This is the Year for Code of Ethics

All REALTORS® must complete their Code of Ethics training by December 31, 2012. For resources in understanding and meeting the requirements from the National Association of REALTORS® click here. One thing to note: whereas the NAR online course will satisfy the quadrennial training requirement, it is not offered for continuing education credit (PSC—Professional Standards of Conduct) in Oklahoma.

OAR has two opportunities for Code of Ethics that do provide CE credit. One during GRI 201 June 20 and the other during the Education Conference & Trade Show in Tulsa October 17-18. Both events will be rich with interaction and networking among agents from around the state!

For more information about Code of Ethics courses, contact Jennifer Williams, OAR Director of Training and Development.

FHA to Stop Backing Mortgages if Credit Dispute over $1,000

As of April 1, FHA has announced they won’t back a mortgage if a borrower has credit disputes totaling more than $1,000.  There are a couple of caveats. If the dispute is more than two years old it won’t count. And a borrower can pay off the disputed amount (or set up a payment plan), be prepared to show documentation. And yes, any payment arrangement will then be considered as part of the debt-to-income ratio.

So consider advising your clients to pull their reports — not just a FICO score! — and if there are any disputes get them cleared up, especially if they total more than a grand. (Note:  AnnualCreditReport.com is the place to go.)

For more information from the National Association of REALTORS®, click here.

New OREC Rules Effective July 1

At the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission’s (OREC) March 14 meeting, the Commission gave their final approval on new rules slated to go into effect July 1. To read a complete version of the full rules, click here.

The change that will be most noticed, perhaps, by our members is the addition of earthquake damage to Question 20 in the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statement. Click here to view a version of the new form.

The other big news from OREC is that they’ll be moving to their new location April 1. They will be in the Denver Davison building (1915 N. Stiles, Suite, 200, Oklahoma City, OK 73105), very close to the State Capitol. Their phone numbers and fax numbers will remain the same. Please remind your members the OREC will be in a transition period for moving from March 23 – April 1. During this time, if your members need to visit the Commission, please remind them to call to confirm the correct location for business.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact OAR’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Charla Slabotsky (Charla@OklahomaRealtors.com).

Moving On Up: Oklahoma's Economy Named 4th Best In The Nation

Oklahoma’s economy has gone up two spots to rank #6 best in the nation, we’re not doing too well with workers’ compensation and attracting new businesses, but our job growth holds a spot in the top ten list.

That’s all according to the recently-released 2012 Accountability for a Competitive Economy. It’s a book published by the State Chamber’s research partner and aims to give a snapshot of where the Sooner State stands.

The gist of it is that Oklahoma is succeeding economically, but faces some continued challenges — namely, attracting more businesses and investment.

The book ranks Oklahoma #4 in the nation for best economies — that’s up two spots from a previous report. It also indicates that our strong economy is reflected in the fact that our job growth in the past decade ranks 9th in the nation.

It’s not all good news though — Oklahoma received a “D” for our workers’ compensation system and our exports continue to rank among the lowest in the nation.

And overall, Oklahoma was ranked as the 28th best state for business in the country by CNBC in 2011, falling behind many states in the region, including Texas, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.

“Texas was ranked as the 2nd best state in the country to do business, and companies looking to relocate take notice of the states on the top of that list,” said State Chamber President Fred Morgan.

“We have to continue to improve our business climate in Oklahoma so we can not only compete with Texas and other states in our region, but with the rest of the country and world. Business retention and recruitment result in Oklahoma jobs that we need to grow our great state.”

You can read the complete report, complete with charts and tables, online here.

Source

Rally to Protect the American Dream

A Message from NAR President Moe Veissi

Our industry is facing a crucial moment. Never before in the history of our great nation have housing and real estate been forced to defend the benefits they provide our country. The very foundation of civilization is no stronger, nor more enduring than the integrity of the homes on which they rest.

We must have a sustainable, durable housing economy for generations to come. Congress and the President should see their job as bolstering the housing economy and strengthening our commitment to the country’s health. If the housing market continues to falter, the economy cannot fully recover. Over the next 18 months Congress will begin reshaping the role of housing in achieving the dream of owning a home. That is what we are facing. REALTORS® have something to say about this. And this is our opportunity to to ensure housing remains the fiber that binds together the fabric of America.

Realtor RallyWe are going to defend the American Dream from the doubters who say home ownership and real estate have run their course. That is why we are holding the Rally to Protect the American Dream on May 17 in Washington, D.C. I am asking you to be there and stand with your fellow REALTORS® from every corner of America — from Alaska to Illinois to Texas to Guam.

We are going to show Congress that no one cares more about revitalizing real estate for future generations than REALTORS® do.

It is critical that you register to let us know you are attending the rally. We want to plan a great event and make sure we have enough food, water, lunches, t-shirts and buses. If you would like to come, we will help you connect with transportation via your state or local association. Just complete our Rally Registration. If you request transportation, we will forward that request to your association to follow up with how they can help you get to Washington, D.C. Note that if you plan to stay longer than one day, NAR is not able to cover or reimburse for lodging expenses.  However, if your room is over $300/night, NAR will reimburse $100/night up to two nights ($200) to help defray housing costs to attend. Simply bring your hotel confirmation with your room rate and NRDS ID (members only) to the NAR Registration desk at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel, and NAR will initiate a refund. For housing requests, please visit our housing resources information page.

This is our time. This is our moment. We can’t do it without you. Join us.

Legislative Update: Three Causes to Watch

The second year of Oklahoma’s 53rd legislative session is in full swing, and it’s going to be a busy one for Oklahoma REALTORS®. OAR’s three main legislative priorities are changes to the Broker Relationships Act, clarification to last year’s square footage law and municipalities who require landlord and rental property registration.

Broker Relationships Act

HB2524 by Rep. Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville and Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, is the result of a two-year joint effort between OAR and the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission (OREC). Oklahoma switched from the common law of agency to Broker Relationships more than ten years ago, and since that time we’ve had numerous complaints that the law is difficult for consumers and licensees to understand. One of the most common complaints? Licensees acting as single-party brokers when they claim to be operating as transaction brokers. OAR and OREC appointed a dedicated task force to tackle revisions to the law, resulting in HB2524.

The major change in this proposed law is doing away with single-party broker and transaction broker; instead, all licensees will have the same duties and responsibilities to all parties in a transaction. There’s a bigger distinction in this version between duties and responsibilities vs. brokerage services. HB2524 was well received at OAR’s recent Brokers Summit and received unanimous support from OAR’s Board of Directors, as well as consistent support from legislators at the State Capitol.

As of this writing, HB2524 passed the House Economic Development, Tourism & Financial Services Committee with a unanimous vote and passed out of the House with an 86 – 4 vote. The next stop for the bill is a hearing in Senate Committee. The joint task force continues to work on a couple of clarifying amendments to this bill, and we’ll keep you posted as this bill continues through the legislative process.

Square Footage Law

You might recall one of OAR’s legislative goals last year was known as the “square footage law” and clarified a licensee’s responsibilities and liability when disclosing property measurement figures. The new law added “protected sources” for licensees and went into effect last August.

However, after the new law was passed, we realized that the protected sources were mainly used in residential transactions and there might not be sufficient protection when dealing with commercial properties. A suggested amendement was drafted by the Oklahoma REALTORS® Commercial Alliance (RCA) to add ” a plan, drawing or stated square footage provided by the owner or agent of the owner as it relates to commercial buildings or structures for sale or for lease only” to the list of protected sources. This language is in HB2200 by Rep. John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow and Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.

HB2200 also passed unanimously out the House Economic Development, Tourism & Financial Services Committee and awaits a hearing before the complete House of Representatives. It will be heard by the House before March 15.

Landlord and Rental Property Registration

Our final bill deals with a growing problem in Oklahoma:  municipalities requiring landlords to register with the city, sometimes requiring a separate registration fee for each rental property. The most concerning of these regulations require the property owner, if living in a different county, to appoint a “resident manager” within that county. SB1867 by Sen. Newberry and Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, prohibits the registration of real property owners by any municipality and prohibits any ordinance, rule or regulation requiring the registration of residential real property. The bill also prohibits all municipalities from charging a fee to own residential real property or for the lease or rental of property, and would declare any existing ordinances null and void.

The bill received unanimous support from the Senate Business & Commerce Committee, but on March 13 Sen. Newberry requested that rather than moving forward with the bill, the issue be examined by an interim study later this year.

“Due to concern from fellow legislators regarding the potential of unintended consequences associated with Senate Bill 1867, I am proposing we further examine the issue in an interim study,” said Sen. Newberry, R-Tulsa.  “Municipal regulations that adversely affect owners of real property are a growing problem, and I am determined to find a solution in the best interest of all parties.  A study will give the Legislature an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the concerns faced by property owners and municipalities.  I’m confident a thorough study of the issue will yield an effective legislative solution.”

While we’re disappointed that the bill won’t be moving forward this year, we look forward to participating in the interim study and will continue to work toward resolution of this issue.

You can keep up-to-date on these bills and all the other ones we’re watching – including the ones we’re opposed to – by checking out our Legislative Tracking List updated every Friday. Also, be sure to check out InSession, the weekly video blog on the latest legislative activities and the Government Affairs Facebook page and Twitter account.

Reserve Your Room for AE Retreat

Mark your calendars for the AE retreat scheduled May 3-4, 2012. Location is the Residence Inn Oklahoma City Downtown/Bricktown. More information about the agenda will be coming soon. Meanwhile, you’ll want to go ahead and book your room.

The link below will allow you to make individual reservations within our block. The dates and rate code for our block will pre-populate.  Simply confirm the dates and click on the Find button and create your reservation online.

The deadline for making reservations within our block is a month prior to arrival dates.  Please ensure all needed reservations are made prior to that date.

You may also make reservations via the toll-free number at 800-217-9905, using the rate code OKRR.

Contact Sabrina Tyree for more information.