Know Before You Owe

 

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) made good on their promise to consider changes to Know Before You Owe – also known as the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure, or TRID – including a clarification of the rules regarding sharing the Closing Disclosure (CD). On July 29, 2016, they announced a proposed rule on TRID, and stated in their announcement that “the Bureau understands that it is usual, accepted and appropriate for creditors and settlement agents to provide a closing disclosure to consumers, sellers and their real estate brokers or other agents.”

For more information on this story, click here. To read NAR’s Issues Brief, click here.

U.S. Senate Passes Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act

NAR REALTOR Logo

The U.S. Senate tonight passed H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” by unanimous consent. This legislation includes reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing, among other provisions, and is long supported by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Changes include efforts to make FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” while lowering FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50 percent to 35 percent. The bill also requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

NAR testified last year in support of the bill, which passed in the House of Representatives 427-0 in February.

featured-image-tom-salomone-nar-presidentTom Salomone, president of NAR of Coral Springs, Florida, praised the legislation as a significant step toward eliminating barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos. Salomone said, “Condominiums often represent an affordable option that’s just right for first-time and low-to-moderate income homebuyers. Unfortunately, overly-burdensome restrictions on condo financing have for too long put that option out of reach for many creditworthy borrowers.”

“This legislation meets those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more Americans.”

“Tight inventory and rising home prices are a reality of today’s market, and mortgage credit is hard to come by. We should take every opportunity to clear the path for well-qualified borrowers to purchase a home when they’re ready, and this legislation does just that.”

“Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have done tremendous work to see H.R. 3700 move forward, and we’re thankful for their support. REALTORS® made their voices heard as well, reaching out to their Senators and Representatives to remind them of how important this issue is to homeownership.”

More than 20% of Oklahoma’s 9,300 REALTORS® responded to NAR’s call for action, urging Sens. James Lankford (R) and Jim Inhofe (R) to vote in favor of H.B. 3700 and send the legislation to the President’s desk.

Salomone concluded by saying, “We look forward to seeing this legislation signed into law so homebuyers can start seeing some much-needed relief,.”

Navigating the FAA’s New Drone Rule for REALTORS®

aerial-real-estate-photographReal estate professionals hoping to use drones in their business got some big news last week when the Federal Aviation Administration released a final rule governing the commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems. This final rule, effective August 29, 2016, includes some hard-fought wins for the National Association of REALTORS®, and a clearer path for people to put drones to use in their businesses.

The new rule will no longer require a small unmanned aircraft operator to hold a FAA-issued pilot’s license. Instead, the final rule requires a person operating a small uas to either hold a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of someone who does. This new remote pilot certificate will be less expensive and less time-consuming to obtain – a major victory for aspiring drone users. In general, small UAS may only be flown during the daytime, and cannot be flown over non-participants, and the small UAS must be within the visual line of sight of the operator at all times.

To learn more about the rule, and the significant change the rule will have on how people will be operating drones by the end of the summer, start by visiting NAR’s helpful FAQs for the Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule.

FAQs for Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule

DronesThen, take a look at the helpful links we’ve compiled that will help potential drone users get started.

  • A pilot’s license is no longer required.
    Instead, operators will be required to obtain a remote pilot certificate with a small uas rating, which involves passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center. Those interested in taking the test are encouraged to contact an FAA-approved Airmen Knowledge Testing Center. Individuals with existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificates will not be required to obtain a remote pilot certificate, but will be require to pass small uas training course (which you can find more information on here).
  • Waivers from some of the rule’s operational limitations may be requested.
    Although the new rule does not formally allow for some of the activities that are important to commercial use in real estate, a waiver process will soon be available for practices like beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) flights and flights over non-participants (meaning flying commercially over people who aren’t involved in the flight). In order to obtain the waiver, the FAA Administrator must also confirm that the operation can be safely conducted. Visit the FAA’s waiver section for information. the waiver process under the new rule.
  • Remember, the new rule isn’t in effect yet.
    As written, the FAA’s drone rule goes into effect August 29, 2016.
  • Also, there’s still more to come.
    An FAA rulemaking for the “micro” category of drones is expected either later this year or in early 2017. That means anyone flying in the “micro” category may have even clearer skies ahead, and the National Association of REALTORS® is continuing to advocate for these additional possibilities.
  • Be patient.
    Although the rule has been announced, many of the final details (such has the process for attaining a waiver, as above) are still coming together. It’s advisable to check the FAA’s website frequently, beginning with their “Getting Started” website. Potential operators might also want to read the FAA’s frequently asked questions on the new rule.

