SRCAR Encourages your Support of AB 1098.

On Friday, August 30, the legislature passed AB 1098, a bill that would reinstate VLF funds to the four newest cities in California, including Menifee and Wildomar. We encourage you to download the attached letter of support and email it to the following people. The Governor could make a decision on this measure at any time so time is of the essence.

Thanks to Senators Anderson and Emmerson and to Assemblymen Jeffries and Nestande for their affirmative votes to move this bill forward. 

SUPPORT letter for AB 1098 

nancy.mcfadden@gov.ca.gov,

gareth.elliott@gov.ca.gov,

anna.pozdyn@gov.ca.gov ,

gavin.newsom@ltgov.ca.gov

http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php

CAR Opposes SB 1220 Transfer Tax

C.A.R. Opposes Transfer Tax Legislation
C.A.R. is opposing SB 1220 (DeSaulnier), which imposes a transfer tax to generate funds for affordable housing. C.A.R. is opposing SB 1220 because it will add to the cost of buying a home at a time when the housing market is struggling to recover. C.A.R. is an aggressive advocate for affordable housing, but believes it is bad policy to fund affordable housing by making housing less affordable and to fund affordable housing at the expense of homebuyers.
Sen. DeSaulnier has introduced SB 1220 to permanently fund an affordable housing trust fund. Unfortunately, SB 1220 creates a real estate transfer tax of $75 per document to fund this program. In virtually all transactions, a minimum of three documents are recorded – the grant deed, the release and reconveyance, and a trust deed. SB 1220 will create a minimum $225 transfer tax, and the amount could be even higher, depending on the total number of documents recorded.
C.A.R. believes it is unfair and unwise to target one group (homebuyers) to pay for affordable housing, which is an issue of broad social concern. C.A.R. is also troubled that SB 1220 increases the already-substantial cost of buying a home.
While C.A.R. adamantly supports the creation of homeownership opportunities, SB 1220 is clearly not the way to achieve this goal.

SB 1220 is expected to have a hearing in the Senate in April.
For more information, see C.A.R.’s web site: http://www.car.org/governmentaffairs/getinvolved/sb1220opposetransfertax/

LAPD Warning Against Hiring Unmanned Aircraft Operators for Aerial Photos

Los Angeles authorities have asked C.A.R. to communicate this warning to REALTORS® who hire unmanned aircraft operators to take aerial photographs for marketing high-end properties. Using these devices (also known as drones) for flight in the air with no onboard pilot may violate, among other things, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) policy on unmanned aircrafts, and Los Angeles’s local ordinance requiring permits for filming commercial motion pictures and still photographs.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) investigation has apparently revealed that aerial photos where unmanned aircraft were observed have appeared on certain real estate sales websites. According to FilmL.A., the LAPD Air Division has issued this warning as it intends to prosecute violators in the near future. FilmL.A. is a public benefit company created by the City and County of Los Angeles to manage film permit activity and related issues.
Under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s current policy, no one can operate an unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System without specific authority. Operators who wish to fly an unmanned aircraft for civil use must obtain an FAA experimental airworthiness certificate, which will not be issued to an unmanned aircraft used for compensation or hire. Although the FAA allows hobbyists to fly model airplanes for recreational purposes under specific guidelines, that authority does not extend to operators flying unmanned aircraft for business purposes. More information is available from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Notice on Unmanned Aircraft Operations and the FAA’s policy.

Take Action Now!

This week Congress will be debating amendments that will dramatically impact our business here in California – either extending or expiring the current conforming loan limits. Current loan limits are $729,000 max for conforming, with our area being closer to $625,000. If these expire our next max would be back to $425,000. Now  $425,000 may sound like a  pretty fair loan limit. Folks across the mid-west could buy three median price homes for that amount. But that’s part of what got us into trouble out here to begin with – our median price in Southwest California, as well as much of the state, was well over $500,000 for several years. But if you wanted to buy a median price home, you were forced into a non-conforming or jumbo loan. FHA loans fell to less than 3% of the market in 2006. So people started looking for alternatives to traditional financing. 

Viola – sub-prime, Alt-A, exotics. 

You’ve probably already heard that B of A is already operating under the new/old loan limits assuming that Congress will let them expire. This means larger, more costly jumbos are back in place for many buyers. You think our move-up and upper end market is dead now? Just wait. 

So please take a moment to respond to this Call to Action. This week the Senate will be considering an amendment to the Military Construction Appropriations Bill (don’t ask), to maintain the current loan limits for another year. Both CAR and NAR support this effort. This Call to Action urges our Senators to work to maintain the current loan limits to help fan the flames of the recovery they so desperately need. 

Please help us ensure that your clients have access to affordable mortgages. 

cta

Realtors! Please answer your Call for Action.

Stay Active. Answer the CFA!, Posted by Vince

Posted: 30 Mar 2011 07:18 AM PDT

Doctors consistently tell us that we can keep ourselves healthy if we stay active. Without consistent exercise, our health deteriorates.

It’s the same in politics. If REALTORS® continue to stay active on Capitol Hill, we can help bring our industry back to health and maintain its health. If our participation slides, our businesses slide.

