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


New VAR Legal video: Pre/Post Settlement Occupancy Agreements

VAR’s Laura Farley discusses VAR standard forms that can be used in transactions when buyers and sellers need to ensure they have somewhere to live when the actual settlement date may be in flux, including Form 1000A – Possession by Purchaser Agreement, Form 1000B – Possession by Seller Agreement, and Form 640 – Preoccupancy/Pre-settlement Inspection Report. Forms 1000A and 1000B are grants of possession that require the occupant to maintain the property in its present condition, pay utilities and not make any alterations without the written permission of the owner.

These types of relationships are specifically exempted from the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act under Virginia Code Section 55-248.5.A.2. Click here to watch the video.

Laura will be a featured speaker at the upcoming VAR Annual Convention. Her session on Legislative Update – 2016 New Laws will answer the most frequently asked topics on contract issues, such as short sale ratification, default, termination, release, and includes an update on changes to VAR Forms as of July 1, 2016. CE VA – Approved 1 Hour Legal Updates w/Flood Content VA CE; 1 Hour Broker Management; No PL. No MD/DC.

Click here to register for the upcoming VAR Annual Convention.

Date & Location
September 19-21, 2016
VAR Annual Convention
Venue: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center (a Marriott Property)
201 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, Maryland 20745


Virginia REALTORS® promote National Preparedness Month


In recognition of September as National Preparedness Month, Virginia REALTORS® are encouraging people to ready themselves by making plans for how to stay safe and communicate during an emergency. Preparedness Month reminds us all to collect supplies and make and share a plan for the protection of our families, homes, and communities. Since natural disasters and other emergencies can inhibit channels of communication, the first step to safety planning is to inform close contacts about the course of action in case of an emergency. Consider transportation routes and property safeguards, as well as the needs of elderly family members and pets.

To assist Virginians with disaster preparedness, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management offers  as resource that includes checklists of essential supplies, step-by-step guides for staying safe in emergency conditions, and instructions to stay informed of critical updates.


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.


REALTOR® Safety Webinar: Get Smart about Smart Homes and Your Safety

Being safe starts at home, and by now we’re familiar with most of the usual safety measures homeowners take – deadbolts, window locks, even basic security systems. But, in this brave new world of technology, what about smart home devices? What do you, as REALTORS®, need to know about these devices to best inform and protect your clients? What do you need to know for yourself to ensure your own safety? You may learn some things that open your eyes, and you’ll definitely walk away with knowledge you can start using immediately.

tara-christianson-headshotTara Christianson started as a real estate agent in the Northern Virginia /Washington D.C. area in 2006. Since then, she’s shifted her focus to technology and training real estate agents in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and is an internationally-known speaker, online strategist, trainer, and copywriter. One of her passions is keeping real estate agents safe in the real and online world through the use of technology. She is currently Century 21 Redwood Realty’s Technology & Training Director and the Editor for Happy Grasshopper, while writing content and consulting for organizations such as NAR and the Real Estate Institute of Queensland.

Free Safety Webinar
September 14, 2016
Start Time: 1 PM CST
Instructor: Tara Christianson

Click here to register.



VAR Legal Hotline video: 2016 Pocket Listings


A “Pocket Listing” generally refers to an off-MLS listing. In this video, VAR Deputy General Counsel Blake Hegeman seeks to answer common questions about this business practice, such as:

  •  Are pocket listings legal and consistent with the Realtor Code of Ethics?
  • What should REALTORS® discuss with their clients prior to executing a Pocket listing?
  • Are there other concerns with pocket listings?

Click here to watch the video.

Featured VAR Annual Convention speaker
Blake will cover Agency: A Complicated Relationship during the VAR Annual Convention. Got questions about your agency relationship? Want to know how brokers and Realtors® should work together?  This course has the answers to the most frequently asked questions about agency. Includes updates from the new Virginia Real Estate Board Regulations which took effect November 1, 2015. CE – Approved 1 hour Real Estate Agency CE; 1 Hour Broker Management in VA (No MD or D.C.).

Register before September 12th and save $30.


Window to the Law: Cyberscams and the Real Estate Professional

Window to the Law: Cyberscams and the Real Estate Professional

NAR Associate Counsel Jessica Edgerton alerts real estate professionals to common online fraud schemes, and provides tips and information to help industry professionals and their clients stay protected.

You can also view the slide presentation from Window to the Law: Cyberscams and the Real Estate Professional.


As many Virginia students head back to school today, REALTORS® around the state take pride in encouraging bright futures through generosity to the Boys & Girls Clubs in our communities.


On behalf of the Virginia Association of REALTORS®, President Bill White delivered backpacks and supplies to the Boys & Girls Club on Richmond’s Northside last week, ensuring that neighborhood students would get a fresh start to the school year. The delivery included a tour of the club and engagement with the club director, who shared just how Boys & Girls Clubs impact youth and uplift lives. The Northside club serves 100 to 150 students, ages 6 to 18, every day; it’s one of five clubs in Metro Richmond and among more than 1,140 clubs nationwide.

The Boys & Girls Club is a safe haven for students who may otherwise have no place to go after school. Clubs offer an environment to learn and study, and to engage in healthy social activities with peers. At the Northside club, like many around the nation, students can play games, borrow books, explore technology and computer skills, participate in art and dance activities, and build confidence through talent shows. It’s not just a safe place, but a safe community where students, parents, and neighbors gain trust and show pride in brighter futures.

For more information on the REALTOR® partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs, contact VAR Director of Community Outreach Jenny Wortham at

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Virginia Association of REALTORS® lends aid in crisis

The Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR) is a leader in community impact throughout our state and even in other states affected by housing crisis as a result of natural disaster or other adversity. Recently, VAR offered a gift of $2,500 to the Louisiana Association of REALTORS® relief foundation to support recovery efforts for members and residents who have suffered from the recent flood crisis. When our neighbors in West Virginia were stricken by storm and flood crisis in June, VAR was there to offer support with a monetary contribution and an appeal to all REALTORS® for support of those in need.

REALTOR® generosity is inherent to the community ambassadorship of our members and associations. Not only has VAR given to those in need, but we have been fortunate to receive national REALTOR® resources to assist our own neighbors in recovering from tornadoes this year. Especially in times of need, REALTORS® offer support to their communities and aid in housing for all.

To learn more about the Virginia REALTOR® commitment to community, contact the VAR Director of Community Outreach at