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OC REALTORS® Blog

News and Information to Keep You a Step Ahead!

Orange County REALTORS® is excited to announce two new FREE member benefits available through CRMLS. 

FHAPros is a new FHA eligibility status report within the Matrix system. All OCR members will now be able to see the FHA eligibility for the condominiums listed for sale within CRMLS.

You can find the new stoplight icon on the grid view when you search for properties. There will also be a link on the property detail report. Clicking on the icon or link will open the FHA eligibility report indicating the unit’s status and provide information about getting an association approved for FHA financing, if desired.

This new feature amps up the already powerful RatePlug Program which allows for the display of real-time housing payment information within MLS property listings to help Real Estate Agents and homebuyers effectively search for affordable properties. The system uses live lending data from lenders who are referred by and work with the participating REALTOR®. The program provides reliable financing information to homebuyers at the very beginning of the real estate buying process so that sound, knowledgeable decisions are made about housing affordability and financing, which in turn, helps agents sell homes faster.

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We are now accepting applications to be a 2018 C.A.R. or NAR Director. All applications are due to Debby Ritter by June 30, 2017.

State Director Responsibilities

  1. Maintain a REALTOR® membership in good standing at OCR
  2. Abide by the terms of OCR’s “State Director Commitment and Policy on Travel”
  3. Act as an ambassador for OCR and its members while fulfilling your duties as a state director
  4. Agree to a three (3) to five (5) year commitment
  5. Attend the three (3) State business meetings scheduled annually
  6. Actively serve on three (3) State Committees; they may be assigned as Leadership deems fit
  7. Submit a written report detailing the issues and outcomes at each committee meeting assigned
    or requested within two (2) weeks.
  8. Invest at least $148 in the REALTOR® Action Fund (RAF) while serving as a State Director
  9. Serve in a volunteer capacity at OCR, as a committee or task force member, as a project or event
    volunteer, or as a member of OCR’s board of directors while serving as a State Director.

C.A.R. State Director Application

NAR Director Responsibilities

  1. Maintain a REALTOR® membership in good standing at OCR
  2. Act as an ambassador for OCR and its members while fulfilling your duties as a NAR Director
  3. Agree to a three (3) to five (5) year commitment
  4. Attend the two (2) NAR business meetings scheduled annually
  5. Actively serve on at least one (1) NAR Committee
  6. Submit a written report detailing the issues and outcomes at each committee meeting assigned
    or requested within two (2) weeks
  7. Invest at least $148 in the REALTOR® Action Fund (RAF) while serving as a NAR Director
  8. Serve in a volunteer capacity at OCR, as a committee or task force member, as a project or event
    volunteer, or as a member of OCR’s board of directors while serving as a NAR Director

NAR Director Application


DEADLINE TO APPLY: June 30, 2017

 

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Committee participation and membership

Local Government Relations Committee North and South (Open committee participation, only members can participate in executive session and vote) – These are our primary policy committees.  Here you will review local, state, and federal legislative actions, and recommend policy positions to the OCR Board of Directors.  The committees often receive updates from local elected officials and community partners.  Meets monthly (10 times per year).

Political Affairs and Elections Committee (PAEC)(Closed to committee members only) - Handles political and election activities on behalf of the OCAR Board of Directors. Makes recommendations to support or oppose candidates for election to city, county, and state offices. Makes recommendations to support or oppose ballot measure and other issue-related campaigns. Conducts fundraising activities for the REALTOR® Action Fund (RAF). Meets monthly (10 times per year).

Community involvement

Join city commissions and committees – Much like our OCR committees, city commissions and committees are tasked with making recommendations to the city council.  Some, like the planning commission, has decision making authority of their own.  Committees and commissions are a great way to move up the political ladder in your city, and any resident can apply.  Members are, however, selected by council members, so it helps to first attend local events and meeting and get to know you council members. 

Participate in local non-profits - Many of the same people that participate in local government, are active in local non-profits.  It’s another great way to get your foot in the door, and work for a great cause!

Grassroots

Speak at council meetings – When certain issues appear on a council agenda, OCR often needs speakers.  Volunteering to speak is a great way to get known, and advocate for homeowners. 

Respond to C.A.R. Red Alerts – Red Alerts are an easy and effective way to speak as one voice to our elected representatives.  Text REALTORS to 30644 to sign-up

Educate yourself – Being an educated community advocate is a great way to build trust with your clients.  Sign-up for government affairs emails (sent only once a week), at www.ocar.org/ga.

