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REALTOR Party News – February 2019

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Unveiling Our Vision for Housing Finance Reform

Last week, REALTORS® had the chance to showcase their leadership on housing finance reform in front of more than 400 industry professionals and current and former members of Congress. With reform to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the minds of so many in Washington, NAR’s first-annual Policy Forum took an extensive dive into their work to ensure these entities can effectively serve the housing market and protect taxpayers in the decades to come.READ MORE

By The Numbers

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Number of years that government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – have been in “temporary” conservatorship. NAR, in collaboration with Susan Wachter and Richard Cooperstein, recently released new research exploring ideal restructuring of the secondary mortgage market in the working paper A Vision for Housing Finance Reform. READ MORE

140

The number of new Federal Political Coordinators (FPCs) assigned to members of the 116th Congress. These new FPCs recently gathered in Washington, D.C., to kick off their advocacy outreach efforts. FPCs are a specially selected group of 535 REALTORS® who are the voice and the face of real estate to our federal lawmakers, playing a pivotal role in REALTOR® Party Outreach. LEARN MORE
The date reserved for Hill visits during the 2019 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. NAR cleared the schedule between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, and we want to see YOU on the Hill Wednesday afternoon! Contact your association for information on your state delegation’s Hill visit. LEARN MORE

23

The number of entities that play a role in the federal government’s efforts to enhance financial literacy, financial capability, and individual financial well-being. Join NAR in supporting efforts to educate the public about the importance of making sound financial decisions to prepare for and to sustain homeownership. READ MORE

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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NAR: Real Estate Pros Get Big Win in Tax Qualified Business Income Rule

NAR calls a recent ruling from the Treasury Department and the IRS on the new 20 percent deduction on qualified business income a “significant victory” for real estate. The department and IRS issued their final regulations late last week regarding the qualified business income rule, providing greater clarity heading into the 2018 tax filing season.

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Successful Florida REALTORS® Campaign Leads to Property Tax Limits on Non-Homestead Properties

In the fourth and final phase of a ten-year effort, Florida REALTORS® were able to secure a permanent 10% cap on non-homestead property tax through an Issues Mobilization campaign. Had the limit not been approved by voters, 700,000 Florida property owners stood to be hit by a projected $700 million increase in additional property taxes annually.

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Arizona REALTORS® Lead the Charge against a Tax on Services

A statewide campaign featuring a superhero named “PAT”, short for Protect Arizona Taxpayers, helped convince Arizona voters to amend the state constitution to prohibit sales taxes on services. Thanks to an Issues Mobilization Grant, the effort was able to achieve its goal in a single bound.

Resources & Opportunities

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Show Your RPAC Pride Online

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the REALTORS® Political Action Committee. Add a special graphic overlay to your social media profile picture (click on Add Your Photo). Then check out the map to see profile pics of your REALTOR® colleagues from across the country. LEARN MORE

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NAR: Turn GSEs into Utilities

To protect affordable 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be given new charters that turn them into utilities with private shareholders and federal backing for catastrophic losses, NAR says in a new proposal that was introduced at a policy forum it hosted in early February. Access the Executive summary of the proposal and REALTOR® Magazine coverage of the policy forum in the latest Voice for Real Estate. LEARN MORE

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That’s Who We R: New Ad Campaign Begins February 25

On February 25, NAR’s new ad campaign will share with consumers who REALTORS® are, and differentiate the REALTOR® brand. In 2018, this nationwide campaign made 2.71 BILLION impressions. Members will be able to access campaign materials, including video, radio, print and banner ads, and social posts. Visit www.ThatsWhoWeR.realtorLEARN MORE

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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..
LEARN MORE

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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

Unveiling Our Vision for Housing Finance Reform

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg & 2019 President John Smaby

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg & 2019 President John Smaby

Last Thursday, February 7, REALTORS® had the chance to showcase their leadership on housing finance reform in front of more than 400 industry professionals, NAR members and a few current and former Congressmen.

