NAR, You Silly Old Goat...Why Would You Let This Be Emailed To Every Realtor® After Yesterday?

By
Real Estate Agent with Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME

Screenshot from May 15 NAR (Realtor.org) email referencing the $8,000 Tax Credit Being Used For A Downpayment

photo courtest of NAR and my inbox

I feel like I'm treading water with cement shoes.

After the fiasco that was Donovan's announcement at NAR Midyear in Washington, D.C. that FHA would now allow consumers to use the $8,000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, comes this email in my inbox.  For those of you that have no idea what this is all about, I recommend you read Jeff Belonger's post "Using First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credits for the Downpayment - It's GONE !!!! - The story of the $8,000 tax credit" - I'll wait for you to finish before I continue...

You're back?  Wow, you read fast.

So although the announcement was made, the idea is just that...an idea.  It has not been implemented yet and although I have a feeling they're working on making it possible, until it's official (since words from Donovan's speeches aren't all that official apparently), I'd wait until your qualified FHA lenders tell you differently.  Boots on the ground.

So, moments before I wrote this post (May 15, 2009), I got my latest issue of Realtor® Real Estate News in my inbox.  The lead article?  The announcement made by Donovan (on May 12, 2009) during NAR Midyear.  Back in the days of paper press, you could hardly stop news like this from going to print unless you were willing to yell "stop the presses!"  However, this is the internet age.  Someone could have had this bit of news struck from the email within moments.

Now, instead of having just the population of bloggers and Twitter users that had been following the events of #midyear, you now have every email reading agent across the country calling their clients to give them yesterday's news (that as of this writing is not true).

Nice one NAR - even if this is coming in the next few days, now was not the time to announce this and cause even more confusion.

My opnion = NAR press release FAIL!

(I have decided to keep this a public post on both my ActiveRain blog and my sanantoniorealestaterockstar.com site in order to help consumers see both that this announcement is not true (hopefully it will be soon) and so they understand what a tangled mess we agents sometimes have to go through to deliver them quailty reliable real estate information.)

Comments (110)

Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

Here are the relevant paragraphs from Shaun Donovan's now famous speech in Washington:

"And we are taking action to further help the housing market recover. I'm excited to announce here at NAR that FHA's policy on the "monetization" of the first-time homebuyer tax credit will soon be published. I know that you've been waiting anxiously to hear FHA's position on the matter. We, like you, believe that this new tax credit is not only a tremendous opportunity for first-time homebuyers, but also an enormous benefit for communities struggling to deal with an oversupply of housing. According to estimates by the National Association of Home Builders, this new tax credit will stimulate 160,000 home sales across the nation - 101,000 of which will be first time buyers who will receive the credit. Another 59,000 existing homeowners will be able to buy another home because a first time buyer purchased their home.

We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash can be used as a downpayment. So FHA will permit trusted FHA-approved lenders and HUD-approved nonprofits, as well as state and local governmental entities to "monetize" the tax credit through short-term bridge loans. We think the policy is a real win for everyone, ensuring that borrowers can tap into the numerous organizations that are already part of the FHA network to receive this additional benefit. FHA will be publishing the details shortly."

As someone further up in the comment thread pointed out, it looks like someone goofed, probably the author of the NAR article that first announced it. The parts of the speech I bolded does make it sound like something that will take place in the future, not something that has already been approved and implemented. The NAR article certainly appears to have taken Donovan's remarks out of context and applied some wishful thinking to it, resulting in giving life to something that wasn't yet alive.

Hopefully, someone in authority will take some initiative and issue a statement before more irreparable damage is done. But I won't hold my breath...

May 16, 2009 06:17 AM
Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

UPDATE: I just received notification that HUD Assistant Secretary Brian Montgomery has read my email! Now, to see if he replies personally or I get a form letter...

May 16, 2009 06:30 AM
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Stacey - I see you mentioned you added a clarification on Realtor.org, but when I followed the link on the email, there was no clarification.  I just checked the link and the full article is there as it was when it was written on May 12, 2009.

We immediately added a clarification to the REALTOR.org home page. Meanwhile, the little promotional blurb you see in our newsletter was written by a Chicago staffer who wasn't aware of the questions on the press release or the clarification.

Realtors® need to know what's going on and having an email and its link with the original information and no comment or clarification is detrimental to everything we're trying to build.  I have taken issue with NAR from time to time, but in most regards, I am not a NAR hater.  I think we (both the membership and the leaders) have a lot of work to do to repair two different wounds - those between the membership and the association and those between Realtors® and the public.  When we wind up passing off erroneous info as gospel and then have to go back to the public to say "we're sorry about that, we were wrong" and NAR has yet to step up and do something as simple as a mass email to us explaining what happened and why...well, we're going to have more to heal.  There is a disconnect going on (as was evidenced by the uproar over the MLS-Google-scraper issue that was well handled by NAR at Midyear, in my opinion) and without that being repaired, we'll all suffer.

Missy - You can post anything you want in my blog's comments anytime.  It was great talking to you today, wish I had found this out before we spoke - can you imagine the conversation we would have had then?

