Business Resources

Resources for your real estate business.

Rental Assistance and the Eviction Moratorium

Eviction Moratorium

What is the current status of evictions in Virginia?  Can landlords evict individuals for non-payment of rent or other lease violations? 

The answer is yes, but with qualifications.  While the statewide eviction moratorium has ended, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has instituted a nationwide eviction moratorium for folks unable to pay rent due to financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.  Any renter who certifies that they meet certain criteria cannot be evicted for failure to pay rent.  However, tenants can be evicted for other lease violations and Virginia courts are accepting unlawful detainers.  

NAR has issued a brief on the federal eviction moratorium that details the criteria for protection.  Check out the document below for full information. 

Rent and Mortgage Assistance 

Is there funding available to help tenants with rent and homeowners with mortgage payments?

Yes, the state has allotted federal CARES Act money to provide assistance to those who cannot make their rent or mortgage payments due to financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic.  The Rappahannock Area United Way is the administrator of those funds in our area and is currently accepting applications for assistance.  Please click the button below to be directed to the United Way’s website for information on the program, how it works and who is eligible.  

Judge denies motion to dismiss MLS lawsuit

From NAR Legal Counsel, Katie Johnson, regarding the current status of lawsuits pertaining to MLS operation…

As we continue to provide updates on the Moehrl v. NAR lawsuit, I wanted to let you know the judge denied our motion to dismiss and the case will proceed to the next phase of the litigation, discovery.

We are very disappointed in the ruling. However, this is only the first round. As the case moves forward, we intend to demonstrate how the MLS system creates competitive, efficient markets that benefit home buyers and sellers as well as small business brokerages. The MLS fosters cooperation between brokers providing the best and greatest number of options for buyers and sellers. The broker commission structure also ensures greater access for first-time, low-income and many other home buyers who otherwise couldn’t afford a home purchase. We are confident that when the case is ultimately decided, we will prevail.

There have been no changes to the copycat Sitzer v. NAR lawsuit, which is also in discovery. We will continue to keep you informed as the litigation progresses.

Talking Points for Members

  • The MLS system and the way commissions are paid create competitive, efficient markets that benefit home buyers, sellers and small business. The MLS system creates a highly efficient residential real estate market that fosters cooperation between brokers to the benefit of consumers. Commission structures (including how the listing broker pays the buyer broker) ensure greater access for a large community of home buyers who might otherwise be priced out of the market, which also would limit options for sellers.

 

  • REALTORS® are champions of homeownership, property rights and the communities they serve. Every REALTOR® adheres to a strict code of ethics based on professionalism, consumer protection and the golden rule. REALTORS® draw on their unmatched knowledge to help buyers and sellers navigate one of the most complicated financial transactions of their lives. And REALTORS® are engaged neighbors committed to building and enhancing the communities they serve.

 

  • Local, expert brokers play a crucial role in helping buyers and sellers achieve their goals. Given the volume of information buyers have to navigate and the complexity of this transaction, buyer brokers serve many essential, highly informed roles ranging from scheduling home tours and inspections to coordinating with lenders and appraisers to coordinating attorney reviews and closing documents. Consumers agree: 78 percent of homebuyers say their broker was an important information source, and almost 90 percent would recommend their broker to a family member or friend.

 

  • These lawsuits are wrong on the facts, wrong on the economics, and wrong on the law. Commissions are negotiable and, in fact, can be negotiated at any point during the transaction. The MLS and associated brokerage system create highly competitive markets with increased transaction volume and superior customer service. Consumers have many choices of different service and fee models among many brokers. Over 100 years, the courts have repeatedly validated this pro-competitive, pro-consumer MLS system, recognizing it increases the efficiency of the market and thus serves the best interests of sellers and buyers alike.
Virginia REALTORS® Announces 2020 Good Neighbor Award Recipients

Virginia REALTORS® Announces 2020 Good Neighbor Award Recipients

RICHMOND, Va. (October 1, 2020) – Virginia REALTORS® celebrates its 2020 awardees. The association conducted its annual awards ceremony through its first-ever virtual awards show on September 30, 2020. The ceremony recognized excellence in various areas of real estate, along with notable community contributions. These awardees were selected by a committee of peers as standouts among an association of 35,000 members.

