Articles / RE News

NJAR® Circle of Excellence® Online Application Available

posted Oct 11, 2013, 11:45 AM by REMAX PREFERRED

To apply for the 2013 NJAR® Circle of Excellence Sales Award®, please complete an application and submit a hard copy to your local board/association, along with your online application fee receipt attached to the front.

Applications must be received by your local board/association by close of business day on Jan. 10, 2014. There will be no exceptions.

Please contact NJAR® Communications Coordinator Colleen King at (732) 494-4715 or cking@njar.com with any questions regarding the award.

How A Government Shutdown Will Affect Mortgage Participants

posted Sep 30, 2013, 10:53 AM by REMAX PREFERRED   [ updated Sep 30, 2013, 10:54 AM ]

As we face the possibility of a government shutdown, or partial shutdown, may agents and their clients have concerns about how this will affect their loan. A short term shutdown should have limited effects so don’t worry just yet!  There is a distinct possibility that this will be cleared up before much time goes by. So, for now, educate your borrowers and referral partners on what’s occurring. The following describes the potential effects a brief government shut down might have on the mortgage process. The ones highlighted in red could be the most disruptive to production flow:

 

Information Provided By:

Rich Bersani, Vice President
NMLS: 133243
Front Gate Mortgage

RBersani@FrontgateMortgage.com

Tower Commons Office Campus
123 Egg Harbor Road, Suite 606
Sewell, NJ 08080
Office: 856.401.9090 ext. 103
Cell: 856.889.8648
E-Fax: 866.325.4759
http://FrontGateMortgage.com


-          FHA:  

o   FHA will be able to endorse single family loans during the shutdown, however, only a limited number of FHA staff will be available to underwrite and approve new loans so the process may take longer.

o   Limited FHA staff will be available to respond to questions, emails or other correspondence.

o   Lenders will be able to obtain an FHA case number from the FHA Connection.

o   If FHA runs out of commitment authority during a shutdown, then lenders’ Lender Insurance (LI) approval will be temporarily suspended.

o   CAIVRS will be available to determine if a borrower has a delinquent federal debt.

o   FHA Total Scorecard will be available.

o   If a lender submits loans for approval if the lender is in pre-closing, FHA staff will not be available to underwrite and approve loans.

o   FHA will collect the Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premiums (UFMIPs) during a shutdown.

o   Lenders are required to submit monthly MIPs to FHA during a government shutdown.

o   FHA will not perform any post technical endorsement or Quality Assurance Reviews during a government shutdown.

-          GNMA, FNMA, FHLMC:

o   No significant affect

-          VA:

o   The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will continue to operate if there is a government shutdown which means lenders will be able to continue originating VA-guaranteed loans. Both lenders and borrowers will be able to obtain their Certificate of Eligibility online, and they will still be able to submit applications and follow up on COEs that require more research with the Atlanta Eligibility Center. Lenders can and should continue to remit funding fees through the Funding Fee Payment System.

-          USDA

o   USDA has not issued guidelines yet, but indications are that they may be similar to those in the 2011 contingency plans issued by OMB. Under this plan Rural Development would cease all but essential functions and no new loans or guarantees will be made.

-          Social Security

o   For verification of borrowers’ social security numbers, lenders rely on either third party vendors or the Social Security Administration (SSA). In previous shutdowns, SSA has only retained employees that deal directly with the processing of new claims and benefits; therefore lenders may not be able to continue to verify social security numbers through SSA

-          IRS (4506-T)

o   The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has indicated that they will not process any forms, including issue tax return transcripts (Form 4506 T), should a government shutdown occur. Without tax transcripts, loan processing may be delayed, depending on individual housing agency requirements and aggregator guidelines.

-          FEMA

o   FEMA is likely to provide information through a bulletin in the case of a government shutdown. While many functions will be unaffected, because of their use of contractors and public/private partnerships, and it is likely that mapping issues or amendments will be impacted

 

(This information is based on an expected shutdown of a couple of weeks and does not apply should the situation last longer than that.)

HUD Policy on Dual Agency Agreements

posted Sep 27, 2013, 8:02 AM by REMAX PREFERRED



As was in reports earlier this week, on October 1st HUD would be implementing a new policy that would have prevented dual agency agreements in FHA pre-foreclosure transactions.
 
NAR® has been working with HUD closely to modify the policy. HUD reported on September 25 to NAR® that they will reissue the July Mortgagee Letter and remove all dual agency language. (Part Three of the PFS Participation Requirements).


Member discounts on cell phone bill

posted Jul 31, 2013, 7:12 AM by REMAX PREFERRED   [ updated Jul 31, 2013, 7:13 AM ]


Have you applied RE/MAX's corporate discount to your existing cell phone bill?

