News

Recent news, business resources and press releases.
Barbara Speaking: A Summary of DPOR Violations

Barbara Speaking: A Summary of DPOR Violations

by Barbara Castillo, RCE, CIPS
Professional Development

 

Although DPOR no longer publishes an official publication of violations and disciplinary actions, the Real Estate Board meeting minutes are public record and it’s quite easy to research and compile. While assembling this years’ violations, Escrow continues to be the number 1 infraction!

In total, DPOR looked into approximately 200 complaints from April 2018-March 2019, and found violations for 131 agents. Fines ranged from $150-$4000, and most individuals were ordered to complete 2-6 hours of remedial classroom education in addition to their fine. Read a summary of the infractions here.

§ 54.1-2132. A.4
Licensees engaged by buyers shall exercise ordinary care.

There were 19 disciplinary actions found, with fines ranging from $300-$1150, and remedial education required including 4 hours agency, 4 hours contracts, and 12 hours escrow.

 

§ 54.1-2133.A .1,4
Licensees engaged by landlords to lease property shall Perform in accordance with the terms of the brokerage agreement and exercise ordinary care.

There were 2 disciplinary actions found, with fines of $550-$650, and remedial education required including 4 hours of property management.

 

§ 54.1-2137. B
Commencement and termination of brokerage relationships: Brokerage agreements shall be in writing.

There were 2 disciplinary actions found, with monetary penalties ranging from $200-$350, and remedial education required including 3 hours Contracts and 2 hours Agency.

 

18VAC135-20-155.
Grounds for disciplinary action, the board has the power to fine any licensee or certificate holder and to suspend or revoke any license or certificate issued under the provisions of Chapter 21.

There were 5 disciplinary actions found, with fines from $500-$2650. Additionally, 2 were given 2 years’ probation, and one license was revoked.

 

18VAC135-20-185. C.2
Maintenance and Management of Financial Records. Failing to retain for a period of three years from the date of closing or from ratification, if the transaction fails to close, a complete and legible copy of each executed contract of sale, any executed release from contract, any executed lease agreement, any executed property management agreement, and each settlement statement related to a real estate transaction, in the broker’s control or possession unless prohibited by law.

There were 3 disciplinary actions found, with fines ranging from $500-$1000.

 

18VAC135-20-190. E.4
Advertising by Licensees. Failing to obtain the written consent of the seller, landlord, optionor or licensor prior to advertising a specific identifiable property.

There were 2 disciplinary actions found, both with a $450 fine, and 3 hours remedial education in Agency and Ethics.

 

18VAC135-20-210.
Disclosure of Interest. If a licensee knows or should have known that he, any member of his family, his firm, any member of his firm, or any entity in which he has an ownership interest, is acquiring or attempting to acquire or is selling or leasing real property through purchase, sale, or lease and the licensee is a party to the transaction, the licensee must disclose in writing that he is a licensee and that he, any member of his family, his firm, any member of his firm, or any entity in which he has an ownership interest has or will have an ownership interest to the other parties to the transaction. This disclosure shall be made to the purchaser, seller, lessor, or lessee upon having substantive discussions about specific real property.

There were 9 disciplinary actions found, with 4 receiving 2 years’ probation, one license revocation, remedial education of 3 hours Ethics, 3 hours Agency, and fines ranging from $1000- $2500.

 

18VAC135-20-240.
Provision of Records to the Board. a licensee of the Real Estate Board shall produce to the board or any of its agents within 10 days of the request evidence of signature cards or bank records, any document, book, or record concerning any real estate transaction in which the licensee was involved, or for which the licensee is required to maintain records for inspection and copying by the board or its agents.

There was 1 violation found, with a fine of $300 and license probation.

 

18VAC135-20-250.
Response to Any Inquiry of the Board. A licensee must respond to an inquiry by the board, other than requested under 18VAC135-20-240, or its agents within 21 days.

There was 1 violation found, with a fine of $2050, and license revocation.

 

18VAC135-20-260.1
Prohibited Acts. Furnishing substantially inaccurate or incomplete information to the board in obtaining, renewing, reinstating, or maintaining a license.

