January 21, 2016

ROANOKE VALLEY REALTOR®                  Online  

 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®.

Membership Update Logo


Member Type | Count


REALTOR@       1,093  

Offices                     134

Affiliate                   189


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

In This Issue
VAR Promotes Legislative Issues
RVAR Launches Governmental Affairs & Economic Development Initiative
Standard Forms Revisions
MLS Changes
NAR Forecasts Modest Increase in Home Sales
2015 Homes Sales Statistics
Tech Lunch & Learn Class
Speaker's Forum
RVAR is Hiring
RVAR Community Service Days
DMV Announces Emergency Contact Program
RVAR: A Decade Ago
2016 RVAR and MLS Budgets
Our RVAR Family
Upcoming Events & Deadlines
VAR Promotes Legislative Issues
On Wednesday, January 13th, all 140 members of the General Assembly convened in Richmond for 60 days of deliberation and voting on thousands of bills and budget amendments during the annual legislative session.  As the business advocate for real estate professionals, the Virginia Association of REALTORS® has introduced a cohesive legislative package to promote homeownership and protect REALTORS® just like you!
The four initiatives included in VAR's 2016 legislative agenda are:
  • Several changes to the Property and Condominium Owner's Association Acts
  • Revisions to the Agency/Licensing Law that includes clarifying that the requirement for written brokerage agreements only applies to residential transactions. This legislation also states that commercial transactions will not require a Disclosure of Brokerage Relationship - this is an item RVAR's Governmental Affairs Committee lobbied to have included in VAR's legislative agenda.
  • Creation of licensure for Home Inspectors
  • Allowing interpleaded escrow funds and earnest money deposits to be sent to the Housing Trust Fund.
You can  click here to learn more details about each of these issues.    
Take Action Today and Ask Your State Representatives to Support the VAR Legislative Agenda!
ACT NOW to help homeownership thrive in Virginia, take action by clicking the link below and emailing your legislator to support the VAR Legislative Agenda
! It is a quick and easy process to have our message heard in Richmond.
Click here.
Additionally, RVAR will take about 25 REALTOR® and Affiliate members of its Governmental Affairs Committee and Board of Directors to Richmond for VAR's Day on the Hill on Wednesday, February 17th. Individual meetings will be held with the Senators and Delegates who cover any portion of RVAR's jurisdiction to discuss issues of importance to RVAR members.
RVAR Launches Governmental Affairs and Economic Development Initiative 
Joe Sutliff
RVAR's top priority for 2016 is governmental affairs and economic development, including the creation of a dedicated staff position. The Board of Directors approved this new staff position to focus on promoting legislative and regulatory issues, Strengthening relationships with area elected officials and advancing economic development resources to our members.
RVAR is pleased to announce that Joe Sutliff will be transitioning into this new role as the Director of Economic & Governmental Affairs. He will serve as the Staff Liaison for the Governmental Affairs Committee, the new Economic Development Committee, Speaker's Forum, RPAC Fundraising, and continue administering the Partner / Sponsor Program. Joe will continue to work with other Committees and events until the transition of a new staff person is completed. 
February 1st Standard Forms Revisions
