Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 4, 2010 Luncheon: The Candidates Speak

If you weren't able to make it to our monthly membership luncheon today, you're in luck: You can catch up on what the candidates had to say by clicking through the videos below (use the arrows on the right and left to navigate).

Don't forget, the Elections run August 9 through August 23 -- keep an eye on  your e-mail the morning of August 9 for your login info, and cast your vote for the future of the GRRA!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

LDO Changes discussed at Brown Bag

Representatives from the City of Greensboro's planning department joined us on Thursday to talk about the changes in the city's Land Development Ordinance. If you missed it, catch up with the Powerpoint below!LDO Changes

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Greensboro among Money's 'hot metro areas'

The August issue of CNN's Money Magazine is out, and it has some good news for Greensboro: Our city was given the highest rating among nationwide 'hot' metro areas, a conclusion derived from the strength of a city's housing market and economy.

Read more about how cities were scored in the link below.

Click here to view the map (.pdf)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Forms Guy weighs in on Offer to Purchase

Revisions to Offer to Purchase and Contract

by Will Martin
NCAR General Counsel

Courtesy: Insight Magazine, the
North Carolina Association of REALTORS®

Dear Forms Guy: I’ve just been told that the Offer to Purchase and Contract has been completely rewritten. Is it so? Sincerely, Lumpy

Dear Lumpy: It’s true that significant changes to the Offer to Purchase and Contract (form 2-T) were recently approved by the NC Association of REALTORS® and the NC Bar Association, but the form hasn’t been completely rewritten. A great deal of the content of the current form (copyright July 2008) has been carried forward into the new form. The organization of the current form has also been significantly changed to group-related provisions in a more logical way. For example, defined terms are grouped together in a new “Terms and Definitions” paragraph at the beginning of the new form, and buyer and seller representations and obligations are grouped together in paragraphs 5 through 8. Sincerely, Forms Guy

Lumpy: What are the big changes?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Homebuyer Tax Credit closing deadline, flood insurance: Crucial extensions PASSED!

After a close brush with the deadline, Congress has passed an extension of the Homebuyer Tax Credit closing deadline, the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act (H.R. 5623). The extension applies only to transactions that have ratified contracts in place as of April 30, 2010 that have not yet closed. The legislation is designed to create a seamless extension the new closing deadline for eligible transactions is now September 30, 2010. There is will be no gap between June 30 and the date the President signs the bill into law.

NAR worked closely with Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to enact this important legislation. Extending the Tax Credit Closing deadline will help provide additional stability to real estate markets across the nation.

For additional information on the extension visit www.realtor.org/government_affairs

Additionally, the United States Senate has passed the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 5569) an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until September 30, 2010. This will allow transactions to move forward. The bill is retroactive and covers the lapse period from June 1, 2010 to the date of enactment of the extension.

For more information on the flood insurance program visit www.realtor.org/government_affairs

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lead-Based Paint Rules: Enforcement delayed until fall

The Wall Street Journal is reporting important news out of the EPA about the new Lead-Based Paint standards for property owners (see the brief at the end of this page):
The Environmental Protection Agency decided to delay enforcing a new lead-paint regulation following pressure from home builders and members of Congress ... The rule would require contractors who work in older homes to become certified by a government-approved trainer and follow a series of safety precautions.
The EPA will delay taking action against contractors who haven't yet completed their training, putting off enforcement until Oct. 1.

The National Association of Home Builders has more:
In revised guidance released on Friday, EPA acknowledged that remodelers in many parts of the country have been unable to obtain the required training to comply with the rule – a problem that NAHB has urged the agency to solve since the rule was announced two years ago...The issue came to a head in May after floods devastated parts of Tennessee and there weren’t enough certified remodelers to complete much-needed home repairs. NAHB and its state home builders association proposed a delay in enforcing the rule -- a decision EPA consented to in its letter on Friday.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

NCAR Legislative Day

This week marked NCAR's 2010 Legislative Meetings, which culminated on Wednesday when REALTORS
® from around the state
visited their representatives at their offices. Greensboro had a strong showing, with a group of GRRA leaders visiting the offices of Sens. Phil Berger and Katie Dorsett, and Reps. Earl Jones, Maggie Jeffus, Pricey Harrison, John Blust and Alma Adams.

(See more photos at the GRRA Facebook Page)

Here are a few topics they discussed:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

GDOT visits the GRRA

Craig McKinney with the Greensboro Department of Transportation spoke to a packed house at our Roads and Highways Brown Bag on June 8. When we scheduled the event, we anticipated that the new draft TIP would be out; unfortunately, it has been delayed. If you missed the Brown Bag, Craig has graciously offered to do a follow-up Brown Bag on August 17, at which point the TIP should be available.

In the meantime, here's a snippet from his talk on Tuesday, in which he discusses the progress of the Urban Loop:

And here's the PowerPoint presentation:Greensboro regional realtors assoc 06 08-10

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

NAR economist: Pending sales up

NAR's Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, talks about how the tax credit has affected national pending home sales.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

RPAC Auction Eve: One last sneak peek

We're down to the zero hour -- the 2010 RPAC Auction is happening tomorrow, June 2, 2010! Get to the GRRA at 11:30 a.m. to make sure you're present when bidding starts!

Here's one last preview to mark the occasion -- view more here.

"Guy's Night Out" Gift Basket

Thursday, May 27, 2010

RPAC Auction Sneak Peek: Week 5 (pt. 2)

More great items continue to roll in to the GRRA offices for next week's RPAC Auction. Here's another taste of what's to come (hit the jump for more).

And don't forget to come out at 11:30 on Wednesday, June 2 to see the rest of our great inventory! It's a great way to support your REALTORS Political Action Committee!

Hand-carved table

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

RPAC Auction Sneak Peek: Week 5

We're exactly one week out from the 10th annual RPAC Auction here at the GRRA. There's still time to donate if you haven't already -- contact Barbara Gilliland if you have something to contribute!

Here are a few more items that will be on display when bidding opens at 11:30 a.m. June 2

Angel statue
Angel statue

Brian Casey on the changing Furniture Market

Brian Casey, president of the High Point Market Authority, spoke at the GRRA-REALTOR Commercial Alliance luncheon on Tuesday, and he had a lot of interesting things to say about the evolution of the market over the past few years. A few excerpts:

Friday, May 21, 2010

George Bell talks about the new Offer to Purchase

George Bell, WSRAR President and member of the NCAR forms committee, took a break from teaching his CE course on Thursday to give a quick update on the new Offer to Purchase form.

See more videos at the GRRA's YouTube Channel!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

RPAC Auction Sneak Peek: Week 4

More new items for our blog readers this week, and stay tuned: We have some very exciting announcements on the horizon! Don't forget to mark your calendars for the start of bidding on Wednesday, June 2 at 11:30 a.m.

We'll be auctioning off original paintings by Nancy Radtke:

Bill's Peonies
"Bill's Peonies"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Commercial mortgage market liquidity must be enhanced

This week, GRRA CEO Mike Barr and 2010 GRRA President Bill Guill are in Washington, D.C. talking with our representatives about several different issues. This is part of a series of in-depth looks at issues that affect the housing market in Greensboro and around the country.

Congress must take action to enhance liquidity in the commercial real estate market to avoid driving down economic recovery.

Liquidity challenges

Despite providing more than 9 million jobs and generating billions of dollars in federal, state and local tax revenue, the commercial real estate market is still in the midst of a serious financial crisis. Many property owners are underwater, and will face serious trouble refinancing the $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate loans that will mature by 2014.

Increase credit union lending caps

Credit unions are hampered by a business lending cap of 12.25% of total assets. Many commercial real estate owners have strong relationships with credit unions, which could help them refinance their properties but find the lending cap presents an obstacle.