 

The Virginia REALTORS® Good Neighbor Award recognizes REALTOR® members who make a positive impact on their community and gifts the organization through which they volunteer time and talents. This annual award seeks to highlight, inspire, and perpetuate the individual contributions within the real estate industry toward improving the lives of citizens in Virginia.

 

Each winner will receive a $500 award, which will go to the to the 501(c)(3) non-profit/charity with which the Virginia REALTOR® Good Neighbor is involved.

 

The Virginia REALTORS® 2020 Good Neighbor Awardees are:

 

  • Sarah Moorman of the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®, volunteering on behalf of Generosity Feeds
  • Jim Napier of the Richmond Association of REALTORS®, volunteering on behalf of the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Chip Taylor of the Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS®, volunteering on behalf of Fredericksburg Virginia Main Street
  • Patricia “Trish” Snyder of the Massanutten Association of REALTORS®, volunteering on behalf of the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and
  • Linda Wolf of the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®, volunteering on behalf of Mission M-4, in partnership with the Walter Reed Society.

 

To see the entire list of this year’s winners, click here.

For headshots of award winners, please contact Robin Spensieri at rspensieri@virginiarealtors.org.

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About Virginia REALTORS®

Virginia REALTORS® (previously known as the Virginia Association of REALTORS®) is one of the largest professional trade associations in Virginia, representing 35,000 REALTORS® engaged in the residential and commercial real estate business. Virginia REALTORS® serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners and represents the interests of property owners in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information, visit www.virginiarealtors.org or follow Virginia REALTORS® on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Virginia REALTORS® is celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2020.

NOTE: The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Top of Form

Contact: Robin Spensieri, Vice President of Communications & Media Relations
Email: rspensieri@virginiarealtors.org
Telephone: 404.433.6015

 

Topside Federal Credit Union supports community in the fight against fraud

Topside Federal Credit Union supports community in the fight against fraud

Local Credit Union hosts 4th Annual Shred Event

DAHLGREN, VA (September 28, 2020) – Topside Federal Credit Union, the area’s largest locally-owned credit union, is committed to helping the community properly dispose of sensitive data. Topside FCU’s latest free Shred Day Event was held on September 26 at their Massaponax branch in Fredericksburg VA. The event resulted in a total of over 16,000 pounds of paper collected and shredded, and almost $2,000 raised for Germanna Community College’s Gladys P. Todd Academy.

“Topside is happy to provide this valuable service to the communities we serve,” said Bruce Six, Topside FCU’s CEO. “We encourage everyone to take advantage of these free events to help protect their privacy and security. We are dedicated to helping our members and the community stay safe by providing these free opportunities to dispose of personal documents securely.”

Topside Federal Credit Union began hosting its free Shred Day Events in 2017 in response to their members’ needs for secure and safe document disposal. The events have grown in popularity and demand over the years and the Credit Union plans to continue shredding sensitive information for their community members for years to come and collecting donations for various area non-profits in the process.

ABOUT TOPSIDE FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

As a member-owned financial cooperative originally founded in 1961 by the employees of the Naval Weapons Laboratory in Dahlgren VA,  Topside has more than $425 million in total member assets serving 40,000 members.  Visit topsidefcu.org, or call 540-663-2181 for more information.

Upcoming Safety Webinars

Upcoming Safety Webinars

 

From Bright MLS

Bright Subscribers! Join us, Friday, September 18, for a free Safety from the Start Webinar with REALTOR® and safety advocate Carl Carter, Jr. of the Beverly Carter Foundation. Carl will share his story and important tips on how to have tough conversations with potential clients from that first phone call or lead.

Register at http://ow.ly/XfL650BqfuM

 

From the National Association of REALTORS®

REALTORS® face job-related risks every day. Being aware of potential dangers and taking precautions will help you avoid risky situations that can happen to any agent—including you! Tune in for a free safety webinar from NAR & REALTOR Jen Stanbrough on September 23rd at 2pm EST

Register at  https://www.nar.realtor/safety/safety-webinars

 

Check out the new flood data on realtor.com!

