(Aug. 8, 2014) The Maryland Association of Realtors recently put its lobbying power into play in an effort to enact change that will streamline the USDA’s Single Housing Rural Family Loan Program (SFGLP) loan process. These efforts were met with a positive outcome when Senator Barbara Mikulski immediately reached out to the USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack, in a letter urging him to address the growing problem.
MAR’s 2014 President Russ Boyce reached out to Mikulski for help in addressing inordinate lending processing times for Rural Housing Loans in response to numerous calls from members and local boards,. It was reported that MAR members have experienced serious time delays with direct and guaranteed loans for both single and multifamily housing provided by the U.S. Rural Housing Service (RHS). Loan processing times for the SFGLP—which typically took 11 days two months ago—are now processed in a 30-day turn-around time.
MAR also reported that the nearly three-fold increase in review time has caused Marylanders to lose locked-in interest rates and even prevent settlements from occurring. These problems are driving some Marylanders away from RHS products and the home purchase altogether because conventional loans cannot meet the favorable terms of the RHS product lines.
Included in MAR’s letter to Senator Mikulski, it stated that Maryland and Delaware homebuyers are most affected by these changes in staff resources in the USDA office. In addition, the letter noted these problems are impacting negatively the weakest parts of the Maryland real estate market.
— Lauren Bunting is a licensed realtor with Bunting Realty, Inc. serving Worcester and Wicomico counties.