NAR Legislative Meetings Recap

This week, Huntsville Area Association of RealtorsĀ® leaders attended HOME FRONT, the 2022 RealtorsĀ® Legislative Meetings at National Harbor, Maryland. Focusing on protecting rights, expanding access and building prosperity, members met with federal legislators, provided input on committees, and learned new ways to make the association work for you and your bottom line.

ADVOCACY

The profound importance and powerful impact of RealtorĀ® advocacy has become increasingly clear over the last several years. The RealtorsĀ® Legislative Meetings allow us to build on that momentum and continue the critical policy conversations among RealtorsĀ®, lawmakers, and industry leaders.
At this week’s legislative meetings, association leadership and staff learned about the issues on the horizon that will affect the industry. Through good times and bad, the RealtorĀ® Party is fighting for your business and your bottom line.

KNOWLEDGE

It is impossible to walk away from NAR’s legislative meetings without learning. At HAAR, driving knowledge and professionalism is a major priority for our members. That’s why it was no surprise when Past President Zelda Friedman was named a C2EX (Commitment to Excellence) Ambassador last year. Friedman worked the C2EX booth at the Realtor Expo this week, promoting the programs benefits and celebrating those who are already C2EX Endorsed.Ā 
Don’t forget! When you earn your C2EX endorsement, HAAR thanks you with recognition online and at our office, and provides you with a free C2EX polo.

RESEARCH

One of the most powerful tools at your fingertips as a RealtorĀ® is data. From NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers to the Huntsville Area Association of RealtorsĀ®’ extensive real estate economic reports, members can access research that gives them a leg-up on the industry.
Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, focused on how NAR’s research products can influence policymaking at all levels of government. “We’ve worked to ensure the research products we’re releasing can be used on the Hill and also in your local communities.” Lautz highlighted three recent reports: The Double Trouble of the Housing Market, A Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America, and Obstacles to Home Buying.

REALTORĀ® BENEFITS

The RealtorĀ® Expo at HOME FRONT highlighted new tech and innovative tools for RealtorsĀ®, but NAR also hosted several booths promoting the benefits at your fingertips as a RealtorĀ® members.

NARā€™s REALTORSĀ® Insurance Place is an exclusive insurance shopping site. It provides plans for you and your family, including exclusive health, dental, and vision insurance coverage, plus life insurance, telemedicine and a variety of wellness solutions ā€“ all with benefits for NAR members. Here you will find plans for all stages of life, and even an offering that extends to your pets.

Within REALTORSĀ® Insurance Place, NAR members can obtain quotes, compare plans, and purchase directly online. All offers are from top-rated carriers.

NAR Travel Club. NAR Members can enjoy a best-in-class travel platform with free access to full-service travel booking capabilities including hotel, resort, car, and air.

Enjoy hotel savings of up to 60%* and book your travel from start to finish with NAR Travel Club.

ECONOMIC TRENDS

Two years after enduring the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19, the U.S. economy has made an impressive comeback, in large part due to a booming housing market. However, as National Association of RealtorsĀ® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun explained today, there are significant questions regarding the sector’s direction over the coming months.
ā€œHousing kept the economy afloat as home prices rose and buyer demand intensified,ā€ said Yun to 9,000 RealtorsĀ® and industry experts in attendance at the 2022 RealtorsĀ® Legislative Meetings during the event’s Residential Economic Issues and Trends Forum. ā€œHowever, this year has already thrown some curveballs, including record-low inventory and unyielding inflation.ā€
He estimates inflation will remain elevated for the next several months and that the market will see further monetary policy tightening through a series of rate hikes.
Citing a five-month decline in pending home sales, as well as a drop in newly constructed single-family sales, Yun predicts the higher mortgage rates will slow the housing market.

INVESTMENT

As previously celebrated through our social channels and The Weekly newsletter, four HAAR RPAC Champions were celebrated this week at National Harbor for their commitment to the industry. Ginny Brandau (above) and Richard Van Valkenburgh were recognized at the $50,000 level in the RPAC Hall of Fame, while Betty Hughes and Landa Pennington were recognized at the $25,000 level.

