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The battle begins: our 2013 legislative agenda (P.31) December 2012/January 2013

A journal for real estate professionals published by the Virginia Association of REALTORS®   •  www.VARealtor.com

What Worked

Home buyers offer insight into finding—and working with—their Realtors®

rs e ad In e n 3 L or e 34 1 20 Sw pag

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firstword ANDREW KANTOR

PUBLISHED BY THE VIRGINIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® The Business Advocate for Virginia Real Estate Professionals Mary Dykstra, ABR, CRS President Roanoke Bradley Boland President-Elect Reston Deborah Baisden, GRI Vice President Virginia Beach Bill White Treasurer Richmond Trish Szego, CRB, CRS Immediate Past President Haymarket

Use it or lose it MY SON (in fourth grade) had a question on his math homework: It was a picture of a 3-D Tetrislike block (officially called a “tetromino”), and he had to draw what it would look like turned 90 degrees, part of learning angles. Here’s what he was given:

R. Scott Brunner, CAE Chief Executive Officer scott@VARealtor.com Amanda Arwood Vice President of Marketing & Communications amanda@VARealtor.com Andrew Kantor Editor & Information Manager andrew@VARealtor.com For advertising information, Brittany Sullivan at (410) 584-1968 or e-mail var@networkmediapartners.com

I asked him what it would look like when rotated, and he drew this:

The mission of The Virginia Association of REALTORS® is to enhance its membership’s ability to achieve business success. Commonwealth magazine (ISSN#10888721) is published bi-monthly by the Virginia Association of REALTORS®, 10231 Telegraph Road, Glen Allen, VA 23059-4578; (804) 264-5033. Virginia Association of REALTORS® members pay annual dues with a one-year subscription included within their dues. Periodicals postage paid at the Glen Allen, VA post office and additional mailing offices. USPS Per. # 9604. Postmaster: Send address changes to: Commonwealth magazine, 10231 Telegraph Rd., Glen Allen, VA 23059-4578. Custom Publishing Services provided by Network Media Partners, Inc.

Then he thought he was being smart, and he said, “Or this:” VARbuzz.com. Your virtual café for real estate news, views, and issues. Read the perspectives of your fellow Virginia REALTORS®. Join the conversation at VARbuzz.com today.

Get it? Got it? Good!

In addition to the print version of Commonwealth, VAR publishes electronic newsletters at regular intervals, including...

...the online supplement to our print magazine, published twice each month.

Follow and friend us! VARealtor.com/twitter VARealtor.com/facebook VARealtor.com/linkedin The baTTle begins: our 2013 legislaTive agenda (P.XX) December 2012/January 2013

A journal for real estate professionals published by the Virginia Association of REALTORS® • www.VARealtor.com

What Worked

Home buyers offer insight into finding—and working with—their Realtors®

Get Commonwealth on your tablet. Check out our new iPad and Android apps: ●

VOLUME 19 ISSUE 6 VARealtor.com/commonwealth

Both were correct, of course. But then I grabbed some of his Legos and made the T-shape tetromino. I showed it to him, then turned it 90 degrees — not left-toright or right-to left, but front to back.

The result was this:

His eyes actually grew wide as he understood, and he gave me a gratifying “Wow!” Perspective is a Very Cool Thing. Last issue we gave you the perspective of a group of mortgage lenders; we thought it was important that you understood what they were seeing and what they were going through. This time we offer you a taste of some buyers’ perspectives — folks who recently worked with Virginia Realtors to buy homes. They offer some useful, firsthand insight into that side of the process, and they make some excellent points about how they were treated, what they liked and didn’t, and why (and whether) they would recommend their Realtors to someone else. Check it out. If nothing else, you’ll certainly gain a slightly different perspective. ● Andrew Kantor, Editor andrew@VARealtor.com DECEMBER 2012/JANUARY 2013

1

10231 Telegraph Road, Glen Allen, VA 23059-4578

DECEMBER 2012/ JANUARY 2013 VOLUME 19 ● ISSUE 6

contents

departments 4 quickhits The latest news and announcements for Virginia’s Realtors®

8 statswatch The numbers that shape your world

10 legallines Questions and answers about Virginia real estate law

14 lifelessons When real estate pros break the rules ... and get caught

16 formfactor Starting in 2013, brokers will be required to perform a self audit. Here’s how.

features

18

What worked

22

L1CENSE 2 5ELL

31

2013 Legislative agenda

24 accessibletech Are you using the best printer for the job? (Hint: probably not.)

in every issue 1 firstword 26 rpacreport 34 contactvar 36 VARworks APEX Award of Excellence winner 2

DECEMBER 2012/JANUARY 2013

What’s it like for home buyers to work with Realtors? What do they look for, what do they appreciate, and what would make them recommend an agent? We found out the easy way: We asked some.

Virginia plates and Realtor pride — check out how members are showing their colors.

Our number one job is representing you and your interests on Capitol Square, and we’re already gearing up for the 2013 General Assembly session. Check out the bills we’ll be working on.

WWW.VAREALTOR.COM

Out of the box solutions I purchased an EXIT Realty Franchise in 2009 and have been absolutely delighted by the experience. I previously owned an independent brokerage and felt that every day I was "reinventing the wheel" in terms of TEChNOLOgy, TRaININg, INNOvaTION and standards for my agents. I was exhausted daily and knew that I was not providing the best possible environment for my agents to build their business. I knew that I needed systems and models that I could actually

implement versus trying to build my own from scratch. all ll of those things came "in the box" with my EXIT Realty franchise. I have experienced phENOmENaL gROwTh wTh with my agency and I was the 3rd fastest growing brokerage in Chicago in 2011. we have training, TEChNOLOgy, and transaction management all from EXIT Realty Corp. International and my job is to implement and promote the systems rather than invent them all together. It's been fantastic working in a collective

learning and growth environment. I have been far more SuCCESSFuL by being part of a system and franchise!

Nick Libert EXIT Strategy Realty, Chicago, IL

Does Nick’s story resonate with you? If you’re tired of going it alone, find out how EXIT Realty can be your track to run on. Call Nancy & Tom Shaver, Regional Owners - EXIT Realty Virginia, today to find out more! 1.804.387.4758 Prime Territories Selling Quickly! Call Nancy & Thomas Shaver Regional Owners Office: 800-906-3948 www.EXITVIRGINIA.COM info@exitvirginia.com THIS CORRESPONDENCE IS NOT INTENDED AND SHALL NOT BE DEEMED TO CONSTITUTE ANY OFFER TO SELL A FRANCHISE. FRANCHISE OFFERING SHALL ONLY BE MADE BY A FRANCHISE DISCLOSURE DOCUMENT. PLEASE DISREGARD IF YOUR

VOLUME 19 ● ISSUE 6 COMPANY IS CURRENTLY UNDER A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT.

w w w . e x i t v i r DECEMBER g i n i a . c2012 om

quickhits

andreW KanTor

“The fa milies of our tena are very nts thank fu l, but there ar e so man y more there w out ho are in  need.”

realtors doing good

Trudy Harsh of Fairfax wins Realtor® magazine’s Good Neighbor Award Realtor Trudy Harsh of Fairfax was actually named one of the five winners (out of a pool of hundreds of Realtors from across the country) of Realtor magazine’s 2012 Good Neighbor Award. She’ll receive a $10,000 grant for her charity and a $2,000 Lowe’s gift card. Her charity is the Brain Foundation, which provides property management and in-home mental-illness care for people with brain damage or mental illness, people who often can’t find a place to live and be cared for. Trudy’s daughter, Laura, developed a brain tumor when she was

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eight years old, and Trudy spent 30 years caring for her. That’s when she learned firsthand how difficult it is for people with brain injuries to find a place where they can live independently. She founded the Brain Foundation, which today owns six houses that each offer home, care, and independent living to people suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or chronic depression. Three more are in the works. And now the Brain Foundation will have $10,000 more to work with.

