The Voice for Real Estate 84: Flood Insurance, Rural Loans, Competitiveness

The Voice for Real Estate 84: Flood Insurance, Rural Loans, Competitiveness

Apr 11, 2018
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reassessed which areas are considered rural for its several assistance programs, including federally backed loans from the Rural Housing Service. The latest Voice for Real Estate walks your members through how to check if their area’s status has changed. Other stories in the video: Small changes by the federal government make it easier for homeowners to get private flood insurance, a technology symposium makes clear all types of real estate brokerage models are competitive today, and brokers share success tips at the recent Broker Summit. 

Featured Segments

  • Private flood insurance
  • Changing rural areas
  • Real estate competitiveness
  • Brokerage culture
  • Fair Housing Focus video series


Private flood insurance gets a boost

Is your area still eligible for rural home loans?

And how you can improve the culture of success at

your brokerage.

These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate.

Hi, I’m Stephen Gasque with the National Association of Realtors.

Some good news on flood insurance: FEMA has made some small, but meaningful changes.

Congress still has to pass long-term, comprehensive flood insurance reform, but in the meantime the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees federal flood insurance, has been working on making it better.

First, homeowners can now switch to private insurance if they can get better coverage that way... without having to keep their federal insurance at the same time. Before, FEMA would not allow them to drop their federal coverage, so with the change? Property owners will not have to shoulder redundant policiues, and redundant premiums.

And second, homeowners who live in a state that collects geographical elevation data using LiDAR technology—North Carolina and Minnesota are two of them—can now use that data to show they don’t need flood insurance. LiDAR technology uses lasers and is considered highly accurate but up until now they couldn’t use that data! and had to spend as much as $2,000 to get an elevation certificate.

Here’s NAR’s Austin Perez on these and other changes that you can let your customers know about.


NAR is still trying to get long-term reauthorization and reform of the National Flood Insurance Program passed, but we’re not there yet. Right now, the program is authorized until July 31st.


Some areas that used to be eligible for home mortgage loans under the Rural Housing Service are no longer eligible. The reason? The government has changed what it considers to be a rural area. So, some areas that were eligible are not - anymore….and other areas that were NOT eligible? Now are! Here’s NAR’s Sehar Siddiqi on how you can find out if the rules

in your area have changed.


With the Rural Housing Service, buyers can get safe and affordable home loans...and often they are one of the few loan options available in some areas. So make sure you know - if your area is now in….or out.


10 years ago NAR and the U.S. Department of Justice entered into an agreement about virtual office websites—or VOWs.

The agrementr ensured those operations are not put at a competitive disadvantage with brick and mortar brokerages when it came to NAR’s rules for sharing MLS data. That agreement expires later this year and to find out what that means, NAR Associate General Counsel Ralph Holmen participated in a panel discussion in Washington on technology and real estate brokerage competitiveness.


NAR’s agreement with DOJ only applies to virtual office websites, which are different from most brokerage websites that display MLS data. VOWs are Internet-based brokerages that try to replicate the brokerage business model in an online environment.

Real estate brokerage competitiveness will be the focus again in early June, when the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission host a workshop in Washington. Holmen says that workshop will be an opportunity for NAR to share what we hear from you about how vigorously real estate brokerages of all business models compete for consumers’ listings.


How would you describe the culture at your brokerage? That’s an important question because culture has a big impact on your business’s success. Culture, was one of the top sessions at the NAR Broker Summit in Nashville last week. Participants examined how to understand your brokerage culture and how to help make it a culture of success.


The sessions were live-streamed and if you want to watch….just go to to access those videos.


Fifty years ago this week our country came together and passed the Fair Housing Act. President Lyndon Johnson said at the time that fair housing is now a part of the American way of life. NAR will be commemorating the landmark law all year long. As part of that, I’ll be hosting a monthly video—Fair Housing Focus—to share stories of how the law came to be, and what it has meant to our industry and our country. Look for the first of these videos shortly on


And that’s our show for the week of April 9. You can get everything we talked about today at The Voice for Real Estate page on Thank you for joining us and be sure to join us again as we bring you the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate.

The Voice for Real Estate is NAR's video news series. Every month, host Stephen Gasque shines a spotlight on a range of topics, including legislative, regulatory, and legal updates, as well as recent research findings.
Each week, NAR Leadership and industry experts share tips and updates on the real estate industry during this unprecedented time.
Window to the Law is a monthly video series focusing on a legal topic of interest. Not just for legal professionals, Window to the Law covers topics applicable to legal compliance for real estate professionals, brokerages, and REALTOR® associations.
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