Pat & Wayne - Please keep us posted on what you find out.  Better yet, tell them to stop by and engage their members.  I would love to hear direct from them on the issue.

All - I appreciate everyone joining this conversation.  As I learned this week on AgentGenius with the whole MLS-Google-IDX-Scraper issue, we can work to make change.  I was rather inspired this past week by many agents I had already admired.  I would like to not that although Mortgagee Letter 9-15 (which is the reference for this program) was on the HUD site briefly, but was pulled.  However, they did leave the letter up on their site (if you know where to find it (Word .doc file)).  I have read Secretary Donovan's prepared remarks and I see that it was possible to misconstrue intent for action.  Regardless of what the prepared remarks said or what he actually spoke in his speech, the fact remains that the information was on their site and many people started the buzz.  I don't think you can truly blame any one party and my intent wasn't to place blame, but rather to point out the folly and hopefully, get some action taken that would help agents and consumers alike, since there is so much confusion right now.  We don't need to be confusing a buying public already beaten down with the last few months' news and ups and downs.

I apologize that I didn't comment to everyone individually, but I have a busy weekend.  I am reading, so keep 'em coming.

May 16, 2009 07:23 AM
Anonymous
Anonymous

Matt, thanks for your response to my note. The clarification was made at REALTOR.org, where the following language was added: "Details on down payment option expected next week."

Meanwhile, we old goats at REALTOR Magazine remain redfaced over having sent out the NAR press release as a news story (silver lining: it didn't go to all NAR members, just to subscribers to our daily news). I wasn't aware of the issue until seeing your post late Friday afternoon, and, unfortunately -- because we don't have direct control over changes to our site (apart from our blogs) -- we won't be able to post a clarification until Monday.

So thanks for getting out the news and keeping us honest and alert.

May 16, 2009 07:41 AM
#93
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Matt:  Wow, thank you for pointing this out.  I didn't have a chance to check with my lender this week and was taking NAR at their word.  Yikes!!!

May 16, 2009 08:44 AM
Bo Kociuba
McGraw Realtors - Mustang, OK
Realtor - Mustang, Yukon & OKC Metro 405-812-1572

Matt - I read that on Realtor on May 12th...and the thought came through my mind that we already were through something similar already - that ppl could actually apply for the 8K (get it in advance) and use it as a downpayment...blah, blah, blah...now this perennial! And as a matter of fact I fell for it again and blogged on it, however, with the quotation from Realtor. Just minutes later I called my mortgage guy and ask about it. He didn't know anything about it at the time but called me later and told me about all the strings attached and actually that the whole thing is not in 'practice' yet...Too many chiefs not enough workers! And these are our paid leaders....

with smiles,

Bo

May 16, 2009 02:20 PM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

My head hurts.  The family is out... maybe I should have a couple of B-52s in order to better understand all of this. 

 

May 16, 2009 02:24 PM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Actually...I think the "silly old goat" moniker is quite accurate and is very reflective on who NAR really is.  After all they scarf up almost anything, chew on it for a while, and then let it slip out the back...(pun intended!)

May 16, 2009 04:50 PM
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Stacey - Although I see your point about you being left holding the bag too, I just have to wonder why it took a blogger with one year's experience to catch on and "make the announcement."  I'm not saying that mistakes won't be made, by all means, I'm the first one to admit that nobody's perfect.  I'm just shocked that all this took place I guess.  I don't place the blame (and I'm not trying to blame everyone either) squarely on the shoulders of NAR.  HUD made a huge mistake by putting the links up to Mortgagee Letter 9-15 and getting that in to so many hands.  Secretary Donovan's prepared remarks could have read better in order to keep this from getting to the point it has.  Many Realtors® jumped the gun with exciting news and some of it was "whisper down the lane" information.  It's a complex issue really.

On one hand, HUD and NAR should always be the final desitination for solid information.  After all, if we can't trust those two sources, who can we trust?  I'm sure everyone has learned a lesson from this and I hope it serves them well into the future.  Just the fact that there are this many comments on a post such as this should help explain why this is so important to agents.  Imagine how many agents didn't "get the memo" and are out there right now trying to make this work.  Although I fully expect HUD to get this moving as of right now, it doesn't exist.

Of course, we as agents need to work hard to try and confirm our information.  Jeff Belonger made a great point of this in his posts.  I had read him off and on, but you can be sure after what I read coming from him during all of this, that I will be following him much closer.  Because of the ease with which information flows through blogging and social media such as Twitter, we need to be careful.  One wrong word and we could ruin a lot of lives.  That's powerful and dangerous at the same time.  I do think we need to have a "trusted" source though, so I can understand why so many took it as gospel when they heard the news...I mean, HUD and NAR wouldn't steer us wrong, would they?

I appreciate your efforts to come here and engage the public.  I don't know if you've been speaking with Todd Carpenter and receiving some of his wisdom on social media, but if so, please report back to him that it's working.  I'm sure it's frustrating for all of you to come onto blogs and feel you have to defend yourselves and the organization when people are frothing at the mouth, but the fact is, whether we think you're right or wrong, the interaction counts for something.  Todd had discussed his role at NAR recently on some of the blogs and if it does truly bring about meaningful interaction between NAR and its members on the interwebs, then I'm all for it.  I don't have to agree with NAR all the time, but to know they're listening and available to give comments makes a world of difference.