Three RVAR standard forms will be revised in zipForms effective February 1st. The revisions to the Purchase Agreement and, where applicable, the Lot/Land Purchase Agreement are related primarily to personal property, earnest money deposits and lender required repairs. A minor tweak to the Exclusive Right to Represent Seller Agreement is also being made.
Several of the February 1st changes are the result of the November 1st revisions to the Virginia Real Estate Board Regulations.
Click here for a description of the February 1st revisions.
MLS Changes Effective February 1st
The MLS Policy Committee and Board of Directors have approved the following MLS revisions, slated to become effective February 1st: 
  • A Lease/Purchase checkbox will be added.
  • The following options will be added to the Showing Instructions:
    • Text Seller - Go
    • Text Listing Agent
    • Text Tenant
    • Text Rental Agent
  • Also, the MLS Rules regarding MLS photos will be revised as follows (new language is underlined):
All photos on listings must not show a yard sign or have any office or agent promotion (including watermarks) in keeping with existing MLS rules. Also, no third party promotion (including watermarks) is permitted on MLS photos. (NOTE: This new rule applies to all new photos entered into the MLS effective February 1st.) 
NAR Forecasts Modest Increase in Home Sales in 2016
Following the housing market's best year in nearly a decade, existing-home sales are forecasted to expand in 2016 at a more moderate pace as pent-up buyer demand combats affordability pressures and meager economic growth, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. In a
newly-released video, Yun points to pent-up demand, sustained job growth and improving inventory conditions as his reason for an expected gain in new and existing-home sales.
Despite his forecasted increase in sales, Yun cites rising mortgage rates, home prices still outpacing wages and shaky global economic conditions as headwinds that will likely hold back a stronger pace of sales.
"This year the housing market may only squeak out 1 to 3 percent growth in sales because of slower economic expansion and rising mortgage rates," states Yun. "Furthermore, the continued rise in home prices will occur due to the fact that we will again encounter housing shortages in many markets because of the cumulative effect of home builders under producing for multiple years."
Existing-home sales finished 2015 at around 5.26 million, the highest since 2006. The national median existing-home price for 2015 was close to $221,200, a 6 percent increase from 2014.
2015 Home Sales Statistics
The number of homes sold in 2015 totaled 4,688, approximately 15% more than 2014 -- and the best year end total since 2007. The average home price for 2015 was $197,878, the highest annual home price since 2008.
A link to the monthly home sales statistics, along with a 4-year comparison, is provided on the front page of RVAR.com. The MLS releases its monthly home sales statistics around the 15th of the following month.
Tech Lunch & Learn Class: Perfect Your CMA Skills
RVAR's Tech Committee continues its Lunch & Learn Series on
Tuesday, February 23rd with a FREE class focused on using FlexMLS to
Perfect Your CMA Skills.
This 11:00AM -- 1:00PM "how to" session will be held at the RVAR office and will include:
  • First 30 minutes will help beginners get started in FlexMLS
  • Then a 60 minute Advanced Session will cover CMAs and how to pull data from FlexMLS
  • The last 30 minutes will be a Q&A Session

