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Head of Rural Housing Enlists Realtors® to Promote Programs

Media Contact: Maggie Kasperski / 202-383-1290 / Email

NEW ORLEANS (November 7, 2014) – Realtors® hold the key to homeownership for many consumers, but providing options for prospective homebuyers in rural areas is often more difficult due to a lack of affordable inventory and access to mortgage credit. To help homebuyers realize their dream of homeownership in less populated areas, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez told Realtors® they can soon expect some changes that will simplify the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program.

Hernandez presented to the Federal Financing and Housing Policy Committee during the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo here through November 10. Approximately 17,000 Realtors® and guests are attending this year’s meeting. 

Hernandez praised Realtor® attendees for their work helping to provide access to affordable housing in rural areas and their willingness to work with the federal government to strengthen and improve the program. Realtors®, he said, are the ideal partners in the mission to provide people rural areas with affordable housing.

“Your help changes people’s lives,” Hernandez said. “You open the doors of opportunity to folks. Without you, people cannot grasp the hope of homeownership. And because of your input to us about what you see and experience in the field, we are able to find ways to improve the lending and buying process. We have to challenge the status quo to make these programs better and stronger; you have done that. Realtors® are the best example of staying close to customers. That’s why we need and rely on you.”

Rural Housing’s single family loan program provides 100 percent financing to eligible homebuyers that meet credit and income standards. Homeowners in rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less are eligible.

Hernandez highlighted how his department has updated and simplified the loan program through streamlining processes, cutting regulations, and improving customer service and management. One of the most anticipated changes is an automated loan closing, which allows single-family housing lenders to submit their loan guarantee requests online to the Rural Housing Service. This saves lenders time and money that might otherwise hinder the process.

“With all these changes to make the program better, we need your help,” Hernandez said. “We have to try to find a way to make sure we’re reaching those who need this assistance. There is no shortage of money to help our neighbors. We need to expand outreach for exposure to this program. That’s why I come to you, because Realtors® help change people’s lives; let’s change some more together.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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