News

Recent news, business resources and press releases.

ProjectLINK Honors FAAR for Secret Santa Partnership

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board Executive Director Jane Yaun presented 2019 FAAR President Drew Fristoe with a certificate of recognition for FAAR’s nearly 30-year Secret Santa partnership.  This program features FAAR members adopting families and providing toys, clothes, and gift cards for thosein need.  Over the past 10 years, FAAR has helped 322 families, including 589 children. 

ProjectLINK assists pregnant and mothering women struggling with substance abuse issues with intensive case management, home visits, parenting guidance, and substance abuse recovery. 

Examples of How the Qualified Business Income Deduction Affects Realtors®

From the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®… 

Prepared by Evan Liddiard, Senior Policy Representative, Federal Taxation

Example 1:  Amy Agent is a single Realtor® who operates as a sole proprietor and independent contractor.  She received $100,000 in net commission income in 2018.  She has no capital gains or losses.  After claiming deductions not related to her business, including the standard deduction, Amy’s total taxable income for 2018 is $81,000.  Her qualified business income (QBI) is $100,000, which is her gross commissions less her business deductions.  Amy’s section 199A deduction for 2018 is equal to $16,200, which is the lesser of 20% of her QBI from her business as a real estate agent ($100,000 x 20% = $20,000) and 20% of Amy’s total taxable income for the year ($81,000 x 20% = $16,200). 

Example 2.  Assume the same facts as in Example 1 except Amy Agent also had taxable pension income of $20,000, making her taxable income for the year $101,000.  Her QBI is still $100,000.  Amy’s section 199A deduction for 2018 is now equal to $20,000, which is the lesser of 20% of her QBI from her business as a real estate agent ($100,000 x 20% = $20,000) and 20% of Amy’s total taxable income for the year ($101,000 x 20% = $20,200). 

Example 3.  Carla and Bob Broker are married and file a joint tax return.  Carla earns $50,000 in salary as an employee of Acme Corporation in 2018.  Bob owns 100% of the shares of Bob’s Brokerage, which is an S corporation that provides real estate services and contracts with several agents.  Bob’s Brokerage generates $100,000 in net income in 2018 after deducting Bob’s salary of $150,000.  Carla and Bob have no capital gains or losses.  After allowable deductions not related to the brokerage, Carla and Bob’s total taxable income is $270,000 ($50,000 salary for Carla + $100,000 net income from Bob’s Brokerage + $150,000 for Bob’s salary less $30,000 in deductions).  Carla’s and Bob’s salaries are not considered Qualified Business Income (QBI).  However, the net income from the S corporation is QBI.  Carla and Bob’s section 199A deduction is equal to $20,000, the lesser of 20% of Bob’s QBI from the business ($100,000 x 20% = $20,000) and 20% of Carla and Bob’s total taxable income for the year ($270,000 x 20% = $54,000).

When Congress was debating the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, it was not clear that personal services professionals like Amy and Bob would get much, if any, deduction for their business income.  NAR, along with other organizations who represent small businesses, encouraged Congress to make the deduction available to as many small businesses and proprietors as possible.  The result was that all sole proprietors and pass-through business owners below the taxable income thresholds of $157,500 for single filers and $315,000 for joint returns were made eligible for the deduction. 

Example 4.  Deborah is single and a high-producing Realtor® in an active market.  She is an independent contractor and sole proprietor of her business.  She received net commission income of $400,000 in 2018.  She has no employees, but owns business property consisting of her car and office equipment that originally cost $70,000.  After allowable deductions unrelated to her business, Deborah’s total taxable income for 2018 is $370,000.  Because her income exceeds the applicable threshold amount, Deborah’s section 199A deduction is subject to the W-2 wage and qualified property limitations.  Her business has no W-2 wages, so the QBI component of Deborah’s section 199A deduction is limited to the lesser of 20% of the business’s QBI or 2.5% of its original cost of qualified property.  20% of her $400,000 of QBI is $80,000, and 2.5% of her original cost of her qualified business property is $1,750 ($70,000 x 2.5%). 

