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Realtors Offer Perspectives on Data Privacy to Senate Commerce Committee
WASHINGTON (March 26, 2019) – The National Association of Realtors' 2019 Vice Chair of Federal Technology Policy testified before the Senate on Tuesday as Congress continues its push to craft data privacy legislation. Nina Dosanjh offered NAR's perspective on how federal efforts to protect consumer information can be beneficial for America's small businesses, including real estate brokerages, and their customers. "As Realtors®, we have no higher priority than the relationships with our clients and the protection of their private information," Dosanjh said during her testimony to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. "Central to this relationship is an assurance of the protection of our clients' sensitive personal information. NAR's members are emphasizing this point as it becomes more relevant in today's world, while the Realtor® Code of Ethics explicitly acknowledges the obligation to preserve the confidentiality of our clients' data." Dosanjh is a Realtor® and the Director of Strategic Alliances and Technology with Vanguard Properties in San Francisco, California. Her role analyzing the firm's technological and operational systems affords a unique perspective into the potential impact of federal privacy legislation on small Realtor® entities across the country. "As technology drives evolution in the real estate industry, our approach to data privacy must evolve as well," Dosanjh told the committee. "Congress has a tremendous opportunity to strengthen protections for consumers, but any legislation that emerges from these efforts must also reflect small business realities. These are considered in NAR's six key principles for a nationwide, consumer-centered data privacy law." Specifically, Realtors® believe effective data privacy legislation must establish uniform standards for businesses and equal protection for consumers; include direct statutory obligations for all service providers handling consumer data; focus on transparency and customer choice; emphasize accountability for each business's respective actions; establish uniform nationwide standards and enforcement for data privacy; and, finally, include reasonable FTC enforcement authority. While the timing for palatable federal legislation is unclear, NAR has worked to provide members with extensive resources and training opportunities regarding data privacy and security, emphasizing best practices for protecting the sensitive information Realtors® encounter daily. "America's Realtors®, like many main street businesses, depend on reliable data to drive and sustain our day-to-day operations," said NAR President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota. "Going forward, maintaining the trust of our clients by safeguarding personal information will be critical to the success of each of NAR's 1.3 million members. As Congress continues data privacy discussions, Realtors® are focused on ways to proactively and effectively secure our clients' data while they pursue the American Dream of homeownership." The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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zipLogix and Sellers Shield Partner to Give C.A.R. Members the First Interactive Seller's Disclosure Process Designed to Prevent Lawsuits
Sellers Shield offers a simple, turn-key solution that guides home sellers through the disclosure process; preventing lawsuits for sellers, agents and brokers AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 2, 2018 -- Sellers Shield, a leader in software and legal solutions that protect real estate brokers, agents and home sellers from lawsuits, today announced a partnership with zipLogix™, the industry leader in transaction management software and creators of zipForm®. This revolutionary partnership will enable property sellers to complete key C.A.R. seller's disclosure forms online using Sellers Shield's Smart Seller Tools™. California real estate professionals will be able to provide their listing clients access to the tools at no cost. Sellers Shield's Smart Seller Tools™ include easy-to-use interactive disclosure forms, an instructional video, legal FAQs/definitions and custom-formatted PDFs. These tools make up a simple, turn-key solution that guides home sellers through the disclosure process preventing critical mistakes that can cause lawsuits for sellers, agents and brokers. California real estate professionals will each receive a personal online dashboard used to invite sellers to disclose, manage all active disclosures and track the completion status of each listing client. In addition to the Smart Seller Tools™, Sellers Shield also offers Home Sale Legal Protection™ that protects sellers with up to $20,000 paid legal representation on claims made after the sale. Sellers can easily opt in during the disclosure process. As an added benefit to brokers and agents, Sellers Shield is endorsed by multiple, leading E&O insurance providers who offer deductible waivers on claims where Sellers Shield is used. "We're excited to partner with Sellers Shield and offer the Smart Seller Tools™ to C.A.R. members as a part of zipForm® Plus," said zipLogix™ CEO Scott Strong. "We believe that California real estate professionals and their listing clients will immensely benefit from this interactive seller's disclosure process designed to prevent lawsuits." Sellers Shield has been active in Texas since late 2016 and many of the largest brokerages in the state utilize the Smart Seller Tools™ for every listing. Broker Craig Owen of Keller Williams Heritage in San Antonio, TX, states "It just makes good sense, Sellers Shield reduces the risk for Sellers, Brokers, Agents and even Buyers. We provide Sellers Shield's Smart Seller Tools to all of our listing clients, and also give them the option to buy Home Sale Legal Protection." In addition to the zipLogix™ partnership, Sellers Shield offers premium license programs, that includes agent branding and special broker management portals, to both brokers and agents. According to Bo Blackburn Co-founder of Sellers Shield, "We have a software platform and product, created by legal experts, that gives the seller a strong voice should there be a claim against them after the home sale process concludes. We have thousands of happy customers and we are changing the way the disclosure process is handled for brokers, agents and home sellers". About zipLogix™ Fraser, Mich.