Connect with us

Homeownership

The American Dream isn’t dead: New bill being passed that is AMAZING news for homeowner hopefuls and agents

Homeowner hopefuls, agents, brokers, and the real estate industry at large should be aware of H.R.3700 and how it will help keep the American Dream of homeownership alive.

Published

on

discrimination

Any time a bill comes along that creates opportunities for first-time home owners it’s a good thing. Such is the case with the just-passed (2 Feb 16) H.R. 3700, also known as the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act.”

The legislation, sponsored by Representatives BlainLuetkemeyer (R-MO) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), includes a number of provisions that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and similar organizations support:

The bill will ease FHA’s restrictions on the purchase and sale of condominiums. The bill includes changes to the certification process, owner/occupancy ratio, commercial space requirements, and private transfer fees. NAR has been pushing FHA on these changes for more than 3 years. The bill also will provide the Rural Housing Service with delegated endorsement for approved lenders. Both FHA and VA use delegated endorsement for their loans. Such a change will streamline the use of RHS loans and speed up processing times. The bill also includes a number of provisions that will ease regulatory burdens on owners of federally assisted housing or who accept voucher tenants.”

Although an article on opencongress.org points out the how HR3700 can impact the condo marketplace thus making it more attractive to first-time buyers, this is only one aspect of the bill. In particular, points out govtrack.us, HR3700 proposes to:

“Lower the amount of child care expenses as well as medical expenses that can be deducted for elderly and disabled families, but would increase the amount that can be deducted for dependents.

In addition, households with more than $100,000 in assets would be ineligible for assistance, though enforcement of this new requirement would be left to local housing authorities.”

This in itself is worth noting because nearly five million families and individuals receive rental assistance each year through HUD, including the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program that provides assistance to roughly two million low-income recipients. (Under the Section 8 program, tenants pay approximately 30 percent of their income towards rent and the rest is paid through federal subsidies).

That said; the latest step in the passing of HR3700 (it still needs to pass the Senate) is being applauded. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in particular is happy with the progress of HR3700 because it would allow the contract terms of HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program to be extended from 15 to 20 years (see above).

Additionally says NAHB, the bill:

  • Pares down duplicative requirements that have made the Section 8 program difficult to administer.
  • Protect Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher residents from displacement due to fluctuations in the Fair Market Rent, which determines payment standard amounts for the voucher program.
  • Change the Rural Housing Service Single Family Guaranteed Loan Program so that it will be current with other government loan programs while providing efficiencies for home buyers and lenders.
  • Create a Multifamily Housing Revitalization Program to provide affordable rural multifamily housing. And finally,
  • Reduce current FHA regulations surrounding existing condominium projects, including streamlining project certification rules and reducing owner-occupancy requirements.

Ultimately HR3700 creates opportunities for both realtors and first-time buyers. More housing can be purchased by individuals who previously may not have had the chance. Whether that housing is a condo, apartment or house is not nearly as important as the fact that the “American Dream” of owning property in which to live appears to be on the upswing.

#HR3700

Homeownership

The phrase ‘starter home’ is overrated and overused

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) You see the term in the MLS for fixer uppers, you hear it when Realtors are working with first time buyers. But the term “starter home” shouldn’t be in anyone’s vocabulary. Here’s why.

Published

on

starter homes debt existing home sales

Just words

Collins English Dictionary defines a starter home as a “small, new house which is cheap enough for people who are buying their first home to afford.” You won’t find the phrase too often outside of the real estate industry.

There isn’t much about the etymology of the phrase, but most likely, it’s a marketing ploy to get people to buy into the idea of purchasing another home in a few years.

Grind your gears

Mark Greutman, husband to Lauren Greutman, believes that the term “starter home” should bother people. The phrase implies that you will upgrade later.

Your starter home isn’t good enough for the rest of your life. And not to get into how well Americans have it, what about people who will never be able to afford anything more? Is it an insult to them?

Do you really need two living rooms?

Older generations bought one home and lived in it until they could no longer be independent. In today’s world, we buy a starter home, then upgrade to have more space, to live farther away from our neighbors, to have rooms that are only used once or twice a year, and to make sure you have a 2 or 3 car garage to hold your vehicles and more stuff, some of which isn’t taken out very often.

But consider this: You could pay off your starter home in 15 to 20 years, if you budget right.

You could be out from under a mortgage and have money to travel, send the kids to college, or even retire early. When you think about what led to the financial crisis in 2008, isn’t it better to have a smaller house where you can make the payments than worry about losing your house?

Be content where you are

Realtors are motivated to make sure that they have customers. If people buy one home with the intent to stay, will the market dry up? Probably not, because people move and a new generation will be ready to purchase homes for their own family.

Let’s think about that phrase, “starter home.” It fuels consumerism and discontentment. Don’t call cheaper houses starter homes, but just a home.

