NAR Clarifies New Code of Ethics Rule During Webinar

In the first of six training webinars, NAR speakers answered questions about a new Code of Ethics Rule, effective Nov. 13, that bans “harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or slurs” against protected classes. Must a Realtor, for example, no longer oppose same-sex marriages?

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25 and Ready to Buy? We’ll See with Gen Z

Florida Realtors economist: Gen Z (oldest members turn 25 this year) faces unique obstacles with a pandemic marking their entrance into adulthood. Here’s what we know right now about their homeownership potential.

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Fla. Discriminatory Covenants Law: Does Your HOA Have Any?

SB 374, one of the last bills signed by Gov. DeSantis this year, prohibits “discriminatory restrictions” from any title transaction recorded in the state. Until now, those restrictions could be added or allowed to remain in any title transaction – they just weren’t enforceable in court.

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Dear Anne: My Seller Won’t Work with Broker X. Now What?

A Realtor’s friend and colleague works at a different brokerage, and per a seller’s instructions, she must ban the entire brokerage from representing a buyer if she wants a listing. It’s a personal problem but is it a Code of Ethics problem? Can she ban a single business from the transaction?

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The Less Common Commission Agreements

How do you get paid? While most transactions involve one of two commission agreements – the exclusive right of sale (or exclusive right to lease) listing agreements and the offer of compensation in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) – you have other options.

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Hot Topic at NAR Convention? Buyers’ ‘Love Letters’

“How can I get the seller to accept MY offer?”, buyers wonder in today’s heated, multiple-offer market. In some areas of the country, “love letters” – a note from buyer to seller praising the home – are common. But some of the letters flirt with Fair Housing Act violations.  

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Fla.’s Discriminatory Covenants Law: Does Your HOA Have Any?

SB 374, one of the last bills signed by Gov. DeSantis this year, prohibits “discriminatory restrictions” from any title transaction recorded in the state. Until now, those restrictions could be added or allowed to remain in any title transaction – they just weren’t enforceable in court.

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Dear Anne: My Seller Refuses to Work with Broker X. Now What?

A Realtor’s friend and colleague works at a different brokerage, and per a seller’s instructions, she must ban the entire brokerage from representing a buyer if she wants a listing. It’s a personal problem but is it a Code of Ethics problem? Can she ban a single business from the transaction?

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‘Tis the Season for Predictions: Realtor.com Is First

Economists predict a 5.7% U.S. price increase and 7% growth in sales, but a closer look at 9 Fla. metros finds varying predictions. They range from a projected 1.5% sales growth (4.3% price) in Cape Coral-Fort Myers to 11.6% sales growth (4.7% price) along the Space Coast.

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Despite Federal Ban, Renters Are Still Being Evicted

The CDC eviction ban that ends Dec. 31 hasn’t stopped all evictions. Many renters don’t ask for it because they don’t know they’re protected, and the rule’s tight focus on pandemic-caused problems allows landlords to keep evicting tenants for a range of other reasons.

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NAR: Oct. Pending Home Sales Down 1.1%

Year-to-year pending sales surged 20.2%, but only one region – the South, which includes Fla. – had a month-to-month increase (0.1%). NAR Economist Yun thinks rising prices hurt affordability and deterred some buyers, but the lack of inventory is an ongoing problem.

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What Will the New Post-Pandemic Normal Look Like?

Businesses plan for the future, but the pandemic presented a challenge: Will it be largely gone by summer? If so, a Harvard University study outlines likely changes, and researchers predict which pandemic changes will fade away – and which will probably stay.

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FHFA Conforming Loan Limits Rise Almost $38K in 2021

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will accept loans up to $548,250 next year – an increase from $510,400 in 2020. According to the seasonally adjusted FHFA Home Price Index, third-quarter housing prices rose 7.42% year-to-year, so loan limits will do the same.

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NAR Reaches Agreement with DOJ on MLS and Commission Rules

The Dept. of Justice-NAR agreement isn’t finalized, but NAR says it will institute changes, such as making info on buyers’ agents’ compensation publicly available in the MLS and creating a definitive rule that buyers’ agents can’t represent their services as free.

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Fla. Legislators Could Limit Covid-19 Lawsuits

Should a business be protected from lawsuits that allege COVID-19? Florida Realtors supports change, and lawmakers will likely consider the issue in 2021. They must work out details to shield businesses from frivolous claims but also keep them accountable for their actions.

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NAR Approves Changes to Professional Standards Rules

The board voted to add Standard of Practice 10-5, which requires Realtors “not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity” even outside real estate transactions.

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NAR: A Divided Government Might Be Good for Real Estate

In a divided government, lawmakers must find a way to work together. Joe Ventrone, NAR’s vice president of federal policy and industry relations, says the goal then will be to bring both parties to the middle on real estate issues, such as rental assistance and GSE mortgage reform.

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Record Year for VA Loans Creates Opportunities for Realtors

Florida Realtors’ economist: Florida celebrates Veteran’s Day today and all year. In 2020 so far, Fla. moved up a spot in VA loan rankings (to No. 2) after passing Texas. Across the U.S., the number of VA-backed loans has nearly doubled, with refinances leading the surge.  

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NAR: 5 Business Policy Issues to Watch for in 2021

NAR’s Business Issues Policy Committee narrowed down concerns to a “top 5” for 2021. At the top of the list is to protect a Realtor’s independent contractor status, followed by education on money-laundering efforts, real estate fraud and industry COVID-19 relief efforts.

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Homeownership Creates Wealth Even If That’s Not the Goal

Homeowners who spent a lifetime working, raising families and paying mortgages have a greater net worth later in life. Among U.S. families who own rather than rent, a primary residence accounts for 90% of total wealth – and 99% for the bottom 20% of low-income owners.

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New Loan Programs Could Boost Minority Homeownership

In an effort to ease the damage caused by limited lending over the years, lenders’ programs can include thousands of dollars in closing-cost credits, down payment assistance, low-interest loans and/or more affordable housing opportunities for underserved communities.

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Florida Realtors’ Study: Women in Fla. Real Estate

An association study for the virtual Women in Real Estate (WIRE) conference, Nov. 23-Dec. 1, found that Fla.’s 12 biggest brokerages are led by men, even though a majority of members are women. And within teams, 88% of male brokers identify as leaders compared to only 53% of women.

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Dear Anne: Expired Listing Causes Realtor Feeding Frenzy

A seller claims he received at least 70 phone calls from real estate agents after his Realtor pulled his MLS listing so he could make some repairs – but two agents kept calling even after the home’s MLS return. Do agents have an ethical duty to check the MLS before calling?

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RE Q&A: Selling Half a House – What Could Go Wrong?

Mom lives in a home she co-owns with Son A. Son B will eventually inherit Mom’s half and he wants to buy Son A’s half now and pay for it over time. Son A is okay with that. But he’s worried about legal problems if they don’t handle the details correctly.

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Smart Home Gear: What Transfers to the Buyer?

For many buyers, especially millennials, “smart home” is an MLS selling point. But with new tech tools being released and updated at breakneck speed, which smart-home upgrades stay with the house and which ones move out with the seller?

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Leases: How Does the Money Flow?

When tenants fail to pay deposits and advance rent on time, members sometimes get confused about the (up to) five different legal relationships lurking beneath the surface. This article should help untangle where everyone stands.

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Broker Study: Major Changes Needed to Boost Black Ownership

NAREB’s 2020 study says Black homeownership will lag without major changes in public policy, lending, down payment assistance and forbearance period extensions. “You clearly see that structural and institutional remedies are necessary,” says NAREB President Williams.

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New Algorithm Estimates a Home’s Time on the Market

“How much longer would it take my home to sell if I increased the asking price by $20,000?” While real estate algorithm accuracy is a bit dicey, a new Homesnap product allows sellers to play with their asking price to see how a change would impact the time it takes to sell.

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New Algorithm Estimates a Home’s Time on the Market

“How much longer would it take my home to sell if I increased the asking price by $20,000?” While real estate algorithm accuracy is a bit dicey, a new Homesnap product allows sellers to play with their asking price to see how a change would impact the time it takes to sell.

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ACA Healthcare Open Enrollment Begins Nov. 1

Unlike 9-5 employees, Realtors’ independent-contractor status makes finding health coverage a bit challenging. However, open enrollment for qualified health plans starts Nov. 1 and ends on Dec. 15, and NAR has resources to help Realtors find plans that best match their needs.

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Nation’s Top State for Wire Fraud? Florida

Fla. has over two times more wire-fraud incidents than No. 2 Georgia. In real estate, scammers entice buyers to wire closing money to a fake address, dashing buyers’ dreams and robbing Realtors of commissions. The FTC now has a dedicated website for reporting wire fraud.

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Condo Associations Continue Ban on Short-Term Rentals

In March, Gov. DeSantis banned short-term vacation rentals. That ended with Phase 3, but some HOAs kept the ban in place citing resident safety. However, that also created problems for short-term rental investors, some of whom haven’t had income in seven months.

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CDC: Eviction Ban Stops Only Physical Tenant Removal

The U.S. Center for Disease Control issued a list of frequently asked questions about the eviction moratorium, including that the judicial process can be “carried out according to state and local laws and rules,” and “eviction does not include foreclosure on a home mortgage.”

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