From the September 2012 RESOURCE:
Q: I filed an ethics complaint because the co-op agent in a transaction was doing some very unethical things and I think her actions were also unlawful. When the agent received the complaint, she called me and begged me to withdraw the complaint and promised to do things correctly. Call me a sap, but I believed her and withdrew the complaint. Within weeks, she was back to her old tricks. Can I re-file the complaint?
Read the answer at: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/45272b67#/45272b67/10
Attention: ALL Licensees - DOC Continuing Education Requirements for 2012-13
The MN Department of Commerce is required that ALL residential real estate licensees complete a 7.5 hour continuing education module prior to June 30, 2013. This module consists of two components:
• Contracts; AND
• MN Distressed Properties
Successful completion of BOTH components and a passing grade on the exam for BOTH components, prior to June 30, 2013, is necessary to satisfy the 7.5 hour module. The 7.5 module CANNOT be uploaded to Pulse Portal until both components have been satisfactorily completed with the same provider.
We are working very hard to help our members understand the additional statutory requirement that both components be taken by the SAME PROVIDER in the same format (i.e., either both in a classroom format or both in an online format).
Please note that "same provider" does NOT mean the same instructor or the same location. For example, the Minnesota Association of REALTORS® has seven instructors. Classes we provide taught by any of our seven instructors would meet the requirement. Many local associations and organizations are currently booking us to provide these module components throughout the year in multiple locations throughout the state. You can always see the current schedule of classes we are offering in partnership with local associations by going to our website www.mnrealtor.com, choosing the "MN Education Information" menu item on the top bar, then clicking "MNAR Classes" on the left side bar.
A list of those currently scheduled through the next two weeks are listed below. We will continue to update the list in future newsletters.
Thursday, September 27th
Contracts and MN Distressed Properties in Granite Falls. Contact Sue Blumhoefer at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register.
Thursday, September 27th
Contracts in St. Paul. Contact Andrea Riley at email@example.com for more information or to register.
Thursday, September 27th
Contracts and MN Distressed Properties in St. Cloud. Contact Kelly Travis at Kelly@StCloudRealtors.com for more information or to register.
Friday, September 28th
MN Distressed Properties in St. Paul. Contact Andrea Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register.
Wednesday, October 3rd
Contracts and Real Estate & Taxes in Baxter. Contact Janie Weston at Janie@greaterlakesrealtors.com for more information or to register.
Thursday, October 4th
Distressed Properties and Counselling Sellers in Baxter. Contact Janie Weston at Janie@greaterlakesrealtors.com for more information or to register.
MNAR 2012 Fall Broker Management Conference
Brokers!! Managers!! Managing a real estate office requires you to be informed on the latest issues and trends and we've prepared an outstanding program to do just that. And this year, for your convenience, we're taking it on the road!! We've reduced your driving time by scheduling the same program at three convenient locations:
- October 11th, Arrowwood Conference Center, Alexandria
- October 24th, Grand Casino Hinckley
- November 14th, Mystic Lake Casino
This year's sessions are:
What Brokers Need to Know about Data Security Wayne Gilbert, Instructor
Legislative Update Chris Galler, Paul Eger and Ryan Hamilton, Instructors
Hot Topics for Brokers Lynn Leegard, Instructor
5.5 hours real estate CE Credits, refreshment breaks and lunch are included. Program runs from 9:30am-4:30pm. Cost is $79 for members/$89 for nonmembers if you register up to three weeks before the Conference date.
Later than three weeks before the Conference date, cost is $99 for members/$109 for nonmembers.
On-Site registration is $119 for members/$129 for nonmembers.
Go to www.mnrealtor.com to register.
MN CRS Chapter presents CRS 200: Business Planning and Marketing
Monday October 15th & Tuesday October 16th
Edina Realty Education Center: 6600 France Ave S #250, Edina, MN
Successful real estate agents know how to run a business. They know how to define their goals and have the business planning, budgeting and marketing skills to get them where they want to go. After taking this course, students will know how to think like a business owner, with the ability to develop a complete business plan with strategies they can implement immediately.
