04 Aug 2016

Landscaping to Your Environment

With much of the Western United States experiencing extended droughts, some homeowners are turning to alternative landscaping methods to save resources. Recently REALTOR® Magazine1 (pg 34-35) wrote about owners who are “rethinking the traditional American landscape” by moving toward yards that require less water and maintenance. The “desert landscaping” method, popular in much of the Southwest, is probably what comes to mind when picturing drought-resistant landscaping, but depending...

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01 Aug 2016

Update: H.R. 3700/ S. 3083 Signed into Law

As we predicted on July 20th, H.R. 3700/ S. 3083, the bipartisan housing legislation that passed through Congress without receiving a single “no” vote, was signed into law by President Obama on Friday, July 29th. The new law will reform HUD’s Section 8 housing voucher program (and any other family rental assistance programs) by requiring public housing agencies (PHAs) to develop new systems to properly review the incomes of families receiving assistance, to cease assisting families with...

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29 Jul 2016

U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest in Over 50 Years

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, owner-occupied households fell to 62.9% of total households in the second quarter of 2016, the lowest rate of homeownership in the U.S. since 1965. This statistic raises concerns about the future of home ownership and housing affordability in the United States. Before potential causes of this decline are assessed, the numbers must be put in historical context. Census Bureau statistics show that after a low point in 1965, the homeownership rate climbed (fai...

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20 Jul 2016

H.R. 3700/S. 3083 Passes Congress, on to The President

Legislation with a significant impact on the function of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rental assistance and public housing programs, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requirements for condominium mortgage insurance, and Department of Agriculture (USDA) single family housing guaranteed loan programs passed the Senate on Friday. H.R. 3700 passed through the House of Representatives on February 2nd, so the legislation will be moving to the President’s desk for approval or ...

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13 Jul 2016

Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate Markets

In today’s global economy, real estate is far more than a series of local markets whose prices are determined by local buyers—it is an interconnected, international market where the economic conditions in one nation can affect real estate values thousands of miles away. Foreign investment in U.S. real estate is now commonplace and has significant impacts on both commercial and residential market conditions. Hearing this, a number of questions come to mind:  Where is the money coming from a...

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08 Jul 2016

Trended Credit Data and DU 10.0–What You Need to Know

As the lending industry evolves, changes are made to credit reporting. The newest of these changes is the emergence of a concept known as “trended credit data”. Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, has called it “the most important tool developed by the credit reporting agencies since the advent of the credit score” (CAMP source). Fannie Mae will be implementing trended data (TD) into its Desktop Underwriter risk assessment and automated loan underwriting software on September...

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29 Jun 2016

Update: Section 8 Housing Legislation Stalls

We wrote recently about potential updates to Section 8 housing law in California. S.B. 1053, sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) would have made it illegal for a landlord to deny a housing applicant because they receive Section 8 assistance. This bill failed to move out of the Appropriations Committee, ending the possibility of the bill passing and becoming law. The California Apartment Association (CAA) had opposed the proposed legislation for a few reasons. Owners and operators wo...

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24 Jun 2016

New Rules for Using Drones in Real Estate

A couple of months ago I wrote about the restrictions on the use of drones (also referred to as UAS) for commercial purposes. Some real estate professionals had become interested in aerial photography and videos for their listings, but without a pilot’s license and a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) any commercial use was illegal. The FAA has now announced finalized rules on commercial use of drones that make operation more accessible. If you are interested in using drones...

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22 Jun 2016

Expedited Real Estate Licensing for Veterans

In what should be exciting news to any Veterans looking to pursue a career in real estate, effective July 1st the initial licensure processing for all honorably discharged Veterans will be expedited. S.B. 1226 added Section 115.4 to the Business and Professions Code (BPC) and requires that all boards within the jurisdiction of the Department of Consumer Affairs “expedite, and may assist, the initial licensure process” for any applicant that can prove honorable discharge from the U.S. Arme...

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09 Jun 2016

Can a Criminal Still Have a Real Estate License?

Like any professional license, a real estate licensee can have his or her license suspended or revoked for various reasons. Criminal conduct is one of those, which makes sense considering the responsibilities of a real estate agent. Few people would want to be represented by someone they do not trust while relying on that person for financial advice, showing their home, and handling the paperwork to buy or sell property. Passing the California real estate exam does not equal an endorsement of...

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