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Trudy Harsh is cr adults, an effor eating stable, t that pr suppor tiv omises years, Laura to redu e housing op Comp Harsh licatio tions fo ce hom left her ns from was eight yea elessnes r rs old. develo childh pment ood bra hood, s and bo mentally ill ally stu in tum Lau just hid ck. As or lster fa sur situatio ra bounced den in ger y she gre in ns. He milies. this soc w into Harsh r someti and out of depend iet y,” adulttho For 30

tem Harsh me ent livi ught she edge to says. ng impos s violent beh porary living homes might bring precar avior ma use her cha Founda ious. Per sible and tim rea l est freque de intion to nge. In 200 e spent nt hos ate kn sistent 3, she menta create pitaliz owlin gro hea lth forme lly ill Laura’s ations. suppor up if proble in Fairfa tive hou d The Brain Harsh ms me hard to mother, Ortru x, Va. ’s ant sing for dre Bu am mi responded dwith a $50,000 donation. Harshthe leveraged find the “Tr udy the time Lau ght fizzl t by 2006, for her ” Harsh t sch it loo daught the bes e for lac ra funds to buy the fi rst of six Brain Foundation–run , onl ool gr got y memb i, worke s and er, but ill and proble k of fun ked as 28 RE treatmCollectively, per the mentally m. “It homes died [at ding. “By ALT OR ® knowner of The Bra ent opt d they’reTh nent hou ill. opened forma age oug NOVEM ions in Fou 38], I h unable my eye sing wa BER / ndatio was the as Laura’s Houses. maine s to a lot s always DEC EM to find n,” Ha BER a soluti a she d determine rsh sai people 201 2 Mental illness is of often a prelude on d. d reques who areto homelessness. ted don to help others for Laura, she 1212_F That’s why parents whose adult childrentat live in a Laue inv ations . At Lau re_GoodN estme in lieu eighbors ra’s House are quick to sing Harsh’s praises. “If I couldnt partne of flow ra’s funera l, _PJD4_ r from F.indd ers. A 28 early in rea l esnominate her for sainthood, I would,” says William Harsh ’s career Kreher, whose 41-year-old son was one of the first Brain Rea ltor Foundation tenants. Because Kreher refused to put his Mag.RE ALTOR. son out on the street, where he would be given higher org priority as a homeless applicant, the family had been sitting on a housing wait list for 18 years. The Krehers had searched for stability for 10/19/12 2:28 PM their son, who has bipolar disorder, ever since his removal from a school that was ill-equipped to deal with his overwhelming problems. “He has come a long way as far as being self-assured. He does his own cooking; he’s doing his own wash,” Kreher says. “[The residents of Laura’s Houses] are actively contributing to society, which they probably couldn’t do if they were living under a bridge somewhere.” By Me

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‘Where We Can Help’

Providing so-called supportive housing is multifaceted. Harsh fi lls the shelter gap by purchasing, furnishing, and maintaining Laura’s Houses. She leaves the needed health services to partner organizations. Beyond simply providing shelter, Harsh aims to create stability. She chooses residents carefully and keeps the homes well-maintained so Laura’s Houses function like any other home in the neighborhood. “Supportive housing faces particular hurdles because society is so unaccepting and fearful of people with brain diseases,” Harsh says. “[But] people do care if they understand the situation.” Harsh also actively seeks to lessen the stigma of mental illness by sharing her experiences in public forums. Ron and Lin Wilensky heard about the foundation at one of Harsh’s speaking engagements. Lin’s late brother Dave suffered from schizophrenia and was in and out of hospitals, receiving crisis care regularly until he moved into permanent, supportive housing. After hearing Harsh talk, the Wilenskys were inspired to replicate her model in Florida. With Harsh’s coaching and use of The Brain Foundation’s organizational documents, The Brain Foundation of Florida and Dave’s Houses were born. The Florida model differs slightly from Harsh’s. The foundation buys Dave’s Houses and then gifts them to mental health care partners to run. The Wilenskys have shown that Harsh’s model can be reproduced under various circumstances. “Mental health care funding is pretty abysmal here,” says Lin. “That’s why we, as private citizens, need to get involved.” RealtorMag.REALTOR.org

1212_F_GoodNeighbors_PJD4_F.indd 29

From 2009 to 2012, states cut more than $1.6 billion from mental health services, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Harsh says housing needs are becoming more acute nationwide as closed mental institutions are not replaced with alternatives. “We lack supportive services in the community,” she says, noting the wait list of one group that refers residents to The Brain Foundation contains more than 500 names. Harsh has secured donations and grants for three more houses, which will enable her to provide stable housing for 12 more people in 2013. “There’s still limited housing,” Kreher says. “Trudy is on her own campaign to resolve that. But it’s going to take a whole lot of Trudy Harshes because the need is tremendous.” ■

The National Coalition for the Homeless estimates 25 percent of homeless people in the United States suffer from severe and persistent mental illness, compared with about 5 percent of Americans overall.

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2012 REALTOR®

29

10/19/12 2:28 PM

eminent domain

NAR to FHFA: More HAMP, less eminent domain In a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency general counsel Alfred Pollard, NAR made clear its opinion on the use of eminent domain as a tool for helping homeowners. Quick background: Some areas of California are considering using their eminent domain authority to to take from investors the mortgages of underwater homeowners who are current on their payments, and pay those investors less than what’s owed‚ sort of a forced short sale. The local governments would then provide the homeowners with a lower-interest loan that reflects the property’s current market value. The goal is to reduce the number of underwater homeowners, reduce the number of defaults and 4

december 2012/january 2013

foreclosures, and stabilize property values. NAR doesn’t specifically come out against the eminent domain plan, but the letter explains that there are better uses for government time, energy, and money for one specific reason: Though the proposal purports to assist borrowers, it does not help those who are experiencing hardships, are behind on their payments, and are most in need. In other words, focus on the people who really need the help by making it easier for families at risk of foreclosure to refinance by helping them take advantage of programs like HAMP or HARP. These types of programs provide stability to families and local housing markets without having the potential to adversely impact credit and mortgage availability, read the letter. WWW.VarealTor.com

FHA loans

FHA eases condo restrictions (this is a big deal) FHA has changed its requirements for condos to be certified, making it easier for sellers to sell and buyers to get financing. This has been a big and ongoing issue, and the change is major and positive, and something condo owners (and the people who represent them) will appreciate. Here’s the background: If someone wants FHA financing for a condo, not only do they have to be approved, but the condo itself has to have been certified. And back in 2011, FHA de-certified all of them, it required every one to reapply. Two problems there. First, not every condo board went through the trouble, either because of laziness, confusion, or fear of lawsuits/fines if they made a mistake on the paperwork. (The law said that if there are inaccuracies, the condo board members could face up to 30 years in prison.) Second, the condo requirements were high enough that a lot of condos simply didn’t make the cut. (FHA was tired of having so many delinquent and foreclosed condos on its books.) Ergo, no FHA loans for potential buyers, something sellers may not have known if the condo board neglected to mention it. For example, FHA certification required that at least half the units had to be owner-occupied, and no more than 15 percent of owners could be delinquent on their condo fees, defined as 30 or more days behind. Finally, three-quarters of the space had to be residential. Needless to say, there was some consternation; NAR urged the FHA to loosen those rules so qualified buyers could buy and sellers could sell. And FHA has done just that, at least in part. The new rules for certification allow investors to own up to half of the units (not just 10 percent), and half the space can be commercial (instead of 25 percent). And it raised the bar on delinquency to 60 or more days behind on condo fees instead of 30 or more. Some significant hurdles to certification remain. Half a project’s units must still be owner-occupied, for example, although the rule is waived for REOs; NAR wants the requirement eliminated. Only half a condos units can be financed through FHA. And the condos’ boards are still liable for incorrect information, although less so if they’re following attorneys’ advice. It’s a good first step, and should make things easier for at least some condo owners to sell, and for some potential buyers to get financing. But it’s still just a first step. Volume 19 ● Issue 6

Virginia living

Stink bugs invade Virginia Meet the brown marmorated stink bug: A creepy little bugger that can release an odor when attacked (it smells like cilantro, go figure). It was imported from Asia about 15 years ago, and has made its home across the mid-Atlantic. Come autumn, the cold drives them indoors, where you’ll likely find them anywhere and everywhere. (Legend has it that killing one will attract more.) When winter ends, they emerge to lay their eggs, 280 per female. This year has been a good year for them, which agricultural experts say means next year is going to be just great. See, stinkbugs aren’t just annoying, they damage crops. Not to the extent that, say, the boll weevil might, but they attack apple orchards and vineyards, both of which Virginia has. Peaches, apricots, and other fruit, too. It feeds by sticking its nose (sorry, proboscis) into fruits, leaving a dead spot that spreads. Luckily, scientists are hard at work to try to halt the invasion. One potential solution: Introduce the marmorated stinkbug’s enemy, a tiny wasp that destroys its eggs. And what could possibly go wrong with introducing millions of tiny killer wasps? december 2012/january 2013

5

quickhits Leading indicators

Housing-related industries’ stock booming We’ve said over and over how the housing industry powers so much of the economy, everyone from lawyers to plumbers to architects to landscapers benefits from a healthy housing market. The good folks at John Burns Real Estate Consulting took that idea and used it to see what the stock market thinks of the real estate market. (Anyone can say that housing is recovering, but a better barometer is where they’re actually

putting their money.) Burns looked at year-to-year changes in the stock price of companies in various industries tied to housing, and the story was clear. Wallboard manufacturers were up 176 percent. Home builders were up 162 percent. Lumber companies were up 46 percent. Architectural firms were up 54 percent. And there were more. For comparison, the S&P 500 is up about 20 percent from last year. What they found was encapsulated in the headline: From Dirt to

Drywall, the Stock Market Clearly Believes in a Housing Recovery. If it’s an industry tied to housing, chances are it’s beating the market. [M]ore than 140 companies and roughly 30 sectors are directly benefiting from the turnaround in housing. Stock market investors are clearly betting on a bright future for residential real estate, turning their attention to ancillary companies that will benefit from the trickle down nature of a true recovery.

