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Voice for Real Estate 71: Net Neutrality, Closing Disclosure

July 12, 2017

NAR is working with other groups to fight against efforts to roll back net neutrality rules to help maintain an even playing field for all real estate content online. The video also looks at a win for agents now that the CFPB has made clear lenders can make the closing disclosure available to agents without violating federal privacy rules. Housing finance reform, home staging, and brokerage succession planning are also covered. 

Featured segments

  • Net neutrality 
  • Closing disclosure 
  • Mortgage reform 
  • Staging 
  • Succession planning 

Transcript

Will your online access to your photos and videos slow to a crawl?

NAR wants the government to create a mortgage liquidity fund

And agents say home staging increases purchase offers

These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate

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

A big change could be coming to how fast customers view your website…and every one of your listings, video home tours, photos, all of it. The Federal Communications Commission a few months ago released a proposal to roll back net neutrality rules that govern the Internet.

These rules prevent Internet service providers, like Comcast and Verizon from giving deals to Internet sites so that consumers access their content streams faster than content on other sites.

NAR supports net neutrality because it wants to ensure real estate brokerages and other industry sites can compete on an even playing field and not be forced into a slow Internet lane because they can’t pay the fee charged by their local internet company. NAR has joined a coalition with other businesses and interest groups to prevent the rollback of net neutrality, to help To help NAR fight on your behalf. Here’s NAR’s Melanie Wyne with more.

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The FCC is taking public comments on its proposal to roll back net neutrality for the next few weeks. Search “restoring Internet freedom” on FCC.gov if you want to read and comment on the proposal.

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After two years of confusion, finally – yes! Lenders ARE NOW ALLOWED to give real estate agents the closing documents.

The federal government just confirmed once and for all that lenders can provide agents a copy of the closing disclosure during a home sale. That a good thing, because the agent can now help their clients make good decisions about their transaction. That’s something agents have always done, but there was a confusing period, after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau changed the closing rules two years ago. Since then, lenders have been reluctant to give agents a copy of the Closing Disclosure, saying they were concerned about violating federal privacy rules. NAR worked hard over the last two years to get the CFPB to clarify that sharing the closing disclosure was customary practice, and last week the CFPB issued a final rule that left no doubt about that. Here’s NAR’s Christine DeSanctis with more.

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If as an agent you’re still encountering problems obtaining a copy of the Closing Disclosure, you can point lenders to this final CFPB rule --- that says it’s okay.

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Now onto Congress, where lawmakers are getting to work reforming the secondary mortgage market. That, is an NAR priority. The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on what to do about the nation’s largest sources of home mortgage financing: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. NAR wants the companies turned into government-chartered, non-shareholder-owned entities to ensure that safe, affordable mortgage financing is available to creditworthy homebuyers in all types of markets. It also wants to ensure the companies have adequate reserves to protect taxpayers. Here’s NAR’s Vijay Yadlapati on a NAR’s proposal to create a mortgage market liquidity fund to shore up the companies’ reserves before the end of the year and reduce the chance of them having tyi take a draw on the U.S. Treasury.

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We’ll keep you updated as efforts to reform the important home mortgage financing sector picks up speed.

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Do homes sell quicker and for more money if they’re staged? A report NAR released suggests the answer to both questions is yes. Almost 60 percent of seller’s agents say homes sell for more if they’re staged, and almost 40 percent say the homes sell faster, too. Another finding: Staged homes attract more buyers because their listing photos stand out more as buyers browse online. Here’s NAR’s Jessica Lautz on what the research found:

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In the typical case the seller pays for the staging before the listing is published. Julea Joseph, a home stager in the Chicago area, says staging costs will vary by area, house size, and how much work is done, but generally, sellers can expect to pay between three and four hundred dollars for an initial consultation and up to 600 dollars for staging the house if it’s already occupied. Costs tend to go up if the house is vacant.

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Another finding shows the living room is the most important room to be staged. You can access the report at nar.realtor by searching “2017 Profile of Home Staging.”

[SWOOSH]

And now – an important issue about your transaction pipeline. If you have a string of deals headed to the closing table, what would happen if tragedy strikes, and of a sudden your managing broker passes away or becomes incapacitated? NAR Legal Affairs offers advice on succession planning in its latest Window to the Law video.

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You can access the video at NAR’s YouTube channel.

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And that’s our show for the week of July 10. 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 the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate.