The Voice for Real Estate 97: Self-employed Loans, Staging, Federal Policy

Agents earning commission income should find lenders more receptive to their home loan applications. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have made changes to their automated underwriting program to make it faster, more cost-effective, and less risky for lenders to consider these mortgage loan applications.

This edition of The Voice for Real Estate is sponsored by the REALTOR Benefits® program.

Transcript

If you're self-employed, your chances of getting a home loan just got better.

Is staging worth it? NAR research shows, yes!

And a REALTOR® tells Congress: data security doesn't have to be hard.

These stories and more on the Voice for Real Estate.

The Voice for Real Estate is sponsored by NAR's REALTOR Benefits® Program, your official member benefits resource bringing you savings and unique offers on products and services just for REALTORS®. Learn more at nar.realtor/RealtorBenefits.

Hi, I'm Stephen Gasque of the National Association of REALTORS®.

There's good news for you as a real estate professional. Lenders can now examine your mortgage application as a self-employed businessperson in just a fraction of the time it used to take. The faster process is also more cost efficient, so some lenders that wouldn't have tried to get your business in the past could start to do so.

What's behind this good news? Changes to the automated processing system used by the nation's two largest sources of mortgage money: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Here's NAR's Ken Fears with more.

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You could see the biggest impact of this change in rural areas, where community banks could now find it more cost effective to take loan applications that they would not have taken before.

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Professional staging isn't cheap but NAR data suggest it can make a big difference in buying and selling a home. Eighty-three percent of buyer's agents say staging helps consumers see the home as their own, which can lead to more offers. And more than half of listing agents say it shortens the amount of time on the market. What's more, half of those agents say it speeds up the sale dramatically. Here's Carol Griffith, broker of Griffith Realty in Brighton, Mich., on how you can use this information.

Here's more from an agent who sees the value in staging.

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The report found staging the living room has the most impact on buyers.

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No one is more concerned about protecting customers' information than you - as a real estate professional. It's part of the NAR Code of Ethics. That's the message Nina Dosanjh, a REALTOR® with Vangard Properties in San Francisco, took to Capitol Hill last week. In testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee, she also said privacy rules that aren't carefully crafted can hurt small businesses.

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Data privacy is an issue you'll be hearing more about, as email fraud and other scams continue to grow.

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Two other REALTORS® were recently on Capitol Hill as well. NAR President-elect Vince Malta told the Senate Banking Committee that the federal government should continue to back 30-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgages, no matter how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are reformed.

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And Mabel Guzman, a residential real estate broker in Chicago, told the House Financial Services Committee that federal flood insurance-which she said should be reformed and reauthorized for the long-term-is vital to home sales in every part of the country, not just the coastal areas.

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It's not unusual for Congress to hear from so many REALTORS® on such a wide range of issues, because lawmakers know, and appreciate, that no professional knows more about protecting property owners and renters and strengthening communities than REALTORS®.

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And now a home sales update for you, and the news is good. Sales are up on a monthly basis but that's not all. Consumer attitudes about the market are improving, too.

First the sales numbers. Here's NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun on existing-home sales data for February.

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In a good sign for future home sales, 38 percent of households say now is a good time to buy, compared to just 34 percent last quarter. That's according to NAR's latest survey on consumer attitudes. Yun pointed to lower interest rates as one reason people are more optimistic.

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And now a home sales update for you. Sales are down on a monthly basis but there's reason for optimism, because consumer attitudes about the market are improving.

But first the sales numbers. Here's NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun on existing-home sales data for February.

[QUOTE]

In a good sign for future home sales, 38 percent of households say now is a good time to buy, compared to just 34 percent last quarter. That's according to NAR's latest survey on consumer attitudes. Yun pointed to lower interest rates as one reason people are more optimistic.

[SWOOSH]

And that's our show for the week of April 1.

Special thanks to our sponsor, NAR's REALTOR® Benefits Program, your official member benefits resource. Your NAR membership pays for itself with savings and special offers on personal and business insurance, technology, digital marketing, transaction management solutions, car rentals, and through Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the official automobile manufacturer of the National Association of REALTORS®. Learn more about these and more member benefits at nar.realtor/RealtorBenefits.

You can get more on everything we talked about today at The Voice for Real Estate page on nar.realtor. Thank you for joining us. And be sure to join us again, as we bring you all the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate.

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Additional Resources

Data Security & Privacy

Does your state have data security laws that your association must follow? Does your state regulate what businesses must do in the event of ...