According to the Washington Post, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, campaign donations from Realtors declined big-time in the 2011 elections. The good news is that we’re still among the top-donating professions (behind lawyers and IT folks, and ahead of doctors, alcohol distributors, auto dealers and bankers). The worry is that it’s the beginning of a trend that could be dangerous.
Because, while other industries are giving more, “The biggest decline came from the information technology field, real estate agents and developers.”
That’s exactly the case, according to data from HousingTracker Department of Numbers as reported by the folks at Calculated Risk.
HousingTracker is reporting that inventory in the 54 metro area is down 17.5% from the same week in 2010. If this adjustment is close, existing home inventory is now below the levels of late 2005 – and that is when inventory started rising sharply.
It’s more procedural than anything else, but it’s certainly a symbolic victory: A Circuit Court judge entered a default judgment against the Taishan Gypsum Co., the Chinese-government-owned manufacturer of the tainted drywall that was installed in hundreds of homes in Virginia.
One couple whose home had the drywall (which had to be removed, of course) sued — among other companies — the firm that imported the drywall from China, one Venture Supply.
When you get past the ick factor and the jokes, bedbugs are a real problem for commercial properties like hotels and rental units. The legal issues alone are frightening.
The problem with bedbugs is that they hide from the light, so inspecting a room isn’t often going to reveal the things — they’re busy sleeping in the walls. (I know: Eew.)
Not content with winning battles over real estate transfer taxes every few years, the Louisiana Realtors Association decided to put an end to the possibility once and for all. They decided to try to amend the state constitution to prohibit the taxes, period.
Using funds and assistance from NAR’s My Rearltor® Party initiative (which is designed for just this sort of thing), LRA first convinced both chambers of its legislature to pass the measure, then — per the state’s constitution — turned to consumers to win their support and votes.
They needed 51 percent of voters to approve the “Stay Tax Free” amendment. They got 81 percent.
The chief economist for Freddie Mac says that the recent changes made by the Obama Administration to HARP — the Home Affordable Refinance Program — could result in an additional $200 billion to $300 billion in mortgages over the next two years.
Many condo communities in the state have lost their FHA certification, something buyers and sellers don’t realize until a contract is blocked. So if you have clients that are in any way connected with condo or townhouse communities — owners, managers, potential buyers — they need to be aware of this: FHA revoked its certification of every condo earlier this year. If the management hasn’t reapplied, units can’t be purchased with an FHA loan.
It used to be relatively easy for a condo complex (or “project” in FHA parlance) to get certified by the FHA, meaning the agency would loan money to qualified buyers of units there. But with the burst of the housing bubble, FHA realized that a lot of delinquent and foreclosed properties were condos. So it tightened its rules.
Despite recent month-to-month declines in the median sales price in Virginia, long-term trends show only a 1.5% decline in median sales price over the past two years. History indicates that the median sales price will likely decrease a bit further over the next several months and then start to increase again in February 2012.
In an effort to cut down on the amount of fraud it’s finding in short sales, Freddie Mac has issued a new set of guidelines.
The problem: Working with an unethical agent, someone makes a low bid on a short sale and the agent doesn’t disclose any competing (higher) bids. When the sale goes through, the new owner turns around and sells the property to one of those higher bidders, pocketing the difference. The process is called “flopping.”
The solution: Making it clear on an affidavit to be signed by all parties that they are liable for any “negligent or intentional misrepresentations, but not those of other signatories to the affidavit.”
Thanks to everyone who contacted their senators and representatives and who gave to RPAC. It made a difference — a big one.
The House of Representatives voted 292-121 and the Senate voted 70-30 to restore the higher conforming loan limits mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie, and Freddie.
This is a major victory. It’s a perfect showcase for what Realtors can do when they work together, and it shows why we’re always asking you to invest in RPAC: Those dollars helped make us friends on Capitol Hill, opened doors for us, and gave us a louder voice in the discussion.
And it worked; President Obama who is expected to sign the bill today.