Course instructor is Chandra Hall, CDPE, DREI, MBA, ABR, CRS, GRI, Green, SFR, REOS
Cost: $199 ($45 discount for MN CRS Chapter Members)
This course has been approved for 16 hours of Real Estate CE.
For more information or to register, contact Peg Anderson at (952) 912-2664 or email@example.com.
Taking Mortgages Through Eminent Domain: Not the Solution to the Housing Crisis - NAR attended a recent symposium in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association that highlighted the many concerns and questions regarding a new proposal being considered by several local governments across the country to seize mortgages by using their eminent domain authority. In particular, the proposal is moving forward in San Bernadino, Calif.
Alfred Pollard, general counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, expressed reservations about the proposal and said that using eminent domain to seize mortgages, as opposed to physical property such as homes, would create problems for secured lending in the future.
Walter Dellinger, a former U.S. Solicitor General and now a lawyer with a prominent law firm in D.C., raised issues related to property rights and the 5th Amendment of the Constitution. Dellinger stated that significant legal questions would be raised regarding both the "public use" and "just compensation" clauses of the 5th amendment if this proposal was to move forward.
NAR has written a comment letter to the FHFA expressing our deep concerns regarding this concept, and is carefully monitoring the proposal as it moves through the San Bernadino County Council.
FHFA Sends Notice of G-fee Increases for 5 States - On Sept. 20, 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA, the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs)) sent a notice to the Federal Register announcing a revised approach to guarantee fee (g-fees) charges.
Under the new approach, higher g-fees would be charged in states that FHFA has determined have exceptionally high foreclosure costs.
In the notice, FHFA identified five states that would be immediately affected: Illinois, Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. Additionally, FHFA stated that the approach could be modified to take into account other factors including state laws on the disposition of REO assets. NAR is analyzing the new approach and will provide comments to FHFA.
Comments are due 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.
Fannie Mae Expands Investor Financing Options - Fannie Mae recently announced expansion of it's Homepath Mortgage product that provides home buyers and investors financing for the purchase of Fannie Mae-owned properties.
The new product will allow eligible individual and LLC borrowers to finance up to 20 properties using the Homepath Mortgage. NAR has long called for expansion of financing opportunities for investors as a way to increase the absorption of REO properties. Fannie Mae will offer flexible lending terms and will not require appraisals of the properties.
Visit Homepath.com for more information on the program and participating lenders.
House Passes FHA Bill - Last week the House passed H.R. 4264, the "FHA Emergency Fiscal Solvency Act of 2012" by a vote of 402-7. In February, FHA revealed that they were projecting a fiscal loss for this year. Through raising premiums and a financial settlement with mortgage lenders, FHA was able to avoid needing taxpayer dollars to keep the fund solvent.
HR 4264, introduced by Rep. Biggert (R-IL), strengthens FHA's financial solvency by barring unscrupulous lenders from participating in the program; allows FHA to collect losses from lenders who made material errors in underwriting or committed fraud; and strengthens financial oversight and disclosure. The bill will also give FHA flexibility to increase premiums, if needed to restore reserve levels.
NAR was successful in defeating amendments to mandate increased premium levels and reduce the federal guarantee on loans. Previous versions of the bill (which NAR opposed) also included increases to the down payment requirement, eliminated the loan limit floor, and eliminated the cap on premium increases. Given the concerns about FHA's overall fiscal stability, this bill balances the needs to protect the fund from taxpayer risk, with the need to continue to provide access to safe and affordable mortgage financing.
There is no companion bill in the Senate.
Coalition letter on FHA bill
FHA Issues Modest Changes to Condo Rules - On Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued a mortgagee letter announcing modest improvements to the treatment of condos under the FHA program.
