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News and Information to Keep You a Step Ahead!

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Existing-home sales snapped back solidly in December as more buyers reached the market before the end of the year, and the delayed closings resulting from the rollout of the Know Before You Owe initiative pushed a portion of November's would-be transactions into last month's figure, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Led by the South and West, all four major regions saw large increases in December.

Single-family home sales jumped 16.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million in December from 4.15 million in November, and are now 7.1 percent higher than the 4.50 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $226,000 in December, up 8.0 percent from December 2014.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 units in December from 610,000 in November, and are now 12.3 percent above December 2014 (570,000 units). The median existing condo price was $209,900 in December, which is 4.9 percent above a year ago.

 

 

 

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MLS-Touch is now free for OCAR REALTORS®. This reflects an annual savings of $99. 

For years, members have requested this state-of-the-art app which provides rich MLS access on mobile devices. With MLS-Touch, your mobile device can now become your most valuable work tool.

  • Access all active, pending, sold and off-market listings. 
  • Search by map, or use the advanced search tool to find properties that exactly match your clients’ needs.
  • Send multiple listings by email. 
  • Access private remarks, listing agent info, showing instructions, HOAs, live market stats, instant sales comparables and more.

Download the App Today:

When logging in for the first time, select "California" as your state, "CRMLS," as your board, and enter your CRMLS User ID for your "board username" and your CRMLS password for your "board password."

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Beginning with the new year, both OCAR offices will be open from 8 am to 5:30 pm to assist you. We'll also be open Saturdays in January from 9 am to 1 pm. 

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Beginning on Wednesday, January 6, the North Marketing Meeting and Preview (Irvine, Tustin, Tustin Ranch) will be meeting at JT Schmid's in The District at 2415 Park Ave., Tustin, 92782. The meeting start time is unchanged and will begin promptly at 9:30 am. 

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Criminals are hacking into the email accounts of real estate agents or other persons involved in a real estate transaction and using information gained from the hack to dupe a party into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hackers often send an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient, often the buyer, that there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions.  

Following the new instructions, the recipient will wire funds directly to the hacker’s account, which will be cleared out in a matter of minutes. The money is almost always lost forever.

In the next two weeks, real estate professionals will be contending with high transactional volumes during year-end closings. This is a busy and hectic time for real estate professionals, and many millions of dollars will be sent and received via wire before the end of the year. This is exactly the environment in which online criminals seek to operate.

The National Association of REALTORS® urges its members and state and local REALTOR® associations to be on high alert for email and online fraud.

In May 2015, NAR issued an alert regarding a sophisticated email wire fraud hitting the real estate industry.  Since then, the incidents of online scams targeting practitioners have continued to rise but the advice is the same.

Bottom line: Do not let your guard down.  Start from the assumption that any email in your in-box could be a targeted attack from a criminal.

Read More...

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo will have their own OCAR Marketing Meeting and Preview session on Fridays beginning January 8.  These areas were previously covered by the Canyon Area Marketing Meeting.  Get the full details at our Marketing Meetings & Preview Sheets page.

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President Obama today signed H.R. 22, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, which does NOT include an extension of the higher guarantee-fees set to expire in 2021.  The bill funds several highway and transit-related projects, with monies coming from a variety of sources. While the Senate version of the long-term transportation bill included this “mortgage tax” to pay for transportation infrastructure, the final version does not. This is a HUGE win for REALTORS® and their clients.

In November, the House of Representatives approved a long-term-transportation bill with an amendment to exclude the tax. C.A.R. and the National Association of REALTORS® vigorously opposed the “add-on” fee for all new conforming mortgages in order to pay for transportation infrastructure. This "g-fee," which was a disguised tax on home buyers, would have cost average California home buyers more than $8,100 over the life of their mortgage on a new home purchase or refinance.

Nearly 31,000 California REALTORS® called or emailed Congress to oppose this proposal.

Source: C.A.R.

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On March 1, the CRMLS Rules and Regulations and Citation Policy will be updated and published on CRMLS' website (and here at www.OCAR.org). This update will include an addition to the Rules regarding Neighborhood Market Reports. This new rule is listed in Section 12.8.1(below):

12.8.1 Advertising of Listing in Printed Neighborhood Market Report

Subject to the conditions set forth in (a) through (c) below, as well as throughout these Rules, Participants and Subscribers may include the listings of others in their printed “Neighborhood Market Reports.” The “Neighborhood Market Report” is defined as an advertising and/or information sheet (typically appearing in the form of a postcard, flier or newsletter) compiled by and/or for use by a licensee which sets forth a list of home activity in a particular neighborhood area. Advertising appearing in newspapers, magazines or other classified forms is not included in the definition of “Neighborhood Market Report” and is not authorized by this Rule 12.8.1.

