News

Recent news, business resources and press releases.

2018 PAR for FAAR Foundation Golf Tournament Photos

What a fabulous day out at Augustine Golf Course in Stafford—Thank you to all of our attendees and sponsors who helped make the 3rd annual Par for FAAR Foundation Golf Tournament a resounding success! More details coming soon on the total amount raised. In the meantime, look how much fun we had!

Thank you Sponsors

Bayfield Home Loans
Alcova Mortgage
Winning Image Salon
Highland Title & Escrow
Century 21 Redwood Realty
Priority Financial
Price Rich and Associates
Harry’s Ale House
James Photography Group
Homeworx
AHS
Poet’s Walk
Assurance Financial
SunTrust Mortgage
Affordable Home Loans
Universal Title
PermaTreat
Professional Plumbing Solutions
Joshua Lawrence SalonXtreme Heating
Century 21 Redwood Realty
Donna Chandler
Carole Riddle
First County Mortgage
Bay County Settlements
Dannex Construction
Atlantic Coast Mortgage
Greater Fredericksburg Habitat for Humanity
Sona Homes
Lisa Ross with C21 Redwood
Fredericksburg Area Rentals and Property Management
Berens Realty Group
Century 21 Redwood Realty

Wheelbarrow of Cheer | Fredericksburg Realtors® Foundation 
Tom Brady Signed Football | Sue Pash 
Augustine Membership | David Weider
Golf Foursome | Augustine Golf Course
Golf Foursome at River Creek | Geoff Brandquist
Wedding Fireworks Package | Southern Exposure Pyrotechnics
Washington Capitals Tickets | Kevin Daniels
Washington Capitals Tickets | Richard Wallace
Washington Wizards Tickets | Richard Wallace
Stephen Strasburg Baseball | Washington Nationals
Nick Sundberg Photo | Washington Redskins 
Markieff Morris Photo | Washington Wizards
Brett Connolly Photo | Washington Capitals 
Al Bumbry Photo | The Card Cellar
Frank Howard Photo | The Card Cellar
Wine Picnic Basket | Sue Pash
Local Goodies Basket | Olde Virginia Gourmet
Tower of Virginia Peanuts | Olde Virginia Gourmet
Crab Bottle Cap Art | Ed Schiavoni
Lobster Bottle Cap Art | Ed Schiavoni
Golf Basket | Della Robb
Designer Handbag and Scarf | Lady Legacy
Wine Gift Basket | City Vino
Growler and Gift Card | Fredericksburg Brew Exchange
Art on Canvas | Raelyn Marketing Promotions

MRIS Conversion Process to Bright MLS begins October 30

Bright MLS will convert subscribers beginning the week of October 30th with a 3-week preview period and conversion date of November 20th.

Bright’s Support Center 1-844-552-7444 (1-844-55-BRIGHT) is available 7 days a week, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Bright will be communicating important conversion details through email as your conversion dates approach.

What to expect

They have set up the process in three “Power Up” phases to make it easier for everyone.

Step 1 – Initiate.  As they Initiate Bright in our area, they provide all subscribers a “pre-preview” for what’s to come. During this phase, they will be communicating what to expect from the conversion and general information about Bright. You can access this information at www.brightmls.com/welcomeand learn the system now in advance of the conversion

Step 2 – Calibrate. During a 3-week preview phase, subscribers will be able to login to Bright, become educated on the new system, update their account, check their listings and more. This is going to be the most important phase during the conversion. This is where subscribers will be able preview the MLS, register for training classes, practice navigating around the site, perform searches, etc.  We encourage you to login during this phase and learn the new MLS.

Step 3 – Activate. This is when subscribers are finally converted to the Bright platform. When their activation date arrives, you are encouraged to spend time reviewing your listings and adding data to any new fields that are now required on the Bright platform.

Please bookmark Bright’s Power Up page www.brightmls.com/welcome where you can obtain an overview of the process, receive the latest information, and additional resources prior to receiving your login to their preview.