With reform to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the minds of so many in Washington, NAR’s first-annual Policy Forum took an extensive dive into its work to ensure these Government Sponsored Entities can effectively serve the housing market and protect taxpayers in the years and decades to come.

At the conclusion of the Forum, those 400 attendees were given a first-hand, first-time look at detailed research outlining NAR’s vision for GSE reform. The whitepaper is already being referred to by both media outlets and industry trade groups as a critical building block for housing finance reform legislation. These discussions continue to gain traction on Capitol Hill.

The paper – and our vision – is true to our core. It offers policymakers a framework that leverages reforms and innovations implemented since the crisis while also promoting competition in the secondary market. Quite simply, our vision boils down to five key principles: protecting taxpayers by using private capital; minimizing costs to consumers; promoting housing accessibility and affordability; preserving the 30-year fixed rate mortgage; and maximizing access for creditworthy borrowers.

The housing crisis of 2007-2008 left Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financially devastated, forcing the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to move to place the GSEs into conservatorship.

While conservatorship remains more than a decade later, NAR has read the writing on the wall and is evolving to ensure our members and America’s housing industry are in the best possible situation should policymakers move to end conservatorship in the coming months or years.

Led by two of the best minds in the field, Dr. Susan Wachter, Professor of Real Estate and Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Richard Cooperstein, head of Risk Management at Andrew Davison and Company, Inc., NAR has presented a pragmatic solution to these challenges – prioritizing and protecting a liquid mortgage market for Middle America and underserved borrowers alike.

Our hope is that this work will result in GSE reform legislation that secures a government guarantee, ensures equal access for lenders of all sizes, promotes consumer affordability, maintains broad consumer access and protects the 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

To read the full working paper and its executive summary, please visit https://www.nar.realtor/fannie-mae-freddie-mac-gses/nars-vision-for-housing-finance-reform.

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Successful Florida REALTORS® Campaign Leads to Property Tax Limits on Non-Homestead Properties

In Florida, where non-homestead properties represent a significant proportion of all real estate, a 10% tax cap on such properties was set to expire in 2019. For the state’s economy and real estate markets, the effect was likely to be devastating. For approximately 700,000 Florida property owners, it meant a projected $700 million-plus increase in additional property taxes annually. So, with the backing of NAR, Florida REALTORS® brought like-minded organizations around the state together to convince 60% (plus one) of the voting public to pass a constitutional amendment to make the tax cap permanent. More than 66% of the electorate agreed, and the measure passed.

Eric Sain, 2019 President of Florida REALTORS®, explains that REALTORS® had been working to limit the non-homestead property-tax cap for several years, and the “Amendment 2” campaign was the last of a four-phase effort. “Our Office of Public Policy worked closely with the Florida Legislature to help educate them on the need for the 10% cap. When the state legislature passed the ballot measure for the 2018 ballot, we spun into action and formed a campaign team to educate the public. It was critical to avoid massive tax increases on business owners, investors, snowbirds, and renters. It would certainly have made the affordable housing crisis that Florida is experiencing even worse.”

One of the most important aspects of the campaign was an active Ambassador program, which identified, trained, and organized more than 100 REALTOR® members to be the industry’s “voice on the ground,” says Sain. “Because our association staff and volunteer leaders can’t be everywhere, we needed informed members across the state who were willing to speak to the media, and to fellow members, colleagues, neighbors, and community groups to spread the word and explain the importance of Amendment 2.”

“Our biggest challenge was the issue of public awareness,” he continues, “and helping voters understand that this tax cap affects everyone in the state, not just owners and renters, and that passing the amendment would keep our economy strong. This is where our REALTOR® members made all the difference.”

The Amendment 2 campaign relied on direct mail; television, radio, and social media advertising; and print collateral branded with the campaign logo in its messaging. Polling and focus groups also played a significant role throughout the campaign, notes Sain. “We continually evaluated the mood of the voting public,” he explains. “This helped us determine how best to allocate our limited resources most effectively, in response to what we learned.”