Realtor.com® launched new flood risk data features available on most for-sale properties on the site.

What are these features?

At an individual property level, realtor.com® will offer insights into Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-categorized flood zones and a new Flood Factor™ feature, which is the result of a realtor.com® data integration with the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology group. The First Street Foundation Flood Model includes data for more than 142 million homes and properties across the U.S.

Flood Factor includes a flood risk score ranging from 1 (minimal risk) to 10 (extreme risk) and an indication of whether that risk is increasing, decreasing, or constant over the next 30 years.

In addition, a graph shows the cumulative risk of flooding for a property over the typical 30-year period of ownership, along with the FEMA-categorized flood zone for the property, and whether flood insurance is required. Flood insurance options, when available, are provided to realtor.com® users.

Here are some distinguishing features for both:

Flood Factor™

  • Provides accurate, property-level flood risk information
  • Incorporates current and future environmental changes
  • Maps multiple flood zones and risk levels
  • Includes more flood sources such as heavy rainfall
  • Nationwide coverage and updated quarterly
  • Assesses historic flood patterns and projects future risk

FEMA

  • Provides detailed, community-wide flood risk information
  • Maps the 100-year flood zone and indicates whether a property is “in or out” of this zone
  • Does not provide information specific to individual properties
  • Based on site specific, engineering studies but limited to two risks (riverine and storm surge)
  • Limited geographic coverage and not updated frequently
  • Assesses historic flood patterns
  • Used by community regulators, banks and lenders

Flood Factor™ data augments FEMA’s maps, so real estate professionals can use both tools on realtor.com® to:

  • Help reduce the number of clients who buy high-risk properties by surprise or list properties before mitigating the risk
  • Help reduce flood-related surprises at the closing table by helping their buyer and seller clients perform due diligence and increase confidence in real estate markets particularly where FEMA does not currently map

Agents and brokers can use the feature to provide additional context, guidance and insights to their buyer and seller clients with regard to flood conditions and potential flood risk for properties and communities across the country.

Must-read content for more context and information:

So what does it look like?

Click on the link and you’ll see this…

Take a closer look at the Flood Factor data…

Sentriconnect or One Day Code – What’s the Difference?

Sentriconnect or One Day Code – What’s the Difference?

SentriConnect™

  • Allows Listing Agent, Listing Office, or One with Lockbox Owner Privileges to grant access to a lockbox that has been assigned to a property during a specific time frame.
  • This can be used for providing non-SentriLock REALTOR users (i.e. REALTORS who don’t have SentriSmart access through their current MLS) with access to your listings.
  • The time frame is setup by the Listing Agent/Listing Office/Lockbox Owner and can be for as little as 30 minutes or up to several days.
  • Access can also be granted to Non-SentriLock/non-REALTOR users (i.e. Home Inspectors, Cleaning Services, etc…) as approved by the seller.
  • This type of access requires the one granting the access (the Lockbox Owner) to enter the recipient’s email address into the program. This is then recorded and used in access reports.
  • To use the SentriConnect app, the end user must download the app, create an account, and be granted access to the specific property by the Listing Agent or Listing Office.
  • Showing Notifications are generated for SentriConnect access.
  • SentriConnect access can be revoked at any time by the Listing Agent, Listing Office, or Lockbox Owner.