For all the changes that are coming to commercial drone use, one thing remains same: it’s critically important to know the rules before taking flight. Keep checking at faa.gov and REALTOR.org/drones for more information in the days and months ahead!

Source: NAR Newsline

Tech Tips for Buying and Selling a Home

Chuck Harris

OAR President Chuck Harris, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI

Technology continues to play an expanding role in the real estate industry. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 92 percent of homebuyers searched online during their home-buying process with more than half using mobile devices or apps in the home research process. The Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® (OAR) is offering technology tips Oklahomans should consider when buying or selling a home.

“From online lenders, real estate apps and virtual home tours, homebuyers and sellers have more tools at their disposal than ever,” said Chuck Harris, OAR president. “Oklahomans should consult their REALTOR® to guide them through the process and find reputable tools that can help achieve their goals.”

OAR is offering the following tips:

young-couple-agent-ipadImprove online listings.
Millennials—those born from 1980 to 2000—account for 68 percent of all first-time homebuyers and are the largest group of overall buyers at 35 percent, according to NAR. This generation prefers online tools and resources when buying and selling a home, so it’s important to ensure online listings are as complete and polished as possible. Invest in professional photographs of the home, provide as much description as possible in listings and consider new technologies like true virtual tours and high quality video.

Consider virtual tours.
360-degree-virtual-tourA true virtual home tour, more than just stitching together static photos, can give prospective buyers a 360-degree view of a home. Virtual tours can even replace open houses for those who prefer an online experience, such as Millennials, and cut down on open house safety risks and potential theft issues. Preparing for a virtual tour will further force sellers to think about the home from a buyer’s perspective. Other social media options include Periscope and Facebook Live where REALTORS® can give real-time tours to their extensive following of buyers in online social spaces and those relocating from other areas.

Utilize online tools and apps.
realtor.com logoOnline resources and apps like realtor.com help locate potential homes and even local REALTORS®. Other tools feature amenities in close proximity to a house, like Walk Score or Transit Score to understand commuting options. In addition, there are apps to help prospective buyers decide how much home they can afford. And when it’s time to move, there are apps, including Moving List, Moving Planner and HouseLogic that will help you get organized.

Stay true to local lenders.
While online mortgage lenders, such as Quicken Loans, have shown improved performance for some borrowers, OAR recommends you follow the advice of your local REALTOR® to work with a local lender. Most have the same online tools—much like online-only lenders—and are a visible part of your community. Their reputation is based on providing quality service and they are invested in the relationships they’ve built with all the parties involved in the transaction.

How Much to Invest Before Selling a Home

Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® offers tips to help sellers improve their listing

Green-Home-Value-Costs-568x432The prime home buying and selling season is in full swing and many Oklahoma homeowners may be wrestling with the question, “How much should I invest before selling my home?” Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® (OAR) is offering tips on what sellers should consider to help improve their listing.

“There are many things to consider when deciding how much to invest when selling a home,” said Chuck Harris, Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® President. “For the most part, the general items to consider updating are interior and exterior paint, flooring, landscaping and blinds. Making these general investments can translate to a higher selling price.”

OAR is offering the following tips:

featured-image-fireplace

Consider staging. You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. A home stager has expertise in planning and choosing colors, fabrics and furniture, and arranging them all in a way that makes your home look its best. Staging your home can help it sell faster and get the highest price possible.

Forget the allowance. Adding an allowance into the contract to fix existing issues such as stained carpet or repainting is not recommended. Local real estate experts say that in the $100,000 to $250,000 range, buyers want a move-in ready house. If simple items are not complete, it often triggers buyers to wonder what else was not maintained.