Therefore, her section 199A deduction for 2018 is $1,750.

Example 5.  Assume the same facts as in Example 4 above, except that Deborah has an employee whom she pays wages of $50,000 in 2018.  Because her taxable income is above the threshold amount, Deborah’s section 199A deduction is subject to the W-2 wage and qualified property limitations.  20% of her QBI of $400,000 is $80,000.  The W-2 wage limitation equals 50% of Deborah’s employee’s wages of $50,000 or $25,000.  The original cost of qualified property limitation equals $14,250, the sum of 25% of the employee’s wages ($50,000) or $12,500 plus 2.5% of the original cost of qualified property ($1,750, as above) is $14,250.  The greater of the limitation amounts ($25,000 and $14,250) is $25,000.  Deborah’s 199A deduction is limited to the lesser of 20% of the QBI ($80,000) or the greater of the limitations ($25,000).  Thus, her deduction for 2018 is $25,000.

Note:  Had Deborah paid more wages or had a larger investment in business property (owning the business’s office building, for example), the section 199A deduction could be much larger.   

As enacted, the section 199A deduction provided that owners of certain businesses that provided personal services would be prohibited from claiming the deduction if their taxable income were over certain thresholds ($157,500 for single filers and $315,000 for joint returns).  One of the prohibited types of business was “brokerage service.”  Thus, it appeared that real estate agents and brokers would not be allowed to claim any section 199A deduction if their taxable income happened to exceed the threshold amounts.  However, NAR advocated with the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service, urging them to not include real estate professionals in the “brokerage services” category.  The regulations, issued in January 2019, held that real estate brokers and agents would not be included in the prohibited category and thus would be eligible to claim the deduction no matter how high their incomes.  

Disclaimer:  These examples are for general information and education purposes only.  They are not offered as legal advice, legal opinion, or tax advice.  The U.S. Treasury Department requires us to inform you that these examples are not intended by NAR to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.  Discussion in these examples relating to federal tax matters may not be used in promoting, marketing, or recommending any entity, investment plan, or arrangement to any taxpayer.  Readers of these examples are advised to seek advice from a competent tax professional.

 

FAAR Technology Committee’s Bright MLS Update with Vernon Jones, Regional Vice President

On 2-12-2019, the FAAR Technology Committee sat down with Vernon Jones, Regional Vice President, Bright MLS.
Here’s what we learned. 

Customizations

Bright MLS does have the capability to make localized customizations for an entire association or certain geographic areas. Many agents’ issues stem from the number of customizations available. Vernon recommends agents really get familiar with the new listing statuses (a primary cause of confusion) and also hovering over unfamiliar buttons to read the help text that appears. 

Known issues list

Bright is currently working on a known issues list showing the prioritization of high-level concerns. Prioritization of issues is assessed based on the frequency reported and overall impact of the issue.

New CEO

There is no cause for concern over Tom Phillips departure as CEO. Interim leader Brian Donellan is a great leader and has been with Bright since launch. Thanks to this, there is no learning curve for Brian and his leadership will get us through the transition. The search for a new CEO will begin next month.

Training

Bright’s training platform has changed over the past couple weeks. Log in to brightmls.com to find the new training link where you can register for upcoming training. Bright’s Youtube clinics will continue throughout February

Reporting inaccuracies fast and anonymously

Use the accuracy bullseye to report information inaccuracies on a listing— if you click on the bullseye icon on the listing, that will open an email screen which will forward an email with the specific issue that you enter over to our Accuracy and Policy Department so they can investigate it anonymously on your behalf and get the issue resolved as quickly as possible.

Join the new Power of One Bright Facebook group

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/BrightMLSCommunity/)  to engage in productive discussions —Think of this group as a two-way platform where Bright can share with you, and you with them. A central place for Bright subscribers to exchange tips and tricks, provide and receive help, and give constructive feedback to Bright. Bright has reached out to the other agent-led facebook groups to get their feedback, but this group is the best option for getting your issues resolved.

