Dos and don’ts of viewing homes — an etiquette primer

With spring buying season in full swing, potential homebuyers are flooding into homes in person with the help of a REALTOR®. It’s an exciting time, full of possibility and hope,but it is easy to forget that, while you’re playing home inspector, the space currently belongs to someone else. Still, buyers need to get a full picture of what they’re buying.

So, where do you draw the line; what is permitted and what should you restrain yourself from doing? The National Association of REALTORS® consumer site HouseLogic has buyers covered with house tour etiquette tips.

  • When it comes to checking out closets and storage, for example, feel free to peek (you’ll need to know this, after all), but try not to disturb anything.
  • As for snapping photos, prospective clients may want to ask permission first. Also, think twice before posting pictures online —remember that someone still lives there.


  1. HouseLogic: Is It OK to Use the Bathroom When You’re Touring a House? (and 4 Other Questions You’re Afraid to Ask)
  2. A Brief History of Opening Our Homes to Total Strangers (aka the Open House)

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#GetRealtor ad campaign featured in Modern Family episode

Do you often wonder if consumers know the difference between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR®? Well, if they watched this clip from Modern Family on Wednesday,  they do now. As the Modern Family Facebook page shared, “Realtors are just your everyday superheroes, NBD.”modern family screenshot

Wednesday’s episode featured a unique plot intertwined with highlights of NAR’s #GetRealtor Consumer Advertising Campaign. Expert REALTOR® facts were shared by the goofiest, geekiest REALTOR® himself,
Phil Dunphy, who goes vigilante when he and Gloria confront Auntie Alice for stealing her hot sauce recipe. Phil ends up going full-blown REALTOR® on Auntie Alice. And it was hilarious. Phil certainly shared his REALTOR® pride, wearing his pin and all.  Not only was the #GetRealtor ad campaign embedded into the plot of the episode, but two #GetRealtor 30-second ad spots were also aired on the network during commercial breaks. To learn more about other aspects of the advertising campaign, click here.

The embedded plot motif into Modern Family seemed to intrigue many, even the Wall Street Journal.

If you missed Wednesday’s episode, you can watch it on ABC.GO.


Election night showcases REALTOR® successes

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.


Greater Augusta holds annual tradeshow

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.

Participants mingle with exhibitors at the tradeshow.

Participants mingle with exhibitors at the tradeshow.

Lynne Wherry, Director of Association Relations discussing RPAC victories VAR had during the 2016 General Assembly with Greater Augusta members, Ed Hall and Sandy Huffman.

Lynne Wherry, Director of Association Relations discussing RPAC victories VAR had during the 2016 General Assembly with Greater Augusta members, Ed Hall and Sandy Huffman.

Model house used during the Homes For Our Troops fundraiser.

Model house used during the Homes For Our Troops fundraiser.


Understanding the Military Home Buyer and Seller and the Impact a REALTOR® can make

NAR’s first-ever 2016 Veterans & Active Military Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, released on May 2nd, evaluates the differences of recent active-service and veteran home buyers and sellers, compared to those without military service.

Results in the report show differences in household demographics and affordable financing options spur home buying demand for young active-service military members, leading to stronger rates of ownership among all homebuyers under the age of 35.
inforgraphic 2
Download the full report here.

Highlights include:

  • 18% of veterans were first-time home buyers and 38% for active-service military.
  • Detached single-family homes continue to be the most common home type for all recent buyer types. 19% of veterans bought new homes as did 21% of active-service military.
  • The primary reason for the home purchase for active-service military was a job relocation at 33%. Veterans were more likely to want to be closer to friends and family (14%) and retirement (11%).
  • 85% of veterans and 86% of active-service military purchased their home through a real estate agent.

Characteristics of Military Home Buyers:

  • 18% of veterans were first-time home buyers and 38% for active-service military.
  • The typical buyer was 44 years old, and has a median household income of $86,100. The typical veteran home buyer was 61 with a median income of $84,000 and the typical active-service military was 34 with an income of $76,800.
  • 67% of recent buyers were married couples, 15% were single females, 9% were single males, and 7% were unmarried couples. 78% of veterans and 77% of active service military were married couples.
  • 64% percent of active-service military had children living at home, compared to 63% of all buyers and 74% of veterans that reported having no children under the age of 18 living in the home.

Home ownership for veterans and active military is a priority for Virginia REALTORS®, which is why VAR is so proud to be a partner of Homes for Our Troops, whose mission is to build specially adapted homes nationwide for veterans who have returned home with life-altering injuries post-9/11. Empowered by the freedom of a mortgage-free and specially adapted home, Homes for Our Troops veterans can focus on their recovery and returning to their life’s work of serving others.

