yurchello108_219894076 Mortgage lenders settle RESPA kickback charges for $35.7M

Mortgage lenders settle RESPA kickback charges for $35.7M

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $34.8 million to settle allegations that more than 100 loan officers in at least 18 branches steered thousands of mortgage borrowers to a Maryland-based title company in exchange for kickbacks in the form of ......
By Phillip Woolgar | Friday, January 23, 2015
Gunnar Pippel_76755373 Preprinted real estate contracts could get you fined

Preprinted real estate contracts could get you fined

It's a seemingly innocuous practice, but many real estate agents are steering their brokerages toward enormous fines and unwanted attention from state and federal regulators — and they don't even realize it ......
By Todd Ewing | Friday, January 23, 2015
Wichy_195457754 Tests trample many in stampede for real estate licenses

Tests trample many in stampede for real estate licenses

Interest in a career in real estate sales continues to rebound in nearly every state in the union, but not everyone who wants in on the action is able to obtain their license right off the bat. Last year, half ......
By Phillip Woolgar | Monday, January 19, 2015
O'dea/WikiCommons Property search engine will serve budding pot industry

Property search engine will serve budding pot industry

A new startup has ambitions of becoming the Zillow of property search for marijuana growers and landlords who are willing to rent their properties to people in the budding industry. The new service, HerbFront, will offer zoning maps to identify ......
By Inman | Friday, January 16, 2015
Doma/Shutterstock 5 agents who hinder closings

5 agents who hinder closings

I handled roughly 7,000 closings in my decade-plus in escrow. Most of these appointments proceed without a hitch, and I liked to commend agents and lenders for their attendance. Then there were those who I would have preferred had a conflicting appoi...
By Bill Risser | Monday, January 12, 2015
Corepics-VOF/Shutterstock Leigh Brown shares her feelings about NAR

Leigh Brown shares her feelings about NAR

One of these days, I’ll learn to leave all of the Facebook groups that time-suck and energy-suck me to pieces. That's a New Year's resolution for you. But there are some groups that are so valuable and integral to what I do that I'm going to stay l...
By Leigh Brown | Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Corepics-VOF/Shutterstock Why NAR matters

Why NAR matters

One of these days, I’ll learn to leave all of the Facebook groups that time-suck and energy-suck me to pieces. That's a New Year's resolution for you. But there are some groups that are so valuable and integral to what I do that I'm going to stay l...
By Leigh Brown | Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Aleksandr Ryzhov / Shutterstock.com Use the EB-5 visa to build your business

Use the EB-5 visa to build your business

Brent Raymond is riding the wave of history. As executive director of Vermont's EB-5 "investor visa" hub, Raymond's job is to persuade Chinese immigrant investors that Vermont is the best place in the United States for them to underwrite job-creating...
By Andrew Taylor | Monday, January 5, 2015
Buyer's letter image via Shutterstock. Why buyer letters are risky business

Why buyer letters are risky business

As an exclusive buyer agent, homebuyers ask me all the time about buyer letters. You know the letters I mean: the ones where the buyers write about how much they love the house and why they or their family or their kids will love living there and why...
By ActiveRain | Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Buyer's letter image via Shutterstock. Why buyer letters are risky business

Why buyer letters are risky business

As an exclusive buyer agent, homebuyers ask me all the time about buyer letters. You know the letters I mean: the ones where the buyers write about how much they love the house and why they or their family or their kids will love living there and why...
By ActiveRain | Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Zombie real estate agent image via Shutterstock. Would you rather face RESPA-TILA disclosure rule, or zombie apocalypse?

Would you rather face RESPA-TILA disclosure rule, or zombie apocalypse?

The 1,888-page RESPA-TILA Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and taking effect next year “isn’t a brain-eating zombie,” but “it certainly feels like a monster.” So say...
By Inman | Thursday, October 9, 2014
New hires image via Shutterstock. Why your next agent should be a 'lifelong learner'

Why your next agent should be a 'lifelong learner'

In a recent tweet storm, Brad Inman took to Twitter to vent about licensing requirements, incompetent agents, and what it will take to fix the problem. While he recommended implementing more stringent licensing requirements, penalties and watchdogs, ...
By Bernice Ross | Monday, October 6, 2014
Gavel image via Shutterstock. Title insurer agrees to pay $200,000 to settle kickback allegations

Title insurer agrees to pay $200,000 to settle kickback allegations

A title insurance agency has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) by entering into marketing services agreements with companies, including real estate brokers, with the unders...
By Inman | Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Gavel image via Shutterstock. Legal spat over sale of mansion could greatly expand definition of 'dual agency' in California

Legal spat over sale of mansion could greatly expand definition of 'dual agency' in California

A dispute over the sale of a $12.25 million mansion that allegedly turned out to be smaller than advertised could end up greatly expanding the definition of what constitutes “dual agency” in California, and make brokerages more skittish a...
By Inman | Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Disclosures image via Shutterstock. Brokerage pays $500K to settle allegations buyers were steered to affiliated title company

Brokerage pays $500K to settle allegations buyers were steered to affiliated title company

Alabama’s biggest real estate brokerage, RealtySouth, has agreed to pay a $500,000 civil penalty to settle allegations that it “strongly encouraged” and in some cases required agents to use its affiliated title insurance and closing...
By Inman | Friday, May 30, 2014
Taxing situation image via Shutterstock. Real estate always has tax ramifications

Real estate always has tax ramifications

The tax aspects of real estate ownership are something every buyer should understand. Real estate professionals need to understand them as well. Unfortunately, real estate taxation is complex, and not getting any simpler ......
By Stephen Fishman | Monday, May 5, 2014
Odometer image via Shutterstock. How not to turn your business mileage deduction into a negligence penalty

How not to turn your business mileage deduction into a negligence penalty

Jim Chapin, a California real estate broker, used his Toyota Sequoia SUV for his real estate business during 2009. He figured that he drove a total of 11,135 miles for business that year and deducted $5,309 for car and truck ......
By Stephen Fishman | Monday, April 21, 2014
Tax time image via Shutterstock. Follow the rules, and the IRS will let quite a bit slide past April 15

Follow the rules, and the IRS will let quite a bit slide past April 15

As you probably know, your income taxes are due on April 15. However, this is not really the final date to file your 2013 return. You can get a six-month extension to file, meaning that your return won’t be due ......
By Stephen Fishman | Monday, April 14, 2014