cause, Homes for Our Troops. The local President, Delene Adams, helped craft a model house contribution box to collect funds. The patriotic home will be displayed in the association office and at all local events throughout the year.
Lynne Wherry, Director of Association Relations, and Heidi Cook, Director of Political Operations, from VAR participated in the day’s activities.
Pictures from the event are included below.
29 Apr 2016
Yes Virginia, Election Day is upon us again. Often lost in the hype around high-profile elections, like this year’s presidential campaign, is the fact that numerous cities and towns throughout Virginia will hold contests for positions like mayor or council on Tuesday, May 3rd. While these races are often overlooked, it is important that voters, particularly REALTORS®, participate in these local elections because of the impact that local policymakers have on your clients and community.
A few things to remember before voting:
- Normal polling locations will be open from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3rd.
- If you know you will be unable to vote on Tuesday, you still may be able to vote by in-person absentee ballot by 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 30th.
- Click here to find the complete lists of candidates for local office to see if there are elections being held in your area. Be sure to check with your local association to see if it has endorsed any candidates in those contests.
- You MUST bring a valid photo ID when you go to the polls.
- You can check on your polling location and other voter information with the Virginia Department of Elections.
22 Apr 2016
On Friday, the New River Valley Association of REALTORS® hosted a town hall meeting at their Christiansburg office for members to hear a recap of the recent Virginia General Assembly Session and to discuss issues of state and regional importance with the policymakers.
“I thought the event was a great way for our REALTOR® and Affiliate members to connect with our elected officials,” said Donna Travis, chair of NRVAR’s Governmental Affairs Committee.
“We are so grateful to Delegates Rush, Habeeb, and Yost for answering our questions. I think it’s also equally important for our Delegates to see that as REALTORS® we are passionate— especially when it comes to subjects that affect our clients.”
Major topics discussed included the possibility of passenger rail in the New River Valley and ways of achieving greater accessibility to reliable broadband internet in the region.
If your local association plans to or would like to host an event with state legislators, please contact VAR Chief of Policy & Advocacy Martin Johnson at email@example.com to find out about resources VAR can offer to make the event a success.