Make the investment. Earn a designation.

November is Designation Awareness Month

In today’s market, continuing education is your best way to stay ahead of the competition. Now more than ever, successful agents must keep current on issues, involving technology, changing legalities, and many other central components of the business. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and its Institutes, Societies and Councils offer advanced education designation and certification programs to help members remain up-to-date in such a dynamic environment. Although other designations exist, only these carry an official NAR endorsement.

REALTORS® who pursue professional designations have a distinct competitive edge as a result of their increased expertise and marketability. According to NAR, the median income of REALTORS® with no designation was $26,900, and the median income of those with at least one designation was $49,300. The difference between the two is $22,400.

Designation income chart

  • There are 17 designations in the field of real estate and 36 percent of members hold at least one designation.
  • The most common designation is the Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) – 21 percent of members hold this designation.

MEMBERS: Increase your professional image, marketability, productivity and income through the pursuance of a designation or certification program.

Graduate REALTOR Institute logoGet started or complete your GRI designation November 28-December 1 at the Illinois Graduate REALTOR® Institute!

Renters Want to Become Buyers

Photo concept: HomeownershipSeven in 10 renters believe owning a home is a priority for their future. This is according to the 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey recently released by the National Association of REALTORS®, which said more renters than ever (72 percent) aspire to home ownership, up from 63 percent in 2010.

The survey also found an overwhelming majority (72 percent) of Americans said buying a home is a good financial decision. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) thought that now is a good time to buy a home. Respondents cited stability and safety as the top reason. Long-term economic reasons such as building equity followed closely behind.

Seven in ten though say requiring a down payment of 20 percent on the cost a home would have a negative impact on the overall American housing market. Two in three Americans oppose eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction as part of the plan to reduce the federal deficit. Three quarters of renters say they would be less likely to buy a new home if they were required to make a 20 percent down payment.

Read more about survey results >

Bottom Line: QRM Bad for Homebuyers

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and its over 40 partners concerned about the proposed qualified residential mortgage regulation formed the Coalition for Sensible Housing Policy and have released a white paper analysis on the impact of the QRM provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The coalition has asked for and received an extension of the comment period until August 1, 2011. The REALTOR® Association is working hard to lobby in opposition for the imposition of increased down payment requirements that are part of the QRM rules.

According to NAR, the Proposed QRM Standards include:

  • The proposed QRM rule would require an 80% LTV, which requires a 20% down payment.
  • The proposed rule would also limit the mortgage payment to 28% of gross income and limit all debt to 36%.
  • No credit score requirement is included, but a mortgage loan would qualify as a QRM only if the borrower is not currently 30 or more days past due on any debt obligation.
  • Borrowers could not have been 60 or more days past due on any debt obligation within the preceding 24 months.
  • Borrowers could not have, within the preceding 36 months, been through bankruptcy, been foreclosed on, engaged in a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or been subject to a Federal or State judgment for collection of any unpaid debt.

Enactment of such rules would have dire consequences on behalf of home sales and would stretch out the ladder to achieve homeownership and ultimately lead to higher mortgage rates. In addition, the rule would require that borrowers meet a number of credit requirements.

“Responsible consumers who maintain good credit and seek safe loan products will be forced into more expensive mortgages under the terms of the proposed rule simply because they do not have 10 or 20 percent in downpayment or even more for equity of refinancing. By imposing excessively high down payment standards regulators are denying millions of responsible borrowers access to the lowest rate loans with the safest loan features,” the white paper outlines.

Not only that but the National Association of REALTORS® analysis below shows it would take more than a decade for the median American family to save enough for a  20% down payment on even a modest home.

Chart: Years to save enough money for a down payment plus closing costs

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

So we’ve already got a tight lending environment and now we will tip the scales even further away from potential homebuyers with increased down payment requirements with the QRM proposed rules? Saving for a down payment is major obstacle for most buyers seeking homeownership.

We are working hard to overturn this proposed QRM rule. Be ready if NAR issues further calls to action on this proposal to help communicate our message on this issue.

Learn more about QRM at www.realtor.org/topics/qrm.

Pending home sales turn around

Pending home sales rose sharply in May with all regions of the nation experiencing gains from a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). The NAR pending home sales index rose 8.2 percent to 88.8 in May from 82.1 in April and is 13.4 percent higher than the 78.3 reading in May 2010.

Some markets including Chicago made a rapid turnaround by rising more than 30 percent from a year ago, according to NAR chief economist Dr. Lawrence Yun. The Midwest index jumped 10.5 percent to 82.8 and is 17.2 percent higher than May 2010.

In the recently issued Illinois housing market forecast (pdf), economists from the University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) anticipate  Illinois year-over-year home sales to rise 22-35 percent in July and August sales; the Chicagoland region can expect a 25-36 percent increase in home sales.

20 percent down requirement will stall an already too-slow housing recovery

Did you respond to the National Association of REALTORS® Call for Action that started May 18? It urges REALTORS® to write their representatives in Congress to make sure the Dodd-Frank legislation signed last July doesn’t result in too-stringent requirements for the Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) that will keep credit-worthy buyers out of the housing market, unable to get a loan.

Could your clients afford a 20 percent down payment? Could you?

Agents in our office work with a lot of first-time buyers in the Peoria area where prices are modest but still that’s $20,000 saved up for a $100,000 home. That’s tough to do in a down economy when jobs have been lost and day-to-day costs such as gas are rising.

This would be very detrimental to the ongoing housing and lending crisis in America. Please answer the call today!

Here’s some background from NAR. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act) became law on July 21, 2010. According to NAR analysis: “Section 941 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires financial institutions that securitize mortgages loans to retain at least 5 percent of the credit risk.” And it exempts from this requirement securities backed solely by QRMs. Thus, there will be an incentive for lenders to only offer these QRMs.

We understand risk management but in the wake of the easy money days when exotic and no-money down loans were doled out readily, there has to be middle ground so the average person with average savings and credit scores can own a home. Getting a home loan has already become a very time-consuming and sometimes impossible process for qualified borrowers.

Here are NAR highlights of the Proposed QRM Standards:

  • 80% LTV, which requires a 20% down payment**
  • Limit the mortgage payment to 28% of gross income and limit all debt to 36%
  • No credit score requirement is included, but a mortgage loan would qualify as a QRM only if the borrower is not currently 30 or more days past due on any debt obligation.
  • Borrowers could not have been 60 or more days past due on any debt obligation within the preceding 24 months.
  • Borrowers could not have, within the preceding 36 months, been through bankruptcy, been foreclosed on, engaged in a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or been subject to a federal or state judgment for collection of any unpaid debt.

** Getting the down payment requirement out of this proposed rule is a top priority for the REALTOR® organization. The comment period ends June 10.