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News and Information to Keep You a Step Ahead!

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REALTORS® in Orange County who represent sellers and buyers of homes in the communities of Ladera Ranch, Talega, and San Clemente should understand the “community enhancement fee” required to be paid at the time of close of any escrow or purchase.  

Often described as a “lifestyle” fee, these private transfer fee obligations are a recorded covenant running with the land obligation of the sellers. Payment of this fee obligation is according to a recorded covenant and cannot be avoided.

Such recorded community enhancement fees commonly have language such as: “By its acceptance of a deed with respect to any residential Unit (as such term is defined above), the Owner of such Unit is hereby deemed to acknowledge and agree to the requirement that any Owner transferring title to such Unit shall pay to the Association a Community Enhancement Fee in an amount not to exceed one-fourth of one percent (0.25%) of the gross sale price of the Unit. By its acceptance of a deed with respect to any residential Unit (as such term is defined above), the Owner of such Unit is hereby deemed to acknowledge and agree to the requirement that any owner transferring title to such Unit shall pay to the Association such Community Enhancement Fee. Certain exemptions apply.”

So even though FHA and government-backed loans have been made by lenders in these communities for more than 10 years, HUD has recently said that such government-backed loans are no longer authorized where there are required private transfer fees. 

HUD (U.S. Housing and Urban Development) representatives have recently said: “Ladera Ranch is one of many master planned communities where mandatory private transfer or other transfer fees are required upon each conveyance of the property. This includes single-family dwellings, townhouses, PUDs, MH and condos.  Per the regulation at § 203.41, private transfer or other transfer fees are not authorized. This rule was promulgated in 1994 and announced via Mortgagee Letter 04-02 and, according to HUD, the “requirements of the rule are still applicable.”

So despite HUD not enforcing its own regulation after more than 10 years in Ladera Ranch and Talega, such purchase money loans will no longer be insured or purchased by HUD. And unless it backs off on its declining to authorize loans where such private transfer fees are required, FHA mortgage insurance will no longer be available.   

HUD representatives said further: “The rule has been in effect since 1994 with limited or no compliance with the requirements therein. Mortgagees should be aware of FHA requirements, including this rule – required per FHA policy guidelines - and the loan transactions should not be scheduled for escrow.”  Moreover, “Sellers should not keep buyer deposits on FHA transactions where the reason for the loan denial is not based on borrower ineligibility of these fees upon conveyance.” 

FHA will not likely publish any official notice of this change.  There are condominium projects still showing as approved on the HUD website. However, as condominium project approvals expire, FHA could deny their application for re-certification.

If you have questions about this change of government regulation enforcement or if you want to express your own opinion, you may contact HUD:

  • Online FAQ Site:  www.hud.gov/answers
  • Email:  answers@hud.gov (The FHA Resource Center can accept emails with attachments. To ensure proper attention to the attachment please reference it within the body of the email.)
  • Telephone: (800) CALL-FHA (225-5342) Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

Emails and phone messages will be responded to during normal hours of operation, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday on all non-Federal holidays. 

 

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California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (“CRMLS”) has entered into an agreement with the Zillow Group (which is made up of Zillow and Trulia) for a broker directed feed of data. 

On April 7, 2015, Zillow and Trulia will stop working with ListHub—meaning brokers will be without a mechanism to send their listings to these websites. By entering into this Agreement, CRMLS is preserving the ability for our brokers to direct their data to Zillow and Trulia without interruption. 

Many questions have arisen about the Agreement, but it is critical that you understand the following facts:

1. CRMLS will only send listing data to Zillow and Trulia if a broker “opts-in” and requests that the broker’s listings be sent. No other listings will be provided.

2. Brokers will be able to “opt-in” and “opt-out” of sending their listings to Zillow and Trulia using an easy-to-use feature within the Matrix MLS software beginning on April 7. 

3. Brokers and Agents will receive top attribution when their listings appear on Zillow and Trulia.

4. Listing agents will be designated as the “Listing Agent” when their listings appear on these websites.

5. Broker and Agent website links uploaded to Zillow and Trulia will hyperlink back to the broker’s and agent’s websites directly.

6. Brokers and Agents may, at their option, upload free of charge, business contact information to Zillow and Trulia so that it is readily available to the public.

7. Zillow and Trulia will be able to pull broker “opted-in” data every fifteen minutes, but no less frequently than 1 time per day, keeping listings more up-to-date.

CRMLS’ Board of Directors approved this Agreement so that our brokers’ businesses are not disrupted on April 7, and to ensure that brokers who syndicate through CRMLS will have the best listing data protection available to them. 

Information on how to opt-in or opt-out will be provided through a CRMLS eConnect email in the upcoming weeks. OCAR will re-post that information when it's distributed.

 

 

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C.A.R. today issued the following statement on a report titled, “California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences,” released this week by California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office:

“The Legislative Analyst’s Office report on housing is completely on target.  California’s high cost of housing is putting the squeeze on the state’s residents and making it difficult to attain the American Dream or just keep a roof over their heads,” said C.A.R. President Chris Kutzkey. 

