Changes in our industry (and there's been a ton since I got my license in 1986) are obviously done with the right thought in mind...protecting and promoting the interest of the client and public. And, we're all for that.
However, I'm guessing that most of you have seen and are aware of the new Federal Trade Commission Ruling regarding MAP (The Mortgage Acts and Practices-Advertising Rule) that came into effect on August 19th, 2011, and makes it a "violation ...for any person to make any material misrepresentations, expressly or by implication, in any commercial communication, regarding any term of any mortgage credit product." WHAT?
I talked with my manager about this and, if followed by the letter of the law, means that, as Realtors, we are not even allowed to quote a rate (even if you just got off the phone with a lender who quoted you the rate), caluclate the buyer's mortgage payment or reference or discuss in any way any loan product (FHA, Conventional, etc.)
The Rule goes on to say "Agents should not disseminate any information concerning mortgage products, and should refer all questions concerning financing, lending practices, available loan produces, interest rates, and payment structures to the Buyer's lender." Clearly, some of those topics only a lender can accurately answer. But, I can calculate an accurate monthly payment and buyer closing costs for Heaven's sake!
The Rule's is to elimate any "material misrepresentation that is likely to mislead reasonable consumers and likely to affect their decisions." WHAT? Isn't monthly payment a factor a buyer would use in determining whether they would want to move forward? I get that the intention is to protect the consumer but, talk about the pendulem swinging WAY the other way!
So, you finish up a long Saturday of showing homes to a buyer. Finally, you find something the buyer wants to make an offer on. Sitting in your conference room you write the offer and begin to review it with your buyer. At some point you'll be asked, "So, what's the monthly payment?" Well, it's a Saturday at 5:00, you know the lender won't be in his/her office, so you try their cell phone (if they've even given it to you), and you just get voice mail. What now? Tell the buyer to come back another day?
Again, if followed to the letter of the law, the only thing we CAN do is hand them a rate sheet! AND, the Rules states that, "Should an agent make any representations about a mortgage credit product, the agent is required to maintain a record of the communication for 24 MONTHS from the last date the communication was made or disseminated. Further, the provisions of this Rule cannot be waived by any consumer under any circumstances."
Fortunately, we have a wonderful lender who makes himself as available as we are.
But, yet I ask...Are you kidding me?