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​Summer 2023: A Season of Positive Changes in Washington's Real Estate Landscape

Friday Video Publish Date June 15, 2023
Insights from Annie Fitzsimmons, WR Legal Hotline Lawyer

I'm thrilled to bring you news about the transformative shifts taking place this summer. We will see revisions to statewide forms, along with new laws designed to empower real estate brokers and Washington residents.

Statewide Forms: Changes and Impacts

Effective July 11th, there will be changes to numerous statewide forms. Get ready for updates to Form 21, Form 35 (the inspection contingency), and Form 22B (the Home Sale contingency addendum). The revisions are significant but not overwhelming if you make an effort to familiarize yourself with them.

New Laws: Learning Opportunities Ahead

Beyond form updates, impactful new laws will take effect, some as early as July 23rd. Rest assured, you won't be left to navigate these changes alone. Washington REALTORS® is committed to providing you with ample learning opportunities. Don't miss out on the "Summer Learning, Summ’er Not" 3.5 CE class, where we'll delve into the details of the forms changes and the upcoming law changes throughout the summer. Visit to sign up for a class.

Introducing the Covenant Homeownership Program

One particularly exciting development is the implementation of the Covenant Homeownership Program, starting July 23rd. Although the full effects of this program will take time to materialize, it represents an extraordinary opportunity for Washington State residents previously unable to enter the real estate market.

Empowering Historically Marginalized Buyers

The Covenant Homeownership Program aims to level the playing field for historically marginalized individuals and communities. It establishes a dedicated fund, supported by increased recording fees, to assist eligible buyers with down payment and closing cost funds. This initiative opens doors for those who were once denied homeownership based on discriminatory covenants recorded against their properties.

Criteria and Future Qualifications

To qualify for the program, potential buyers must meet specific criteria. While the law outlines a skeleton framework, additional criteria will be developed by a committee in 2024. The primary requirements include being a first-time homebuyer (as that term is defined by the statute) who is at or below the area median income and either a Washington resident prior to 1968 or a descendant of someone who was and who would have faced homeownership restrictions due to discriminatory covenants based on ethnicity, skin color or religion.

Building Generational Wealth through Homeownership

Why is this program crucial? Homeownership has long been recognized as a primary avenue for building wealth. However, for those previously excluded from the market, the opportunity to create generational wealth was non-existent. The Covenant Homeownership Program aims to change that narrative by providing eligible individuals and their descendants with a pool of funds to assist with down payment and closing costs.

Grant Funds

Approved applicants will receive the funds as a grant, alleviating the need for repayment during homeownership. Unlike loans, these funds do not accrue interest or add to the buyer's monthly debt obligations. However, upon the eventual sale of the property, the grant amount must be repaid to the Covenant Homeownership account, ensuring future availability for others in need.

Embrace Your Role in Spreading Awareness

While the program won't launch until 2024, as real estate brokers, you play a vital role in connecting eligible buyers with the Covenant Homeownership Program's benefits. Educate yourself on the program, its availability, and the resources to assist potential buyers in accessing these funds. Washington REALTORS® will provide more details as they become available.

If you have any questions on this topic or any other real estate related matter, please don't hesitate to ask me. You can submit your questions here at The Legal Hotline. Thank you for being a valued member of Washington REALTORS®. Your support and involvement in the association are essential.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice. Always consult with your Managing Broker and/or legal counsel.