We sent out a Call for Action on Monday to all REALTORS® on the mortgage interest deduction. It tells Congress not to trim the MID one bit. It also asks members of the House of Representatives to back House Resolution 25 which supports the MID in its current form.

We’ve already seen a strong participation rate on this one. But when we say we need “everyone” on board answering the Call for Action, we mean it. This is a serious issue that will affect homeowners, consumers, and every single REALTOR® in America.

There’s no association for home owners out there. There’s only us. NAR represents the 75 million home owners.

So it’s crucial that REALTORS® remain active and answer the CFA today. Now is your moment to let your member of Congress know what’s important to you.

If you need more convincing, check out the letter-to-the-editor on the MID in the Chicago Tribune from NAR’s Chief Economist. Do you think it’s a good time to ask homeowners to cough up another $3,050? I don’t either.

Thank you for your participation! I promise you, it’s making a big difference. — Vince Malta, 2011 NAR Vice President and Liaison to Government Affairs

MID Under Attack Soon? Watch your email inbox.

The Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) may be under attack again.  As the 112th Congress struggles to finalize a budget plan for this year, everything is back on the table.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) recently stated that MID for second homes is becoming harder and harder to justify in these
difficult times.  So might be the MID for homes greater than $500,000.

Now is the time for REALTORS® to act!  On March 28, an all member Call for Action (CFA) will be launched.  This CFA will ask REALTORS® to contact their House Members to urge them not to touch the MID in any legislative or budget proposal.  It will also urge them to sign on to H.Res. 25 expressing
the sense of Congress that the current Federal income tax deduction on interest paid on debt secured by a first or second home should not be further restricted.

First, be on the lookout early next week for the CFA (either from your broker or from NAR).  Second, respond immediately to the CFA.  Third, spread the word and ask your colleagues to respond too.  Any House budget action will be quick.  MID is on the line.  Now is not the time to sit back and let
someone else make the decisions.

CAR Red Alert on anti-deficiency bill. We need you NOW!

C.A.R.-Sponsored Bill to Protect Borrowers From Lenders

Call Your State Senator Today

C.A.R. is sponsoring SB 1178 (Corbett) to extend anti-deficiency protection to homeowners who had refinanced from “purchase money” loans and are now facing foreclosure. C.A.R. is sponsoring SB 1178 because most homeowners don’t know that when they refinanced from their original loan they lost their legal protections and now may be personally liable for the difference between the value of the foreclosed property and the amount owed to the lender. SB 1178 will be voted on soon by the entire Senate.

California law has protected borrowers from so-called “deficiency” liability on their home mortgages since the 1930s, but the evolution of mortgage finance requires that the statute be updated.

Current law says that if a homeowner defaults on a mortgage used to purchase his or her home, the homeowner’s liability on the mortgage is limited to the property
itself. The law has worked well since the 1930s to protect borrowers, ensure the quality of loan underwriting and allow borrowers brought down by financial crisis to get back on their feet.

SB 1178 is consistent with the intent of the original law and simply updates it for modern times. Current law was intended to ensure that if someone lost their home to foreclosure, they wouldn’t be liable for additional payment. Since the law was passed over 70 years ago, homeowners refinancing from the original loan to lower their interest rate has become a commonplace. The 1930s legislature didn’t anticipate how mortgages would change over time.

As things stand today, lenders could pursue families to collect this “debt” years down the road. Lenders have up to ten years to collect on the additional debt after a judgment has been
entered on the foreclosure. Years after a family has lost their home, they could find themselves in even more financial trouble. Lenders could even sell these accounts to aggressive collection agencies or even bundle them into securities. The end result would be banks who didn’t lend responsibly in the first place coming after families for even more money that they don’t have.

C.A.R. is Sponsoring SB 1178 because:

·
SB 1178 is fair. Home buyers, and lenders, entered into the purchase with the idea that the mortgage would be non-recourse debt, and that the lender would look to the security (the house) itself to make good on the debt if the borrower cannot.  mIt meets the legitimate expectation of the borrowers, who have no idea that they are losing this protection by a refinance. Home owners didn’t know that their refinance exposed them to personal liability, and new tax liability, on the note. It would be unfair to allow a lender, or someone that has purchased a note from a lender, to pursue the borrower beyond the value of the agreed upon security.

·     SB 1178 is consistent with the intent of the original law and simply updates it for modern times. Current law was intended to ensure that if someone lost their home to foreclosure, they wouldn’t be liable for additional payment. Since the law was passed over 70 years ago, homeowners refinancing from the original loan to lower their interest rate has become a commonplace. The 1930s legislature didn’t anticipate how mortgages would change over time.

·     Lenders could pursue families to collect this “deficiency debt” years down the road. Under current law, lenders have up to ten years to collect on the additional debt after a judgment has been entered on the foreclosure. Years after a family has lost their home, they could find themselves in even more financial trouble. Lenders could even sell these accounts to aggressive collection agencies or even bundle them into securities. The end result would be banks who didn’t lend responsibly in the first place coming after families for even more money that they don’t have.

·     SB 1178 does NOT apply to “cash-out” refinances, unless the money was used to improve the home and it doesn’t apply to HELOCs.

Be part of C.A.R.’s Government Affairs Team and help pass SB 1178. Call your state Senator TODAY and urge him or her to vote “YES” on SB 1178.

