April 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act: a federal act developed with the intention of protecting the buyer or renter of a dwelling from seller or landlord discrimination. The FHA began as part of the Civil Rights movement’s efforts for racial justice. Today, the prohibitions specifically cover discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and the presence of children. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, “elderliness” has also been added as a protected category.
The National Association of REALTORS® underscores the importance of the FHA, explaining “Where people live has a direct impact on the quality of their health, education, and access to economic opportunities. Discriminatory housing practices create racial and economic segregation in communities that can lead to disparate outcomes in overall quality of life. Fair housing supports the development racially and economically diverse communities.”
In celebration of the passing of this groundbreaking legislation, NAR is providing numerous resources including timelines, videos, and articles to give an in-depth look at the tumultuous journey leading up to the passage of the FHA on April 11, 1968.
Promoting fair housing for all homeowners and renters stands as a core commitment of all REALTORS® . Click here to learn more about the Fair Housing Act.
REALTOR® University provides a truly unique educational experience. REALTOR® University’s real estate master’s degree program prepares students for careers at the heart of today’s contemporary practice and, for maximum convenience and flexibility, is delivered via a highly sophisticated online academic environment. Our mission, purposes and values guide our operations to better serve our students. The University delivers its programs through a global online campus to meet the needs of a diverse and geographically dispersed student population. Courses are offered in eight week sessions, six times annually and taught by Ph.D. level academic/practitioners.
For more information on Realtor® University, click here.
Buffini & Company’s Success Tour is coming back to Richmond! Don’t miss out on this two-day, business-changing event. This year’s Success Tour will provide you with proven strategies to increase your production while inspiring and motivating you to take action right away!
This year’s speaker lineup includes Brian Buffini, Joe Niego, Dave McGhee, and a special guest: entrepreneur and best-selling author Mel Robbins, who will provide a wide range of science-backed strategies to help you achieve breakthrough performance in your career and life.
The 2018 Success Tour will be held March 20-21, 2018 at the Greater Richmond Conference Center. Interested in learning more? Click HERE to watch a short video from the Success Tour’s 2016 stop in Richmond. Ready to be part of the action? Register today by clicking HERE.
RPR’s mobile application is like none other found in the real-estate industry. Built exclusively for REALTORS®, the app offers on-the-go access to a nationwide, parcel-centric database of both residential and commercial properties, including dynamic data and robust reporting for a multitude of data sets.
Join this FREE webinar to learn how to leverage the app’s top ten assets, including
using your phone’s location to instantly view any property nearby,
searching for properties to find listings, sales, valuations, assessments, deeds, foreclosures, schools, photos, and maps,
quickly checking market trend information,
creating, customizing, viewing, saving, and sending RPR reports with your added photos, audio, and text notes,
and creating a CMA using the app’s Mobile Comp Express.
The Virginia REALTORS® legal team files amicus brief to protect the rights of property managers and owners
In 2006, in response to a lawsuit filed against one of our members for a tenant’s mold exposure, Virginia REALTORS® worked to introduce legislation that would limit a property manager’s liability in certain circumstances. The 2007 bill was sent to the Virginia Housing Commission in part to allow the various industries the opportunity to resolve disputes over language in the bill. Virginia REALTORS® worked hard between the 2007 and 2008 General Assembly sessions to ensure that our members would be protected when they met certain statutory requirements.
Recently, a number of lawsuits have been filed against property managers seeking to hold them liable for tenant’s mold exposure. These cases challenge the law Virginia REALTORS® worked to pass in 2007 and 2008. In one such case, currently before the Supreme Court of Virginia, Virginia REALTORS® filed an amicus brief encouraging the Court to uphold the protections provided to property managers and property owners.
Amicus curiae, translates to “friend of the court’, and is someone who is not a party to litigation, but who assists the court by offering information that bears on the case. In this case, Virginia REALTORS® is not a party to the litigation, but as the largest professional trade association in Virginia, representing nearly 33,000 members, and the organization that was intimately involved in the creation of the law at issue, we had information that will assist the Court in making its decision.