Term extensions could save performing properties facing an equity gap
Instead of requiring a refinance at the end of a loan term (and having to deal with a troublesome equity gap), lenders should be encouraged to extend the term of the current loan for commercial properties that can support their current debt service. Currently, lenders do not offer term extensions because they are wary of regulatory oversight concerns.

House actions to date:
  • 79 Members of the House, led by Reps. Kanjorski (D-PA) and Calvert (R-CA), signed onto a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, urging them to take a more active role in addressing the problems facing commercial real estate markets.
  • Reps. Kanjorski (D-PA) and Royce (R-CA) introduced H.R. 3380, the “Promoting Lending to America's
    Small Businesses Act,” to increase the credit union commercial lending cap from 12.25% to 25% of total

What we're asking of our Representatives:
  • Cosponsor H.R. 3380, increasing the cap on credit union business lending from 12.25% to 25%. Credit Unions can provide an important additional source of funding for small commercial properties that need to

  • Support efforts to hold a House hearing solely focused on commercial real estate.
  • Urge the Federal Reserve and Treasury to encourage banks to provide term extensions for performing
Senate actions to date:
  • Sen. Udall (D-CO) introduced S. 2919, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, to increase the cap
    on credit union commercial lending from 12.25% to 25% of total assets.
What we're asking of our Senators:
  • Cosponsor S. 2919
  • Support efforts to hold a Senate hearing solely focused on commercial real estate.
  • Urge the Federal Reserve and Treasury to encourage banks to provide term extensions for performing

Protecting affordable, safe financing for American families

This week, GRRA CEO Mike Barr and 2010 GRRA President Bill Guill are in Washington, D.C. talking with our representatives about several different issues. This is part of a series of in-depth looks at issues that affect the housing market in Greensboro and around the country.

Without FHA, our economy could not be on the verge of recovery.
The Federal Housing Administration is not a subprime lender, has strong underwriting criteria to protect American taxpayers, and has never required a federal bailout. FHA borrowers are not subsidized, and pay both upfront and annual premiums. In 2009, more than 50 percent of first-time buyers used FHA, and nearly 80 percent of FHA’s purchase loans were to first-time home buyers. FHA also serves those who need to refinance out of risky adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) or subprime loans with high interest rates. In 2009, approximately 835,000 borrowers refinanced into lower interest rate FHA insured loans, saving them an estimated $1.3 billion.

GSE reform and loan limits

This week, GRRA CEO Mike Barr and 2010 GRRA President Bill Guill are in Washington, D.C. talking with our representatives about several different issues. This is part of a series of in-depth looks at issues that affect the housing market in Greensboro and around the country.

The GSEs remain critical to ensuring mortgage market liquidity.

On September 7, 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) into
conservatorship. FHFA took this action “to help restore confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, enhance their
capacity to fulfill their [housing] mission, and mitigate the systemic risk that has contributed directly to the
instability in the current market.” At that point, it was expected that the debate on the future structure of Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac would begin in earnest. However, with Congress attention focused elsewhere, legislation is

not expected to be enacted until 2011 at the earliest.

Higher loan limits need to be permanent and available in all markets.
Despite the higher limits being extended through year-end 2010, their temporary nature continues to make lenders
and investors wary of supporting them. Making the limits permanent at levels appropriate in all parts of the
country will provide homeowners and homebuyers with safe, affordable financing and help stabilize local housing
markets. Currently the higher GSE limits are set to expire on December 31, 2010.