 

Questions? Bright is here to help

  • Bright’s Support Center is available 7 days a week, Mon-Fri, 8AM – 8PM, Sat & Sun, 9AM – 6PM: 1-844-552-7444 or support@brightmls.com
  • Bright will offer limited in-person training in local venues, but will offer many more opportunities online. There will also be a wide variety of short videos available on BrightMLS.com.
  • There is also easy access to a wide variety of support help topics, webinars and videos on our Online Support Center which is available 24/7.

Classroom Training Available

Bright Conversion Training – November 5th

  • 10:00 a.m.           Search & More
  • 12:30 p.m.           Add & Edit Listings
  • 2:30 p.m.             Search & More

Register for Bright MLS Training

Register for Bright MLS Training

September Posts Disappointing Total Volume Numbers

September posted disappointing year-over-year decreases in total sold dollar volume and units sold while posting a median price increase, indicating that the local real estate market may be slowing down heading into the cooler months.  Total sold dollar volume decreased over 11%, going from nearly $148.2 million in September of 2017 to $130.8 million in September of 2018.  This decrease was fueled by a nearly 18% drop in total units sold, which decreased from 500 units sold in September of last year to 411 units sold in September of this year.  Median price did climb 8.9% compared to the same time last year, increasing from $269,900 last September to $293,900 in September of this year.

Leading the loss in sales were the City of Fredericksburg and King George County, with 58% and 54% less units sold in September of 2018 than last September.  The loss in units sold represents a 52.7% decrease in total sales volume for the City and a nearly 51% decrease in total sales volume for King George County.  Stafford County was the only jurisdiction to post year-over-year gains in total sold volume and units sold, increasing 16.2% and 8.7%, respectively, compared to last year.

“The market has slowed a bit, which is typical for this time of year as buyers and sellers are focused on back-to-school activities.  Rising interest rates and lack of inventory have also affected the market, but from all signs next year will most likely be more balanced and continue on a slow, but steady, course,” states FAAR Board of Director Sandy Pearce.

Days on market, the time it takes from when a listing enters the market until it receives a ratified contract, increased 2% in September compared to the same time last year.  In September of 2018, homes spent an average of 49 days on the market compared to 50 days in September of 2018.  This is the first increase in average days on market since August of 2016.

Overall active listings were up 2% in September of 2018 compared to last year, with prospective buyers having 1,782 homes to choose from.  New listings were down 2.85% with 715 homes coming on the market this September compared to 736 last September.

Mediation: Creating Solutions Instead of Litigation

Mediation: Creating Solutions Instead of Litigation

by Alex Long

Take control when it seems you have lost control; and events and relationships appear to spiral beyond repair. The parties, working with a mediator, themselves can create solutions, which gives them control over the outcome.

Absent participation in mediation, a dispute over commission might have to go to arbitration, if it meets the requirements. At arbitration, a panel, in a hearing, which is generally adversarial between the parties, will make the final decision. And the panel makes the final decision, subject only to a very limited review. A court system of litigation is excruciatingly expensive both in terms of money and the emotional toll.

Mediation, in contrast to a formal hearing, presents another path: the parties must commit to not an adversarial posture, but a cooperative spirit, a conciliatory atmosphere, to resolve sharp differences. Adversarial or cooperative, the choice is stark. The parties must at least try to formulate solutions. Differences and hurts are real and must be addressed. How the wounds are made worse or healed, is found in the choice of the process chosen.

Attitude is crucial. A format or framework to work within is priceless. Mediation is voluntary and provides a mechanism, by which the individuals can jointly work to salvage a solution. A process and a mediator are provided through your REALTOR® Association, FAAR, if conditions are met. Article 17 of the NAR Code of Ethics contains the basics. CEO Pat Breme can be consulted as to whether circumstances warrant mediation thru FAAR. If not, private firms offer mediation. Again, the process chosen can make a huge impact upon outcome.