FHA expanded the ability to use FHA mortgages in mixed-use projects and loosened some of the requirements for investor owners and delinquent HOA dues, among other changes. The measure is viewed as a small step in the right direction but far from achieving closer parity with the treatment of single family homes. Condos are an important entry point to homeownership for millions of Americans.
NAR will continue to advocate for more changes so that consumers can access safe, affordable mortgage credit to purchase condominiums.
FHA Mortgagee Letter
NAR Testifies on Terrorism Insurance Coverage - On Sept. 11, 2012, Linda St. Peter, Operations Manager for Prudential Connecticut Realty in Wallingford, Conn., testified on behalf of NAR at the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity hearing on “TRIA at Ten Years: The Future of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program.” In her testimony, Ms. St. Peter urged Congress to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) beyond its current December 2014 authorization to ensure that adequate insurance coverage is available for our nation’s businesses.
Following the Sept. 11 attacks private insurers backed out of the terrorism insurance marketplace prompting Congress to enact TRIA in 2002, a federal insurance backstop that allows the federal government and private insurance companies to share losses in the event of a major terrorist attack. The program has since been reauthorized by Congress twice – in 2005 and 2007. TRIA helped stabilize commercial real estate markets by making terrorism coverage available and more affordable over time.
While the cost and availability of terrorism insurance has generally improved, currently there is concern that the uncertain future of TRIA may cause insurance prices to fluctuate and prompt insurers to drop coverage. This became evident in both 2005 and 2007 when private insurers became reluctant to offer terrorism coverage due to the uncertainty regarding the program’s extension.
Ultimately, the uncertainty of insurance pricing impacts the net operating income of businesses and property values. The potential unavailability of terrorism coverage could impact financing agreements and potentially hurt the fragile commercial real estate recovery.
Read NAR's Testimony
EB-5 Visa Bill Headed to the President - Last week the House passed S. 3245, sponsored by Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Grassley (R-IA), which re-authorizes the EB-5 regional center program. This NAR-supported bill had previously passed the Senate.
Regional Centers help identify American business needs in the community and help direct investor funds to those projects. In return for investing and creating American jobs, these investors earn visas to live in the United States.
Regional Centers began as a pilot program in 1992, but have been extended several times. Current authority is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2012. S. 3245 will extend them for an additional 3 years. President Obama is expected to sign the bill.
Letter to House Leadership
Letter to House Judiciary
NAR Urges Enhancements to VA Home Loan Guaranty Program - Last week the House Financial Services Insurance and Housing Subcommittee held a hearing entitled "Housing for Heroes: Examining How Federal Programs Can Better Serve Veterans." While the hearing focused on homeless programs for veterans, NAR took this opportunity to highlight the importance of the VA Home Loan Guaranty program and several enhancements that could make the program even more valuable to our American servicemen and women.
In a letter to the Subcommittee that was made part of the hearing record, NAR urged changes to the loan program that will allow veterans more flexibility when purchasing a home. First, NAR urged VA to change the rules that govern which fees and services veterans may pay for. While we support efforts to keep costs down for veterans, the current rules prevent veterans from being able to purchase many homes.
Second, NAR urged VA to create a renovation purchase loan similar to FHA's 203k loan for veterans. This type of loan would allow veteran purchases to role rehabilitation/renovation costs into their mortgage. This program has been successful under FHA and provides safeguards to insure repairs are being made and costs are being managed.
The VA Home Loan Guaranty is a commitment to our nation's veterans in return for their service. This program has provided important resources thus far, and we believe these enhancements will provide even greater benefits.
NAR letter on VA Home Loan Guaranty
EPA Delays Proposed Lead Paint Rulemaking for Three Years - EPA has further delayed its plans to propose and then finalize a Lead Renovation Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule for potential lead-based paint hazards in commercial and public buildings.