Mortgage market

17 Virginia regions could lose eligibility for no-down-payment USDA loans The USDA offers a no-down-payment loan for rural homes, but 17 areas of Virginia are set to be removed from the list of eligible locations unless Congress acts. The Rural Development Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program — sometimes referred to as the “Rural Housing Service Section 502 Program” — is one of the few places consumers can get a loan without a down payment. It was designed to help people move to rural areas, and every 10 years the Agriculture Department looks at the Census data and determines which areas are “rural.” The newest changes are set to take place March 27, 2013, and 17 sections of Virginia will be cut from the list. It makes sense for areas that are no longer rural to no longer be classified as rural, it’s just the timing that’s bad. So representatives and senators from Nebraska have introduced bills that will grandfather formerly-rural areas for 10 years. The 10-year grandfathering is a nice balance. It ensures that the program doesn’t expand beyond its rural-housing goals, but it doesn’t remove such a useful program just as the housing market is recovering. Here are the Virginia regions that will no longer be eligible for USDA loans: • Madison Heights • City of Front Royal • Cave Springs • Short Pump • City of Radford • Centreville • Timberlake • Chester • Great Falls • Hollins • Vinton • Chester CDP • Huntington • Waynesboro city • Christiansburg town • Lincolnia • City of Fredericksburg* * some parts 6

december 2012/january 2013www.VARealtor.com

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C21.COM U.S. SOCCER IS A TRADEMARK OF THE UNITED STATES SOCCER FEDERATION, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ©2012 Century 21 Real Estate LLC. All rights reserved. CENTURY 21® is a registered trademark owned by Century 21 Real Estate LLC. An equal opportunity company. Equal housing opportunity. Each office is independently owned and operated.

statswatch Up, up, and away? 27,733 26,300

END OF HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT 24,902

24,331 22,995

20,798 19,001 18,558

18,006 17,105

2010-Q2

2010-Q3

2010-Q4

2011-Q1

2011-Q2

2011-Q3

2011-Q4

2012-Q1

2012-Q2

2012-Q3

Housing Units Sold Take a gander at Virginia home sales each quarter since 2010. Note the pattern — since the homebuyer tax credit stopped inflating demand, every quarter has been better than the year before. Sometimes the difference is small, to be sure, but the trend is clear: Sales are increasing steadily and have sustained their upward progress for five consecutive quarters.

8

DECEMBER 2012/JANUARY 2013

Keep up (and impress your clients) with the Virginia Home Sales Report from VAR. Find the latest monthly and quarterly report data in a colorful, printable format, at VARealtor.com/homesales.

WWW.VAREALTOR.COM

VHDA Congratulates Our

2012 Top Producing Loan Officers July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012

Richmond

Northern Virginia TowneBank Mortgage

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To find a VHDA loan officer near you, call 877-VHDA-123 or visit vhda.com/FindALender

Virginia Housing Development Authority | vhda.com

legallines

BLAKE HEGEMAN, Michael Lafayette, and Sarah Petcher

FAQs from Realtors® about written brokerage agreements (now with VREB guidance, free!) The following are some of the frequently asked questions — and their answers — about when and how written brokerage agreements should be used by Realtors. These FAQs are consistent with the “Guidance Document on Necessity For Brokerage Agreements” that was issued on September 6, 2012 by the Virginia Real Estate Board. It is important to note, however, that Realtors subscribe to higher standards under local MLS rules and the Realtor Code of Ethics, and those are not covered by the guidance document. Thus, these FAQs are geared towards Realtors, not licensees. Please note that when an MLS rule or the Code of Ethics conflicts with law or regulation, the law or regulation prevails. However, when they add a higher duty than the law, the Realtor must abide by that higher duty.

Buyer brokerage agreements when you are not the listing agent

1.

If someone asks me to show her real estate for sale and her intent is for me to represent her as a buyer client, does Virginia law state that I need a written buyer brokerage agreement with the buyer before showing her a property? A: Yes.

2.

Is the answer to question #1 consistent with the VREB guidance document?

A: Yes. All Realtors who are licensed by VREB should

abide by this interpretation. Although the guidance document does not carry the full weight of regulation, it gives licensees an understanding of how the Board will enforce the law.

3.

Are there any ethical considerations?

A: Yes. The Code of Ethics also speaks to this issue.

Article 9 has long encouraged written brokerage agreements whenever possible. It states: Realtors, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not limited to, listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. 10 december 2012/january 2013

4.

What if someone asks me to show him a house but does not want representation — can I show him the house without a written brokerage agreement? A: Yes, but this is a very limited circumstance and

should not be used to circumvent the explicit requirement as stated in answers to Questions 1 – 3. In this limited circumstance, VREB has stated that the necessity for a written buyer brokerage agreement is dependent upon the intent of the party making the request. So if the person does not want representation, he or she isn’t your client — merely your customer for whom you may perform ministerial acts only. VREB cites two examples of ministerial acts where a written buyer brokerage agreement is not necessary: showing a house for a customer to see what the typical features are in homes in the market area, or doing so to gather information on the market or area. For example, a mother who is gathering information because her child intends to move to the area. In this situation, the mother has no intent to purchase a property. Please note, if you believe the prospect is asking you to show him real estate because his intent is to have you procure a seller, then a brokerage agreement is necessary before showing. Also, VREB has strongly advised that intent can change during the performance of ministerial acts. Thus, you need to be mindful of when someone’s intent changes from that of a customer to that of a client, and get the party to sign a written buyer brokerage agreement before performing any non-ministerial acts for that party. www.VARealtor.com

VAR Legal Hotline (804) 622-7955 Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The VAR Legal Hotline is a free, members-only benefit for brokers. You can receive answers to questions about Virginia real estate law, and timely information on legal and regulatory issues concerning the real estate industry. The Legal Hotline provides legal information, not legal services. You should consult your attorney if you need representation or advice. You must register for the Hotline before you can call. Registration is free and quick. Go to www.VARealtor.com/legalhotline; you will need your NRDS ID number.

Who can use the Hotline? • You must be a principal or supervising broker.* • You must be a VAR member. • You must have registered for the Hotline (see above). • You must have your NRDS ID number available when you call.

5.

As a Realtor, do I have any other concerns about showing property — not my listing — to an unrepresented party?

A: Yes. You must also consider the Realtor Code of Ethics, local MLS

rules, and any lockbox keyholder agreements that you have signed. NAR Standard of Practice 1-16 states that Realtors are not permitted to show houses listed for sale except as authorized by the owner. In some listing agreements, an owner grants the right for licensees to show the property “to prospective purchasers” only. Similarly, certain keyholder agreements permit keyholders to access the lockbox on a property under terms granted by the owner in the listing agreement. Because the listing agreement states the right to show property is for “prospective purchasers” only, it would be a violation of the keyholder agreement to show property to someone who is not a prospective buyer. An important reason why showings are limited to prospective buyers in listing agreements is that many sellers do not want people in their homes that have no interest in purchasing. A seller may grant permission to view a property to someone who is gathering information but does not intend to purchase. For example, a mother who is previewing properties for an out-of-state child who is moving to the area and intends to purchase in the future.

(* Each office can have one other person designated by the principal broker for Hotline access.)

E-mailing the Hotline You can e-mail your questions to hotline@ VARealtor.com. • Responses will be by phone; we no longer provide written answers to Hotline questions. • You must include your full name, phone number, and NRDS ID. We cannot respond to messages that do not include all three. • We will try to respond within 24 hours, but response time depends on Hotline activity.

Not a broker or member? If you aren’t eligible to use the Hotline, you can browse and search our Hotline archives at www.VARealtor.com/hotlinearchive and find more legal and risk management information in VAR’s Legal Resources Center at www. VARealtor.com/legalresources. You will need your NRDS ID number to log into the site.

Questions? If you have questions about the Hotline, contact VAR at (800) 755-8271 or (804) 264-5033, or by e-mail at info@VARealtor.com The VAR Legal Hotline should not replace your own legal counsel. We will not answer questions on matters unrelated to real estate or real estate brokerage, nor can weVOLUME help with pending arbitrations. 19 ● ISSUE 6

DECEMBER 2012/JANUARy 2013 11

legallines

6.

Is the answer to question #1 consistent with the VREB guidance document?

