HUD has eliminated the use of the DPA (Down Payment Assistance) programs like AmeriDream, Nehemiah and Quick.com. These programs allowed the seller to give the money for the down payment to a third party "charity" that would in turn gift the money to the buyer. HUD is no longer going to accept these programs as an acceptable source of gift funds for down payment.
Also affected is the use of FHA and Oregon Bond with Cash Advantage. You may no longer use the Cash Advantage for down payment on FHA Oregon Bond loans only (Conventional Bond Still ok). HUD recently issued a ruling that prohibits use of such programs as AmeriDream, Nehemiah, etc. and included reference to other cash assistance that is from an interested third party or other entity. This regulation will be effective October 31, 2007 and will not affect any loans in the pipeline scheduled to close before that date.
Are Open Houses Passé?
According to the NAR (National Association of Realtors), 80% of home buyers last year started their search on the internet, up from only 2% in 1995. But, 42% of buyers also went to open houses as part of their search process. This second stat shows the inherent value in continuing to perform open houses on your listings.
For buyers, open houses offer an opportunity to see properties in person and get a feel for the market without the perceived pressures of working with a real estate agent. For sellers, just the act of scheduling the first open house can jump-start an effort to get a property market-ready by rididing the house of clutter and attending to small repairs. For Realtors, it is another opportunity to show your sellers that you are making an effort in a slowing market, and another opportunity for you to get buyer leads.
Th Internet, and the opportunity it gives buyers to get detailed information about properties through virtual tours, and even detailed floor plans online, may make the open house less relevant.
Some contend that "real buyers" call and make appointment to see properties, and open houses usually attract only the curious and unserious.
With a home purchase being one of the most important investments in a person's lifetime most people still want to get out there and kick the tires. They may do preliminary research on the internet but may want to interview possible Buyer/Seller's agents, as well as physically walk through some properties and get the lay of the land. An open house gives the serious Buyer the opportunity to do all of the above.