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Voice for Real Estate 66: Town Hall, Down Payments, Testimonials

April 26, 2017

Millions of people can make monthly mortgage payments but they never try to buy a house because they can't afford the down payment. And yet there's help for these households. There are thousands of down payment assistance programs around the country and many of them offer funds to relatively high-earning households, in some cases those earning as high as 200 percent of the area median income. That's a top story in The Voice for Real Estate for the week of April 24. Another story: NAR Deputy Chief Lobbyist Jamie Gregory talks about a live town hall meeting he and other lobbyists will host to prepare REALTORS® for their upcoming meetings with members of Congress during Washington meetings in May. Also covered are issues facing VA appraisers, the latest home sales numbers, and how to use testimonials to boost your business.

Featured Segments

  • NAR legislative town hall meeting 
  • Getting more appraisers to do VA loans 
  • Down payment programs can build your business 
  • Home sales highest in 10 years 
  • Taking client testimonials to a new level 


REALTORS® are coming to Washington

How down payment assistance programs can increase your business

And, a REALTOR® shares ideas with Congress for speeding VA appraisals

These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate

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

Thousands of REALTORS® from across America are headed to Washington! The reason? They will meet with their members of Congress and hear from federal officials whose work impacts what you do every day. The REALTORS® 2017 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is May 15 to 20 and high on the agenda is protecting tax incentives for real estate and ensuring your market has flood insurance available.

To help you get familiar with all the issues REALTORS® will be advocating for during those meetings --- and to answer your questions, NAR Government Affairs will be hosting a live town hall meeting on May 10. Here’s NAR Deputy Chief Lobbyist Jamie Gregory with more.


To register for the event, go to “hillvisitmaterials” on


Michelle Bradley, an appraiser in western Pennsylvania, testified before Congress earlier this month on how to speed up the appraisal process for home buyers wanting to use federally backed VA loans. She says a quicker process is needed, because it sometimes takes weeks for lenders to find a VA-approved appraiser. That can put VA borrowers at a competitive disadvantage and is leading some veterans to use other types of financing, even though VA loans come with no down payment requirement.


At the hearing, members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee called on the VA, lenders, real estate professionals, and others in the industry to work together to find ways to get more appraisers onto VA panels.   


Chances are there are many people in your area who think they could never buy a home, because they don’t have the down payment. So, those people don’t even bother to shop for a house, even though they can comfortably afford monthly mortgage payments.

What many of these households don’t realize—and you might not realize it yourself—is that many of these households might qualify for down payment assistance in your area. There are thousands of programs around the country and many of them provide money to buyers who make well above the area median income.

To help you learn about the programs in your area, REALTOR® Magazine hosted a live webcast with two experts on the topic last week. Their message: don’t assume households must be low-income to qualify for money.


You can watch the recorded version of that live webcast on Just search “down payment webcast” on


NAR hosted an education session last week on Capitol Hill. The topic: federal flood insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program expires on September 30 and NAR was there to help ensure lawmakers and their staff understand what’s at stake if that expiration dates comes and goes without action.


This week, NAR President William Brown is on Capitol Hill, too. He’s talking with members of Congress about all of REALTORS®’ critical issues, including flood insurance, tax reform, and reform of the secondary mortgage market companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


Home sales are back up after a one-month decline. Here’s NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun on NAR’s existing-home sales tally for March.


Later this week, NAR will be releasing its forward-looking pending home sales index, and that will tell us if we can expect sales to keep going up in the months ahead.


Client testimonials are one of the best ways to stand out from the competition and build trust. Raziel Ungar, a broker-associate at Pacific Union in Burlingame, Calif., has taken testimonials to an entirely new level, and he thinks that’s partly the reason he was able to sell $50 million in real estate last year. Ungar shared his strategy in the latest Take Away with Nobu Hata podcast.


You can get ideas for your business by listening to all the podcasts in The Take Away with Nobu Hata on nar. Realtor.


And that’s our show for the week of April 24. You can get more on everything we talked about today on 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.