Congratulations to the real estate firms named on the 2016 REAL Trends 500 List! The Real Trends 500 report ranks the top 500 U.S. brokerages by transaction sides and sales volume, based on data supplied by brokerages.
C.A.R. Launches Consumer Ad Campaign On Monday, April 4, C.A.R. launched its annual consumer advertising campaign, which illustrates the value REALTORS® provide not only to home buyers and sellers, but also the community at large. The campaign connects the dots between REALTORS® and local businesses.
Campaign highlights include:
Media partnerships with NBC, HGTV, Bravo, and iHeartRadio
A brand-new REALTOR®-centric emoji keyboard available April 25 from your smartphone store
Photo opportunities with the popular “Who’s Your REALTOR®” block letters
Social media photo sweepstakes for REALTORS® and clients
CalHFA Expands Loan Program The California Housing Finance Agency announced a program change that will help more California households qualify for CalHFA Conventional mortgages. Currently, families who earn up to 120 percent of their county's median income could be eligible for CalHFA loans, although home prices in many communities throughout California still exceed what the median income household can afford. CalHFA has identified 35 California counties that have the greatest disparity between housing costs and household incomes. The maximum qualifying income in these counties has been raised to 140 percent of the median. With the increase in income limits, thousands of additional households across the 35 high-cost counties may now be eligible for a mortgage. More info
2016 NAR REALTOR® Broker Summit REALTOR® Broker Summits are designed exclusively for brokers to come together and learn from presenters, panels and peer leaders in the industry offering fresh insights on current conditions while looking to the future of real estate. The 2016 Broker Summit will be held June 9-10 in Denver, Colorado, at the Denver Marriott City Center.
NAR is pleased to welcome Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton as a featured speaker at the 2016 Realtor® Broker Summit. As the first American woman ever to win a gold medal in gymnastics, Retton will discuss how sacrifice, hard work and perseverance are all necessary ingredients for success.
2016 Broker Conference in Long Beach, CA - Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 *Save the date!*
What we're Reading
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? We might imagine—and hope—that today’s industrial revolution will unfold like the last: even as some jobs are eliminated, more will be created to deal with the new innovations of a new era. In Rise of the Robots, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford argues that this is absolutely not the case. As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary.
County Market Updates This all- in- one page is your county’s housing trends at a glance. It includes market statistics such as sales, median prices, inventory indicators, and so much more! Use this information to establish yourself as the market expert with hard facts to explain market conditions to your clients.
County Market Update - Download Updates This all- in- one page is your county’s housing trends at a glance. Indicators provided are sales, median prices, inventory indicators, and so much more! Share this information with your agents so they can establish themselves as the market expert with hard facts to explain market conditions to their clients.
Housing Matters Blog - Read Blog Research and Economics shares the most up-to-date information about the California’s housing market in our blog. We also give insights on the general economic conditions and how the overall picture affects the real estate industry and its consumers.
HUD Issues Guidance On the Use of a Prospective Tenant’s Criminal History A landlord or property manager that imposes a blanket refusal to rent to any person with any criminal conviction record – no matter when the conviction occurred, what the underlying conduct entailed, or what the convicted person has done since then -- may be violating fair housing law.
“Disparate Effect” New guidance from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) aims to curtail housing discrimination against criminal ex-offenders. As HUD states, “Nationally, racial and ethnic minorities face disproportionately high rates of arrest and incarceration.” Thus, prohibitions against renting to ex-offenders may have a disparate effect on such minority groups.
May Constitute Discrimination Even if not Intentional As with other disparate impact cases, a finding of discrimination can occur even if it is not intentional. A policy or practice – even one that appears to be completely neutral such as not renting to an ex-offender – may still constitute illegal discrimination unless necessary to serve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest of the landlord or property manager, or if the landlord or property manager could adopt a practice that has less discriminatory effect.
How to Use Criminal Records in the Screening Process Is it still legal to take into consideration a criminal record of a prospective tenant in approving an application? Yes. The use of criminal records as part of the overall tenant screening process may serve the valid business and security functions of protecting tenants and the property from certain individuals with a criminal history. But it’s important to follow some basic guidelines.
First, do not exclude prospective tenants based upon prior arrests. Only a record of conviction (as opposed to an arrest) will serve as sufficient evidence to prove that an individual engaged in criminal conduct. Second, any such policy must consider the length of time that has passed since the criminal conduct occurred. HUD’s guidance cites to research indicating that after six of seven years the risk of reoffending by someone with a prior criminal history is about the same as a non-offender. Third, the policy must take into account the nature and severity of the individual’s conviction. Of course, a landlord or property manager must consider resident safety and protection of property. However, any policy implemented must accurately distinguish between criminal conduct that indicates a demonstrable risk to resident safety and/or property and criminal conduct that does not.
Policy Must Be Applied Equally Finally, it goes without saying that a landlord or property manager must treat everyone equally. Even if a screening policy involving criminal convictions is maintained, it can never be used as a pretext for unequal treatment. If a landlord or property manager refuses to rent to a person for certain convictions, then the landlord or property should not be renting to anyone similarly convicted.
AB 1650 (Frazier), C.A.R.’s uniform advertising standards bill, passed out of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. Existing law varies greatly depending on the type of advertisement (i.e. “for sale” signs, print and electronic media, business cards, brochures, etc.) and the name being used by the licensee (i.e. given name, nickname, team name, etc.). This C.A.R.-sponsored bill will require a licensee conducting advertising of ANY kind to also include their CalBRE license number and responsible broker’s identity. Generic company “for sale,” lease, rent, “open house” and directional signs containing the responsible broker identity or without a real estate licensee’s name will be exempt from this requirement. This bill also includes a one-year delayed effective date for implementation.
AB 1750 (Dodd), C.A.R.’s landlord/tenant environmental hazards booklet bill, passed off the Assembly Floor. This C.A.R.-sponsored bill would clarify that environmental hazard booklet provisions applied to a seller of real property apply equally to a lessor of that property. Current law does not clearly apply those provisions to landlords and property managers. Use of the guide to common environmental hazards will remain voluntary.
SB 907 (Galgiani), a debt forgiveness income tax bill supported by C.A.R., passed out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. Under California law, homeowners are protected from taxation for debt forgiven in a foreclosure. In late 2013, C.A.R. received opinion letters from the IRS and the FTB clarifying that under California law debt forgiven in a short sale is not subject to income tax at the state or federal level. SB 907 would conform California tax law to federal tax law which applies to debt forgiven in a foreclosure, short sale, and a loan modification/principal reduction through January 1, 2017.
SB 1253 (Moorlach), a real estate limited liability company (LLC) bill supported by C.A.R., passed out of the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee. Under current law, real estate companies cannot form LLCs. This bill would allow real estate brokers to utilize the business structure of an LLC, coupling the liability insulation of corporate status with the tax advantages of a partnership. C.A.R. supports this measure.
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