The National Flood Insurance Program is in suspended animation, starting March 1, thanks to congressional wrangling over legislation that would reauthorize it. The Post's Federal Eye blogger, Ed O'Keefe, explains the legislative drama, which is expected to be resolved within a few days. For home buyers and owners, it means the only source of flood insurance is temporarily unavailable. I asked Tim Wilson, president of affiliated businesses for Long & Foster, which includes a title company and two mortgage companies, if the holdup would delay real estate closings. "If FEMA shuts down for a few days, I think it would have very little impact," he said.
We're getting more details on the Obama Administration's proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. According to proposed legislation the Treasury Department sent to Capitol Hill yesterday, this big, new federal umbrella would cover a lot of services that touch homeowners and buyers directly. It would become a one-stop-shop to regulate mortgage lenders, replacing the patchwork of federal and state regulators that now cover the lending industry.
Okay, this one would have to be a project for a really rainy weekend, but the IRS has published a free guide, Publication 584, Casualty, Disaster and Theft Loss Workbook, that can help you inventory all your belongings--and their values. It's info that becomes invaluable if catastrophe, say a flood, fire or hurricane, were to hit and you have to file an insurance claim--and to report your losses on an income tax form.
"While reverse mortgages can provide real benefits, they also have some of the same characteristics as the riskiest types of subprime mortgages -- and that should set off alarm bells," Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan said in a speech to a banking group.
A new state law that went into effect June 1, says you (and your insurance company) are responsible for repairing damages to your unit, and the condo association (and its insurance company) is responsible for repairing damages to the commonly owned property. What's new is that the association can require you, the owner of the unit where the fire started, to pay up to $500 of the association's insurance deductible covering repairs to that common property.