Real world effects:

In 2006, Mary and her spouse have a nice median priced home and a $500,000 mortgage.  Because it is a “purchase money” mortgage, if she defaults or walks away from the house, the lender’s only option is to take the house by foreclosure.

In 2006, Mary decides to refinance the house because interest rates have become so much more attractive.  They refinance their original “purchase money” mortgage, and begin paying on their new $500,000 mortgage. Nothing fancy, no new debt, no cash out, no consumer spending built into the loan – just a lower interest rate. Unbeknownst to Mary, and with no notice from the lender, she has lost the anti-deficiency protection that applied to the original purchase money note. Now, if she loses her job and defaults on the loan, the lender can sue her personally and not only foreclose on the house, but also get a judgment against her for the difference.

In 2009, Mary’s house is “upside down” and only worth half of what it was in 2006 – so, she could lose her house, and still owe the lender more than her original equity. Even worse, the lender can hound her for that liability for the next 10 years whenever she gets a new job or acquires any additional asset. Call Senator Dennis Hollingsworth today at: 1-800-672-3135, pin # 196519886 and
urge him to vote yes on SB1178.

Title Compliance Office – SCAM ALERT!

Recently I’ve had several members phone me or send me a copy of a report allegedly from the Title Compliance Office. This is a blatant scam trying to separate you from $167. Everybody gets a copy of your Grant Deed when you purchase a property and if you don’t have it either the Riverside County recorder can get you one or most any title company can do it for nothing or a small fee for printing and mailing.

We are researching more on this outfit but here’s what the Better Business Bureau had to say:

Company Rating F
Our opinion of what this rating means:
We strongly question the company’s reliability for reasons such as that they have failed to respond to complaints, their advertising is grossly misleading, they are not in compliance with the law’s licensing or registration requirements, their complaints contain especially serious allegations, or the company’s industry is known for its fraudulent business practices.

CAR on Lead Base Paint Renovation Rules

I realize there aren’t too many problems locally with lead base paint since much of community has been built since the lead-based paint ban went into effect. However, there are a few and if you have one this is for you…
Brought to you by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
LEAD RENOVATION RULE MAY AFFECT REALTORS®

Starting today, renovations that disturb lead-based paint in older residential dwellings and child-occupied facilities must generally comply with the Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rule of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  REALTORS® acting as listing agents or property managers who advise their clients to perform renovations, repairs, or painting projects for such properties may, as a matter of prudence, also want to inform them about these lead renovation requirements.  One common example is when a listing agent recommends that a seller has a home painted to improve its marketability.

Under the newly implemented rule, renovators of target housing built before 1978 must now be trained and EPA-certified to perform safe work practices to prevent lead contamination.  Additionally, renovators must deliver EPA’s lead renovation pamphlet to an occupant within 60 days before a project begins (and, if mailed, at least seven days before a project begins).  Renovators must also obtain the occupant’s signed acknowledgment of receipt or substitute documentation as specified.

The EPA issued this rule in 2008, but delayed implementation until now.  The rule generally applies to building contractors, handymen, residential landlords, property managers, and anyone else who is paid to perform renovations or to direct workers to perform renovations as specified.  The lead renovation rule does not apply to homeowners renovating the homes they live in.  However, sellers of target housing must, among other things, disclose to their buyers any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards (C.A.R. Form FLD).

Renovation work covered by the lead renovation rule is defined as a modification of an existing structure that disturbs a painted surface, such as surface restoration or surface preparation activity.  Excluded are minor repair and maintenance activities that disrupt up to 6 square feet of interior painted surface or 20 square feet of exterior painted surface.  Demolitions and window replacements are not considered minor repairs.

For more information about the lead renovation rule, C.A.R. offers a legal article entitled Federal Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rule.  See also EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting webpage which includes the new requirements, pamphlets, and other resources.  To locate an EPA-certified renovation firm, go to http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_firm.htm.

SIGN UP FOR MONTHLY LEGAL WEBINAR: Join us for an hour on May 3, 2010 starting at 1 p.m. for our monthly Legal Live Webinar.  C.A.R.’s Senior Counsel Stella Ling will provide a brief update on hot legal issues, and answer Member Legal Hotline questions from webinar attendees.  Here’s your chance to get answers to your own legal questions, as well as find out how to handle legal challenges other REALTORS® may be facing.  Legal Live Webinars are offered free of charge as a member benefit to C.A.R. REALTORS® only.  Registration is simple, but space is limited, so sign up now at http://www.car.org/legal/legal-live-webinars/.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Realegal® is published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade association representing more than 175,000 REALTORS® statewide.

Edited by: Stella Ling, stellal@car.org

Executive offices:
525 South Virgil Ave., Los Angeles CA 90020
phone (213) 739-8200; fax (213) 480-7724

Legislative offices:
980 Ninth Street #1430, Sacramento CA 95814
phone (916) 492-5200; fax (916) 444-2033

To view C.A.R.’s Privacy Policy click on this link:
http://www.car.org/aboutus/privacypolicy

If you wish to update the email address to which this newsletter is sent, please do not reply to this email.
E-mail address change requests must be directed to your local association.

To contact C.A.R., click on this link:
http://www.car.org/?view=ContactUs

Written inquiries regarding Realegal® should be directed to Stella Ling, stellal@car.org.

