Evanston loosens reigns on drone use

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The Evanston City Council agreed to let a two-year moratorium on the use of drones expire May 31.

Local Government Affairs Director Howard Handler, representing NSBAR, had provided written testimony to the city of Evanston. Handler wrote: “Until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other federal agencies develop an appropriate regulatory framework for commercial drone use, we, in most circumstances, implore REALTORS® not to use or contract the use of drones in the conduct of their real estate business unless the commercial drone operator has been granted a section 333 wavier by the FAA.

“However, under the auspices of the section 333 waiver and future FAA regulations, the applications for use of drone technology in real estate are plentiful and encompass a variety of activities, including marketing, appraisals and property inspections,” Handler wrote.  “Therefore, we are asking the city of Evanston to end its moratorium to pave the way for very limited drone use by way of the section 333 waiver, and for expanded use upon the creation of federal regulations.”

In the spring of 2013, Evanston adopted a moratorium on the use of drones. Advocates for the moratorium were concerned that, due to the rapidly evolving technology, federal and state regulations did not provide adequate safety and privacy protections.

For more information on how drone technology relates to your business, visit here.

Check the latest story in the NAR Weekly Report, titled “Should You Pursue Drone Technology?

SB 1380 Update: Bill not on committee agenda, for now


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Senate Bill 1380 was supposed to have been reviewed by a House committee on Thursday morning.

Under the bill, a municipality would have the ability to attach liens for code violations not just to the offending property, but also to other properties owned by a common owner. The bill was proposed as a way to get the attention of scofflaws who fail to take care of their property.

SB1380 was pulled from the agenda of the House Cities and Villages Committee on Wednesday. It was not not on the agenda for the committee on Thursday morning.

IAR lobbyists reported that it was once again placed on the agenda Thursday for consideration when the committee was to meet Friday.

But late Thursday, the bill was again pulled from the agenda.

The bill has been the subject of two IAR Calls for Action. The first was an attempt to thwart Senate passage of the bill. The most recent attempts to stop the bill from consideration by the House. (Take part here.)

The bill is still active, and the on-again, off-again committee status shows that it is still very much in play. Lawmakers could call the bill for a House vote up until they gavel out for the summer. The session is expected to end May 31.

“Nothing is ever dead in Springfield until lawmakers go home,” said Greg St. Aubin, IAR’s Director of Governmental Affairs.

The bill is seen as an overreach of government authority, and IAR has consistently pointed out to the bill’s sponsors and other lawmakers that statutes already allow municipalities to address nuisance code violations.

Resource guide for TILA-RESPA changes now on IAR website

IAR has put together a collection of online resources to help REALTORS® better understand the scheduled changes to mortgage disclosure documents which go into effect in August.

An IAR Web page has been created which covers the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, with links to webinars, NAR articles, key government agencies, essential documents and background. The page is here.

The TILA-REPA changes go into effect Aug. 1, 2015, and there’s worry that the changes in disclosure could delay closings. The page will be updated as lingering questions about the policy are addressed.

If you come across specific information on this subject that a colleague could use, please share the link with a member of the IAR Communications staff so it can be added to the page.

Morning Minute: U.S. pending home sales hit nine-year high, NAR reports

Homebuyer demand is growing stronger as evidenced by the latest Pending Home Sales Index, which in April climbed to its highest level since May 2006, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). April also marked the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Read a news release and watch a video from NAR.

“REALTORS® are saying foot traffic remains elevated this spring despite limited — and in some cases severe — inventory shortages in many metro areas. Homeowners looking to sell this spring appear to be in the driver’s seat, as there are more buyers competing for a limited number of homes available for sale,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

In other headlines:

Realtor.com: Waiting to buy a home could cost tens of thousands – HousingWire

Mortgage Rates Reach 2015 High – Freddie Mac

PAAR, Lamoine Valley announce merger effective June 1

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Members of the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® and the Lamoine Valley Board of REALTORS® have voted to approve a merger effective June 1, 2015.

The two local associations become the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® (PAAR) on June 1, with the 30 members of Lamoine Valley becoming a chapter of PAAR.

Hancock, Schuyler and McDonough counties will be added to the original PAAR territory of Fulton and Peoria counties; Cazenovia, Crugar, Linn, Metamora, Montgomery, Olio, Partridge, Roanoke, Spring Bay and Worth townships in Woodford County; and Fondulac, Groveland and Washington townships of Tazewell County.

“We look forward to providing staff support and core member services to more REALTORS®, while expanding housing opportunities within the seven counties now served,” PAAR President Phil Harvey said.

Dallas Hancock will continue as chief executive officer of PAAR, while Nan Wollbrink will serve as PAAR chapter executive assistant, serving members of Lamoine Valley in the Macomb area. The associations will share one website www.paarealtors.com.

“The decision to merge with the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® provides an exceptional opportunity for our members to access expanded membership benefits and services including professional development, continuing education, advanced technology resources and marketing tools while also retaining local service as a chapter affiliate of PAAR,” said Paula Clark, president of the Lamoine Valley Board of REALTORS®. “We look at this merger as a new beginning for the Lamoine Valley REALTORS®.”

Clark, a real estate broker with Key REALTORS® in Macomb, will join the PAAR Board of Directors beginning Oct. 1, 2015. Lamoine Valley property listings will become part of the PAAR Multiple Listing Service with databases scheduled to be merged about the same time.