Do general updates. Investing in general updates or fixes can heighten interest in the house or ensure your list price is attained. General items to consider include putting a fresh coat of neutral (gray or white) interior paint; updating flooring, especially if it is stained, worn or scratched; cleaning up landscaping, including adding mulch, trimming trees, etc.; and updating your home’s blinds. You do not need to renovate the entire house, but update it enough to increase its inside curb appeal.

Leave major investments for buyer. Of course, each market and house is a unique case, but in general, updates that would require a major investment are better left to the next owner. For example, replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones is a great idea, but not if you won’t be there to reap the benefits of lower energy bills. Additionally, a buyer may have very specific tastes, so it’s not worth splurging on expensive appliances that you’re not using yourself.

In Which Direction Will Sales Swing This Spring?

Is today’s solid report on February contract signings a harbinger of a strong spring for the housing market? It could be.

Pending home sales rose solidly last month (3.5%) to the highest index reading since last July (109.8). The decent increase, led by a robust upswing in the Midwest, was a result of a modest increase in inventory (this happens most years in February) and mortgage rates as low as they’ve been over the past year.

In Oklahoma, pending home sales in February were at 3,944, which is an increase of more than 21% from January and an increase of 15% from February 2015.

OKLAHOMA HOUSING DATA

According to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, the key for sustained momentum and more sales than last spring is a continuous stream of new listings quickly replacing what’s being scooped up by a growing pool of buyers. If this doesn’t occur, sales will likely plateau.

Watch the video to hear more on what Yun expects for the national housing market this spring.

Source: NAR Newsline

Military Foreclosure Protection Bill Passes Congress

On March 21, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 2393, the “Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act of 2015,” which extends the one-year protection from foreclosure in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) through 2017. The Senate passed S. 2393 in 2015 and the legislation is expected to be signed by the President.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is intended to help those men and women who have answered their nation’s call by providing certain financial protections, including foreclosure protection, to members of the military that have incurred debt prior to their active service.

NAR recently signed onto a coalition letter to Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi strongly supporting House passage of S. 2393. Earlier this month, NAR was joined by eight other financial services trade associations in encouraging Congress to pass an extension of the one-year foreclosure protection as soon as possible.

Read NAR’s coalition letter urging support of S.2393

Source: realtor.org

The Myth of the Millennial Homebuyer

2016-nar-home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends-report

They’re eschewing buying a home in the suburbs like the plague. They prefer their first home to be as close as possible to the nearest coffee shop or “hip” restaurant. Space? Who needs it.

Who are we referring to? It’s not the millennial generation.

NAR Research released its 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends survey yesterday. Contrary to some of the popular rhetoric out there, while millennials may choose to live in the city as renters, an increasing share of them are purchasing single-family homes in suburban areas.

The reasons are threefold: lifestyle changes, space and affordability.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, puts it best: “The median age of a millennial homebuyer is 30 years old, which typically is the time in life where one settles down to marry and raise a family,” he said. “Even if an urban setting is where they’d like to buy their first home, the need for more space at an affordable price is for the most part pushing their search further out. Furthermore, limited inventory in millennials’ price range, minimal entry-level condo construction and affordability pressures make buying in the city extremely difficult for most young households.”

young-couple-agent-ipadWhat else did the survey reveal about recent millennial buyers? Check out some of the key findings below:

  • Age – 30 years old
  • Household income – $77,400
  • Home size – 1,720 sq. ft.
  • Year of home built – 1984
  • Cost – $187,400 (millennials)
  • Type of home – only 10 percent of millennials bought a multifamily home
  • Median down payment – 7 percent
    • 23 percent cited a gift from a relative or friend as a source of their down payment
    • Millennials were most likely to cite student debt (53 percent) as the debt that delayed saving
  • 87 percent used an agent to buy a home
  • Millennials’ desire to own a home of their own as the primary reason for their purchase increased to 48 percent (39 percent a year ago)
VIEW TRENDS REPORT

Source: NAR Newsline

OAR 2015 Annual Report Video Marks Year of Continued Growth

oar-2015-annual-report-screenshotThe OAR 2015 Annual Report was previewed today at the OAR Board of Directors meeting in Oklahoma City.