 Amendment 2 is now in effect. Looking forward, Sain says that the experience, perspective, and preparation that the REALTORS® gained from the campaign is invaluable. Although there’s no comparable effort on the immediate horizon, the campaign staff in the association’s Office of Public Policy is ready for the upcoming 2019 legislative session. “We’re especially proud of the success and hard work of our Ambassador program. With this in place, we can accomplish anything,” he adds.

To learn more about how Florida REALTORS® has protected Florida property owners and prevented increased pressure on the state’s economy and affordable housing situation, contact Florida REALTORS® Public Policy Office at 850-224-1400.

 

 

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Arizona REALTORS® Lead the Charge against a Tax on Services

Last fall in Arizona, a superhero named “PAT” swooped in to town, enlightened the voting public, and saved the day: it was the cartoon personification of the Protect Arizona Taxpayers Act, a ballot measure that prevailed in the state’s November 2018 General Election, resulting in a constitutional amendment to prevent any new sales taxes on services. A REALTOR® Party Issues Mobilization Grant gave PAT a big boost, together with substantial backing from the Arizona REALTORS®’ Issues Mobilization Fund.

It was an issue that spoke right to the heart of the REALTORS®’ mission to protect home ownership, says Nicole LaSlavic, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Arizona Association of REALTORS®. “When a governmental body institutes sales taxes on services, the resulting increase in taxes impacts citizen’s pocketbooks and could ultimately affect their ability to own a home,” she explains, noting that numerous services directly related to the real estate industry were at risk of taxation, including construction, plumbing, lawn care, heating and air conditioning, appraisals and inspections. “It was in the REALTORS®’ best interests to act to prohibit sales taxes on services for once and for all.” While the REALTORS® provided the lion’s share of funding for the campaign, they were joined in the effort by other industry groups representing services such as childcare, certified public accountants, bankers, attorneys, and the healthcare sector.

The comprehensive statewide campaign to ban taxes on services involved REALTOR® members at the grassroots level, collecting signatures to get the measure on the ballot. Following that success, mailers, a website, rounds of live phone calls, and newspaper, radio, and television ads were all developed and put into play. “The biggest response was to the television ads, with the animated superhero, ‘PAT,’ coming to ‘save the day from the evil politicians who want to take your money!’” says LaSlavic. “It really got people’s attention and gave the fairly dry tax issue a colorful and memorable treatment.” The REALTORS® decided to maintain the website as a helpful resource.

The Protect Arizona Taxpayers Act ultimately passed with 64% of the vote, well over the required 50% plus one, but that margin represents a big leap from where prospects stood before the campaign got started. “We conducted polling throughout,” explains LaSlavic, “and while our initial numbers prior to any campaigning were not great, once we began educating voters, the indicators turned right around.”

The Arizona REALTORS® are grateful for the support of the National Association, and LaSlavic notes that she encourages the state’s local associations, large and small, to apply for REALTOR® Party grants of their own when they face issues that could benefit from the support and expertise of the REALTOR® Party. “The team at NAR is very helpful in navigating the application process, so that by the time it goes forward, it’s in the best possible shape.” Regarding the Issues Mobilization Grant that helped secure the passage of the Protect Arizona Taxpayers Act, she says, “Arizona’s more than 50,000 members are very happy – and those who were directly involved are extraordinarily pleased!”

To learn more about how the Arizona Association of REALTORS® has protected the state’s taxpayers from a tax on services, contact Vice President for Government Affairs Nicole LaSlavic at 602-248-7787.

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GADFly Newsletter – January 2018

In This Issue…

Advocacy Resources

Qualified Opportunity Zones Resources
The Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) Program is a hot topic of conversation around the country, as the first round of proposed rules (released in October 2018) has allowed investors and developers to being engaging in it. The program provide tax benefits for investing in designated under-served communities (QOZs) and it has potential to be especially positive for real estate. NAR has multiple resources for GADs and interested members on the program and the rules that have been proposed so far:

Qualified Opportunity Zone page on NAR.realtor
QOZ references – includes links to information from the IRS and Treasury on the QOZ Program, as well as a map of the designated zones and resources for members, including a webinar done with CCIM on QOZs and Section 199A
QOZ Issue Summary
QOZ 2-pager – A brief overview of the program and its guidelines, perfect for sharing with members and providing as a handout at meetings

REALTORS® Legislative Meetings’ Hill Visits
During the 2019 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, NAR cleared the schedule on Wednesday, May 15* between the hours of 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm for Capitol Hill visits. We want to see YOU and your members on the Hill Wednesday afternoon!