A: According to the VREB guidance document, it all depends on the intent of the person making the request. If he

requests a Realtor to provide MLS search information with the intent to engage the Realtor to buy a home, then a written buyer brokerage agreement is necessary. Conversely, if he requests a Realtor to provide MLS search information without the intent to engage the Realtor to buy a home, then no written buyer brokerage agreement is necessary. On the latter, caution should be used as to not violate MLS rules when disseminating MLS information to unrepresented third-parties.

When you are the listing agent

Listing agreements

7.

9.

by an agent. In this scenario, you represent the seller as a client and can treat the buyer as a customer. You are allowed to perform ministerial acts (basic administrative functions) for the customer. However, if the buyer does want to be represented by an agent, a written buyer brokerage agreement must be executed. Remember to provide a Disclosure of Brokerage Relationship when appropriate. You must disclose any brokerage relationship you have with a party to the transaction as soon as you have a substantive discussion about a specific property with an actual or prospective buyer, seller, landlord, or tenant who isn’t your client and who is not represented by another licensee. Two common categories of substantive discussions: Pricing — e.g., if a prospective purchaser asks you if the seller is willing to reduce the sale price; Repairs — e.g., if a prospective purchaser asks you if the seller is willing to paint the house as part of the contract.

keting materials to a prospective seller who is interviewing for the purpose of retaining a licensee to sell property without a written brokerage agreement. Of course, if you’re selected as that listing agent, you must execute a listing agreement.

What if I represent a seller and an interested buyer wants me to write the offer but does not want representation? Do I need a written buyer broker agreement with the buyer? A: No. The law does not force buyers to be represented

8.

Can you give examples of ministerial acts I can perform for a customer?

A: Filling in the blanks of a contract at the exact

direction of a customer or providing a list of property inspectors or lenders are ministerial acts. Advising a customer on what terms to put in the blanks or on what repairs to request are not ministerial. Advice involves judgment and discretion and is therefore reserved for your client. 12 DECEMBER 2012/JANUARy 2013

An owner is interviewing agents to select a listing agent to sell their property. Do I need a listing agreement signed before providing my CMA during the interview? A: No. You may provide the CMA and other mar-

Broker price opinions

10.

Do I need a written brokerage agreement to prepare a BPO for a lender if I am not being engaged by the lender to procure a buyer or seller? A: No.

11.

What if I represent the buyer or seller in a transaction and a lender requests a BPO for the transaction, do you suggest a written agreement with the lender? A: No. An agreement between you and the lender is

unnecessary if you represent a buyer or seller in a transaction and the lender is requesting the BPO to approve the transaction, such as in a short sale request. ● Blake Hegeman is legal counsel for the Virginia Association of Realtors. Michael Lafayette is general counsel for the Richmond, Lynchburg, and New River Valley associations of Realtors. Sarah Petcher is general counsel for the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. Consult your own counsel for legal advice. WWW.VAREALTOR.COM

Volume 19 â—? Issue 6

december 2012/january 2013 13

lifelessons Kathleen Toler

Fake it till you make it Playing Dead In August, Eric and Melissa Goodwin moved to Virginia and rented a house from Victoria Mortimer, who worked with Maxwell Realty. Little did the unsuspecting tenants know how far their landlord would go to deceive them. Without the Goodwins’ knowledge, Mortimer changed their lease from yearly to month-to-month, and she altered the holder of their $1,650 security deposit from Maxwell Realty to herself and her exhusband. She also failed to tell them that she was a real estate agent and the house they were renting was pending foreclosure. Just before Christmas, the Goodwins learned about the foreclosure — and that they had only 10 days to move out. They were furious, and Mortimer didn’t return their calls. They e-mailed her to request their security deposit, but the response left them baffled: The reply, signed by a woman named Felicity Spencer, said that Mortimer had passed away “after a long battle with cancer.” Spencer went on to say that Mortimer “would have wanted all problems rectified for she was a very caring and special person.” As for the Goodwins’ security deposit, Spencer said, “The fact that her ex-husband was responsible for this property and defaulted on payment may make this difficult since he has declared bankruptcy on all debts and has included you in this process.” The Goodwins politely expressed their sympathies, but found the story difficult to believe. They found an alternate phone number for Mortimer and called without identifying themselves. Mortimer herself answered the phone. The Goodwins weren’t thrilled that she had risen from the dead. They filed a complaint with the Board. During the investigation, Mortimer tried to blame everything on her ex-husband, but he hadn’t had any ties to the property in years. She also denied knowing Felicity Spencer, although the e-mail was sent from Mortimer’s own address. She first claimed she had given the security deposit to her ex so he could bring the mortgage current. 14 december 2012/january 2013

“The Goodwins weren’t thrilled that she had risen from the dead. They filed a complaint with the Board.” Later, she admitted that she hadn’t given it to him; she couldn’t remember what happened to it, nor did she have any records verifying the deposit was made into an escrow account. Finally, she said she couldn’t produce the security deposit because she had already spent the money. She thought it was necessary to fake her own death to hide it. Mortimer’s was fined $6,500 and her license was revoked.

www.VARealtor.com

Faking It As an agent for Bay Shores Realty, Nina Redding helped her clients, the Hidalgos, purchase a new home. Then she told them that her friends, the Jacksons, were interested in buying their old home. With Redding acting as a dual agent, the Hidalgos and the Jacksons signed a contract for the Jacksons to purchase the Hidalgos’ home. The contract specified a $1,000 earnest money deposit. But when the settlement date approached, Redding told the Hidalgos that the Jacksons had “backed out” of the contract. When the Hidalgos told her they were concerned that they couldn’t afford to pay two mortgages much longer, Redding herself offered to buy their old home. Redding gave the Hidalgos a letter from a mortgage company stating that she was pre-approved for the mortgage, but, in order to reduce her debt-to-income ratio and qualify for a better interest rate, she should rent the property for six months first. After signing a rent-to-own agreement with the Hidalgos, she moved into the house.

Redding paid rent for two months—and then stopped. The Hidalgos called her supervising broker, Carol Burke, requesting the $1,000 EMD from the failed deal with the Jacksons. Burke informed them that Redding had already left Bay Shores Realty, had never submitted the EMD, and didn’t even document the Jacksons’ offer to purchase their home. The Hidalgos filed a complaint. During the investigation, Redding admitted to faking everything — the offer from the Jacksons, the preapproval letter, and even the $1,000 EMD. She was fined $3,000 and her license was revoked. l

Upgrade yourself. 1. Realtors® who earn their GRI earn an average of twice as much as those without a designation. 2. Many of the courses you take for your GRI count toward your po st-licensing and continuing education requirements. 3. What are you waiting for? The Graduate Realtor® Institute is the most popular designation among successful Realtors®. To find out how you can upgrade your career, visit us at VARealtor.com/GRI

Another great member service brought to you by the Virginia Association of REALTORS®

formfactor andrew kantor

Broker, audit thyself In 2010, the Real Estate Board began random compliance inspections of real estate brokerages. But in 2012 — at VAR’s urging — the General Assembly passed a new law: Instead of having DPOR conduct inspections, brokerages are required to audit themselves as if they were about to receive a random inspection. Every two years, sometime during the the firm’s licensing term before renewal, the principal broker must audit the firm (or have it audited) — it’s now a criteria for the license.

How is an audit done? Simple: There’s a VREB form to fill out, and it’s available on the DPOR website at www.dpor.virginia.gov/ Boards/Real-Estate. It’s called, aptly, the Firm/Sole Proprietor Audit Form. It’s five pages long (well, six, but the last one is just space for the signature), and consists almost entirely of Y/N checkboxes. The PDF version is printable, but you can simply fill it out using the free Adobe Reader software (which you should have already). In a sense, it’s a clear, simple checklist to make sure you’re in compliance with Virginia’s laws and regulations governing real estate brokerage. Some sample questions: n Is the supervising broker available to all licensees under his/her supervision in a timely manner? n Does the firm hold down payments, earnest money deposits, money received upon final settlement, rental payments, rental security deposits, moneys advanced, or other escrow funds received on behalf of its client or any other person? If yes, ¢ Is the account maintained in the firm’s licensed name? ¢ Is the account in a federally insured depository? ¢ Is the account labeled “escrow” on the account name, checks, and bank statements? How many property management clients does the firm have? n Were any notes, nonnegotiable instruments, or anything of value not readily negotiable, accepted as a deposit on a contract, offer to purchase, or lease? ¢ If yes, was its acceptance acknowledged in the agreement? n Was all advertising under the direct supervision of the principal broker? n Did all advertising contain the firm’s licensed name? 16 december 2012/january 2013