Every REALTOR® dollar makes a difference. Click here to donate to this important cause.

Your gift will impact the lives of our neighbors, offering the comforts of home to the heroes that have served us all.

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New VAR Legal Hotline video: What you must disclose on stigmatized property

Legal video stig property

VAR’s Laura Farley discusses what must be disclosed, what can’t be disclosed and what you might want to disclose (after a conversation with your seller) on properties that may have stigmatizing events, such as a death. Click here to watch the video.

Laura serves as the VAR Associate General Counsel, monitoring regulatory bodies that effect REALTORS® in Virginia, staffing the Legal Hotline and teaching CE courses. She also serves as liaison to the Standard Forms Sub-committee and the Grievance Committee.

This video is bought to you by the VAR Legal and Marketing and Communications teams.

Sign-up today!

VAR Webinar: Free for VAR Members
Team Risk Management in Virginia
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time



There is no formal definition of teams in the Code of Virginia or Virginia Real Estate Board Regulations. Furthermore, there is not a lot of guidance in the law or regulations on how teams should function legally. Join the VAR Legal Department on May 17 to discuss the emerging legal landscape of real estate teams. Topics to be discussed will include licensing, advertising, compensation, agency, broker supervision obligations, and the Code of Ethics as they apply to teams. Click here to register for this member value webinar today!




Community Matters: Livable Communities

May is National Bike Month – an annual celebration of the benefits of bicycles and cycling. That discussion often focuses on being able to ride one’s bike in their local community whether to work, school, or other area amenities. This leads in to the broader discussion of livable communities.  As REALTORS®, you understand better than anyone the wishes and preferences of potential homebuyers. Encouraging homebuyers to think about what the future holds not only for their immediate needs, but how they plan to grow in their homes and communities.

Earlier this year, the National Association of REALTORS® joined with AARP to discuss things to consider when thinking about livable communities.  Click hear to read the story from REALTORS® Magazine and learn more about AARP’s Livability Index.


Action Alert: It’s Time to Vote


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.


Affordable Housing Awareness Week 2016 wrap up

Each year, residents from across the Richmond region look forward to Affordable Housing Awareness Week (AHAW), when more than 500 volunteers put on t-shirts instead of office clothes to participate in a volunteer-driven event that makes a difference for hundreds of members of the Central Virginia community. Participants include the local businesses whose employees volunteer at work-sites, the nonprofits that are building and repairing homes, and most importantly, neighbors in need who often work side by side with volunteers. The event took place this past week in Richmond and was a great success.ahaw

Since the first AHAW, more than 4,000 volunteers from across the Richmond area have worked at over 350 work-sites, improving the quality of life for hundreds of our neighbors. REALTORS® across the Commonwealth have become more active and engaged in making a difference with the issue of affordable housing.

Laura Lafayette, CEO, Richmond Association of REALTORS® (RAR) and a longtime champion for affordable housing in the Richmond area, opened the forum this week and talked about the need to create and maintain an adequate supply of affordable housing. Laura told the Richmond Times Disptach, “We have our challenges, but it is equally important to lift up our positives.”

The planning contributions to Smart Growth America and other Housing Opportunity Programs by RAR and other Virginia local associations such as: Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS®, Harrisonburg Association of REALTORS®, Virginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS® and Southside Virginia Association of REALTORS®, positions REALTORS® as leading advocates for affordable housing in the communities where they live and work. Affordable housing enhances the comfort of each person who can access it, but it is vital for the economic stability of our communities and for keeping schools, transportation, and public safety sustainable for everyone. We are proud to say that so many Virginia REALTORS® make this issue a priority.


New VAR Legal Hotline video: Housing – Advertising

Legal video fair housing advertising 2016

VAR’s Erin Barton, Staff Counsel, talks about making sure your advertising complies with fair housing law and the Code of Ethics. Topics discussed include:

  • Ten protected classes for Virginia REALTORS®
  • Whether intent to discriminate is necessary for a violation
  • HUD guidance on acceptable terms and phrases
  • Tips to create protected-class sensitive advertising

Click here to watch the video.

Erin is a lawyer and a former REALTOR®. She managed a successful team of REALTORS® and administrative staff while with Keller Williams Realty in Richmond.  She also most recently served as a contract attorney at McGuire Woods; Hancock, Daniel, Johnson & Nagle; and, Williams Mullen where she reviewed cases involving antitrust issues, SEC violations, insurance and fraud.