CAN SPAM Compliance

Realtors® use email as a big part of their business whether it’s advertising open houses or staying in touch with former clients, and sometimes those communications can run afoul of federal anti-spam law.  The CAN SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) covers ALL commercial email communications, not just spam or bulk email.  If you are emailing fellow agents an advertisement about an open house you have this weekend, that communication falls under the CAN SPAM Act.  And violations can cost some big bucks, as much as $16,000 in some cases.  So don’t violate the law and open yourself up to financial penalties, follow some simple rules and you will be compliant.

  1. Each email you send for business purposes must have a legitimate return address and must clearly state in the subject line the purpose of the email
  2. Clear and conspicuous notice for the recipient to “opt-out” of future emails and promptly honoring opt-out requests.
  3. Clearly indicate that the email is an ad early on in the message.

To read more about the CAN SPAM Act, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Beware of Property Management Scam

Member Alert – Property Management Scam

Recently, FAAR was notified of a concerning scam.

The scam works as follows. A listing firm in Tidewater had three homes listed in the MLS for sale. Multiple callers contacted the listing agent to discuss rental terms for these listed properties. When asked where the callers learned about the properties, they replied that a person from Texas contacted them with a proposed deal: You send a deposit to Texas and we will immediately send you the keys to the rental unit.

Apparently, the listing information was scraped from a non-MLS aggregator website and advertised for rent. The FBI and police were notified.

Real estate scams have become increasingly common, especially with property management. Please click the link below to view a terrific video from the National Association of Realtors® on property management scams and how to protect your clients:

http://www.realtor.org/videos/how-to-protect-your-property-listings-from-rental-scams

If you have any questions about this scam or to report another one, please contact VAR Legal Staff at (804) 264-5033.

Realtors Property Resource Economic Reports Ideal for Commercial Real Estate

The Realtors Property Resource (RPR) has a great tool for commercial real estate in their Local Area Economic Reports.  The economic report can drill down into a specific geographic area by zip code, county/city designation, or by customized area.  The report includes very detailed demographic information about the population of the area including median income, household wealth, home price, education level, and family size and makeup, just to name a few.  These reports can help with marketing a certain area or assisting a client with assessing business prospects. 

Have a business that targets their product to young families with high income?  An RPR profile can help you show with hard data that the demographic exists right here in Fredericksburg in high numbers.  These reports are free for members and extremely easy to use.  Once generated, the report can be turned into a pdf for easy sharing and embedding in documents and presentations.  Here is an example of what an RPR Economic Report looks like:

RPR_example

Want more information about the RPR and how you can sign up?  Visit the RPR today at https://www.narrpr.com/

FAAR Releases 2013 Year End and 4th Quarter Market Statistics Report

Connect with your clients and prospects using the latest FAAR quarterly report.  This FREE publication features graphics, commentary, and statistics from the local market that you are free to use however you would like.  The most recent report provides information a look back at 2013 and information about the fourth quarter of the year.  The report includes some impressive statistics about the increase in sales volume and the continuing decrease in days on market.  This is a great message to get out to your clients!

2013 Year End and Q4 Report for Agents-long version

2013 Year End and Q4 Report Press Release-short version

Please note that this document is currently in PDF form.  You are able to copy all of the text, but you may not be able to copy the charts and graphs.  If you would like to use any of the charts or graphs in your own work, please email Kim McClellan (kmcclellan@faarmembers.com) for the Microsoft Word version.

NVAR New Forms Update – January 2014

There have been a number of forms that have been updated for the new year.  There has a been a substantial re-write of the Home Inspection contingency and modification of a handful of other forms.  Matthew Rathbun, Chairman of the NVAR Standard Forms Workgroup will lead an online discussion about the new forms and what Realtors need to know.  Estimated session time is 90 minutes.  Webinar will be broadcast in the FAAR classroom.  Register here:

https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/927340486

VA Supreme Court ruling showcases power of REALTORS across the state

The following is from VARBuzz and highlights the great work VAR did on assisting with this court case on proffers.  This really showcases the power of the REALTOR® organization!

Virginia Supreme Court sides with VAR in important proffer case

14 Jan 2014

Posted by Andrew Kantor   

VAR has received great news regarding a Virginia Supreme Court case the VAR Strategic Funding Committee supported with Legal Action Funds.

VAR’s Strategic Funding Committee administers the Legal Action and Issues Mobilization funds to address issues, conflicts, or disputes involving property or development rights, zoning and land use issues, or other actions or policies that adversely affect the business of real estate.

At the request of the Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS® and Home Builders Association of Virginia (HBAV), VAR filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the Court”) brief in the Virginia Supreme Court for the case Board of Supervisors of James City County, et al v. Windmill Meadows, LLC, et al.

The case centered on VAR and HBAV-supported legislation that creates flexibility regarding the payment by developers of cash proffers to localities. Cash proffers are sometimes required by local governments to offset the capital facilities costs of proposed developments. These proffers can affect the costs of homes. VAR recognized that the outcome of this case would set a precedent for all local governments authorized to impose proffers. Therefore, VAR’s Strategic Funding Committee and board of directors sprang into action.

The court sided with VAR and HBAV regarding the retroactive nature of the cash proffer law. The court also awarded attorneys’ fees to several of the developers/home builders, which will hopefully check actions by counties in the future that may impair private property and development rights.

This is a huge win that validates VAR’s position and Legal Action Fund dollars. It is also an example of how your dues positively affect the outcome of critical issues in Virginia.

Click here to read the full court decision, courtesy of Court Listener.