Congressional action needed:
  • Enact legislation to restructure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) in a manner that provides the federal
    government a continued role in the secondary market in order to ensure mortgage liquidity in all markets.
  • Enact legislation that makes permanent the higher GSE loan limit formula and caps in order to provide affordable
    financing for all borrowers in all markets.
Congressional actions to date:
  • The House Financial Services Committee held its first hearing on housing finance reform on March 23, 2010. The
    Committee plans to continue holding hearings throughout the year, with the hope of drafting a housing finance
    reform proposal by year's end. NAR testified at the March 23, 2010 hearing.
  • The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing titled the "Future of the Mortgage
    Market and the Housing Enterprises" in October 2009. Since then, there has been no substantive discussion of the
    GSEs by the Committee.
  • H.R. 2483, the "Increasing Homeownership Opportunities Act," to make the current GSE and FHA loan limits
    permanent, has been introduced by Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Gary Miller (R-CA).
What we're asking of our Representatives and Senators
  • The federal government must have a continued key role in the secondary mortgage market in order to ensure
    that there is capital for mortgage lending in all mortgage markets and all market conditions.
  • Support H.R. 2483, the "Increasing Homeownership Opportunities Act," to make the current GSE and FHA
    loan limits permanent.

Why we need affordable and available property insurance

This week, GRRA CEO Mike Barr and 2010 GRRA President Bill Guill are in Washington, D.C. talking with our representatives about several different issues. This is part of a series of in-depth looks at issues that affect the housing market in Greensboro and around the country.

Congress must adopt legislation that encourages the availability and affordability of property insurance, including a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and natural disaster coverage.

Affordable property insurance is not widely available.
Insurers have responded to recent natural disasters by raising premiums or declining to write policies in many parts of the United States. Because the standard homeowner’s policy does not cover flooding, windstorms or earthquakes, most Americans rely on the NFIP or a state program for coverage for natural disasters. Without a federal role, affordable property insurance would not be consistently available.

Short extensions to the NFIP do not provide market certainty.
Since September 2008, Congress has approved six short-term extensions and allowed the NFIP to expire twice. Homebuyers and small business owners require certainty to make the long-term real estate investments that are critical to our nation’s economic recovery.

Taxpayers are now subsidizing under-insured properties.
Today the federal government mostly reacts to natural disasters by providing financial assistance to victims. For example, following Hurricane Katrina, $26 billion went directly to under-insured property owners, according to the GAO. Those are taxpayer expenditures that would not have been necessary, if affordable property insurance for these events was more widely available.

Forward-looking U.S. policies will reduce taxpayer burden.
By becoming more proactive, i.e. ensuring that property owners have insurance as well as incentives to mitigate property against the full range of natural disasters, the federal government could reduce the amount of disaster relief taxpayers would have to provide.

House actions to date:
  • The House has approved a series of short-term NFIP extensions.
  • The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on H.R. 2555 (Klein, D-FL), the Homeowners Defense Act, which offers federal reinsurance for state property insurance programs for natural catastrophes.
Senate actions to date:
  • The Senate approved H.R. 4213 that extends the NFIP to December 31, 2010.
Here's what we're asking our Senators and Representatives to do:
  • Reauthorize the NFIP long-term to provide property insurance market certainty.
  • Improve the availability and affordability of property insurance by approving legislation, including H.R.2555, to encourage state property insurance programs to proactively address the need for much-needed insurance coverage.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

RPAC Auction Sneak Peek: Week 3

We're one week closer to the 10th Annual RPAC Auction! New items continue to make their way into the GRRA offices -- if you have something you'd like to donate, contact Barbara Gilliland (bpgilliland@grra.org)

Here are three more advance looks for our blog readers (hit the jump for more) -- mark your calendar for June 2 at 11:30 a.m. to come out and bid on these and other great deals!

Turquoise necklace

Kid-Friendly Food To Go

Thanks to everyone who donated to the GRRA REALTORS Community Service Committee's May food drive. Yesterday, RCSC Volunteers delivered two car-loads of kid-friendly food items to the Inasmuch Ministry, a local group comprised of numerous church families who serve the less fortunate in our area.

May Food Drive

GRRA members collected more than 30 paper boxes of food throughout April and early May (the donations took up the better part of one of the GRRA's offices).

