NAR President Moe Veissi praises new help for struggling homeowners. The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Tuesday announced measures to make “short sales” of underwater homes easier for homeowners, including extending help to people who have financial difficulties but haven’t missed mortgage payments.
by NAR First Vice President Steve Brown
Taking action that could benefit small businesses and real estate professionals, the House recently passed the Real Estate Settlement Procedures (RESPA) Home Warranty Clarification Act of 2011. If the measure clears the Senate and is signed into law, real estate professionals could again market home warranties more easily to consumers.
In 2010, a ruling reversed decades of common understanding of RESPA. Previously, it was common practice for real estate professionals and home warranty companies to partner in providing home warranties to consumers. For nearly two decades, the industry carried on this practice. Then in 2008, HUD called the practice into question and issued a rule in 2010 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that made it a violation to offer compensation to an agent for the sale of a warranty product. HUD cited that the warranty program was a part of the financial closing process in the purchase of a property, which is indeed under the purview of RESPA.
NAR disagreed. A warranty product, while put in place during the closing of a real estate property, has nothing to do with the buyer’s financial process and therefore not under the purview of RESPA.
HUD’s ruling is not consumer friendly. The result of this ruling was in fact the removal of the real estate professional from the warranty sales process. This in turn hurt consumers because the real estate professional is in the best position to explain and service the warranty when questions or problems arise.
This bipartisan legislation clarifies the intention of Congress with regard to RESPA and warranties. The new legislation restates that home warranties are not covered by RESPA. It also directs the disclosure of any relationship between the real estate professional and the warranty company, which had been the practice before the RESPA rule.
The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Representatives Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and William “Lacy” Clay (D-Mo.), has 40 co-sponsors. We’re very pleased the House has passed the clarification of RESPA, and NAR will continue to work with our industry partners to pass the measure in the Senate.
NAR President Moe Veissi shares great news about the Aug. 1 merger between the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union and Northwest Federal Credit Union – together now known as REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, A Division of Northwest Federal Credit Union.
by Ron Phipps, 2012 Immediate Past President, NAR
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
You may recognize this inscription from the Statue of Liberty. Since 1886, “Liberty Enlightening the World” has stood witness facing southeast toward the Atlantic Ocean. The statue has welcomed visitors and new citizens.
She has spoken loudly in silence.
She has flown without wings.
She has inspired without voice.
She has troubled our conscious without hesitation.
She has endured without complaint.
The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of our freedom and our Republic… Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
What many people do not know is that there are broken chains at her feet. They are not visible from the ground level. They represent the chains of oppression and tyranny. They represent chains of the past. They represent the denial of rights: of life, of liberty, and of property. That is buying, owning, and selling property.
Lady Liberty is also one of our most notable images of persistence and perseverance. Just as our freedom was WON, it must also be protected and defended. We do that. But, she is a witness to an important life lesson. She and her loyal American believers can endure the ravages of war, the challenges of economic strife, and the pestilence of political partisanship.
She stands tall and proud day and night, rain or sun. She reminds us that a nation of homeowners is unconquerable. She gives us appreciation not only for the ebb and flow of value, but also the importance of the foundation of homeownership, for us as individual families, and as a nation.
One additional observation about the broken chain at her feet: We need to remember the links of the past to make sure that we are masters of our future rather than enslaved by it.
The light of freedom is lit and the doorway to private property ownership is open.