NAR's efforts thus far, through letters to EPA and oversight from the Hill, have resulted in a significant delay in EPA’s issuance of new regulations -- particularly because NAR has stressed the point that the agency lacks data on the nature and extent of lead-based paint hazards unique to commercial buildings. EPA had been under a deadline to issue a proposed LRRP rule for exterior commercial renovations by June 15, 2012. With a new settlement agreement, EPA has delayed issuance of a proposed LRRP commercial by nearly 3 years – until July 1, 2015. And, any final rule with regulatory impact is not expected for well over 4 years – until Dec. 31, 2016.
A few other points are noteworthy from this Settlement Agreement:
- Previously, EPA had been on two separate paths that would have bifurcated LRRP commercial rules for exterior versus interior building renovations. Under the latest Settlement Agreement, the exterior and interior renovations rules are now on the same regulatory deadlines.
- To date – and as allowed by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – EPA said it would consider LRRP Rules for commercial and public buildings regardless of the date of their construction. In contrast, TSCA and EPA residential LRRP rules are focused on pre-1978 “target housing.” It now appears that EPA is operating under the same pre-1978 cut-off for public and commercial buildings as well. NAR and our coalition partners have argued that – assuming any commercial LRRP Rules are appropriate at all – the pre-1978 cut-off for “target housing” should also apply to commercial buildings. We will be following up to confirm whether EPA has, indeed, changed course and decided to restrict the scope of any possible LRRP commercial rule to pre-1978 structures (as it has done for “target housing”).
- Under TSCA, EPA is required to first study and report to Congress on lead-based paint hazards in commercial buildings before it issues any new LRRP rule for those structures. It still has not done so, and the Settlement Agreement is silent on this subject. Assuming EPA continues down the path to develop new regulations, we will continue to press EPA to meet the statutory “report and study” requirement prior to EPA’s issuance of any proposed LRRP commercial rule.
- Paragraph 2 states that, unless EPA concludes that “renovation activities in pre-1978 public and commercial buildings do not create a lead-based paint hazard,” EPA will continue to develop regulations in this arena. EPA sets forth a process for it to gather information regarding any “hazard” determination:
- By Dec. 31, 2012: EPA will announce a public hearing to gather info on renovation activities and possible lead hazards in commercial buildings.
- By July 31, 2013: EPA will hold the public meeting.
- By Aug. 29, 2014: EPA will have completed the oversight process required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), including the convening of an SBAR panel.
NAR Signs Onto Lease Accounting Coalition Letter - On Sept. 10, 2012, NAR and a coalition of business organizations wrote to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), urging them to fundamentally rethink their lease accounting project. Among other things, the letter raised serious concerns about the objective of the lease accounting project and whether investors will receive any additional decision-useful information under the new proposed standard.
Under the boards’ most recent lease proposal, businesses would be required to capitalize over $1.1 trillion in leased real estate assets onto their balance sheets. For businesses leasing space, especially small businesses, this will change these leases into a major liability.
Among other things, this proposal may jeopardize income property fundamentals, loan structures, property valuations, financing covenants, and the underlying economics of commercial real estate.
Read the Coalition Letter
Members of Congress Concerned About Rural Housing - Last week 100 bipartisan Members of Congress wrote to House Leadership urging them to extend rural housing programs. On Oct. 1, more than 900 rural communities will find themselves ineligible for federal rural housing programs due to 2010 census data. The Rural Housing Service is still relying on a definition of rural that was created in 1974.
Programs like the 502 single family loan guarantee program provide lower-income families in rural areas unique access to mortgage credit. These loans are funded by private lenders, and simply insured by the RHS. This program is self-funded and budget neutral, meaning that broadening the population definition will not place additional financial burden on American taxpayers. In 2011, the RHS helped nearly 140,000 rural American families become homeowners.
The letter, sponsored by Res. Fortenberry (R-NE) and Hinojosa (D-TX) urges House leadership to move an extension quickly before the end of the fiscal year.
Following every census beginning in 1980, Congress has extended the current provisions. However, an extension has not yet been granted for this year. Currently, the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill includes a one-year grandfathering clause.
