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RPAC Conference Grants are now REALTOR® Party Conference Grants

Looking for RPAC Conference Grants? NAR is now offering REALTOR Party Conference Grants instead. This is a perfect opportunity for state associations to host their own REALTOR® Party Conference in an effort to educate members and further the mission of the REALTOR® Party.

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REALTOR Party News – January 2019

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REALTOR® Advocacy Continues Despite Government Shutdown

Despite the federal government shutdown, we continue to work with congressional leaders and White House officials to minimize impacts of the shutdown on the housing market, and to ensure our 1.3 million members across the country are equipped with every resource necessary to continue operating as usual.
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By The Numbers

25%

The percentage of REALTORS® whose buyer decided not to buy due to general economic uncertainty, even though they were not a federal government employee. Eleven percent of member respondents of NAR’s recent Federal Government Shutdown Survey also reported that  the federal government shutdown did have an impact on current clients, and 11 percent on potential clients.
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The date of the partial shutdown of the federal government. This includes some federal housing, mortgage, and other programs of interest to the real estate industry. Stay tuned to this summary to see the latest impact  on selected government agencies.
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The year the population threshold of 35,000 to qualify for the Rural Housing Service programs will expire. It was expected to rise in 2020, along with new Census figures, but NAR and other groups asked that the change be delayed because so many communities stood to lose their rural eligibility.
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The REALTOR® Party At Work

Highlighted here are a few of the many REALTOR® Party success stories across the nation. These and others are catalogued in the Success Stories section on REALTORParty.realtor.

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Local Maryland Association Takes Bold, Successful Step into Politics

This past election cycle, the Bay Area Association of REALTORS® decided it was time to take a more active role in choosing their politicians. With the help of the REALTOR® Party, the association developed a savvy selection committee that interviewed dozens of candidates, endorsed several, and achieved a whopping success rate.

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With Advocacy Everywhere, Illinois REALTORS® Rally Peoria Voters against New “Parcel Tax” on Property Owners

The city of Peoria, Ill., was attempting to bridge a budget gap by imposing a new tax on property owners. With help from the state association, REALTORS® used Advocacy Everywhere to call voters’ attention to the threat and encourage calls of opposition to the City Council. Overwhelmed by the volume, the Council agreed to a compromise.

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Greater Greenville REALTORS® Promote “Missing Middle” Housing with Housing Opportunity Grant

Greenville, S.C., faces a significant shortage of affordable housing, and the existing supply is diminishing rapidly. Using a Housing Opportunity Grant, local REALTORS® co-hosted a Housing Forum to show policy makers how they could break down barriers to developing housing in the essential “missing middle” range.

Resources & Opportunities

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Economic Impact of Real Estate State-by-State

Wondering how the housing market in your state affects the local economy? State-by-State Economic Impact of Real Estate Activity reports outline the total impact of real estate–related industries on the state economy, as well as the expenditures that result from a single home sale.
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On Common Ground, Winter 2019: The Evolving Form of Housing

The nation’s economic recovery appears to be firing on all cylinders, except one: housing. Housing supply and affordability have not kept up with demand, falling victim to labor shortages, regulations, and materials cost and supply. This edition of On Common Ground reviews the imbalance of the nation’s housing supply. It explores the causes and possible solutions, including emerging types of housing that show promise for delivering much-needed affordable housing.
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2019 REALTOR® Party Resource Guide

Check out the 2019 REALTOR® Party Association Resource Guide to learn about resources for community outreach, candidate and issue campaigns, RPAC and political fundraising, member and consumer mobilization, and much more. Also, review the programs and resources that qualify for the new Vote, Act, and Invest Core Standards’ requirements.

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Join the REALTOR® Party Online

Are you posting, liking, tweeting or pinning? So is the REALTOR® Party. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to get the latest news, information and resources.

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Local Maryland Association Takes Bold, Successful Step into Politics

In the space of a single campaign season, a 380-member association representing three counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore went from being quietly a-political to being all-in, no-looking-back, politically involved. It was a one-day REALTOR® Party program on identifying REALTOR® Champions that lit a fire under the Bay Area Association of REALTORS® (BAAR), and of the thirteen candidates it endorsed in the general election, twelve were victorious in their races for County Commissioner, Sheriff, and State’s Attorney – all elected offices that have the potential to affect the local real estate market.

