Business Resources

Resources for your real estate business.

FAAR Hosts Meeting on Opportunity Zones

On Thursday, November 14, 2019, FAAR hosted a meeting on Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) at the Germanna Community College Center for Advanced Technology.  So what are Opportunity Zones and why should Realtors® care about them?  Great question!  Opportunity Zones were created as part of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act with the aim of funneling significant financial resources into low income and distressed communities.  

Opportunity Zones aim to tap into trillions of dollars of passive wealth in the form of unrealized capital gains.  

This new tax incentive program allows people to invest their capital gains in projects and programs in the Opportunity Zone without limits along with deferring paying the tax on that initial investment until 2026 along with the possibility of reducing that initial tax liability AND completely eliminating the tax liability on any capital gains realized from that investment.  It can be a complicated program but very attractive to investors and those looking to fund real estate and business ventures.  Want to learn more?  Click here (requires Adobe Flash Player) to see the boundaries of the zones in our region and then look through the presentations by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and Opportunity Virginia.  

A special thanks to speakers Kristen Dahlman and Adam Northup and FAAR moderator, Carl Braun. More in-depth analysis of this meeting and Opportunity Zones will appear in the next edition of the FAARSide.

NAR Releases 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

NAR has just released its 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.  So why should you check it out?  Because it’s chock full of great information like this….

  • 20% of recent home buyers were veterans
  • 29% of buyers primary reason for purchasing a home was the desire to own something of their own
  • 83% of homes sold were single family 
  • There was a median of only 15 miles between the homes that recent buyers purchased and the home that they moved from
  • 44% of buyers started their home search online
  • 87% of buyers found their real estate agent to be a very useful source of information 
  • Home sellers cited that they sold their homes for a median of $60,000 more than they purchased it

Want more??  Access the highlights of the report for free or purchase the full report through the buttons below.  

Median house price up $20K across Fred region

The local economy remained healthy throughout the 3rd quarter of 2019.  Unemployment remains very low along with interest rates with no indication of either situation changing in the near future.  Sales continued to grow throughout the FAAR footprint, with 5% more sales than a year ago.  Median price rose sharply in the 3rd quarter, climbing $20,000 to $310,000 region-wide.  All jurisdictions saw price gains, led by King George County, which saw an 11% increase in median sales price.  

Want more???  Check out all the great information, charts, graphs, and narrative explanations.  You can use any and all of this data in your communications with clients.  So look super sharp at your next listing or buying presentation and take some of this expert data with you!

2020 Board of Directors Election Results

2020 Board of Directors Election Results

2020 FAAR Leadership Team


President                   Drew Fristoe, Coldwell Banker Elite, Massaponax

President-Elect        Carrie Danko, 1st Choice Better Homes & Land

Vice President          Pam Kuper, Century 21 New Millennium

Secretary                  Carol Sondrini, Coldwell Banker Elite, Massaponax

Treasurer                  Deb Ellis, Coldwell Banker Elite, Two-year term                    

Immediate Past President- To be filled by appointment


Clay Murray, Pathway Realty

Randy Walther, Nest Realty

Kelly Bradshaw Walker, Coldwell Banker Elite, Stafford

Lynn Lenahan, 1st Choice Better Homes & Land

Sandy Pearce, Pathway Realty


Affiliate position

Donna Schmidt, American Home Shield


Returning Director:

Cindy LeBrun, Exit Realty Group

FAAR to host Opportunity Zone Meeting

FAAR was able to secure a grant through the National Association of Realtors® to host a meeting on Qualified Opportunity Zones and how our region might best be able to utilize this new tool for redevelopment.  Anyone who works with investors or has an interest in economic development is encouraged to attend and be part of the discussion.  

So what is an “Opportunity Zone”?  
The Qualified Opportunity Zone (“QOZ”) program was created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage economic growth in underserved communities through tax incentives for investors who utilize “Opportunity Funds” to invest in the Zones. Along with tax benefits, it presents opportunities for real estate investment and development in those communities. U.S states and territories, including Washington, D.C., nominated areas to be designated as QOZs in 2018, and the IRS and Treasury finalized the designations that year. 

What are the benefits for my clients?
There are multiple tax benefits available to investors who invest in a QOZ, if all the requirements are met. First, capital gains reinvested within 180 days into a QOZ are tax-free for up to nine years, through 2026. If that initial investment is held for five years, the tax ultimately paid on it is reduced by 10%; if held for seven years, it is reduced by 15%. In addition, gains accrued on deferred-gains funds while invested in a QOZ are tax-free if they are held for at least ten years. These investments must be processed through an “Opportunity Fund,” which is a partnership or a corporation organized for the purpose of investing in QOZ property; these funds self-certified, and must hold at least 90% of their assets in QOZ property (which includes stock, partnership interests, and/or tangible property used in a trade or business in a QOZ, such as real estate).

#MemberMonday Meet REALTOR® Carmella Tritt

The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® Member Spotlight feature allows members of the community to get to know each other before working with each other in a transaction. Each member answers a series of questions to reveal more about themselves as people.  It is FAAR’s hope that learning about an individual may spark connections that blossom via email, phone conversations or in-person meetings at events and classes.

Carmella Tritt

Northern Virginia

Current Location

REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeService Select Realty

Number of Years in the Industry

Why do you love working in real estate?
Nothing is more gratifying than assisting clients whether its the first time buyer or repeat clients with the biggest purchase in their lives. Being able to be there as their agent, shoulder to vent too, share happy joys and family life. Something about serving that is truly gratifying. I have been in sales my whole life and this by far is the most rewarding. Being brought up here in Virginia also helps us navigate our clients on the best location for their needs…

Tina Keene Exit Elite Realty

Favorite Work Story 
Well we have a lot at this point. I think I would need more time . I would have to get our clients to give us permission on some of the really funny ones. LOL
When I met my husband and now we work together. I get to work with my best friend : )

What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m most proud that all of our clients are now friends. And the one thing we constantly talk about is that there is not enough time to get with every one. When you get asked to their family events, out to dinner or their house. When they refer one of their friends or family members. That to me says a lot about the type of person you are and how they see you. The fact that we work with so many military families is truly a blessing.

Do you have a special cause or volunteer your time? 
We love working with young adults. Volunteering at church. We also feel a strong pull to help military families get situated when located here. Help them get started and set up. We are like their extra family.

Fun Fact
I love to cook! From scratch and if it is a challenge even better!!! Hang out with my husband and enjoy our kids! And of course our grandsons are our biggest reward : )

Here we go again…NFIP set to expire

Without Congressional action, the National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on September 30, 2019.  NAR is working with Congressional leaders and the White House to secure a long-term reauthorization of NFIP before then.  In the meantime, NAR has prepared this FAQ sheet to help answer any client questions about what this means for any upcoming real estate closings as well as identify several proactive steps clients can take over the next several weeks in the unlikely event of a lapse later this month.

What you need to know about the Trump GSE reform plan

The Trump Administration issued a blueprint on Thursday, September 5 for getting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of conservatorship.  This is important to REALTORS® because the secondary mortgage market impacts the cost and availability of credit for your clients.  The most important thing to take away from the release of this plan is that it will NOT impact the housing market in the short-term.  This is simply the first step in a long process and one that NAR will be a part of every step of the way.  Read below for an NAR press release on the plan and talking points if you get questions from your clients.  

WASHINGTON (September 5, 2019) – National Association of Realtors® President John Smaby issued the following statement commending the Trump administration for its efforts to reform America’s housing finance system. The White House this afternoon released a proposal to reform operations of the Government Sponsored Enterprises and the Department of Housing and Urban Development that it had been working towards since the President made the issue a top priority earlier this year.

“The National Association of Realtors® thanks President Trump and his administration for initiating thoughtful, genuine effort toward housing finance reform. We look forward to reviewing the proposal in more detail and are optimistic that, at a minimum, the White House’s efforts will shed light on the remaining mile markers on the path to reform, along with the critical role the GSEs and Federal Housing Administration play in America’s housing market,” said Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® and broker at Edina Realty in Edina, Minnesota.

“NAR continues working with the White House and Congress as we move closer to securing palatable, pragmatic improvements to our housing finance system, and we maintain our belief that NAR’s blueprint for GSE reform represents the best path forward for this system and our economy. Our proposed utility model, as any successful reforms must, highlights competition, protects taxpayers and remedies the failures of the pre-crisis system while ensuring equal access for responsible, mortgage-ready Americans in every market, safeguarding the role the GSEs were intended to play in our housing market.”

