Three photos

Roanoke Valley REALTOR®


 Roanoke Valley  Associathion of REALTORS



You are receiving this online newsletter as a benefit of being a member of the Roanoke Valley Association of REALTORS®.
Contact RVAR
Membership Update Logo


Member Type | Count



REALTOR®      1,107


Offices              125     


Affiliate             124


Click here to see which RVAR members have switched firms, gone inactive, or joined recently. 

Open House Safety    

It's the season for open houses -- and a good time to brush up on open house safety tips. This is the first in a series of safety articles RVAR will be sharing with members. 


Open house season is here! Last Sunday, there were just under 100 open houses advertised in the Roanoke Valley.


There is now an easy and free option to promote your open houses. Simply register your open houses in FlexMLS (it's very simple.) Open houses entered into FlexMLS will appear on RoanokeValleyOpenHouse.com, as well as on REALTOR.com® and the REALTOR.com® Smartphone app. Open houses automatically expire in FlexMLS, so no further action is required following the open house.

RVAR's Public Relations Committee is developing a plan to promote this website to the public. But the success of this effort will depend on content. So be sure your open houses are entered into FlexMLS!

Lucas Endorsed for Roanoke City Mayor

RVAR's Board of Directors endorsed Mark Lucas for Roanoke City Mayor in the upcoming May 1st election. Special thanks to RVAR's Governmental Affairs Committee for conducting the interviews with Mr. Lucas and his opponent David Bowers.

The candidates were interviewed on issues related to economic development, job creation, the greenway, regional efforts and the marketing of Roanoke City and the Valley to outside businesses and visitors. Mr. Lucas will receive a $1,000 RPAC contribution.

President's Message by Melissa Morgan 

The times, they are a-changin...Judging by the numbers, many of you are busy with spring cleaning...a much needed decluttering of our housing inventory. Those of you who aren't busy yet...hold on. It seems like you will be soon. Local and national trends indicate that we are in the early phase of recovery. Say it with me..."Hallelujah!" I was recently asked by the Roanoke Times to give my thoughts on the three factors that most affect the local outlook for housing in 2012, so I thought I'd share that perspective with you. In a nutshell, here are the issues I believe to be influencing our supply and demand the most: decreasing cost of ownership vs. increasing rental rates, distressed properties and shadow inventory, and employment rates and the resulting consumer attitudes.


As you know, the cost of home ownership is at an all time low, thanks to record low interest rates and bottoming home prices. On the flip side, national experts predict rents will climb 4-5% each year in the coming years. According to Trulia research, it is currently cheaper to own than rent in 98% of the nation's housing markets. In the other 2%, it is still cheaper to own than rent when owners claim the mortgage interest deduction. However, rental rates and rental demand will continue to climb, given the number of former homeowners forced to enter the rental market due to distressed sales and the resulting negative impact on their credit ratings.  


Investors catering to those renters continue to clear out distressed inventory. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, there was a 65% increase in the number of homes bought by investors from 2010 to 2011. NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun believes that sales of existing homes will increase 7-10% in 2012, the best performance in 5 years.  Let's say it again ..."Hallelujah!" Many industry experts are predicting prices nationwide to stay flat or dip only slightly this year due to the anticipated increase in total sales, combined with the influx of remaining shadow inventory. Then, expect prices to appreciate gradually over the next few years. Simply put, conditions have never been better for purchasing homes,and will likely improve for those selling homes.


Industry insiders can clearly see the signs of recovery, but ultimately, consumer attitudes are driving the recovery train. Local markets are dependent upon business growth to create jobs and bolster consumer confidence. In markets where this is happening, housing has recovered. Veros Real Estate Solutions predicts Bismarck, North Dakota to have the nation's strongest housing market, with expected appreciation of 5.6% this year due to a growing local economy and a low 3.5% unemployment rate. Closer to home, buyers' agents in Northern Virginia are complaining of a lack of inventory and multiple offers. What a good problem to have. Typically, the Northern Virginia market is the trendsetter for other Virginia real estate markets, so those market conditions are another good sign for the Roanoke Valley.


