HARConnect

Congressional Visits May 17-18

An Overview of NAR 2017 Legislative and Regulatory Priorities
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is the largest professional trade association in the United States, NAR represents over one million residential REALTORS® and commercial practitioners involved in all facets of the industry, including brokers, sales agents, property managers, appraisers and counselors. NAR fiercely advocates for substantial policy initiatives at the federal level and is a critical component in providing strength to the real estate industry. In 2017, NAR will be focused on the following legislative and regulatory priorities:

Homeownership and Real Estate Investment Tax Policies
Over the past five or six years, the growing federal debt, weak economic recovery, and continued growth of tax complexity have kept tax reform near the top of the national agenda. Members of Congress from both Houses and both parties have expressed a high level of interest in reforming the tax system. Many Washington observers point to Republican-control of the House, Senate and White House as the primary reason a version of tax reform may finally be enacted. Much work remains before any tax reform plan comes up for any votes. This ongoing debate places a variety of tax laws, including those affecting commercial and residential real estate, under increased scrutiny.

  • Mortgage Interest Deduction/Tax Reform
  • Mortgage Debt Cancellation Tax Relief
  • Capital Gains Exclusion on Sale of Principal Residence
  • Credit and Lending Policies
  • Overly stringent lending standards have continued to limit the availability of affordable mortgage financing for credit worthy consumers. Federal policymakers are weighing a number of proposals aimed at creating healthier housing and mortgage markets.
  • Government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) Reform
  • Guarantee Fees

Insurance
Congress must reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire on September 30, 2017, to ensure that property buyers and owners in 20,000 communities nationwide have access to the flood insurance required to obtain a mortgage. Additionally, as the health care reform debate begins, NAR will strongly represent the interests of independent contractors and small firms and access to quality, affordable insurance options.

  • National Flood Insurance Reauthorization
  • Health Care Reform

Residential Real Estate Finance
NAR believes that federal mortgage finance programs that have proven records for producing and preserving homeownership opportunities must not only be preserved but also continuously strengthened. Programs administered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the Rural Housing Service (RHS) occupy a critical role in the nation’s housing finance system. Their mission is to ensure access to mortgage credit that is available to all Americans in particular groups traditionally underserved by the private market including low to moderate-income, minority, and first-time homebuyers.

  • FHA Lifetime Mortgage Insurance Premiums
  • FHA Condominium Rules Implementation

Business Operations
Protecting the business operations of members is always a priority for NAR. There are a number of issues before Congress, the Federal Regulatory Agencies, and state/local governments that could have a significant impact on the business operations of real estate firms.

  • TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Enforcemen
    • TILA – Truth in Lending Act
    • RESPA – Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
  • Independent Contractor Status/Worker Classification of REALTORS®
  • Valuation Issues

Commercial
More than $200 billion in commercial real estate bank loans, plus $205.2 billion in CMBS will come due in the next two years, and many of these transactions will face challenges in obtaining new rounds of financing. NAR supports consideration of legislation and regulations to protect and enhance the flow of capital to commercial real estate.

  • 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges
  • Immediate Write-off (Expensing) of Commercial Buildings
  • Repeal of Interest Expense Deduction

NAR Federal Political Coordinators
Serving as NAR Federal Political Coordinators (FPC) for our Members of the U. S. Senate and House are Delora Wilkinson, John Nichols, Vicki Fullerton, Shad Bogany, Gerald Womack, Jo Ann Stevens, Carlos Garcia, Jeanie Turk, Scott Kesner and Nancy First. FPCs will lead the discussions during our visits. These seasoned REALTORS® are to be commended for their advocacy, experience, and personal and professional relationships with our U. S. lawmakers.

Congressional Visits May 17-18 in Washington, D.C.
Mark your calendars to participate in our exciting and informative congressional visits in Washington on Wednesday, May 17 and Thursday, May 18. HAR’s elected leadership, Federal Political Coordinators, Governmental Affairs and TREPAC Directors will be in D.C. working with NAR to advocate for the business interests of HAR members and the real estate profession as a whole. Keeping with a long tradition, Tortilla Coast has been reserved for HAR’s annual Greater Harris County Congressional Delegation breakfasts from 8 – 9:30 a.m. on both days. Tortilla Coast is located at 400 First Street SE. If you want to join in this meaningful experience, check with Karen Driscoll, TREPAC Director, or me for our office visit schedule.

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Dana Kervin

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