The Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® (ACAR) has long objected to mandatory point-of-sale inspections, and thanks to their diligent advocacy for change – boosted by research from the National Association of REALTORS® and support from the REALTOR® Party – they’re gaining traction in the populous region they serve, one city at a time.
In Euclid, Ohio, where the escrow component of the point-of-sale inspection was recently eliminated (the city had previously made the inspection itself opt-in,) REALTOR® advocacy began when the current mayor was first running for office: ACAR interviewed both candidates, backed the one whose views were more amenable to real estate issues, and continued building a good relationship with her by providing reliable information and research on a wide range of real estate issues. When the City Council was at last considering an ordinance eliminating the point-of-sale escrow requirement, the city reached out to ACAR to provide expert testimony. Says McMillen, “The success ACAR has achieved in Euclid has taken many years of trust-building and proving our value as a community partner. That takes many forms: ACAR is a go-to resource for market research and statistics, but we’re also involved in hands-on projects. In 2018, for example, we used a REALTOR® Party Placemaking Grant to engage Euclid residents in enlivening an alley with a colorful mural, a really fun event that raised our profile and underscored our commitment to the neighborhoods where our members live and work.”
Encouraged by the success of their efforts in Euclid, McMillen and a delegation of colleagues recently met with the Mayor of University Heights for a productive discussion about the point-of-sale inspection issue; ACAR is also forging ahead to affect change throughout the broader region. To that end, the association is using a Consumer Advocacy Outreach Grant to produce a prominent 12-page insert that will appear in the October issues of Cleveland Magazine and Akron Life Magazine, reaching a combined total readership of 266,000 residents. A compelling look at the way point-of-sale inspections and escrow requirements can be barriers to homeownership, the feature will tell the stories of seven different local REALTORS® helping clients to buy in various local neighborhoods. To demonstrate how the region’s enlightened city leadership is already on board with the concept, it will also include interviews with four local mayors, two of whom are rolling back point-of-sale inspection requirements, and one whose city has no such requirement tied to the sale of a property. A call-to-action component will encourage readers to contact their elected officials about the issue.
McMillen says that applying for the Consumer Outreach Grant was a smooth process, and that the NAR team was extremely helpful in answering her questions prior to submission. “The detailed plan put forth in our application functioned as a handy road map that we’ve been able to share with the different parties involved in developing our consumer education piece for the magazines, to ensure the end product is helpful to both the association and the public,” she notes.
“In general,” she adds, “we have found REALTOR® Party grants to be a great way to amplify our voice, demonstrate that ACAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Ohio, and strengthen relationships with our elected officials. The community partnerships we have formed over the years have only strengthened with the use of REALTOR® Party grants.”
To learn more about how the Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® is lowering the barriers to homeownership in Northeast Ohio, contact Jamie McMillen, Vice President of Government Affairs, at 216-525-4834.