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Homesnap App

Monday, January 8 2018 9:21 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Your life is going to change tomorrow.
We've partnered with Homesnap to provide you with the #1-rated real estate app for agents, Homesnap Pro, which gives you access to all of your MLS info on the go.
And the best part? It's free.
Keep an eye out for an email from Homesnap tomorrow with instructions on how to download the app and start using Homesnap Pro. Here are the steps you'll need to take:

1. Open the email from Homesnap and click “Confirm Account” to register for Homesnap Pro
2. After registering, download the Homesnap app (you can click this link on your phone to download the app:

There are tons of useful tools in this app that we know you’ll love. Keep an eye out for the email from Homesnap tomorrow, and don’t forget to confirm your account and download the app.

Email Subject Line: Agent first name, Homesnap Pro is here! Free from SCKMLS

The email will be sent from: SCKMLS & Homesnap.

If you have any problems using the Homsnap app, please contact Homesnap Customer Support.
Contact Number: 866-855-2622
          Mon-Fri 9:00 am - 8:00 pm EST
          Sat 9:00 am - 6:00 pm EST


John McKenzie Recognized Nationally for Protecting, Investing in Real Estate Industry

Thursday, December 28 2017 1:35 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®

The National Association of Realtors® has announced that John McKenzie, a Realtor® from Wichita, KS, has become a Golden R investor in the Realtors® Political Action Committee. RPAC is a national bipartisan grassroots-based political advocacy organization that works to protect the real estate industry and the dream of homeownership for Wichita residents and across the country.

 John McKenzie has supported RPAC for many years and has been a member of the National Association of Realtors® since 1972.  He holds GRI, PAST CRB, and ABR certifications.  He graduated from Long Island University (1970) where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree, in Business Management.  He currently lives in Wichita with his family. He previously served on the following NAR Committees: MLS, Risk Management, Legislative, RPAC Participation, RESPA, Working Group Task Force, Business Issues Committee, and served as a past NAR director.

When asked why John supports RPAC and why other RSCK REALTORS should invest in RPAC, he explains, "(I) learned a long time ago that we all have an obligation to be politically active.  Legislation that affects home ownership and our profession is best heard when our members make financial and personal time contributions.   I have witnessed through the power of being heard the halting of numerous, punitive pieces of legislation that would have been catastrophic to our industry.  It saddens me that more of our members don’t participate in making themselves  heard.  If Real Estate is your Profession then Politics is your business.  Get involved.  I challenge all our members to invest in their profession and give a minimum of $100 towards RPAC  in 2018."  

Since 1969, RPAC has promoted the election of pro-real estate candidates across the United States. The purpose of RPAC is to elect officials who understand and support the interests of real estate professionals and their home buying, selling and investing clients. RPAC uses its resources to seek to elect candidates that understand and support real estate, and to develop public policies that allow consumers to own homes and build their communities through commercial investment. John McKenzie’s investment will be applied to supporting homeownership, commercial real estate transactions, and the very future of the real estate industry.

Current Realtor® priorities include working to preserve the Mortgage Interest Deduction and preventing the use of guarantee fees charged on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed loans to fund non-housing programs, which serves as a tax on consumers and prevents more qualified borrowers from becoming actual homeowners.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Tax Reform Final Vote

Wednesday, December 20 2017 3:46 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®

The Tax Reform bill has passed and is awaiting the President’s signature. NAR has produced a comprehensive document that summarizes the changes affecting real estate. This document is available on

Safe Sender

Monday, December 18 2017 10:33 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Reminder that all dues and invoices from our office will be sent from  Please add to your SAFE SENDERS list to continue receiving billing from us in a timely manner. 

If you are unsure how to add Safe Senders, please contact your computer administrator for instructions.

It is Not Too Late to Influence Congress on Tax Reform

Wednesday, December 6 2017 4:06 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Now that both the House and Senate have passed The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, a Conference Committee will now reconcile the differences between the House and Senate approved bills.

REALTORS® have an opportunity to encourage Congress to maintain the current law for the mortgage interest deduction and capital gains exclusion. 

Click here to take action.

Flood Insurance Extended Three Months

Monday, September 18 2017 1:28 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®

President Donald Trump signed a three-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, ensuring insurance won’t lapse on Sept. 30. The program’s next expiration date is Dec. 8. NAR’s Call for Action concluded Sept. 8. NAR will continue legislative advocacy efforts for the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, which provides for long-term reauthorization and makes needed reforms.

Fannie Raises DTI, Tackles Student Debt

Friday, June 16 2017 10:15 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Fannie Mae is increasing its maximum debt-to-income ratio to 50 percent from 45 percent and last month eased underwriting for borrowers carrying heavy student loan debt. The changes will help more households obtain financing to buy a home and are explained in an NAR video with Fannie Mae Vice President Jonathan Lawless.         

Credit Issues Still Impede Homeownership

Friday, June 16 2017 10:14 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Tight credit and tight inventory are among the reasons the national homeownership rate remains down despite the growing economy. NAR convened experts at a homeownership summit last week at the University of California at Berkeley to identify causes and explore solutions. Read coverage

Regulations, Retention and Recruitment Pressing Issues for Appraisal Industry

Friday, May 19 2017 10:12 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

WASHINGTON (May 17, 2017) – Any perceived shortage of appraisers may be location specific and dependent on whom you ask, but there is universal agreement that more needs to be done to keep appraisers in the profession and attract new talent. That’s according to panelists yesterday at a property valuation forum at the 2017 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

The conversation with property valuation experts comes at a time of numerous challenges within the industry. NAR’s Appraiser Trends Study released earlier this year underlined many of the ongoing issues in the profession, including regulatory burdens, insufficient compensation, and dissatisfaction in the work leading to what some say is a shortage of appraisers.            

Providing their insights on these issues and ways Realtors® can communicate more effectively with appraisers were David S. Bunton, president and CEO of The Appraisal Foundation; James Park, executive director at the Appraisal Subcommittee; and Jim Amorin, 2017 president at the Appraisal Institute. Susan Martins-Phipps, a Realtor® and certified residential appraiser, moderated the session.

Much of the discussion during the session focused on balancing the need for appropriate regulation without overly burdening the industry. Sharing their own experiences, Bunton and Amorin discussed how the multiple federal, state and international standards can conflict with each other at times and cause confusion, frustration and an inability to appropriately serve the needs of clients.

Citing NAR’s appraisal survey, Amorin said that excessive regulation is the number one reason appraisers are leaving the industry, along with decreased fees and increased expenses. While regulation serves its purpose, Amorin stressed the need for ‘appropriate updating’ given that technology and consumer preferences have changed over the past decade.  

“Appraisers are being crushed in the current regulatory environment and there are fewer people entering the profession,” said Amorin. “There are changes that can be put into place that make the process easier for everyone and not put added costs on the consumer.”

According to Park, public trust in the appraisal profession is important, and while there are certainly challenges in the industry, few of those challenges have to do with federal regulation. He also said outside of a few areas, he believes there is not a shortage of appraisal professionals. Citing the lower mortgage volume compared to the early 2000’s, Park said the number of active appraisers is proportionate to the current level of work in most of the country.

Amorin added that although the number of appraisers have declined around 23 percent since 2007, any actual shortages are primarily in some rural areas, and what some see as a shortage in quantity is actually just a dearth of appraisers willing to work for the low fees that have failed to keep up with inflation. However, Amorin did sound the alarm on what could be an inadequate number of appraisers in the future.

“The number of new entrants into the business is abysmally low, and a looming shortage is something we should be concerned about,” said Amorin. “The typical appraiser is in their mid-50s. We’ve got to find a way to make the profession more attractive and lucrative so that technology doesn’t completely take over the valuation process.”

Bunton agreed with Amorin and indicated he’s hopeful an improving housing market will bring more individuals, including millennials, to the industry. “If you’re a millennial, what’s not to like? You get to use technology, the hours are flexible and there’s always work,” he said.

The end of the session focused on bettering the appraisal process for the greater benefit of the real estate industry. While appraisers must maintain their independence, Amorin stressed the important role real estate agents can play in helping serve their clients and improve the work of appraisers. He said to applause from the crowd that it’s certainly fine for agents to talk to appraisers as long as they aren’t putting undo pressure on them.