(a) Consent

The listing brokers’ consent for such advertising is presumed, in satisfaction of Rule 12.8, unless a listing broker affirmatively notifies the MLS that the listing broker refuses to permit others to advertise his listing in the “Neighborhood Market Report” (i.e. “opts-out”) either on a blanket or listing by listing basis. Listing brokers that refuse to permit other Broker Participants or Subscribers to advertise their listings on a blanket basis may not display the listings of the other brokers’ listings in their own “Neighborhood Market Reports”. Even where listing brokers have given blanket authority for other Broker Participants and Subscribers to advertise their listings in the “Neighborhood Market Report”, such consent may be withdrawn on a listing-by-listing basis where the seller has prohibited it. Participants and Subscribers are not permitted to include listings in their Neighborhood Market Report from which listing broker has opted out and will be responsible for verifying that they have permission to advertise all listings contained in their Neighborhood Market Reports.

(b) Listing Attribution

All listings in the “Neighborhood Market Report” must identify the name of the listing firm(s) and the name of the listing agent(s) in a manner designed to easily identify such listing firm(s) or agent(s). Such identification shall be in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of listing data.

(c) Allowable Listing Content

Broker Participants and Subscribers may include only those portions of the MLS compilation consisting of the following: property address (and whether attached or detached), status, price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, number of garages (and whether attached or detached), square footage, lot size, year built, tract or development name, and if there’s a pool. Display of other fields, as well as confidential information and photographs, is prohibited.

More details to follow... 

 

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Enjoy a fun-filled day of golf at Oak Creek Golf Club in Irvine on May 16, 2016, with proceeds benefitting the OCAR Cares Foundation.

  • Registration: 10 A.M.
  • Shotgun Start: 12 P.M. (scramble format)
  • Helicopter Ball Drop: 6 P.M.

Golfers Sign Up by April 22

Download the Golfer Registration Form.
$160 entry fee includes green fee, cart, lunch, dinner, and driving range.

Thank you to our sponsors:

b2ap3_thumbnail_0316_GOLF_Ad_and_Registration_Item.jpg

OCAR Cares is a fiscally sponsored project of OneOC. Tax ID 95-2021700.

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Orange County’s future prosperity hinges on the region’s ability to create a healthy, prosperous economy that promotes both jobs and housing, not one at the expense of the other. This video discusses the issue using data from the Orange County Business Council's 2015 Orange County Workforce Housing Scorecard.

The Scorecard examines and analyzes the current and projected housing trends and provides a preview of where Orange County is headed in terms of workforce housing, and how it will impact demographic, economic, and business competitiveness factors.

Created in partnership with Orange County Business Council.

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The Federal Housing Administration today released its 2015 Actuarial Review, a financial assessment of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, and the review shows that the fund has strongly rebounded, achieved greater overall health, and seen increased access to safe mortgage financing as cuts to FHA's annual mortgage insurance premium have taken hold.

The fund report found that since 2012, delinquency rates fell 40 percent, there was a 28 percent improvement in recovery rates, and there was a $40 billion increase in the value of the fund.

FHA undertook a series of administrative measures over the past few years to mitigate credit risk, including raising premiums. However, according to NAR estimates, nearly 250,000 creditworthy borrowers were priced out of the housing market in 2013 alone because of these increases. This represents another hurdle for borrowers, including first-time buyers. Earlier this month, NAR released its annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showing that the share of first–time buyers declined for the third consecutive year, remaining at its lowest point in nearly three decades.

In addition, FHA's 2014 actuarial assessment showed dramatic improvement through falling delinquency rates and improved recoveries on dispositions.

Recognizing the challenge that increasing mortgage insurance premiums posed to potential homeowners, FHA announced a 50 basis point cut to the premiums in January 2015. At the time, FHA estimated this would result in an average annual savings of $900 for nearly 2 million FHA homeowners. FHA also estimated that an additional 250,000 homebuyers would be spurred to purchase their first home within three years as a result of the cuts.

 

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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C.A.R. members now can access the Legal information using a new smartphone app. Through the free app, C.A.R. members can access the following:

  • Recent laws 
  • Legal Q&As – sorted alphabetically or by category
  • The standard forms area of car.org
  • Custom mobile video player featuring the latest Legal Live and Everyday Ethics webinars
  • Access to zipForm® Mobile 
  • Detailed click-to-call contact us list featuring essential C.A.R. phone numbers and contact information
  • Push notification area

The push notifications will be used to alert members to Calls-to-Action, Red Alerts, and other critical legal issues. Future enhancements will include predicted wait times for the C.A.R. Legal hotline to help members gauge when the best time is to call.

Get more information and download the app

 

Source: California Association of REALTORS® 

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The RPA is the cornerstone of every successful real estate transaction. REALTORS® should be extremely well-versed with the principles and applications of this form. Receive step-by-step instruction from the expert! California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Assistant General Counsel Gov Hutchinson will show you how to properly complete the RPA.

