News

Recent news, business resources and press releases.

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.

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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.

Background

  • 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.

Look for new leadership election in the next 30 days

Dear Members,

There is sad news to report. Due to a difficult surgery on her shoulder and an unpredicted very long recovery, Arlene Mason cannot take on the responsibilities of 2020 president and has resigned the remainder of her current term. Her decision impacts the election balloting that is going on at the present time. Based on the comments and assurances of two attorney’s, FAAR is voiding the election process currently in progress and will schedule a new election in the next 30 days or less. With Arlene vacating the president position, President Drew Fristoe has called an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors and the Nominating Committee to re-adjust the officer line-up. The BOD alone could have made those adjustment after the election, but for transparency and fairness, the decision was made to hold a new election with the revised ballot. Stayed tuned for the date when the new ballot goes live.

Respectfully,

Drew Fristoe

FAAR Announces Endorsements for 2019 Local Elections

The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® (FAAR) announces endorsements for local Board of Supervisors and Commissioner of the Revenue races on the ballot for the November 5 general election.  The endorsed candidates represent areas throughout FAAR’s service area of the counties of Caroline, Stafford and Spotsylvania.

“As active members of our local communities, REALTORS® have a strong interest in this year’s elections.  I am pleased with the impressive slate of candidates that FAAR has endorsed this year.  These individuals will contribute much to our local communities by promoting economic development and protecting homeowners’ rights,” stated FAAR’s 2019 Public Policy Committee Chair Christine Singhass.  “FAAR strongly supports each of the candidates endorsed for public office and looks forward to working with these individuals at the local level.  The real estate industry is an integral part of our local economy and it is vital that REALTORS® help elect candidates who understand those connections and are willing to work with us on issues of importance.”

FAAR has endorsed the following candidates:

Caroline County
Mark Bissoon (Commissioner of the Revenue)
Jeff Sili (Caroline County Board of Supervisors, Bowling Green District)

Spotsylvania County
Dr. Raymond A. Bell, Jr.  (Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors, Livingston District)

Stafford County
Scott Mayausky (Commissioner of the Revenue)

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 sentrilock.com/support

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!

Collect Cereal for Local Food Banks this October

Go coo-coo for cereal collection! 

2018 was another great year for the annual REALTOR® cereal drive. Help us reach the 2019 goal of 16,000 boxes, all of which go to the local area food banks.

Use the cereal drive as a touch point.

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

Tell us if you’re participating.

Let us know if your office plans to participate by filling out the form below or emailing Barbara Castillo with your office and contact information by September 25th.

Final cereal counts will be announced at 10/24 mixer.

Collected cereal can be dropped off at the October 24th Halloween Mixer at Wilderness Run Winery from 5-7 PM or for large pick-ups, the Fredericksburg food van can be scheduled to pick up from your location. Please email Barbara bcastillo@faarmembers.com with your final box tally sometime before the 10/24 Halloween Mixer where we will announce the winners. Scroll down to see who participated in last year’s cereal drive! 

 

 

2019 Realtor Cereal Drive

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

Marketing Flyer

Spread the word with this letter-sized flyer. It’s…..GRRRRReat! 

 

Square Graphic

This square image is oh so share-able! Use it on social or in your emails! 

 

Key items to remember:

 

October 1-24- Collect cereal!  Let Barbara Castillo (bcastillo@faarmembers.com) know if you need postcards.

October 21- If you have more that 250 boxes, just let Barbara know and she will arrange pick up.

October 23- if you had your cereal picked up — PLEASE CONTACT BARBARA WITH BOX COUNT

October 24- Drop off cereal (less than 250 boxes) to the FAAR Halloween Mixer at Wilderness Run Winery.  Cereal can be dropped between 4-7 PM

October 24th, 7:15 PM   Winners and totals announced!

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

Who participated in 2018?

Affiliate collecting the most Boxes

 Mac Church with Atlantic Coast – 486 boxes

Most Cereal Per Agent

1st Choice Better Homes and Land – 206 boxes per agent

Most Improved

Long and Foster – from 210 boxes in 2017 to 2,308 boxes in 2018

Runner-up Most Cereal

Century 21 New Millennium – 2,772 boxes

Grand Prize

1st Choice Better Homes and Land – 4,162 boxes

All Participants

1st Choice Better Homes & Land

Century 21 New Millennium

Long and Foster Fredericksburg

Coldwell Banker Elite Stafford

United Real Estate Premier

Nest Realty Fredericksburg

Mac Church with Atlantic Coast Mortgage

Century 21 Redwood Locust Grove

Keller Williams Fredericksburg

Spring Arbor Senior Living

Century 21 Redwood Fredericksburg

Keller Williams Capital

Holt for Homes

CTI Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Elite Massaponax

Title Professionals

Virginia Credit Union Realty

The Gillies Team

Mike Lee with Summit Mortgage

There’s a LOT you don’t know about Caroline County Public Schools…

Sell in Caroline County?  Then this is a great tool for people coming into the County who want to know more about the school system.  FAAR hosted Caroline County Public School Superintendent Dr. Sarah Calveric on Monday, July 22 at the Bowling Green Town Hall.  Watch the highlights of all the great stuff CCPS has to offer.  You and your clients won’t be disappointed!

#MemberMonday Meet REALTOR® Lisa Wright

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.

Name
Lisa Wright

Hometown
Reisterstown, MD

Current Location
Spotsylvania, VA

Title
REALTOR® at C21 Redwood Fredericksburg – “I have your back in buying and selling”!!

Number of Years in the Industry
24

Why do you love working in real estate?
I think our home is our sanctuary and one of the most important financial decisions in our lives. I love assisting people with that process whether downsizing, upsizing, second home, first home etc. It is huge to them and therefore huge to me! My mom was in real estate many years in MD and VA and also a great mortgage lady! She perfected business by doing it from the heart instead of the pocket book and treated every client like she would have treated her own daughter. I will work my business the same! Best interest in the forefront always!

Tina Keene Exit Elite Realty

Favorite Work Story
In the beginning of my working years a high school friend reached out for help for his daughter who had never owned a home. She was struggling financially. She was a tomboy at heart and wanted some hunting land and a small starter home. We finally put together the perfect lending scenario and found the perfect place. It was “lost” in a bidding war. But a few months later that all fell through and we nose dived right back into a great contract with a great outcome! She became a first time homeowner and is still in that home but with many changes and upgrades. The smile on her face was magical!

What are you most proud of in your career?
I was licensed in 1995. I was working a full time career in law enforcement after a short career as a Spanish teacher in Stafford. I ended up retiring as a Captain and am very proud of those 30 years of accomplishments. I worked real estate at best part time but stayed in love with the profession. Now I am most proud to focus (though not solely) on our first responders who sacrifice so much for us on a daily basis (police, fire, rescue, dispatcher, military) on their home buying and selling needs. Our bonding quote is “I have your back” while in the line of duty. I’m extending that mentality to my real estate sales career. I will have their back in their buying and selling need as well as any client I am fortunate to serve!

Do you have a special cause or volunteer your time? 
I volunteer at local fraternals such at Eagles and Elks. I also volunteer as a reader/usher and chalice bearer at Christ Episcopal Church. Additionally I am in the process of recruit and training with Hospice. Having recently lost my mom who was my greatest influence and joy in life and knowing what this fine organization does for the sick as well as extended family I feel it is my time to give back.

Fun Fact
I am a photographer (Wright Eye Photography) and I love anything beach – sand, surf, sun, sailing, water skiing, boating and more!

FAAR Applauds Long-Awaited FHA Condo Rule

FAAR welcomes the new Federal Housing Authority condominium loan policies that were finalized this week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  By increasing the availability of FHA-backed condo loans, these changes should yield thousands of new homeownership opportunities nationwide and help alleviate affordability restraints impacting many of our nation’s communities.

Specifically, the new guidance extends certifications from two years to three, allows for single-unit mortgage approvals, provides more flexibility with owner/occupancy ratios, and increases the allowable number of FHA loans in a single project. The rule will go into effect in mid-October – 60 days from publication. HUD believes the changes will extend critical benefits to aspiring homeowners and confirm the agency is properly serving the public.

Click here to read the HUD press release announcing the changes and to access the new regulation in its entirety.  

