I’m a crazy baseball fan. One of my hobbies is authenticating professional baseball bats. While I attended REALTOR® meetings this week in Washington, D.C., the city was abuzz with talk of Stephen Strasburg, the 21-year-old phenom pitcher who debuted his awesome skills at the Washington Nationals stadium on Tuesday night. He was everything the city hoped he would be. He struck out 14 batters and threw over 100 mph.
Strasburg had a lot of pressure riding on him as he walked out onto the field before a sold-out crowd. Similarly, REALTORS® have faced enormous pressure this year, too.
Thousands of potential homebuyers signed contracts in good faith this year so they could take advantage of the Homebuyer Tax Credit. These people followed directions and put contracts down on homes before the April 30th deadline. However, approximately 75,000 people may have trouble closing on those homes by the June 30th due date because of hang ups with appraisals and distressed sales.
Loan officers are up against a wall right now trying to process a huge amount of applications in less than three weeks. That’s why NAR is urging the government to extend the closing deadline for the tax credit. Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Johnny Isaakson (R_GA), and Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced an amendment yesterday that would extend the deadline to September 30th.
Even though Washington is thrilled about how Strasburg could transform the Nationals franchise, everyone knows a baseball team isn’t about one player. That’s why NAR is asking for members of Congress, regulators, and the Administration to work as a team with the real estate community and be flexible on the June deadline.
Mind you, we’re not asking for an extension on the entire tax credit, just on the closing deadline. We’ve taken some criticism for this. Some are saying we shouldn’t meddle in government business.
What we’ve asked for isn’t meddling at all. It’s pitching in. We’re doing our part as advocates for consumers and the real estate industry team. Our goal is to see every REALTOR® be as successful as possible this year and to see elligible consumers take full advantage of the tax credit.
In order to do that, we’re asking the government to be flexible. If this helps stabilize the housing market and get the economy going in addition to helping more members thrive in 2010, I’m ready to pitch in and support it!
The boon of the tax credit isn’t just that one million more Americans bought homes. The real gold mine is that it helped stabilize falling home values all across America. Without the tax credit, economists projected a further 5 – 10 percent decline. But today, home values are largely stable.
Thank you, REALTORS®, for supporting the tax credit and getting the American economy moving again!
I’ve always known there’s a lot to be learned from baseball. – Vince Malta, 2010 Vice President and Liaison to Government Affairs