2022 RPAC Hall of Fame Inductees

Ginny Brandau
Betty Hughes
Landa Pennington
Richard Van Valkenburgh

BOARD ACTIONS

The NAR Board of Directors met on Friday, May 6th to address several issues, including sustainability, Fair Housing, and more. Click below to watch the full board meeting. This page will be updated with a summary of board actions.
Board Meeting Highlights:
  • Dues will remain at $150 for 2023
  • Kevin Sears was elected 2023 NAR First VP
  • Greg Hrabcak was elected 2023 NAR Treasurer
  • The NAR operating budget remains in the black for 2023, adding $2.1 million to the national association’s reserves
The next strategic plan was discussed, focusing on advocacy, Fair Housing, lack of inventory, climate change, sustainability, demographic changes, organizational DEI, crypto, among other issues.
Other board actions are below:

Consumer Advertising

Approved the continuation of the Consumer Ad Campaign, increasing the annual special assessment to $45 per year per member because of the increased cost of media. The current campaign, That’s Who We R, is now in its fourth year and has garnered 42 advertising industry awards. Directors extended the $45 assessment level through 2027.

Fair Housing

Approved a recommendation from the Fair Housing Policy Committee that NAR support the strong and fair enforcement of the fair lending provisions of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The statement serves as a guide for NAR to advocate for federal fair lending policy that furthers the REALTORĀ® Code of Ethics’ consumer protections against unlawful discrimination.

Approved a State & Local Issues Policy Committee recommendations urging state associations to promote legislation providing for minimum, universal fair housing education requirements for all real estate licensees. Among the minimum requirements recommended was an addition from NAR’s Executive Committee recommending that states allow commercial real estate licensees to satisfy the requirements with non-discrimination training.

Property Inheritance

Approved a State & Local Issues Policy Committee recommendation urging state associations to support reforms to state law governing intestate succession of real property. Property owners who inherit real property intestate as tenants-in-common are vulnerable to forced sale and eviction. The policy encourages states to pass reforms such as the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act. UPHPA, model legislation developed by a bipartisan group of experts appointed by state governments to the Uniform Law Commission, provides owners with a series of simple due process protections.

Insurance

Approved an Insurance Committee recommendation that NAR support enhancing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as an alternative to a pandemic risk insurance approach, and that the enhancements achieve a set of criteria including federal revenue replacement in the event of future pandemics, better targeting of highly impacted businesses and investors, and a streamlined application process, among other things.

Legal Action

Approved legal action funding for a New Jersey case involving classification of agents as independent contractors and in an Illinois case challenging an arbitration panel’s decision.

Membership Policy & Board Jurisdiction

Amended the Limited Function Referral Office Policy and FAQs to allow for practitioners who are licensed in more than one state to have a LFRO waiver in one state while also holding REALTORĀ® membership in another, provided that the licensee otherwise qualifies and is affiliated with different brokerage offices in said states.

Professional Standards

Approved the following changes to the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual:

  • Under a change to Sec. 1, they clarified the definition of “real estate professional.”
  • Under Sec. 20, which describes an expedited enforcement process, directors said Grievance Committees reviewing such cases will be able to refer a complaint to the Professional Standards Committee for a hearing if the conduct described in the complaint is sufficiently egregious and/or a potential violation of public trust.
  • Also under Sec. 20, directors clarified that anonymous complaints, other than those allowed for in an association’s citation policy, are prohibited. If an association’s citation policy allows for anonymous complaints, any complaint referred for hearing must include a complainant (such as a member of the Grievance Committee) to shoulder the burden of proof.

The changes go into effect in January 2023.

Aid for Ukraine

During an emotional opening to the meeting, Alexa Kebalo Hughes, a REALTORĀ® from Tolland, Conn., sang the Ukranian national anthem, and Ukrainian REALTORSĀ® Olena Haidamakha of Kyiv and Igor Balaka of Kharkiv spoke about the plight of their country and the Ukrainian real estate industry since the Russian invasion. Directors gave the speakers a prolonged standing ovation and, over the course of the meeting, committed nearly $19,000 in humanitarian aid.