Customer Support

Calling is the best way to get in touch with support. Call wait times on the Bright customer support line have dropped drastically and is approaching the level of calls received prior to conversion. Bright hired 20 new support staff last month and is in process of beefing up customer support for the spring market. The chat support option at brightmls.com is sometimes unavailable (think of it like a bucket that closes when full), but reopens when available.  Bright is currently working through a large volume of email cases at the moment at support@brightmls.com so email submissions might take a little bit longer to resolve.

Agent submitted concerns

Bright MLS has utilized legal counsel to investigate the rental vouchers/subsidized housing reporting and whether it is possible to make that field mandatory as a local customization. In the meantime, agents must follow the instructions in the article at http://bit.ly/searchvouchers to make the listing appear in subsidized housing searches. 

Automatic scrubbing

Bright MLS recently turned on the automated feature that flags possible fair housing violations and has noticed some phrases/words getting flagged that shouldn’t be. They are working on fine tuning the feature to recognize the context and only flag inappropriate wording.

Improvements

The Gallery Report has been added into Bright MLS.

Look forward to the return of agent prompts via email (e.g. your listing is expiring)

Technology Committee requested the addition of either an early AM email time or allowing agents to set their own— Bright is currently investigating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Economic and Advocacy Summit Wrap Up

The Virginia Realtors® (VR)hosted their annual Economic and Advocacy Summit on February 5th and 6th at the Omni Shoreham in Richmond.  This event features speakers, an RPAC honors lunch, legislator town halls and a reception.  In addition, the Board of Directors of VR meets to hear committee reports and vote on policy. 

FAAR member Chip Taylor is the Chair of the Member Communications Committee and presented to the Board.  In addition, FAAR received the Triple Crown award for RPAC which means that we exceeded goals for fundraising, participants, and Major Investors.

Join us online for a Bright Update this Friday

Join us online for a Bright Update this Friday

On Friday, Feb. 15, FAAR and our neighboring Realtor® associations are hosting an online livestream Bright MLS meet-up. Hear from the incoming Bright MLS Interim CEO and members of the Bright MLS leadership team about their plans for moving the system forward.

When: Friday, Feb. 15, 1 – 3 p.m.

Who: Incoming Bright Interim CEO Brian Donnellan, Chief Technology Officer Frank Major, and Board Member David Howell will be joined by NVAR CEO Ryan Conrad and President Christine Richardson

What: High-level Q&A about how Bright MLS is working to:
• Improve customer support
• Strengthen the quality and timeliness of the data
• Listen, learn and adapt to the rapidly evolving marketplace
• Ensure that the Bright MLS staff at all levels is focused on the mission of improving your MLS experience.
Use this opportunity to have a constructive, respectful dialogue and discussion and to submit your questions about next steps for the Bright transition.

Advanced registration is required and is open to members of FAAR, NVAR, DAAR, PWAR, GPR and BRAR who are Bright MLS subscribers.

Where: Online livestream from a location of your choice

January Ushers in a Sluggish Start to 2019 Real Estate Market

The 2019 real estate market kicked off with mixed results.  Total sold dollar volume fell 14.5% in January, coming in at $88.961 million compared to over $104 million in January of 2018.  The number of units sold decreased year-over-year over 13.7%, going from 342 last year to 295 this January.  Median sales price remained relatively static, posting a meager 1.85% increase.  The median price in January of 2018 was $284,725 and it increased to $289,990 in January of 2019.   

FAAR Board of Director Clay Murray explains, “January was a challenging month in local real estate due to a number of factors: continued low inventory, frigid weather, normal market seasonality, and a partial government shutdown affecting buyers, sellers, and some government-backed mortgage programs, namely USDA loans. Our local market is strong, but those external factors added a hint of temporary uncertainty.”

Some jurisdictions saw double digit declines in sales volume compared to last January.  Caroline County saw a 25% reduction in the number of units sold, Spotsylvania County came in at over 35% fewer units sold, and King George led the decline in sales with a 60% reduction in January of 2019 versus last year.  Even Stafford County, which avoided the sales declines that plagued some jurisdictions at the end of 2018, saw a 7.4% reduction in the number of sales.    