Bob Friday, the association’s Executive Vice President, credits his former Government Affairs Director with encouraging BAAR to apply for the REALTOR® Party training program. “A few of our members were vehemently opposed to our becoming politically engaged,” he says. “But our Board examined the opportunity carefully, and determined that it was in the best interests of the industry and our association to endorse candidates who share our values and positions regarding real estate and private property rights. We simply did the best we could to reason with our dissenting members; regrettably, we did lose two,” he notes. “It’s unfortunate, but our members need to understand the purpose of our organization. If we’re not going to walk the walk, then forget it.”

The REALTOR® Party’s Candidate Training Academy is offered just a few times every year, and BAAR felt lucky to get it, says Friday. “We invited the neighboring Mid-Shore Board of REALTORS® to join us at the training session, where a terrific consultant came up from North Carolina to show us all what to look for in a REALTOR® Champion,” he explains. Five BAAR REALTORS® who’d participated in the training became the association’s candidate selection committee, in addition to Friday, who served without a vote.

The BAAR selection committee then sent invitations to all candidates in the three counties it covers who were in challenged primary races for local offices. They interviewed a total of thirty-six candidates, reports Friday, and decided to endorse eleven candidates, ten of whom made it through to the general election; in the general election, BAAR endorsed thirteen candidates of whom twelve won the offices they were seeking. The REALTORS® signaled their endorsement through a full-page ad in the local newspaper supporting all its chosen candidates. “Needless to say, we were very pleased with the outcome of our selections, and grateful for the tremendous help NAR provided in teaching us the do’s and don’ts of this process,” says Friday.

He adds that having publicly endorsed candidates has given BAAR an entirely new level of visibility and respect in the community. “Those elected are extremely grateful, and some have approached us seeking to appoint our members to various boards and commissions in the counties we serve,” he reports. “At least one has said to me, ‘I wouldn’t have won without the REALTORS®’ endorsement.’”

To learn more about how REALTORS® are helping to shape local politics affecting real estate- and property rights-issues in three counties in eastern Maryland, contact Bob Friday, Executive Vice President of the Bay Area Association of REALTORS®, at 410-758-4866.

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Greater Greenville REALTORS® Promote “Missing Middle” Housing

In the rapidly growing city of Greenville, S.C., as in many others nationwide, the demand for housing is increasing, while the supply is shrinking – a trend exacerbated by a framework of outdated policies that limit housing diversity. Facing the problem head-on, the REALTORS® of Greater Greenville teamed up with a number of other community organizations to host a housing forum to address what kind of housing is needed, and the existing local land use and zoning codes that inhibit its construction. A Housing Opportunity Grant helped them to do it.

There’s no silver bullet to solve the affordable housing problem that so many communities face, asserts Chris Bailey, Government Affairs Director of Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS® (GGAR).  “The solution has to be long-term, because there are often complex issues like education and transportation involved; yet politicians, who live from term-to-term, may not be all that interested in long-term thinking, and, of course, tax hikes are the kiss of death.” So the goal of the housing forum, he explains, was to show city administrators what they could actually be achieving if only their zoning policies weren’t so antiquated. GGAR partnered with a broad range of local charitable and advocacy organizations such as Upstate Forever (a local conservation organization,) Piedmont Health Foundation, and the Jolley Foundation, as well as Piedmont Natural Gas, the American Institute of Architects, and the City of Greenville, to present the half-day program to a capacity crowd of 200 stakeholders and municipal officials.

The event’s keynote speaker was Karen Parolek of Opticos Design, a firm renowned for its work on the concept of “missing middle” housing, the kind of multi-unit or clustered housing that is affordable by nature, and compatible in scale with conventional single-family homes. Break-out panels featured experts discussing shifting demographics, barriers to development, and the newly created Greenville Housing Trust Fund. “It may have seemed like a strange partnership, initially, pairing speakers from the Home Builders Association with affordable housing advocates,” says Bailey, “but if you really want to learn about the barriers to development, there’s no one better to ask than the home builders, who are the ones who actually have to pull permits.”

“There were a lot of ‘Aha!’ moments, and there’s strong momentum moving forward,” he continues, reporting that the Greenville City Council has already agreed to cut all permitting fees by 50% on housing projects under $169,000. “That really helps,” he says, adding, “Now if we could just get them to reduce a handful of codes… there’s actually one on the books here that requires housing facades to be a certain percent brick. That’s the kind of low-hanging fruit we’ll be going after in the short term, the baby steps that will make it easier to provide the housing our city needs.”

