The Voice for Real Estate 2: Web Accessibility, FHA HAWK

The Voice for Real Estate 2: Web Accessibility, FHA HAWK


♪ [music] ♫ could your website pass an accessibility test? contract signings surge
going into summer and will you have to pay a tax
on the Internet? these stories and more on
The Voice for Real Estate hi I’m Stephen Gasque with
The National Association of REALTORS® how big has online commerce become? well the federal government estimates
that in the first quarter of 2014 73 billion dollars changed hands in
online transactions that makes it clear electronic commerce
is integral to the US economy and that’s
why the US Department of Justice joined in a lawsuit last year that could have major implications for
Realtors, home-buyers and home sellers the lawsuit was against
national tax preparation company H&R Block one of several cases in which
companies are being charged with violating the Americans with
Disabilities Act or ADA the complaints allege their web
sites and mobile applications are not accessible to people with visual or hearing impairments a few months ago
H&R Block settled the case and agreed to make its website more accessible.
why is this important to you? because since that case the Department
of Justice is preparing rules that could affect your website too
rules that say what you have to do to make photos virtual tours and other
website content accessible to persons with disabilities Realtor Magazine last week sat down with Tom Keary an attorney who’s been following the
website accessibility issue closely he says there are steps you can take
right now to be ahead of the game if and when all commercial web sites
have to be ADA compliant ‘>>’Keary: the Department of Justice
when it issued it’s advanced notice of proposed
rulemaking back in 2010 identified five barriers to website accessibility and these are the web
sites that don’t allow for a change in font size next would be web sites that rely heavily upon images without captions another barrier would be web sites that rely heavily
upon video without captions also another
barrier is web sites that don’t allow for an
extension of time and a final barrier is a device called
CAPCHA and this would be a test for
example that would use distorted letters a combination of distorted letters and words and you’re asked to retype
those letters words into a box and this would obviously be very
difficult for a person who has low vision ‘>>’Gasque: look for more coverage on this issue
in the months ahead ♪ [music] ♫ good news on where
home sales are heading NAR’s latest Pending Home Sales
Report shows contract signings were up a sharp 6.1% in May suggesting an increase in closed
transactions in the months ahead what’s behind the gain?
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun points to an increased number of homes available for sale
continued low interest rates and other factors too ‘>>’Yun: the rise in pending contracts are being accompanied with rise in inventory and
therefore we may be moving into a virtuous cycle of more homes for sale leads to
increased sales activity and increase sales activity encourages
other potential home sellers to come out to the market and list their homes ‘>>’Gasque: the big question of course is whether
those contract signings will result in closed sales? we’ll learn that in the
months ahead the next Existing Home Sales Report
which covers actual closed sales comes out July 22nd and we’ll be
watching that closely ♪ [music] ♫ has mortgage insurance got you down? well first time home buyers could see
some relief from mortgage insurance premiums under a pilot program of the
Federal Housing Administration the pilot is called HAWK or Homeowners Armed With Knowledge and it would reduce mortgage insurance premiums
for people who complete housing counseling sessions and who make
their payments on time NAR says it’s a great idea but
it simply doesn’t go far enough NAR’s Sarah Young has been
working with FHA on the issue and says NAR wants to see
some changes ‘>>’Young: NAR encourages FHA to consider
across-the-board reductions in mortgage insurance premiums for all
qualified homebuyers FHA could still offer additional
mortgage insurance premium reductions through the HAWK program for first-time
homebuyers the program would be most successful if
these home buyers have ready access to housing counseling
agencies and also housing counseling fees that they can actually afford ‘>>’Gasque: look for more on this as FHA’s HAWK
program takes off ♪ [music] ♫ should you have to pay to
access the internet? NAR doesn’t think so and that’s why it backs legislation
to permanently ban so-called Internet Access Taxes these are taxes
levied by state and local governments on Internet service providers the
companies that bring the Internet into your home or office and right now
the taxes are banned only until November 1st. NAR’s Evan Liddiard explains why an internet access tax ultimately would
hurt consumers and the way Realtors market homes and otherwise do their business on the Internet ‘>>’Liddiard: this issue started
way back when the internet was new in the late 1990s. state and local
governments have traditionally had within their purview the ability to tax telecommunication
services and in the early days of the Internet
almost everybody accessed through dialup therefore we already started
seeing some state and local government’s taxing it. at the time congress put out a,
passed a ban on such taxes that ban only last
seven years and then in 2007 it was extended for another
seven years ‘>>’Gasque: the good news is the house judiciary
committee just passed legislation to make the access tax ban permanent NAR has let lawmakers know it
supports the permanent ban and is encouraging them to pass it
before the November 1st deadline ♪ [music] ♫ and that’s our show for the week of July
13th real insights from your nation’s Realtors join us right here in the coming weeks
as we bring you the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate brought to you by
The National Association of REALTORS® your advocate for housing and property
rights in Washington across America
and in your neighborhood this is The Voice for Real Estate ♪ [music] ♫

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *