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Real Estate Services: RESPA Education and Assistance for RES Realtors

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By Ken Trepeta

RISMEDIA, June 18, 2007-On the education front, NAR has undertaken? a broad effort to educate its members on RESPA enforcement. The effort began three year ago with the creation of the “RESPA Realities” program at the Midyear and Annual conventions. The session brings together leading RESPA attorneys and real estate and real estate services practitioners to discuss the latest developments in RESPA enforcement and compliance. There is usually a lengthy question and answer session involving the audience. The session held in New Orleans last November attracted 300 REALTORS®, and the most recent session was held at last month’s Midyear Meetings in Washington, D.C.

Following on the development of RESPA Realities, NAR produced a series of brochures and laminated cards to educate members of their obligations under RESPA. The RESPA “Dos and Don’ts” laminated cards have become popular across the nation. The brochures incorporate more details and questions and answers on key RESPA issues for agents and for those involved in affiliated business arrangements (AfBAs). These materials are available for purchase through the Realtor Web site: http://www.Realtor.org/RESPA The Realtor RESPA page contains links to the Realtor store and other information on the latest RESPA happenings.

In 2006, NAR undertook to create a RESPA education course that would be eligible for state continuing education credit. The first approved course was held in Maryland on April 17, 2007. More than 300 Realtors attended. The course was jointly sponsored by NAR and the Maryland Association of Realtors. NAR secured RESPA expert Phil Schulman to conduct the course. The Maryland Association and several Maryland brokers promoted the course to Realtors. The Maryland Association worked to secure CE credit and also handled the onsite logistics for the course. NAR hopes to partner with other state associations and large brokers to conduct future courses.

Regulatory

NAR has been active in shaping the debate on RESPA reform, participating in seven HUD roundtables on the subject. NAR also meets regularly with Secretary Jackson and his subordinates and OMB Director Portman and his staff to ensure that NAR’s views receive due attention. NAR has also weighed in on regulatory proposals related to RESPA including the idea of creating a RESPA complaint Web page. NAR has also been monitoring and publicizing the state level including increased enforcement efforts.

The Future

NAR plans to continue to expand its RESPA education efforts. The Midyear 2007 session of RESPA Realities will be recorded and made available for a reasonable fee as an educational tool for agents, brokers, and associations. The session may even be used as a one-credit component of a larger course should states wish. NAR will continue to partner with states and large brokers to offer RESPA education sessions to members across the country. Finally, NAR continues to remain active in the ongoing debate about RESPA reform. NAR remains engaged with HUD and OMB as well as other industry players in an effort to ensure that all Realtors are represented in the decision-making process.

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