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Staff Commended for Efforts in Fighting Mortgage Fraud

Senior Auditor/Investigator Gary R. Caddell has received the commendations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Internal Revenue Service for his valuable assistance in investigating a highly profiled mortgage fraud case.

Michael V. Powell, Special Agent in Charge of the Southeast Region of HUD’s Office of Inspector General-Investigations, and Charles E. Hunter, Special Agent in Charge with the Criminal Investigation Section of the IRS, cited Caddell’sassistance in letters to Commission Executive Director Phillip T. Fisher.

The case, according to Agent Powell, “involved a complex money-laundering scheme of over $40 million dollars in fraudulent loans.”

In December, the Commission commended Chief Deputy Legal Counsel Janet Thoren and Chief Auditor/Investigator Mike Gray for the training they have received and expertise acquired in the area of mortgage loan fraud and for their special efforts in addressing this serious threat to the economy of our state and nation.

Thoren and Gray are the Commission staff members most directly involved in assisting other state and federal law enforcement agencies with investigating and prosecuting persons engaged in mortgage fraud.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.

New Rule Effective July 1, 2008 – Shopping Offers Prohibited

A new rule – A.0115 Disclosure of Offers Prohibited – takes effect July 1:

The rule prohibits you from disclosing the price or other material terms in a party’s offer to purchase, sell, lease, rent, or to option real property to a competing party without the express authority of the offering party.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.

Search for NC Lead Inspectors

Search for North Carolina Certified Lead-Based Paint Professionals by city or name at the website of the North Carolina Health Hazards Control Unit (HHCU), www.epi.state.nc.us.

The agency is responsible for the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Management Program, which includes certifications and training. There are links to state and federal websites, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), publisher of the lead paint disclosure booklet.

Also available on the HHCU website is information about asbestos, including demolition, removal/renovations and Do’s and Don’ts for the Homeowner.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.

Renewal Reminder Postcards in Mail – It’s Time to Renew Your License; Deadline June 30 – Renew Online

Watch for your real estate license renewal reminder postcard’s arrival in the mail about the same time as this issue of the Bulletin. It will look just like the one pictured below.

You must renew by Monday, June 30, at 5 p.m. Mailed renewals must be received by the Real Estate Commission (not postmarked) by that date.

To take this annual task off of your “to-do” list quickly, renew online at the Commission’s website, www.ncrec.state.nc.us. Just login and go to Renew/Reinstate and enter your license number and PIN (personal identification number). Unless you have changed your PIN, it will be the last four digits of your Social Security number.

The process takes about two minutes compared with considerably longer to renew by mail.

Be sure to have your Visa or MasterCard ready to charge the $40 fee. You will receive confirmation that your renewal is being processed by the Commission. While online, update your email, fax and residence address, if needed.

Also, while online, check your continuing education credit information to make sure it has been properly posted. Allow 15 days following your class for any credits to be reflected. If you do not have the required CE credits for the license period when you renew and your license is on active status, your license status will be changed to “inactive” effective July 1.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.


Real Estate Educators Conference Sets new Attendance Record

An enthusiastic crowd of just over 250 instructors, school officials, authors and publisher representatives attended the 2008 Real Estate Educators Conference held in Raleigh on April 14-15, 2008. This year’s number of participants breaks all previous attendance records for the Commission-sponsored event.

Highlights of the first day’s program included a presentation by instructor Tony Hawkins of Durham Technical Community College on Creating an Effective Adult Learning Environment, and a discussion of the criminal record report requirement, including suggestions for obtaining the report in a timely fashion, by Ann Lane of Carolina Investigative Research, Inc.

“Update” sessions on prelicensing education, postlicensing education, and continuing education were conducted by Lisa McQuillen, Education & Licensing Officer, and Pamela Rorie, Continuing Education Officer. These sessions addressed matters of particular interest and importance to instructors, such as revisions to education rules, overall school and instructor performance, and current trends in real estate education and licensing.

During the first day’s luncheon, the North Carolina Real Estate Educators Association (NCREEA) held its spring meeting and traditional awards presentation under the capable direction of President Roy Faron of  J. Y. Monk Real EstateSchool.  The Association presented its “Program of the Year” award to Payton Warren for his book, Insurance for Consumer Protection: What Every Agent Should Know, and its “Educator of the Year” award to Lois Branning of Rowan-CabarrusCommunity College.

Also during the luncheon, Commission Chairperson Melvin “Skip” Alston presented the Commission’s Billie J. Mercer Excellence in Education Award to NCREEA’s Educator of the Year, Lois Branning.   This award is presented annually in memory of  former Commission member and chairperson, Billie Mercer, who was especially dedicated to the cause of real estate education.  The name of each year’s award winner is engraved on the Mercer Award cup that is displayed in the Commission’s lobby.  Commission members Marsha Jordan  and S. R. “Buddy” Rudd, Jr. were also in attendance for the presentation.

Following the luncheon, participants were delighted to hear from the Commission’s Legal Education Officer, Tricia Moylan, who reviewed the finer points of Agency with the group. The first day’s program concluded with two “break-out” sessions each tailored for a different audience.

On the second day, Scott Iden of Countrywide Mortgage explained the history of the “mortgage industry meltdown” and discussed current lending trends, after which the Commission’s Chief Deputy Legal Counsel, Janet Thoren gave an informative presentation on Mortgage Fraud, including a discussion of the new North Carolina Mortgage Fraud Act. The conference finale was a presentation by Miriam Baer, Legal Counsel and Assistant Director of Legal Services, who covered such topics as inspection options and due diligence with the standard residential sales contract form, “shopping” offers, and material facts. The day concluded with an Open Forum in which participants had a brief opportunity to ask questions of the Commission’s legal experts: Ms. Baer, Ms. Moylan, and Ms. Thoren.