“Regarding the relationship between appraisers and Realtors®, my message to Realtors® is to help them help you,” said Amorin.

To improve the overall appraisal experience, Bunton concluded that real estate agents should be more involved with The Appraisal Foundation and its boards to stay abreast of the issues. “Nearly half of Realtors® are on our boards, and we would certainly like to see that number even higher,” he said. “Less friction and more commonality on how to make the system more cohesive for everyone will ensure a better process.”

NAR submitted a letter late last year to the Appraiser Qualifications Board in response to their efforts to improve recruitment and retention of new appraisers. Knowing the integral part appraisers are to real estate transactions, NAR supports AQB’s revisions to some of the education and experience requirements to bring new appraisers to the industry.

For more information on NAR’s valuation activities and advocacy efforts, visit

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Tax Reform Could Deliver a Tax Hike for Homeowners: New Research

Friday, May 19 2017 10:11 AM
Categorized In Home Owners

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2017) – While tax reform proposals swirling around Washington, D.C., promise lower tax bills for American families, new estimates indicate that many middle-income homeowners may actually see a tax increase if those proposals go through.

The study, “Impact of Tax Reform Options on Owner-Occupied Housing,”(link is external) illustrates the effects of a tax plan that echoes certain elements of the “Better Way for Tax Reform(link is external)” or “Blueprint” proposal released last year, as well as the White House tax reform outline released in April, to which the National Association of Realtors® responded

While most individuals would see a tax decrease under such a proposal, the study estimates that many middle-class homeowners could in fact see a net average tax increase. Homeowners with adjusted gross incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would see their taxes rise by an average of $815. The study also estimates that combined tax savings from claiming the mortgage interest deduction and real estate property tax deductions would drop 82 percent between the 2018 and 2027 period.

“Tax reform and lower rates are worthy goals, but only if we can achieve them in a fiscally responsible way,” said NAR president William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “Balancing tax reform on the backs of homeowners isn’t an option.”

The study, which was commissioned by NAR and prepared by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), estimates that this tax increase would result from the interaction of several provisions in the reforms under consideration. For many homeowners that currently benefit from the mortgage interest deduction, the elimination of other itemized deductions and personal exemptions would cause their taxes to rise, even if they elected to take the increased standard deduction. For others, the elimination of the state and local tax deduction alone would result in higher federal income taxes.

 In addition to increasing taxes on many middle-income homeowners, the report finds that such a proposal could cause home values to fall by an average of more than 10 percent in the near term. In areas with higher property taxes or state income taxes, the drop could be even greater. Although the study doesn’t directly analyze the “Better Way for Tax Reform” plan or the recent White House outline, it examines a proposal with many similar elements.

Those elements include lowering and consolidating marginal tax rates to only three rates, setting a top income tax rate of 33 percent, doubling the standard deduction, eliminating all itemized deductions (other than charitable contributions and mortgage interest) and personal exemptions, eliminating the alternative minimum tax, and capping the tax rate on pass-through business income at 25 percent.

PwC estimated that roughly 35 million households will claim the mortgage interest deduction in 2018, three quarters of which have incomes between $50,000 and $200,000. According to NAR, roughly 70 percent of those eligible for the MID claim it in a given tax year.

“A tax reform proposal that hikes taxes for homeowners is a raw deal, and consumers know it,” said Brown. “Leaders in Washington who are driving tax reform have shown every indication that they have the best of intentions, and we’re hopeful they’ll consider our study as this process plays out in the months ahead.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Obstacles Hinder Aspiring Home Buyers

Tuesday, February 14 2017 9:04 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Affordability pressures, student debt and possible confusion about down payment requirements have kept many aspiring homeowners from reaching the market, according to NAR's Aspiring Home Buyers Profile, which analyzes data from the association's Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey. "Nearly all non-homeowners said they want to own a home in the future, but it's evident that higher rents and home prices—up 41 percent in the past five years—along with limited entry-level supply and repaying student debt have combined to make buying a challenging goal," says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. News release.