I hope this update will help you spread the good news to your clients and prospects, and help reluctant buyers and sellers off the fence so they can move on with their lives.  We have all felt the pain of the last four years, but there really does appear to be a light at the end of this tunnel, and I don't hear a train whistle!

2012 Real Estate Trends   

The real estate industry continues to evolve -- at warp speed, or so it seems at times. Stefan Swanepoel is recognized as a leading visionary on real estate business trends. He names the top 5 trends he feels will likely play key roles in shaping the industry's future (in 2012 and the years ahead.)

Best March Since 2008!     

March MLS home sales reflect the highest number since March, 2008. The March, 2012 home sales reflect a 13.6% increase over March, 2011 -- much higher than the national figures which reflect a 5.5% increase from March, 2011 to March, 2012.


The MLS releases its home sales statistics for each month around the 15th of the following month (since brokers and listing agents are given 10 business days following settlement to change the status of MLS listings to Sold.) A link to the monthly statistics, along with a 3-year comparison, is provided on the front page of RVAR.com. 

VAR's Agency Center    

Substantial changes to Virginia's agency law will take effect July 1st. Your best source of information is VAR's Agency Center, which offers a growing library of resources. More information is forthcoming from RVAR and VAR regarding agency forms to be used as of July 1st.

In the latest issue of VAR's Commonwealth Magazine, VAR summarizes the key agency changes as follows:
  • All agents must have written brokerage agreements with consumers they represent. These agreements must, at a minimum:

              o  Provide a list of services that the agent will deliver

              o  Provide a schedule of fees that will be associated with the services and                    when payable

              o  Provide a definite termination date   

  • Dual agents must now provide, and have signed by the clients, a new form expressly describing the limitations on what dual agents can and cannot do for parties to a transaction. (There are exceptions for situations where existing clients come together in a common transaction and commercial transactions.)
  • All active licensees renewing their license between 7/1/2012 and 6/30/2014 must complete 3 hours in Residential Standard Agency. (See class offering below.) 

Mandatory Agency Training  

RVAR is offering the mandatory 3-hour Residential Standard Agency class on June 21, 9AM-Noon at the new South County Regional Library. This class will be conducted by Jay DeBoer, VAR's Vice President of Law and Policy.

NOTES: All active licensees renewing their license between 7/1/2012 and 6/30/2014 must complete 3 hours in Residential Standard Agency. If your license expires prior to 7/1/2012, you may take this class -- but will need to take it again for required credit in your next renewal cycle. Also, you may obtain a waiver from this requirement only if you agree in writing to DPOR that you will not practice residential standard agency during your license term. Click here for DPOR's waiver form.

Assistants: Licensed vs. Unlicensed 

A commonly asked question is what can an unlicensed assistant do. The Virginia Association of REALTORS® has developed a list of what an unlicensed assistant can and cannot do. For example, the list includes how an unlicensed assistant may and may not be compensated. You will find this list helpful if you or your agents are using unlicensed assistants or are weighing the pros and cons. VAR advises that this list has not been approved by the Real Estate Board and is not law.

More Education in May

Foreclosures, Judgments and Liens: This May 23rd course (10-Noon at the RVAR office) will focus on the elements of foreclosures, judgments and liens that impact real estate transactions. Thanks to the sponsorship of Performance Title & Settlement, this course is free and qualifies for 2 hours of CE credit (legal update). Click here to register or for more information.

GRI 414 Negotiation: Working for a Yes: This May 24th course focuses on various types and styles of negotiations and negotiators, using real-life scenarios. (CE 7 hours real estate related; PL 4 hours elective credit). Click here to register or for more information. Those with the GRI designation may attend this class for $35, earn the CE credit and no exam required.

Southwest Virginia Association Welcomes RVAR members to May Classes

May 7th Legal Update and Short Sales: This 9AM-4PM class will be offered at the Wytheville Community Center, at a cost of $25. The Legal Update class counts for 3 hours of either Broker Management CE or CE/PL Legal Update. The Short Sales class counts for 3 hours of either Broker Management CE or CE/PL real estate related. Click here for more information, including how to register.

May 14th It's Your Money-- Do You Know How to Protect It: Well known national instructor Chris Bird will address tax write-off's for the self employed and solid investment strategies. This 8:30AM-3:00PM class will be offered at the SW Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon and will count for 4 hours of CE credit. Click here for more information, including how to register.

Expand Your Knowledge of Green Building   

RVAR, in its joint efforts with the Roanoke Regional Home Builders Association to promote green building, advises members of two opportunities in May to expand your knowledge of green building.


Energy Efficient Construction Conference: May 17-18, Hotel Roanoke
Virginia Tech is sponsoring the Harnessing Innovation for Energy Efficient Construction: Bridging Industry and Education Conference. This two-day event will include panels, workshops and presentations by leading firms, researchers and educators in green building and energy efficiency. The registration fee is $49.Click here for more information or to register.

STAR: Sustainability Training for Accredited Real Estate Professionals: May 23-24, Roanoke Higher Education Center
The Earth Advantage Institute is offering this two-day class FREE, including 12 hours of CE electives. Gain the knowledge to understand green home features and trends; learn the differences in the green home certification programs; and learn how to communicate green building concepts to your clients. Click here for more information or to register.

Community Service Projects  

Pet Food Drive Success: Thank you to all who contributed to the Community Service Spring Pet Food Drive. The SPCA is grateful for the 700+ pounds of cat and dog food, 70 pounds of cat litter, plus canned pet food, treats, carriers, litter plans and office/cleaning supplies. This donation helps to support the SPCA's PET (Pets Eat Too) Outreach Program which helps feed the pets of homebound seniors and disadvantaged families.

Relay for Life: RVAR has two teams in the Roanoke RELAY FOR LIFE. On June 15th & 16th the RVAR Stars will have a tent site at the Reserve Avenue Athletic Fields (old Victory Stadium site).  We need your support! Come walk with us or make a donation to help us reach our goal.  Contact any member of the Community Service Committee or Jan Settle at the RVAR office.  Make donation checks payable to 'Relay For Life'.

Online Rental Scams -- What to Do 

RVAR is hearing continued reports of rental housing scams involving real estate listings and advertised rental properties. In many cases, the bogus ads appear on Craigslist -- and in every case, the quoted rental amount is too cheap to be true. Click here for a one-page flyer, originally created in 2010, providing guidance on how to spot and report these scams.

Our RVAR Family

In Sympathy

RVAR expresses sympathy to Jo-Ann Van Vechten of Long & Foster's Lake office upon the recent death of her mother. 


Congratulations to those recently named in the 'Best Of' online contest sponsored by The Roanoke Times, which included categories for best real estate agents and best real estate firms.

Best of SWoCo 2012:
Best real estate agents                      Best real estate firms
1. Callie Dalton (Long & Foster)           1. Lichtenstein Rowan, REALTORS®
2. Glenna Bannister (Long & Foster)     2. Long & Foster, REALTORS®
3. Vickie Clarke (Long & Foster)           3. MKB, REALTORS®

Best of Salem 2012:
Best real estate agents                      Best real estate firms
1. Egon Hofmann (Barker Realty)          1. Barker Realty
2. Doris Smith (Barker Realty)              2. Young Realty
3. Scooter Darnall (REMAX R E One)      3. REMAX Real Estate One
Let RVAR know if you have news to share.

Upcoming Events    

April 26th 

REALTOR® After Hours at the Lake 

May 1st 

Brokers Meeting 

May 23rd

Foreclosures, Judgments and Liens 

June 21st 

Mandatory Agency Training 

Roanoke Valley Association of REALTORS® 
 www.RVAR.com | (540) 772-0526 | Email