Bring your lunch and laptop ... RVAR will provide drinks, chips and cookies! Click here to register.

The Speaker's Forum Presents...
The 2016 Speaker's Forum is planning to host an exciting array of speakers throughout the year!  The Speaker's Forum will kick off the year with a presentation by Beth Doughty, Executive Director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. The Roanoke Regional Partnership serves as the point of contact for businesses looking to relocate and expand in the region. Mrs. Doughty will provide an update about the Partnership's role in business attraction, retention and expansion. She will also discuss how the Partnership works together with the Economic Development offices in the various localities in the region. The first Forum will be on Wednesday, March 16th at the RVAR office starting at 8:45AM with coffee, juice and pastries provided.  From 9:00 - 9:45 we will have a brief welcome followed by Beth Doughty's presentation.  There is NO CHARGE to attend this event, but seating is limited.  Click here to register 
or contact the RVAR office. 
The Speaker's Forum helps to provide local, informative presentations regarding topics that affect our businesses. The Forum welcomes any REALTOR® and Affiliate members and there is no charge to attend.

RVAR Is Hiring!
RVAR is seeking a person to fill a full-time position to help plan, promote and implement the various programs and events for the Association as well as continue to expand the successes of our Community Service projects. This person will serve as the Staff Liaison for the Program & Special Events, Affiliates and Community Service Committees, as well as help coordinate logistics for all the events of the RVAR.
Do you know someone who might be interested in this dynamic role as a team player who is detailed-oriented, energetic, and possesses the ability to plan and coordinate events and meetings? Communication and social media skills are preferred, along with knowledge of Microsoft software applications. The ability to mulit-task is essential to this position. NOTE: RVAR employees are not permitted to have active real estate licenses.
Anyone interested should submit a resume and salary requirements to Joe Sutliff at the RVAR office.
RVAR Community Service Days  
Join In & Help Make A Difference!    
The 2016 Community Service Committee needs your help by volunteering just a little of your time throughout the year!  The Community Service Committee has established four RVAR Community Service Days for 2016 with the goal of helping one of our supported charities each quarter.  The charities scheduled for 2016 are Feeding America Southwest Virginia, Renovation Alliance (formerly Rebuilding Together Roanoke), The Rescue Mission and the Community Christmas Store of the Roanoke Valley.  
Join in and help make a difference by donating just a few hours of your time on each scheduled project.  Collectively, we believe our REALTOR® and Affiliate members can make a huge impact on our community and the people that live here.  Make plans to volunteer in 2016!  
Our first RVAR Community Service Day will be Friday, March 4th at Feeding America Southwest Virginia (1025 Electric Road, Salem, VA 24153).  There will be two opportunities to volunteer that day either from 9:00AM - 12 Noon or 1:00PM - 4:00PM and lunch will be provided.  Our primary service will be helping to inspect and sort dented cans, crushed boxes, or other superficially damaged food to ensure the food inside is safe.  
Please click here to sign up for the AM Shift. Please click here to sign up for the PM Shift. Or call RVAR to have us register you for a shift of your choice.     
Feeding America Southwest Virginia's mission is to feed Southwest Virginia's hungry through a network of partners and engage our region in the fight to end hunger. They distribute more than 20 million pounds of food annually to nearly 400 partner agency soup kitchens, rescue missions and food pantries throughout the 26 counties and associated municipalities that make up Southwest Virginia.        
Next RVAR Community Service Day
: Helping with Renovation Alliance on Saturday, April 23rd.  More details to follow. 
DMV Announces Emergency Contact Program
Virginia's Emergency Contact Program is a free public service which allows citizens to store emergency contact information. This program gives law enforcement a way to notify your family or friends in the event of a serious crash or other emergency that leaves you unable to communicate.
REALTORS® are encouraged to sign up for this program! Click here to access the DMV site. If you already have a DMV account, simply click on "Emergency Contacts". If not, click on "create account". You will be prompted to enter two emergency contacts (you can change or modify your contacts at any time.)
Your information will be securely stored by DMV and will be accessible only by law enforcement in the event of an emergency.
RVAR: A Decade Ago
How much has changed in the past 10 years? Click here to check out RVAR and the real estate market in 2006. (Hint: There were 1,553 REALTORS® in 2006, whereas RVAR begins 2016 with 1,093 members.)
2016 RVAR and MLS Budgets
In December, the RVAR Board of Directors approved the 2016 budgets for RVAR and MLS. As was previously announced, the 2016 RVAR dues was increased by $25 for the sole purpose of funding a new RVAR staff position focused on governmental affairs and economic development. The 2016 MLS budget reflects no increase in the monthly agent fee and a decrease in the monthly firm fee to $45. Summaries of the RVAR budget and MLS budget are provided.
Our RVAR Family 
RVAR congratulates Matt Huff of Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group upon his election to the Board of Directors of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce.
RVAR expresses sympathy to Sharon Ruthenberg of MKB, REALTORS® upon the death of her husband and to Tommy Hendrix of Hall Associates upon the death of his father.
Let RVAR know if you have news to share. 

February 23rd
Lunch & Learn: Perfect Your CMA Skills
March 4th
Community Service Day:  Feeding America
March 16th
Speakers Forum
March 18th
New Member Orientation
March 25th
RVAR Office Closed for Good Friday
April 5th
Code of Ethics Training
April 21st
5 O'clock Hops (location to be announced)
April 23rd
Community Service Day:  Renovation Alliance
Roanoke Valley Association of REALTORS® 
 www.RVAR.com |
(540) 772-0526 | Email