 

One Day Code

  • Allows the Listing Agent, Listing Office, or One with Lockbox Owner Privileges to grant access to a lockbox that has been assigned to a property on a specific day.
  • No time frame for that day is associated with the One Day Code.
  • One Day Codes can be used to provide non-SentriLock REALTOR users (i.e. REALTORS who don’t have SentriSmart access through their current MLS) with access to your listings.
  • The One Day Code expires 60 minutes after it is used.
  • One Day Codes cannot be revoked.
  • This type of access only requires the one granting the access (the Lockbox Owner) to enterminimal information into the app, which is then recorded and shows in the access reports.
Sentriconnect flyer app info

How-To Use SentriConnect®
1) Launch the App Store
2) Search for SentriConnect®
3) Install the App
4) Launch the SentriConnect® App
5) Tap the “Create Account” Icon
6) Enter the required information and tap “Send Activation” button
7) Make sure to provide your Email & Phone Number to the listing agent so that they may grant you access.
8) After creating an account with the SentriConnect® application, open the Registration link sent to in your inbox.
9) Please check your SMS messages for an activation link to complete your registration and setup.
10) Open and log into the SentriConnect® application
11) Press the ENT button on the lockbox keypad that you want to open.
12) Enter your PIN into the application and tap the Open Lockbox button.
13) The lockbox will open and you will receive a message confirming your access.

How to Use SentriSmart® to Grant SentriConnect® Access
1) Launch SentriSmart®
2) Select the “Lockbox Tools” tab, then choose the lockbox you’d like to access.
3) Select “Grant SentriConnect”
4) Enter SentriConnect® User’s email address and identify the Start and End time.
5) After the information is entered, Select “Grant Access” and enter your PIN
6) You will receive a success message confirming that access was granted.
7) You may go to the “message” tab to review or revoke lockbox accesses

August Newsletter Now Available: Walk a Mile in My Shoes, Sample Ballot, Candidate Bios, and more!

August Newsletter Now Available: Walk a Mile in My Shoes, Sample Ballot, Candidate Bios, and more!

Your copy of the FAAR Newsletter, the FAARside is here! Crack open a copy to learn about what’s going on at the Association including a letter from the President, the candidate bios for 2021 Leadership, and more!

This edition includes

  • Sample Leadership Ballot
  • Walk a Mile in My Shoes by Sha Williams-Hinnant, Chair of the Diversity Committee
  • Fair Housing Resources
  • Are you ready for some Golf? A message from Anne Overington, Foundation President
  • Affiliate Marketing Partners

and more!

Right click here or the image and click “Save as” to download

Let’s Crush Hunger with the 2020 REALTOR Cereal Drive

Go coo-coo for cereal collection!

2019 was a FANTASTIC year for the annual REALTOR® cereal drive. Help us reach the 2020 goal of 18,000 boxes, all of which go to the local area food banks.

Use the cereal drive as a touch point.

The cereal drive is a fantastic way to reconnect with your sphere— Look for REALTOR®-branded marketing pieces (post-card and flyer) to enhance efforts of collecting cereal from clients and friends.

Tell us if you’re participating.

Let us know if your office plans to participate by filling out the form below or emailing Mackenzie Rathbun with your office and contact information by September 26th. 

 

Cereal Drop Off & Cash Donations

Collected cereal can be dropped off at FAAR between 9AM and 5PM on 10/29 and 10/30 or for large pick-ups, the Fredericksburg food van can be scheduled to pick up from your location. Please email MacKenzie at mrathbun@faarmembers.com with your final box tally by October 30th. If you, or someone donating on your office’s behalf,  selects to donate money directly to the food bank we would just need a receipt to have it counted as part of your final total. Each dollar donated to local food banks is equal to two boxes of cereal! 

Cereal Drive Results

Results of the cereal collection will be announced November 2nd. Scroll down to see who participated in last year’s cereal drive!

 

 

 

 

Download this graphic to share! 

help me collect cereal 2020 realtor cereal drive fredericksburg virginia

2020 Realtor Cereal Drive

Sign up here to be included in communications regarding the annual cereal drive that lasts throughout the month of October!

Key items to remember:

 

October 1-29—Collect cereal!  Let MacKenzie Rathbun (mrathbun@faarmembers.com) know if you need postcards.

October 29—If you have more than 250 boxes, just let MacKenzie know and she will arrange pick up. if you had your cereal picked up — PLEASE CONTACT MACKENZIE WITH BOX COUNT

October 29 & 30— Drop off cereal (less than 250 boxes) to FAAR.  Cereal can be dropped between 9 AM and 5 PM

Please feel free to reach out with any questions, and please post lots of fun pics and video on your cereal gathering and displays of cereal on social media to get all FAAR members excited about this very worthwhile cause!

