New River Valley RPAC dinner

On Monday, June 8th, the New River Valley Association of REALTORS® held a RPAC Fundraising dinner at the Blackstone Grill in Christiansburg. The event was organized by Jeannette Boyd, the 2015 NRVAR RPAC Chair, and her committee of RPAC Major Investors. Kit Hale from the Roanoke Valley Association of REALTORS® who serves as the RPAC Committee Liaison for the National Association of REALTORS® was the featured speaker.  The event was attended by brokers and agents from the association raised more than $5,000.

group 2

Kit and Jeannette

group photo

Kit and Amy


2015 Q1 Commercial Real Estate Market Survey


The REALTORS® Commercial Real Estate Market Survey measures quarterly activity in the commercial real estate markets. The survey collects data from commercial REALTORS®. The survey is designed to provide an overview of market performance, sales and rental transactions, along with current economic challenges and future expectations

2015.Q1 Survey Highlights

  • 60% of commercial REALTORS® closed a sale.
  • Sales volume rose 11% from a year ago.
  • Sales prices increased 4% year-over-year.
  • Cap rates averaged 7.8% during Q1.2015.
  • Leasing volume advanced 5% from previous quarter.
  • Leasing rates increased 3% over previous quarter.
  • Concession levels declined 4% on a quarterly basis.
  • Inventory shortage topped the list of current challenges, followed by buyer-seller pricing gap and local economies.
  • The estimated average transaction increased from $1.6 million in Q4.2014 to $1.7 million in Q1.2015.

Click here to download the complete report.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®.


Out and about: Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS® sponsors community event with Red Cross

Williamsburg - Blood Drive

“The Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS® recently sponsored a Blood Drive and free Shredding Service for the community.  34 pints of whole blood and $290 was collected for the American Red Cross.

Pictured (L to R): Sandy Davis, Carol Jackson, and Sherri Visser.”


It’s time to make plans for the 2015 VAR Convention & Expo


From the historical Governor’s Palace to luxury and outlet shopping to fine dining, Williamsburg, Virginia is a wonderful place to visit. And now it’s the place to be for the 2015 Real Show, the official statewide convention and expo for Virginia REALTORS®. It’s your chance to explore, discover and connect.

  • Explore the possibilities – Attend our in-depth education offering. Plus, there will be special courses and lively discussions that will energize you and your business.
  • Connect with friends and colleagues – We’ll hold our general session; host a brand new YPN/RAC casino night; celebrate during the installation and awards program; and honor VAR’s past presidents and outgoing president Deborah A Basiden.
  • Discover the business solutions -  See the latest in products and services that can make your work life easier and more productive.

Registration is officially open now!
Save the date! The Real Show runs October 6-8, 2015 in Williamsburg, Virginia. If you register before June 30th, you’ll get the best rates. Click here to register today!

October 6-8, 2015
VAR’s Convention & Expo: The Real Show
Williamsburg Lodge
310 South England Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185






Myths about boomers and real estate

Pretty much everything you think you know about the homes where today’s retirees live and want to live is wrong, based on the results of the new Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices.”

Living in sunny-weather abodes after long-distance relocations? Generally not. The survey found that among people 65 and older who moved last year, 83% chose to remain in the same state. (This finding echoes a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate survey last year.) And just 48% of retirees told Merrill Lynch they live in a place with “pleasant climate/weather.”

Living in downsized homes — condos, rental apartments and houses smaller than where they lived before? Only sometimes. “About half of people we surveyed didn’t downsize at all when they moved,” said AgeWave President and CEO Ken Dychtwald, who calls this “the downsize surprise.”

Living in homes they’ve settled for? Quite the contrary. Two thirds of retirees surveyed said they’re living in “the best homes of their lives.” And if they don’t like the homes they’re in, “they’ll find a place they like better,” Dychtwald said.

“I was taken by how delighted people were, saying they were living in the best homes of their lives,” said Dychtwald. “They’ve crossed what we call the ‘freedom threshold’.”

Source: MarketWatch


Don’t get thrown by doc overhaul

August 1 will be a big day for real estate professionals because that’s when two new closing forms—a Loan Estimate and a Closing Disclosure—will replace the three forms you’re used to working with: the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, the Good Faith Estimate, and the Truth-in-Lending disclosure form.

