A number of claims have been presented to GAO for reimbursement of real estate expenses incurred incident to a transfer in which title to the property is held jointly with the employee and close relatives who are not members of the immediate family. Existing regulations allow reimbursement only for expenses for members of the immediate family. However, the high cost of real estate and high interest rates on home mortgages have made it increasingly difficult to obtain financing for home purchases. As a result, persons who are not members of the immediate family have signed as accomodation endorsers to assist in obtaining financing. In recognition of the financial pressures incident to home purchasing today, and with the expected rise in costs in the future, GAO feels that consideration should be given to amending the regulations to state that an employee will be reimbursed all purchase or sale costs even though persons who are not members of the immediate family appear on purchase and sale documents ,if such persons are not actually participating in the financial transactions but are participating solely as an accomodation to the employee. GAO believes that such a regulation would not be contrary to the requirements of law since it would provide for reimbursement as contemplated by Congress when the law was passed.
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