Pretty easy, right? Keep in mind, though, that while there aren’t random inspections anymore, if the board gets a complaint, it will investigate, and it will demand a copy of the audit. So you had better be sure that you’ve verified the information. Further (and this should be obvious, but you never know), as a principal/supervising broker you’re also responsible for ensuring that the answers not only are true, but stay true — i.e., certifying that all your escrow accounts are in order on January 1 doesn’t excuse you if something goes wrong on January 2. The final line might be the most important. That’s where you sign that “As the principal broker or supervising broker, I have personally completed or personally overseen the completion of this audit and have personally reviewed and verified the responses in the audit.” In other words, this is a legal document — an affidavit. Which means you shouldn’t forget where the buck stops. l www.VARealtor.com

Make your membership work hard for you. Your VAR membership comes with lots of perks, including some great discounts from our Member Service Partners — savings on cell plans, insurance, shipping, and more. Our perks will put more money in your pocket and won’t take up room in your driveway. Find them all at VARealtor.com/Discounts

Another great member service brought to you by the Virginia Association of REALTORS®

18 december 2012/january 2013

www.VARealtor.com

Andrew Kantor

What worked

Virginia real estate consumers share their stories What’s it like to be a buyer? And what do buyers think of Realtors®? The easiest way to answer those questions is to ask some. So we did. At VAR’s 2012 Real Show, a small panel of consumers came to share their stories of house hunting in Virginia, from finding a Realtor to navigating the churning waters of the mortgage market. They all had positive experiences, but their stories each offer some advice for Realtors wondering what it’s like from the consumers’ point of view. Let’s meet our panelists: • Keri, a newlywed nurse from Norfolk, who bought her first home • Pete and John, a young couple with some credit issues looking for a fixer-upper • Rich and Jean, a 60-something Brooklyn couple who want to buy a retirement home in Virginia Beach

Keri The situation: A newlywed, she and her husband were shopping for their first home together. Neither had owned before, and they had different ideas about what they wanted — she was looking for something not too far from the hospital where she worked, he wanted something rural with lots of acreage. So they knew a balancing act was in store. The decision to buy wasn’t hard, Volume 19 ● Issue 6 

though. “A mortgage was $100 [a month] more than my rent,” Keri said, and she didn’t even consider the effect of the mortgage interest deduction. How she found a Realtor: Word of mouth. Keri’s mother works in real estate (although not in Norfolk), and recommended someone local. It was the right choice. “Once I found the Realtor, we just clicked,” Keri said. “It was awesome.” What went down: Keri and her husband knew what they could afford, so it was a matter of finding someplace that had the right balance between price, location, and features (e.g., that acreage her husband wanted). In fact, it took several months to even find a few that met all their criteria. And then they ended up in a bidding war — a discouraging thing, but one that Keri said her Realtor was able to help them through so they were ultimately victorious. End result: an affordable home with land (for him) and a reasonable commute (for her). What she liked about her Realtor: “She cared about us — she got to know us.” She only showed homes that fit Keri and her husband’s budget and needs, and she was there for the occasional bit of hand-holding. “She made the whole buying process awesome for us.” Take aways: Enthusiasm counts, and nothing can replace that personal december 2012/january 2013 19

connection. Keri gushed about her Realtor for those very reasons, and you can bet she’ll recommend her to friends and colleagues.

Pete and John

Her impression was that Realtors were “greedy, and only wanted to show you higherpriced homes” — she soon found out that wasn’t the case.

20 december 2012/january 2013

The situation: The long-term couple had been living in separate apartments and finally decided to buy a place together. Neither had owned before, so they weren’t sure what to expect. (Said Pete, “I found out that there’s a lot more involved — the ins and outs, the laws and paperwork.”) He had a few dings on his credit, but nothing major. How they found a Realtor: Word of mouth. Pete’s boss connected them with a local Realtor he knew. If that hadn’t worked out, he said, he would have turned to friends and co-workers for a recommendation. What went down: Although they were both comfortable with a fixerupper, some of the homes they saw were, shall we say, lacking in the cosmetic department. Paint was peeling or of questionable taste. Carpets needed to be removed, possibly by a local HAZMAT team. Appliances needed to be updated to at least the late 20th century. The result, they said, was that it was hard to see past those things to the important parts of the house. Their

Realtor helped teach them to see past those replaceable things and look at the home itself. It was a useful lesson; the house they ended up choosing had avocado-green appliances and green floors. (No word if there was a disco ball hanging in the living room.) But Pete’s credit issues came back to haunt them. Their credit union wasn’t as flexible with financing as they expected, so they turned to their Realtor for help. And she came through, connecting them with a loan officer at a local bank — a connection that Pete described as “priceless.” Together, their Realtor and new lender helped them negotiate the slings and arrows of financing and secure a loan. “We could not have found two people [the Realtor and the lender] who took better care of us through the process,” Pete said. What they liked most about their Realtor: Her knowledge — of the process, of the laws, and of the mortgage-lending market, including her relationship with the lender. Simply put, “Her knowledge kept us from making mistakes and made it a lot easier on us,” Pete said. “Her experience was amazing.” Take aways: Don’t rely on your clients handling the mortgage process

www.VARealtor.com

themselves. Be aware of programs, companies, and people who can help, and be sure you understand the process yourself. Overcoming roadblocks is a quick way to client satisfaction.

Rich and Jean The situation: The soon-to-retire couple lived in Brooklyn in a home they owned for more than 35 years. They owned a second home in Virginia Beach, but wanted a different place there to retire to. They set out to find the right one, knowing they would be making regular trips to the area to house-hunt for the right place. They had a few specifics they were looking for: a ranch style (why walk up stairs when you don’t have to?), space for Rich’s man cave, and — Jean insisted — a gas stove. How they found a Realtor: When they shopped for their first Virginia Beach home in 2005, they looked online for houses that interested them. They e-mailed the listing agents for an appointment to visit. Despite a lot of e-mail, only a single agent responded. Guess who they hired, and guess who they turned to in 2012? What went down: Rich and Jean were able to come down to Virginia for about a week at a time to house hunt.

Volume 19 ● Issue 6 

They arranged things in advance with their Realtor and his partner to see 12 to 14 homes each visit — Rich went with one Realtor, Jean with the other. Although Jean was apprehensive — her impression was that Realtors were “greedy, and only wanted to show you higher-priced homes” — she soon found out that wasn’t the case. Their Realtors stayed within their price range and kept their needs in mind. Gas stoves weren’t common, but their Realtors found them houses that had gas connections (for heat, fireplace, etc.) knowing it would be possible to add a gas range. What they liked most about their Realtors: Responsiveness, pure and simple; both Realtors were there when Rich and Jean needed them. They worked with the couple’s schedule, had appointments lined up, and made sure their shopping trips to Virginia Beach were productive. And after Rich and Jean chose a home, “[we] called on our Realtor a few times — ‘Do you know a painter? Do you know a carpet cleaner?’” Take away: Be there. Respond, even to blind inquiries. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make a tremendous difference. l

Common ground All the home buyers on the panel had a few interesting things in common. Not surprisingly, all of them used the Internet extensively in their home search, but they all agreed that it was more of a starting point for conversations with their Realtors. Trulia, Zillow, and the like were good starting points, but as Jean put it, “We did find they were not up to date,” and their Realtor had better information. Mapping tools were the most important thing for everyone — they helped pinpoint travel routes, local amenities, shopping, and so on. And none were intimidated by the buyer-broker agreement they had to sign. Take aways: Know what your clients will be seeing online so you can be prepared to discuss it. And the better you know the area — everything from where schools and shopping are to the best routes in and out — the more you can help your clients. Maps are great, but direct knowledge is better. december 2012/january 2013 21

L1CENSE 2 5ELL Combine a bit of Realtor速 pride with the low cost of vanity license plates in Virginia, and you get what you see on these two pages. These were all taken at the parking lot of the Real Show in Virginia Beach on the first day of the show (and these were only the ones on the south end of the lot). Way to show your colors, folks!

accessibletech ANDREW KANTOR

Someday your prints will come Ah, the humble printer. A critical office machine so often given short shrift…until it doesn’t work. It’s also one you probably don’t think about the cost of… until it’s time to refill the ink. The reality is, though, that you can save — or waste — time and money depending on the kind of printer you use and the kind of prints you make. There are three major types of printer on the market: color ink jet, black and white laser, and color laser. (There are also specialty machines, like dedicated photo printers, but we aren’t getting into that.) Each type has, as Liam Neeson might say, a very particular set of skills. If you need one but use another, you could be wasting a lot of money, or getting a much lower quality printout than you should.

