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Realtors: Reminder to register to vote

Block-RC-1-2013This is a big election year in Virginia, and you need to be there to make a difference. Vote.

Do it all at vote.virginia.gov.

Lee Odems named to VREB

Congratulations to Lee Odems of Woodbridge, principal broker with Buyers Advantage Real Estate Corp., who was named by Gov. Bob McDonnell to serve on the Virginia Real Estate Board. Good going!

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Fannie Mae to (finally) recognize short sales

Fannie Mae is going to fix a small problem with its software. It turns out, the company’s computers don’t recognize short sales.

What that means is that short sales (which typically keep someone from buying a home for two years) had to be labeled as foreclosures (which typically keep someone from buying a home for seven years).

Oops.

That’s a huge problem in states with high short-sale rates, such as Florida. And that’s why Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) took up the cause. Working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Nelson got Fannie to agree to a fix.

By November 16, people who make short sales will have that properly labeled in Fannie’s system.

Latest proposal effectively ditches QRM requirements for loans

The six federal agencies tasked with coming up with a definition of a Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) have floated another proposal — one that would essentially do away with the QRM definition altogether.

To understand what that means, we need a bit of background, which economist Bill McBride was happy to give, and which I will happily translate.

When it was created, the Dodd-Frank Act had two goals (among others):

1. Protect consumers from predatory lenders

2. Protect investors (notably taxpayers) from unknowingly buying risky loans

Northam, Herring endorsed by Realtors®

Two northammore endorsements were announced today by the Virginia Association of REALTORS® through the Virginia REALTOR® Political Action Committee: State Senators Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor and Mark Herring for Attorney General. On August 20-21, 2013, candidates for statewide office appeared before the RPAC Board of Trustees for separate and extensive candidate interviews. Further, each candidate submitted written responses to questionnaires developed for this race.

Realtors® endorse Terry McAuliffe for Governor

McAuliffe-croppedIn a press release sent out today, the Virginia Association of REALTORS® through the Virginia REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) announced its endorsement of Terry McAuliffe for Governor of Virginia. On August 20-21, 2013, both Mr. McAuliffe and Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli appeared before the RPAC Board of Trustees for separate and extensive candidate interviews. Further, each candidate submitted written responses to questionnaires developed for this race.

Mack Strickland named to Appraiser Board

imageA quick congrats is in order to long-time VAR member Mack Strickland of Chester — president of Strickland Appraisal Services — who was named by Governor Bob McDonnell to the Real Estate Appraiser Board.

Proposal would end door-to-door US Mail service

imageCongressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is proposing that the U.S Postal Service end door-to-door delivery in favor of neighborhood "cluster boxes" — the kind you might see in a condo complex.

Issa says the change could save the Post Office $4.5 billion a year.

(Contrary to popular belief, the USPS does not receive federal funding. All its money comes from postage and delivery sales and services.)

Cordray confirmed to head CFPB

Back in February we told you not to worry about Richard Cordray’s appointment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (There was some concern that if wasn’t confirmed, we’d be back in limbo in terms of mortgage requirements, and that would play havoc with the housing recovery.)

Call for action: Tax reform is in the works

There’s a big deal going on in the Senate regarding tax reform.

The Senate Finance Committee has decided that the easiest way to change the tax code is to start with a blank slate — that is, start with no deductions at all, then add in the ones that are most important.

Unfortunately, in the post-Citizens United era, "most important" could easily become "what most big businesses want," rather than "what’s best for the country." Which is why NAR wants to be sure that tax incentives for homeowners — notably the mortgage interest deduction, property tax deduction, and capital gains exclusions — are at the top of the list.