As a RE/MAX member, you have access to exclusive savings on your monthly phone bill from AT&T, Sprint, and more. In addition, we are also able to extend corporate discounts on phones and accessories.

Check out these rewards, and more!


E-Sign Bill Now Heads to Senate

posted Jul 16, 2013, 8:06 AM by REMAX PREFERRED

The New Jersey General Assembly approved legislation clarifying state law to allow the use of electronic signatures in real estate transactions. The legislation, which was initiated by NJAR®, codifies this allowance in to state law so it is clear electronic signatures can be used in real estate transactions.  Current federal law allows the use of electronic signatures in real estate transactions for the sale, lease, exchange or disposition of any real property. The bill must still be approved by the full State Senate before it can reach Gov. Chris Christie’s desk to be signed into law.

For the full text of the bill, click here.


BPO Bill Passes

posted Jul 16, 2013, 7:53 AM by REMAX PREFERRED

On June 27, 2013 legislation initiated by NJAR® allowing real estate licensees to prepare broker price opinions/comparative market analyses (BPOs/CMAs) received final legislative approval after being passed by the State Senate. The legislation – bill S-2551 – clarifies that real estate brokers, broker-salespersons and salespersons have the authority under state law to prepare BPOs/CMAs. This legislation is now on Gov. Christie’s desk and must be signed by him before it becomes law.

Call for Action: Tax Reform Should Do No Harm

posted Jul 16, 2013, 7:43 AM by REMAX PREFERRED   [ updated Jul 16, 2013, 7:46 AM ]

What's At Stake

On June 27th the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced their plan for tax reform legislation in the United States Senate. 

There are a wide range of provisions in the tax code that affect residential, investment, and commercial real estate.  NAR will be taking the lead in ensuring that each of those tax provisions is defended.  In the coming days we will work with our friends in the United States Senate, as well our allies in other real estate associations to identify champions for each provision.  Additionally, we will be on offense working to improve certain provisions or make some temporary provisions permanent.

Tax Reform is underway on Capitol Hill. The Senate has adopted a “Blank Slate” approach that initially eliminates every provision in the tax code, including those that encourage real estate ownership and investment.

Senators must submit their tax reform priorities to Senate leaders by July 26th.  REALTORS® need to make their voices heard now so real estate provisions are on the top of the Senators' lists.

When approaching tax reform, Congress should be careful not to inflict adverse consequences on either the economy or the unique legacy that homeownership and real estate investment have contributed to making our country prosperous.
 
REALTORS® must stand united that tax reform should above all “Do No Harm” and encourage Congress to retain tax provisions vital to real estate.  


How You Can Take Action

The Blank Slate

A “blank slate” means that as a starting point, all tax expenditures (including tax deductions such as the mortgage interest deduction, tax exemptions such as the capital gains exemption on the sale of a primary residence, and tax credits such as energy efficiency tax credits) will be removed from the tax code.  Senators will have to request tax expenditures be added to the reform legislation.  Using the “blank slate” approach allows the Senate Finance Committee to highlight just how much tax rates could be reduced by eliminating all the tax expenditures.  Adding any tax expenditures back into the code would ratchet the rates up.
Sample Message:


Dear [Decision Maker],

As a REALTOR®, I can tell you that the tax treatment of real estate, whether residential, commercial, or investment property, is an important consideration for my clients.

I understand that as part of an effort to overhaul the federal tax code, the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee are starting with a "blank slate" that eliminates all deductions, credits, and exemptions. I also understand they are asking for your input on what tax provisions should be maintained, modified, or improved in a potential tax reform bill. Now is the time for you to be a voice for America's seventy-five million homeowners, as well as the tens of millions of Americans who are directly or indirectly invested in commercial real estate!

The current tax system contains many provisions that encourage real estate ownership and investment. Each provision deserves careful consideration in any tax reform effort. The first rule in tax reform should be "Do No Harm."

At the very least, I urge you to maintain, and in some cases improve, the following provisions in any rewrite of the tax code:

  • The mortgage interest deduction should be preserved in its current form and the limits indexed for inflation.
  • The exclusion of capital gains on the sale of a principal residence should be preserved and the limits indexed for inflation.
  • The deduction for property taxes paid should be preserved.
  • The temporary exclusion of income from discharge of mortgage debt (mortgage cancellation) should be made permanent.
  • The depreciation periods of commercial and residential buildings should be shortened to reflect the true useful lives of these assets. The temporary provision allowing faster write-off for leasehold improvements should be made permanent. 

Provisions that allow for the deferral of gain on the like-kind exchange of real property should be maintained.