In addition, the Senate Farm Bill (S. 2340) includes the text of Senators Nelson (D-NE) and Johanns (R-NE) amendment to grandfather communities and increase the existing community population threshold to 35,000. Passing such a measure will have NO federal budget impact. These programs are self-sufficient (through premiums paid by borrowers) and the grandfathering clause will simply retain eligibility and not expand the program in any way.
NAR has been working to ensure that this program does not lapse for needy communities.
Congressional Letter on Rural Housing
The discount applies to coach class, but not First Class. Affordable upgrades are available during check-in. The discounted flights can be combined with outbound/return flights outside of the promotion dates, but only the flights segments within the promotion period are discounted. The discount can be used for both one-way and round-trip reservations. The special REALTOR® discount cannot be combined with other discounts, promotions, UflyRewardsPlus fares, Sun Country Vacations Cruise/Hotel packages, vouchers or gift certificates. It is not retroactive and cannot be applied to existing reservations. Standard Sun Country Airlines change fees, bag fees, etc. and all other policies apply.
The MN Association of REALTORS® is teaming up again with Sun Country Airlines, the Hometown Airline, to offer REALTORS® a discount on travel to Orlando to attend the 2012 REALTORS® Conference & Expo. Use the promotion code “MNAR15” on Sun Country Airlines’ website www.suncountry.com to receive 15% off their lowest applicable fare. The discount is valid for all flights between Minneapolis and Orlando from November 6, 2012 until November 16, 2012.
Homes for All Documentary
Minnesota's affordable housing communities are an essential part of the state's economic and social health. Join us for an in-depth conversation with residents, experts and community leaders that will show you the many ways Minnesotan's benefit when we're able to provide homes for all. Produced by MN Housing Partnership, Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers and MN Community Land Trust Coalition.
This program will air on the following dates and times on Twin Cities Public Television:
September 30th @ 9:00PM
October 7th @ 3:00AM, 9:00AM and 3:00PM
SPARE KEY LAUNCHES “$100K IN 100 DAYS” MATCHING GRANT CAMPAIGN TO CELEBRATE ITS 15TH ANNIVERSARY
Otto Bremer Foundation Matching Grant Gift Focuses Spare Key
Efforts In Greater Minnesota
(Minneapolis, MN) Spare Key announced today a major initiative to raise $100,000 in 100 days as an effort to leverage a matching grant gift from the Otto Bremer Foundation.
Spare Key, founded in 1997, provides mortgage grant payments to Minnesota families with seriously ill or critically injured children. On September 15th, the organization celebrates its 15th Anniversary and is launching its fundraising initiative that day to celebrate the date.
“The Otto Bremer Foundation matching grant is an extraordinary gift to the families of Greater Minnesota,” said Erich Mische, Executive Director. “By allowing us, at a minimum, to achieve a dollar-for-dollar match for every gift we receive, we can realize the opportunity to make mortgage payments for hundreds of Minnesota families in Greater Minnesota.”
Mische indicated that the Spare Key Board of Directors unanimously endorsed the initiative as a way to generate new donors to the organization, but also as a way to raise the awareness of Spare Key’s mission.
Nearly all of Spare Key’s referrals come from hospital social workers, and it is Spare Key’s hope that the “100K in 100 Days” campaign helps to not just raise funds, but make others aware of the organization mission and purpose.
To learn more about Spare Key, or to join the “$100K in 100 Days” campaign, go to: http://sparekey.org/donate/
Commerce Commissioner urges Minnesotans to protect themselves, property after a crash
SAINT PAUL, MN- Every minute of every day, a car accident occurs. To help ease the confusion of what information to share in a stressful situation, the Minnesota Department of Commerce announces the launch of WreckCheck Mobile App by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
A recent survey from the NAIC indicates many Americans do not know what steps to take or what basic information to share after an accident. Almost 1 in 5 respondents believe that injuries are the only reason to call the police to the scene of an accident.