-based zipLogix™, creators of zipForm®, is a technology company created by, owned by and working for real estate professionals to improve productivity and efficiency industry wide. Its transaction management software, which includes zipForm® Plus, zipTMS® and zipVault®, automates and simplifies the repetitive and complex steps of real estate transactions, and is available as a National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Transaction Management Benefit to more than 1.3 million real estate professionals nationwide. About Sellers Shield Austin-based Sellers Shield provides software and legal solutions that protect real estate brokers, agents and home sellers from lawsuits. Sellers Shield's state-of-the-art protection is designed by legal experts to help prevent lawsuits and provide security to sellers if one occurs. The company's turn-key online disclosure process gives sellers the guidance they need and limits agent liability. Visit sellersshield.com to learn more.
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As House Passes Middle-Class Tax Increase, Realtors Say Their Work is Just Getting Started
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Millions of Middle-Income Homeowners Stand to Lose Under 'Big 6' Tax Proposal
WASHINGTON (September 27, 2017) – A group of legislators and administration leaders known as the "Big 6" today released an outline for comprehensive tax reform that if enacted, according to the National Association of Realtors®, could lead to a tax on homeownership for millions. According to the Big 6's framework for tax reform, changes to the current tax code would eliminate important provisions, such as the state and local tax deduction, while nearly doubling the standard deduction and eliminating personal and dependency exemptions. NAR believes the result would all but nullify the incentive to purchase a home for most, amounting to a de facto tax increase on homeowners, putting home values across the country at risk and ensuring that only the top 5 percent of Americans have the opportunity to benefit from the mortgage interest deduction. NAR President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties said that the proposal reaffirms Realtors®' concerns from earlier in the year and urged lawmakers to keep homeowners in mind as they proceed with comprehensive tax reform with the following statement: "We have always said that tax reform – a worthy endeavor – should first do no harm to homeowners. The tax framework released by the Big 6 today missed that goal. "This proposal recommends a backdoor elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for all but the top 5 percent who would still itemize their deductions. "When combined with the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, these efforts represent a tax increase on millions of middle-class homeowners. That tax increase flies in the face of a reform effort ostensibly aimed at lowering the tax burden for Americans. At the same time, the lost incentive to purchase a home could cause home values to fall. "Plummeting home values are a poor housewarming gift for recent homebuyers and a tremendous blow to older Americans who depend on their home to provide a nest egg for retirement. "Congress can still score a win for American families by promoting lower rates and comprehensive reform that doesn't single out homeowners for a tax hike, while also preserving important investment incentives like 1031 like-kind exchanges. We look forward to continuing the discussion in the weeks and months ahead." The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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Homeownership a Common Interest, Deserves Protection in Tax Reform Debate
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Larson Skinner PLLC announces promotion of Camille M. Beshara to member of the firm
Minneapolis, September 8, 2017 - Larson Skinner PLLC, the Minneapolis-based law firm that serves multiple listing service (MLS), REALTOR® association, and brokerage clients around the U.S., announced today that Camille M. Beshara is now a member of the firm, which is an equity position roughly equivalent to that of a "partner" if the firm were organized as a partnership. According to firm Managing Member Mitchell A. Skinner, "Camille provides perceptive legal advice coupled with deep industry insight to our clients. It was natural to bring her further into our team." The firm's founder and Of Counsel attorney, Brian N. Larson, echoed the sentiment. "Clients appreciate Camille's commitment to responsive, practical, and insightful advice." Beshara advises clients on corporate governance, association mergers, content and software licenses, copyright risk mitigation, and MLS policy strategy. In addition to advising various MLS, association, and brokerage clients, Beshara provides support counsel to the Real Estate Standards Organization and the Council of Multiple ListingServices. For the second year she is a member of the organizing committee for the Council of Multiple Listing Services Legal Seminar. At this year's seminar in Austin, Texas, Beshara will present on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the implications of it for attorneys advising MLSs. Beshara received her J.D. from the University of Minnesota and is admitted before the Minnesota Supreme Court. Prior to joining Larson Skinner PLLC, she was in private practice focusing on business litigation and most recently worked for 3M Company on health care and government R&D contracts. ABOUT LARSON SKINNER PLLC Larson Skinner is a Minneapolis-based law firm that provides legal and strategic advice to its national client base, focusing its practice on copyright, trademark, technology, licensing and rulemaking for online communities. The firm delivers industry-leading service and advice with a candid, open, and personal feel. Its personnel tackle complex legal and business issues to help clients make reasoned decisions.
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Realtors Claim Victory against Patent Abuse with Settlement
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NAR-backed Condo Legislation Passes U.S. Senate, Offers Relief for Homebuyers
  WASHINGTON (July 14, 2016) — The U.S. Senate tonight passed H.R. 3700, the "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act," by unanimous consent. This legislation includes reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing, among other provisions, and is long supported by the National Association of Realtors®. Changes include efforts to make FHA's recertification process "substantially less burdensome," while lowering FHA's current owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent. The bill also requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency. NAR testified last year in support of the bill, which passed in the House of Representatives427-0 in February. Tom Salomone, president of NAR and broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida, praised the legislation as a significant step towards eliminating barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos. Following is a statement from Mr. Salomone: "Condominiums often represent an affordable option that's just right for first-time and low-to-moderate income homebuyers. Unfortunately, overly-burdensome restrictions on condo financing have for too long put that option out of reach for many creditworthy borrowers. "This legislation meets those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more Americans. "Tight inventory and rising home prices are a reality of today's market, and mortgage credit is hard to come by. We should take every opportunity to clear the path for well-qualified borrowers to purchase a home when they're ready, and this legislation does just that. "Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have done tremendous work to see H.R. 3700 move forward, and we're thankful for their support. Realtors® made their voices heard as well, reaching out to their Senators and Representatives to remind them of how important this issue is to homeownership." "We look forward to seeing this legislation signed into law so homebuyers can start seeing some much-needed relief." 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.
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Commercial Drone Use Set to Take Flight with Release of FAA Rule
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Move, Inc.-Zillow Lawsuit Settled
  WASHINGTON (June 7, 2016) —We are pleased that Zillow has agreed to a settlement amount of $130 million in damages instead of going to trial, and that the parties have reached an amicable resolution. NAR's relationship with Move, Inc., and realtor.com® is based on a mutual respect for Realtors® and their efforts to bring online home buying and selling resources to consumers. Move will receive the bulk of these funds; it is NAR's hope that they will invest this money in initiatives that enhance the consumer experience on realtor.com® and benefit our members in support of the Realtor® brand. NAR will receive 10 percent of the settlement payment after Move deducts its legal fees; Move covered the costs of the lawsuit.  After this amount is determined, NAR's Leadership Team will consider how best to apply those funds in service of NAR's Realtor® members; we will share that information as soon as a decision is made. Read REALTOR® Magazine's story on the settlement.