 

 

 

Who participated in 2019?

Affiliate collecting the most Boxes

Sandra and Phillip Blake with MBH Settlement with 156 boxes

Most Improved

Long and Foster – from 2,308 boxes in 2018 to 3,861 boxes

Grand Prize

1st Choice Better Homes and Land – 5,214 boxes

All Participants

 1st Choice Better Homes and Land

Century 21 New Millennium

Long and Foster Fredericksburg

Coldwell Banker Elite Stafford

United Real Estate Premier

Century 21 Redwood-Locust Grove

Lake Anna Realty

Coldwell Banker Elite Massaponax

Nest Realty

Coldwell Banker Elite Spotsylvania

MBH Settlement

The Gillies Team with RE/MAX Real Estate Connections

Century 21 Redwood Fredericksburg

Keller Williams Fredericksburg

Coldwell Banker Elite Fredericksburg

Spring Arbor

RE/MAX Legacy

FAAR

The Title Professionals

Century 21 Redwood Stafford

Virginia CU Realty

Exit Elite Realty

Exit Realty Group

Weichert Realtors

Atlantic Coast Mortgage

RE/MAX Supercenter

Coldwell Banker Elite King George

Keller Williams Capital Properites

CTI Real Estate

Holt for Homes

 

Thank you all!

Stafford County Downzoning: What YOU need to know

What’s happening?

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors is anticipated to consider downzoning properties in the A-1 zoning category.  Under current regulations, landowners are permitted to subdivide their acreage into minimum lot sizes of 1 home per 3 acres.  The Board is looking to significantly increase that minimum lot size with the potential to change it to as much as 1 home per 10 acres.

For example, if you own 25 acres in the A-1 zoning category, you can subdivide that land into 8 lots right now.  If downzoning went into effect at a 10-acre minimum, you would only get 2 lots.

Why should I be concerned?

FAAR is a staunch defender of private property rights and commends Stafford County for its long history of cultivating a culture that encourages strong economic growth through reasonable zoning restrictions.  Discussions of downzoning thousands of properties throughout the County runs counter to that long history.

FAAR is specifically concerned about what impact downzoning will have on the value of rural properties and property owners’ ability to do as they see fit with their land.  Many rural landowners have developed long-term retirement plans that involved the value of their properties under current uses and acreage rules.  Efforts to downzone could erase decades worth of wealth creation that cannot be recovered.  In addition, many landowners intended to utilize family subdivisions to provide a legacy for their children and grandchildren, which they may not be able to realize if their land is unilaterally downzoned.

Background Information

In 2019, Stafford County conducted a series of public meetings centered around the topic of “healthy growth” and reducing new home construction in rural areas.  This Healthy Growth Initiative brought together stakeholders from across the county to discuss challenges with growth and development and find ways to channel growth into Targeted Growth Areas while not impacting taxation.  A consultant to the County collected public input and put forward a series of potential strategies for the County to consider.

At a retreat for the Board of Supervisors in early 2020, the Board directed the staff to look at the impact on development of three options for downzoning in the rural areas outside of the Urban Services Area:

  1. No change, retain 3 acres per dwelling unit
  2. Increase to a minimum lot size of 1 home per 6 acres
  3. Increase to a minimum lot size of 1 home per 10 acres

There was discussion as part of the Healthy Growth Initiative that downzoning coupled with an expansion of a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program would keep rural landowners whole financially by allowing them to transfer their current development rights to receiving areas in other parts of the county within the Urban Services Area.  But the Board expressed concern about expanding TDR since construction in the receiving area would be by-right and not subject to Board approval and not have proffers associated with it.  At this point, it’s not clear if TDR will go hand-in-hand with downzoning, leading to fears that downzoning would happen first and then TDR to follow so that landowners would in fact lose their development rights and be financially impacted.

Get Involved

Any downzoning changes will require a vote by the Board of Supervisors and will also require public hearings to gather input from those most impacted.  If you are concerned about what downzoning will do to the value of your property, you will have the chance for your voice to be heard.

Stafford Board of Supervisors Actions

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors will host a joint public hearing on downzoning on Thursday, October 29 at 6:30pm at Colonial Forge High School.   This is the meeting where the decision will be made so mark your calendars!  

From the Stafford County website:  
The joint public hearing will be held on Thursday, October 29, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Colonial Forge High School, 550 Courthouse Road, Stafford, Virginia.  All parties are invited to appear and state their views. The auditorium will accommodate 65 individuals with minimal overflow seating in the cafeteria next to the auditorium. In-person speakers will receive a number and will listen for their number to be called up. The meeting will adhere to all required Coronavirus protocols such as social distancing and face coverings. Public hearing comments are also being accepted online by visiting www.staffordcountyva.gov/publichearings; please provide comments before 4:30 p.m. on October 28. The meeting will be streamed online via www.staffordcountyva.gov and viewable on Facebook Live and cable access channels. The proposed amendments and Q&As are also available online at https://staffordcountyva.gov/2181/Healthy-Growth-Initiative

Downzoning on the agenda for Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 3:00pm!  The Stafford Board of Supervisors will consider moving ahead with a joint public hearing with the Planning Commission to consider downzoning.  Access the Board agenda by clicking here.
UPDATE ON BOARD ACTIONS TAKEN ON SEPTEMBER 1:  The Board approved on a 5-2 vote moving ahead with a joint public hearing with the Planning Commission.  The approach they adopted proposes a unilateral downzoning of all A-1 land to a minimum lot size of 10 acres per parcel, up from 3 acres per parcel.  The Board has the authority to adopt a lower minimum lot size, but cannot go any higher than 10 acres and cannot consider any alternative proposals.  The next step is for the County staff to select a date, secure an alternate location to accommodate physical distancing, ensure the Planning Commission can have a quorum present, and provide a 30-day notice to property owners.  It is anticipated this meeting will take place in mid-October and will be held as a stand-alone meeting with no other Board business being conducted.  Watch the Board discussion from the meeting by clicking here.

If you are opposed to downzoning, use FAAR’s sample letter below to send a message to the Board of Supervisors alerting them to your concerns.

Downzoning Resources

Stafford Board Member Contact Information

Want to get involved and let your voice be heard?  Then use our sample letter to the right and send your elected officials an email!  Simply copy and paste the text into your email message and be sure to fill out the red text with specific information.  

Supervisor Meg Bohmke, Falmouth District
mbohmke@staffordcountyva.gov

Supervisor Tom Coen, George Washington District
tcoen@staffordcountyva.gov

Supervisor Cindy Shelton, Aquia Distsrict
cindyshelton@staffordcountyva.gov

Supervisor Mark Dudenhefer, Garrisonville District
mdudenhefer@staffordcountyva.gov

Supervisor Tinesha Allen, Griffis-Widewater District
tallen@staffordcountyva.gov

Supervisor Gary Snellings, Hartwood District
gsnellings@staffordcountyva.gov

Supervisor Crystal Vanuch, Rock Hill District
cvanuch@staffordcountyva.gov

Press Releases

More of the Same in the Fredericksburg-area Real Estate Market

The local real estate market continues to experience high transaction volume, low inventory, and rising prices.  As summer faded into early fall, inventory shrunk to just under one month of supply.  A healthy, balanced market is generally considered to have a 6-month...

No Slow Down in the Fredericksburg-area Real Estate Market

The local real estate market shows no sign of cooling as summer draws to a close.  Total sold dollar volume was up over 30% from last year, coming in at approximately $281.3 million this August compared to $215 million last August.  The region’s median price increased...

Fredericksburg Area Real Estate Market Continues to Sizzle

The local real estate market continues to sizzle fueled by plummeting inventory and skyrocketing demand as many prospective buyers look for more space, more yard, and more in-home amenities like pools and playscapes.  Total sold dollar volume was up over 30% from last...

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