The report found that California’s high housing costs make the state a less attractive place to call home, making it more difficult for companies to hire and retain qualified employees, likely preventing the state’s economy from meeting its full potential.  Housing has long been more expensive than most of the rest of the country – about 2 ½ times the average national home price, while California’s average monthly rent, $1,240, is about 50 percent higher than the average U.S. rent, according to the report.

The California Environmental Quality Act is a significant factor in inhibiting developers from increasing the supply of housing and building higher density housing, according to the report. Local governments must conduct a detailed review of the potential environmental effects of new housing construction prior to approving it.

Read the report...

(Source: California Association of REALTORS®)

 

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OCAR REALTORS®, you’re invited to this informative and engaging session with C.A.R. Assistant General Counsel, Neil Kalin. 

  • New Laws: Get apprised of recent law changes to records retention, team names, and homeowners’ association disclosure
  • New Cases: Learn what’s happening with electronic signatures, lease negotiation in foreign languages, and salesperson commission sharing agreements
  • Revised Forms: Know what’s been changed to Request for Repairs, Representative Capacity, and Seller Replacement Property

When and Where

Thursday, April 16 from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

UCI Student Center, A, 311 W Peltason Dr, Irvine, 92697

Pacific Ballroom C

Cost

$45 - Open to OCAR REALTORS® only. Your paid registration proceeds will go toward the REALTOR® Action Fund.

Registration

Advanced, paid registration is required by April 13 at 5:00 PM.  Ways to register:

Questions?

Please contact Community Affairs Administrator, Dirissy Doan.

Disclosure Notice

Political contributions are not tax deductible as charitable contributions for federal and state income tax purposes. Contributions to the REALTOR® Action Fund are voluntary, and the amounts above are only guidelines; you may give more, less or nothing at all. Failure to contribute will not affect an individual’s membership status in the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Contributions will be allocated among three of C.A.R.’s political action committees (PACs), according to different formulas approved by C.A.R. for personal and corporate contributions.  These PACs are: CREPAC (supports state and local candidates); CREPAC/Federal (supports federal candidates); and CREIEC (makes independent expenditures in support of or opposition to candidates). C.A.R. also sponsors IMPAC which supports local and state ballot measures and other issues that impact real property in California. The allocation formula may change including re-designating a portion to IMPAC.

 

 

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While much of the country remains in a winter freeze, Orange County, and in particular its home sales market, is red hot!  Could this be the end of a 7-year home sale downturn marked by underwater values and slumping sales? February sales data and recent improvements in the job market suggest that is indeed the case.

Watch our latest OC FastStats Update

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Despite the economic and financial challenges young adults have braved since the recession, the millennial generation represented the largest share of recent buyers, according to the 2015 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, which evaluates the generational differences of recent home buyers and sellers.

The survey additionally found that an overwhelming majority of buyers search for homes online and then purchase their home through a real estate agent, with millennials using agents the most. 

Read the findings...

 

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zipForm® Plus is a free California Association of REALTOR® benefit. Each year, in order to continue using the product, you need to renew the software license by accepting the license agreement. During the month of March, you will be notified inside zipForm® to renew. Follow the simple instructions below:

Renewing zipForm® Plus (online)

1. Log in to your zipForm® via www.car.org

2. Click "Renew Now"

3. Read through the license agreement in its entirety. If you choose to accept the License Agreement, click "Yes"

4. A confirmation screen will appear after agreeing to the License Agreement, click on the "Exit Order" button

5. A log out redirect screen will appear, click"Ok" and it will redirect you to www.car.org

6. Log in to your zipForm® via www.car.org

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Do you work with global buyers? Did you know that most international buyers are from Canada, followed closely by China? C.A.R. recently conducted a webinar to discuss the results of their survey of international buyers.

If you missed it, you can watch the recorded webinar here and access the PowerPoint slides here

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Pending home sales rose from December’s extreme lows and posted month-to-month and year-to-year increases in January, according to C.A.R.  California pending home sales increased in January, with the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rising 26.7 percent from 70.9 in December to 89.8 in January, based on signed contracts.  The month-to-month increase was better than the long-run average increase of 16.3 percent observed in the last six years, and is attributed primarily to seasonal factors. 

The share of equity sales – or non-distressed property sales – fell for the third straight month in January.  Equity sales made up 88 percent of all sales in January, down from 89.8 percent recorded in December.  Equity sales have been more than 80 percent of total sales since July 2013 and have risen at or near 90 percent since mid-2014. Equity sales made up 84.3 percent of sales in January 2014.

 

Additionally, California REALTORS® responding to C.A.R.’s January Market Pulse Survey saw more price reductions and an increase in open house traffic, compared to a year ago.  The Market Pulse Survey is a new monthly online survey of more than 300 California REALTORS® to measure sentiment about their last closed transaction and business activity for the previous month and the last year. 

More from C.A.R.

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Watch the latest installment of our OC FastStats Market Update:

 

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Do you want to help shape the future of OCAR? Do you feel called to serve?