Copyright © 2010 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.)

Asian Citrus Psyllid Threatens Area Citrus

We’ve been hearing about this for the past few months. They are now setting traps throughout North County and out in our own groves in hope of catching this pest before it gets a foothold like the Glassy Wing Sharpshooter did a few years ago. That one decimated some 20% of our vineyards. Hope we catch this in time.

California State Senate Republican Caucus
Briefing Report: Huanglongbing and the Asian Citrus Psyllid Threaten California’s Citrus Industry

Introduction

The Huanglongbing (HLB) disease and its vector, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), are a direct threat to California’s $1.88 billion citrus industry.

The HLB and its vector have had a significant impact on citrus trees and subsequently citrus production around the world including Asia, India, China, South and Central America, Mexico and Florida. In Florida, where HLB was first detected in 2005, the disease has infected approximately 20 percent of all its citrus trees and costs approximately $300 million annually.

Otherwise known as the “citrus greening” disease or “yellow shoot” disease, HLB is one of the most destructive diseases of citrus trees worldwide. Once infected, the fruit becomes inedible and the tree must be destroyed to prevent the further spread of this disease. Currently, there is no cure.

The ACP, Diaphorina citri, is a small aphid-like bug that eats the leaves and stems of citrus and citrus-related trees and is destructive to citrus trees on its own. The psyllids are most likely found on new shoots, and the insect population increases during periods of active plant growth. Adult psyllids usually feed on the underside of leaves and can feed on either young or mature leaves. This allows adults to survive year-round. Once the psyllid picks up HLB, it carries it for the rest of its life. HLB is then spread by moving infected plant material such as potted plants, bud wood and leaves.

Thus far, the ACP, after first being detected in 2008, has been confined to urban areas in Southern California. Only one commercial citrus location has been affected. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pest Exclusion Branch (CDFA) have confirmed populations of ACP in Los Angeles, Orange, Imperial, Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino counties. These counties are currently under federal and state quarantines. The HLB has not yet been detected in California. However, there have been four detections of HLB in several different regions of Mexico between August and December 2009.

Invasive Species

Invasive species are generally non-native plants, animals, microbes, diseases or plants that are capable of establishing populations in new areas, and the resulting uncontrolled propagation will likely cause economic or environmental harm.

Nationally, the economic impact of invasive species is estimated at $138 billion, which includes the costs of controlling and preventing the spread of invasive species, inspection of agricultural products entering and crossing borders, and the damage to crops and crop production.

In California, six new invasive species are introduced annually or approximately one every 60 days. Currently, invasive species cost the state’s agricultural industry approximately $3 billion annually.

Since 2008, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the lead agency in detecting, managing and eradicating harmful invasive species, has enacted emergency pest abatement and control measures for several infestations of invasive species including Asian citrus psyllid, European gypsy moth, Mediterranean fruit fly, Mexican fruit fly, Oriental fruit fly, Diaprepes root weevil and Sudden Oak Death.

Generally, there are two ways a non-native invasive species can be introduced into a foreign ecosystem, either through self-introduction or through human actions. Self-introduction of invasive species can occur as a result of high densities of species at a particular location that then get transported to another location via wind currents.

Human introductions of non-native species can be accidental or deliberate. Goods shipped from other states or countries via airplane, cargo ship, train and automobile or through the mail can contain insects or microorganisms that are unintentionally transported along with the goods to a new locale.

In the United States, the ACP was first detected in 1998 in Palm Beach County, Florida in backyard plantings of orange jasmine. By 2001, it had spread to 31 counties in Florida, with much of the spread due to movement of infested nursery plants. In the spring of 2001, ACP was accidentally introduced into the Rio Grande Valley on potted nursery stock from Florida. It was subsequently found in Hawaii in 2006 and in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina in 2008.

In California, the ACP was first discovered on August 27, 2008, in San Diego County. In October 2008, it was found in Imperial County. Later, in August 2009, the ACP was found in Orange County. And then in August 2009, it was found in Los Angeles County. In late August 2009, over 100 psyllids were discovered in a FedEx package shipped to Sacramento.

California is one of the last citrus-producing regions in the world that has yet to be impacted, but HLB could invade California at any time. The risk is high. The most likely sources of a potential infestation would be from goods shipped to California from Florida, Mexico, Hawaii or Asia. The HLB may also find its way to California through self-introduction from Mexico.

Economic Impact

Huanglongbing has the potential to have a significant economic impact on California’s citrus industry. The citrus industry generates nearly $1.88 billion annually and supports on average $3 billion in overall economic activity. The industry supports approximately 26,000 people in California and the industry’s productivity ranks second behind Florida.

According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, California’s total citrus production has averaged 3.2 million tons per season over the past three seasons, about 24 percent of the nation’s total. California supplies approximately 80 percent of the nation’s fresh-market oranges, while Florida grows oranges mainly for juice. California also supplies 87 percent of the nation’s lemons.

Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry, which supports approximately 76,000 jobs, reports losses resulting from ACP and HLB at $300 million annually. To date, almost 60,000 acres of trees have been removed, which reflects approximately 10% of Florida’s commercial citrus production. Florida growers are spending on average $500 per acre annually on their ACP and HLB control and eradication efforts. One projection provides that almost all of Florida’s citrus trees will be infected in 7-12 years.