There were 5 violations, with fines ranging from $150-$1500, and 1 license revocation. 2 hours remedial education in Property Management and Broker Management was also ordered.

 

18VAC135-20-260.5
Prohibited Acts. Signing an experience verification form without direct supervision or actual knowledge of the applicant’s activities.

There were 4 violations, with 1 license suspension and 2 license revocations, and a fine of $150.

 

18VAC135-20-260.6
Prohibited Acts. Having been convicted or found guilty regardless of the manner of adjudication in any jurisdiction of the United States of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, sexual offense, drug distribution or physical injury, or any felony, there being no appeal pending therefrom or the time for appeal having elapsed.

There were 12 violations, 3 receiving probation, and 7 license revocations. Fines ranged from $150-$1200.

 

18VAC135-20-260.7
Prohibited Acts. Failing to inform the board in writing within 30 days of pleading guilty or nolo contendere or being convicted or found guilty regardless of adjudication of any convictions as stated in subdivision 6 of this section.

There were 2 violations, with fines ranging from $150-$500.

 

18VAC135-20-260.10
Prohibited Acts. Having been found in a court or an administrative body of competent jurisdiction to have violated the Virginia Fair Housing Act, the Fair Housing Laws of any jurisdiction of the United States, including without limitation Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (82 Stat. 73), or the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (14 Stat. 27), there being no appeal therefrom or the time for appeal having elapsed.

There was 1 violation, with a fine of $1150, and 3 hours Ethics and 3 hours agency education ordered.

 

18VAC135-20-260.11.f,g,j
Prohibited Acts. Actions constituting failing to act as a real estate broker or salesperson in such a manner as to safeguard the interests of the public, including but not limited to the following; A broker failing to account for or remit any moneys coming into a licensee’s possession that belong to another, A licensee failing to submit to the broker in a timely manner, all earnest money deposits, contracts, listing agreements, deeds of lease, or any other documents for which the broker has oversight responsibility, A licensee practicing real estate with an inactive or expired license.

There were 34 violations, with fines ranging from $250-$1900, and most violators required to complete 3 hours of remedial escrow education.

 

18VAC135-20-260.12h
Prohibited Acts. Actions constituting engaging in improper, fraudulent, or dishonest conduct, including but not limited to the following: A licensee representing in offers he received the earnest money deposit when he has not or he knows the check is worthless.

There were 7 violations, with fines ranging from $150-$2650. Additional penalties included probation for 1 licensee, and revocation for 1.

 

18VAC135-20-270.3
Conflict of Interest. Performing regulated activities as a standard agent, limited service agent, or independent contractor for any client outside the licensee’s brokerage firm(s) or sole proprietorship(s).

There were 3 violations, with the penalty being license revocation for 2. All violators received a fine of $1150.

 

18VAC135-20-290. 1
Improper Dealing. Offering real property for sale or for lease without the knowledge and consent of the owner or the owner’s authorized representative, or on any terms other than those authorized by the owner or the owner’s authorized representative.

There was 1 violation, with a $550 fine imposed.

18VAC135-20-300.6
Misrepresentation/Omission. Failing as a licensee to tender promptly to the buyer and seller every written offer, every written counteroffer, and every written rejection to purchase, option or lease obtained on the property involved.

There was 1 violation, with a $650 fine and 3 hours of remedial education in contracts ordered.

 

18VAC135-20-310.1
Improper Delivery of Instruments. Failing to make prompt delivery to each principal to a transaction, complete and legible copies of any written disclosures required by the Code of Virginia, listings, lease, offers to purchase, counteroffers, addenda and ratified agreements, and other documentation required by the agreement.

18VAC135-20-310.2
Improper Delivery of Instruments. Failing to provide in a timely manner to all principals to the transaction written notice of any material changes to the transaction.

There were 17 violations, with fines ranging from $200-$1150, and remedial education of 3 hours escrow, 3 hours contracts or 3 hours escrow ordered for most violators.

Realtors Endorse Local Candidates for Reelection

The Virginia REALTORS®, through the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) of Virginia, has endorsed Bob Thomas and Bryce Reeves for re-election to their General Assembly seats.