*State associations may schedule meetings with their Congressional delegation outside this time frame due to Congressional schedules.

And the President’s Cup and Triple Crown Winners are…
Congratulations to the 17 states that won the President’s Cup and the 24 states that won the Triple Crown! These awards reflect the hard work of association staff and leaders like yourselves who have met their state’s RPAC and advocacy goals. The year-end 2018 President’s Cup Report and 2018 Triple Crown Report are now available.

Update Your Information in NAR’s GAD Directory
Are you a new Government Affairs Director, serving your association in a government affairs or REALTOR® Party capacity, or do you have a new staffer who is? Please add (or remove) any contact information in the GAD Directory. Help us keep this list accurate and up to date. Thanks!

2018 Fourth Quarter Report: Land Use Initiative
A total of 13 requests were processed and approved during the 4th quarter of 2018. Short term rental type regulations continue to be a top issue reviewed under the Land Use Initiative. Other issues of note are zoning regulations that enable property inspections. For example, in Greensboro, N.C., the city is looking to reduce blight by inspections, whereas San Antonio is seeking additional authority for inspections of Senior Housing. Inclusionary Zoning measures were introduced in two cities — New Orleans and Longmont, CO. A Transit-oriented Development (TOD) proposal was reviewed from Rochester, MN. For more information, contact Adriann Murawski.

State Legislative Monitor
At least eight states (AZ, CA, MS, NE, NH, NJ, SC, TN) have introduced legislation related to affordable housing although the legislation in South Carolina would enable voluntary inclusionary zoning for locals. Bills have been introduced in 14 states regarding real estate licensing laws with varying goals. One example is a bill in Washington that would prohibit dual agency representation in commercial real estate transactions. At least nine states (CT, IN, IA, MO, ND, OK, OR, SC, UT) have introduced legislation regarding the misrepresentation of service animals. At least four states (HI, OR, TX, VA) have introduced legislation related to seller disclosure requirements for flood hazard areas or sea level rise. A “Homeowners bill of rights” piece of legislation was introduced in Wyoming which proposes to “amend the Constitution to require voter approval before any mill levy, property tax assessment percentage, tax on real estate transactions, or tax on real estate services can be imposed or increased.” For more information, contact Adriann Murawski.

Advocacy Everywhere
In 44 states, legislative sessions have convened, which means GAD Nation has reached its busiest season! NAR has many resources to help alleviate the stress as you start or continue your legislative efforts especially when it comes to engaging REALTORS® and consumers in advocacy. Is your state or local association thinking of launching a Call for Action (CFA) to compliment your direct lobbying efforts? Advocacy Everywhere is here to help, and is a full service provider to quickly mobilize advocates to support your legislative campaigns. Contact Melissa Horn to start planning your next CFA today!

REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts
More than 190,000 REALTORS® across the country use REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts (RPMA) to receive a text message when a Call for Action (CFA) is launched, enabling them to take action within minutes from their mobile device. Timing is everything when it comes to a fast vote on legislative campaigns, so RPMA has become a top resource for associations looking to launch a CFA quickly. Help us surpass the 200,000 mark, and get a head start on state association goals to recruit more subscribers by encouraging REALTORS® to sign up! Between now and March 31, NAR is also running a gift card contest for REALTORS® who sign up for RPMA to be entered into a drawing to win a $250 Amazon gift card.

Meritorious Service Nomination Now OPEN
We are now accepting nominations from your state for the 2018 Meritorious Service Award. The deadline for submissions is March 8, 2019. Each year, NAR recognizes two outstanding Federal Political Coordinators (FPCs) for their exceptional service to NAR with this esteemed award. These recipients are the best of the best of our FPCs, those who truly believe in and advocate on behalf of the REALTOR® Party. Recipients meet a rigorous set of criteria that set them apart from other FPCs. See a list of former MSA award winners and criteria for receiving the award. For more information about the MSA award and application process, contact Victoria Givens at 202-383-1021.

