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Pictured here are the 2011 BARLA graduates and members of the BARLA Advisory Committee.

Members of the 2011 Bay Area REALTOR® Leadership Academy (BARLA) successfully completed the program this week. This year’s BARLA graduates are Sue Bose, Kevin Cole, Debra Cummins, Desiree Docktor, Anne Hansen, Penelope Huang, Linda Scheifler Marks, Mike O’Neill, Robert Pedro, Gema Smith, David Steil, Frank Vento, Jane Volpe and Aaron Wheeler.

BARLA is an alliance spearheaded in 2009 by past SILVAR president Julia Truesdale Keady involving members of the three neighboring Associations – SILVAR, the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS® and the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®. The goal is to develop a leadership program designed to identify, train and develop existing and emerging leaders to serve and advance organized real estate.

Participants this year attended full-day sessions held monthly through September. The curriculum featured theme-oriented sessions which gave participants an overview of organized real estate’s impact on local, state and federal issues, candidates, non-profits and communities.

Members of this year’s Advisory Committee are Suzanne Yost (Chair), Julia Truesdale Keady (Vice Chair), David Tonna, Karl Lee, Jeff Bell, Al Louie, Barbara Lymberis, Suzan Getchell-Wallace, Debbie Sharp, Marianne Osberg and Association Executives of the three associations.

Last week Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 771 into law, a bill that prevents home buyers in a common interest development (CID), such as a condominium or townhome, from being charged excess document fees. 

Homeowner associations (HOAs) are required to provide specific documents to prospective purchasers of homes in a CID — a form of real estate ownership in which each homeowner has an exclusive interest in a unit and a shared interest in the common area property. In addition to the standard residential property disclosures, purchasers of a unit within a CID must receive basic information about the structure, operation and management of the HOA that operates the CID.

Current law requires that this information come from the HOA and prohibits it from charging fees in excess of what is “reasonable,” not to exceed the actual cost of processing and producing these documents. HOAs generally have provided the documents for approximately $75 to $250. Increasingly, HOAs have been delegating document preparations to third party vendors or contractors who, under a 2007 court decision, are exempt from this fee limitation. This delegation of responsibility by HOAs sometimes resulted in home purchasers being forced to pay additional fees, as much as $1,000, for other documents which were “bundled” with the required documents.

Assembly Bill 771 (Betsy Butler, D-Torrance) addresses this situation by specifying that only fees for the required documents may be charged when such documents are provided, effectively prohibiting any “bundling” of fees for other documents with these fees. The bill also creates a new form detailing which documents are required, and requires the provider to disclose the fees that will be charged for the documents before they are provided. The seller of a CID must complete this form and transmit it to the prospective purchaser along with the required documents. This will eliminate any uncertainty for the prospective purchaser as to exactly which documents are being provided and the precise fees being charged for those documents.

Time is running out on important housing-related issues before Congress. We need REALTORS® to contact their elected representatives in Washington, D.C., today. 

Here is what REALTORS® can do:

Reauthorize National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to ensure access for millions of Americans to affordable flood insurance which is not available in the private insurance market. The House has passed its bill. Now we need you to urge the Senate to act.

Without reauthorization, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will expire on September 30, 2011. Today, 5.6 million property owners rely on the program in 21,000 communities where flood insurance is required for federally related mortgages. Both consumers and your fellow REALTORS® are counting on your to help get this bill passed.

Tell Congress to Reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program

Make permanent the current loan limits for FHA, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to ensure the affordability of mortgage credit for hundreds of thousands of responsible and credit-worthy American families.

The cost of a mortgage could rise significantly if loan limits are reduced. If this happens, many of your clients run the risk of being priced out of the American Dream of home ownership. This could hold back the housing recovery. The new loan limits show that more than 669 counties in 42 states and the territories would be negatively impacted by the loan limit change. 

Take Action to Ensure Your Clients Have Access to Affordable Mortgages

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