Commission News

The Alaska Real Estate Commission (AREC) met on June 3 welcoming PeggyAnn McConnochie and Traci Barickman as new Commissioners and saying farewell to Anita Bates and Brad Cole. Anita and Brad gave years of valuable service to the State of Alaska and our industry and their time and efforts are greatly appreciated. My personal thanks to both of you. The meetings are open to the public, and public testimony always takes place as one of the first items on the agenda. If you have concerns about license law issues this is your chance to be heard on the record. The next meeting is on September 2nd in the Atwood Building at 550 w. 7th Ave, Suite 1270 in Anchorage. They usually have signs directing you to the meeting room. The Commissioners are specifically asking for input during public comment on how real estate “teams” are operating, how they should be operating, how they should be advertising, how they should be disclosing licensee relationships, etc. Do teams need to be adjusting themselves to make sure they are complying with current statutes and regulations, or should the laws and regulations be tweaked to work with this ongoing way of doing business? Please give your input either in writing to the AREC or take time to come in to the meeting during public comment to help educate the Commissioners on this important topic. It is apparent that changes will be made to our laws and your timely input helps them get it right.

It was announced that the AREC is looking for volunteers to serve on an ongoing education committee. One area they are currently reviewing is Post Licensing Education. It was determined in the past that after completing pre-licensing education that the new licensee should receive a certain amount of post licensing education within one year of licensure. The theory was that putting more in pre vs. post was not as effective as having the post licensing education given while they are operating with real world experience. The Commissioners still feel this is appropriate in the case of new licensees, but are questioning whether this is appropriate with licensees upgrading to associate broker or broker. The majority opinion appears to indicate a change to more pre-license education for this category and dropping the post.

The AREC announced that it would start fining licensees for violations of advertising statutes and regulations. The first offense is $250.00, then $500.00 and up to $1000.00 for the third offense. Both the offending licensee and their broker will receive these fines. They remind you that according to AS 08.88.130(8) all advertising must contain the name of the brokerage as registered with the AREC.

In other business it was reported that the Recovery Fund had a balance of $471,000.00. Also in the financial arena, there is concern among the Commissioners that the ten year look back that took place that is the basis for most or all of cost allocations in the Division is flawed due to incorrect data from the start. The accounting issues for the Division go way back, and it’s doubtful they will ever be fully resolved. The AREC is doggedly following up the issue in an attempt to bring as much resolution as possible. It was reported that the regulation making it legal to pay commissions to legal entities is finally in place. This states that a brokerage may pay a commission to a legal entity as long as the entity is made up of only licensed individuals. Paying a commission to any other legal entity is still considered illegal; it is the responsibility of the broker to make sure the legal entity they are making a commission check to is made up of only licensees. The AREC reports that there are 2,527 active licensees with 90 new licensees in that quarter. The AREC will be working on a new and updated Brokers Manual.

Please remember that a new Consumer Disclosure (former pamphlet) and Waiver of Right to be Represented form are now in use. You must be using these on all new contacts and contracts or you are committing a license law violation.

 

Submitted by Dave Somers, Somers & Associates, Fairbanks
Alaska Real Estate Commission Liaison

 

Realtors® Applaud House Passage of “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act”

WASHINGTON (February 2, 2016) — The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to advance legislation that will expand opportunities for homeownership. H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” includes a number of initiatives that have strong support from the National Association of Realtors®, who hailed the vote as important progress for home buyers and sellers.

“This legislation will put homeownership in reach for more families, and we applaud Congress’s work to take us there,” said NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. “We look forward to seeing it advance through the legislative process and to the President’s desk, so it can be signed into law.”

NAR testified last year in support of H.R. 3700 before the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. In particular, NAR championed the inclusion of reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing.

Condominiums are among the most affordable homeownership options for first-time homebuyers, as well as lower income borrowers, but barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos still exist. H.R. 3700 takes a number of steps to address those concerns.

These include efforts to make FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” improving a process that is often costly and which condo developments must repeat every 24 months. H.R. 3700 also lowers FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent and requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Additionally, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” streamlines the process for exemptions to FHA’s rule requiring that condominium projects have no more than 25 percent of the space dedicated to commercial use. This effort is in line with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s initiative to promote neighborhoods with a mix of residential housing, businesses and access to public transportation.

Finally, H.R. 3700 includes further support for rural housing loans and multifamily housing initiatives.

“There is tremendous demand for affordable housing, and H.R. 3700 offers fresh opportunities for creditworthy borrowers to become homeowners when they choose to,” said Salomone. “NAR thanks Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo, for introducing the bill, as well as leaders in the House for making it a priority. We look forward to working with our partners at all levels to advance this legislation in support of homeownership.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Contact Information

Alaska Association of REALTORS®
4205 Minnesota Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

Phone (907) 563-7133
FAX (907) 561-1779
Toll-Free (800) 478-3763

joinus@alaskarealtors.com