Continue Reading

Homeownership

The remodeling projects with best ROI that actually increase home value

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) Knowing which remodeling projects to tackle when a home is being put on the market can save a lot of wasted effort and money.

Published

on

remodeling

If you’re looking to help your clients to identify which projects to tackle before putting their home on the market, look no further: the National Association of Realtors surveyed thousands of real estate agents, industry professionals, and consumers on interior and exterior house remodeling projects, and these are the best projects for upping a home’s value before listing it on the market, ranked on the most value and cost recovery a homeowner can get.

  • Refinishing hardwood floors. Start from the bottom to earn top dollar. Refinishing floors transform a home from worn-out and aging to vibrant and inviting, and only costs about $2500 according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). The project also increases a home’s value by that same amount, meaning a homeowner can recover 100 percent of the costs. Pretty sweet deal.
  • Upgrading insulation. Because it’s what’s inside that counts. This project costs about $2100 based on NARI Remodeler’s estimate and increases a home’s value by $2000 according to Realtors surveyed. That’s a 95% cost recovery.
  • Adding new wood floors. If you don’t have wood floors to refinish, add them in! This costs about $5,500 according to NARI Remodelers, and the increased sales value is $5000. A homeowner can recover 91% of costs from a new wood floor addition.
  • Replacing HVAC system. A new HVAC system adds energy efficiency and refreshes the entire home, and NARI Remodelers estimate doing so costs $7000. The increased value for sellers is $5000 according to NAR REALTORS, meaning an easy breezy 71% cost recovery for homeowners.
  • Converting a basement into a living area. Not only is this cost and space-efficient, it’s also undeniably trendy. A basement makeover costs about $36,000 according to NARI Remodelers estimate and increases value for sellers by $25,000 according to Realtors surveyed. That comes out to a cost recovery of 69%.

Which projects are the most costly?

In case you’re curious, these are some of the most expensive remodeling projects:

  • New master suite. More like master $uite – this costs about $112,500 with a cost recovery of 53%. 
  • Converting an attic into a living area. Cute idea, but also a $65,000 one with a 61% cost recovery. One might say the price is through the roof.
  • Complete kitchen renovation. This project costs an estimated $60,000 with a 67% cost recovery. Even more if you want to throw in a brick oven, and you probably do.
  • New bathroom. With an estimated cost of $50,000 and a 52% cost recovery, make sure you aren’t flushing money down the drain with your bathroom addition!

These trends change over the years, so make sure your knowledge is up to date locally since we all know local trends trump national. Hopefully today you’ve garnered some ammo to help clients better understand how to improve their home’s value!

Continue Reading

Homeownership

How to inform clients about well-known homebuyer scams

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) Real estate scams continue to victimize people, but Realtors are in a position to better protect homebuyers. Here are some tips.

Published

on

home buyer

Despite warning after warning and news story after news story, homebuyers keep getting their money stolen in real estate wire transfer schemes. Some blame the mortgage and real estate industries for not doing enough to educate and protect their clients. Others say the people committing these crimes are getting more and more sophisticated. No matter who’s to blame, there’s no arguing that this crime is on the rise.

What exactly do these real estate scams look like? These criminals usually hack into a business’s emails, often a title company, and get all the pertinent information they need. They then steal and copy that company’s letterhead, and the email addresses, signature blocks and any other relevant information they will need to fool the homebuyer. The homebuyer then gets an email that appears to be from the title company, asking them to wire money, often tens or sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So, you’re probably wondering right now: What can I do? You want to know how to warn and protect your clients and keep your reputation intact (and avoid costly lawsuits). The following safeguarding tips can help keep cash out of cyberthieves’ hands:

1. Pick up the phone. If you’re closing on a home and receive an email with instructions on how to transfer money to your closing company or lender, take a few minutes to call your agent or broker to make sure it’s legit. Yes, this might be a bit annoying, but not as annoying as losing thousands of dollars in an email scam.

2. Be aware. These scammers usually send emails that look like the real thing. If you’re a homebuyer, look for weirdly timed emails (sent in the middle of the night) or spelling and punctuation errors. Is there a sense of urgency to the email?

3. Educate your clients. If you’re a real estate professional, make sure your clients know about this scheme. Not everyone is aware they could be a target (which is why it keeps happening). Set up a specific passcode for each client.

4. Consider using ClosingLock and asking your title company to use this technology for all of their transactions… What’s ClosingLock (previous name was BuyerDocs), you ask? This tech startup provides secure document delivery for closing companies and homebuyers. The company says it has protected more than $5 billion in wire transfers and works with big and small businesses across the country.

Scams will never be eradicated, but it is part of your job to know the current scams and how to protect transactions against shady folks.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Partners

Get The Daily Intel
in your inbox

Subscribe and get news and EXCLUSIVE content to your email inbox!

Still Trending

Get The American Genius
in your inbox

subscribe and get news and exclusive content to your email inbox