REALTOR® Party Grant Updates

$70,000 Awarded to Two State Associations for Consumer Advocacy Campaigns
Alabama and Missouri were awarded monies for first time homebuyer education/promotion campaigns from the new Consumer Advocacy Outreach grant. This year, state and local associations can apply for monies (up to $35,000) to create consumer advocacy activities in their communities that advance public policies that strengthen the real estate market, promote property ownership, and build strong communities leading to a healthy economy. States and locals are required to have “skin in the game” of at least 10%. For more information, contact Erin Murphy at 202-383-1079.

NEW REALTOR® Party Conference Grant
In early January 2019, the previously known RPAC Conference Grant transitioned into the NEW REALTOR® Party Conference Grant. This new grant can be found within the Programs & Grants section, under the Member & Consumer Mobilization tab on the REALTOR® Party website. Only states and regional groups qualify for this grant to host their own REALTOR® Party Conference in an effort to educate members and further the mission of the REALTOR® Party and RPAC. For more information, contact Vanessa Lopez at call 202-383-7509.

2019 Community Outreach Grants Available
REALTOR® Party Community Outreach grants — Placemaking, Smart Growth, Housing Opportunity & Diversity — are up and running. All grants offer a level 1 (up to $1,500) and level 2 (up to $5,000). Associations must commit 10% of the amount approved, and may receive one grant per level each year. Application deadlines are the 15th of each month through September. We encourage you to contact staff before submitting an application if you are not sure the project meets the grant criteria:

Educational Opportunities

NAR’s Candidate & Issue Campaign Training (CICT) Certificate Course – FIVE SEATS AVAILABLE
Planning to support a local candidate or issue in 2019? If so, join us for NAR’s Candidate & Issue Campaign Training certificate course. This hybrid webinar/in-person course consists of a 10-part, monthly webinar series leading to an intensive, in-person, 1.5 day training April 10 – 11 at the NAR building in Chicago. Monthly webinars are free of charge and open to all association staff members. However, space is limited for the full CICT certificate course –five seats remain so register soon! The full certificate course is $99. Visit our website for program details and to register. For more information, contact Kyle Lambert London and John Winston.

NAR’s Candidate & Issues Campaign Training Webinar Series Continues
These webinars are open to all, however are required for those registered for the Candidate and Issue Training Certificate Course

February 5, 2019 – 12:00 PM EST
Maximizing Member Mobilization and Consumer Outreach
Speakers: Erin Murphy and Melissa Horn, NAR
Register for Webinar

February 19, 2019 – 12:00 PM EST
Choosing REALTOR® Champions and Candidate Trainings
Speakers: Kyle Lambert London and John Winston, NAR
Register for Webinar

February 26, 2019 – 12:00 PM EST
Understanding Digital Media Buying
Speaker: Drew Brighton, Target Smart
Register for Webinar

RPAC News

Feb. 4: State & Local RPAC Chair Webinar
Please help spread the word to your association’s RPAC Chair! RPAC Fundraising Liaison Leigh Brown will discuss RPAC fundraising basics and best practices, including how to ask colleagues to invest, increase participation, and recruit Major Investors. This interactive webinar will also review fundraising laws, including who we can ask to invest in RPAC and social media posts related to RPAC. The webinar will be held Monday, February 4 at 1:00 PM EST. State and local RPAC Chairs can register here. Click here for a video promoting the webinar. For more information, contact Liz Demorest at 202-383-1061.