Inasmuch will be distributing the food in the next couple of weeks to families whose children depend on school meals to eat. With summer vacation looming, these donations will make a big difference in the lives of a lot of local families. Hats off to the RCSC, Inasmuch and all the donors who helped make this possible.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Membership Breakfast - May 4, 2010

Today was a landmark for the GRRA -- instead of our usual luncheon on the first Tuesday of the month, for the first time we hosted our monthly membership meeting as a breakfast.

To mark the occasion we wanted a blockbuster guest speaker, and Greensboro City Manager Rashad Young didn't disappoint.

View more excerpts from Mr. Young's talk at the GRRA YouTube Channel. Thanks to the City Manager, and to all our members who helped make our first breakfast a success!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

RPAC Auction Sneak Peek: Week 2

New items are coming in almost daily for the 10th Annual RPAC Auction on June 2 -- here's another look at what's in store when the bidding opens:

Ladies Motorcycle Boots - Size 9B

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

RPAC Auction Sneak Preview

The 10th Annual RPAC Auction is coming at the beginning of June, and we've already received some great items -- here's the first of several sneak peaks:

First Act mini guitar amp

First Act Mini Guitar Amp, for the musician in your life

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax credits and March housing numbers

It was a long, cold winter, but warmer weather seems to have brought out the buyers.
Sales of existing homes in Greensboro were up 48 percent in March over February of this year.

In High Point, March home sales climbed by 106 percent.

From News 14's report on March home sales in the Triad.

More Greensboro numbers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mo Green visits the GRRA

Thanks to Guilford County Schools superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green for coming out to speak at our luncheon on April 6. In case you missed it, he outlined several areas where the schools had made good or excellent progress (ABC Honor designations, EOG grades in math, reading and science), and some where much work remained (e.g. the number of schools designated as "low-performing" which currently stands at 10).

He brought along excerpts from the school's strategic plan, which you can view in full here.

One topic the superintendent wasn't able to talk about in detail was the budget for the coming school year, which he planned to unveil to the school board later that day. He did warn of further belt tightening, and news reports from the meeting outline exactly what that might mean.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Housing numbers down due to weather

The existing home sales totals for January 2010 are in, and it appears the weather took its toll.

But spring is approaching, and you can expect tax-credit seeking buyers to be out in full force.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Realfast2go Brown Bag -- in case you missed it

We had a great Brown Bag on Thursday with Linda Tant of Realfast. CEO John Mayes was also on hand to talk about their latest product, RealFast2Go.

If you were unable to attend the training, you can download the quick reference guide and the full manual from the Realfast website with the links below:

Full Manual

Quick Reference Guide

Thanks to all who participated, and thanks to John and Linda for coming in -- look for more Realfast info in the coming months here at the GRRA!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A few notes from our FHA panel

Thanks to everyone who came out to our FHA panel discussion last week. For those of you who couldn't make it, here are a few quick bullet points that might interest you (in no particular order):

Friday, February 12, 2010

Confused by the new RESPA laws? Check out NAR's video explanation:

RESPA Explained

And stop by the GRRA on March 5, when Robbie Cox of Chicago Title will be on hand to explain the new laws more in-depth.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Perkins talks aerotropolis at GRRA-RCA lunch

“Job growth is the key. It’s got to be the number one focus for every politician in this country.”

That was part of a message Greensboro City Councilman Robbie Perkins delivered at the monthly luncheon of the GRRA-REALTORS® Commercial Alliance on Tuesday.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some positive housing news to start 2010

The 2009 year-end housing report was released Wednesday at a press conference at the GRRA.

We received coverage from several local media outlets -- here are a few highlights:

Home sales in Greensboro end '09 on upswing (N&R)

Greensboro Realtors Release 2009 Housing Numbers (WFMY/DigTriad.com) - with video

Thanks to Dr. Don Jud, who led the press conference, and our friends in the local media for their interest.

The full report will be up shortly on the GRRA's Market Information page.