“Our goal is to identify and support candidates who understand the impact that real estate issues have on our members, property owners, and real estate consumers,” said Bob Adamson, 2019 Chair of the RPAC of Virginia Trustees.

Bob Thomas is running for reelection in the 28th House of Delegates seat and Bryce Reeves is running for reelection in the 17th Senate District.  FAAR and the Virginia REALTORS® have enjoyed long and productive relationships with both candidates, working closely with them on issues of importance to the real estate industry.  

“Delegate Bob Thomas and Senator Bryce Reeves have both been REALTOR®-champions during their time in the General Assembly, leading the charge on legislation that impacts our industry. They understand the value of real estate to our local and regional economy and are always available for constituents in need. The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® is proud to stand with Delegate Bob Thomas and Senator Bryce Reeves as they seek reelection to the General Assembly,” said Drew Fristoe, 2019 President of the Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS®.

Both men face primary challenges on June 11 so if your business is an important factor when deciding who to cast your ballot for, FAAR urges you to consider voting for REALTOR® champions Bob Thomas and Bryce Reeves.  

FAARside Magazine Now Available

FAARside Magazine Now Available

Your copy of the May Newsletter, the FAARside is here! Crack open a copy to learn all about what’s going on in local real estate. But that’s not all! 

It’s like a magazine, but useful! 

This edition includes: 

  • Update on the NAR lawsuit
  • Expo Preview
  • New Night Classes
  • New Summer Lawyer Series
  • Affordable Housing Partnership
  • General Assembly News
  • Standing Position on Broadband
  • Bright Midyear Update
  • and more!

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

April Brings Strong Start to the Spring Selling Season

The lackluster first quarter start to the 2019 real estate market gave way to a stronger April, notes FAAR Board of Director Phillip Blake.  “Lower interest rates have helped push buyers off the fence and into the market, with some consumers choosing to purchase a home rather than rent,” comments Blake.  April of 2019 saw increases in total sold dollar volume, median price, and units sold while posting a decrease in days on market, indicating a strong real estate market as we look ahead to the spring selling season.

Total sold dollar volume increased over 15%, settling at approximately $189.8 million in April of this year, compared to $164.6 million in April of 2018.  Units sold increased nearly 11%, going from 517 last April to 573 units in April of this year.  Median price saw a 7.8% year-over-year increase, going from $295,000 in April of 2018 to $318,000 in April of 2019. 

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, decreased almost 3% with houses averaging 67 days on the market in April of 2019 compared to 69 days in April of 2018. 

Active listings were up for the fourth month in a row, with 1,652 listings on the market representing a more than 7% year-over-year increase.  New listings posted a slightly less 1% increase with 1,132 new homes coming on the market this April compared to 1,122 last year.  Future settlement activity continues to post strong numbers boding well for sales in May with over 44% new properties under contract in April of 2019 compared to April of 2018.  Inventory overall continues to remain low, especially in the lower-priced market segments.  “Some agents have found themselves in multiple offer situations,” states Blake.  “As we have seen in past spring markets, upward pressure on prices combined with comparative sales trailing the market have resulted in some low appraisals.  This is generally short-lived.”  Blake believes that continued low interest rates combined with a healthy local economy will keep buyers hungry and our market on track for a strong 2019.

Legislation to Provide Affordable Health Insurance Options to REALTORS® is Vetoed by Governor

Check out the blog below from the Virginia Realtors® for an update on their efforts to expand health insurance coverage for our members.

By: Guest Author, Vice President of Political Operations, Anthony Reedy

Earlier this year, more than 3,000 Virginia REALTORS® responded to a Call For Action in support of legislation that would open the door for our association to pool together our nearly 34,000 members to negotiate better, more affordable health insurance options for you and your families.

Our research indicates that nearly 7,000 of you go without insurance because of the prohibitive costs and many more of you have limited options to expensive plans.

The two bills, SB 1689 sponsored by Senator Siohban Dunnavant and HB 2443 sponsored by Delegate Tony Wilt, passed the General Assembly with strong, bipartisan support.

Governor Ralph Northam’s administration expressed concerns about the policy as it passed the House and Senate. The Virginia REALTORS® Government Relations Team worked with the Northam administration to address the concerns. Thousands of REALTORS® contacted the Governor’s office to voice their opinions on how important this legislation is, not only to the real estate industry, but to working families across Virginia.

