About 46,000 Virginians will soon be able to get their due from the national mortgage foreclosure settlement — they’ll be receiving the paperwork in the mail.
That settlement was reached with the nation’s five biggest lenders, which had been caught creating fake documents, forging signatures, and otherwise breaking the law so they could foreclose more quickly. And now at least some of their victims are getting a chance to recoup their losses.
Our friends at the Southwest Virginia Association raised a bunch of money for RPAC last night with a town hall meeting in Abingdon. Local legislators spoke, raffles were held (with one bear bringing in more than $700), concerns were heard, and perhaps most importantly, money was raised to help RPAC help Virginia Realtors®.
Nice going there, SWAR!
FHA has changed its requirements for condos to be certified, making it easier for sellers to sell and buyers to get financing.
This has been a big and ongoing issue, and today’s news is a major and positive change — and something condo owners (and the people who represent them) will appreciate.
Here’s the background: If someone wants FHA financing for a condo, not only do they have to be approved, but the condo itself has to have been “certified”. And back in 2011, FHA de-certified all of them — it required every one to reapply.
NAR Director Real Estate Services Kenneth Trepeta wrote the following in response to a proposed rule (well, series of rules) from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
On July 9, 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a 1,100-page proposal to harmonize the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth and Lending Act’s (TILA) disclosures, forms, and procedures. As with any proposal of this length, it is a mixed bag of good, bad, and ugly.
In a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency general counsel Alfred Pollard, NAR made clear its opinion on the use of eminent domain as a tool for helping homeowners.
Quick background: Some areas of California are considering using their eminent domain authority to to take from investors the mortgages of underwater homeowners who are current on their payments, and pay those investors less than what’s owed — sort of an forced short sale. The local governments would then provide the homeowners with a lower-interest loan that reflects the property’s current market value.
The goal is to reduce the number of underwater homeowners, reduce the number of defaults and foreclosures, and stabilize property values.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will raise their single-family-mortgage guarantee fees by an average of 10 basis points — aka, 1/10 of a percent — by the end of the year. So called g-fees are essentially insurance against borrower defaults. (For comparison’s sake, F&F raised their g-fees by 26 basis points in 2010 and 28 basis points in 2011.)
Two reasons for the raise: First, to increase the cost of GSE loans closer to that of private ones, hopefully encouraging lenders to enter the market. Second, to help pay for tax cuts — essentially raising a fee to lower a tax.
The growth of the suburbs might eliminate a government no-down-payment loan option in some areas of Virginia, pricing some buyers out of those markets.
With all the hubbub about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA, one zero-down-payment government loan option hasn’t got much attention: USDA loans. The Department of Agriculture will guarantee a 30-year loan with no down payment for rural buyers with “reasonable credit.” It’s called the USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program.
Here’s the catch: The point of the program was to get people to move to rural areas. Every 10 years, when it finishes parsing the US Census data, USDA tweaks its maps of what’s rural and what isn’t.
The Treasury Department is changing the way it gets payback from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to 1) make more sense, and 2) wind down the “government sponsorship” part of the government-sponsored enterprises.
Here’s how it goes in, as usual, broad strokes.
The government bailed out Fannie and Freddie, which had been hammered by all the bad loans they had purchased from various banks (the lenders who hadn’t bothered to make sure borrowers could actually pay back their loans).
Beginning January 1, 2013, a new 3.8 percent tax on some investment income will take effect. Since this new tax will affect some real estate transactions, it is important for REALTORS® and homeowners to clearly understand the tax. It's a complicated tax, so it's not possible to predict how it will affect every home buyer and seller.
This morning, Congressman Robert Hurt (R, District 5) hosted a tele-town hall for REALTOR® members within his congressional district. This is the first time a web event with a congressman has been offered to VAR members, and presented a great opportunity for members to directly interact with their legislator. Some of the issues addressed by Congressman Hurt were: