NAR and many lawmakers in Congress are pushing for a time-out in the federal government’s efforts to eliminate flood insurance subsidies over time and phase in premium rates that reflect properties’ actuarial risk of flooding. NAR’s Call for Action this week to its members is part of that effort.
But it’s not just hikes in insurance premiums that’s fueling this push by NAR and others to slow things down; it’s the sometimes wildly divergent and uncertain way insurers are assessing new premium rates. As NAR Past President Moe Veissi said in eye-opening testimony before a House subcommittee yesterday, property owners are sometimes getting half a dozen different premium quotes for their property, sometimes even from agents in the same company.
“The law has proven complicated and difficult to implement,” Veissi said in his testimony.
The former association president shared reports from NAR members across the country of some property owners seeing big increases in their flood insurance costs even though their property has never flooded and in some cases their community has never flooded or has instituted community-wide flood mitigation efforts.
The confusion in the market is having dire consequences on the ground. “We’re seeing for-sale signs today that say ‘No insurance impact on this property,’” he said. “That tells us very quickly that folks are making determinations at the point of impact on property that they would normally have bought.”
He also shared findings from a Rand study that home values are declining by $10,000 for every $500 increase in premiums.
Bottom line, there was broad acknowledgement among lawmakers and the witnesses at the hearing table that the flood insurance program must move to a premium structure that reflects the actuarial risk of flooding. But at the same time, a lot needs to be done to ensure that the needed change happens in an appropriate way. And that’s what the NAR-backed, bi-partisan legislation that’s under consideration in Congress would do.
The legislation is called the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act,” H.R. 3370 in the House and S. 1610 in the Senate, and It would pause some program changes while the federal government gets a handle on how the new rates are to be set and it looks at the affordability impact of the new premium structure. Importantly, it would also help property owners take action if they feel their premium changes aren’t accurate.
You can get more info on the Call for Action at the REALTOR® Action Center.
Kicking off the 2013 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, members of NAR helped build 28 homes with Habitat For Humanity of Greater San Francisco on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
“These homes are a huge asset development for families,” said Phillip Kilbridge, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater San Francisco. “They can use it as a stepping stone for more education, stability, and deep engagement in their community.”
R. Brian Matza, broker and contractor with Nob Hill Realty, remembers running drills during his days as a firefighter along this narrow property adjacent to a highway in San Francisco’s Oceanview-Merced-Ingleside neighborhood.
“Because of the high housing costs in San Francisco, the affordability index is really difficult, especially for entry level,” said Matza, a San Francisco native. “Now to see this coming in here, it’s a fantastic thing and I’m happy to be part of it.”
San Francisco’s median home price hit $1 million in April – its highest level in six years, according to the San Francisco Association of REALTORS®. Kilbridge says it has become increasingly important to provide opportunities for lower income families to own a home.
Sitting around a table at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco, the four women seem more like they’re at a sidewalk café trading war stories about life, love, and happiness than at a business conference. The first thing that comes to mind — clichés be damned! — is a scene from “Sex and the City” where the girls are at their favorite diner, giggling over the frivolities of each other’s sordid lives. Someone might be Carrie, someone might be Charlotte — probably no one would claim to be Samantha.
What brings these women together is their love and admiration for one another, and it’s fitting that here they sit at the same venue that launched their great four-way friendship: the convention. Continue reading »
It’s what happens between sessions at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo that makes the experience of NAR’s biggest annual event for many attendees. New friendships budding, business connections made, memories added to the bank. And one practitioner at the San Francisco convention this year logged one of the biggest memories of all: Getting married — legally, finally — to his spouse of nine years.
Brian Copeland, GRI, ABR, CRS, an agent at Village Real Estate Services in Nashville, Tenn., exchanged vows with Greg Bullard, a pastor, at San Francisco’s Fay Park near Lombard Street on Tuesday. And the REALTOR® community was there to rally around the couple and their 2-year-old son, Micah Copeland, to show their love and support. Continue reading »
Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired magazine and author of “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution” (Crown Business, 2012), who presented at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo Friday, predicts that you’ll carry a small drone in your bag, and when you’re taking on a new listing, you can turn on your drone, push a button, and it will orbit the building or home, mapping and creating a 3D model for you.
Anderson, who founded 3D Robotics, a company that makes GPS-guided aerial drones used for mapping and photography, says that in just three short years he went from being a dad messing around with his kids, Googling “autopilot” and building remote control devices, to owning and operating a multimillion-dollar aerospace company.
Anderson also discussed the changing face of industrial and warehouse real estate in light of the growing “makers movement.” Today, manufacturers are relying on robotics to create products in fields ranging from synthetic biology to furniture. Computer screens and white-collar programmers have replaced smokestacks and assembly lines.
“The reason you’re able to have 3D printers on your desktop is the components are so cheap that regular people are able to afford them,” Anderson said. “It will be regular people doing extraordinary things.”
Organized by volunteers, Real Estate Bar Camp is a completely unstructured day of sessions led by anyone who steps up — on any topic. Here’s how it works: REBarCamp attendees volunteer to lead a session on whatever topic is of interest to them and form roundtable discussions with other attendees. There are no individual presentations; a discussion group can pop up at any moment.
“We really build a conference on the fly,” explained REBarCamp founder Andy Kaufman, e-PRO®. The Berkeley, Calif.-based Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie real estate agent told meeting attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco on Thursday that REBarCamp “is open source — you guys do it yourself.” Continue reading »