The mediator must be someone the parties trust and who can provide fair, unbiased leadership in leading the parties to effective communications and hopefully a mutual resolution. Only the parties themselves can arrive at the resolution of differences; the mediator cannot command or force any solution. Mediators cannot provide any legal advice or other expert opinions such as accounting, etc. The parties can terminate the mediation at any point. Individuals can consult legal counsel. Confidentiality must be maintained by the parties and mediator. Information in a mediation cannot be used by one party against another at a formal hearing or other venue.

Although not a ‘get out of jail’ card, mediation might be possible for some ethics controversies. Not eligible are ethics issues of betrayal of public trust: “…misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm.”; and/or as the standards are updated by NAR. It is possible for remedies to range from a simple but sincere apology to requirements for financial payments, fines, completing education, or other actions.

Settlements must be in writing. The parties can consult legal advice before agreeing to the document. Settlements are enforceable by judicial action, should the party prevail.

Voluntary action, a choice to cooperate, is the basis for mediation. What holds it all together can be an amalgamation of hope overcoming fear of the unknown imposed by others; a sincere desire to take a better path; or perhaps an ego that compels the protagonist to do a better job at fixing a problem than others who are unknown and probably not as smart as themselves.

FAAR Members with 2019 NAR Committee Appointments

FAAR Members with 2019 NAR Committee Appointments

Congratulations and thank you for representing local REALTORS® at the national level. 

Suzanne Brady – Consumer Communication Committee – Member: At Large

Andrew Fristoe – Young Professionals Network Advisory Board – Member: Immediate Past Chair

Christine Singhass – Research Committee – Member: At Large

Sarah Stelmok – Data Strategies Committee – Member: At Large

Pat Breme – AEC-RCE Certification Advisory Board – Member: At Large

Barbara Castillo – Professional Development Committee – Member: Immediate Past Chair

Introducing the Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness

Introducing the Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® proudly introduces the Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness, a new online resource designed exclusively to meet the specific financial planning needs of REALTORS®. This new, comprehensive program includes interactive, step-by-step guides to help members achieve financial security through planning and diversifying their savings, including through real estate investing.

The website offers members

• A quick and easy check-up to evaluate their current financial profile
• Customized recommendations and personalized goal tracking
• A simulation that allows members to practice financial decision-making and see the results in a risk-free way
• Calculators, budget planners, and work sheets
• Education on monetizing their book of business upon retirement

Members can visit www.FinancialWellness.realtor to take an online assessment, receive personalized financial planning goals, practice financial planning decisions in a risk-free way and explore a robust library of budgeting, retirement, and real estate investing resources.

NAR Urges Deduction for Rental Income

From NAR….

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a 20 percent deduction from the net business income of sole proprietors and owners of S corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies.  The new deduction is intended to provide roughly the same tax rate cut the Act provided to regular corporations.  However, it is unclear whether owners of rental real estate will be able to claim the deduction. 

NAR has asked the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, in a letter, to treat all real property rental activity as eligible for the 20 percent deduction.  The letter asserts that without this change, the 10 million American owners of rental real estate will be forced to wade through voluminous and confusing tax cases and conflicting IRS positions in order to determine for themselves whether their rental activity constitutes a “trade or business,” which is a requirement for the deduction.  The letter also lists factors that indicate Congress intended the deduction to be available to the great majority of owners of rental property without the burden of excess complexity. 

The IRS will hold a public hearing on the proposed regulations on October 16.  NAR has requested that a representative of the association be allowed to testify on this issue. 

NAR sent an earlier comment letter to Treasury and IRS on another issue related to the 20 percent deduction, on the question of whether real estate brokerage activities qualify for it.  In a huge win for REALTORS, the proposed regulations reflected the position suggested by the letter. 

A copy of the letter can be found here: narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/3/3247.pdf

Resolving Contractual Disputes Less Expensive than Litigation | Article 17 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics

Resolving Contractual Disputes Less Expensive than Litigation | Article 17 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics

by Dave Moberly

Arbitration

Arbitration is between principals from different firms over contractual disputes. In an arbitration hearing the principals present/defend their position. Agents involved in the transaction may be called as witnesses since in most instances, the dispute is over which agent is the procuring cause of the transaction. Hearing panel members are peers who have been trained in the procedures.