40,000 Could Lose Out in FHA Suspension

Wednesday, February 1 2017 2:37 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®

The Trump Administration's suspension of reduced FHA mortgage insurance premiums is the top story in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR. As many as 40,000 households could be priced out of home buying if the suspension remains in place, NAR says. Other segments look at the 10-year high in home sales in 2016, what's happening with the Ben Carson nomination for HUD secretary. and how clients can use a reverse mortgage to buy a home. Share video link

CFPB Hits Brokers For Marketing Agreements

Wednesday, February 1 2017 2:36 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yesterday fined a mortgage lender, two real estate brokerages, and a mortgage servicing company for referral arrangements the companies had entered into that CFPB says are prohibited under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). In a statement, CFPB Director Richard Cordray says the action "sends a clear message that it is illegal to make or accept payments for mortgage referrals."  Read More

Rural Development Fees Reduced

Friday, October 28 2016 10:29 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Upfront and annual guarantee fees from the USDA's Rural Development program have been reduced. The upfront fee is 1 percent of the loan amount, down from 1.35 percent, and the annual fee is 0.35 percent of the average unpaid principal balance, a reduction of 0.15 percent.

Home Aid Increase for Disabled Vets

Friday, October 28 2016 10:29 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Disabled veterans can get slightly more assistance under the federal government’s specially adapted housing program. The program makes funds available to veterans to build or remodel housing that meets their needs.

NAR Presses CFPB on Closing Disclosure Access

Thursday, October 20 2016 9:41 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) considers updates to the Know Before You Owe initiative, NAR has submitted comments urging the agency to emphasize in its rule that real estate professionals may have access to the Closing Disclosure. NAR also asked the agency to take steps to decrease uncertainty during the closing process. More.

Court Sides with PHH Upholding RESPA Section 8

Thursday, October 13 2016 3:30 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®
On October, 11, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in the case of PHH v. CFPB. In this case, the court vacated a $109 million penalty imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) against PHH Corporation for allegedly violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) by paying for referrals where there is federally related mortgage.

The court held in favor of PHH, stating that payments for bona fide services provided and made at fair market value do not violate RESPA, reinforcing NAR’s support of marketing service agreements. The court held the CFPB’s unreasonable departure from longstanding prior RESPA interpretations issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and retroactive application of its novel interpretation of the law violated PHH’s due process rights. The court also called into question the legal authority and unchecked power of the CFPB and rejected the CFPB’s understanding of their essentially unlimited statute of limitations authority, remanding the case for further proceedings. 

Industry greatly welcomes this decision by the court. The CFPB, however, will almost certainly  appeal the case, either en banc to the full bench of the D.C. Circuit or directly to the Supreme Court. Last year, NAR filed an amicus brief in support of PHH, arguing that the CFPB incorrectly and retroactively overturned settled legal interpretations of RESPA. The court’s opinion is consistent with NAR’s position, and also concludes that the CFPB’s action violated PHH’s due process rights, and that some of the alleged violations are well outside the applicable statute of limitations.  

While the CFPB will likely continue enforcement actions with respect to payments tied directly to referrals, its efforts to challenge payments for services provided as disguised referral fees will be stymied in the near future. Real estate professionals must still proceed with caution when entering into MSAs and ensure compliance with RESPA – that payment for goods and services actually furnished or performed are made at fair (“reasonable”) market value. Best practices for these agreements include memorializing the MSA in writing, insuring that bona fide services are provided, disclosing the relationship to the consumer, and obtaining independent valuations of the marketing and advertising services.

See President Tom Salomone's statement on the case.

Read the full opinion here 

For best practices on marketing service agreements, see NAR’s RESPA Do’s for MSAs.

For more background on the case, view NAR’s Window to the Law analysis.

FHA Single Family Handbook Update Delivers Clarity for Appraisers, Say Realtors®

Thursday, October 13 2016 3:27 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®

October 5, 2016

Media Contact: Jon Boughtin / 202-383-1193 

Realtors® raised concerns earlier this year when the Federal Housing Administration’s “Single Family Housing Policy Handbook” included new requirements for appraisers to operate and physically observe appliances on a property during the completion of an appraisal. This inspector-type role far exceeded previously understood appraiser duties and had the potential to make appraisals longer and more costly for consumers.

In response to those concerns, HUD recently announced updates (link is external) to their SF Handbook that clarifies this requirement. According to the new guidance, appraisers must simply note that certain appliances contributing to the market value of the property are physically present.

