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VAR’s work pays off — transportion bill passes

We asked and you responded – Realtors from across the state put pressure on their representatives in the Virginia General Assembly, which – after much debate, arguing, and compromise – passed a bipartisan transportation bill that Governor Bob McDonnell is expected to sign.

Important alert: DPOR license system will be down

imageThe Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s main computer system is down for a week — starting February 21 — so some productivity enhancements can be installed.

You need to be aware of what this means:

Flood insurance premiums increase for some properties

Flood insurance premiums are going to start going up for second homes, and for properties that have had significant flood damage before.

Starting January 1 of this year, flood insurance premiums on second homes (including vacation homes) went up 25 percent. And in June, properties that have seen “severe repetitive loss” from floods will also see insurance rates increase.

That’s because federal subsidies for flood insurance are being reduced for those kinds of properties — part of the National Flood Insurance Program’s reauthorization last year.

Mortgage banker CEO praises (!) CFPB

Mortgage bankers aren’t exactly the most regulation-friendly group around, so when the CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (that’d be David Stevens) has good This guy things to say about a government agency that’s creating new regs, it’s worth noting.

In this case, Stevens told the MBA’s membership that, while he thinks many regulators are hindering progress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one doing policy right.

Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act - Richmond Association of REALTORS®

May 10, 2013 - 9:00am - 4:00pm

Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act - “Learn About the Changes”
Get up to speed on the recent changes to the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Designed for both real estate brokers and sales persons, this course offers:
-Detailed review of lease applications
-A “how to” guide for broker agent compliance
-The awareness and information you need to protect your business

DC transportation ranked number 1

The Washington, D.C., area was once again named the #1 area for traffic in the country — that’s #1 worst area, according to the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2012 Urban Mobility Report.

How does it slow thee? Let us count the ways:

D.C. is number one in…

  • Delay Per Auto Commuter (67 hours/yr)
  • Increase in average annual delay 1982 – 2012 (49 hours)
  • Congestion Cost per Auto Commuter ($1,398/yr)
  • Excess Fuel Wasted per Auto Commuter (32 gallons/yr)
  • Least reliable travel freeway times
  • Pounds of CO2 Per Auto Commuter (631)

But don’t despair. We’re ranked second in “Delay per non-peak traveler,” third for “Commuter Stress Index, and a distant fourth for “Total Travel Delay” and “Total Congestion Cost.”

VAR to advise governor on upcoming REB appointment

The Virginia Real Estate Board is composed of seven real estate licensee members and two citizen members, all appointed by the governor and confirmed by the General Assembly. The term of office is four years.

The current term of one licensee member expires on June 30, 2013, and the governor will shortly determine whom he’ll appoint. The current appointment is eligible for reappointment.

VAR regularly makes recommendations to the governor on appointments to the Real Estate Board. Association policy requires that we solicit member nominations before determining which candidate(s) VAR will recommend to the governor for appointment or reappointment.

Virginia getting $3.5 million more for housing settlement

Back in 2012, Virginia received about $66 million from the National Mortgage Settlement — the money paid by mortgage lenders for falsifying records, forging signatures, and otherwise ignoring the law so they could foreclose more quickly.

Now Lender Processing Services, which worked with lenders, was also caught breaking the law. As Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told the Chicago Sun-Times:

LPS and its subsidiaries became a sort of document factory, literally rubber stamping thousands of foreclosures with no regard for fairness and accuracy in the process.

Fannie and Freddie: Here to stay?

What’s the future of Fannie and Freddie? No one knows. The consensus seems to be that it should have a much smaller role in the secondary mortgage market, and possibly re-privatized. But the specifics… well, that’s anyone’s guess.

One of those guesses: US News & World Report’s Jason Gold argues that “Fannie and Freddie Aren’t Going Away Anytime Soon.”

There seems to be no hurry among policymakers to decide the fate of Fannie and Freddie, but it looks increasingly as if the GSEs are here to stay.

Some of his points:

Call for action: Virginia’s transportation crisis

BLOCK_CTA_TRANSPORTATIONVirginia Realtors®, we need your help. It’s time for the General Assembly to act and fix our transportation crisis.

We all know that transportation is critical for Virginia’s economy. We need roads, bridges, tunnels, buses, and trains to get to school, to get to work, and for goods and customers to move.