Moreover, a CDFA analysis projects that if the ACP begins to transmit the disease HLB, California’s entire citrus industry could be at risk. In one recent study in Florida, the presence of HLB increased citrus production costs by 40 percent. A CDFA analysis based on Florida’s experience suggests that it could cost $224 million or approximately 20 percent of California production.

What is Being Done?

To date, California’s citrus industry has been working with federal, state and local officials to detect, quarantine and eradicate ACP and to prevent the introduction of the citrus greening disease.

In particular, since the ACP and HLB are a national problem, the departments of agricultures of other citrus-producing states have been working with the USDA to develop a comprehensive plan to detect quarantine and eradicate ACP.

The plan requires, in relevant part, increased inspections at points of entry such as international ports, state lines, airports and mail-sorting facilities; education programs; quarantining affected states; the development of new traps and controls; and the development of resistant varieties of citrus.

Recognizing the effects of HLB on Florida’s citrus production, and the devastating impact it has had on other citrus-producing regions, the USDA is expending federal funds to fight the spread of HLB in Mexico to California.

In California, CDFA’s Pest Eradication Branch leads the state’s efforts to detect and eradicate the ACP. CDFA’s funding for its detection and trapping activities is, in part, being underwritten by the USDA. Under federal law, these federal funds cannot be used for the state’s eradication efforts. CDFA’s eradication efforts are currently being funded by its own agency appropriations. CDFA’s pest eradication funds, however, are not unlimited.

The citrus industry is taking a proactive stance in its fight against the ACP. Last year, AB 281 (De Leon) Chapter 426, Statutes of 2009, established the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee and an industry-funded program to assist in combating citrus specific diseases, vectors, and pests when found in California. CDFA estimates the industry-supported fee assessments will total $1.7 million to combat the introduction of ACP.

Conclusion

The devastating impact on Florida’s citrus industry, coupled with the long-term nature of the problem, illustrate the importance of being proactive and aggressive in preventing both the spread of ACP and the introduction of HLB in California’s thriving citrus industry. Legislative efforts should focus on ensuring that CDFA and other relevant agencies have the resources and funding necessary to protect this vital industry.

For more information on this report or other Food and Agriculture issues, contact Scott Chavez, Senate Republican Office of Policy at 916/651-1501.

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New Features Coming to Supra Web

phone
New Features are Coming to SupraWEB

We have an updated release of SupraWEB coming the week of March 15th  that will bring several new features including:

  • Enhanced reporting features including the ability to customize showing reports by listing, and automatically send them to the homeowner.
  • A new mobile version of SupraWEB, designed specifically for smartphones, allowing you to email showing reports to your clients, see feedback, and get an update code.
  • Improved showing feedback options, including the ability to create up to ten customized questions per listing.
  • A Single Sign On (SSO) login which will provide a higher level of data security and reduce the number of logins you will need to maintain

It will be necessary for all SupraWEB users to create a new user ID (an SSO) and password before they can access SupraWEB. This will be a one time process. After that, you will use your new SSO to log into SupraWEB (no longer will you need your Key Number and PIN).

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Login Tutorial
Lockbox Key on Your Phone
Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
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How can I learn more about this new feature?

We have created a website located at www.ekeyprofessional.com/sso.html which provides a summary of the change, and a tutorial on how to set up your SSO.  Please note that you do not have to create your SSO right now. Once the new SSO system is implemented, you will need to complete the SSO process the first time you log into SupraWEB.

You can also call us at 1-866-421-0308 with any questions about this change.  We have brought in additional staff members to answer your questions.

Why are these changes being made?

  1. By utilizing the SSO technology, we are able to bring customer billing information into SupraWEB (this information is currently in Agent Web Pay).
  2. Now that billing information can be accessed in SupraWEB, it will not be necessary to maintain two sets of login information.  One login gives access to all the keybox management tools, as well as billing details.
  3. This upgrade also allows us to offer ActiveKEY and DisplayKEY users the option of paying their bill with a credit card.  This has been one of our most commonly heard requests and we are happy to be able to provide this service.

We greatly appreciate your continued business.  We are working hard to add features and functions to the Wireless Information System that will continue to provide security and timely market information.

Effective 2011 Political Investment No Longer Voluntary

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At our Mid-Winter Board of Directors meeting this past Saturday, the California Association of Realtors® overwhelmingly voted on a motion out of the Political Affairs Committee to begin assessing every Realtor® the amount of $49 effective in 2011 for the purpose of funding our political activities.

At the urging of the Government Affairs Director sub-forum, CAR adopted the concept during our October meetings, directing legal staff to determine the most efficient way to implement the policy. The determination, published as an Issues Briefing Paper prior to Januarys meeting, recommended a ‘political assessment opt-over approach’, which was ultimately the direction voted on by the BOD. The opt-over provision allows the member to determine whether the investment amount shall be directed toward the Realtor® Action Fund or ‘opted-over’ to an alternative account.