Ink Jets Ink jets are the most popular home and small-office printer type, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best choice. They’re popular for two main reasons: Low (initial) cost, and the ability to print great photos. Ink jet printers make their images by spraying tiny drops of liquid ink onto a page, and as you’ll see, that’s important. A good-quality ink jet printer can produce photos that are as good or better that what you can get from your local photo printer (e.g., the one at Walgreens or Target) in terms of quality and lifespan… with the right paper, at least. But that liquid ink has two significant disadvantages: It’s expensive and it dries out. If you use an ink jet, the first part isn’t a surprise. It’s not only easy to spend more for a set of refill cartridges than for the printer, it’s common. It’s the old “give away the razor and sell the blades” plan. You don’t have much (if any) choice about refills; an HP printer means HP color cartridges. Further, liquid ink has a shelf life. If you don’t print for a week or so, you might find that the ink has dried, clogging the nozzles that spray it. While that’s usually 24 december 2012/january 2013

easy to take care of — print a couple of pages or use the printer’s cleaning cycle — it’s a huge waste of expensive ink. Even worse, some manufacturers have programmed their cartridges to stop working after a certain date, even if there’s ink left. It’s not that they want to force you to buy a new cartridge — no, sir! It’s that they want to ensure you get the best possible printouts — you can’t be using “expired” ink, of course. The end result is that ink jets have the highest cost per page: six or seven cents each for text, and 10 to 20 cents (or more) for a color page, depending on whether it’s a chart or a full-page photo. And that’s just the ink. Photo paper ain’t cheap, and album-quality, long-lasting prints require the right paper, preferably the printer manufacturer’s. So while printing lots of photos on an ink jet is a smart use, when it comes to everyday office production, ink jets may not be your best choice — they’re also significantly slower than lasers. Pros: Inexpensive hardware, produces the best quality photos, quiet Cons: Expensive ink with a short shelf life, slow, clogs if not used regularly, must use manufacturer’s ink Best for: Printing high-quality photos

Black and white lasers Black and white laser printers have been around a long time. They’re the workhorses of many offices, and for good reason: They’re fast, produce excellent (black, white, and gray) output, and they’re inexpensive to run. Laser printers use toner, like a copier, which is effectively melted onto a page. The advantage to that is two-fold: First, because the toner is a powder it doesn’t dry out — not for a long time. That means it can sit unused for a while, and it won’t ever clog the printer. Second, toner is toner is toner, and there are a lot of companies that sell it and the cartridges, too. Thirdparty refills are as good as the manufacturers’, and you can even refill a cartridge once (and often twice) before replacing it. Companies like TonerRefillKits. com (highly recommended, by the way) will sell you www.VARealtor.com

easy-to-use refill kits. You can’t do that with an ink jet. What that means is that laser printers, while they might cost a little more at first, are much less expensive to actually use. Their cost per page is typically less than a nickel. Plus they’re often faster than an ink jet, if a bit noisier. The obvious downside, though, is that black-andwhite lasers only print black-and-white (and gray) pages. If you’re looking for photos or color charts, they won’t do the trick. We’ve all seen the results when someone prints a color photo on one of them — it ain’t pretty. Pros: Fast, much less expensive to use, indefinite toner shelf life, don’t clog with disuse, toner and cartridges available many places Cons: More expensive hardware, black and white only, don’t print photos Best for: Text documents and simple charts

Color lasers Color lasers used to be too expensive for the SOHO (“small office/ home office”) market, but that’s changed over the past few years. Today they’re priced low enough for us normal folks. They have most of the advantages of a black-and-white laser — speed, shelf life, less-expensive media — while still giving you the ability to print high-quality charts, graphs, and other color doo-dads. The cost of printing a page on a color laser is a bit higher than on a black and white laser, but nowhere near as expensive as an ink jet. Plus you can keep a stock of refills on hand for when you run out because they won’t clog, evaporate, or expire. You are, however, stuck with using your printer manufacturer’s cartridges — the exact mix of the cyan, magenta, and yellow toners will differ from Samsung to Panasonic to HP. And photos? The good news is that color lasers can print very good photos, and on plain paper to boot. The bad news is that they can’t print great photos, at least Volume 19 ● Issue 6 

not the quality you get from an ink jet and photo paper. What kind of quality are we talking about? Good enough that people will say, “That’s a nice picture,” but not so good (or long lasting) that you’d want to use them in your new baby’s keepsake album. Pros: Fast, less expensive to use than ink jets, indefinite toner shelf life, don’t clog with disuse, can print good photos on plain paper Cons: More expensive hardware, must use manufacturer’s toner, photos probably not keepsake quality

The bottom line If 90 percent of your printouts are black and white, with the occasional color chart (or photo that you don’t expect to go into an album), a color laser is your best bet. If you can, though, use a black and white laser. It’s fast, and the least expensive to use and fill. For the occasional photos, use the local CVS. And color ink jets? Use one if you print a lot of color photos that need to be the highest quality. For text and basic graphics, they aren’t worth the cost. l

Other factors What else might you want to consider besides the type of printer? Here’s a list:

Networking: Can you easily share it with several people? Wired or wireless? Print speed: Especially if you’re sharing in an office. Size of the paper tray: Will someone have to replace the paper every half hour? Paper options: Can it handle envelopes? Card stock? Noise: Loud printers and quiet offices don’t mix. Other functions: Do you need it to scan, copy, and fax, too? Cloud printing: Do you want to be able to print from your smartphone or tablet while on the road?

december 2012/january 2013 25

rpacreport As of November 15, 2012, the following REALTORS® and local associations have joined RPAC of Virginia as Major Investors. For more information on the value of RPAC and how your investment works to protect your business, contact Heidi Schlicher at heidi@VARealtor.com or (804) 264-5033. Or, if you want to get invested today, please visit www.realtorschoose.com/contribute.

Golden R Investors ($5,000)

Crystal R Investors ($2,500)

Charles Burnette Burnette Real Estate Sales, Blacksburg

Billy Chorey Chorey & Associates Realty, Suffolk

Dennis Cronk Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group, Roanoke

John Dickinson Hall Associates Union Hall

Joe Funkhouser Coldwell Banker Funkhouser, Harrisonburg

Deborah Baisden Prudential Towne Realty Virginia Beach

Cindy Hawks Keller Williams Realty Virginia Beach

Dorcas HelfantBrowning, Coldwell Banker Professional, Virginia Beach

Steve Hoover MKB, Realtors® Roanoke

Thomas Jefferson, III Joyner Fine Properties Richmond

John McEnearney McEnearney Associates Alexandria

John Powell Long & Foster Real Estate Colonial Heights

Forrest Odend’hal Long & Foster Real Estate, Gainesville

Jane Quill RE/MAX Presidential Fairfax

Trish Szego ERA-Elite Group, Realtors®, Fairfax

Bill White Joyner Fine Properties Richmond

Golden R Associations ($5,000) •C  harlottesville Area Association of Realtors®, Charlottesville  •N  orthern Virginia Association of

Tom Stevens Coldwell Banker Residential, Vienna

Melanie Thompson Century 21 AdVenture Realty, Fredericksburg

 all of Famers have contributed a cumulative H amount of at least $25,000 to RPAC.

Jack Torza Long & Foster, Realtors® Mechanicsville

Realtors®, Fairfax • R  ichmond Association of Realtors®, Richmond • R  oanoke Valley Association of Realtors®, Roanoke • W  illiamsburg Area Association of Realtors®, Williamsburg • V  irginia Association of Realtors®

WHY I INVEST

Sterling R Investors ($1,000)

David Adams RE/MAX Commonwealth, Glen Allen

Bob Adamson McEnearney Associates Arlington

Nancy Alert Re/Max Allegiance

Guy Allen One Stop Realty Woodbridge

Katy AllenbaughRichards First American Home Buyers Protection, Midlothian

Betsy Atkinson ERA Atkinson Realty Virginia Beach

Julia Avent Re/Max Allegiance Arlington

Jim Barb Jim Barb Realty Winchester

CC Bartholomew Long & Foster Real Estate, Manassas

Mary Bayat Bayat Realty Alexandria

Eleanor Beaver Keller Williams Realty Manassas

Mary Ann Bendinelli Weichert, Realtors® Manassas

I give because RPAC protects so much more than

just my real estate business. It protects my clients and their families, who I am proud to serve.” —Forrest Odend’hal, Long & Foster Realtors Gainesville VAR’s lobbying can only be as effective as the REALTOR® support behind it. RPAC and VAR work everyday to ensure that your business, and your clients, are protected from laws that threaten the American dream of homeownership.

Charlie Bengel, Jr. RE/MAX Allegiance Leesburg

Laura Benjamin Roanoke Valley Association of Realtors® Roanoke

Brad Boland Keller Williams Realty Reston

Candice Bower McEnearney Associates/Leesburg Purcellville

Visit RealtorsChoose.com/RPAC-101 to hear about what inspired Forrest to become an RPAC investor.

See how your RPAC investment is paying off: Visit www.RealtorsChoose.com!

