Rawlings thinks that AMCs also hinder the real estate transaction process. “Median home price sales close in 30 days in Atlanta,” he says. “There are instances where you can’t get appraisals back in time, which slows down the process and costs both buyers and sellers.”
However, Hufham has not noticed AMCs slowing down the process significantly. Instead, just like anything that has multiple moving parts, it is more about managing contracts and timelines in order to keep the process moving.
“I will say that the more people that get involved, the more often you have issues,” she said. “So it will be interesting to see if and how it impacts us in 2018.”
In terms of federal changes for 2018, Murray is hopeful that President Trump’s new tax bill will be positive for the real estate business. “Our biggest sigh of relief was the execution of the tax bill on Dec. 22. That was huge for the real estate industry,” he says.
Murray was heavily involved in the lobbying process and thinks the reason that the capital gains exclusion was taken out of the original tax bill is due to the political impact of NAR.
“There was a call to action, lobbying, and an extremely successful campaign across the country,” he says. “I think the tax bill is going to be an incentive for most middle-class real estate purchases due to capital gains.”
In the future, Murray would like to see regulations concerning a more structured appeal system for Realtors in dealing with appraisers. “I don’t want to point fingers if it’s a bad approach, but if I research better than the appraiser, then there should be a more logical appeal process,” he says.
Hufham is interested in seeing changes in how certain appraisals are conducted. “Properties that have significant outdoor landscaping, outdoor living spaces, and enhancements should be given a financial credit for those improvements. That would be huge,” she says. “A property with $100,000 spent in the backyard should not appraise for the same as an adjacent home with no outdoor improvements.”
Rawlings thinks that an ease in lending restrictions could help more borrowers qualify for home loans and stimulate the housing market. “Millennials are heavy with student debt, and qualifying under that debt is hard. It would help to open up and relax those restrictions,” he says.
Read more about what is coming in 2018