UPDATE: NAR Lawsuit

NAR-issued press release…

National Association of Realtors® Moves to Dismiss Antitrust Suits; Shows Lawsuits Are Self-Contradictory, Ignore Precedent and Lack Economic Sense

CHICAGO, August 12, 2019 – The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) moved last week to dismiss the Moehrl v. NAR lawsuit and the copycat Sitzer v. NAR lawsuit because both amended complaints fail to show how NAR rules for the operation of Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) inhibit competition or cause the plaintiffs any harm. Moreover, the complaints misrepresent rules which have long been recognized by the courts across the country as protecting consumers and creating competitive, efficient markets that benefit home buyers and sellers.

“Throwing around a few anti-trust buzzwords doesn’t change the fact that MLSs have contributed to an orderly, efficient and pro-consumer marketplace for well over 100 years,” said John Smaby, President of NAR. “We continue to believe the lawsuits are wrong on the facts, wrong on the economics and wrong on the law.”

As NAR’s briefs detail, the essence of the plaintiffs’ argument is based on a flawed interpretation of the NAR Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy and Code of Ethics. According to NAR’s filings, misrepresenting NAR rules with “pejorative” and “anticompetitive-sounding” language does not outweigh the decades of court rulings that have found NAR rules to be pro-competitive and serve the best interests of consumers through enhanced transparency and efficiency.

“The MLS system creates highly competitive, efficient markets with increased transaction volume and superior customer service that benefit home buyers and sellers,” said Smaby.

NAR’s filings to dismiss also set forth the failure of the class action attorneys to meet legal standards necessary to move their case forward. As the briefs state, the “plaintiffs have totally ignored the long antitrust scrutiny of the MLSs and the repeated judicial conclusion that MLSs and the rules that govern them are pro-competitive.” Furthermore, NAR’s filings note that the plaintiffs’ claims lack any evidence that they were actually harmed by NAR rules. Per the brief, the plaintiffs “have not alleged that they even attempted to negotiate a lower commission either from their listing broker or for the buyer’s broker,” which, as noted above, is allowed by NAR rules anyway, contrary to their claims.

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.

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Want to talk to your clients about the lawsuit?  Here are some talking points from NAR…

  • REALTORS® are champions of homeownership, property rights and the communities they serve. Every REALTOR® adheres to a strict code of ethics based on professionalism, consumer protection and the golden rule. REALTORS® draw on their unmatched knowledge to help buyers and sellers navigate one of the most complicated financial transactions of their lives. And REALTORS® are engaged neighbors committed to building and enhancing the communities they serve.
  • The MLS system and the way commissions are paid create competitive, efficient markets that benefit home buyers, sellers and small business. The MLS system creates a highly efficient residential real estate market that fosters cooperation between brokers to the benefit of consumers. Commission structures (including how the listing broker pays the buyer broker) ensure greater access for a large community of home buyers who might otherwise be priced out of the market, which also would limit options for sellers.
  • Local, expert brokers play a crucial role in helping buyers and sellers achieve their goals. Given the volume of information buyers have to navigate and the complexity of this transaction, buyer brokers serve many essential, highly informed roles ranging from scheduling home tours and inspections to coordinating with lenders and appraisers to coordinating attorney reviews and closing documents. Consumers agree: 78 percent of homebuyers say their broker was an important information source, and almost 90 percent would recommend their broker to a family member or friend.
  • These lawsuits are wrong on the facts, wrong on the economics, and wrong on the law. Commissions are negotiable and, in fact, can be negotiated at any point during the transaction. The MLS and associated brokerage system create highly competitive markets with increased transaction volume and superior customer service. Consumers have many choices of different service and fee models among many brokers. Over 100 years, the courts have repeatedly validated this pro-competitive, pro-consumer MLS system, recognizing it increases the efficiency of the market and thus serves the best interests of sellers and buyers alike.

Press Releases

FAAR Partners with NAR in Amicus Brief Supporting AHPs

The Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors® (FAAR) has agreed to join the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) amicus brief in defense of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Association Health Plan rule. Amicus briefs are legal documents filed in...

May Sees Continued Strength in Local Real Estate Market

May posted strong numbers indicating that the spring selling season is well underway.  Total sold dollar volume increased 15%, settling at approximately $224.5 million in May of this year, compared to $195.2 million in May of 2018.  Units sold increased...

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...

March Sees Increasing Sales, Decreasing Prices

The start of spring usually ushers in the high season for the local real estate market.  March numbers did not disappoint, providing a strong foundation for the market that will hopefully continue into April and beyond.  “The spring market is in full...

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