CCIAOR’s NAR Director, Doug Azarian, was recently in Washington D.C. for NAR’s Midyear Meetings and Legislative Update. The job of CCIAOR’s NAR Director is to be the local liaison to the national association to ensure that Cape Cod & Islands REALTORS® have a voice in the affairs of NAR, and to advocate for local issues at the legislative level. Doug filed his report below.
- Cape REALTORS® met with their legislative delegation (Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren, and Bill Keating) at the Capitol and discussed the following:
- Supported favorable homeowner tax reform strategies. With the recent tax changes, there is a cap on local and state filers of $10,000 for both married and single filers, thereby penalizing married couples. We asked that this deduction be increased to $20,000 for married joint tax filers, and that these limits be indexed for inflation. CCIAOR also pushed to make the Exclusion for Forgiven Mortgage Debt permanent. CCIAOR also advocated for extending the Deduction for Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings. Incentivizing these features improves the environment, optimizes value, and encourages economic growth at low revenue costs.
- Encouraged the passing of a multiyear update to the National Flood Insurance Program as the current NFIP is set to expire July 31st. Congress has continued to pass only short-term extensions, and the lack of flood insurance results in the inability to obtain financing for many Cape Cod and Islands properties.
- Urged the support of changes to Fair Housing laws protecting Americans from housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Asked Congress to encourage HUD to implement changes to FHA’s condominium restrictions already mandated by law. HUD retains the 50% occupancy ratio which by law was lowered to 35%. The FHA was directed to streamline the certification process but has yet to do so.
- Showed support for restoring and creating net neutrality measures ensuring that Internet Service Providers may not block, throttle, or establish paid prioritization of the internet. Removing Net Neutrality Rules could make it impossible for small real estate firms to compete with large entities on the internet.
- The NAR Budget was approved, increasing the NAR Dues portion by $30 per member to a total of $185. The Consumer Advertising Campaign remains at $35. Realtor Party fees are $57 while the operating portion of dues is $93. This allows for the inclusion of RPR (Realtor Property Resource), Zipforms, the Commitment to Excellence Program (to improve professionalism), necessary maintenance and improvements to our Chicago Headquarters, and additional REALTOR® Party programs to continue.
- Both Zipforms and RPR have become member benefits, but have funded from reserves which we no longer have. In order to continue with these benefits, it was necessary to have them come from member dues.
- 75% of all REALTOR® Party funds go back to the state and local associations. In fact, the Cape Cod and Islands Association has, and routinely, receives more than its members have contributed. These funds address local issues and state issues like the Chatham transfer tax proposal that was just defeated, (CCIAOR was able to use these funds to fight this tax.
- Legal Issues – $340,000 was approved for a legal issue that the California Association is involved with for copyright infringement by PDFfiller where they have unlocked forms, allowing users to edit without authorization.
- State and Local Issues Mobilization – $2 Million was approved to assist the Arizona Association of Realtor with their campaign the preclude future imposition of a new sales tax on services, which would tax real estate commissions before they are received by a REALTOR®.
- Passed Professional Standards changes to the Code of Ethics including the allowance for the publication of the names and photos of ethics violators.
- Received an update on Realtor.com, which saw a continued increase in views. Also, REALTOR.com informed us that RealSuite will be introduced soon. RealSuite is a contact management system and communication hub that will allow for personalized responses and will include transaction management features.
- The NAR CEO – Bob Goldberg – reported on his “Day in the Life of a Realtor” program, where staff spends a day with a Realtor to better understand the members. Visit https://www.nar.realtor/nars-day-in-the-life-of-a-realtor-program.
- CCIAOR’s delegation attended the Trade Show to stay ahead of the curve on upcoming new products. One promising product on the floor was CodeBox, an electronic lockbox with one-time codes and tracking features that can be used by individual agents.
- Attended legislative meeting with Senator Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill
- Attended MAR caucus, the NERC caucus and NAR Board of Directors Meeting
Complete details of all NAR actions taken at Midyear can be found here.