Harder to Introduce Bill to Stop Discrimination Against Veterans
Bill Will Improve Home Buying, Create Job Training for Vets
WASHINGTON – After being contacted by the family of a local veteran who had been repeatedly denied the opportunity to buy a home because of additional requirements associated with Veterans Affairs (VA) housing loans, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) announced plans to introduce the Stop Discrimination Against Veteran Home Buyers Act. Since there are additional requirements for veterans using VA loans and a shortage of appraisers to help move the process along, some sellers discriminate against veterans loans and choose sellers with conventional loans.
“Vets shouldn’t have to miss out on the opportunity to buy a home and fulfill the American dream because their loan is coming from the VA – it defeats the whole purpose of the program,” said Rep. Harder. “We’ve come up with a solution that should solve this part of the problem while also getting more job opportunities for vets – it’s a win-win all around.”
Rep. Harder was approached by the Suveges family of Modesto, who were repeatedly passed-over by home sellers because they were using a VA home loan. Although the VA has helped millions of veterans buy their first home, additional requirements have had the unintended consequences of making veteran homebuyers less competitive and consequently, passed over for homes they qualify for.
“With the booming housing market here in central California, we found it very difficult to compete with other buyers,” said Christina Suveges, who contacted Rep. Harder’s office for help. “We had numerous sellers turn us down solely for having VA financing. After reaching out to Josh Harder’s office, we are very pleased to hear he’s working with the VA to address this frustrating problem.”
One of the largest issues associated with veterans homebuying is a lack of certified appraisers. Only appraisers certified through the VA are qualified to value homes for VA loans. As a result, appraisals are slower and more expensive for veterans seeking home loans through the VA, and sellers, including banks, often choose to sell homes to non-veterans.
Rep. Harder’s Stop Discrimination Against Veteran Home Buyers Act will establish the Veterans Serving Veterans Appraiser Program. Through the program, a veteran will qualify for assistance through the VA to receive the training necessary to become a certified VA loan appraiser. The bill will not only cut down on wait times but also provide more job opportunities for veterans.
Veterans Affairs Certified appraisers must meet many requirements, including passing a qualifying test, providing sample appraisals, amassing years of experience, and securing recommendations from other appraisers.
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a hearing on this issue in 2017, but the VA has not taken action to remedy the problem. Last month, after being approached by the Suveges family, Rep. Harder contacted the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ask for answers and is still awaiting a response.