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REALTORS® of South Central Kansas News

Rural Development Fees Reduced

Friday, October 28 2016 10:29 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Upfront and annual guarantee fees from the USDA's Rural Development program have been reduced. The upfront fee is 1 percent of the loan amount, down from 1.35 percent, and the annual fee is 0.35 percent of the average unpaid principal balance, a reduction of 0.15 percent.

Home Aid Increase for Disabled Vets

Friday, October 28 2016 10:29 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

Disabled veterans can get slightly more assistance under the federal government’s specially adapted housing program. The program makes funds available to veterans to build or remodel housing that meets their needs.

NAR Presses CFPB on Closing Disclosure Access

Thursday, October 20 2016 9:41 AM
Categorized In REALTORS®

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) considers updates to the Know Before You Owe initiative, NAR has submitted comments urging the agency to emphasize in its rule that real estate professionals may have access to the Closing Disclosure. NAR also asked the agency to take steps to decrease uncertainty during the closing process. More.

Court Sides with PHH Upholding RESPA Section 8

Thursday, October 13 2016 3:30 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®
On October, 11, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in the case of PHH v. CFPB. In this case, the court vacated a $109 million penalty imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) against PHH Corporation for allegedly violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) by paying for referrals where there is federally related mortgage.

The court held in favor of PHH, stating that payments for bona fide services provided and made at fair market value do not violate RESPA, reinforcing NAR’s support of marketing service agreements. The court held the CFPB’s unreasonable departure from longstanding prior RESPA interpretations issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and retroactive application of its novel interpretation of the law violated PHH’s due process rights. The court also called into question the legal authority and unchecked power of the CFPB and rejected the CFPB’s understanding of their essentially unlimited statute of limitations authority, remanding the case for further proceedings. 

Industry greatly welcomes this decision by the court. The CFPB, however, will almost certainly  appeal the case, either en banc to the full bench of the D.C. Circuit or directly to the Supreme Court. Last year, NAR filed an amicus brief in support of PHH, arguing that the CFPB incorrectly and retroactively overturned settled legal interpretations of RESPA. The court’s opinion is consistent with NAR’s position, and also concludes that the CFPB’s action violated PHH’s due process rights, and that some of the alleged violations are well outside the applicable statute of limitations.  

While the CFPB will likely continue enforcement actions with respect to payments tied directly to referrals, its efforts to challenge payments for services provided as disguised referral fees will be stymied in the near future. Real estate professionals must still proceed with caution when entering into MSAs and ensure compliance with RESPA – that payment for goods and services actually furnished or performed are made at fair (“reasonable”) market value. Best practices for these agreements include memorializing the MSA in writing, insuring that bona fide services are provided, disclosing the relationship to the consumer, and obtaining independent valuations of the marketing and advertising services.

See President Tom Salomone's statement on the case.

Read the full opinion here 

For best practices on marketing service agreements, see NAR’s RESPA Do’s for MSAs.

For more background on the case, view NAR’s Window to the Law analysis.

FHA Single Family Handbook Update Delivers Clarity for Appraisers, Say Realtors®

Thursday, October 13 2016 3:27 PM
Categorized In REALTORS®

October 5, 2016

Media Contact: Jon Boughtin / 202-383-1193 

Realtors® raised concerns earlier this year when the Federal Housing Administration’s “Single Family Housing Policy Handbook” included new requirements for appraisers to operate and physically observe appliances on a property during the completion of an appraisal. This inspector-type role far exceeded previously understood appraiser duties and had the potential to make appraisals longer and more costly for consumers.

In response to those concerns, HUD recently announced updates (link is external) to their SF Handbook that clarifies this requirement. According to the new guidance, appraisers must simply note that certain appliances contributing to the market value of the property are physically present.

The National Association of Realtors® expressed appreciation to FHA for its clarification in the following statement from NAR President Tom Salomone:

“Appraisers have a lot on their plate, and READ MORE . . .