The video captures the energy and momentum that made up a terrific year. Board members were enthusiastic about the report and eager to share with their colleagues when they return home.

Here you’ll see Lisa Noon, OAR Chief Executive Officer, tell some about various high points of the year. Among many others, they include political advocacy, community outreach and education.

We think you’ll agree this video annual report showcases OAR’s 2015 year in review succinctly and beautifully! You’re encouraged to share with your colleagues and other interested stakeholders in the organization.

For a comprehensive list of highlights of the year, visit okrealtors.com/2015.

Oklahoma Real Estate Industry Conference April 6

Various sectors of Oklahoma’s real estate industry will gather for the second annual OwnOK Conference in Oklahoma City April 6.

OwnOK-header

Last year, more than 400 industry professionals—including REALTORS®, mortgage lenders, title and closing professionals, and other affiliated leaders—met together at the landmark Petroleum Club in Downtown Oklahoma City. To accommodate a larger audience, the new Embassy Suites Oklahoma City Downtown/Medical Center has been chosen for the location of the 2016 conference.

OAR President Chuck Harris said, “This is such an extraordinary opportunity for some of the most influential members from all over the real estate industry to come together in one place.” OwnOK is the only event of its kind, drawing high interest to see and hear national-caliber speakers with wide appeal.

“Seldom do all these people have the chance to learn together and network with the diversity of these fields of practice,” Harris continued. “The speakers talk about laws, politics, economics and inspiration to enrich Oklahoma’s real estate professionals.”

ownok-jc-wattsThis year’s program will be kicked off by former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts, who’s now President and CEO of Feed The Children. He will share about his political and professional careers.

Gerald Howard, CEO of the National Home Builders Association will talk about the housing market roller coaster. Washington D.C. area attorney Ari Karen will cover some important federal regulatory issues. Being a presidential election year, columnist and television political news pundit A.B. Stoddard will offer expert analysis and scrutiny of the current political landscape.

realtor-day-at-the-capitol-group-southThe afternoon will comprise of members of the various real estate organizations collecting at the State Capitol to visit legislators. The Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® will host their annual Ice Cream Social on the 4th Floor Rotunda at 3:00. At 5:30, the groups will host a legislative reception at the Oklahoma History Center overlooking the capitol dome.

For more information about the day’s events, log on to okrealtors.com/ownok.

2016 Oklahoma Real Estate Predictions

Looking ahead at Oklahoma’s stable real estate growth

2016-lightbulb

In 2016, the Oklahoma real estate market is primed for continued steady growth. Throughout last year, Oklahoma experienced a seller’s market due to the low inventory and a large amount of buyers. The Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® (OAR) expects these trends to continue into 2016 due to increased demand for existing and new homes, low inventory and continued low mortgage rates – all of which will encourage homeownership.

Chuck Harris“In 2015, Oklahoma encountered a two percent increase of home sales from 2014, and can continue to expect steady growth in 2016,” said President of the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS®, Chuck Harris. “Oklahomans can look forward to a rise in appreciation and renewed interest in homeownership in part due to continued demand for homes and low mortgage rates.”

Homeowners, sellers and potential buyers can anticipate the following in 2016 for the Oklahoma real estate market:

  • Stable mortgage rates. At the end of 2015, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates by .25 percent. This will impact short-term loans such as car loans, but homebuyers and sellers do not need to be concerned about a big impact on mortgage rates.
  • Continued increase in millennial first-time homebuyers. The millennial generation makes up 32 percent of homebuyers, is 68 percent of first-time homebuyers and will continue to make an investment in real estate.  Oklahoma’s traditionally strong and diverse economy has given millennials greater buying power and they will continue to be a driving force in home buying.
  • Steady growth. Oklahomans can expect a steady pace of growth as demand remains high for new and existing homes and as new construction remains tempered. Oklahomans can anticipate housing prices to slightly increase in 2016, but remain affordable as this continues.

“While our state combated some economic concerns in 2015, the demand remained strong,” said Harris. “The key in the 2016 real estate market is to remain aware of outside influences, continue to be realistic regarding pricing and consult with a REALTOR® who can help guide you in this market.”