Since the election, DC has been buzzing, with Congress rushing to finish a few items before lame duck ends and Democrats take over control of the House. Here are a few highlights:
The National Flood Insurance Progam was extended twice since our last newsletter and faces expiration on December 21st if a “continuing resolution” is not passed. For those of you wondering what the stance NAR is taking on the issue, here is a list that explains their stance:
- NFIP reauthorization should be long term.
- Flood mapping should be done at higher resolutions with a streamlined and less expensive appeal process.
- Premiums should be more accurately priced to the property specific risk, but any rate increases should be gradual and phased in over many years.
- Private flood insurance options should be encouraged where cost effective, provided that NFIP remains a viable option for property owners.
- To keep rates affordable, the federal government should also provide pre-disaster risk mitigation options – including guaranteed loans, grants and buyouts for property owners to build stronger or relocate to higher ground.
- There should be better oversight and training of insurance companies marketing NFIP policies, and an adequately supported FEMA Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate to assist policyholders with flood map and rate disputes.
It’s important to note that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides up to $350,000 of flood insurance coverage where required for a federally backed mortgage in 22,000 communities nationwide. It also provides an alternative to taxpayer-funded disaster assistance, which averages $5,500 per household but more often means an SBA loan that must repaid with any underlying mortgage.
Big news came through on December 19th for Ohio REALTORS® as HB 211, packaged into Senate Bill 255, passed both chambers and now awaits Gov. Kasich’s signature.
Ohio will become the 31st state affording home buyers the assurance that the inspector they hire is properly trained to evaluate and assess the home’s condition prior to finalizing the purchase. The measure had the full support of Ohio REALTORS®, The Home Inspectors Institute, InterNachi, and the Ohio Chapter, North Central Ohio Chapter and Southern Ohio Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
“We’re grateful to Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, House Speaker Ryan Smith and Rep. Jim Hughes, the measure’s original sponsor, for their strong leadership in securing passage off this critically important consumer protection legislation,” said Ohio REALTORS® President Tiffany Meyer. “We’re also thankful to thousands of Ohio REALTORS® who made their voice heard in support of passage.
“For more than a decade, Ohio REALTORS® have pursued bringing commonsense oversight to one of the last remaining unregulated aspects of the home buying process — one that will provide consumers with an important layer of protection when making what is likely the largest financial transaction they will make in a lifetime.”