More than 9,000 Realtors® gathered in Washington, D.C. last week, during the 2018 REALTOR® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, to advocate for crucial real estate issues on behalf of current and future home and property owners across the country.
2018 HAAR President Valerie Miles, 2018 HAAR President-Elect Cindi Peters-Tanner, and HAAR/NALMLS CEO Josh McFall joined fellow Realtors® from throughout the U.S. to attend meetings and informational sessions, as well as meet with regulatory agency staff and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss and advocate real estate issues affecting the real estate industry, and their businesses, communities and clients.
Members of the National Association of Realtors® focused on several significant issues affecting the industry during the legislative-focused meetings, including fair housing, flood insurance and internet neutrality.
Here are some highlights from the 2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings:
- On Tuesday, we attended the CMLS “Brings it to the Table” event. Topics included:
o Data distribution ( the new common word for “syndication” ) – There was much conversation about clarifying the industry language within the MLS database and the MLS community in order to work better for our participants and subscribers.
o The DOJ & FTC are holding a public forum in Washington on June 5 for the purposes of revisiting the 2008 ruling which required IDX/VOW standards for brokers to share listing data on public and company sites. That ruling expires in August of this year, and the DOJ/FTC will visit on practices to be sure to maintain the integrity of that ruling after the consent order is lifted.
o The DOJ/FTC will also investigate access to API fields from MLSs to allow for public sites and software developers more access.
o DOJ/FTC will also look at the relevancy of state jurisdictional licensing boundaries & Off-MLS listings (Pocket Listings).
o There was also discussion around the recent changes to copyright definitions. (as an aside, the current thought is to allow for a provision for MLSs who have already put language in a new agreement to allow that to stand included in the new NAR rulings. Unconfirmed yet, as we would fall into this category.)
- Tuesday also included the kick-off event “NAR360”. This event included:
o A focus on Fair Housing practices, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the “Fair Housing Act.”
o The NAR Leadership Team also took time to address the recent complaints from members regarding the logo change and proposed dues increase.
o Longtime NAR DC Lobbyist and head of Governmental Affairs for NAR for 37 years will retire at the end of 2018. (side note: Big Shoes to Fill!)
- On Wednesday morning, we attended the “Federal Issues and Priorities Briefing.”
o We were prepared for our Hill Visits in this meeting. The legislative talking points can be found at this address: https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/talking-points-for-the-2018-realtors-legislative-meetings-trade-expo
o 2018 Talking Points: Preserving Net Neutrality, Adding LGBT/Gender identity protections to the Fair Housing Act, Permanent renewal of the National Flood Insurance Program, and strengthening the new tax laws.
- Wednesday morning we also heard from US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, who reviewed plans from his department about new housing recommendations, including a proposed escrow account to those living in subsidized housing to encourage them to make minor repairs to their government housing in order to receive the escrow account balance once they are ready to move on to use towards the purchase or down payment on their own home.
- Wednesday afternoon was spent visiting with Congressman Mo Brooks and his staff on Capitol Hill. A majority of our time was spent explaining how net neutrality allows REALTORS to compete with large national search providers.
- Thursday was spent in the MLS Policy Forum. Here are some highlights:
o Redfin made a presentation to request a requirement for all syndicated listings to link back to the broker’s website which would enhance the SEO for brokerage sites.
o $1.2 BILLION was invested in real estate technology by Venture Capital firms in 2017, up from $600 million in 2016.
o REALTOR.com has launched a new content provider dashboard for agents to have materials for content marketing: https://industry.realtor.com/contentcorner
o The MLS policy committee approved a waiver policy addition to 7.43 to allow for those who participate in a “commercial information exchange” to be eligible for a waiver. This doesn’t effect NALMLS at this time.
- Friday morning was spent in Association and MLS roundtable idea sharing. Here are some highlights:
o Usage of RPR data for reports.
o MLS consolidations occurring across the county.
o NAR workgroup discussing coming soon/ off-mls listings has been appointed by President Elizabeth Mendenhall.
o NAR will now code MLS members in the NRDS database with their primary MLS.
o Safe Harbor Agreements will protect the liability of photos.
- Friday afternoon we attended the AAR and NAR Region 5 caucuses where members gave updates from Committees. Motions will follow in the Board recap.
- Saturday morning we attended the NAR Board of Directors meeting. Highlights include:
o Dues increase of $30 for National Dues. In effect in 2019.
o Charlie Oppler from New Jersey elected First VP of NAR in a vote of 408 votes to 399 votes for his opponent.
o Enhanced pro standards regulations.
o Here is a link to the full recap: https://www.nar.realtor/internal-news-service-special-report-legislative-2018
o Here is a link to the moving inspirational program at the Board meeting, featuring Louisiana REALTORS president: http://live.blogs.realtor.org/2018/05/20/bod-inspiration-agenda-item-a-was-major-understatement/
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