The National Association of Realtors® expressed appreciation to FHA for its clarification in the following statement from NAR President Tom Salomone:

“Appraisers have a lot on their plate, and READ MORE . . . 

National Association of REALTORS® News

Saturday, August 6 2016 12:00 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®
  • H.R. 3700 Becomes Law...President Obama on July 31 signed H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, which makes it easier for condo buyers to obtain mortgage credit. NAR has long been an advocate of the bill, testifying before Congress and lobbying for its passage. Details and videoVideo message from NAR President Tom Salomone.
  • Rural Loan Funds Running Out...The federal Rural Housing Service only has funds for its Sec. 502 direct loan program for about three more weeks. After that, borrowers will have to wait until the start of the new fiscal year in October to get a loan. There are alternatives, though, including the agency’s guaranteed loan program. The rural loan issue is a top story in The Voice for Real Estate for the week of Aug 1. Other stories look at President Obama’s signing of the NAR-backed condo bill, whether home sales have peaked for the year, and which metro areas are impacted by the federal government’s stepped-up effort against money laundering in real estate. The video also looks at how residential rules to come out after the mortgage crisis are impacting commercial real estate lending, and NAR’s victory this week when the federal government issued a statement that says lenders and title officers have no reason to cite privacy concerns as a reason for not sharing the closing disclosure in residential transactions with agents. Access and share the video.
  • CFPB: Lenders Can Share Disclosure...The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced a proposed rule that would make clear it is appropriate for lenders to share the Closing Disclosure (CD) with real estate professionals. Since the implementation of the agency’s “Know Before You Owe” mortgage initiative in 2015, lenders have been reluctant to share the document out of concern that they could be held responsible for improperly disclosing clients’ nonpublic personal information. NAR urged the CFPB to clarify the issue. More.
  • NAR Examining Dodd-Frank Update...In case you missed it: NAR says it is pleased with provisions in the Financial Choice Act that will enhance transparency, accountability, and fairness in the financial system. But the association isn’t prepared to support the bill, which would update Dodd-Frank banking regulations, as it presently stands because of continuing concerns with its approach to reforms. More.
  • FinCEN Expands Efforts to Stop Money Laundering...The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), one of the Treasury Department's lead agencies in the fight against money laundering, has expanded the number of geographic areas where title companies must identify the people behind legal entities used to pay cash for high-end residential real estate. Details.Video.

National Association of REALTORS® News

Sunday, July 24 2016 6:37 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®
  • Senate Passes H.R. 3700…The U.S. Senate unanimously passed H.R. 3700, the "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act," on July 14. The legislation includes reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing, among other provisions, and has long been supported by NAR. President Obama is expected to sign it. News release. More.
  • Voice for Real Estate: Housing Symposium, Condo Win…The latest Voice for Real Estate news video takes a look at the Housing For All symposium NAR hosted this week. Hundreds of housing experts joined NAR to explore solutions to affordable housing and homelessness challenges. NAR Vice President for Government Affairs Sherri Meadows hosted the event, which took place over two days in Washington. The video also looks at NAR's big FHA condo loan win, surveillance video issues, and NAR efforts to curb Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits. Access and share the video.
  • NAR Supports Financial Choice Act…NAR has sent a letter to the House Financial Services Committee supporting the Financial Choice Act (FCA), which would update the Dodd-Frank banking regulations. Among other changes, the FCA would make adjustments to the Truth in Lending Act’s definition of "points and fees," allowing for greater consumer choice in mortgage and settlement services under the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule. Details.
  • NAR Urges Changes to Distressed Asset Program…NAR has asked the FHA to require investors to prioritize owner-occupants when looking to sell a foreclosed property as part of the agency’s efforts to enhance the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program. In a letter to HUD Secretary Julián Castro, NAR President Tom Salomone also expressed support for the FHA’s decision to involve community partners in the acquisition of loan pools through expansion of its auction program to nonprofits. More.
  • Senate Passes FAA Bill…The Senate has passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016, which funds the FAA through Sept. 30, 2017, and was approved by the House earlier in July. The bill includes a provision that allows the FAA to authorize Section 333 exemption holders to operate drones for beyond-visual-line-of-sight and night flights. More.