The Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) has grown to become the largest trade association in Houston and second largest local REALTOR® association in the country, with nearly 50,000 residential and commercial members. HAR’s brand is not only about selling real estate, but HAR is also known as a leading advocate for legislation and policies impacting the industry. HAR is a connector between elected officials, the business community and community stakeholders.

One of the most effective ways to ensure real estate issues are at the forefront of key policymakers’ minds is to create opportunities for REALTORS® to engage with them regularly. This is where HAR’s Governmental Affairs and Advocacy Department plays a significant role.

The role of my department can be broken down into three main pillars: government relations, member engagement and advocacy education. One of our primary goals is to create systematic touchpoints for members to engage with elected officials. This is achieved by a layered approach which includes hosting receptions and forums with elected officials, having members attend and speak at city council meetings, commissioner court meetings and other government meetings, and most importantly by keeping members involved in the communities where they live and work. Our local officials impact citizens’ daily lives and typically it is not difficult to meet with them when an issue arises.

However, meeting with our state and federal elected officials proves to be a bit trickier, especially when they are in session. At HAR we have seen the often quoted phrase “all politics is local” rings true, many of the issues addressed in the Texas Legislature or by Congress originated from a local issue. A great example of the state and federal government responding to a local issue would be the push for funding for flood mitigation and resiliency after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the Texas coast. We are able to successfully work with our state and federal elected officials by partnering with Texas REALTORS® (TR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Here are a few highlights from 2023:

March: More than 3500 Texas REALTORS® visited the Texas Capitol to advocate for state issues impacting real estate during the 88th Legislative Sessions. HAR members made up more than ten percent of those who attended.

April: We hosted a Congressional Luncheon at the Houston Country Club with the Houston Congressional Delegation to ensure our members of Congress were aware of our top federal priorities before the May Hill Visits.

May: Thousands of REALTORS® from all over the United States converged in Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional Representatives and Senators and discuss priority legislation in the 118th Congress.

It is important to remember HAR is a member driven association, and I work with the HAR Governmental Affairs Advisory Group and HAR Board of Directors to ensure our top priorities are reflective of what is best for all HAR Members. We also conduct surveys of the membership to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be heard. This year our top priorities include Flood Mitigation and Resiliency, Housing Attainability, Infrastructure, Public Education, Public Safety, Tax Reform and Transportation. Now, that the Texas Legislature regular session has ended, and the special sessions will conclude soon we will be focusing on informing members of new laws that will go into effect September 2023.

If you are a member of HAR and you want to become more active in advocating for the real estate industry, there are numerous ways to get involved. First, you can start by voting in local, state, and federal elections. Next, you can take action by joining one of HAR’s Governmental Affairs or Political Affairs Advisory Groups. Finally, you can invest in your industry by donating to TREPAC.

If you would like discuss what governmental affairs and advocacy at HAR can do for you, please feel free to contact me at