Shutdown effects will linger as workers catch up

Published 1:34 am Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Even though the government shutdown has ended, the real estate market could still see effects as the U.S. Department of Agriculture works to get caught up on paperwork related to mortgages.

Fairway Independent Mortgage Office Loan Officer Austin Parker has not been able to close any of his USDA-secured loans during the shutdown.

“The majority of us knew that this was coming,” Parker said. “We understood the potential, so we warned all our agents and all of our clients of what could happen. I haven’t lost anybody thankfully, nobody has had a contract ended or lost their ability to buy a house.”

There are several different options to choose from when taking out a home loan, Parker said.

“The main three with the government are with VA loans, USDA loans and FHA loans,” Parker said.

The USDA provides, through private lenders, mortgages with no down payment requirements and low interest rates and fees to rural and suburban homebuyers.

The piece of the secured loan puzzle that completes the loan is a commitment letter from the USDA, Parker said.

“With the USDA, what makes them unique is that they are a little stricter than the typical program,” Parker said. “You have to send the loan application to whatever USDA office is closest to you, then they have to give you a commitment letter. The commitment letter is a cover sheet that says they reviewed it, they agreed with our findings, your eligibility, your ability to move forward and that is why the USDA is so affected by the government shutdown.”

He said that they can do everything up until the commitment letter, but without it, they are not able to close the loan.

“We were able to under ride approve quite a few of the loans,” Parker said. “But without the letter we did not have a clear to close, that is what has been delayed from the shutdown. I’ve got plenty of people that are prequalified and are preapproved through the program, it’s just a matter of getting the final commitment from their office.”

Even with the government back open, Parker expects to see some delay with his loans.

“Every office, near far and wide, is submitting loans right now,” Parker said. “That is where the major delay is going to come in, and USDA hasn’t given us a ETA. They are still trying to recover from being out of work for 45 days.”