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A Government Shutdown Could Affect Real Estate

WASHINGTON – Dec. 18, 2018 – The U.S. Congress funds government operations through a series of bills that must be signed by the president, and some of those bills expire on Friday. If those bills are not authorized by Congress and signed by President Trump, the impacted federal agencies effectively shut down, though they have authorization to continue any operation that is necessary to protect life and property.

Two of the federal agencies at risk of a shutdown might have an impact on homebuyers and sellers – the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that oversees the Federal Housing Authority (FHA loans), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees Rural Development.

While the federal government has shut down before – notably for 16 days in 2013 – the rules and impacts may have changed. FHA loans, for example, continued to move forward during the 2013 shutdown, but with many FHA employees furloughed, the process was more complicated and took longer than usual.

It’s unclear what might happen this time, and it’s likely that Congress and the president will agree to terms with either no – or a relatively short – shutdown. In general, problems created by a shutdown are minor over the short term but grow more difficult if the shutdown lasts longer.

Each department has issued guidelines subject to change. For more information on the potential impact of a government shutdown, visit their websites:

FHA guidance: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/Main/documents/GENERALFAQS.pdf

USDA guidance: https://www.usda.gov/shutdownplans

©Florida Realtors® 
Reprinted with permission Florida Realtors. All rights reserved.

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Allen Thompson

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