The Greater Greenville Association was no stranger to the REALTOR® Party grant programs; in fact, Bailey is such a believer that he promoted them in a talk at last year’s Association Executive Institute. “These grants are a great way for associations to meet the core standards,” he says. “They’re so user-friendly, no matter how small your association staff might be; there’s no reason to be intimidated. The applications are only a few pages long, and they help organize your thoughts, and ultimately, your project.  Plus, the National Association has a great staff to help you every step of the way with advice and expertise. I can’t recommend them highly enough!”

To learn more about how the REALTORS® of Greater Greenville are using REALTOR® Party resources to encourage policy makers to reduce barriers to affordable housing, contact Government Affairs Director Chris Bailey at 864-992-1953.

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With Advocacy Everywhere, Illinois REALTORS® Rally Peoria Voters against New “Parcel Tax” on Property Owners

Attempting to bridge a $1.2 million hole in its budget, the City Council of Peoria, Illinois, thought it would impose a new fee on owners of all residential and commercial property within its jurisdiction. The proposed fee, which was expected to increase over time with no end in sight, was not going to get by the Peoria Association of REALTORS® without a fight: “They’ve poked the wrong bear!” declared one board member. With help from the state association and the REALTOR® Party, the REALTORS® used Advocacy Everywhere and other measures to call voters’ attention to the threat and encourage calls of opposition to the City Council. Overwhelmed by the volume, the Council agreed to a compromise.

Dallas Hancock, CEO of the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® (PAAR,) notes that her Government Affairs Committee is proactive and engaged, meeting with the community’s elected officials and staff on a monthly basis to keep the lines of communication open. “Some Council members even contact us directly, when something comes up that needs our attention. And when they don’t, we can depend on Kristie to be closely monitoring City Hall!” Kristie Engerman, the Local Government Affairs Director and Regional Manager for Member Outreach with the Illinois REALTORS®, explains that in this case, the city was trying to fill a shortfall in the Public Safety Pension fund, a perennial challenge that grows exponentially, and which requires a last-minute band-aid every November. “PAAR’s Government Affairs Committee does a great job developing and maintaining working relationships with City Hall, but at the end of the year when there’s a sense of desperation over balancing the budget, you’re going to need more than that. You need pressure from voters,” she says.

Engerman enumerates the “vast store of REALTOR® resources” that PAAR brought to bear on the effort to oppose the proposed Public Safety Pension Fee, part of a program that the REALTOR® Party helped to put together within a matter of hours in mid-November:  “Emails and texts messages to PAAR members, on Fridays and Mondays of two consecutive weekends; and a consumer component supported by the Illinois REALTORS®’ Advocacy Fund that involved texts, social media, and a postcard mailer. We used all avenues at our disposal.  Let me tell you, Peoria is a relatively small community, and when Council members have thousands of constituents calling and emailing – they notice.”

In the end, the Public Safety Pension Fee passed, but in a reduced version of the original proposal: the fee itself was lowered, and a sunset clause limited the duration to three years. Says Hancock, “We’re glad for the compromise. More than that, we really raised awareness among voters in the community. Our REALTORS® saw the advocacy system at work; the public saw REALTORS® in action; and many voters were jolted out of apathy and into action. But most importantly, the elected leadership experienced the impact of the REALTOR® Party collaborative efforts. That’s a big win.”

She continues, “We are just so fortunate to have Kristie handling our Government Affairs – along with those of the rest of the state – with such expertise. Efforts like this could never happen the way they do without her guidance.”  As for Engerman, she notes that it was widely considered time for some push-back on Peoria city budget matters, and it’s been good to put a spotlight on the long-term issues. “For the viability of the entire region, we want Peoria to remain competitive in the housing market, which it can only do if taxes and fees on property ownership are kept at a reasonable level. The REALTORS® are the only organization out there looking to protect private property rights, and at the same time, thanks to PAAR’s strong Government Affairs Committee, we can talk to the City Council about formulating a long-range business plan to resolve challenging budget needs.”

To learn more about how REALTORS® in Peoria used a REALTOR® Party program to protect property owners from unfair tax burdens, contact Kristie Engerman, Local Government Affairs Director and Regional Manager for Member Outreach for Illinois REALTORS®, at 309-253-864; or Dallas Hancock, CEO of the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS®, at 309-688-8591.