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Move, Inc. Responds to Ruling on Motion Regarding Spoliation
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C.A.R. Applauds Signing of AB 345 Into Law
LOS ANGELES, July 20, 2015 -- The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®(C.A.R.) applauds Governor Brown for signing into law AB 345, a C.A.R.-sponsored bill that earmarks three hours of a real estate broker's existing mandated continuing education (CE) for a course on the management and supervision of real estate licensed activity. Governor Brown signed the bill into law on Monday, July 13, and the bill becomes effective Jan. 1, 2016. AB 345 also permits salespersons to elect to take a course containing relevant information to assist them in understanding how to be effectively supervised by a responsible broker or branch manager. "C.A.R. commends Governor Brown for signing AB 345 into law," said C.A.R. President Chris Kutzkey. "Since the California Bureau of Real Estate can hold a manager accountable for failure to supervise, C.A.R. believes it important that a real estate broker understand how to properly manage real estate offices, salespersons, and broker associates, in order to minimize risk for all parties involved." Current law requires a real estate broker to exercise reasonable supervision over the activities of his or her salespersons. Existing law also requires real estate licensees renewing a license to complete 45 hours of California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) approved CE. Currently, 15 hours of that CE requirement are earmarked for specified courses, while 18 hours are dedicated to consumer protection courses, with the remaining 12 hours of CE being elective. Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with more than 165,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
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Real Estate Agreements of Purchase and Sale Can Be Signed Electronically as of July 1
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E-Signatures Now Legal in Ontario! Go Paperless with loadingDOCS and DealTap
The time has come! The Ontario government has passed an amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act that allows electronic signatures on the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. What does this mean for real estate brokerages, agents and clients in Ontario? Starting July 1st, 2015 you will be able to completely create, edit, share, sign, approve and store all of your offers without ever touching a piece of paper thanks to DealTap and loadingDOCS. Collaboration has never been easier! Here's how you can create a paperless brokerage in 5 easy steps: Creation: Agents use DealTap to create their required document. Execution: All changes, opens and signatures that are made to the document during the negotiation stages will be tracked – eliminating room for human error. Submission: By simply clicking a button – the executed document is submitted directly from DealTap into loadingDOCS for the next necessary steps to close the transaction. Review/Approve: Office Administrators will automatically have access through loadingDOCS clipboards, checklists, and direct-to-agent communication to ensure the right documents are submitted. Storage: All documents submitted into loadingDOCS are stored with security equal to that used by banks. Agents, office staff and consumers can access the final executed document through loadingDOCS. With effective and safe storage your office can be ready and confident for any unexpected RECO audits and litigation. It's your business. The path to paperless starts here! To view the original article, visit the Lone Wolf blog.
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Realtors® Applaud New Net Neutrality Rules Preserving Equal Access to the Internet
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ePropertySites, LLC agrees to settle against Listing-to-Leads, LLC
  ALISO VIEJO, Calif., (July 24, 2013) – ePropertySites, LLC today announced that it has settled a lawsuit against Henderson, Nev.-based Listings-To-Leads, LLC for an undisclosed amount. The lawsuit was alleging numerous copyright and trade dress violations. ePropertySites.com, a leading real estate marketing firm that enables real estate agents to produce high quality commercials and marketing materials online and in print, alleged that LTL blatantly copied ePropertySites.com website source code. According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, LTL appears to have taken the entire source code of ePropertySites.com's property brochures and used it as its own. ePropertySites was able to prove this by viewing LTL's source code and seeing an almost exact copy of ePropertySites own HTML source code – including having ePropertySites.com URLs within the HTML code. The suit further alleges that LTL has taken ePropertySites.com's trade dress and used as its own, profiting from ePropertySites.com's time and effort. "We are pleased to have protected our software and to have resolved this matter peacefully," said Greg Mazurek, co-founder and chief technical officer at ePropertySites.com. ePropertySites.com spent a number of years and significant resources developing a suite of products that allows for the generation of marketing materials for individual properties. Specifically, ePropertySites is in the business of designing, coding, producing, and maintaining websites and marketing materials that allow real estate agents to produce high quality commercials to market their listings over the Internet and in print. "We believe that our marketing materials and website deliver a unique experience and a high value to our customers, and we will defend against anyone that fails to respect our intellectual property rights," said Chris Bates, co-founder and chief marketing officer. For more information on ePropertySites, LLC, visit ePropertySites.com or call 949-328-5000.
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Ruling: Online Application with e-Signature Qualifies as Written Rejection of Insurance Coverage
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Watch Your Use of REALTOR®
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently succeeded in a challenge to a REALTOR® member who misused the REALTOR® tradename in registering the domain name ListOnRealtor.com NAR filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO") who found that the member registered the domain name in bad faith and not in conformance with the spirit of NAR's rules and that such name would confuse the public over the member's connection with the website realtor.com. The WIPO administrative law panel then ordered the transfer of the domain name to NAR. As held by the panel: "Respondent's conduct smacks of a bad faith intention to use the literal words of the NAR license to undermine the actual intent of the parties. Complainant's license is designed to allow real estate professionals to publish websites that use their distinctive names along with the REALTOR® designation such as . It does not appear to have been designed to allow NAR members to cleverly call their company by a descriptive name (such as "I'm The Top") and then use that name in conjunction with the REALTOR® mark. National Ass'n of REALTORS® v. Fothergill, No. D2010-1284 (WIPO Arb. & Med. Ctr. Sept. 20, 2010). If you would like information about this, please click here.  
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