A bit of history. Since 2000 the CAR political action committees (PAC’s) have grown and shrunk based on membership numbers and the real estate market. In the 2001-2002 election cycle, the PAC’s were funded by $3.8 million of voluntary political contributions. By 2006-2007, the PAC’s funding had increased to $10.1 million. In the past three years those receipts have fallen to just $2.5 million for 2009. As our organization faces increasing challenges at the local, state and federal level, that amount is simply not enough to keep us as a serious player in the political arena.

In addition to our ongoing local and state efforts, we are facing three additional challenges in the coming years that may require significant expenditures.

First there is a proposal on the June 2010 ballot to allow open primaries. If approved by voters this will dramatically increase competitiveness in at least 32 state legislative races. With more competition, the more costly each race becomes and the greater the demands [placed on our PAC’s.

Second, the 2012 re-districting will radically alter the political landscape for Senate and Assembly Districts. That may place additional demands on our PAC’s when combined with the potential for open primaries.

There will also be increased demand in both the 2012 (Gubernatorial) and 2014 (Presidential) election cycles.

With over $19 million spent during the past year, NAR ranks as one of the top ten lobbying organization in the country and the #1 grassroots trade association lobby in Washington. Having achieved so much on behalf of our members and for our customers private property rights, we cannot abandon that position now. We’ve invested too much time and money to make it happen, we can’tsimply walk away from the opportunity we’ve created for ourselves.

In 2009 voluntary contributions to our Realtor Action Fund fell to just 19% of members from a peak of 35% in 2004. That means 81% of our members were freeloading and letting a few of us carry the weight. That’s right. 81% of our members could not see their way clear to investing $49 in their own political survival. $4 a month was too great a burden. That’s less than a #3 special at In-N-Out, one latte, 2 lines in the classifieds.

The program has been vetted legally to assure it complies with California laws on campaign contributions and is consistent with other state and federal laws. No doubt the will be some legal challenges from people who would rather spend thousands on attorney fees than $49 for their own political survival – but CAR is confident it will prevail – especially since CAR is not the first or the only trade association to implement this structure. Dentists, teachers and others have long enjoyed a fund-raising advantage since all members invest in their PAC. And we won’t even talk about the unions or the recent decision by the Supreme  Court allowing corporations to fund candidates from their general fund.

For those members with a religious or cultural aversion to political advocacy, you can direct your investment into an issues oriented fund that will not be used to directly support candidates.

This is a terrific move for CAR and one that has long been advocated as a way to equitably share the cost of our successful advocacy program across the membership rather than just saddling a few of us with the burden. It also means I won’t be hitting you up for a contribution every time I see you. That in itself should be worth $49 bucks.

There will be more information available on the CAR website soon and I’ll make sure that is posted for your review.


Stop the RCWD Building Moratorium

In  a recent Community Forum for The Californian, Jack Hoagland, a Director with the Rancho California Water District, posted a piece entitled “What part of ‘water crisis’ escapes understanding?’ In his post, Hoagland details his proposal for Rancho Water to ‘temporarily stop issuing water supply letters (necessary in the approval process for new development) and to stop installing water meters.’

Translation: BUILDING MORATORIUM.

I’m not sure if Hoagland actually believes the specious arguments he puts forward or if the whole scheme is his attempt to shock the community into a response. As he summarizes, “We need action from our development community to pressure the Legislature to resolve the state water issues.”

Perhaps he believes his plan to hold the community hostage is what it will take. Perhaps he hasn’t been aware of, or participated in, the numerous efforts by local businesses (including developers), municipalities and Rancho Water District customers to effect comprehensive change with the legislature through numerous letter writing campaigns and personal visits.

Or perhaps he truly is that out of touch with the community he purports to serve. The ‘if we don’t build it, they won’t come’ philosophy went out of favor during Jerry Brown’s last term.

What we do not need is an attempt by Rancho Water or any other group to stifle legitimate development in this economic climate. While Hoagland alludes to ‘vacant malls and commercial centers’ and the high residential foreclosure rate, he doesn’t seem to grasp that these have already had a severe dampening effect on development. Considering that demand for new resources is at a virtual standstill due to the housing and commercial meltdown, this call for a moratorium accomplishes no positive purpose. It’s only apparent purpose is to heap insult onto an already severely injured party – namely the citizens, businesses, municipalities and ratepayers of RCWD.

Yet with our residential housing market carrying an active inventory of just over 1 month, the need for additional housing stock will become apparent before long. Similarly with the lack of funding mechanisms currently available for commercial development, only well conceived and funded projects are going forward, the rest are waiting until the current glut of available space is reduced. At a time when everybody from our President to our Governor to our city leaders understand the need to create job opportunities to return our economy to a more robust footing, Rancho Water is proposing to literally turn off the spigot on the cities efforts to attract new jobs to our region.  This is counter-productive at best, idiotically negligent at worst.

We are joined in our efforts by the Cities of Temecula and Murrieta, by our County Supervisor, the Southwest California Legislative Council, The Murrieta Temecula Group, the Building Industry Association and other business and advocacy groups throughout Southwest California.

If you agree that the last slap our community needs right now is a building moratorium, please join me at a public hearing at 6 p.m. on November 9th at the Rancho Water District board room at 42135 Winchester Ave in Temecula (Winchester West of Diaz). Hoagland claims he would like to ‘hear our ideas and views’. Let’s make sure he does – politely and concise.

