By John DiBiase, Communications Director, NAR Government Affairs
Tuesday night (Dec. 16, 2014) the United States Senate adjourned sine die at 11:25 p.m. This marks the formal end of the 113th Congress meaning any legislation not enacted must be reintroduced in the 114th Congress which will begin on Jan. 6, 2015.
The end of the “Lame Duck” session had mixed results for REALTORS. Shockingly, the United States Senate failed to renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). This alarming failure to act before adjournment could stall commercial real estate development around the country. The Senate missed an opportunity to approve a six year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act that passed the U.S House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill died when Senators were unable to reach a unanimous consent agreement which would have allowed the bill to proceed.
Despite this temporary set-back, REALTORS will work closely with Congress in 2015 to swiftly reenact TRIA and provide much needed certainty to the commercial market.
Congress did enact a series of tax extensions. The “Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act” is included in the package approved by the U.S. House and Senate and is now headed to the President’s desk for signature into law. The effort to include the “Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act” was bipartisan and bicameral.
In addition to the mortgage forgiveness provisions that will help distressed homeowners there are also provisions affecting commercial property investors who made transactions during 2014. The legislation also includes one-year extensions of the 15-year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements and the deduction for improvements to energy efficient commercial buildings.
Real estate visionary Chris Smith tells Ohio’s REALTORS that the key to success is “waking up every day and doing what you love.” This clip — taken from Smith’s keynote at the OAR Annual Convention & EXPO — highlights the concept that success is not just attaining financial wealth, it’s really about discovering your own emotional wealth. Click here to see other episodes of Smith’s “peoplework” principles.
By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research
Ohio REALTORS were recently asked to report what change, if any, they have seen in buyers’ preferences for condos over single family homes in the past year. According to the Ohio Association of REALTORS’ December housing confidence survey, 28 percent of respondents have seen an increase in buyers preferring condos. This is a 7 percent increase over last year when the same question was asked. Conversely, 6 percent fewer respondents in 2014 (16 percent) than in 2013 (22 percent) reported a decrease in buyers’ preferring condos. The majority of respondents in 2014 (56 percent) and 2013 (57 percent) observed no change in preference.
Survey results are based on responses to a monthly survey, designed to capture the effects of the existing economic conditions and trends on the real estate industry, sent to a pool of 1,500 OAR participants. Click here to participate in future OAR Housing Confidence Surveys.
By Lorie Garland, OAR Vice President of Legal Services
The OAR Legal Assistance Hotline receives an array of real estate-related legal questions — including license law issues, disclosure, contract law, ethics and commission problems, among others. In an effort to help you work within the law, our “Legally Speaking” series spotlights some of the timely questions that are being asked by REALTORS. This one involves the Agency Disclosure Statement and Waiver of Duties…
Q: My agent wrote an offer on a property listed with another brokerage. The listing is a minimum services listing with the listing agent authorizing negotiations directly with the seller. My agent completed the Agency Disclosure Statement indicating he and our brokerage represented the buyer and the listing agent and listing brokerage represented the seller. The offer was accepted, however, the buyer refused to sign the Agency Disclosure Statement prepared by my agent. Instead the seller returned an Agency Disclosure Statement listing only my agent and brokerage and that we represented the buyer. Although the listing is a minimum services listing, doesn’t the listing agent and brokerage still represent the seller? If so, what do I do about the Agency Disclosure Statement?
A: Yes. The listing agent and brokerage represents the seller. However, with a minimum services listing, the seller has agreed that some of the duties owed the client are not required to be performed. The state form required to be used for this type of listing is the Waiver of Duties Statement. The duties sellers may waive are:
- Seeking a purchase offer at a price and with terms acceptable to the seller
- Accepting delivery of and presenting any purchase offer to the seller in a timely manner, even if the property is subject to a contract of sale, lease, or letter of intent to lease
- Answering the seller’s questions and providing information to the client regarding any offers or counteroffers
- Assisting the seller in developing, communicating, and presenting offers or counteroffers
- Answering the seller’s questions regarding the steps the client must take to fulfill the terms of any contract (within the scope of knowledge required for real estate licensure)
The form requires the seller to initial the duties waived and for the seller and listing agent to sign the form.
So what should your agent do if the accepted offer is returned with a new and inaccurate Agency Disclosure Statement? The license law provides the procedure to follow when a consumer refuses to sign the Agency Disclosure Statement. Your agent should note on the form submitted with the offer to whom and when the form was presented, the fact that the seller refused to sign and why the seller refused to sign. Your agent should also present the seller prepared Agency Disclosure Statement to the buyer. If the buyer refuses to sign, the same procedure applies to document that refusal. The agency disclosure forms are required to be maintained along with the other transaction documents for a period of three years.
A sad, stark reminder of the dangers that REALTORS face in their day-to-day activities. According to a NBC 4 report, a Zanesville REALTOR was attacked and raped in late November while at an inspection at a vacant home. According to the unidentified REALTOR:
“I was leaving, getting ready to lock up the house and I sensed that someone was behind me,” said the REALTOR, who asked not to be identified. “Before I could turn around, he shoved me back into the house.”
The woman said the attack lasted roughly 20 or 30 minutes.
“I could smell him,” she said. “He smelled like an animal, like a farm.”
The woman told NBC4 that she was armed, with a gun, however she was unable to reach the weapon during the attack.
“In this situation, I think it [the gun] gave me a false sense of security,” she said.
Now, she is encouraging all REALTORS not only to stay aware of their surroundings, but to also take self-defense classes seriously.
“I thought I was Superwoman and I’m not, so I don’t want other women to think their superwomen either,” she said. “It doesn’t end up good.”
The Columbus station conducted a follow-up report, interviewing a former REALTOR who endured a similar attack two decades ago: