NAR’s 2013 Leadership Team and CEO Dale Stinton attended President Obama’s briefing on the current state of the economic recovery. REALTORS® were invited because of the critical role they played to stabilize and revitalize the real estate market. President Gary Thomas recaps in the video below.
By NAR 2013 President Gary Thomas
REALTORS® are finally being heard, and it makes you want to jump and shout!
Today President Obama delivered the message loud and clear—Home Ownership Matters!
I’m pleased to say that our efforts to make our voices heard by the Administration have had a positive impact. The President agrees with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) on an overwhelming majority of the housing finance issues of the day.
In a speech at the Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, the President spoke to area REALTORS® and others about housing policy and his vision for reform of the housing finance system. In the speech, he stated his commitment to ensuring consumers retain access to the 30-year mortgage—traditionally the quickest route into the middle class—and cutting red tape so that families have access to safe, reliable mortgages.
Additionally, the President expressed support for reform of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). He said the Administration plans to continue the phase-out of GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, now in conservatorship. At the same time, he supports the creation of a common securitization platform to encourage investment in mortgage-backed securities. NAR agrees with the Administration’s view that any new system includes a government guarantee.
The President said he supports the historic affordability role of the FHA, which is critical to first-time homebuyers. While we support the goal of maintaining the FHA as an affordable option, NAR believes the FHA should preserve access for all qualified middle class families.
The Administration calls on Congress to approve refinance programs that provide more relief to troubled borrowers. NAR supports the government’s refinancing program, known as “HARP,” along with “bright line” standards that provide certainty to community banks selling loans on the secondary mortgage market.
While we have concerns about specific FHA reforms, protecting loan limits and keeping down payments low, we believe recent bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate is a good place to start. President Obama made good use of the bully pulpit in stating his commitment to protecting the dream of homeownership for all Americans.
Over the past year, REALTORS® have sometimes felt like a voice in the wilderness. No longer.
By NAR 2013 President Gary Thomas
Owning a home of your own is a vital part of the American Dream.
The 75 million Americans who do own their homes can testify that homeownership helps people, communities and the nation. Homeowners are happier, healthier and enjoy a greater feeling of control over their lives. They vote, volunteer and contribute more to their neighborhoods. And because homeowners pay 80 to 90 percent of federal individual income taxes, they provide ongoing support for programs benefiting all Americans.
At the National Association of REALTORS®, we are working hard to inform, educate and engage people across the country about the benefits of homeownership. During this year’s Midyear Meeting & Expo, we asked REALTORS® from coast to coast to step up and tell us that “Home Ownership Matters.”
We heard from REALTORS® all the way from Maine to California. Their genuine enthusiasm for what they do is evident in their personal testimonials. If you want to see for yourself, watch our video.
by Ron Phipps, 2012 Immediate Past President, NAR
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
You may recognize this inscription from the Statue of Liberty. Since 1886, “Liberty Enlightening the World” has stood witness facing southeast toward the Atlantic Ocean. The statue has welcomed visitors and new citizens.
She has spoken loudly in silence.
She has flown without wings.
She has inspired without voice.
She has troubled our conscious without hesitation.
She has endured without complaint.
The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of our freedom and our Republic… Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
What many people do not know is that there are broken chains at her feet. They are not visible from the ground level. They represent the chains of oppression and tyranny. They represent chains of the past. They represent the denial of rights: of life, of liberty, and of property. That is buying, owning, and selling property.
Lady Liberty is also one of our most notable images of persistence and perseverance. Just as our freedom was WON, it must also be protected and defended. We do that. But, she is a witness to an important life lesson. She and her loyal American believers can endure the ravages of war, the challenges of economic strife, and the pestilence of political partisanship.
She stands tall and proud day and night, rain or sun. She reminds us that a nation of homeowners is unconquerable. She gives us appreciation not only for the ebb and flow of value, but also the importance of the foundation of homeownership, for us as individual families, and as a nation.
One additional observation about the broken chain at her feet: We need to remember the links of the past to make sure that we are masters of our future rather than enslaved by it.
The light of freedom is lit and the doorway to private property ownership is open.
I recently met with folks from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau including Rich Cordray, who heads up the CFPB. They are forming brand new committee and looking to include REALTORS®. No one can better represent consumers today than REALTORS®! We had a great exchange, and I shared with him the financial processes home buyers face during a transaction, and how important it is to ensure that the right processes are in place the first time. We’re working hard for consumers and REALTORS®, sharing the vital role a healthy housing market plays in our economy. See more in the video below.
The countdown to the Rally to Protect the American Dream is officially on.
NAR Vice President & Liaison to Committees, D.J. Snapp, talks about how important it is for state and local associations to spread the word to their members about the Rally. He also shares some tools, available from NAR, that will make it easier for associations to promote the Rally, including a countdown clock to post online.
E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.
For many years, this has been the motto of the United States. Today, it seems to be more important than ever. As a country, we need to come together in order to thrive in the next century, rather than simply survive. You hear a lot about the changing role of the United States in the world. While that is important, we need to come together to take care of families, whether home owners or renters, in this country.
As an organization, we need to do the same. Out of many we need to be one.
The Rally to Protect the American Dream, in Washington, D.C., on May 17, is a tangible example, a true witness to the agenda.
E Pluribus Unum. Fifteen thousand of our members will represent the 1,000,000 members who represent the 75,000,000 home owners and the 320 million Americans who need shelter.
Another way of looking at it is thousands of voices coming together for a single message, in a single voice — the voice for home ownership. Out of many, one.
It is also true that this country is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We as an organization are exactly that:
- We are OF our membership, leadership and REALTOR® on the street;
- We are participants in our industry and our country (BY the people);
- And we work FOR ourselves, our customers and clients, and our country.
