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Monday, May 19, 2014

The latest quarterly performance report from the Federal Housing and Finance Administration makes it clear that Fannie and Freddie are optimistic about the future of the housing market.

The clearest indicator is on page 3, under the heading “Loan Loss Reserves Continue to Fall”:

Credit exposure continued to improve at the Enterprises throughout the year driven by rising house prices and stronger credit characteristics.

In other words, Fannie and Freddie are setting aside less money as a cushion against a housing downturn.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do the pictures on your website have “alt text” (so the blind can know what the pictures show)? Do your videos have captions for the deaf? Does the condo you manage ban pot smoking?

These are things to think about based on discussions at the REALTOR® Party Convention in Washington, D.C. — according to the most recent Speaking of Real Estate blog from NAR.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The new director of the Federal Housing Finance Administration announced some important changes aimed at keeping the housing recovery on track. In short, it plans to keep the federal government’s major role in the mortgage-finance market.

“I don’t think it’s FHFA’s role to contract the footprint of Fannie and Freddie,” said FHFA’s Director Mel Watt. Without proof that private investors will step in to fill the void, he called it “irresponsible” for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pull back from the market.

Monday, May 12, 2014

When should you terminate a contract and when do you need a release? They both seem to end a contract, but it's more complicated than that. Know the difference.

This WorkSmart Kit covers the basic differences between terminating and releasing a contract: When you need both sides to agree, when you should use one over the other, and when you need both.

It includes a presentation, broker's guide, and a poster for your office bulletin board.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Here’s an interesting article from ABC about Boomers becoming roommates: “Aging Baby Boomers Becoming the Roommate Generation.”

Rachel Caraviello, vice president of Affordable Living for the Aging (ALA), says that nationally there are about 130,000 households where the cohabiters are aged 50 or older, and where they have no familial relationship or romantic connection.

Caraviello views these arrangements as one more manifestation of the “sharing economy”: Here, one party typically is house-rich but cash-poor; and the other has money or services to contribute.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

reportcardIt’s here: The premiere of VAR’s Legislator Report Card.

The report card is a groundbreaking project to help Virginia Realtors® – and others — understand how our state senators and delegates are voting on important real estate issues. It’s all about transparency.

Friday, May 2, 2014

USA Today found eight Virginia cities are what it calls “millennial magnets” — places attractive to new college graduates, based on a simple number: whether they have more people in their 20s than in their teens. Across the country, 289 cities met that criteria.

Several of the most popular cities have become an important part of New Urbanism, which models development around mixed-use development and pedestrian-friendly spaces.

“These places seem to be built for people, not for automobiles,” as University of Nevada-Las Vegas demographer Robert Lang is quoted as saying. “And the 20-somethings love the people, not the automobile.”

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Here’s a great new resource for brokers to create their own office policy manual.
It’s VAR’s new Office Policy and Procedures Manual template.

It’s a detailed Word document created by VAR’s Risk Management Committee and the Virginia Manager’s Council, and it’s been vetted by VAR’s legal team.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kirill GorvounovCongratulations to Kirill Gorbounov of RE/MAX Allegiance in McLean, who was one of seven people to graduate from REALTOR® University’s first Master of Real Estate (MRE) program. NAR will hold its official commencement ceremony to honor the graduates at the REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo on May 16, where NAR CEO and REALTOR® University President Dale Stinton will deliver the commencement speech.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sales picked up in February, but really took off in March, increasing 23.5% over February. Unemployment and mortgage interest rates remained stable, so the March sales increases are simply an expression of the season. Median sales price has been rising steadily since January, likely drawing more sellers into the market.

In addition to the seasonal increase in sales, you’ll notice from the graph below that we may be experiencing a decelerating market recovery. The success of 2013 may be explained by clearing of excess supply and pent up demand. Now in 2014, we are facing the reality of a very slowly growing economy. We can expect sales to follow their historic seasonal trajectory, but this year we may only see slightly more sales than we saw in 2012.