As for the "silly old goat" comment, I hope no one was offended.  It was a line my mom used to say.  I actually love goats strangely enough.  I raised them when I was a kid (no pun intended) and other than their really creepy eyes, I like them.  Ask any German kid who has my autograph and you'll probably find a reference to goats (I used to get a little bored trying to come up with substitutions for "You Rock" and "Rock On", so I took to writing gibberish to keep myself amused).

May 17, 2009 12:08 AM
Scott Baker
www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker Realty - Liberty Township, OH
Realtor Homes for Sale Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio

I also believe the best source for Real Estate news is right here. I'm surprised that the "Old Goat" made such a mistake, HUD as well.

May 17, 2009 12:50 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

The best real estate updates happen on activerain. This has been my experience in the last five weeks. Thank you all for participating. I love this community of professionals. I am here to serve.

May 17, 2009 04:19 AM
Anonymous
Anonymous

I suggest you confirm what you read. I call FHA and asked if it were true? They said not at this time. I think we should impeach the basterd and put someone in there who can do the job. It's rediculus for NAR to put out such untruths. It goes to show you what kind of help we get for our money. " If I had foresaw the results of sugigation of people, I would have choosen to die on the battle field along side my great men,with my sword in my right hand.' Genral Robert E Lee July 1865.

May 17, 2009 05:42 AM
#104
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

The NAR bringing yesterdays news today.  Not too mention wrong.

May 17, 2009 01:57 PM
Dan Magstadt
Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc - Lake City, FL

Thanks for getting the info out there Matt...I can't tell you how many borrower's I've had recently asking about this. 

May 18, 2009 03:45 AM
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

I am happy to report that my local board, SABOR (San Antonio), did not send out the bad information.  Unfortunately, I have heard from several ActiveRain members that when they received their Monday updates from their local boards that the info was in there.  If the local boards need information, I would assume they would turn to NAR, so they probably got the news and ran with it.

I would also like to issue a public apology and retraction.

Apparently, in one of my posts somewhere on the internet (and I can not find it for the life of me), I referred to Stacey's involvement here at this blog.  Within that reference, I mistakenly called Stacey a "she."  I would like to publicly  apologize to Stacey for my mistaken gender reference and also ask anyone who sees the post that I made the reference in to let me know where it is, because I'd like to fix my mistake and retract/apologize there as well.  I should have known better.

May 18, 2009 08:56 AM
Anonymous
Pamela Kabati

Hi. I'm the VP of Publications at NAR, and I've been following the discussion about this here and on Agent Genius. The Editor-in-Chief of REALTOR Magazine commented earlier to apologize for our lack of specifics in our origibal reporting on this.

So, I just wanted to check in to let you all know that we published the following story in the REALTOR Magazine Online daily news yesterday and also made this information available from the home page of REALTOR.org. http://budurl.com/xh5e

The bottom line is that HUD intends to allow the monetization of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, but is still working out the details. They'll spell out these details "shortly," according to the a HUD spokesperson.

We're tracking this daily now with HUD and will let you know when the official guidance is released. We'll tweet about it and will also post to our Speaking of Real Estate blog, http://budurl.com/lyk5

Hope this information is helpful to all the readers here.

 

May 19, 2009 03:48 AM
#108
Anonymous
Pamela Kabati

Matt,

Stacey is a "she." I've worked with her for almost 20 years, so I'm very certain about that!

Best,

Pamela

May 19, 2009 03:51 AM
#109
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Pamela - Thanks for stopping by.  I'm glad to hear that the updates have been published, although after reading through, I would have liked to have seen a little more clarity on why this happened (and I mean more from HUD's position - they put it all over their website, then took it down just as quick).  It's obvious to me that there is some plan and even if there wasn't, after all of this, I'm sure HUD would be working on one asap to at least save face.  I thank you for taking the time to report back to those that are following these discussions, the new way forward for all of us certainly starts with this sort of direct communication.  I still stand by my shock that the email slipped through the cracks, but that's just because I saw the damage it was causing so rapidly throughout the Realtor® community.

And as for Stacey, it looks like I got some wrong info.  I apolgize for that now.  My original assumption was correct I guess.  Yikes!  Stacey - PLEASE forgive me?  I think ActiveRain needs to give you accounts so that you can comment and we can associate you with faces.  Now who's the "silly old goat?"

May 19, 2009 04:42 AM
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Well the update is now here that is good news.  The curse of the Chinese, "May you live in interesting times."

May 19, 2009 06:24 PM
Anonymous
Cindy Le

I'm totally disappointed with NAR announcing such bogus fact. I've sent out a few message to buyers in regards to tax credit for downpayment with FHA loan and now to find out it was not. Thanks for the clarification. Government needs to learn how to do math

May 29, 2009 10:19 PM
#112