Sterling R Investors ($1,000)

David Bridges ERA Blue Diamond Woodbridge

R. Scott Brunner Virginia Association of Realtors速 Glen Allen

Pat Buck McEnearney Associates McLean

Curtis Burchett MKB, Realtors速 Roanoke

Robyn Burdett RE/MAX Allegiance Fairfax

Peggy Burke Long & Foster Real Estate, Woodbridge

Joe Carney William E. Wood & Associates Virginia Beach

Dale Chandler Greg Garrett Realty Newport News

David Charron MRIS Rockville, MD

Flo Chittenden Long & Foster Real Estate, Manassas

Moon Choi RE/MAX Presidential Fairfax

Carol Clarke Montague Miller & Co. Charlottesville

Vic Coffey Re/Max All Stars Realty Daleville

Tracy Comstock Comstock Realty and Investment, Alexandria

Billy Coons Olde Virginia Realty Suffolk

Hugh Cross Cross Management Suffolk

Beth Dalton Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Blacksburg

John Daly Rose & Womble Realty Company Virginia Beach

Sheila Dann Abbitt Realty Co, LLC Newport News

Lisa Dubois Headley Re/Max Allegiance Arlington

Mary Dykstra MKB, Realtors速 Roanoke

Sandee Ferebee Prudential Towne Realty, Virginia Beach

Claire ForcierRowe Coldwell Banker Elite Fredericksburg

Virgil Frizzell Long & Foster Real Estate, Reston

Bev Frowen Long & Foster Real Estate Manassas

Libby Gatewood ERA Realtors速 Napier Colonial Heights

Bill Gearhart Coldwell Banker Townside, Roanoke

Marcus Gilbert United Country Riverside N. Tazewell

28 december 2012/january 2013

www.VARealtor.com

Sterling R Investors ($1,000)

Charlee Gowin Prudential Towne Realty, Virginia Beach

Art Grace Hunzeker & Lyon, PC Manassas

Lynn Grimsley RE/MAX Peninsula Newport News

Tom Groves ERA Real Estate Professionals Chesapeake

George Grundy George Grundy & Associates Realty Petersburg

Michael Guthrie Roy Wheeler Realty Co. Charlottesville

Kit Hale MKB, Realtors® Roanoke

Delk Hamaker K.D. Hamaker Properties Arlington

Margaret Handley M.C. Handley, Ltd. Falls Church

Terrylynn Harrell Exit 1st Choice Realty Woodbridge

Bill Hernandez Keller Williams Realty Manassas

Liz Hernandez Keller Williams Realty Manassas

Bob Hill Virginia Association of REALTORS® Harrisonburg

Jeanne Hockaday Virginia Country Real Estate, Gloucester

Amy Hudson RE/MAX 8 - Blackburg Blacksburg

Nathan Hughes Bandazian & Holden Richmond

Rusty Hulett Keller Williams Realty Chesapeake

Phillip Innes RE/MAX Commonwealth, Richmond

Tom Innes RE/MAX Commonwealth, Richmond

Donn Irby Rose & Womble Realty Chesapeake

Patricia Jensen BHG Real Estate III North, Charlottesville

Tom Jewell Carter Braxton Preferred Properties Leesburg

Jo Anne Johnson Westgate Realty Group Falls Church

Sita Kapur Arlington Premier Realty, Arlington

Kathleen Kennedy Coldwell Banker Previews International, Alexandria

Karen Kidwell Long & Foster Real Estate, Reston

Betty Kingery Mountain to Lake Realty, Rocky Mount

Pat Kline Avery Hess, Realtors® Springfield

Volume 19 ● Issue 6

december 2012/january 2013 29

Sterling R Investors ($1,000)

Jody Korman RE/MAX Commonwealth, Richmond

Vonda Lacey Lacey Real Estate Group, Fishersville

Natalie Langford Realty Negotiations Winchester

Barbara Jean LeFon Rivah Realty Montross

George Lyons Long & Foster Real Estate, Woodbridge

Scott MacDonald Re/Max Gateway Centreville

Nakita Mattocks Vision Real Estate Services, Woodbridge

Keith May Kline May Realty Harrisonburg

Shane McCullar Keller Williams Realty Alexandria

Glenda McDaniel Long & Foster Hales Ford Bridge, Moneta

Susan Mekenney RE/MAX Allegiance Fairfax

Dee Meredith C21 ALL-SERVICE/ Timberlake Rd. Lynchburg

Tom Meyer Condo 1 Arlington

Brooke Miller Long and Foster Real Estate, Fredericksburg

Jay Mitchell William E. Wood & Associates Chesapeake

Percy Montague Montague Miller & Co., Charlottesville

Thomas Moore Olde Virginia Realty, Suffolk

Fred Morgan 1st Choice Real Estate Staunton

Roger Nakazawa Olympic Realty, Inc. Vienna

Kurt Negaard RE/MAX Commonwealth Midlothian

Thai Nguyen Westgate Realty Falls Church

Vinh Nguyen Westgate Realty Falls Church

Gwen Pangle Pangle & Associates Leesburg

Gail Penman William E. Wood & Associates Virginia Beach

Fatima PereiraShepherd Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Manassas

Bobby Perkins Long & Foster Real Estate, Colonial Heights

Tracy Pless Long & Foster Real Estate, Reston

Matthew Rathbun Coldwell Banker Elite Stafford

30 december 2012/january 2013

www.VARealtor.com

VAR’s 2013 Legislative Agenda

Sterling R Investors ($1,000)

As we prepare for the start of the 2013 General Assembly session, VAR has a list of issues — mostly suggested and championed by local associations — we plan to take up with legislators. Obviously these are subject to change amidst the fog of politics, but they are a solid start for the year. Anne Rector Long & Foster Real Estate, Alexandria

Peter Rickert Coldwell Banker Residential Alexandria

Zinta RodgersRickert, RE/MAX Allegiance, Fairfax

nA  ppraisal Management Companies: The law adopted last year on AMC’s need to apply both to commercial as well as residential appraisals. nL  andlord Tenant Legislation: Every year, a bill is introduced to address issues that landlords and property managers have experienced. This year’s bill includes about 10 small subjects so far, and is growing.

Mario Rubio Rubio Real Estate Annandale

Fetneh Schacht Long & Foster Real Estate, Vienna

Henry Scholz MKB, REALTORS® Roanoke

n POA/Condo Act: Also, each year, property owner associations and condominiums create issues for our members. This year, we will ask that disclosure packets include information on how many condominium units are owner-occupied. This will help our members advise whether FHA financing might be available. n Real Estate Licensee Reliance on Public Records: Some lawyers are finding ways to sue real estate professionals for false advertising over errors that may creep into listings, regardless of the source of the error. This legislation will seek to stop that practice. n Impact Fees and Proffers: We will propose a placeholder bill to serve as a point of discussion over a possible moratorium on proffers and impact fees until the housing market recovers.

Scott Shaheen Long & Foster Richmond

Jean Siebert Siebert Realty Virginia Beach

Christine Singhass Realty World Select Fredericksburg

nD  angerous Drug Lab Disclosure: We will examine ways to protect the public (and our members) from the consequences of meth labs that may have been located on property subject to sales. n Fair Housing: We will have a discussion with the Fair Housing office about a practice where employees of real estate licensees are having cases heard by the Fair Housing Board, rather than by the Real Estate Board as the law clearly requires.

Karen Smith RE/MAX Commonwealth, Richmond

Katrina Smith Long & Foster/Webber & Associates Winchester

Volume 19 ● Issue 6

Kimber Smith Prudential Towne Realty Williamsburg

nB  udget Amendment on Down-payment Assistance: In last year’s budget, a restrictive provision was added to requirements to access grants for down-payment assistance. Keep up with VAR’s legislative efforts at RealtorsChoose.com december 2012/january 2013 31

Sterling R Investors ($1,000)

Trish Snyder Coldwell Banker Four Seasons, Mt. Jackson

E. James Souvagis Long & Foster Real Estate Fairfax

Cindy Stackhouse Century 21 Stackhouse & Associates, Dumfries

Vickie Stamper Appalachian Realty Marion

Wes Stearns MO Wilson Properties, Woodbridge

John Stedman Commission Express Woodbridge

Minnie Stevenson 1st Choice Real Estate Staunton

Suzy Stone Century 21 AdVenture Realty Fredericksburg

Mack Strickland Strickland Realty Chester

Cindy Stuart Mountain Sky Properties Bland

Pat Sury Montague Miller & Co. Charlottesville

Dick Thurmond, William E. Wood & Associates Virginia Beach

Christine Todd Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® Fairfax

Karen Trainor Weichert Realtors® Ashburn

Kevin Turner Century 21 All-Service Bedford

Sandra Wagner William E. Wood & Associates Poquoson

Mary Ann White RE/MAX Commonwealth Mechanicsville

David Wilkey Rose & Womble Realty Chesapeake

John Wilson Coldwell Banker Traditions Williamsburg

Shanna Wiseman Parr & Abernathy Hopewell

Barbara Wolcott Prudential Towne Realty Virginia Beach

Sterling R Associations ($1,000)

Jon Wolford Long & Foster Real Estate, Springfield

• Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors • Blue Ridge Association of Realtors • Greater Augusta Association of Realtors • Harrisonburg Rockingham Association of Realtors • Lynchburg Association of Realtors • Virginia Peninsula Association of Realtors • Southwest Virginia Association of Realtors

32 december 2012/january 2013

www.VARealtor.com

Upgrade to an ocean view room, buy your monthly commuting pass, donate to your favorite charity…whatever moves you most. As a VAR member, you could save up to $343.90* on your auto insurance with Liberty Mutual. You could also enjoy valuable discounts tailored to the way you live today and save even more by insuring your home as well. Responsibility. What’s your policy?

