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.

Fair Housing and IDX Issues

No doubt by now you’ve heard about the Florida real estate agent who had a lawsuit filed against him claiming a Fair Housing violation in one of his listings.  Except it wasn’t his listing, it was another agent’s listing that appeared on his website through an IDX feed.  There never should have been a case, but there was and it apparently dragged on for quite a while.  The case was eventually dismissed, but has caused much, very understandable, concern among realtors everywhere.  To read the original article, click here, and to read the about the case dismissal, click here

NAR has assured realtors that they are NOT responsible for the content of listings that are not theirs displayed on their website through an IDX feed.  Laurie Janik, NAR’s General Counsel, has recorded a podcast explaining an agent’s liabilities that is well worth listening to while you eat lunch or having your morning coffee. 

New Agency Toolkit

The new agency law changes go into effect on July 1, 2012 and while there are many resources available to help with this transition, they can be hard to find.  FAAR has compiled all of the documents, videos, and new forms you may need into one simple resource.  (Please note:  some of the links are in the members-only section of VAR and require you to log-in.)

"Your Realtors’s Role" piece is great to use with clients to explain what you can offer and why they  have to sign a written brokerage agreement. 

VAR Form 450:  Use this form after July 1, 2012 as your written brokerage agreement.  It is NOT enough to have your clients just read the flier above, they MUST sign something if you are performing ANY licensed duties for them. 

Frequently Asked Questions:  Jay and Blake with VAR have put together a great FAQ list on the new law.   

Talking Points:  VAR has also put together talking points for your use with agents, the media, or consumers.  If you get calls from the media, you can also refer them to FAAR or VAR.  

VAR’s Agency Center:  There are several videos on VAR’s Agency Center, including this one featuring Jay DeBoer.  You will need to log into VAR’s website to access this information. 

Joint VAR/NVAR/RAR webinar:  This hour-long webinar provides detailed discussion about the new agency changes and features the author of the new Residential Standard Agency course, Michael Lafayette. 

Introducing FAAR’s Street Smarts for New Agents!

FAAR Street Smarts for New Agents is designed to provide new agents with an outlet to gain experience usually, and often painfully, gained on the job, and a venue in which they may network to share and support fellow newbies through the post-license years of a real estate career.  It does not take the place of individual company or broker education.  It is most wise to discuss all aspects of your business plan with your managing broker.

Congratulations!  You are a REALTOR®.  Now What?

You have passed your PSI test, affiliated with a company, joined FAAR and MRIS, bought your name riders, computer, and cell phone.  You have been given a key to the office and put on the duty schedule for Monday morning, four days away.  Someone has explained the telephone system, how to transfer incoming calls, given you the company policy manual and suggested you read it, and shown you a cubicle that you can call your own.

Monday morning arrives.  You have pulled up to the office, no one else is around.  You make the morning coffee, excited to begin your first day.  You turn on the computer, take a sip of coffee and the phone rings.  It’s a sign call.  The customer would like information on a property for which they had seen a sign, they think it is one of your company’s listings, it is on Thornburg Road, and they don’t know if it is a house or land.  What do you do?

All around you agents are busy, coming in and out of the office.  Customers are waiting in the conference room and your broker has breezed by to see how things are going with you.  When you said “Fine,” he said “Great!” and buzzed off to his office.  This goes on for four weeks.  You are answering the phone, helping people when they call giving information on the company’s listings, but you haven’t gotten any clients of your own.   You have taken a class on how to write a contract but without any practical knowledge of the process that leads to the contract, you have to file away that information for another day.  What is wrong?  Where are the clients?  The leads?  The business?

POOF……..You Are a Top Producer!

If FAAR could wave its magic wand, every new member would step out of ethics and orientation and into the realm of top producer and live happily ever after.  The end.  But happy endings take work.  FAAR has the resources to help make it easier for you to make yourself a top producer. Debuting in two weeks is FAAR Street Smarts for New Agents, a series of forums designed specifically for the new agent.  This comprehensive set of forums will cover everything you will encounter in your real estate career.  If you have an experience that isn’t addressed, bring it up at the next forum!  You are the eyes and ears of the Association and FAAR wants to ensure that it is covering topics that are most relevant to your business.  Below is a full list of upcoming Street Smarts for New Agents events.  Be sure to visit our website to register for the forums that appeal to you.

10/18- What Did I Get Myself Into?  What Principles Doesn’t Teach:  Zach Williams

10/25- Now I’m A Farmer?:  Suzanne Brady

11/1- When Does the New Car Smell Begin to Fade?: Andrea Maitland

11/7- Public Record Field Trip:  Andrea Maitland

11/8- Financing:  Dave Garofalo

11/15- Settlement:  Phillip Blake

11/22- This Land is Your Land:  Debbie Klingensmith

11/29- Inspections – From the Bottom Up:  Joyce Compton

12/6- New Home Showing & Safety – Field Trip:  Suzanne Brady

12/13- Becoming A Top Producer:  Bev Sala

 

 

 

I have to take Ethics, again!

Every year in October Lori Hillard-Wehr, FAAR’s Membership Services Director, sends a letter out to the membership asking REALTORS® to verify their Ethics date.  But WHY? What’s the big deal over Ethics?  And what are the requirements?

As a REALTOR®, you’ve made the decision to set yourself apart from other real estate professionals by joining a national organization whose  members hold themselves to a higher standard of professionalism and excellence.  To maintain this higher standard NAR developed the NAR Quadrennial Code of Ethics with specially designed curriculum that embodies the professionalism expected of all REALTORS®.  To be a member of NAR you must take NAR Quadrennial Ethics every 4 years. 

Virginia’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) also requires Ethics as apart of your state licensing renewal requirement.  DPOR, with guidance from the Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB), requires 3 hours of Ethics every licensing cycle (every 2 years).  DPOR does not require the NAR Code of Ethics, any VREB approved Ethics course will do.

The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® (FAAR) as a REALTOR® association must require the NAR Code of Ethics, but similar to DPOR requires Ethics every 2 years.      

  • NAR   every 4 yrs  (NAR Code of Ethics)
  • DPOR every 2 yrs  (any VREB approved Ethics)
  • FAAR every 2 yrs  (NAR Code of Ethics)

This does not mean you need to take ethics 3 different times. If you take the NAR Code of Ethics from a local provider once every 2 years you will meet your FAAR, DPOR and NAR Ethics requirements. 

*Things to Remember*

  • Take the NAR Code of Ethics every 2 years
    • Verify that the school offers NAR Ethics before you take the course
      • Two schools in our area with very similar names both offer Ethics, but one is NAR Ethics and one is not 
  • Send the certificate to FAAR by fax 540-736-0301 or email lhilliardwehr@farrmembers.com

NAR’s FREE online Ethics course is available at http://www.realtor.org/mempolweb.nsf/pages/onlineethicstraining

Can you receive Virgina real estate license renewal credit for taking the NAR Ethics Online?

VAR has an online course approved if you’d like to get CE credit in Virginia.  Go to http://www.varealtor.com/ethics-training(Item #5).  You must pay a fee before the credits will be issued.  Also you’ll need to send the confirmation email from NAR stating you’ve successfully completed their program to Lili Paulk, Education Director of VAR, Lili@varealtor.com.

Abbreviated Version of VREB Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact the Board office?

You may reach the Board office by phone at 804-367-8526 or 804-367-8552, by fax at 804-527-4298, or by e-mail at reboard@dpor.virginia.gov.

When I call the Board office, will I be able to speak directly with a Board member? No.

What are the qualifications for licensure by exam?

Salespersons- 60 hour course called “Principles of Real Estate & pass the State and National portions of the salesperson examination. Brokers-180 hour & pass the State and National Portions of the broker examination, & submit verification of experience

What are the broker education requirements?

180 classroom hours of Board approved courses are required. Proof of passing the course and a monitored final examination are required for course approval. You must complete at least three courses from the below-listed broker specific courses. One of the three must be a 45 classroom hour real estate brokerage course.

Broker-specific Courses: Real Estate Brokerage, Real Estate Law, Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Appraisal, The remaining hours may be broker related courses.

Broker-related Courses: Real Estate Economics Business Law, Real Estate Investments Property Management, Real Estate Abstracting Urban Developments, Real Estate Feasibility Analysis Commercial Mortgage Lending, Real Estate Math (completed before 12/86) Land Use Planning, GRI (all parts) CRB (all parts), CCIM (all parts) SIR/SIOR (all parts)

I am licensed in another state and wish to get licensed in Virginia. Can I apply through reciprocity?

Yes. Applicants for a salesperson’s license must pass the State portion of the examination and submit verification of completion of a 60 hour course. The salesperson MUST have a current salesperson license in another state.

Applicants for a broker’s license must pass the State portion of the examination, submit verification of experience, submit original transcripts or certified copies of transcripts from the educational institution where the applicant’s completed 180 classroom hours of real estate broker pre-licensing courses that and submit letters of certification from other jurisdictions where licensed. The broker MUST have a current broker license in another state.

How do I apply for the examination?

Contact the Board’s Testing Service, PSI, at 1-800-733-9267.

I am licensed in Virginia. I am applying for licensure in another state, but they are requesting verification of my Virginia licensure. What do I need to do?

Please send a check for $35 made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia, along with a written request for a letter of certification. You can download a Certification Request form from www.dpor.virginia.gov/dporweb/reb_form.cfm.

I need to renew my license, but I have not yet received my renewal form. What do I need to do?

Send in the renewal fee, make checks payable to the Treasurer of Virginia and include your license number on your check. You CANNOT continue to practice in Virginia after your license has expired or if your license is on inactive status.

My renewal payment was one day late and I have always paid on time, can you waive the late renewal fee? No.

If I did not renew my license on time because I did not receive my renewal card, do I still have to pay a late fee or reinstate my license?

Yes. Regulation 18 VAC 135-20-110 states that failure to receive the renewal notice does not relieve the licensee of the obligation to renew.

My license is on inactive status. Do I still need to renew?

Yes, an inactive license must be renewed. The renewal fee is the same, however, an inactive licensee is not required to meet the continuing education requirements. **Note all salespersons(active or inactive) who are renewing their license for the first time MUST complete 30 hours of post license education instead of continuing education.**

My address has changed. What do I need to do to notify the Board?

All address changes must be received by the Board in writing.

My name has changed. What do I need to do to notify the Board?

All name changes must be received by the Board in writing.

View the entire FAQ