Mediation

REALTOR® (principals) associated with different firms, arising out of their relationship as REALTORS® are required to submit the dispute to arbitration. FAAR offers mediation to the parties but it is not mandatory to mediate. If one party declines mediation, the case moves to a hearing. Some associations make mediation mandatory.

An arbitration hearing usually resolves the issue because the parties agree to be bound by the resulting agreement or award. Association arbitration is time consuming but the process is less time consuming and costly than litigation. The fee to file for each party is $250. The prevailing party is remitted the $250 fee.

If both parties agree that mediation is not their option it does not relieve the REALTORS® from the obligation to arbitrate.

Litigation

A filing of litigation and refusal to withdraw from it in an arbitration matter constitutes a refusal to arbitrate.

REALTORS® acting solely as principals in the transaction are not obligated to mediate if there is a written agreement to the contrary.

There are 5 instances when specific non-contractual disputes are subject to arbitration. Since each presents a complex set of circumstances, please refer the Code of Ethics for the details.

Arbitration of disputes between principals from different states is possible if the requesting principal agrees to hold the hearing in the respondent’s jurisdiction and the principals’ associations determines an arbitral issue exits.

If an ethics complaint and a request for arbitration are filed simultaneously, the arbitration process is done first.

If a member refuses to arbitrate sanctions can be applied by the Board of Directors.

If the non-prevailing party fails to comply with the award of the hearing panel, the prevailing party may seek judicial review/enforcement.

Read below for Article 17 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics

Article 17 (Case Interpretations for Article 17)

In the event of contractual disputes or specific non-contractual disputes as defined in Standard of Practice 17-4 between REALTORS® (principals) associated with different firms, arising out of their relationship as REALTORS®, the REALTORS® shall mediate the dispute if the Board requires its members to mediate. If the dispute is not resolved through mediation, or if mediation is not required, REALTORS® shall submit the dispute to arbitration in accordance with the policies of their Board rather than litigate the matter.

In the event clients of REALTORS® wish to mediate or arbitrate contractual disputes arising out of real estate transactions, REALTORS® shall mediate or arbitrate those disputes in accordance with the policies of the Board, provided the clients agree to be bound by any resulting agreement or award.

The obligation to participate in mediation or arbitration contemplated by this Article includes the obligation of REALTORS® (principals) to cause their firms to mediate or arbitrate and be bound by any resulting agreement or award. (Amended 1/12) [listen]

  • Standard of Practice 17-1

The filing of litigation and refusal to withdraw from it by REALTORS® in an arbitrable matter constitutes a refusal to arbitrate. (Adopted 2/86)

  • Standard of Practice 17-2

Article 17 does not require REALTORS® to mediate in those circumstances when all parties to the dispute advise the Board in writing that they choose not to mediate through the Board’s facilities. The fact that all parties decline to participate in mediation does not relieve REALTORS® of the duty to arbitrate.

Article 17 does not require REALTORS® to arbitrate in those circumstances when all parties to the dispute advise the Board in writing that they choose not to arbitrate before the Board. (Amended 1/12)

  • Standard of Practice 17-3

REALTORS®, when acting solely as principals in a real estate transaction, are not obligated to arbitrate disputes with other REALTORS® absent a specific written agreement to the contrary. (Adopted 1/96)

  • Standard of Practice 17-4

Specific non-contractual disputes that are subject to arbitration pursuant to Article 17 are:

