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Upcoming Residential Purchase Agreement and New Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Rules for Condos in Flood Zones

Good day MAR members!

Another week of summer gently slides by, and just like that some of the kids are starting school this week! I was starting to get used to the lack of traffic, so I’m trying to brace myself for the crush of the next few weeks. Hopefully they will get all the road construction finished in time for school starting…otherwise we might be faced with a double whammy. So, please be patient and take your time out there MAR members…you’ll get to your meeting, it just might take you a little longer than it has been taking.

Another shorter summer-version memo this week, for quick reading as you scramble to finish up vacations and get the kids set for school…

Once again, we are reminded at the fragility of our time on this planet. In the years to come, many of us will remember where we were when we heard the news of Robin Williams’ passing. I know I will. We all considered Robin a fellow Marinite…a kindred spirit. He was young enough when he moved to Marin that it was not his choice to move here…but he DID make the choice to stay here, and moved back in recent years to his home county. Woodacre, Redwood High, College of Marin, Tiburon…Marin IS home.

Seeing Robin around town was not a celebrity sighting, Hollywood-style. It was simply seeing a familiar face. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Robin several years ago, as both of us were attending a local comedy show that was being presented by a mutual friend. We didn’t speak beyond pleasantries…but it was great to see him out enjoying and supporting other kindred spirits working their craft. Just a normal Marin guy.

As the emotion and stories have flooded all of us this week, one of the things that I’ve noticed is how he generously supported others in his artistic and comedy community. He gave service to his community. Let’s remember that folks. People are talking about his enormous talent, obviously. But after we all agreed on the huge artistic contributions, the story continues to come back to generosity and service. Our mutual friend even wrote about it, how Robin generously helped him get his business off the ground years ago. When all is said and done, the world will remember his talent and body of work. His family, friends and our community will remember the man, how he gave back, and how he made those around him feel.

It’s also good that as a community we are discussing mental health. I am hopeful that there is some good that can come out of this tragedy. We need to prop up those around us that need it, even if they don’t tell us so. Lend a helping hand, offer some encouragement, encourage people to get help when it’s needed. And always let those around you know how much you love them.

RIP Robin Williams.


It’s been a while since our last meeting, and in the spirit of our New Fall Season, let’s kick it off together on Tuesday, September 9th at Noon [check-in and networking begins at 11:30am]. Our featured speaker is Professor Robert Eyler, one of the leading economic minds in the North Bay, and the head of the Marin Economic Forum. His updates are always useful, and you will get local and up-to-date economic data that you can put to work with your clients immediately!

This meeting will also serve as the election for MAR’s 2015 leadership and Board of Directors.

You can click here to register on line, or click here for a flyer registration form. Our General Membership Meetings continue to sell out, so please make your reservation today so you won’t miss out. Hope to see you there!


Since early February, I’ve written several times about the new, improved and vastly re-written standard Residential Purchase Agreement from CAR. Lots and lots of changes. Folks, it’s just about here. It’s set to be rolled out in November.

CAR is sponsoring classes to educate the membership on the new RPA, and we’ve sold out the one we’ve scheduled at MAR. We are working to get back on the calendar. Many of you at the larger brokerages will be having training within your company. I’m pressing to get more classes on the calendar here at MAR to support our member community. Stay tuned.


One last thing I want to share this week is a new-this-year Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rule as it relates to condos in flood zones. I learned it the hard way. In the past, it’s not been unusual for condo complexes, where there are some units in flood zones, to have the individual units in the flood zone pay for their own flood insurance. You can still do that, but this year it’s become very difficult to obtain conventional financing that will be guaranteed by Freddie and Fannie unless the whole complex has a master flood policy. Like almost impossible. There are some portfolio lenders who will make an exception, but for the vast majority of loan products out there this new requirement has made conventional financing very difficult until the HOA gets a master flood policy for the entire complex.

It’s another way that Superstorm Sandy keeps on giving. If you’re listing a condo in a flood zone…or if you’re writing on a condo in a flood zone…make sure the association has a master flood policy. If they don’t have one, talk early to your lender to secure financing that will accommodate for the lack of the Fannie/Freddie requirement.

The flood zone and insurance requirements are changing all the time. Monthly. Weekly. Daily. These changes are very frustrating, and every week I hear from another member who is having difficulty with flood insurance. With this in mind, late next month MAR will be sponsoring a “flood summit” meeting (better title to come, I promise), with lenders, insurers, and hopefully FEMA itself in attendance. Date, time, and agenda are still coming together, but I am keen to educate the membership on this frustrating and constantly-changing corner of our industry.

That’s it for now!

I wish you a safe and prosperous week.


Blaine Morris

2014 MAR President