September 3, 2014
This past month saw warnings about rate hikes and the effect they will have as well as a step by the FHA to solidify guidelines, but we also note the passing of industry leaders in our staff selection of the top stories from August.
IRS warns that phone scams persist
If you weren't aware by now, well, consider yourself re-warned. Scammers love to call your phone and "remind" you that you have an amount due to the IRS. Turns out the same scammers are more than happy to take your credit card over the phone in order to clear up the "debt".
Unfortunately, the scammers do not seem to be forwarding that payment to the IRS. After some not-so-very-extensive research on our part, we have determined that the scammers may actually be keeping the money! Weird.
So here's a tip: Don't give any personal information over the phone to anyone who calls you, only give it when you call them. And also, get it in writing. A letter from the IRS goes a long way to proving you actually spoke to the IRS and not "Judy", who happens to be sitting in a beach-side hut on a foreign Continent drinking a daiquiri with your IRS payment.
US Housing Market sees "troubling renting" trend
What will happen if interest rates rise? One current trend of people choosing to rent vs. buy could become the norm, according to a report this month. As affordability goes down many potential homebuyers who are just about ready to get back into the market could be priced out of the home of their dreams. Of course, they could consider buying a slightly less expensive home, but would have to sacrifice the property size that their rent currently buys.
FHA Extends Condo Guidelines until 2016
The modified condo guidelines that allow many condo projects to obtain FHA certification were extended at the last minute this past week and many in the industry are coming back to work with a pleasant surprise in their in-box. The new extension should also allow the FHA to complete work on a detailed handbook that encompasses all of the FHA guidelines and processes. The impact of this extension is significant, even if not timely.
TREC moves to new Testing provider
The Texas Real Estate Commission announced that beginning in September a new testing provider will offer the licensing exams for real estate and appraisal. Any move from one provider to another is always a difficult transition, so we're watching this very closely to see how it affects our students and their pass rates on the new exam.
This past month saw three industry leaders in Colorado real estate pass away. All of us at VanEd share in the sorrow of the passing of Oliver Frascona and Tori Rains-Weden, who died in a plane crash over Labor Day weekend after the earlier passing of Rick Madden. We remember them here and send our condolences and our best wishes, thoughts and prayers to their family and friends. They will all be missed.
Mr. Frascona was involved in one of our first live classroom continuing education courses and over the years our leadership team and instructors had been privileged to work and present with him on numerous occasions. VanEd founder C. Vann Hilty worked alongside Mr. Frascona in the late 90's with CAR's education division, and he and others spent time with him at REEA and CAR Conferences many times over the years. A giant in real estate education, Oliver's impact on the real estate industry will be felt for many years to come.
We first met Ms. Rains-Weden through our work with our partners at Innovative Real Estate Group and had the opportunity to work with her briefly before she ran her own successful education portal. The tragic loss of her and her three children is a loss for all of us.
After a successful career in the Air Force, Rick Madden had become a broker, manager and trainer before taking a position as the Director of Education for the Colorado Real Estate Commission. Upon retirement Rick joined us here at VanEd as a Senior Instructor writing and editing coursework and even spent a year assisting students online from Germany. In 2010 he began spending more time visiting family, traveling and volunteering with charities including Habitat for Humanity. Larger than life, we will ever be grateful for our time with Rick both in and out of the office.