  1. Where a listing broker has compensated a cooperating broker and another cooperating broker subsequently claims to be the procuring cause of the sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent. When arbitration occurs between two (or more) cooperating brokers and where the listing broker is not a party, the amount in dispute and the amount of any potential resulting award is limited to the amount paid to the respondent by the listing broker and any amount credited or paid to a party to the transaction at the direction of the respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)
  2. Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller or landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, another cooperating broker claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent. When arbitration occurs between two (or more) cooperating brokers and where the listing broker is not a party, the amount in dispute and the amount of any potential resulting award is limited to the amount paid to the respondent by the seller or landlord and any amount credited or paid to a party to the transaction at the direction of the respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97, Amended 1/07)
  3. Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the buyer or tenant and, as a result, the listing broker reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, another cooperating broker claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases the complainant may name the first cooperating broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed without the listing broker being named as a respondent. Alternatively, if the complaint is brought against the listing broker, the listing broker may name the first cooperating broker as a third-party respondent. In either instance the decision of the hearing panel as to procuring cause shall be conclusive with respect to all current or subsequent claims of the parties for compensation arising out of the underlying cooperative transaction. (Adopted 1/97)
  4. Where two or more listing brokers claim entitlement to compensation pursuant to open listings with a seller or landlord who agrees to participate in arbitration (or who requests arbitration) and who agrees to be bound by the decision. In cases where one of the listing brokers has been compensated by the seller or landlord, the other listing broker, as complainant, may name the first listing broker as respondent and arbitration may proceed between the brokers. (Adopted 1/97)
  5. Where a buyer or tenant representative is compensated by the seller or landlord, and not by the listing broker, and the listing broker, as a result, reduces the commission owed by the seller or landlord and, subsequent to such actions, claims to be the procuring cause of sale or lease. In such cases arbitration shall be between the listing broker and the buyer or tenant representative and the amount in dispute is limited to the amount of the reduction of commission to which the listing broker agreed. (Adopted 1/05)
  • Standard of Practice 17-5

The obligation to arbitrate established in Article 17 includes disputes between REALTORS® (principals) in different states in instances where, absent an established inter–association arbitration agreement, the REALTOR® (principal) requesting arbitration agrees to submit to the jurisdiction of, travel to, participate in, and be bound by any resulting award rendered in arbitration conducted by the respondent(s) REALTOR®’s association, in instances where the respondent(s) REALTOR®’s association determines that an arbitrable issue exists. (Adopted 1/07)

Introducing the Icon Award—New for the Fall Awards Season

Introducing the Icon Award—New for the Fall Awards Season

Introducing the Newest Award

The Awards Committee announces the newest award to the FAAR roster of member recognitions, the Icon Award. Do you know a Realtor® who can be described as an icon who currently is or was a member of FAAR? The award will be given at the December installation of the 2019 Leadership Team and since we are looking back into the history of FAAR, there may be several recipients who will be recognized for making a significant contribution to real estate in Fredericksburg.

The criteria states, this honor is awarded to a REALTOR® who has made a significant mark on the profession of real estate in the locality where he or she works. The Nominee’s name is recognizable to the community at large and is synonymous with exemplary ethical behavior and knowledgeable and compassionate service to clients and customers. The individual is highly respected by the REALTOR® community. The Nominee is generous with his or her time supporting community organizations/project/programs. The application requests the following information:

List examples exemplary ethical behavior:

List examples of knowledgeable and compassionate service to clients and customers:

List examples of the respect that agents in the REALTOR® community have for this individual:

List examples of the respect that community leaders have for the Nominee:

List examples of how the Nominee is generous with his/her time supporting community organizations/project/programs: 

List notable activities/accomplishments/recognitions from REALTOR® organizations or civic organizations:

Additional comments/testimonials

 

Deadline for application submission- October 31, 2018

But wait there’s more!

Consider nominating for one of these Fall Awards

Spirit Award
The recipient motivates others, through enthusiasm and participation, to attend events. The recipient may serve on a committee or just answers the call for help. The recipient is reliable and shows up! An eligible recipient can also be a more reserved person who quietly takes on tasks, e.g. transporting props to events, participating in the set-up, tear down and clean up without fanfare.

Raising the Bar
Criteria for this award include: General interest in subject of REALTOR® professional standards; availability and willingness to counsel and advise individual REALTORS®, brokers, and sales associates on real estate problems; presentations on ethics before FAAR and other Associations; service on Grievance and/or Professional Standards Committee.

Affiliate of the Year
Criteria for this award include: Must be an Affiliate member of FAAR, provided exceptional service to FAAR, its members and the general public, exhibited unusual dedication to the real estate profession, shown a high degree of Association participation, as well as activity in civic affairs.

Good Neighbor Award
This award is intended to recognize individual who has given significant contribution of time or other resources contributions to the local community. The efforts do not have to be real estate related. Will be awarded based on a level of personal contributions, broadness of impact, and the project’s suitability as a role model for other association members.

Hall of Fame
Criteria for this award include: length of membership in FAAR; elective offices held and committees on which served; areas in which nominee served the real estate industry through involvement with NAR and VAR committees. Nominations may come from Board of Directors or Awards Committee.

Silver Circle
Automatically awarded to those REALTOR® members after 25 years of continuous membership in FAAR

REALTOR® Emeritus Award
Awarded by NAR to those REALTOR® members after 40 years of continuous membership in FAAR

 

Deadline for application submission- October 31, 2018. Print and electronic applications are available online at faarmembers.com/awards.

Ombudsman and What it Means to You

Ombudsman and What it Means to You

By Elsa Rake

FAAR Ombudsman Program

“What is the Ombudsman Program?” – you may be asking. Simply put, it is an informal phone mediation program. This program is designed to help address and solve minor complaints from the public. It can also help resolve conflicts between REALTORS.

Sometimes members of the public have complaints that are transactional or procedural in nature and not necessarily actual violations of the NAR Code of Ethics. Typically when a member of the public wants to file a complaint against a REALTOR they will be put in contact with FAAR’s Professional Standards Administrator. If the Administrator determines the case meets the criteria for the Ombudsman Program, they will explain and offer the program to the complainant.

If the complainant agrees, an Ombudsman will be assigned to the handle the complaint. The Ombudsman will contact the complainant and will explain the procedure. The Ombudsman is not a true mediator but more of a go-between the parties. They will listen and try to understand the situation so they can determine the outcome the complainant is looking for. Sometimes it can be a simple apology, or they may need clarification on the situation. With permission from the complainant the Ombudsman will contact the other party so that a resolution may be reached. The Ombudsman program provides a venue for the complainant to have their story heard, sometimes that’s all that is needed and situations are diffused so that no formal complaints are filed and positive relationships are restored between the parties.

If the parties cannot come to a satisfactory agreement, the complainant can move forward with Mediation or a formal complaint. The negotiations or discussions that take place through the Ombudsman Program will have no bearing on the complaint moving forward.

If you have a complaint against another REALTOR®, keep this program in mind. Sometimes misunderstandings or lack of communication are what lead agents to want to file a complaint. An Ombudsman might just be the answer to get the communication going and for understanding to clear up an unpleasant situation.

Press Releases

September Posts Disappointing Total Volume Numbers

September posted disappointing year-over-year decreases in total sold dollar volume and units sold while posting a median price increase, indicating that the local real estate market may be slowing down heading into the cooler months.  Total sold dollar...

July Posts Modest Gains in Local Real Estate Market

Rain continued to be the story of our region throughout July with severe weather potentially impacting the pace of home sales.  “July was a challenging month,” states FAAR Board Member Mark Geslock.  “The rains slowed open houses and some showings were...

May Sees Impact from Inventory Shortage

Fredericksburg, VA – (June 14, 2018) – The following analysis of the Fredericksburg, Virginia area housing market has been prepared by the Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® based on analysis of brightMLS multiple listing data. The inventory...

6 projects, 50 volunteers…how FAAR gives back!

The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® (FAAR) hosted six community service projects throughout the Fredericksburg area on Saturday, May 19, 2018.  FAAR volunteers prepared a home for exterior painting, painted the entire interior of...

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