In addition to our SRCAR email campaign, our partners at the Southwest California Legislative Council have also instituted a letter writing campaign which you can participate in by clicking below.

rcwd

Extend the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

  • Congress will soon debate if the home buyer tax credit should be extended beyond the currently scheduled expiration date of November 30th.
  • Conservative estimates of the number of first time homebuyers that took advantage of this program start at 350,000 and go up from there. Needless to say it was a lot of people and the impact on the market was substantial – to the point where the housing market is driving the economy back toward a sustainable recovery.
  • It is estimated that the tax credit extension will cost the government another $10 Billion if it’s extended for a full year. Compared to the $700 billion in TARP funds that went to Wall Street and the $787 billion economic stimulus bill passed earlier this year, $10 Billion seems pretty reasonable – especially when you consider that money went DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS instead of to banks, insurance companies and other corporate entities.
  • Further, assuming the credit is extended, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, the resulting economic growth and job creation will automatically lead to a rise in federal tax revenue easily covering the cost of the credit.
  • This is where YOU, the Grassroots of our Association, are most powerful. If you haven’t received or responded to the earlier NAR Call-to-Action, please click the button. It will take less than 2 minutes of your time and if it lands you just one more first-time buyer during the next year, it will be the most profitable 2 minutes you’ve ever spent. Please click now.
  • cta

    Take Action! Support ACA 8 today.

    aca8

    It’s been seven months since Assemblymember Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) introduced ACA 8. This bill would prohibit the Legislature from voting on bills without giving the public 72 hour notice of the content and an opportunity to comment. The bill goes on to require that ALL bills be available in print for at least 24 hours prior to a Legislative vote. You can read the full bill here: ACA 8

    But so far, ACA 8 has yet to receive its first hearing. “I find it ironic that a bill that would put an end to back room deals is being held hostage in a back room somewhere,” says Jeffries. “So much for open and transparent government.”

    A 72 hour notice of an issue that comes before the Legislature seems only fair. Local Governments and municipalities must adhere to this requirement as established in the Brown Act. Is it not reasonable to expect at least the same high standards from our state leadership?  Yet as we witnessed during the recent budget debates, agendas are set in secret, deals are made by the Big 5 (also in secret), and entire tax & spend sections of the budget are literally laid on Legislators desks as they are being asked to vote on them.

    Is it any wonder our state is on the state it’s in?

    If the majority controlled Legislature truly desires transparency and accountability, they will pass this bill. Unfortunately 53rd District Assemblymember Ted Lieu, who Chairs the Assembly Rules Committee, has seen fit to stall this bill in his committee for months now. Having spoken with Lieu recently on some housing issues, I believe he is a man of honor and integrity who may just need a little reminder that this important bill is languishing in his committee.

    Please add your voice of concern to the Chair and the members of the Rules Committee. One click sends an email to all the committee members adding your support to ACA 8. Thank you.

    I Support ACA 8 (Jeffries)

    action

    By the way, when you have completed this you’ll get auto-responders from the Rules Committee Members attesting to how swamped they are and encouraging you to go directly to their website to send your email. Don’t be confused – they get ALL their Legislative emails but if you go to their website they’ll ask for your zip code and then tell you they don’t want to hear from you because you aren’t in their district. They’d really rather not hear from anybody but telling you that would be too blatant.

    Be Somebody’s Angel This Saturday

    We’ve got an urgent challenge right now which requires big vision for change.  Each week 4,250 of our families are seeking help from Murrieta, Temecula and Menifee food banks, and 14,800 of these are our children – every week. During summer, school breakfasts and lunches are not available to the children. Demand on our food banks has increased 83% since 2007.  Last year the tons of food collected by our Realtor & Affiliate Food Drive was gone in weeks. The need in our community is skyrocketing.

    Massive change requires massive action. That’s why your food banks have come together in a collaborative effort to partner with every household in our community to respond to this emergency at hand.  The need hit crisis levels this time last year.  This year, the need has risen higher. You, your neighbors and co-workers will make a huge impact this week by participating in the Heaven on Earth Food Drive, Saturday, August 8th.
    Can you imagine the impact of every household responding with just one box on Saturday?

    The time is now to bring your influence, your impact, your choice for change, to your community.  This week, I’m personally asking you to focus with me on things that really matter, and embrace the vision of “each one, reach one!” Will you reach into your cupboards to impact your neighbors with just one box of food? Will you lead your co-workers and neighbors to join you?

    Have you caught the vision? Vision + Action = Impact! The details are on the attached flyer (drop-off locations, list of food banks benefiting, items needed). Print the flyers and pass ’em out to your neighbors, colleagues, clubs, youth groups, everyone.

    And please…cast the vision wide by forwarding this important message on to everyone you know in this special community!  I’d love to hear from them.

    Please view the attached Heaven on Earth Food Drive flyer for more details, drop-off locations and a list of most needed items.

    Remember, our neighbors are hungry…

    but together we will change that!

    Thank you.

    food drive

    Title Companies Move to Eliminate Some Services

    This information has just been posted by CAR. You may also have been contacted by your Title Representative regarding services they are no longer able to provide. CAR is not in agreement with some of the legal interpretations that have led to this curtailment of services and is working diligently to persuade the Department of Insurance to re-v-sit the issue. CAR is also working hard to find alternate and inexpensive sources of the services we have come to rely on our part hers in Title to provide.

