Veterans Affairs Suspension of Buyer Agent Payment Ban

As we enter Memorial Day weekend we are happy to report that the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to temporarily lift its ban on buyers directly paying for their real estate agents, until the agency deems it necessary to engage in a formal rulemaking process.

Although not an official announcement, the comments from VA Deputy Director of Policy Michelle Corridon at the Mortgage Bankers Association conference in New York were met with relief from the real estate industry, as the VA’s home loan guaranty is the only loan program with this explicit prohibition. Veteran buyers have limited options in situations where the seller makes no offer of compensation to the buyer’s agent, potentially leaving veterans without professional representation or forcing them to switch to less favorable loan products.

“NAR launched an all-hands advocacy effort on this issue, meeting with VA officials, engaging with lawmakers and rallying our industry partners to ensure this prohibition was lifted,” says Shannon McGahn, chief advocacy officer at the National Association of Realtors®. “This is also a testament to the thousands of Realtors® who came to Washington just a few weeks ago with a unified message.

Without this change, thousands of veteran buyers could be denied access to professional representation in their pursuit of the American Dream of homeownership. Taking this extra step ensures veterans have the same opportunity as others to compete in a tight housing market. We applaud the VA for recognizing this danger and acting swiftly to protect veterans.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac affirmed last month that the seller’s payment of buyer agent commissions will continue to be excluded from limits on seller concessions. The Federal Housing Announcement made a similar announcement in March.