red pepperHere is Natalie’s brief on what is happening!. The real estate commission meets quarterly with the last meeting in March. I did research into all the bills, documents, and links. Breeze through these topics to get up to date on the issues! Red Hot Issues in Real Estate link to pdf!

Rookies

A total of 7803 people took the real estate exam in 2014. This is a 26% increase over last year. Of those 3938 were issued licenses which is a 32% more than 2013. Because so many taking the exam sneak in with a cell phone, the implementation of metal detectors will most likely happen soon. Helps avoid cheating. People are flooding into this profession. You have more competition than you have had in probably a decade!

Press hard

In 2013, 17% of fingerprints were rejected. This number was cut in half in 2014 as the Dept of Licensing sent out two fingerprint cards. The extra card was kept on file in case there was a problem with the first card. It eliminated over 750 people from having fingerprints retaken. It has been discussed, but no action taken to eliminate the requirement that brokers get fingerprinted every 6 years.

Get the money into the bank

There were less office audits this past year mostly due to staffing issues, but the number of violations has gone up.  Earnest money deposit issues (late deposits) went up 17% over last year. Property Management trust account violations were up 31%. Get that money documented and in the bank!

An Apple for the Teacher

There are almost 1300 course approvals and 105 schools this past year and over 500 approved instructors in the state. Of course there isn’t available documentation as to how many live or online classes and many of the schools are national. Thanks for choosing clockhours.com and Natalie as an instructor for your continuing ed!

I feel the earth move under my feet

There is a proposal to add the Dept of Natural Resources mapping for landslides to the next core class.  About 13% of Washington has hazardous slide areas. Dept of Nat Resources link

Weed

There are many questions and few answers. From taking a listing that was a grow house to a commercial business unable to get financing to finalize lease. Make sure you make good decisions about disclosure, know that financing from federal bank is not often an option, let client research code and neighborhood issues if they plan to grow or sell weed.

Blooming FLOWRs

There are a variety of types of houseboats, floating homes and barges in Washington State. They used to be listed on the MLS until an attorney at the MLS decided some were actually “vessels” and needed a vessel license.  But, Linda and Kevin Bagley championed a bill (click to link) to amend the definitions in real estate license law to add floating homes and Floating on Water Residences  to real estate brokerage services. This bill soon to become law so that floating home will be back on the MLS!

Let them know

The property information disclosure form may be amended to add 4 specific issues relating to accessibility including stairway lifts, wheelchair lifts, elevators, and inclines. The bill is working its way through the system in Olympia.

If I had a Hammer

Since 2007 it has been law that a homeowner is required to register as a contractor if that person fixes up a house without occupying or using the structure for a year after the date of construction. This law also included a homeowner fixing up a house in excess of $500.  But, HB 1749 (click to link)  is getting all Yea’s in Olympia will change definitions so that a homeowner who improves and offers to sell property without occupying it for more than a year is not required to register as a contractor if the owner contracts with a general contractor. Its hard to believe but there is a story that n L&I official followed a homeowner out of Home Depot to levy a fine? So a person flipping a house doesn’t need a contractors license if he/she hires a contractor.

Right to the Core

The Core Curriculum class required every two years is being rewritten/revised for 2016-2017. Natalie has worked with the Dept of Licensing to give input for every core that we have had to take! As a broker you never have to be concerned about what core to take.  Just take whatever is available during the two years you have to renew!

The CD that doesn’t make music

The CFPD regulations come into effect on Aug 1st.  Basically the HUD1 stmt will be called the CD or Closing Disclosure and the and good faith estimate will be LE or Loan Estimates. There will be delays if there are last minute changes, lenders have to be more accurate, and lenders have to provide disclosure three days before closing. Not everyone is singing the praises of the coming changes but time will tell.  Just keep making music….

Really, are you hiding who you work for? 

Real estate brokers have to hang their license with a designated broker.  Licensing law says that a broker must disclose the firm in a clear and conspicuous manner on all advertising.  The guidelines from the Dept of Licensing state that this disclosure must be within “one click” on any webpage. Brokers are making it difficult for a consumer and the dept of Licensing to find what firm they are licensed with.  One proposal that may be discussed is whether brokers should have to display their license number on all advertising as loan officers do.

Zillow is an advertising medium

Last month the Changing Business practices meeting met with an attorney and public relations executive.  The discussion was open to questions from the attendees and committee members even on the conference call.  It was interesting to me because there was such a heated discussion it seemed about Zillow at a previous meeting yet there really was nothing to say when they were clear they are an advertising medium like an online classified newspaper ad and have no intention of selling real estate.  The two hottest issues seem to be the “Coming Soon” listings on Zillow that are violations of our NWMLS and that Real Estate agents are letting lenders pay for their advertising on Zillow.