    One final note – please don’t yell at your Title Rep. This is entirely not of their doing and they are as frustrated and hamstrung by this as we are.

    TITLE COMPANIES TRIM DOWN PROPERTY PROFILES IN RESPONSE TO DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE LETTER

    Effective immediately, title companies may be eliminating much of the information they provide on property profiles.  The California Department of Insurance recently issued a letter taking the position that title companies may only give the following information on property profiles:

    • Names of owners of record of a specified real property;
    • Description of real property; and
    • Property characteristics as defined under section 408.3 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code, which means year of construction of improvements, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, number of units, acreage, and other attributes or amenities (such as swimming pools, views, zoning classification or restrictions, and use code designations).

    The Department further indicated its position was based on existing law and unrelated to SB 133, the Title Industry-sponsored bill that greatly restricted promotional activities to licensees and became effective this year.  C.A.R. disagrees with this position and is aggressively working to persuade the Department of Insurance to reconsider in light of the legislative intent language of the older law on which the decision is based.

    Meanwhile, REALTORS® will likely encounter a title company’s refusal to provide free of charge any other information, such as recorded documents, sales comps, tax bills, or demographics.  This type of information is still available through other sources, such as county recorder’s offices, tax assessor’s offices, and governmental and public record websites and private services for a fee.   Clients may also have their own copies of some of the documents.  In response, C.A.R. is proactively seeking to provide REALTORS® with a viable solution to this situation, by exploring legal and legislative options, as well as the possibility of providing new member services or benefits to lower the cost of obtaining the information.


    Realegal® is published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade association representing more than 175,000 REALTORS® statewide.

    Edited by: Stella Ling, stellal@car.org

    To contact C.A.R., click on this link:
    http://www.car.org/?view=ContactUs

    Written inquiries regarding Realegal® should be directed to Stella Ling, stellal@car.org.

    Copyright © 2009 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.)

    The REAL Red Alert – Oppose the increased Realtor Tax

    Just a quick update for you on the issue I spoke about at the Broker/Owner/Manager meeting last week, the Democratic Party proposal to withhold an additional 3% tax from each of your checks as independent contractors. The reason you haven’t heard more is that CAR is using a targeted Red Alert working with just the legislators who might support the Realtor Party. As I mentioned last week, I’ve spoken with Senator Hollingsworth and Assemblymember Jeffries and they are both supporting our position – but they’re Republicans. We can only keep this bill from passing if some Senate Democrats join them/us.

    Anyway, here’s a note from CAR . If you happen to know any of these Gentlemen personally, contact DeAnn or Stan at CAR about how you might help. I thought we told them no new taxes just a month ago. Oh well.

    First of all, thank you to all of you who have responded so far to last week’s Red Alert on the 3% withholding proposal contained in the most recent version of the state budget. We understand this budget may have a vote tomorrow or Thursday. If it’s passed, we think the Governor may veto it, even though it looks like he’s comfortable with the withholding requirement. Our goal is to have it removed from subsequent versions of the budget.

    FYI only. We have issued a targeted Red Alert to all REALTORS® residing in targeted Senate districts asking them to call their Senator using our toll-free line. The Senators targeted for this mobilization are: Calderon, Corbett, Florez, Negrete McLeod, Padilla, Price, Wright and Yee. In a few days our additional phone line will be up and we will target specific Assembly Members for the same message.

    In the meantime, if you haven’t already done so, please talk to your assigned legislator(s) and get back to me with any intelligence. Some of the most useful information we have received are from Key Contacts who have spoken to their legislator or the chief of staff. Even if you don’t think you’ve got anything worth sharing, please email me so I know that you’ve responded.

    On another note, a red alert was sent to some of our members from a company providing substitute disclosures asking that they contact legislators in SUPPORT of AB 957 – the Buyer’s Choice Act. Unfortunately, C.A.R. is now OPPOSED to the bill. I’m attaching the communication we sent to some members and to the local associations. If asked about it, please ask people not to respond to this alert from Property ID.

    For more information, please contact DeAnn Kerr at deannk@car.org or Stan Wieg at stanw@car.org.

    False Red Alert – CAR OPPOSES AB957 – the Buyers Choice Act.

    Beware of non-C.A.R. Red Alert!

    “Buyers’ Choice Act” Has Been Amended to

    Increase Your Exposure to Lawsuits!

    Please beware! Many REALTORS® have received a “Red Alert” type communication asking that they contact their legislators in support of AB 957, the “Buyers’ Choice Act.”

    While C.A.R. had been supporting AB 957, the legislation was recently amended to reduce the liability protection that REALORS® have under existing law when an NHD or other substitute disclosure (pest control report; geology report) is provided in the transaction. Due to these amendments, C.A.R. has no other option but to change its position and OPPOSE AB 957.

    C.A.R. does NOT have a Red Alert out on this bill. C.A.R. does NOT support this bill. C.A.R. OPPOSES this bill as amended and urges you NOT to respond to the non-C.A.R. Red Alert!!

    For More Information

    For more information, please contact DeAnn Kerr at deannk@car.org or Stan Wieg at stanw@car.org.

    Thanks everyone!