REALTORS® Advocate Homeownership Opportunities for Veterans on Capitol Hill
NAR 2016 Vice President Sherri Meadows with Representative Ryan Costello (R-PA) of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.
WASHINGTON (February 10, 2016) – The National Association of Realtors® strongly supports the Veterans Affairs Department’s Home Loan Guaranty Program and Specially Adapted Housing Grants and looks forward to working with the VA on further initiatives to ensure homeownership remains in reach for America’s veterans.
That was the message NAR 2016 Vice President Sherri Meadows delivered today before the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.
“Veterans deserve the very best we have to offer as thanks for their service and sacrifice,” said Meadows. “NAR applauds the good work that the VA is doing to assist veterans who want to purchase a home, and we’re excited to work with them and improve those programs. There’s a real opportunity ahead to strengthen existing benefits and help more veterans achieve the dream of homeownership.”
Speaking about the VA’s Home Loan Guaranty Program, Meadows told the committee that NAR supports an increase in VA loan limits. Such a move would recognize the challenge posed by purchasing a home in certain high-cost areas and give veterans greater flexibility in their purchasing decisions.
In addition, Meadows advocated changes to current rules about the fees that can be charged to veterans during the home purchase transaction. NAR strongly supports VA’s efforts to shield veterans from excessive fees, but Meadows noted these rules can have unintended consequences and put veterans on an uneven playing field. NAR supports allowing veterans to negotiate the payment of certain fees, just as non-VA borrowers do, so they can compete fairly with other buyers.
In her testimony, Meadows also reiterated NAR’s support for the creation of a Veterans Renovation Pilot Program, similar to the Federal Housing Administration’s 203(k) program. The VA already has the authority to create such a program, which would allow veterans to purchase a home in need of a renovation while still enjoying the benefits of the VA guaranty.
Similarly, Meadows spoke in favor of fully funding and staffing the Specially Adapted Housing Program, which offers grants allowing disabled veterans to find or remodel housing to accommodate special needs.
Veterans face a number of unique challenges when purchasing a home, and many Realtors® have built an expertise in this area.
Meadows shared that many Realtors® are veterans themselves and noted NAR’s commitment to educating more Realtors® about working with current and former military service members through its “Military Relocation Professional Certificate” program.
This educational initiative, available to Realtors®, offers insights into finding housing solutions that best suit the needs of current and former military members while taking full advantage of their military benefits. To date, over 6,800 Realtors® have earned the certification.
“Realtors® are proud of the important role they play helping veterans who are ready to become homeowners,” said Meadows. “I look forward to seeing those efforts go further so we can improve the critical programs available and support even more veterans down the road.”
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.