There are five (5) three-year and one (1) one-year Director positions open for the 2016-2018 Orange County Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors. To be eligible to serve as an OCAR Director, all candidates must: 

  • Be an OCAR REALTOR® member in good standing continuously during the 24 months immediately prior to being seated
  • Have completed a 1-year term of service on any one of OCAR’s committees within the past 2 years and have satisfied the attendance requirements for service on that committee. Service is defined as having attended a minimum of 75% of the regular or special meetings of the committee during the year
  • Be in good standing with the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) and not have any disciplinary issues, suspensions, or other findings of a violation of the real estate licensing laws or regulations pending

If these requirements have been met, candidates may submit their names, along with their photo (required), to the Nominating Committee by completing and submitting this form by April 9.

An Election Information Meeting will be held at OCAR's Laguna Hills office on Monday, March 30 at 11:00 A.M. 

Voting begins on Monday, May 11 at 8:00 A.M. and concludes on Tuesday, May 26 at 5:00 P.M.

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Monday, March 23 

11:00 A.M. Check-In || 11:30 A.M. Lunch || 12:00 P.M. Program 
UCI Student Center, A311 Student Center – Pacific Room D, Irvine, 92697

Real estate economist Gary Watts will provide his market insights, 2015 OCAR President Rita Tayenaka will comment on the state of the Association, and CRMLS CEO Art Carter will discuss the future of the MLS. 

A delicious lunch and free parking will be provided to attendees with advanced registration. Thank you to our generous parking sponsors, Alex del Toro of The Termite Guy, Amy Tran of ValuEscrow and Uly Kim of PrimeLending.

Seating for this event with lunch and free parking is now full.

If you'd like to be placed on the waitlist to watch the market update (without complementary lunch and parking), you may email Joanne Frank.

If you have already registered, a $45 no-show will apply if you do not cancel your registration prior to the event. Email your cancellation to Joanne Frank.

 

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Here's another way to maximize OC FastStats in your marketing materials. We'll show you how to personalize the market reports with your branding using Adobe Acrobat Professional. We'll edit out OCAR's logo and insert your image and contact information.

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REALTOR® Magazine and the Good Neighbor Society are seeking nominees for Volunteering Works, a grant and mentoring program for REALTORS® who volunteer in their communities. Nominees should be REALTORS® who lead a fledgling charitable effort and would value working with a mentor. Five people will be selected to receive $1,000 seed grants and a year of one-on-one mentoring from a past winner of the Good Neighbor Awards. Entry deadline is February 27.

Click here for more information and to access the application.

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Calling all amazing volunteers! REALTOR® Magazine is seeking nominees for the Good Neighbor Awards, which recognize REALTORS® who have made an extraordinary impact on their communities through volunteer work. Entries must be received by May 15. For more info and an entry form, go to www.REALTOR.org/gna or see the March/April issue of REALTOR® Magazine. 

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The majority of metropolitan areas saw steady but slightly stronger price growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, behind a decline in housing supply and an uptick in demand fueled by lower interest rates and a stronger job market, NAR says in its latest quarterly metro price report. The median existing single-family home price increased in 86 percent of measured markets, with 150 out of 175 metropolitan statistical areas showing gains based on closings in the fourth quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2013. 

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says improved sales activity compared to a year ago and tightening supply contributed to faster price appreciation in the final quarter of 2014. “Home prices in metro areas throughout the country continue to show solid price growth, up 25 percent over the past three years on average,” he said. “This is good news for current homeowners but remains a challenge for buyers who are seeing home prices continue to outpace their wages. Low interest rates helped preserve affordability last quarter, but it’ll take stronger income gains and more housing supply to help meet the pent-up demand for buying.”

See the data for yourself...

(Source: National Association of REALTORS®)

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REALTORS® say improving economic conditions and buyer urgency point to better market in 2015.

Pending home sales posted higher on a year-over-year basis for the first time since January 2013 and as expected, declined from the previous month due primarily to a seasonal slowdown toward the end of the year, according to C.A.R. 

Additionally, with the specter of a better economy, greater job growth, and increasing household formation, C.A.R.’s new Market Pulse Survey found that many REALTORS® expect market conditions to improve in 2015, as does C.A.R.  Review the Market Pulse Survey and the full press release here.

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OCAR offers members and their clients and customers a vehicle to economically expedite ethics complaints without going to court. Ethics complaints that are brought before the board give those parties involved an opportunity to be educated about the Code. In addition, REALTORS® are judged by their peers as opposed to other individuals who may be far less familiar with the practices and customs of the real estate industry.

This video helps de-mystify the process for filing a Grievance complaint: 

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Is Aliso Viejo your farm? The City of Aliso Viejo has commissioned this video highlighting the community's features. It could serve as a great way to introduce the city to prospective home buyers. Please share in your marketing materials:

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Our latest OC FastStats market update is now available.  Share this information with your clients via social media or even embed on your website and blog.  We strive to keep you a step ahead with the latest market data!

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