The purpose of the new forms, which were created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with input from consumers and industry groups, including the National Association of REALTORS®, is to consolidate information and make it simpler for consumers to compare how close their costs are to what was originally estimated by the lender. The first page of the new Loan Estimate and the new Closing Disclosure are formatted in exactly the same way, so you and your clients can easily compare costs and note any changes. Expect refinements to the forms after they are released as the CFPB sees how well they work in the real world.

Although the information required isn’t much different, some of the compliance requirements are new. NAR analysts say the new procedures could prove challenging for two reasons.

First, the CFPB is requiring the closing disclosure to be given to the buyer three days before closing. That’s to allow consumers time to look carefully at any deviations from the original estimates rather than make them consider the changes while the closing is underway. That’s a positive change for consumers, but it means if you’re used to getting everything done at the last minute, you’ll have to do a better job of planning ahead to accommodate the new rules.

If there are any changes to the loan product or the interest rate once the closing disclosure has been given to the buyer, that could trigger a new three-day waiting period. Other changes requiring lender approval could add even more time to the waiting period. The additional holding period can be waived in certain emergency situations, such as an impending bankruptcy.

Learn more about the Aug. 1 Changes to HUD-1, Closing Process with this video and view samples of the forms.

These timing issues make it important to complete your paperwork and have it fully reviewed by all parties well before you get to the closing table. NAR recommends you give yourself a seven-day cushion before closing to get everything done. To that end, make sure buyers have seen the paperwork at least a week before a scheduled closing and that sellers do nothing at the last minute that could derail a transaction, like removing a light fixture that they agreed in the sales contract to leave in the house (see related story). You’ll also want to schedule the buyer’s walk-through well before the closing date so if anything is amiss, issues can be worked out well before the closing.

Given the possibility of changes triggering another waiting period or a last-minute change requiring lender approval, you should assume it will take an additional 15 days to complete a closing, NAR analysts say. That means if closings in your state typically take 30 days, allow 45 days. Over time, as the industry adjusts to the changes, those additional days might no longer be necessary. But for now, plan for a longer process.

Stay up to date on RESPA developments here.

Source: National Association of Realtors®


Virginia REALTORS® celebrate successful election night

On Tuesday, the Virginia Association of REALTORS® celebrated the victories of seven REALTOR® Champion candidates in the  June 9th state legislative primary elections.  REALTOR® members from around the Commonwealth stepped up their advocacy efforts to new levels, engaging in a variety of campaign activities to help elect candidates to office. REALTORS® knocked on doors, made phone calls, participated in campaign events and helped spread the message about our supported candidates.

“Our number one strategic goal is advocacy,” said Deborah Baisden, 2015 president of the Virginia Association of REALTORS®. “Our members understand the importance of electing candidates to office who will support the real estate industry, property owners and consumers. Tuesday’s results showed that when our members work together, we can have a significant impact in electing our REALTOR® Champions.”

For more information on the REALTORS® campaign activity or other Policy & Advocacy information, check out



June 9th REALTOR® Champion Winners

Bill Howell – House of Delegates, District 28

Rosalyn Dance – State Senate, District 16

Emmett Hanger – State Senate, District 24

Lashrecse Aird – House of Delegates, District 63

John Cosgrove – State Senate, District 14

Betsy Carr – House of Delegates, District 69

Chris Head – House of Delegates, District 17


Campaign Services by the Numbers

- 31,535 pieces of direct mail

- 1,799 REALTOR® to REALTOR® phone calls

- 8,616 emails to REATLOR® members

- 10,621 Paid phone calls to voters

- 3,499,708 online advertising impressions

- 12,162 click-throughs to REALTOR® Champion candidate websites


New-home buyers’ wish list: More bedrooms, bathrooms, and patios


Economists, builders and analysts expect smaller homes to make a comeback in coming years with the return of entry-level buyers.

Still, the shift toward larger new homes in recent years has been remarkable. Commerce Department data released this week show unprecedented demand in 2014 for homes with four or more bedrooms, three or more bathrooms and three-car garages.