Virginia REALTORS® will continue working hard to protect our members’ rights.
On January 1, Virginia REALTORS® published updates to its Standard Forms library, a free collection of forms and contracts available exclusively to members. These forms are designed specifically for use on a state-wide basis, to comply with laws of general application in the State of Virginia. In this latest round of updates, one new standard form was published, two existing forms were deleted, and amendments were made to ten standard forms.
Virginia REALTORS® updates its standard forms on January 1 and July 1 of each year, unless there is a legal or regulatory change requiring an immediate change. Forms are routinely reviewed for changes in law, regulations, and business practices by the Standard Forms Subcommittee and the Risk Management Committee. We also consider suggestions and requests from members that are sent to email@example.com.
Starting in 2015, Virginia REALTORS® began adding both a “revised date” and “reviewed date” to all forms so that members would know that forms were routinely being reviewed, even if changes were not made. This addition is being rolled out in stages, as forms are reviewed/revised.
One the eve of 2018, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has announced the third boost in interest rates of 2017. This increase will fall between 1.25 percent and 1.50 percent, and many are viewing the hike as a show of confidence in the U.S. economy. It is predicted that there will be three to four adjustments down the road in in 2018.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, noted that this move will raise mortgage rates, including the 30-year fixed mortgage rate, in 2018. The current rate of 3.9 percent could see an increase of 25 basis points.
According to Yun, “It remains to be seen whether the effects are long-lasting or just for a short period of time. However, with the unemployment rate already at a low of around 4 percent, there is not much room to go further down. That means inflationary pressure will slowly develop. That is why the Federal Reserve today raised the short-term interest rates and will likely do so three more times in 2018… Economic stimulus will help with job creation and housing demand, but higher interest rates threaten to cut into housing affordability in 2018.”
For the fourth consecutive year, the Virginia REALTORS® staff took part in the Salvation Army Angel Tree Campaign. This program provides gifts at Christmastime to nearly 3,000 families and 5,000 children across Central Virginia. Staff members purchased clothes, toys, gifts, and necessities for local children who would not otherwise receive holiday gifts. This tradition is a favorite among staff members because it provides the opportunity to give back to children who are part of our local community, helping make their Christmas dreams a reality.
Virginia REALTORS® proudly support community initiatives that create goodwill and improve the lives of neighboring families. We encourage you to spread goodwill this holiday season, and we hope you will share your local association’s impact story on our Facebook page.
To read more about the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Campaign, click here.
There is still time to take action to push the House-Senate Conference Committee on the tax reform bill to strengthen the protections for consumers and homeowners.
Thanks to our members’ engagement, REALTORS® have helped positively influence tax reform in some key areas. For example, both the House and Senate have agreed to maintain deductibility of state and local property taxes up to $10,000, and to maintain Section 1031 tax-deferred exchanges in their present form for real estate investments.
OUR WORK IS NOT DONE. We still have an opportunity to influence Congress to help make the tax reform bill more favorable to homeowners and consumers. Now that both the House and Senate have passed The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, a Conference Committee will begin to address the differences between the two bills. Important improvements in the legislation are possible by encouraging Congress to maintain the current law for the mortgage interest deduction and capital gains exclusion. Retaining current law makes the bill more favorable to homeownership.
Take action to tell Congress to protect middle-class homeowners by clicking here.
Virginia REALTORS® welcome Mary Lawson to our Policy and Advocacy Department. She will be serving as our new Legislative Relations Director.
Mary comes to us from the Virginia Transit Association, where she lobbied on behalf of statewide, regional, and local transportation policy issues. She has had extensive experience in politics as both a fundraiser and campaign strategist in Virginia and beyond. Mary was raised in Norton, Virginia, and currently resides in Richmond with her husband Adam, who teaches in the City of Richmond. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech.