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.



Morning Minute: IAR’s Kinney among experts sharing industry predictions for 2015

The latest issue of Chicago Agent Magazine asks local Chicago area real estate experts — including Illinois Association of REALTORS® President Jim Kinney — for their predictions for the housing market and economy in the article, “Local Experts’ Predictions for 2015.” The experts share their predictions on everything from jobs and the economy to new construction, lending and housing inventory.

On the topic of whether the industry is attracting more agents, Kinney says: “I think that as the market continues to solidify and get better, you’re going to see the real estate arena again being viable for young people to consider as a career choice.”

Read the full article to see what Kinney and other industry pros have to say about what is ahead in 2015.

In other headlines:

Homebuilder confidence hovers around nine-year high – Chicago Tribune (via Bloomberg)

FHFA Seeks to Bolster Affordability – Daily Real Estate News



Wait until you see these 18 great gifts for REALTORS®

When it comes choosing the perfect holiday gifts for REALTORS®, several IAR members shared ideas they would appreciate or their colleagues would like to receive.

Some gifts can be expensive:

  • Scottevest shirts, shorts, pants, jackets, hoodies, coats, cardigan sweaters and caps designed with special pockets to hold technology and other essentials – Justin Letheby, Keller Williams Fox Valley in St. Charles
  • iPads or other tablets – Renee Naffziger of Baird & Warner in St. Charles
  • Driver/Chauffeur for days with many back-to-back appointments – Mabél Guzmán of @properties in Chicago
  • Large bottle of expensive whiskey – Naffziger

But for many other ideas, you can find a gift that matches the amount you have budgeted:

  • Wine – Kim Keefe of RE/MAX Plaza in Woodstock
  • Smart touch gloves for computer and phone touchscreens – Letheby
  • REALTOR® kits – small bin with a flashlight, measuring tape, booties, mold mask, mini wrench or star wrench, nine volt batteries – Carrie J. Bey-Little of Baird & Warner in Glen Ellyn
  • Massages – Guzmán
  • Lottery tickets – Keefe
  • Gift cards for favorite websites, stores, restaurants – Keefe
  • Gas cards – Bey-Little
  • Food – Keefe
  • Electronic tape measures – Karen Parent of Coldwell Banker Residential in Wheaton
  • Continuing Education gift certificate – Bey-Little
  • Coffee gift cards – Bey-Little
  • Car wash gift certificates – Naffziger
  • Car detailing gift cards – Guzmán
  • Battery chargers/external phone batteries – Letheby and Parent

If you have ideas you’d like to share, contact Bill Kozar at today.

Panel of economists discusses state’s economy with IAR

Economists met with IAR on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 to discuss demographic trends and how they apply to the real estate industry and the state's economy.

A panel of economists met with IAR’s CEO along with IAR Public Policy and Advocacy staff in Chicago to discuss economic shifts in the state and what they might mean for the real estate industry and the broader economy.

The meeting, held Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, looked at migration patterns, job growth and other indicators of how the state is faring in the post-Recession era.

Joining IAR were:

  • Dr. Geoffrey Hewings, director of the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.
  • Alexei Tchistyi, associate professor of finance and director of the Office of Real Estate Research, University of Illinois.
  • David Cleeton, Professor of Economics and Department Chair,  Illinois State University.
  • William Polley, associate professor of economics, Western Illinois University.
  • Curtis Dubay, research fellow in tax and economic policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Jason Horwitz, senior consultant with Anderson Economic Group in Chicago led off presentations with an overview of his research.

A report from the research being conducted by the economists is planned in the future.

Are you ready for changes to the Property Disclosure Act?


Beginning January 1, 2015, there is an important change to Question 6 of the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Act.

Basically, the change is this: The original form required sellers to disclose known defects with walls. But a state Appellate Court decision (Kalkman v. Nedved) narrowly interpreted the Act’s language and determined that “walls” did not include windows and doors.

Hence the change in the Act, which added in disclosure language for windows and doors. IAR has a new form available (and one in Spanish, too). You can find Form 108 here.

Must all sellers complete a new seller disclosure form when the amendment adding windows and doors to Question 6 of the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Act (the Act) takes effect on January 1, 2015?

Not all sellers must complete a new form.  Consider the following:

If the residential property is subject to a pending purchase contract, the seller has provided the form as required by the existing law and the buyer has acknowledged receipt of the property disclosure form before becoming bound on the purchase contract then there should be no need for the seller to complete a new form.  (This answer assumes that the seller has no new actual knowledge regarding defects relating to windows and doors).

If there is no purchase contract pending then it would be prudent brokerage office policy to provide a new disclosure form to its seller clients for completion and ultimate distribution to the buyer before the buyer becomes bound on a purchase contract.

This would be true whether a prospective buyer has previously received a disclosure form or not.  (There might be a legal argument that the seller has met his obligation if he has already provided a form to a prospective buyer and there is not a contract pending, but in the abundance of caution it is best for seller to provide a form that complies with the most recent version of the Act).

If there is a purchase contract pending but seller has not provided the disclosure form to the buyer, he should use the new form.

If exempt from disclosure under existing law that exemption will still apply under the amended law.

If the seller refuses to complete a new form, refer the seller client to their own attorney for specific advice.