The two biggest days for Virginia’s Realtors is coming this fall—the Real Show 2013. Make sure you’ve made your reservations now for the Real Show — the largest gathering of real estate professionals in Virginia. Early bird registration ends June 30 – CLICK HERE to register today and lock in the best possible registration rate.
Virginia senator Mark Warner, along with colleague Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) — with backing from a bipartisan group of lawmakers — will introduce a bill that would liquidate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
It would replace them with a new agency: the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp. The plan isn’t final, but here are some provisions of the draft bill:
Lucy O’Neill over at the Improvement Center (a nifty website about home improvement projects) has a cool infographic about the most common kinds of pests around a home — what kind of damage they do, how to get rid of them, and some fun facts, too.
Speaking of which, my two favorites:
1. Some varieties of carpenter ant defend themselves by exploding and spraying their attacker with venom.
2. A cockroach can live for weeks without its head. (Insert politician joke here.)
Anyway, it’s worth either checking out, or passing along to someone else so they can get the heebie-jeebies instead.
Every time I prepare an issue of Commonwealth to print, I get a membership count that I send to the printer. When I started (a little more than five years ago) it was in the upper 30,000s; with the burst of the housing bubble it dropped to the 28,000-or-so level by 2012.
But over the past year and a half it seems to be picking back up again. More people are getting their licenses and joining the business.
The February/March issue went to 29,457 Realtors and brokers. May/June was down a handful (29,424), but the June/July issue went to 29,780.
It’s not an explosion, but it certainly feels like — like the housing market itself — we’ve hit bottom and are starting to move back up.
VAR’s popular Residential Contract of Purchase (Form 600) has gotten an update for the Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) provision to help clarify the law for Realtors® and consumers. The June/July issue of Commonwealth – hitting your mailbox this week – includes a whole Legal Lines devoted to these changes. We’ve made those changes accessible online now, so you can see what’s new.
File this under "got your back": Check out who’s spending the most money lobbying on Capitol Hill, courtesy of OpenSecrets.org:
That’s $8.5 million so far this year. In 2012, NAR spent a total of $41.5 million (and was also the number-two lobbying organization behind the US Chamber).
Congrats to Michael Wilmore of Coldwell Banker Residential in Sterling — he’s the winner of our second $100 Amex gift card for taking our 2013 member survey!
If you haven’t taken the survey yet, you have through the first day of summer: June 21. (Technically, 11:59 PM on June 21.) It takes fewer than five minutes, and you could see your name here as the next $100 winner.
Once upon a time there were two shamans in a tribe. They both tried to predict how bad the upcoming winter would be. One threw rabbit bones and predicted a harsh winter. The other threw squirrel bones and predicted a mild winter.
The winter was mild, thus proving that throwing squirrel bones was a more accurate way of predicting the weather.
In an unrelated note, there is some speculation that we might be starting to inflate a new housing bubble, as prices are rising more quickly than is typical.
So, are we? Is there a bubble growing?
There are people who insist either yes or no, and have the bones data to prove it. I’m not going down that road. But it’s worth considering the
There are a handful of tax breaks for homeowners who improve the energy efficiency of their homes — essentially, the government reduces your taxes if you make your house greener.
Now a bill introduced in the Senate by senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) would give a different kind of incentive — it would require lenders to take into account the energy-efficient features of a home when calculating a borrower’s income/expense ratio.
Essentially, it would allow buyers to qualify for a larger loan or a better rate if a home is energy efficient.
The National Flood Insurance Program was in the black until Hurricane Katrina; since then it’s been in debt to the tune of about $20 billion. (Which, of course, illustrates why it’s a government program and not offered by private insurers.)
So in 2012 Congress reformed the program to try to keep it from bleeding money.
For example, homes built before 1968 — when the NFIP started — were given lower, "grandfathered" rates. Those are going to be phased out. And homeowners living where the danger of flooding is so extreme that insurance is unaffordable were given subsidies to pay for it. (Yes, that’s correct. People living in the most-flood prone areas were given lower insurance rates.) Those subsidies are also going to be removed.