The Commission thanks North Carolina’s real estate educators for their continued support, and congratulates Lois Branning and Payton Warren for their achievements.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.

Pocket Cards Available Online

You may now purchase and print replacement Pocket Cards online at the Commission’s website, www.ncrec.state.nc.us. To obtain a duplicate card, login at the website. Click on “Pocket Card” on the Broker Main Menu. The fee of $5 may be charged using MasterCard or Visa. You must have your pocket card with you when conducting real estate brokerage business and produce it as proof of licensure whenever requested. The qualifying broker of a firm must produce the firm’s renewal pocket card upon request as proof of licensure.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.

New Address and Fax Number to Purchase Commission Publications

The Commission has a new service provider to fulfill orders for purchased publications. Avoid delays of as long as two weeks when mailing or faxing orders by updating your address and phone records as follows: Commission Publications, P. O. Box 28151, Raleigh NC 27611 or fax to 866-867-3746. New order forms for free and purchased publications are available on pages 6 and 7 of this issue of the Bulletin. Print or download from the Publications page on the Commission website,www.ncrec.state.nc.us. Online order forms provide the fastest method.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.

Effective January 1, 2008 – North Carolina CE Courses Required When You Have North Carolina Address

Even though you may reside in another state, you must take your continuing education courses in North Carolina if you have a North Carolina address as either your business address, mailing address or residence address.

You may take your courses via distance education so long as the course sponsor is a Commission-approved provider based in North Carolina. However, the mandatory Update course is only offered as live instruction in the state.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.

How to Handle Multiple Offers

After listing a property for sale, you receive an offer from a prospective buyer. Then, before you’re able to present the offer to your seller-client, a second and third offer arrive with all of the buyers and their agents impatiently waiting for answers.

While handling multiple offers requires more diplomacy than handling a single offer, from a business standpoint there is really little room for complaint here. You have an attractive listing, which has a good chance of selling quickly, and your marketing efforts are paying off, which should please the seller.

However, there is plenty of room for problems if you don’t handle the intense demand for your listing with diligence and fairness to all – your seller-client and the prospective purchasers.

Here are some guidelines to hang on your wall and refer to when multiple offers come your way:

– Effective July 1, a new Commission rule prohibits shopping offers unless permitted by the offering party, typically, the buyer. All buyers must be treated fairly, honestly and equally. Disclosing terms of an offer to other buyers gives those receiving the information an unfair advantage over the buyer whose competing offer is disclosed. Thus, it is not in the interest of most buyers to allow disclosure of their offers.

– Abiding by those three words will serve you well and help keep you in compliance with Real Estate Commission rules. You must present each offer immediately or as soon as you are able. Every offer must be presented to the seller within five days of execution. Presenting an offer means delivering the offer or transmitting a copy of it to the seller. Simply speaking with the seller by telephone about an offer is not sufficient to satisfy the delivery requirement in the Commission’s rules.

 – There is no contract until all parties agree to its written terms, sign their names to express that agreement and communicate acceptance to the offering party. Until then, you have nothing more than a stack of offers – not a stack of contracts – any one of which could appeal to your seller-client. Do not advise a buyer or buyer agent that the seller has accepted the buyer’s offer until the seller has signed the offer. A seller who orally expresses a willingness to accept an offer has not yet accepted the offer and has no legal obligation to do so. Thus, no contract has been formed. Do not change the MLS status of a property to “under contract” until a contract has been formed as this would be a misrepresentation of a material fact and a disservice to your seller-client.

   – Some clients are more knowledgeable about real estate matters than others. Make the appropriate assessment with your client of all offers, explaining, if need be, the differences in the various terms and conditions, how they would affect the sale of the property and the steps necessary to form a contract.

– Inform all buyers or buyer agents that you have received multiple offers. If your seller client does not find any offer acceptable, communicate equally with all prospective purchasers either through their agents or directly depending upon your relationship. Advise all who have made an offer that they may submit their best offer, if they choose to do so, or stand by their original offer. With the seller’s permission, you may outline any terms the seller would consider.

– The timing of receipt by you of an Offer to Purchase is not a consideration in assigning any priority to one offer over another. Until an offer is accepted by your seller-client, all offers must be treated equally and presented. When one is accepted, your client may be willing to negotiate another as a “backup”. Of course, this would require agreement by the second buyer and would require special language indicating that the backup contract has no legal standing unless and until the primary contract is terminated, such as the language contained in the NC REALTORS®’ Backup Contract Addendum.

To fully enjoy the time when multiple offers stream in for one of your listings, heed the advice above and take the time to manage the selling process fairly and efficiently for all concerned.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.

Broker-in-Charge Guide Updated

The Broker-in-Charge Guide has been updated to cover changes in rules relating to broker-in-charge eligibility, implementation of postlicensing education requirements affecting licenses on provisional status and “teams” – informal or formal groupings of agents.

First published in 2004, the Guide is an essential reference text for the management of a North Carolina real estate brokerage office and is the textbook for the Broker-in-Charge Course.

It includes an updated Broker-in-Charge Declaration Form 2.04 and Activation Form 2.08 plus selected provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules and general statutes pertaining to professional entities and business under assumed names.

The 176-page volume is available for purchase for $10 on the Commission’s website, www.ncrec.state.nc.us, or with printed order forms available on the website as well as in every issue of the Real Estate Bulletin.

This article came from the May 2008-Vol39-1 edition of the bulletin.