Our nation's real estate markets are finally on the road to recovery. One of the surest ways to halt this recovery is to create uncertainty about whether the current tax treatment will be eliminated or impaired for real estate owners and investors. Congress must be mindful of the broad impact that the overnight elimination of long-standing and widely utilized tax provisions may have on our nation's economy.

I hope you will express your support for the vital role real estate plays in our economy to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, as well as to your colleagues, by urging them to retain and improve these important parts of our tax system.



Legislation under consideration June 24th regarding BPOs/CMAs!

posted Jun 20, 2013, 7:53 AM by REMAX PREFERRED   [ updated Jun 20, 2013, 7:57 AM ]



A major piece of legislation is under consideration in the New Jersey General Assembly on Monday, June 24 that is critical to our industry!  CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION!

Please support the New Jersey Association of REALTORS® in getting Assembly Bill 3718/Senate Bill 2551 passed, which would clarify that real estate brokers, broker-salespersons and salespersons can prepare Broker Price Opinions/Comparative Market Analyses (BPOs/CMAs).

WE NEED YOUR HELP IN PROTECTING YOUR ABILITY TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO YOUR CLIENTS!

Under current New Jersey Real Estate Commission (REC) regulations, real estate licensees can prepare CMAs as long as the CMA includes a statement that it is not an appraisal and should not be considered the equivalent of an appraisal. A recent REC bulletin has supported this position.

Last November, the New Jersey Board of Real Estate Appraisers (Appraisal Board) challenged the long-standing practice, declaring that under certain circumstances BPOs are appraisals and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the Appraisal Board. The Appraisal Board went further to say that preparation of a BPO by someone not licensed as a real estate appraiser may be guilty of the unlicensed practice of appraising and subject to significant fines.

Assembly Bill 3718/Senate Bill 2551 clarify once and for all that a BPO and CMA are synonymous terms, and real estate licensees may continue to provide this service, as we have for over 30 years.

It is critical that you join NJAR® on the frontlines to protect our industry. Please do your part by sending your state representatives a letter of support for this legislation! The letter is already written.  All you have to do is CLICK HERE!


Pending Home Sales Edge Up in April

posted Jun 19, 2013, 2:19 PM by REMAX PREFERRED   [ updated Jun 19, 2013, 2:22 PM ]


WASHINGTON (May 30, 2013) – Pending home sales improved slightly in April and continue to be well above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®.  Gains in the Northeast and Midwest were offset largely by declines in the West and South.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 0.3 percent to 106.0 in April from 105.7 in March, and is 10.3 percent above April 2012 when it was 96.1; the data reflect contracts but not closings.

Home contract activity is at the highest level since the index hit 110.9 in April 2010, immediately before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit.  Pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 24 months.


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Home contract activity is at the highest level since the index hit 110.9 in April 2010...

RE/MAX Named No. 1 Real Estate Franchise by Entrepreneur, Again

posted Jan 24, 2013, 8:41 AM by REMAX PREFERRED   [ updated Jan 24, 2013, 8:44 AM ]

RE/MAX #1

The 40th anniversary of RE/MAX in January is a tribute to our company’s agent-centric philosophy and the innovative entrepreneurs
that it attracts.
~CEO, Margaret Kelley

RE/MAX has been named the No. 1 real estate franchise. Entrepreneur magazine will announce in its January issue that RE/MAX ranked above all competitors in its 2013 Franchise 500.

This is the 10th time in the last 14 years that RE/MAX has won the honor of being the No. 1 real estate franchise in the survey that is dominated by iconic brands such as Subway, 7-Eleven, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s.

“We are pleased, but not surprised, to be ranked No. 1,” said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. “Our Sales Associates, Broker/Owners and regional master franchisors are talented groups who help each other excel whatever the market conditions. The 40th anniversary of RE/MAX in January is a tribute to our company’s agent-centric philosophy and the innovative entrepreneurs that it attracts.”

Finishing behind RE/MAX in the real estate category were:

2. Weichert Real Estate Affiliates
3. Realty Executives International
4. Keller Williams Realty
5. ERA Franchise Systems
6. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

No other real estate franchises were ranked.

Entrepreneur franchise ratings are based on financial strength and stability, growth rate and size, and startup costs. In the U.S., RE/MAX leads the industry in per-agent productivity* and has No. 1 market share. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX.

Resource materials for use in listing and recruiting are being prepared for RE/MAX Affiliates and will be available in early January.

* Based on comparison of real estate franchise brokerages participating in the 2012 REAL Trends 500 report.

RE/MAX Affiliates may share this article, provided they do not charge for it and this notice is included. All other rights reserved.

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