Voice for Real Estate 55: Condos, HARP, Takeaway, Sales, Vote

We're not there yet on lower owner-occupancy ratios for FHA condo loans. HUD says it needs more input before making it possible to get federally insured financing for buying a unit in a building with a lot of renters. Other stories look at help for struggling homeowners through the federal HARP program, which allows owners to refinance or even modify their mortgage if they have little or no equity or are underwater. The video also looks at the last home sales, and includes a message from the NAR president why real estate professionals should vote in upcoming elections. And it looks at a new audio podcast called The Takeaway that provides concrete ideas for agents. The first podcast looks at creating a board of directors for your practice.

Featured segments

  •  FHA condo financing 
  • Federal HARP refinancing and modification 
  • The Takeaway with Nobu Hata
  • Landscaping ROI 
  • Home sales 
  • Why you should vote

Transcript

Voice for Real Estate 55

Week of October 6

HUD needs more information – before they change the nation’s FHA condo rules.

Good news for struggling homeowners

And home sales are – flat! As we enter the fall season…

These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate

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

HUD last week released a proposed rule that moves in the right direction for buyers seeking condo financing, like allowing lenders to make spot loans. Those are FHA-insured loans, which lenders can make even if the project isn’t certified for FHA financing. The rule also extends the time of FHA certification to three years from two.

But in one of the rule’s most important provisions, lowering the maximum owner-occupancy ratio of FHA approved projects from 50 percent to 35 percent, HUD punted, and said it would seek more input on what the ratio should be.

35 percent was the intent of NAR-backed legislation that Congress passed this summer. The agency says it wants to look at different ratios…all the way from 25 percent to 75 percent before it decides. NAR’s Sehar Siddiqi has more.

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We’ll keep you updated as this matter develops. In the meantime NAR is hosting a live webcast in October that will give you the opportunity to get answers about the rules.  

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Realtors are all about helping households buy and sell homes! So no one knows better than Realtors how important it is for families to thrive once they’re in their home. After all, thriving homeowners make thriving communities and that helps everyone. That’s why there’s good news for Realtors and homeowners. The federal government has just announced its extending its program—called HARP—for helping households refinance their mortgage at a lower interest rate even if they have little or no equity in their home. HARP stands for the Home Affordable Refinance Program and its being extended another year and then will be replaced by a permanent program. Megan Moore, a special advisor at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, told me all about it on Real Estate Today, the official radio program of the National Association of Realtors. 

[QUOTE] 2:24-2:41

Homeowners who are current on their mortgage but who would benefit from more affordable loan terms can go to HARP.gov to start the refinance process. Now, if you know borrowers who are underwater on their mortgage, you can tell them about another program that’s available—a federal mortgage modification program in which they might be able to get their principal reduced—and there’s information on that at FHFA.gov/prm.

[SWOOSH]

Do you regularly meet with other professionals in your area to exchange business information? It’s a great way to learn about referral opportunities. But a top broker in Charlotte, North Carolina, has another tactic you might want to try. Leigh Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty has created a board of directors for her practice that’s comprised of half a dozen of her best clients. They give her referrals and also share their feedback on what she’s doing well and what she needs to work on in her marketing, on her website, and in other aspects of her business.

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You can hear Brown talk in detail about how she structured her board of directors and how it helps her get more business in an audio podcast hosted by Nobu Hata, NAR’s director of member engagement. The 15-minute podcast is the first in a series called “The Takeaway with Nobu Hata” and it’s all about giving you ideas that you can use in your business.

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Look for The Takeaway with Nobu Hata on nar.realtor.

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What’s one of the most cost effective ways to spruce up the outside of a house before it goes on the market? Seeding the lawn. Buy a bag of seed? And Home sellers recover on average 417 percent of that cost at resale. That’s a top finding in the 2016 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features, just released. Two other findings: sellers recover 303 percent on average the cost of implementing a standard lawn care program and 143 percent of updating landscaping with a sod lawn.

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It looks like home sales hit their peak in June, when they reached a pace of 5.6 million units. Since then they’ve fallen to about 5.3 million units. And NAR’s latest pending home sales index—which looks at signed contracts rather than closed sales—shows no gain, which suggests markets have little steam for growth as the year winds down. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says sales ought to be heading up because of positive job growth and low interest rates, but severe housing shortages in many parts of the country are keeping buyers out of the market.

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Even with the slowdown, sales are expected to end the year a solid 3 percent higher than last year. Looking ahead to 2017, Yun expects the Federal Reserve to start increasing its short-term interest rate, which could send mortgage rates up.

[SWOOSH]

Our national elections are only one month away. Here’s a message from NAR President Tom Salomone on why it’s important for you as a real estate professional to vote on November 8.

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Want to know what real estate issues could be affected by the elections? You’ll find summaries of the issues the new president and Congress could tackle in 2017 in the September-October issue of Realtor Magazine.

[SWOOSH]

And that’s our show for the week of October 3. 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 we hope you’ll join us again as we being you the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate.  

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