There is a revolution brewing on almost every level of organized real estate. Be it MLS, market driven or legislative, the world we live in is changing; and it’s changing rapidly. As REALTORS®, we want to control our own destiny. By ensuring we are profitable, prepared and protecting the rights we have as property owners and taxpayers, REALTORS® can be at the forefront of this change.
REALTORS® must safeguard long-held provisions that protect our industry and homeowners by supporting legislation and elected officials who support the mortgage interest deduction, 1031 like-kind exchanges and federal guarantees in financing.
Protecting the current tax status of residential real estate by continuing to allow homeowners to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes for both primary and secondary residences is a must. Additionally, investors must retain the ability to use 1031 tax deferred exchanges. There’s a good chance elimination of both residential and commercial provisions will be on the congressional agenda next year.
We also must retain the federal guarantees in financing. Without the government’s support of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and FHA-insured loans, which currently constitute a large portion of the market space, there would be almost no capital available for mortgage lending.
Improving homeownership is priority number one. Twenty percent of our members do not own their own home, and only 31 percent own investment properties. If we can increase the homeownership rate, which has fallen from almost 70 percent to 63 percent, we can open the door to the American Dream for more people, strengthen communities and create more opportunities for our members.
Our first step is to host a series of housing summits. These summits are an endeavor to promote policy initiatives with the support of well-respected academics from the nation’s most elite universities. The first summit was held December 6 in Washington, D.C. By presenting academic research coupled with NAR’s research and data, we can provide a stronger stimulus to those likely to have influence over, and be affected by higher homeownership rates.
Finally, it’s important that all REALTORS® invest in themselves by thinking about their financial future. Too many REALTORS® have a decent career, but when they want to retire, they don’t have enough savings to do so.
NAR wants to see ALL REALTORS® become financially solvent and independent. In fact, we recently launched a course for members on real estate investing—Real Estate Investing: Build Wealth Representing Investors and Becoming One Yourself. This is a great tool to help REALTORS® help themselves by securing their future. It is one of many resources REALTOR® Associations offer members to achieve the goal of financial solvency and independence.
The REALTOR® Party revolution begins with you. As anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” REALTORS®, we are those citizens!