The annual Characteristics of New Housing report found that 46% of single-family homes constructed last year had four or more bedrooms, up from 44% in 2013 and from 34% in 2009. Thirty-six percent of the homes built last year had three or more bathrooms, up from 33% in 2013. Meanwhile, two-car garages remain the norm, but they’re receding in popularity – to 62% of homes built last year from 64% in 2013 — while three-car garages increased to 23% from 21%.

The latest numbers are a reflection of a multiyear run-up in median new-home sizes, fueled by builders’ focus on better-heeled buyers with better credit while entry-level and first-time buyers largely remained sidelined in the recovery.

Lately, builders and other observers say they’re starting to see life in the entry-level market. Median new-home sizes had declined slightly for three consecutive quarters before taking an upward turn in this year’s first quarter.

Click here to read the complete story.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

1 Comment (keep it going!)

Share of consumers saying ‘good time to sell’ reaches new survey high

Consumer attitudes about the housing market showed marked improvement last month, strengthening the case for a lift in housing activity this year, according to results from Fannie Mae’s May 2015 National Housing Survey. In line with the positive May jobs report—which showed an acceleration in average hourly earnings—and reflecting recent trends of firming personal income growth, the share of survey respondents reporting a significant increase in their household income climbed 4 percentage points to a near all-time high. As job growth appears to be driving meaningful income growth, the outlook for housing market growth also is improving. Among those surveyed, the share who believe now is a good time to sell a home continued its steady climb, reaching an all-time survey high in May—six percentage points higher than at the same time last year. Additionally, those saying they would prefer to buy rather than rent a home on their next move increased another three percentage points to 66 percent.

“Things are looking up for housing,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Those saying it is a good time to sell a house hit a survey high of 49 percent. Also, the percentage of consumers telling us their household income is significantly higher than 12 months ago grew six percentage points to 28 percent over the past two months. We have found that these two indicators – good time to sell and income growth – are key drivers for the performance of the housing market and play an important role in our soon to be released Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI). The increase in these indicators suggests our forecast of moderate improvement in the housing market in 2015 is on course and mirrors the near-term performance of other leading market data, including mortgage applications and pending home sales.”


Homeownership and Renting

  • The average 12-month home price change expectation remained at 2.8 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months rose to 49 percent. The share who say home prices will go down fell to 6 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months fell to 47 percent.
  • Those who say it is a good time to buy a house rose back up to 66 percent, while those who say it is a good time to sell went up 3 percentage points to 49 percent – a new survey high.
  • The average 12-month rental price change expectation rose to 4.3 percent.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect home rental prices to go up rose to 55 percent.
  • Those who think it would be easy to get a home mortgage decreased by 2 percentage points to 50 percent, while those who think it would be difficult remained at 46 percent.
  • The share who say they would buy if they were going to move rose 3 percentage points to 66 percent, while the share who would rent fell to 27 percent.

The Economy and Household Finances

  • The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track decreased by 4 percentage points to 38 percent, while those who say the economy is on the wrong track rose by 3 percentage points to 52 percent.
  • The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to get worse over the next 12 months rose to 12 percent.
  • The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 4 percentage points to 28 percent.
  • The percentage of respondents say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago increased to 31 percent.

For detailed findings from the May 2015 survey, as well as technical notes on survey methodology and questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Fannie Mae Monthly National Housing Survey page on

Source: Katie Penote – Fannie Mae


VHDA’s launches new mortgage credit certificate program


VHDA recently introduced its Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program, which could save a first-time homebuyer thousands of dollars by reducing the amount of federal income tax they owe. To qualify, homebuyers must be first-time homebuyers, or not have owned a home in the previous three years –but this requirement may be waived if the home is in a federal targeted area. The home must also be used as their principal residence, and VHDA’s maximum income and sales price limits apply.

VHDA has created the following resources for you and your clients:

VHDA Mortgage Credit Certificate Video

VHDA Mortgage Credit Certificate Video

MCC Video – Our simple, animated video explains how an MCC from VHDA works.
Feel free to share the link to this video on your website and social media channels.
> Watch the video

MCC Flyer – You can download and print out this educational flyer to share with your clients. It includes details about the MCC program such as sales price and income limits and how to find a VHDA-approved lender.
> Get the flyer 

MCC Webpage – You and your clients can get the latest updates on the MCC program as well as direct links to important details such as VHDA’s sales price and income loan limits.
> Visit the webpage