T. J. Simon Carrie Lee Jeff Kruschek Sheila Holley
Janie Weston Marissa Skuza
Baxter, MN 5/20/15 – Fighting for all current and prospective American home and property owners, more than 8,500 Realtors® stormed Washington, D.C., this week to urge action on various real estate issues during the 2015 REALTOR® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. T.J. Simon, President; Carrie Lee, President Elect; Jeff Kruschek, Director; Sheila Holley, National Director; Marissa Skuza, GLAR Governmental Affairs Director and Janie Weston, CEO of the Greater Lakes Association of REALTORS® joined fellow Realtors® from every corner of the country to attend the meetings and visit lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Realtor® attendees, members of the National Association of Realtors®, focused on several major issues pertaining to both residential and commercial real estate during the legislative meetings. Of top importance was opening access to safe and affordable credit for qualified buyers and protecting real estate-related tax policies, both of which are vital to the growth of homeownership and therefore the national economy.
“It is crucial that our lawmakers understand the serious issues that face the real estate industry. Realtors® lead the way in advocating for home and property owners in their communities, and we showed this week we can do the same here in our nation’s capital with our elected officials,” said T.J. Simon, Association President. “Investing in policies good for homeowners and property owners not only strengthens our communities and helps families build stable futures but also drives a strong economy.”
While GLAR Members were in Washington, they met with Representatives John Nolan, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken on Capitol Hill to influence public policy decisions that will directly affect consumers’ ability to buy, sell and own real estate. Specifically, Members urged the Legislators to preserve current real estate-related tax policies and extend the recently expired Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, which stops distressed homeowners from receiving excessive income tax bills on forgiven home loan debt.
Other pressing matters included patent reform, the creation of nationwide data security standards, and the passage of the Mortgage Choice Act to end discrimination against affiliated lenders.
“Congress is set to take up legislation on several issues in which consumers and Realtors® have a real stake, so it is very important our elected officials know the impact they have on our communities and nation as a whole,” said Simon. “Through the strength of the Realtor® Party, we have made known where we stand on key issues that affect home buyers, sellers and investors right here in the Greater Lakes area.”
During the week-long conference, Realtors® participated in sessions with a variety of industry experts and government officials who discussed many of the critical housing, mortgage finance and real estate investment issues facing real estate today. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro provided a housing industry outlook to meeting attendees and referenced credit availability as the biggest hurdle to homeownership. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray discussed changes to loan closing procedures and documents, stating that the new mortgage rules are in place to educate and empower buyers to “know before they owe.”
In addition, Realtors® heard from political strategists Donna Brazile and Ed Gillespie, who shared their perceptions on how social media and the 24-hour news cycle impact congressional priorities and play a role in the political gridlock in Washington. Move, Inc. CEO Ryan O’Hara spoke about the year ahead for realtor.com® and unveiled a visual rebranding of NAR’s official listing site that included a new advertising campaign. Attendees also heard from senior staff from the Federal Aviation Administration Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office about drone technology and from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, who shared residential and commercial real estate market and economic outlooks.
In addition to the informational legislative sessions, GLAR Members also had the chance to explore the latest industry innovations and get up-to-date on how new products are transforming the real estate business, as more than 100 exhibitors showcased the newest real estate products and services for the industry during the trade expo.
The Greater Lakes Association of REALTORS is located in Baxter, Minnesota and is made up of REALTORS and Affiliates who service Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena Counties. The Association is governed by a Board of Directors made up of Association Members and Affiliates. The members of this Association adhere to a strict ethical code; as well as foster the education of our Membership. The Association provides services to Members including access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which houses the listings of our Members and listing from around the state of Minnesota.
With just over two weeks left of the legislative session, Minnesota Homes Matter is kicking off their “Last Chance” Petition Drive, BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP! So far, more than 10,000 petitions in support of homeownership have been sent to legislators, but we aren’t ready to stop there. Don’t let legislators leave Saint Paul without letting them know one last time that their constituents support homeownership tax benefits, such as the Mortgage Interest Deduction.
With more than 10,000 petitions already being sent to legislators in support of homeownership, we are raising the stakes– our goal is 11,000 by May 18th! We Need Your Help TODAY!
Please, take a minute and sign the petition over at www.mnhomesmatter.com/sign-petition. When you are done signing, go one step further! Forward this email to your clients, colleagues, family and friends and ask them to sign as well.
Again, don’t let legislators end the session without you reminding them that Minnesota Homes Matter!
The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron:
“The National Association of Realtors® applauds new policy initiatives announced today by President Barack Obama that will enable more first-time and underserved homebuyers to enter the housing market while preserving strong underwriting standards and protecting taxpayers from unnecessary risk.
“As the leading advocate for homeowners, Realtors® strongly support Obama’s plan to reduce annual mortgage insurance premiums on home loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, which are currently so expensive that in 2014, roughly 234,000 creditworthy borrowers were priced out of the market.
Prior to this week’s announcement, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued loans with a minimum of a 5 percent down payment—however, the standard down payment for mortgages insured through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae was 20 percent, the Associated Press reports.
That meant a first-time buyer would need about $41,600 in cash to buy a median-priced home of $208,300, according to National Association of REALTORS® housing data. With a 3 percent down payment, buyers would need a fraction of that – about $6,200 to close on a loan.
In October, only 29 percent of home purchases were from first-time buyers – way below the historic average of 40 percent, NAR reported. NAR issued a report last month that showed despite an improving job market and low interest rates, the share of first-time buyers had fallen to its lowest point in nearly three decades.
The new loans announced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be fixed-rate mortgages for up to 30 years, available only on a primary residence. Fannie plans to begin issuing the 3 percent loans before the end of the year. Mortgage insurance payments will be required, and qualified buyers will need to complete a financial counseling program.
Freddie Mac plans to start issuing its 3 percent loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers in March 2015. Eligible borrowers will be required to earn less than an area’s median income and will also have to pay mortgage insurance and undergo financial counseling to participate. Monthly payments also will have to fall under 43 percent of the borrower’s income.
Contact: Jeffrey DeMars, Media Relations Director, 651-247-4746
REALTOR® Ring Day Dec. 5, 2014
The single day event started four years ago in Fargo-Moorhead Area
ROSEVILLE, Minn. – It’s been said, “Great things come from small beginnings.” The proverb couldn’t ring more true for The Salvation Army’s REALTOR® Ring Day, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. The event started in Fargo, N.D. and has spread to more than half of the United States raising money for The Salvation Army.
A HUGE “Thank You” goes out to everyone who supported and attended the GLAR Grand Evening at Grand View!
Thank you to the Sponsors for making this a Great Success!
Platinum Sponsors: Agstar Financial Services, Brainerd Savings & Loan, Complete Title, Cygneture Title & Abstract, Inc. Eagle Vision Home Inspection, Klein Fleming Insurance Services, PrimeLending, Stewart Title of Minnesota, LLC, Surety Home Inspection Team, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.
Gold Sponsors: A.W. Research Labs, American National Bank, Atlas Abstract & Title, Inc., Brainerd Dispatch/Echo Publishing, Bremer Bank, Citizens National Bank, Deerwood Bank, Frandsen Bank, Insty Prints, Larson Abstract Company, Inc., Leer Title Services, Nor-Son, Inc., Odor Eliminators, People’s Security Company and Randall State Bank.
From the Holiday Party Committee (Laurie Whitlow, Liz Kellner, Jodie Garceau and Rebecca Sellnow) We want to wish everyone a joyous holiday season!
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