Days on market, the time it takes from when a listing enters the market until it receives a ratified contract and is removed from active status on the multiple listing service, fell 6% with houses averaging 94 days on the market in January of 2019 compared to 100 days in January of 2018. 

Murray is optimistic that the market will shake off the sluggishness of January and recover for the traditionally busy spring market. “The month ended with a reinvigorated market, ripe and ready to enter a strong spring a little early with a bonus of good news on interest rates.”

Changes to Dotloop Access to non-NVAR Members

Changes to Dotloop Access to non-NVAR Members

A change was implemented this week regarding access to NVAR forms through dotloop®. This security measure is intended to ensure that only Realtor® subscribers or their authorized designees have access to this proprietary professional resource.

Subscribers are now required to enter a valid NRDS ID. Because the authentication system only recognizes NVAR NRDS numbers, FAAR members or their administrative assistants who wish to access the forms will need to obtain an invitation code from dotloop® customer service.

Subscribers should click on “Add Association” in their account, then type in “NVAR Non-Members.” They will be prompted for the invitation code. Additional details are available here: https://info.dotloop.com/nvar-switches-to-nrds-verification

Dotloop® customer service can be reached at 1-888-dotloop (368-5667)

FAAR members can find their NRDS IDs by logging in at faarmembers.com/myaccount. They system may prompt you to update your information with us, if so, please do, click save, and then click on “My Account.” Your NRDS number will be in the blue box. 

Social Media Boot Camp by Bright MLS

Social Media Boot Camp by Bright MLS

 

 

Ready to ramp up your social media marketing?

Join us for a free in-person event where you’ll learn how you can successfully use social media in your real estate business. 

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to social media for the real estate professional
  • How to use top social media channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (even YouTube Video Tours) to create clients for life
  • Why Content is King 
  • Internet and website marketing
  • How to get the most bang for your buck with social media marketing
  • Integrating social media into your website

Please note: Optional Bright MLS services will be discussed and offered for agents looking for assistance with social media marketing.

*Light refreshments will be served.

2 offerings on 2/22/19

10:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 -3:00 pm

Registration Link:  http://ity.vc/MDVASocialMediaBootCamp

Bright MLS Training “Working with Buyers and Sellers”

Bright MLS Training “Working with Buyers and Sellers”

Join us for a live event at FAAR this Thursday, February 7th with Customer Success Champion, Naima Johnson. Topics will include:

Working With Buyers 

  • Detailed Search
  • Customizing search displays
  • New listing statuses
  • Integrated tools
  • Map Search 
  • Client Portal

 Working with Sellers 

  • Public Records
  • Profile sheets
  • Adding/ Editing listings  

Question & Answer Session

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS®
2050 Gordon W. Shelton Blvd.
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401

10:30AM – 12:00PM

Email training@brightmls.com to register

Press Releases

January Ushers in a Sluggish Start to 2019 Real Estate Market

The 2019 real estate market kicked off with mixed results.  Total sold dollar volume fell 14.5% in January, coming in at $88.961 million compared to over $104 million in January of 2018.  The number of units sold decreased year-over-year over 13.7%, going...

2018 Local Housing Market Posts Modest Gains

The 2018 real estate market posted gains in total sold dollar volume and median price, but saw a slight reduction in units sold.  The year closed out with a total sold dollar volume of $1.925 billion which represents a 3.7% increase over the year-end...

November Real Estate Market Sees Typical Seasonal Slowdown

The November real estate market experienced a typical seasonal slowdown with decreases in total sold dollar volume and units sold and an increase in median sales price.  Total sold dollar volume came in at $120.3 million, representing a nearly 3.8%...

Local Real Estate Market Rebounds Slightly in October

The October real estate market posted increases in total sold dollar volume and median price, while units sold came in at the same amount as 2017. Total sold dollar volume increased from $128.8 million in October of 2017 to $138 million in October of 2018,...

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