 

 

 

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REALTOR® Advocacy Continues Despite Government Shutdown

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg & 2019 President John Smaby

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg & 2019 President John Smaby

As of Monday, January 7, the partial shutdown of the federal government had become the third-longest in U.S. history, with White House and Congressional leadership still unable to reach an agreement on funding for southern border defense.

Currently, more than 420,000 federal employees are working without pay, including some at the IRS and Department of Homeland Security, while 380,000 workers have been furloughed from the Departments of Transportation and Housing & Urban Development, among others. In all, nine of 15 federal departments are closed, while dozens of agencies also remain shuttered. Fortunately, however, roughly 75 percent of government services are unaffected by the shutdown.

Still, concerns would deepen should the shutdown persist for additional weeks, and many Americans and federal government workers are certainly feeling the effects of the stalemate one way or another.

The situation becomes particularly bleak for all federal government employees who will not receive a paycheck until the government reopens. Obviously, any American who faces a temporary pause in income because of the shutdown could struggle to on time make payments in the coming days and weeks. That includes mortgage payments and bills for things like rent, car loans and student debt. Any delay in these payments could harm an individual’s finances and their credit, which would obviously impact their ability to buy a home or make other large purchases in the future.

During the shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not issuing new rural loans or closing on direct loans. HUD, however, will still close on single-family loans, but furloughs at the agency could make the process longer and more difficult.

For ordinary Americans, this shutdown creates economic uncertainty and feelings of long-term instability. Buying a home is a high-stress transaction, and adding another complexity to the process with possible delays in the transaction only further hurts the economy and U.S. consumers. It could even begin to shave off GDP growth in a measurable way.

We will continue to work with congressional leaders and White House officials to minimize impacts of the shutdown on the housing market, and to ensure our 1.3 million members across the country are equipped with every resource necessary to continue operating as usual during the shutdown. We have also prepared a page which outlines all the ways you and your business could be impacted, along with a comprehensive document explaining the specific impact on each governmental entity that impacts housing.

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REALTOR Party News – December 2018

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REALTOR® Party Leaders Plan for 2019

Nearly 600 REALTOR® Party leaders gathered in in Minneapolis for the 2019 REALTOR® Party Training Conference for REALTORS® to Participate Advocate and Celebrate! Leaders in their purple REALTOR® Party shirts kicked off this conference with the 50th anniversary of RPAC. During the two-day event, they also laid the foundation for advocacy outreach efforts in each state and region throughout 2019, and previewed the federal policy priorities.
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By The Numbers

6

The number of top federal policy priorities for 2019. They are infrastructure, federal taxation, access to credit, health insurance, flood insurance, and technology. The priorities were developed using a process that included a member survey and feedback from REALTORS® serving on the NAR Public Policy Coordinating Committee. Also check out the state legislative priorities survey results and map.
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The new funding deadline for the National Flood Insurance Program. On Dec. 6, The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed a two-week program extension to avoid a funding lapse. NAR analysts say the next extension could be part of a long-term funding agreement, potentially running through September 2019.
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20

The number of years between the landmark Supreme Court case Shelley v. Kramer and the Fair Housing Act. The Shelley House in St. Louis was the property at the center of the case. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, St. Louis REALTORS® engaged into local projects benefiting underserved communities with grants from the REALTOR® Party and Missouri REALTORS®.
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The REALTOR® Party At Work

Highlighted here are a few of the many REALTOR® Party success stories across the nation. These and others are catalogued in the Success Stories section on REALTORParty.realtor.

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Greensboro REALTORS® Tackle Additions to City Zoning Code

When a fatal apartment fire triggered a knee-jerk reaction from the City Council to amend the municipal zoning code, the Greensboro Regional Association of REALTORS® used the REALTOR® Party’s Land Use Initiative to commission a thorough analysis of the changes. The report informed significant changes to the language, and the REALTORS® continue to work with the lawmakers to refine and improve it

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Hawaii REALTORS® Improve Public Education without Property Tax Surcharges

Hawaii REALTORS® want high quality public education throughout their state, which suffers from extremely high teacher-turnover. But this fall, they led the charge against a ballot measure that would allow for the creation of a property tax surcharge on residential investment properties to fund the Department of Education. And then they redoubled their focus on affordable housing.

