LeFrancis Arnold
Dear Member, I’m excited to begin my term as your 2012 President, but I first want to thank our outgoing C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce for serving this organization so well over the past year. She helped keep you, the REALTOR®, at the center of the real estate transaction during this challenging time. Thank you Beth for your service to organized real estate! Like Beth, I also am a second-generation REALTOR®. I followed my mother into the real estate business in 1976 and became a broker a year later. I have served as a C.A.R. director since 1994. I’m going to continue serving the organization this year by helping you get through the tough economic times and be successful in your business. But I won’t be doing it alone. I’ll be joined by a very capable 2012 Leadership Team comprised of President-Elect Don Faught, Treasurer Chris Kutzkey, and C.A.R. Executive Vice President Joel Singer. I’m excited to serve with this incredible team. As one of my first duties, I’m pleased to share with you the good news that the FHA loan limit was reinstated last month so that middle-class home buyers have access to affordable home financing. The higher loan limit expired on Oct. 1, 2011, when it was reduced to $625,500, but now has been restored to $729,750 for an additional two years, through Dec. 31, 2013. However, the higher loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans were not reinstated. C.A.R. and NAR both have long advocated for making higher loan limits permanent. Those of you who handle short sales should know that Freddie Mac has amended its policy regarding its mandatory short sale affidavits. The affidavits aim to prevent fraud by requiring the buyer, the seller, the real estate brokers, escrow/closing agent, and any transaction facilitator to make various certifications. These certifications include verifying that the short sale is an “arm’s length” transaction, and that the buyer will not resell within 120 days unless there are substantial improvements. Servicers are required to implement the changes by Jan. 1, 2012, but are being encouraged to do so immediately. I advise you to make certain you are signing an updated form and, if presented with an old form, you should ask the servicer to update or allow amendments to the form before you sign to avoid potential liability issues. Visit here for complete details. If you are working with clients who are facing the possibility of foreclosure, C.A.R. has a library of free foreclosure prevention documents to help them. The library includes such titles as “Tips for a Short Sale Seller,” “Tips for a Short Sale Buyer,” “Foreclosure Prevention Resources,” and other helpful information to help consumers avoid foreclosure and foreclosure scams. Help your clients avoid being scammed by providing these documents, which can only be found in your zipForm® 6 library forms drop-down menu. Every year, C.A.R. amends its Standard Forms to ensure they are updated to reflect changes in your practice and are in compliance with changes in real estate law. This year’s updated forms are now ready and can be accessed via zipForm® 6. REALTORS® who use paper forms can place an order via http://store.car.org/ or pick them up at your local association. For a list of updated forms and their specific revisions, please visit here. Finally, if you have a Spanish-speaking clientele, C.A.R. recently launched Sucasa.net, a brand-new Spanish-language property search website available for the entire state of California. Sucasa.net offers Spanish-speaking home buyers an opportunity to search the MLS for homes using common sorting characteristics such as city, price range, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. What’s really cool is that results appear in a list or on a map, with driving directions available in Spanish. You can even forward property links to your clients in Spanish. Check it out here. I want to tell you again how excited I am to serve as your President in 2012. I hope you will join me and get involved with C.A.R. next year. I look forward to working with you! Best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year. Sincerely, LeFrancis Arnold 2012 President CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®