 

Contact: Tony Capitelli – Government Affairs Director -  tonyc@ocar.org – 949-268-0406

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In Memoriam

 Anita Yegsigian
1923-2017

 

Anita Yegsigian passed away of natural causes at her home in Palm Desert on March 18, 2017. Before moving to the desert thirteen years ago, she had lived for forty years in Mission Viejo, where she was active in real estate. The owner of All Star Realty in Mission Viejo, she was named Top REALTOR® in Sales for the Saddleback Valley in 1976.

By all reports, Anita’s cooking also took top honors. Friends and family members recall that she was always preparing her favorite Armenian dishes for a gathering of one sort or another. More recently, she was active in the women’s guild of St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage, where she had been affectionately dubbed “the pilaf queen.”

In her later years, Anita enjoyed the peace and serenity of desert living and, until recently, spent at least two days a week on the golf course. Anita’s family members suggest that friends who wish to honor Anita’s memory send donations in her name to St. Garabed Armenian Church, 38900 Vista Dunes Road, Rancho Mirage 92270.   

 

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The strong connection between housing policy and housing availability is one reason that REALTORS need to take the lead on this issue.
 

By Tony Capitelli
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DIRECTOR 

I often speak of the nexus between public policies that affect real estate practitioners and those that affect everyone else. Perhaps, there is no better example of this nexus than our current affordable housing crisis. While REALTORS® have trouble finding listings, other people have trouble finding homes. The strength of this connection is the reason that REALTORS® need to take the lead on this issue. 

We often hear the phrase “disposable income”; however, this “income” is about as “disposable” as a soldier’s water canteen. It is our lifeblood when we face times of crisis and enables us to absorb what life throws at us. But this term is no longer in the vocabulary of many Orange County residents because housing costs consume so much of their income. According to the California Association of REALTORS®, only 22 percent of Orange County’s population can afford to purchase a median-priced home. To qualify, a household would need to make $92,571 a year, and this does not include saving for a down payment. 

I am sure you can think of someone who has been affected by this crisis—perhaps you, yourself. Are you a young adult trying to find your path in life? Do you have a young family and need space for your kids? Are you recently divorced and needing to find a new place to live? Are you paying for your children’s college tuition? If you are married and in your twilight years, you’re probably okay; but at this rate, you’ll soon be part of the only group left to enjoy home ownership in this beautiful county.  

The good news is that there are solutions. The question is whether we can come to grips with those solutions before we lose an entire generation of home owners. 

So, what are those solutions? 

  1. More Housing

    Ultimately, this crisis is a matter of supply and demand. California is running short about 65,000 housing units a year. During 2016, Orange County added 162,740 new jobs but built only 44,923 new housing units. This kind of deficit leads inevitably to higher prices. If the Orange County housing market cannot accommodate growth, neither can the Orange County economy. Higher density is difficult for communities to embrace; but with a little creativity, it can actually improve local quality of life. 

  2. Less Regulation

    According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, because of labor costs, construction costs, environmental regulations, and local development fees, it is $50,000 to $70,000 more expensive to build a home in California than it is to build elsewhere in the country. These higher costs are passed directly from home builders to home buyers and from landlords to renters. 

  3. More Entry-Level Ownership Options

    While we are still far behind the necessary pace of development, we are all witness to the recent development boom. Unfortunately, most of the new housing units being built are either rental apartments or expensive single-family homes. For many, including me, townhomes and condos are the only avenues into the housing market. Cities need to work with developers to encourage construction of more of these entry-level ownership options. If they don’t, younger renters will not stay. 

  4. Better Transit

    If home owners are to absorb higher housing costs, they need to save money elsewhere. Average car loan payments are about $506 a month, and this figure does not include insurance, maintenance, and fuel. Home buyers are looking to live closer to work and cut down on long commutes. Light rail, automated vehicles, and the location of housing—all need to be in the minds of policy makers.  

  5. Low-Level Assistance Programs

    Homelessness isn’t limited to the chronically homeless. This category also includes families on the verge of being evicted or living in temporary housing. Assistance programs like rapid re-housing are effective in providing a necessary safety net. 

    Down payment assistance is often essential for first-time home buyers. Without it, the U.S. homeownership rate might look more like that of Germany, where the rate is around 50 percent. And the negative connotation of FHA loans needs to be corrected. As it is, only 10 percent of townhome and condo communities are willing to accept these loans.  

As a REALTOR®, you are in a unique position because the future of your community affects both your home and your livelihood. I encourage you to embrace that role and become a community advocate. Help influence your local policy makers regarding the importance of making housing more available, more accessible, and more affordable.

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