NAR Voices Concern to VA Over Compensation

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) urging them to revise policies pertaining to fees veterans cannot pay when using their VA home loan benefit.

Under current VA policies, veterans using their home loan benefit are prohibited from compensating their professional representative directly. In the letter from NAR to John Bell, Executive Director, Loan Guaranty Service for the Veterans Benefits Administration, Kevin M. Sears, 2024 NAR President, explains that this puts VA buyers at a disadvantage in situations where offers of compensation are not offered from a seller, potentially forcing them to forego professional representation, choose a different loan product, or have to exit the home buying market entirely.

“From the initial home search, inspections, negotiations, and closings, Realtors work closely with their veteran clients to ensure their offers are seen and considered in a competitive market,” said the letter. “Nine out of 10 consumers use the service of a real estate professional. When representing veterans, Realtors explicitly ensure they can utilize the benefits promised to them for their service and sacrifice for our country.”

Broker commissions under scrutiny

NAR recently announced an agreement to resolve litigation over broker commission claims asserted on behalf of home sellers. The agreement would settle claims against NAR, over one million NAR members, all state/territorial and municipal Realtor associations, all association-owned MLSs, and all brokerages having a NAR member as principal in 2022 with a residential transaction volume of $2 billion or less. The settlement clarifies that NAR continues to deny any wrongdoing in connection with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) cooperative compensation model rule (MLS Model Rule), which was implemented in the 1990s in response to consumer protection advocates’ calls for buyer representation. Under the terms of the agreement, NAR is expected to pay $418 million over a four-year period in damages and will change numerous rules that housing experts believe will lower house costs.

Ensuring U.S. vets are housed

In an effort to ensure preserve housing for U.S. veterans, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the VA awarded $14 million in HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers to 66 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) across the country for more than 1,400 vouchers. The HUD-VASH program provides housing and an array of supportive services to veterans experiencing homelessness by combining rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by the VA.

“As President Biden reminds us, our one truly sacred obligation is to the men and women of the United States Military Services,” said HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Monocchio. “The continued success of the HUD-VASH program stands as testament to our collective devotion to caring for Veterans and their families when they return home. At HUD we are committed to continuing to strengthen the HUD-VASH program to serve as many Veterans as possible.”

Fight for equitable homeownership for vets

NAR wants to ensure that U.S. vets maintain their access to the VA home loan program, a significant tool in helping servicemembers achieve the American Dream of homeownership. NAR remains committed to working with the VA to create solutions for those who served our country.

“The VA home loan guaranty program is a vital homeownership tool that provides veterans with a centralized, affordable, and accessible method of purchasing homes as a benefit they earned for their service to our nation,” added Sears in the letter. “NAR wants to ensure that VA buyers remain active participants in the real estate market to achieve the American Dream of Homeownership.”

Click here to read the full letter from NAR to John Bell, Executive Director, Loan Guaranty Service for the Veterans Benefits Administration.

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Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 25-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, most recently serving as Editor-in-Chief for National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He graduated from the New York Institute of Technology, where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books, and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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