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NAR asks president to reopen rural loan program

WASHINGTON – Jan. 18, 2019 – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has asked the Trump administration to jump-start the Rural Housing Loan Program, which has been unable to process mortgage applications since the partial federal government shutdown began nearly a month ago.

After learning that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USAD) – which operates the loan program through the Rural Housing Service – decided to temporarily recall employees of the Farm Service Agency to provide certain services to farmers and ranchers, NAR asked federal officials to also assign staff to process stalled loan applications during the shutdown.

«What we’re trying to do is piggyback on a policy that the USDA is implementing to get farm loans processed within a short time frame,» says Megan Booth, NAR director of housing policy. «We’re asking them to supplement that by adding a home loan specialist to review Rural Housing Service loans that are already in the pipeline. Longer term, we’re asking them to keep some staff on board reviewing home loans during the shutdown.»

The Rural Housing Loan Program helps people in rural areas with limited incomes who can’t qualify for traditional mortgages. The program guarantees that participating private-sector lenders will be repaid if borrowers default, providing an incentive for lenders to make loans. In some rural markets, Rural Housing Service (RHS)-backed loans are the only affordable mortgages available.

Unlike the mortgage programs run by the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which permit private-sector lenders to sign off on mortgage applications, the Rural Housing Loan Program does not allow lenders to close loans without approval from Rural Housing Service staff. Congress has authorized the Department of Agriculture to delegate that responsibility to lenders, but the agency has not yet done so.

Source: Realtor Magazine. Writers Sam Silverstein and Robert Freedman contributed to this article.

© 2019 Florida Realtors®

Original — https://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=1&id=376047

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Сегодня я пригласила к разговору специалиста по кредитам компании Champions Mortgage Михаила Дуденкова. Михаил любезно согласился ответить на самые популярные вопросы по кредитованию для покупки недвижимости.

Если у вас появились вопросы по кредитам, пишите в комментариях. В следующий раз Михаил обязательно на них ответит.

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В последние годы у меня к Новому Году какие-то двойственные чувства возникли.

Во-первых, в странах первого мира все-таки Рождество заслоняет, затмевает и даже как-то принижает сам по себе Новый Год. Рождество по календарю приходит раньше, к нему готовятся дольше и круче, его празднуют с размахом. А Новый Год – тут праздник для взрослых, причем преимущественно молодежи. Детям на нем достаются только фейерверки. Подарков на Новый Год тут не дарят, ни детям, ни взрослым, поскольку они уже на Рождество все и всем передарены. Новый год – это возможность взрослым попраздновать уже без детей – выпить лишнего, выйти за границы дозволенного во всех смыслах. Поверьте, они стараются и в первом, и во втором. Я это видела своими собственными глазами, до сих пор нервно-брезгливо передергиваю плечами, вспоминая тот кошмар.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Real estate: The second-most targeted industry for scammers

CHICAGO – Dec. 12, 2018 – More and more phishing scams are targeting real estate professionals and their clients, attempting to dupe them out of money. New and unique types of cyber scams appear every day as tech-savvy criminals invent new ways to separate victims from their money.

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) issued an all-member alert on Sunday warning members of the latest email phishing attempt targeting the industry. The email appeared to be under the Realtor Party banner and solicited members to help «Support Diana» with a financial donation through a GoFundMe page. NAR says it will never solicit donations for personal or individual charities.

The latest is part of a string of phishing scams targeting the real estate industry – a business email sent from a seemingly trusted sender tries to get a recipient to wire payments, open links or do something else that makes the scammer money.

A recent report from the cybersecurity firm eSentire found that real estate was the second most-targeted industry hit by malware events in the second quarter of 2018.

Law enforcement, along with NAR and other business trade associations, have been meeting to address the security threats posed to businesses. In one growing Business Email Compromise (BEC) scam, for example, scammers will infiltrate an email account of a real estate professional and send out an email to a client that appears to be from the professional, redirecting them to send their funds to a fraudulent account.

Victims receive a spoofed email on behalf of a participant in a real estate transaction – agent, title company or law firm, say – with instructions to change their payment type or location to a fraudulent account. These transferred funds are nearly impossible to track once deposited.

Sometimes scammers don’t target funds; instead, they’ll go for personal identification information or even W2 tax forms for identity theft.

From 2015 to 2017, the FBI reports a 110 percent rise in the number of such scams involving real estate transactions.

How do you keep transactions safe? The FBI offers some of the following suggestions through its public service announcement warning businesses:

  • Verify all requests of a change in payment type and location. Scammers often request that payments originally scheduled for check deposit be made via wire instead. Also, they request changes to the original recipient’s financial information. Real estate professionals and clients should verify with their main contacts whenever they receive information via email that involves financial changes or financial solicitations.
  • Be wary of communication exclusively by email. Scammers will take public information available on real estate listing sites and use it to target victims. They may see listings are «under contract» and then use the contact information of the real estate agent to insert themselves into the transaction, posing as the buyer’s agent. «Be wary of any communication that is exclusively email based and establish a secondary means of communication for verification purposes,» the FBI writes. And don’t assume a website that uses the padlock security icon – containing «https» in the URL – is safe. Scammers increasingly using the icon on their sites, so it’s not a foolproof indicator.
  • Set a code phrase with main contacts. Victims have reported receiving phone calls from scammers requesting personal information for «verification purposes.» To verify the person is correct, encourage clients to establish code phrases that could be used to verify two legitimate parties, such as client to real estate agent or financial institution to client.
  • Act quickly if you think you’ve been scammed. Time is critical. Contact the financial institution first and request a recall of funds. Then, contact your local FBI office and report the fraudulent transfer. File a complaint at www.ic3.gov or bec.ic3.gov. The IC3 will assist the financial institutions and law enforcement in the recovery efforts of the funds.

Source: «Business Email Compromise the 12 Billion Dollar Scam,» FBI (2018) and «Scam Alert: Email Phishing Attempt Reported,» National Association of REALTORS(R) (Dec. 10, 2018)

© Copyright 2018 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

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Most people think there’s a housing affordability crisis

WASHINGTON – Dec. 5, 2018 – Nearly three out of four American households believe that the nation is suffering a housing affordability crisis, and a majority of respondents say it’s a problem at their local and state level as well, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

«These poll results confirm what builders from across the nation have been warning about – that housing affordability is an increasingly serious problem in communities across America,» says NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. «A mix of regulatory barriers, ill-considered public policy and challenging market conditions is driving up costs and making it increasingly difficult for builders to produce homes that are affordable to low- and moderate-income families.»

More than 2,200 adults were surveyed Nov. 27 through Nov. 30 to assess the public’s attitude on whether a lack of affordable housing is a problem in their neighborhoods, cities, states and nationwide. The poll cut across partisan, regional, demographic and socio-economic lines.

Key findings

  • 73 percent of respondents believe a lack of affordable housing is a problem in the U.S.
  • 68 percent believe it’s an issue in their state
  • 54 percent cite housing affordability as a concern in their neighborhood
  • 58 percent said that if they decided to purchase a home in the near future, they would have trouble finding a home they could afford in their city or county
  • Breaking down by community types, 68 percent reported a dearth of affordable housing in urban communities, 64 percent said it was an issue in middle-class neighborhoods and 56 percent cited a problem in rural areas

How to fix the problem?

Most respondents (55 percent) believe their city or county should lower development and construction fees builders must pay, and 53 percent believe it would be effective to increase government subsidies to builders so they could produce more affordable units.

Nearly a third of America’s 119 million households are cost burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing, according to an NAHB analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. That number includes almost half of the nation’s renter households and a quarter of the owner households.

NAHB says that regulatory requirements account for about 25 percent of the cost of constructing a single-family home and roughly 30 percent of the cost of a multifamily unit. Beyond regulations, builders also face a higher cost for construction materials, a shortage of skilled workers and a dwindling supply of developed lots. Restrictive policies that limit or prohibit various types of homes also make large areas off-limits to new construction.

«Housing is vital to the economic health of our nation,» says Noel. «This poll should serve as a wake-up call to policymakers at all levels of government to ease regulatory burdens that needlessly drive up the cost of housing and to enact policies that will encourage the production of badly-needed affordable housing units.»

This national online survey of 2,203 adults was conducted Nov. 27-30, 2018 by Morning Consult. It has a margin of error of ± 2 percent.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

 

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