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


GSE Reform Talking Points 

  • The Trump Administration has released a blueprint for getting the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, out of conservatorship and for modernizing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). 
  • The plan involves potential administrative, regulatory, and legislative changes-and it’s the start of a process we expect to take several years.
  • The administration’s plan won’t have any effect on housing markets in the short term.
  • NAR has been in direct meetings with the administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the GSEs, and we will continue to play an active role in the process. 
  • We applaud the movement forward on getting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of conservatorship, and we’ll be looking for areas of collaboration with the administration and with Congress. But we’ll also share concerns if we see provisions that have the potential to negatively impact housing markets.
  • Potential areas of concern will be in capital requirements for the GSEs (increases will raise borrowing costs); guidelines for second and vacation homes; and underwriting requirements with the expiration of the so-called QM patch in January 2021.

Why you should care

  • Reforms to FHA and the secondary mortgage market have the potential to affect both the availability and the cost of mortgage credit for your clients.


  • Since 2008, as a consequence of the mortgage market meltdown, secondary-mortgage market giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (“the GSEs”) -have been under the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). During the Great Recession, conventional lending guidelines grew extremely tight, and FHA became a much more critical source of housing finance.
  • In the years that followed Treasury’s takeover of the GSEs, FHA’s share of the market has decreased, and Fannie and Freddie have returned to profitability, though their “profits” go straight into the U.S. Treasury. 
  • There have been many proposals over the years on the future of the GSEs. NAR released its own plan in February, and the plan has garnered the support of many industry groups. We’ll continue to promote our plan, which brings together the best of the public and private model in good times and bad.
Sentriconnect® allows REALTORS® to grant secure temporary access

Sentriconnect® allows REALTORS® to grant secure temporary access

SentriConnect is a mobile application that provides users with a way to receive authorization to open SentriLock Bluetooth lockboxes using a “BluCode.”

It is important to know that there is NO method to access non-Bluetooth lockboxes using the SentriConnect app. Firmware Version 50.44 is the minimum required version to use SentriConnect in conjunction with your lockbox.

To begin using SentriConnect, users requesting access will need to register their account. The user can download SentriConnect through the App Store or Google Play. REALTOR® members granting access should be able to do so through the SentriSmart App. 

How it works

1. The person requesting access will register as a SentriConnect user.
2. SentriConnect user requests access to a specific lockbox/property
3. The person who administers the lockbox can grant or deny any request
4. If access is granted, SentriConnect will open the lockbox key compartment

SentriConnect will provide a better solution for third party access over 1 day codes and contractor codes because every access will include:

  • The time of allowed access
  • Thorough identification of the person accessing the lockbox including their name, email address and cell phone number


Possible applications for SentriConnect include:

  • Access for property maintenance personnel
  • Real estate buyers requesting access to view a property
  • Rental properties
  • Replace 1 day codes
  • Replace contractor codes

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

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.


If you are looking for more instructions for using SentriConnect, visit the SentriConnect help page at

August FAARside Newsletter: Leadership Candidate Bios, Local Election Endorsements, Sentriconnect, and more!

August FAARside Newsletter: Leadership Candidate Bios, Local Election Endorsements, Sentriconnect, and more!

Your copy of the Fall FAAR Newsletter, the FAARside is here! Inside you’ll find candidate bios for FAAR members running for leadership, endorsements for candidates running for local elections, preview of the 9/25 expo and more!  

This edition also includes

  • Sample Ballot for 2020 Leadership Election
  • Message from the 2019 FAAR President, Drew Fristoe
  • Info on the Sentriconnect app which can be used to replace one day codes
  • 2019 New Member Welcome
  • Interview with VDOT’s Kelly Hannon
  • Member Monday highlights featuring members like you 
  • the Broker Cheat sheet, detailing the membership application, transfer, and termination process

and more!

Press Releases

Local Real Estate Market Remains Strong in October

The October real estate market posted a large increase in sold volume fueled by double digit rise in number of units sold.  Total sold dollar volume increased from $138 million in October of 2018 to $178.1 million in October of 2019, representing a 29%...

Median house price up $20K across Fred region

The local economy remained healthy throughout the 3rd quarter of 2019.  Unemployment remains very low along with interest rates with no indication of either situation changing in the near future.  Sales continued to grow throughout the FAAR footprint, with...

FAAR Cereal Drive Success

Each year, the Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors® (FAAR) collects cereal to donate to area food banks. This year, FAAR members collected over 17,000 boxes of cereal. FAAR would like to recognize the members and volunteers who worked so hard to...

Summer Isn’t Over in the Real Estate Market

September proved another active month in the local real estate market with double digit increases in total sold dollar volume and units sold and a modest increase in median price compared to last September.  Total sold dollar volume came in at...

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