Dear CAR Member,

President's Message: Jennifer Branchini, C.A.R. President (Video)

The past few days indeed have been challenging for our industry. As you know, last week, a Missouri jury found NAR and the co-defendants liable in the class action suit Burnett v. NAR et al. The jury in the case awarded damages to the plaintiffs in the amount of $1.78 billion, which, under the law, will be automatically trebled to more than $5 billion. NAR will appeal the jury’s verdict, and it will likely be several years before this case is finally resolved.

This means it’s important for REALTORS® to show their clients just how much value they bring to a real estate transaction. To help you with that, C.A.R. has prepared a list of 184 things REALTORS® do for their clients, which can be found on Smart Zone, our specially created website to help you in a shifting market. You’ll also find buyer’s agent resources, including legal guides, and educational resources for using the Buyer Representation and Broker Compensation Form, coaching scripts, and marketing, business and legal tools. I encourage you to check this site often because it’s updated frequently.

C.A.R.’s Legal team also has prepared Q&As with information about the lawsuit, potential impacts and how the changes could affect real estate transactions and broker practices in California. See the Legal Q&As here.

And to help you understand how to use the Buyer Representation Form ― which is available to members in zipForm for FREE ― I’m pleased to tell you that we’re currently offering our Buyer Broker Agreement Training for free through the end of the year. This course will teach you how to incorporate the Buyer Representation Form into your business, overcome objections that you may encounter, and strengthen relationships with buyers. Just register before Dec. 31, 2023, and once you sign up, you have one year to complete the class. Use this promo code at checkout: FREE25. 

Sept. 1 was Gov. Newsom’s deadline to sign or veto bills from the 2022-2023 legislative session. All of the C.A.R.-sponsored bills enjoyed broad bipartisan support, and I’m pleased to share that several C.A.R.-sponsored bills were signed into law including: 

C.A.R.-sponsored AB 323 (Holden) Density Bonus – This law requires developers of density bonus or inclusionary zoned units, that were constructed with an affordability covenant or restriction intended for owner-occupancy, to sell the units to owner occupant purchasers unless, there are truly no qualified owner occupant buyers able to purchase the units. 

C.A.R.-sponsored AB 225 (Grayson) Environmental Hazards Booklet – This law updates the state’s Residential Environmental Hazard Booklet to add three new chapters related to wildfires, climate change and sea level rise to the booklet to provide consumers with valuable information regarding these risks. 

C.A.R.-sponsored AB 1280 (Mainschein) Fire Hazard Severity Zones Disclosures – This law updates the Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) in California to include the recently mapped “High Fire Hazard Severity Zones,” as well as designating whether a home is located in a state or local responsibility area. Currently, the NHD only discloses to potential purchasers whether a home is in a “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.” 

C.A.R.-sponsored AB 743 (Petrie Norris) Remote Online Notary – C.A.R. has long supported the concept of bringing remote online notarization to California and has worked with various coalitions that included banks, credit unions, title companies, notary groups and the online platforms themselves to make this a reality. This year C.A.R. introduced its own online notary bill. The online notary platforms also separately introduced their own bill SB 696 (Portantino). The C.A.R.-sponsored bill represented what C.A.R. believes were the essential elements for workable online notarization. While the C.A.R. bill was held in Appropriations due to cost concerns, SB 696 was also amended to make it more workable, and C.A.R. moved to support SB 696. We are pleased to report that after a decade of negotiation, online notarization was recently signed into law by the governor, and California will begin establishing the Remote Online Notaries licensing process, which will be phased in over the next few years to ensure there is no market disruption as the state establishes this new licensing system within the Secretary of State’s Office.

Additionally, last year, C.A.R. successfully advocated for $500 million to be included in the state budget for initial funding of California’s Dream for All Shared Appreciation Program, which makes homeownership more attainable to the state’s working families and traditionally underserved communities as they build generational wealth. However, due to a budget shortfall, the state initially withheld $200 million of the $500 million allocated to the “California Dream for All” Shared Equity Program.

Thanks to REALTOR® member mobilization advocacy efforts, which included 2,500 REALTORS® who met with their state elected leaders during C.A.R.’s Legislative Day, I’m elated to share that the governor signed a state budget in July, which returned the $200 million to the California Dream for All Program funding. Thank you to each and every one of you who made a call, social media post or attended an in-person meeting that advocated on behalf of this phenomenal program.

C.A.R.’s advocacy and leadership and, most importantly, your support, engagement and action resulted in a successful legislative session. Thank you, REALTORS®, for continuing to champion homeownership for all Californians. We are stronger together!

This year is not over yet, but it’s never too early to begin planning for 2024. In January, the Center for California Real Estate (CCRE), an institute of the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, will present its inaugural 2024 panel, “CCRE Presents – Housing 2024: The California Dream in Focus.” The event, to be held Wednesday, Jan. 10, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in Los Angeles, will bring together distinguished housing experts to engage in focused discussion about critical issues and opportunities facing California’s housing market. Join us for an insightful conversation as we examine the state of housing and provide an outlook for the year ahead. Visit here for more information and to register.

We all know that first-time buyers face significant hurdles to achieve homeownership. That’s why on Dec. 6, 10 a.m. – 12:45 p.m., C.A.R. is holding its final STEPS Toward Homeownership virtual program of the year. Get the latest on lending and down payment assistance so you can prepare your clients for the 2024 housing market. You’ll hear from experts on every step in the transaction and get tools and resources to make the best decision for your clients’ situation, such as lending updates, the latest down payment assistance options, an economic market overview and our homebuyer education workshop. Sign up for free at

In closing, as my term concludes next week, I want to say how honored I am to have served as your president. I wholeheartedly believe that serving as your president is simply being a representative and extension of each of you, our members. Our job as leaders is to be your voice thru listening and applying what we learn from you to support and improve our profession. I can assure you, this is not about the title. I know your 2024 leadership team feels the same way. We are here for you and we truly know what it is that we do each day and the impact it has on millions of lives.​​​​​​ I leave knowing you’ll remain just as involved with your 2024 Leadership Team, comprised of President Melanie Barker, President-elect Heather Ozur, Treasurer Mark Peterson and C.A.R. Chief Executive Officer John Sebree. It’s been my pleasure serving you.


Jennifer Branchini
2023 C.A.R. President