Morning Minute: Baby Boomers becoming a force in home buying and building

Many are expecting Baby Boomers to be the next wave when it comes to housing demand and those in the housing industry are taking notice, Bloomberg News reports. Because of that some homebuilders are shifting their focus from starter homes to property features that will appeal to move-up and downsizing buyers. Read more about the trend from NAR’s Daily Real Estate News.

In  other headlines:

18 Senators, mortgage bankers tell HUD: Time to lower FHA premiums – HousingWire

Millennials’ version of the American Dream – Chicago Tribune

Webinar: 16 facts you need to know about medical marijuana

Understanding how medical marijuana laws affect properties where it is grown, sold and even used will be critical to Illinois REALTORS® as communities attempt to balance business interests, zoning, public health and state law.

That was the underlying message to Thursday’s IAR Legal Webinar, “Pot . . . Pourri,” led by Lisa Hartzler of Sorling Northrup Attorneys, and Betsy Urbance, IAR Legal Hotline Attorney.

Other things REALTORS® should be aware of:

  1. Doctors must certify their patients can benefit from using medical marijuana before the patient can apply to register with the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  2. More than 11,000 patients have started the certification process so far.
  3. Registered patients who rent a property may not legally smoke indoors if the landlord has a smoke-free policy for the leased property.
  4. Registered patients will have alternative ways to use medical marijuana, such as tea or pills.
  5. Registered patients will not be allowed to legally use the product in public.
  6. The “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act” became effective Jan. 1, 2014 and is scheduled to sunset in Dec. 2017.
  7. Medical marijuana will be grown in “cultivation centers.”
  8. The non-refundable application fee for a cultivation center is $25,000; fee for an annual permit, if one of the 22 being awarded, is $200,000.
  9. Cultivation centers will be regulated by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
  10. Cultivation centers must be at least 2,500 feet from day cares, schools and residential areas.
  11. Medical marijuana will be sold in licensed “dispensaries.”
  12. The non-refundable application fee for a dispensary is $5,000; fee for an annual permit, if one of the 60 being awarded, is $25,000.
  13. Dispensaries will be regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
  14. Dispensaries must be a minimum of 1,000 feet away from schools, day cares and residential areas.
  15. Community zoning ordinances must not make unreasonable prohibitions of cultivation or dispensing.
  16. No permits have been issued yet for legal sales of medical marijuana in Illinois.

For more details, you can view the recorded webinar or listen to the audio-only version.

Have another holiday gift idea for clients?

Peggy Brown

Another tasty holiday gift idea for clients was submitted to IARbuzz by REALTOR® Peggy Brown, Managing Broker and Owner of Sevenoaks Realty in Batavia.

Brown says, “I send clients who had a transaction in the current year a Christmas card with a box of Godiva chocolates wrapped by Von Maur. It is . . . just a nice way to remember them at the holidays. All my past clients receive a card with a note saying that a donation has been made in their honor to a local charity.”

Bigstock image

For more ideas, see: “These 18 holiday gift ideas will help REALTORS® stand out with clients.”

If you have a holiday gift idea for a client that hasn’t been mentioned in this blog, please share it with other IAR members via

Morning Minute: Mortgage rates fall to yearly low

Good news for consumers looking to buy a home or refinance, Freddie Mac reports today that mortgage rates fell again this week to the lowest levels in 2014. A 30-year, fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.80 percent this week while the 15-year, fixed rate averaged 3.09 percent. Read more from Freddie Mac.

In other headlines:

Housing Outlook 2015: 11 Predictions From The Experts – Forbes

Shifting Patterns of Growth: Americans Return to Urban Life – On Common Ground

REALTOR® victory: Senate passes mortgage debt cancellation relief

According to a report by the National Association of REALTORS®, President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law a “tax-extender” bill that will provide mortgage debt cancellation relief.

According to NAR:

That step is possible because earlier this week, the Senate passed a provision of the bill just before adjourning for the year, giving REALTORS® a hard-fought victory. The provision prohibits the Internal Revenue Service from taxing debt that lenders forgive in a short sale, foreclosure or loan modification for the 2014 tax year, reported the NAR. The House passed the provision last week.

According to an email from NAR to members: “The legislation also includes one-year extensions of the 15-year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements and the deduction for improvements to energy efficient commercial buildings.”

“We are grateful to Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Reps. Tom Reed, R-NY, and Charlie Rangel, D-NY, for championing the provision,” NAR President Chris Polychron said.

NAR also pressed lawmakers to extend terrorism risk insurance, which is critical to commercial mortgage finance, but that provision will have to be taken up in 2015 under the new Congress.

For more information, go to The Voice for Real Estate.