“Unfortunately, car accidents happen all too often, which can require significant time to heal and recover lost property,” notes Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Minnesota consumers can protect their identities and prevent fraud by downloading WreckCheck and being aware of the steps to take after an accident.”
Commissioner Rothman also reminds consumers that identity theft is on the rise in the United States and many retailers accept driver’s license numbers and other information listed on state-issued IDs as a verification of identity – the very information Minnesotans believe they need to share after a car accident.
In response to their survey and the ever-increasing threat of identity theft, the NAIC has created the new WreckCheck Mobile App for smartphones. The new app provides a step-by-step process to help consumers create their own accident report in a stressful situation. In addition, the app encourages crash victims to capture photos, document the scene, and share only the necessary information like their names and vehicle insurance information. As an added bonus, users of the WreckCheck App can email their reports directly from their phone to themselves and their insurance agents.
What to do if you’ve been involved in an accident:
Call 911 – Whether or not you are injured, filing a police report can help facilitate the insurance process.
Collect the name and vehicle insurance information of the other driver after the accident. You do not need to provide your driver’s license, which includes your driver’s license number and home address. Sharing personal information can but both your property and safety at risk.
Document the accident – Take photos or quickly write the description of the accident while the situation is fresh in your memory.
Submit an incident report or a police report – Official reports can assist when you file your claim.
Please visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce website for more tips and information regarding Minnesota specific FAQs of the claims process. Consumers with insurance questions, concerns, or complaints can call the Commerce Department’s Consumer Help Line at (651) 296-2488 or (800) 657-3602, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, 85 7th Place East, Suite 500, Saint Paul, MN 55101.
IRS News for Business
DISASTER AREAS: Those who want to make donations to victims of the Freedom Wildfire in parts of Oklahoma or the victims of Hurricane Isaac can confirm that a charity is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions by using the EO Select Check search function on IRS.gov.
FEMA invites you to prepare for emergencies now by joining the National Preparedness Coalition.
A new revision of Pub. 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax is available (Rev. July 2012).
Spanish-Language Webinar: Business Taxes for the Self-Employed. This Sept. 26 webinar, including a question and answer session, will be conducted in Spanish.
Individuals who are not real estate professionals are generally subject to passive activity loss limitations even if they materially participate in the rental. Real estate professionals report rental real estate activities in which they materially participated as non-passive. But, real estate professionals who do not materially participate in the rental activity are generally subject to passive activity loss limitations. Publication 925, Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules, has more information. Passive Activity Loss Audit Technique Guide
The latest edition of the SBA Small Business Advocate has answers to Frequently Asked Questions about small business.
From planning to financing, SBA.gov has resources to help small businesses succeed. Get started with these 10 steps
How to Make a Social Media Plan for Your Business Online buzz about social media for business owners seems to be moving from “Should I?” to “How do I?”
Do Your Email Marketing Activities Comply with the Law?
Are Online Payment Services a Good Fit for Your Small Business? Credit cards are a common online payment option for small businesses, but what about other online payment services? These tools make it easier than ever for anyone to buy and sell goods online and via mobile devices, but they have their pros and cons.
Verify U.S. Federal Government Social Media Accounts 800-333-4636
Free Expo Passes for You, Your Customers, Clients, Prospects, Family and Friends!
The Expo Guys are happy to supply you with plentiful "Admit 2 Free" EXPO Passes for you and your employees, friends and families. These passes allow them to attend our up-coming expos and seminars FREE of charge.
These FREE Passes are available in quantity, for as many as you request, while supplies last.
Download the order form, and fax back to (952) 929-9510.
Tickets for the following events are available:
HEALTHY LIFE EXPO:
October 20-21, 2012 @ Minneapolis Convention Center
HOME IMPROVEMENT & DESIGN EXPO
October 20-21, 2012 @ Minneapolis Convention Center
October 27, 2012 @ National Sports Center, Blaine
November 3, 2012 @ Maple Grove Community Center
For more information, visit www.MediaMaxEvents.com.