VA Loan Update 2024: Buyers Can Pay Their Agents Starting in August This Year

Published:
June 20, 2024
Last updated:
June 20, 2024
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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced a significant policy change that will affect military members and veterans who use a VA loan to buy a home.

Starting in August of 2024, veteran home buyers will be able to pay their real estate agents certain fees directly. In the past, borrowers using VA loans were prohibited from paying their own agent fees and often relied on the seller to pay both commissions. But we will soon see real estate commission changes.

This policy change comes in response to a recent class-action lawsuit and settlement involving the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which could reshape real estate practices and customs going forward.

Here’s a VA loan update for 2024 and how these changes might affect buyers with VA loans.

NAR Settlement Changes Practices for VA Loan Agent Fees

In March 2024, NAR reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit. This lawsuit affects the way real estate brokerages can charge fees when listing homes for sale.

(You might be familiar with this lawsuit and settlement already, given the widespread media coverage that it received. So we’ll keep this part brief.)

  • Before the settlement: Sellers often covered the home buyer’s real estate agent fees, often by baking it into the home’s listing price.
  • Going forward: Buyers might increasingly be expected to pay their own agent or VA loan broker fees, instead of relying on the seller to pay it out of the sale proceeds.

This settlement is intended to increase transparency and competition in the real estate market. It will allow buyers and sellers to directly negotiate commission fees with their agents, rather than relying on pre-set rates.

Going forward, these changes could also lead to more varied fee structures. For example, some industry watchers predict that flat fees and “a la carte” pricing models will become more common among buyer’s agents in the U.S.

Now that we’re caught up, let’s look at how this will affect military home buyers and veterans who use VA loans to buy a home.

VA Will Allow Home Buyers to Pay Their Agents

In the past, the Department of Veterans Affairs prohibited home buyers with VA loans from paying their own real estate agent fees. And it usually wasn’t an issue because that was the norm in most real estate markets, regardless of the type of home loan being used.

But in the wake of the NAR settlement mentioned above, VA officials realized that military members and veterans with VA loans would be at a disadvantage in the market.

To quote a June 2024 update from the Department of Veterans Affairs:

“Previously, Veterans could not pay buyer-broker fees when purchasing a home with a VA home loan. In light of the settlement, Veterans could be at a disadvantage in the evolving homebuying market, so VA released this update to make sure that Veterans remain competitive buyers.”

The “disadvantage” in this context has to do with a home buyer’s inability to pay for a real estate agent to represent them.

If the VA continued to prohibit buyers from paying their agents—and the NAR settlement limited the seller’s ability to compensate both agents—home buyers with VA loans would have no way to hire an agent. They would be caught between a rock and a hard place.

But starting on August 10, 2024, veterans, active-duty service members, and surviving spouses with VA loan benefits will be permitted to pay for certain real estate buyer-broker fees when purchasing a home.

This change is a temporary measure designed to ensure that veterans have a chance to compete with non-VA home buyers in an evolving real estate market. It’s basically a policy “patch” designed to help home buyers in the short term, until a more permanent policy is put in place.

VA Loans Still Offer the Same Benefits

Despite these changes, the VA loan program continues to offer military members and veterans the same benefits as before. Those benefits include but are not limited to:

In short, this program reduces or eliminates some of the biggest hurdles that buyers encounter when attempting to purchase a home.

Five Things to Take Away From This VA Loan Update For 2024

This is a confusing subject, mainly because there are so many different groups involved. But it’s also an important subject for military members and veterans to understand, since it affects their hard-earned home buying benefits.

So let’s wrap up by summarizing the five most important takeaways of this VA loan update for 2024:

  1. The VA will allow buyers to pay agent or broker fees starting on August 10, 2024.
  2. This change is a response to a potential shift in real estate practices due to a recent National Association of REALTORS settlement.
  3. This temporary measure aims to ensure that Veterans are not disadvantaged in the military home buying process.
  4. Veterans can still negotiate with sellers to cover these fees or pay them directly.
  5. We will likely see additional VA loan policy changes going forward, as the agent commission situation continues to evolve.

Understanding what’s happening in the world of mortgages thanks to his VA loan update for 2024 will help you make a more informed buying decision. It’s also important to team up with experts in the industry to get insider home buying tips for veterans to ensure an affordable and seamless transaction.

We can help! Sammamish Mortgage specializes in the VA loan program and serves borrowers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, and California. If you’re located in one of those states and have questions about using a VA loan and want to get pre-approved, please contact our knowledgeable staff.

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