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804-527-3902 ext. 51591 Client # 4624

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301 Concourse Boulevard - Suite 200 Glen Allen, VA 23059

This organization receives financial support for allowing Liberty Mutual to offer this auto and home insurance program. *Discounts are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. Savings figure based on a February 2011 sample of auto policyholder savings when comparing their former premium with those of Liberty Mutual’s group auto and home program. Individual premiums and savings will vary. Coverage provided and underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA. © 2012 Liberty Mutual Insurance.

The VAR 2013 Leadership Team

Meet VAR’s 2013 leadership team—sworn in at the 2012 Real Show in Virginia Beach.

mary dykstra takes the oath of office as Var’s 2013 president

l to r: brad boland (2013 president-elect), deborah baisden (2013 vicepresident), and bill White (2013 treasurer) take their respective oaths of office. behind them are members of Var’s 2013 board of directors.

mary dykstra of mKb, realtors®

VAR’s 2013 volunteer leaders

in roanoke has been a long-time

President-elect: Brad Boland, Keller Williams Realty, Reston

active member of the roanoke Valley

brad has been a licensed real estate agent since 1975 and a broker since 1978,

association of realtors, serving as its

having owned and managed a variety of real estate companies. he was the 2009

president in 2005 and being named its

chairman of the board of directors for the dulles area association of realtors, and

2008 realtor of the year.

in 2011 was elected president of the blue ridge association of realtors.

Something about Mary

mary has chaired several Var committees and been a member of the board of

at the state level, he was Var’s 2011 chairman of the rPac board of trustees, and has chaired several committees for both Var and nar.

directors since 2006. she is also a member of nar’s board of directors and 2012

Vice-president: Deborah Baisden, Prudential Towne Realty, Virginia Beach

chair of its communications committee.

deborah has been a licensed realtor since 1989, and is a consistent top producer

mary is a member of roanoke’s

in the hampton roads area. she has volunteered with her local association since

architectural review board and the

joining, serving on a variety of committees and advisory groups as well as the

city’s board of equalization, and she is

board of directors; she was chairman of the association’s board in 2004.

a court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children. she

Treasurer: Bill White, Joyner Fine Properties, Richmond

lives in roanoke with her husband and

since 1998, bill has been owner and president of joyner fine Properties. he’s a

has two children. Get to know mary at

past president of the richmond association of realtors and was named its 2007

VARealtor.com/leadershipteam.

realtor of the year.

Prince William’s Cindy Stackhouse was named 2012 Virginia Realtor of the Year as an outstanding real estate professional who has “made proven contri-

Cindy Stackhouse 2012 realtor of the year 34 december 2012/january 2013

butions to the real estate industry through both personal and professional achievement and outstanding volunteerism.” stackhouse has been a longtime volunteer at the local, state, and national associations, and won a long list of local and state awards, including Volunteer of the year, manager of the year, and the code of ethics leadership award, in addition to serving as Var President in 2010. read more about cindy — and watch a tribute video — at VARealtor.com/2012ROTY.

WWW.Varealtor.com

contactvar

We’d love to hear from you

We’re online at www.VARealtor.com Our official blog is VARbuzz, at www.VARbuzz.com If you have questions, we’re ready to help. During normal business days, our receptionist is available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Our phone number is

(804) 264 -5033 For membership and dues questions Ask for Amy Hafer Membership Records Manager amy@varealtor.com

For questions about professional standards and the Code of Ethics Ask for Erika Almstead Professional Standards Administrator erika@VARealtor.com

If you’re interested in marketing or advertising opportunities Ask for Christine Hodges Marketing and Communications Mgr. christine@varealtor.com

To reach our Legal Hotline

If you’d like to have someone speak at your association or brokerage

To find out about conferences, seminars, and professional education

Ask for Lynne Wherry Director of Member Outreach lynne@varealtor.com

Ask for Glenda Puryear Conferences Specialist or Lili Paulk, Director of Education glenda or lili @varealtor.com

If you need to know about professional designations Ask for Kim Martin, Specialties and Chapter Manager kim@varealtor.com

If you have comments or questions about Commonwealth magazine or our Web sites Ask for Andrew Kantor, Editor and Information Analyst andrew@varealtor.com VAR Member Service Partners

See your member discounts at www.VARealtor.com/ discounts

Liberty Mutual, home, auto, and renters insurance

Call (804) 622-7955*

Pearl Insurance, E&O, medical, life, and dental insurance

*You must register first at

Phone Tag, voice to e-mail transcription

VARealtor.com/LegalHotline

Realtors Federal Credit Union T-Mobile, wireless service UPS, shipping and more

Our CEO is Scott Brunner (804) 249-5702 scott@varealtor.com

Volume 19 ● Issue 6

Zipform, electronic forms solutions Vertical Response, social media management platform

For information about RPAC Ask for Heidi Schlicher Director of Political Operations heidi@varealtor.com VAR 2013 Leadership Team

Mary Dykstra, ABR, CRS President MKB, REALTORS® Roanoke (540) 989-3000 mary@varealtor.com Bradley Boland President-Elect Keller Williams Realty Reston (703) 926-6189; bradleyboland@gmail.com Deborah Baisden, GRI Vice-President Prudential Towne Realty, Virginia Beach (757) 486-4500 deborah@deborahbaisden.com Bill White Treasurer Joyner Fine Properties Richmond (804) 967-2740 bill.white@hoynerfineproperties.com Trish Szego, CRB, CRS Immediate Past President ERA Elite Group Haymarket (703) 359-7800; trishszego@gmail.com R. Scott Brunner, CAE Chief Executive Officer (804) 264-5033; scott@varealtor.com

december 2012/january 2013 35

VARworks

First steps, new directions VAR President Mary Dykstra, Roanoke

Direction: It’s both the way we want to go and the means of getting us there. And as with any journey, how we start — and how artfully we do it — can make a major difference in where we’ll be just one short year from now.   We need to start early, and we need to start well. This country has seen what a housing crisis can do to the economy. Now is our opportunity, as Realtors®, to step up and demonstrate our value to our communities, and the power of responsible homeownership to

We’re preparing to fight for you and your business in the 2013 General Assembly session. See our legislative agenda on page 31.

preserve and rebuild them. Let’s make this our time. Let us take advantage of our tremendous potential. Let’s increase our engagement in community building and economic development. Let us step us as leaders. In the next year we have so much to accomplish, but this journey is already off to the right start, and is headed in the right direction. Your association will be listening to you, our members, and assessing your needs. We’ll be working with our local associations,

studying our economic environment, and harnessing the talents of Realtors® across the commonwealth. We’re going to use our resources wisely, and I believe we’re going to make a difference. ●

Virginia Realtors® have been asked to participate with regional and business groups in Blueprint Virginia — a sweeping plan to help invigorate the state’s economy and help keep us attractive and economically vibrant into the future.

Coming in 2013: A new online agency course — fulfill the requirements without leaving your desk with a new kind of Internet-based learning experience. 36 DECEMBER 2012/JANUARY 2013

WWW.VAREALTOR.COM

BIGGER AND BETTERâ&#x20AC;Ś JUST THE BEGINNING Prudential Real Estate continues to enjoy the highest average sales price across the United States. Now, as part of the Brookfield family of real estate companies - an organization with real estate in its DNA - Prudential Real Estate is even stronger and better positioned for the future.

If you would like to be part of this winning team please contact us at 888-732-8233 or email us at Careerline@PenFedRealty.com or visit our website at PenFedRealty.com.

36 offices serving DC, MD and VA markets including yours! Facebook.com/PenFedRealty Blog: PruPenFedRealty.com Š 2012 BRER Affiliates Inc. An independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Prudential PenFed Realty is and independently owned and operated member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. PenFed membership is not required to conduct business with Prudential PenFed Realty.

Keller Williams Realty ranked “Highest in Overall Satisfaction for Home Buyers and Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms.”

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