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South Carolina REALTORS® Commission Analysis of Questionable Proposed Legislation

In South Carolina’s 2018 legislative session, three separate pieces of legislation raised red flags for the South Carolina REALTORS®. With the REALTOR® Party’s Land Use Initiative program, the REALTORS® requested an analysis of all three, and got the answers they needed to act and plan for the future.

Resources & Opportunities

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REALTORS® Are Generous with Their Time, Money According to New CARE Report

Eighty-two percent of REALTORS® donate money to charitable causes every year, compared to the national average of 56.6 percent of Americans who do so, according to a new report from NAR. The Community Aid and Real Estate Report, known as the CARE Report, provides insight on the monetary and volunteer contributions that general members, broker-owners, and association and MLS staff.
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What REALTORS® Need to Know About the New Tax Law

Tax season is coming. Be sure to watch NAR’s video series on how last year’s tax law changes affect your business income and other aspects of your taxes. The series offers guidance for individuals and families filing tax returns, the tax incentives of owning a home, as well as business tax changes for REALTORS®.
WATCH

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New Short-Term Rental Resources

Some state and local governments are adopting regulations designed to “rein in” short-term rentals and address their perceived impacts on residential neighborhoods. This regulation has a significant impact on property owners’ rights. Review these Advocacy Tips to Protect the Right to Rent in case this issue comes up in your community, and compare state regulations and tax rates for short-term rentals.
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Real Estate Sign Regulations after Reed: Analysis and Strategic Guidance Paper

Signs are critical to the real estate industry. The display of real estate signs is subject to the changing rules of local governments . This new Guidance Paper will help you (i) understand the extent to which local governments can control or restrict real estate signs and (ii) how to work with local governments to be Reed-compliant while allowing for real estate signage.
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9,500+ Members Have Already Begun Their C2EX Journey

NAR’s Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) empowers REALTORS® to evaluate, enhance, and showcase the highest levels of professionalism. Taking self-assessments to measure proficiency in each of the elements of professionalism, the platform will generate customized learning paths, recommend experiences, and provide tools and resources to increase knowledge and enhance skillsets. Get started today Get started today!
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2019 REALTOR® Party Resource Guide

Check out the 2019 REALTOR® Party Association Resource Guide to learn about resources for community outreach, candidate and issue campaigns, RPAC and political fundraising, member and consumer mobilization, and much more. Also, review the programs and resources that qualify for the new Vote, Act, and Invest Core Standards’ requirements.

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Join the REALTOR® Party Online

Are you posting, liking, tweeting or pinning? So is the REALTOR® Party. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to get the latest news, information and resources.

Read more

REALTOR® Party Leaders Plan for 2019

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg & 2019 President John Smaby

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg & 2019 President John Smaby

A few weeks ago, nearly 600 REALTOR® Party leaders gathered in in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the 2019 REALTOR® Party Training Conference. This conference was special for a number of reasons. For the first time, it went beyond just the state and local advocacy components of our organization and brought in the federal parts, as well. It also kicked off an important celebration – the 50th anniversary of the REALTORS® Political Action Committee. While RPAC certainly is one of the most powerful PACs in America, we like to think that RPAC also stands for REALTORS® Participate Advocate and Celebrate, the conference theme.

While a lot of fun was had in our purple REALTOR® Party shirts, we also laid the foundation for important advocacy outreach efforts in each state and region throughout 2019. All of this work was tied to NAR’s 2019 strategic priorities. We also got a preview of our 2019 federal policy priorities. Finally, it wouldn’t have been a REALTOR® event without an opportunity to give back. Conference attendees donated nearly 500 toys to Toys for Tots Twin Cities. This is a great organization that has been “bringing the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children” sin 1948.

The REALTOR® Party comes alive with our stories of advocacy and community involvement. These stories, powerful and inspiring, are stories of how the REALTOR® Party is a force to be reckoned with at all levels. Your state leaders have developed ways to Own Our Story and make sure it’s told, and told well. Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” That’s what the REALTOR® Party is about — 1.3 million members and staff working together nationwide, advancing public policies and candidates that build strong communities, protecting property interests, and promoting a vibrant business environment. No doubt, our ability to articulate the REALTOR® narrative effectively will play a huge role in the future of our businesses and our associations.

We hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

Bob Goldberg, CEO

John Smaby, 2019 NAR President

 

 

 

 

Bob Goldberg, CEO                      John Smaby, 2019 NAR President

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