Feb. 27: Fundraising Training Webinar: Corporate Ally Program
Exciting changes are coming to the Corporate Ally Program this year! Beginning in 2019, the revitalized Corporate Ally Program will count toward your fundraising goals for receipts and Major Investors. The Corporate Ally Program will also be rolling out an improved benefits and recognition structure. Please join 2019 Corporate Investor Council Chair Kaki Lybbert, Lauren Facemire, NAR’s Director of RPAC Fundraising, and Jon Waclawski, NAR’s Political Compliance Counsel, on Wednesday, February 27 at 3:00 PM EST for a webinar that will address everything you need to know about these improvements, as well as how and who you can solicit for Corporate Ally Program contributions. Click here to register.
For more information, contact Liz Demorest at 202-383-1061.

2019 RPAC Fundraising Goals
The 2019 RPAC Fundraising Goals are now available on REALTORParty.realtor! Associations must meet or exceed these goals to achieve the 2019 Triple Crown and President’s Cup Awards. For more information, contact Lauren Facemire at 202-383-1080.

2019 President’s Circle Launch
The President’s Circle launched its first round for 2019 on January 17, featuring the National Party Committees (with credit to your favorite Member of Congress) OR FPCs’ direct contribution to their respective Member of Congress. The deadline for President’s Circle members to invest their first $500 is May 31, 2019. For more information, contact Avery Walker at 202-383-1268.

Celebrating 50th Anniversary of RPAC
Please join us in celebrating RPAC’s milestone anniversary throughout 2019! Check out the 50th Anniversary webpage for graphics, sample social media posts, and more to use in your association’s celebration. Be sure to follow the online posting guidelines when you share posts, and use the hashtag #RPAC50.

NAR’s Economic Outlook

  • Homeownership Part of “American Dream”; Housing Costs Deterrent for Non-Owners –  Among those polled, approximately 75% of non-homeowners reported that homeownership is part of their American Dream; 43% said cost was why they didn’t yet own a home.
  • State-by-State Economic Impact of Real Estate Activity – These reports outline the total economic impact of real estate related industries on the state economy, such as home construction costs, remodeling, real estate brokerage, mortgage lending and title insurance.
  • Infographic: Existing-Home Sales – Total existing-home sales decreased 6.4% from November to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.99M in December. Current housing numbers are partly a result of higher interest rates during much of 2018.
  • Remodeling Impact: D.I.Y. – Homeowners and renters remodel, redesign, and restructure their home for a variety of reasons. This report takes a deep dive into the differences between remodeling when hiring a professional compared to individuals who “do it yourself” (D.I.Y.).
  • REALTORS® Confidence Index – REALTORS® report “interest rate” and “low inventory” as the major issues affecting transactions in December 2018.

Message from the GAD Chair

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Matthew Ledger
GAD Chair
REALTORS® of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale

Time to put your talents to work!

Leading up to the 2019 GAD Institute in Cincinnati, we have put together (3) work groups;

  • Short-Term Rentals
  • Affordable Housing
  • GADs Give Back

The expectation for the issue driven workgroups is that you’ll meet throughout the year (via conference calls) leading up to the GAD Institute and present your findings during Policy Day at the GAD Institute. The workgroups will be tasked with breaking down your respective issue and coming up with actual solutions for our fellow GADs to consider. The workgroups will have access to the appropriate NAR staff to provide any resources the workgroups may need. As we get to May’s REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, the two groups would meet in-person, ideally with NAR staff who specialize in Affordable Housing and Short-Term Rentals, and they would start to finalize their findings/presentations. After May, the groups would have the next 7 weeks to finalize their projects and then present to the GAD Institute during Policy Day (ideally 30 – 45 minutes each).

As far as the GADs Give Back Work Group goes, you’ll be tasked with working alongside Mark Quarry and the non-profit of choice to promote and execute our volunteer efforts at the GAD Institute.

If you would like to participate in any of the work groups, please let Kyle and I know, as we’d like to start ASAP! Please email me if you have any questions and/or are interested!

Finally, if you are interested in taking the 2019 Candidate & Issue Campaign Training course  offered by NAR, there are only a handful of spots left, so I encourage you to register ASAP. Please contact Kyle Lambert London or John Winston for more information.

Thank you,

Matthew
GAD Directory

SAVE THE DATE

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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.

Learn More.

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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.
LEARN MORE

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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.
LEARN MORE

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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

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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