We truly are OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people.
We are gathering in Washington, D.C., to personally and collectively deliver our message to our representatives and our government. They both need to be of, by, and for the citizens of this nation.
I am excited to be joining fellow REALTORS® in Washington D.C., to do my part for families across this country. E Pluribus Unum.
By President-Elect Gary Thomas, National Association of REALTORS®
There is a persistent truth about home ownership.
No matter how difficult the last few years have been, and no matter how much of a battering the housing industry takes, Americans still want to be homeowners.
A New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this year said that 89 percent of all Americans continue to see home ownership as an important part of the American Dream.
That’s in large part because our homes are the place where we settle down, raise our children, relax and live out our lives.
And it’s still hard to beat a house as a long-term investment. Home ownership is a contributing factor in building long-term wealth. Historically, a home owner’s net worth has ranged from 31 to 46 times that of a renter.
There are also numerous social benefits to home ownership. People who own homes are more involved in their communities. They vote more, volunteer more and contribute more to their neighborhoods. Even better, their children do better in school, stay in school longer and are more likely to participate in organized activities. As a result, they spend less time in front of the television.
Home ownership even contributes to a better quality of life. Research shows that home owners are happier and healthier. They enjoy more freedom in redecorating and renovating their house to meet their needs. Housing costs are more stable for home owners than for renters, and they can usually deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on their federal individual income tax return—an issue that will come up very soon as tax day draws near.
All in all, Home Ownership Matters! Truer words were never spoken.
By Chris Polychron, 2012First Vice President-Nominee, National Assocation of REALTORS®
Hello, my name is Chris Polychron, and I’m new to the Leadership Team,currently serving as the NAR 2012 First Vice President-Nominee. Manners are important in the South, so since I’m a native Arkansan, I’d like to introduce myself.
I was born in Arkansas, but I’m also first generation Greek. My father had a barbecue restaurant, and I think that’s where I first started to learn what it takes to run a small business.
I still love to cook, when I get a chance. I’ve been married to my wife Janis for 44 years. She’s a wonderful person, an artist who brings much-needed balance to my life. Together we have two daughters and three lively grandchildren.
Before becoming a REALTOR®, I used to be a banker. I took up real estate because I thought I’d be good at it. The man who I went to for my first job didn’t think so. But I kept after him. Finally I said, “Where’s my desk, because I’m coming to work here whether you like it or not.” It turns out that kind of perseverance was just the ticket. It’s something I’ve needed over and over again in my 24-year career as a REALTOR®.
Another skill REALTORS® need is the ability to multi-task. Sometimes we have so many irons in the fire, it’s a wonder the whole thing doesn’t blow up. But it helps to stay calm and focused, which is exactly like hunting quail—a sport I greatly enjoy. You have to keep your eye on the target.
The bulls-eye I am focused on is ensuring that Home Ownership Matters to consumers and to our communities. Because the American Dream of home ownership is under attack like never before from policies that make it harder to buy and keep a home. We are working to defend the American Dream by maintaining tax advantages for home ownership, like the mortgage interest deduction; protecting private property rights; and ensuring consumers have access to mortgage liquidity.
This takes leadership. To be a leader, you have to do everything you ask someone else to do, and then some. With that in mind, I’ll be working hard this year helping our President Moe Veissi accomplish his goals for NAR. I’ll also be traveling around the country visiting with REALTORS® and hearing what’s on your minds.
I admire many of NAR’s leaders, especially our past presidents. Each one has contributed in his or her own way. Dick Gaylord brought in young people. Richard Mendenhall started the REALTOR® Relief Foundation. Ron Phipps inspired us during difficult times. And Moe is just getting started in what I’m sure will be a great year.
With that, I hope to get to meet each one of you personally. Until then, I’m always glad to hear from you, so give me a call or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go Razorbacks!
By Gary Thomas, 2011 First Vice President, National Association of REALTORS®
Just yesterday I attended the Home Ownership Matters bus tour stop in Las Vegas.
It was heartening to see Nevadans’ excitement, including REALTORS®, as the bus rolled into town in the city that has suffered the most over the past several years – a foreclosure rate five times the national average and the highest unemployment in the country. Needless to say, it has hurt our REALTORS® there as well. At two different stops multiple media outlets, as well as civic, state, and local association speakers, and of course REALTORS® and consumers, made for a great turnout to support home ownership. Take a look at this recap from Las Vegas’ 8NewsNow online.
We weren’t the only ones in town to show support for home ownership. President Obama was in Las Vegas this week too to unveil the revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP. We’re glad the Administration is taking steps to address housing by helping home owners who are underwater but current on their payments to refinance into mortgages with lower rates through the enhanced program.
Finally, people, including the President, are listening to what we’ve been saying all along: Housing needs help and we have solutions. Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, is now saying, “We can’t ignore housing anymore.”
More must be done though.
Our country needs housing policies that ensure a robust recovery and do not further weaken the nation’s housing market, like the five-point plan that came out of the bipartisan New Solutions for America’s Housing Crisis forum which NAR endorsed. Specifically it calls for:
- revising high down payment requirements of the proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage rule;
- restoring higher mortgage loan limits supported by the Federal Housing Administration and the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs);
- and preserving the mortgage interest deduction.
Also yesterday, President Ron Phipps embarked on a 26-stop satellite media tour – blanketing television news programs across the country, including Las Vegas, with the message that home ownership matters to people, communities, and the country.
We’re working hard for REALTORS®, to ensure that more does get done for home ownership in this country. For today, though, I was gratified to see hope, laughter, and smiles in a city where they’re needed most.