Unfortunately, the administration still had concerns and Governor Northam vetoed the legislation, ending the opportunity for this year.

While we didn’t make it across the finish line in 2019, our collective efforts gained positive bipartisan momentum on the issue. Several key legislative leaders have committed to working with the Virginia REALTORS® on legislation for the 2020 General Assembly Session, and we have committed to working with Governor Northam’s administration to address those concerns raised.

Our goal for the 2020 General Assembly Session is to put forth a comprehensive piece of legislation that will create stable, affordable, and quality healthcare insurance options for you and your families.

Bipartisan Agreement in House Would Extend Flood Insurance

Seems like deja vu all over again, right?  The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire again at the end of May.  Congress is working on yet another short-term extension.  Read below for an update provided by NAR…

Bipartisan Agreement in House Would Extend Flood Insurance
  • Top lawmakers on House committee agree to four month extension
  • Program will lapse if Congress doesn’t act before end of this month

 

By David Schultz | May 9, 2019 07:33PM ET | Bloomberg Law

The two top lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee reached an agreement to extend the National Flood Insurance Program another four months, the 11th short-term extension of this financially troubled program in less than two years.

Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the committee, cosponsored a bill introduced May 9 that would keep the program going through the end of the current fiscal year.

The bill, H.R. 2578, is identical to language that was inserted into a larger disaster relief bill, H.R. 2157, which is scheduled to come up for a vote on the House floor May 10. However, both the White House and Republicans in the Senate have said they would not support this disaster bill because they believe it is too costly.

The introduction of this stand-alone bill by Waters and McHenry signals their concern that pinning the future of the flood insurance program to a larger, more complex bill may cause it to lapse. This would prevent the program’s administrator, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, from issuing new policies, which are often a prerequisite in many parts of the country for obtaining a mortgage.

“This extension prevents harm to homeowners and the housing market while also providing time to reach bipartisan consensus on much-needed reforms to the program,” Waters said in a statement.

NAR Lawsuit Update: New copycat lawsuits filed

NAR Lawsuit Update: New copycat lawsuits filed

From NAR Legal Counsel Katie Johnson…

Following the Moehrl v. NAR litigation filed in March that challenges the MLS system and the way that broker commissions are paid, two additional lawsuits with similar allegations have been filed against NAR and the same four franchisor firms that were sued in Moehrl. To ensure you have the most accurate information and context, we wanted to share an update.

The two new suits are quite similar to the Moehrl litigation. Plaintiffs in all three cases allege home sellers unfairly pay the commissions of buyers’ brokers. They ignore how commissions are subject to negotiation. And they question the value buyers’ brokers deliver in the home buying and selling process.

Often referred to as copycat lawsuits because the allegations are substantially similar to lawsuits already filed, such litigation is commonly brought by additional law firms whose ultimate goal is to combine their suits with others, in hopes they receive a portion of attorneys’ fees.

NAR remains confident these lawsuits are without merit. They are wrong on the facts, wrong on the law, and wrong on the economics. As each of you know, the MLS system is designed first and foremost with the buyer and seller in mind. It is pro-competitive and pro-consumer. And buyers’ brokers play a very real and critical role in the home buying and selling process. In the best interests of consumers, we will aggressively defend all three lawsuits – and any others that may be filed in the future.

As mentioned in March, we plan to file a motion to dismiss the Moehrl v. NAR case on May 17. In that motion, we will point out the commission offered to the buyer’s broker is determined by the seller and listing broker and is very much subject to negotiation. We will also note that courts have repeatedly held the MLS system promotes competition, increases the efficiency of the market and serves the best interests of sellers and buyers alike. In due course, we will file similar motions to dismiss in the other two cases.

Please note, courts are often reluctant to grant motions to dismiss. If our motion to dismiss is denied, we expect a years-long litigation process. However, we will continue to aggressively defend the right of American home buyers and sellers to continue to have access to a highly efficient home buying market supported by brokers who help navigate a complex transaction.