Even if you’ve previously taken an RPA course, you will benefit from this training:

  • Get familiar with the numerous changes made to the contract in 2014
  • Receive instruction on forms related to the RPA such as the Residential Listing Agreement (RLA), Requests for Repairs (RR), and more
  • Understand all mandatory and recommended disclosures Learn how to create, modify, cancel, or close a transaction
  • Ensure all commissions are paid-in-full and on-time
  • Better serve and protect your clients 

Cost:

$55 for OCAR REALTORS®
$80 for Non-Members

Registration:

Members, register via My Account

Non-Members, please send us your information here (we'll contact you to complete registration).

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Existing–home sales rebounded strongly in September following August's decline and have now increased year–over–year for 12 consecutive months. All four major regions experienced sales gains in September.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says a slight moderation in home prices in some markets and mortgage rates remaining below 4 percent gave more households the confidence to close on a home last month. "September home sales bounced back solidly after slowing in August and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million)," he said. "While current price growth around 6 percent is still roughly double the pace of wages, affordability has slightly improved since the spring and is helping to keep demand at a strong and sustained pace."

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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On Thursday, October 22, 2015, the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will begin consideration on the surface transportation reauthorization legislation.

One proposal would use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s credit risk guarantee fees (g-fees) to fund transportation programs.  Take action now to prevent Congress from placing an unnecessary long-term burden on American homeowners with a new Transportation Tax.

NAR strongly believes that a new tax on homeowners would also prevent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from effectively managing their risk.

Tell Congress to STOP the the Housing Tax for Transportation!

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The overall tempo of real estate potential is benefitting from a number of positive factors. The job market has shown continual improvement, jobless rates are down, real average hourly and weekly earnings have been up and there has been good news in new household formation.

With positive economic news coming from many angles, there are no imminent factors to prepare for beyond the typical seasonal drop-off. From the mouths of market-analyzing pundits, we are in the midst of one of the healthiest housing markets in the past 15 years. The one thing we were anticipating in September, an increase in interest rates, did not happen. It most likely will before year's end. Until then, get out and enjoy the season... before El Nino comes!

Local Trends

New Listings were up 3.6 percent for detached homes and 1.3 percent for attached properties.

  • Pending Sales increased 4.6 percent for detached homes and 17.7 percent for attached properties.
  • The Median Sales Price was up 4.4 percent to $715,000 for detached homes and 11.3 percent to $425,000 for attached properties.
  • Months Supply of Inventory decreased 21.4 percent for detached units and 32.4 percent for attached units.

For the latest news on what's happening in your individual communities (in both Orange County and Long Beach), grab the OC FastStats Market Reports.

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The California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) has recently issued an alert advising that they are taking notice of salespersons who may be acting as or advertising themselves as "independent" real estate licensees. Under California's licensing system, salespersons must always "hang" their license with and work under the supervision of a licensed real estate broker. It is unlawful for a salesperson to conduct licensed real estate activity of their own.  Further, a real estate broker is required to supervise all salespersons licensed under them.

CalBRE is primarily concerned with two activities:

1. Property Management
A question that is often heard on the C.A.R. Legal Hotline is can a salesperson operate a property management business on their own?  The answer is NO!  A property management business must always be operated under the supervision of a licensed real estate broker.  

2. Branding as Independent Licensees 
Beginning this year, salespersons have been able to use "Team Names" and to obtain and use "Salesperson-owned Fictitious Business Names."  Perhaps due to this change in the law, CalBRE is noticing an upsurge in salespersons branding themselves as independent real estate professionals and acting as such, which is a real estate law violation.  CalBRE is also alerting brokers that facilitating such activity by a salesperson is likewise a real estate violation. 

Salespersons can use team names and own and use fictitious business names, but only when following the legal requirements and when affiliated with and operating under the supervision of a broker. C.A.R.'s Legal Q&A "Fictitious Business Names and Team Names", will help you make sure that you are following the law. CalBRE has also issued guidance on this.

 

Source: California Association of REALTORS®

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OCAR’s endorsed benefit administrator, The Benefits Store, has extended open enrollment for Kaiser plans through November 20, 2015 with an effective coverage date of December 1, 2015. OCAR REALTOR® and Affiliate Members are able to purchase group coverage. To speak with an agent, call (800) 446-2663 or visit them online.

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It's become something of a tradition to feature our veteran members in the November issue of the OC REALTOR®. We'd like to thank you, so email us your name, service information, and a photo of you in uniform (unless we already have one). Submission deadline is October 9.

Questions? Please contact Albert Ornelas at 949-586-6800 ext. 123.

 

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We encourage you to share this video on your social media and/or website. It's yet another tool that OCAR provides you to help your clients.

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