FHA’s latest changes to its single-family mortgage insurance handbook instruct appraisers to test and report on how well the appliances are working when they’re preparing an appraisal for a house that would be financed with an FHA-insured mortgage. This and other provisions that appear to blur the line between appraisals and home inspections have raised questions among appraisers—and within NAR. The association has let the agency know of its concerns, because it’s hearing some appraisers are raising their fees on FHA appraisals and others are choosing not to work on FHA-insured homes at all.
NAR has recommended to the agency that it clarify in the handbook that appraisals are not home inspections. That seems obvious, and yet it’s a simple way to make it clear that FHA isn’t expecting appraisers to go beyond the scope of the standards for their profession.
The issue is a top story in The Voice for Real Estate, NAR’s news video for the week of April 4. In the segment, NAR analyst Sehar Siddiqi says first-time buyers, who disproportionately rely on FHA financing, are the ones most hurt by the confusion the latest handbook changes are causing.
Other stories in the video look at the significant increase in phishing scams to hit real estate. The scams are getting to be such a concern that the Federal Trade Commission and NAR have teamed up on an alert that has been posted to the FTC’s website. The alert explains how scammers hack into the email of one of the settlement service providers in a transaction–the lender, the agent, for example–and then monitor the progress of the transaction by reading the parties’ email traffic. Then the scammer intercedes at a strategic point with instructions to the buyer to wire closing funds to a fraudulent account.
The video also looks at how well home sales are expected to do in the months ahead based on NAR’s latest data on contract signings, and how commercial practitioners can take advantage of upcoming changes to accounting rules. New rules on how businesses are to account for leases are expected to result in companies rethinking how much property to lease versus how much to buy, Some are expected to consolidate their leases, others are expected to buy more and lease less. The bottom line for real estate agents is the opportunity this coming churn presents—but they have to have an understanding of the changes if they’re going to present themselves as a resource to companies.
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