To further assist you in discussing this matter, should you be asked, we encourage you to ground conversations first in the bigger picture of the value of REALTORS® and the MLS system to both buyers and sellers (see below), and rely on the updated FAQs shared with this message.

REALTORS® provide great value to their clients and communities.

  1. Every REALTOR® must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism, consumer protection, and the golden rule of treating others the way we wish to be treated.
  2. REALTORS® use their unmatched knowledge of local markets and industry expertise to help buyers and sellers navigate and negotiate through what are often the most complicated and lengthy financial transactions of their lives.
  3. REALTORS® are engaged community members and neighbors, committed to building and enhancing the neighborhoods they serve.

MLSs create efficient markets that benefit home buyers and sellers.

  1. With the vast amount of real estate information available today, it is more crucial than ever to have trained, local brokers helping consumers navigate their options in order to arrive at the best possible decision.
  2. MLSs create vibrant markets with numerous opportunities for residential buyers and sellers by enabling cooperation between listing and buying brokers.
  3. With all of this information in one place, MLSs are able to safeguard and manage market information, allowing all parties to complete real estate transactions with confidence and efficiency.

MLSs are pro-competitive and pro-consumer.

  1. MLSs benefit both buyers and sellers by providing increased exposure for sellers’ properties while allowing buyers access to all MLS-listed properties through one broker of their choice.
  2. Because broker commissions are subject to negotiation, this system creates highly competitive, free markets, which ensure consumers receive superior service.
  3. Over many years, courts across this country have validated the legality, efficacy and value of the MLS system.

NEW PRODUCT! Q1 Fred Area Home Sales Report

FAAR is debuting an exciting new product this quarter…our very first Virginia Home Sales report specifically for the Fredericksburg region! 

Compiled by the new Chief Economist at the Virginia Realtors®, Dr. Lisa Sturtevant, this report is packed with information, charts, graphs and trends for our region and for our jurisdictions broken out individually. 

Feel free to use this report in your business to communicate with clients, share with your sphere, and add to listing presentations.  FAAR will be issuing these each quarter and also sharing them with elected and career government officials. 

We hope you love this new product as much as we do!

FAAR Hosts Event at Lake Anna with Local Government Officials

FAAR hosted a meeting at Lake Anna with the Economic Development Directors from the counties of Louisa, Orange, and Spotsylvania.  Discussion focused transportation, infrastructure development, healthcare services and broadband.  All three government officials shared that input from constituents was critical to the decision-making procedures of their Boards of Supervisors. They encouraged folks to report potholes to VDOT, contact elected officials about challenges with broadband and transportation, and send them comments about how the lack of available healthcare options impacts potential buyers’ decisions to move to the area.  Contact information for the Economic Development Directors along with links to VDOT and FAAR’s traffic and broadband submissions are below.

Louisa County Economic Development Director
Andy Wade
awade@louisa.org
540-967-4581

Orange County Economic Development Director
Phil Geer
pgeer@orangecountyva.gov
540-672-1238

Spotsylvania County Economic Development Director
Tom Rumora
trumora@spotsylvania.va.us
540-507-7210

VDOT Pothole Site

Gridlock Grumbles

Broadband Feedback

Submit a Legislative Issue

FAAR Hosts Legislative Reception with Chamber

FAAR and the Chamber hosted a joint legislative reception on Wednesday, April 17 at the 718 Venue in downtown Fredericksburg.  Several legislators were in attendance including Senator Bryce Reeves, Delegate Bob Thomas, Delegate Buddy Fowler, and Delegate Mark Cole.  The Chamber presented their annual legislative awards and legislative package.  FAAR President Drew Fristoe welcomed and the crowd and FAAR members mingled with elected officials and Chamber members.

Press Releases

FAAR Holds Annual Awards Event

The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® (FAAR) held its annual Awards Gala on April 10, 2019 at the Fredericksburg Country Club.  Approximately 130 members were in attendance for the festivities, which included an awards ceremony and fundraiser....

February Picks Up the Pace in Local Real Estate Market

While February statistics tracked fairly closely to 2018 numbers, pending sales indicate a warming in the local real estate market.  Total sold dollar volume increased 2.4% in February, coming in at $106.4 million compared to nearly $103.9 million in...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This