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Thursday, March 27, 2014

There’s an excellent column in the Washington Post by regular contributor Jill Chodorov on off-market or “pocket” listings. (Technically it’s a column, but it reads more like a well-researched article.) Whatever you think of pocket/off-market/pre-listing listings, it’s worth a read to understand how and why they’re out there.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

obamasignsAs expected, President Obama signed the bipartisan Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act on March 21, which extended government flood-insurance subsidies to people in flood zones. Because of the 2012 Biggert-Waters law, many of those people would have seen their flood insurance premiums skyrocket as they were adjusted to accurately reflect the flood risks.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Earnest money deposits account for more complaints against Realtors than any other issue, so it's critical to know the rules.

This WorkSmart Kit covers a few of the more recent changes to regulations involving EMDs: When they can be released, who gets the interest, and more.

It includes a broker's guide, a recent Commonwealth magazine article, and a poster for your office bulletin board.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Virginia Association of REALTORS® President Bradley J. Boland sent a message to the Federal Housing Finance Administration, weighing in on the FHFA’s plan to reduce the loan limits for mortgages that could be purchased or insured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Reducing those limits would mean that many potential home buyers would not be eligible for a mortgage because the property value would be too high to qualify. While it’s particularly an issue in the more expensive areas of the state, reducing the loan limits would have an effect on the entire Virginia real estate market.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The General Assembly has ended its session, and VAR had across-the-board success. Heidi explains what we accomplished this year.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The U.S Senate voted 72-22 to approve a bill that would continue government subsidies for flood insurance for people in flood zones, protecting them from often-significant rate hikes that were going into effect.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which had bipartisan support, was in response to the 2012 Biggert-Waters law. As REALTOR® magazine explained, Biggert-Waters

Friday, March 14, 2014

REALTOR® magazine has named Richard Bridges of  ERA Blue Diamond Realty in Woodbridge one of its 50 finalists for the 2014 class of “30 under 30″ — young Realtors® who show exemplary business success, innovation, leadership, and community involvement.

After receiving hundreds of applications, the magazine’s editors selected 75-100 semifinalists, and then narrowed the field to the 50 finalists that include Bridges.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The latest Commercial Real Estate Quarterly Market Survey from NAR found that sales volume nationwide jumped 8 percent from Q4 2012  to Q4 2013.

You can click here to download the full report (PDF), or click here to just read the quick overview.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

We told you about the plan to restructure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that was introduced by Virginia Senator Mark Warner and his Senate Banking Committee colleague Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). In fact — shameless plug — Sen. Warner outlined that plan for us in Pieces of Home, our Virginia Housing Market Report.

The committee took the Warner/Corker plan, made some tweaks, and ranking members Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced it at a press conference.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Did you know you can give your clients a free 10% coupon for Lowe’s? It’s part of an agreement NAR has with the home improvement chain (for the past nine years!), and it’s just been extended.

The program lets you do three things:

1. Send your clients a coupon good for 10 percent off a purchase at Lowe’s;

2. Purchase and send Lowe’s gift cards for five percent off the card amount; and

3. Subscribe your clients to Lowe’s coupons and Lowe’s “Creative Ideas for Home and Garden,” print and e-mail magazine.

To sign up, you just need your NRDS ID — then head over to It’s a great free REALTOR® benefit, and a nice way to help your clients with a few clicks of your mouse.