Before you turn off your computer and head home this week with visions of turkey and sweet potatoes, make sure you keep up the battle to urge Congress to do no harm to the real estate industry and millions of homeowners who rely on it.
The House and Senate versions of tax reform are now on the table, and both have frightening ramifications for consumers.
If you haven’t responded the latest Call for Action, do it here.
And if you aren’t up on the details of the tax plans, here are some articles that will get you up to speed. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t pretty).
- Study: Many homes would not gain advantage by claiming Mortgage Interest Deduction. Forbes.
- Possible consequence of tax bill could lower home ownership rates, affordable housing crisis. New York Magazine.
- The big differences between the House and Senate tax plans. Washington Post.
- The losers under the tax proposal? Many with health insurance, those in high-tax (Illinois, anyone?) states. Chicago Tribune.
- Impact of bill could be vast, long-lasting. Vanity Fair.
- NAR’s tax reform page with all sorts of resources is here, along with a detailed side-by-side comparison of the U.S. House and Senate plans.
Other tax changes could eliminate the ability to deduct moving expenses and home equity loans. Not being able to deduct student loan interest will hurt generations of young buyers looking for homes.
The loss of deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) would especially hit hard in a high-tax state such as Illinois, and would lead to consumers getting hit with double taxation.
Illinois REALTORS® leadership has approved a $10,000 donation to help those affected by hurricanes which ravaged the U.S. Virgin Islands in September.
In all, Illinois REALTORS® has donated $135,000 this year to assist with recovery from hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey.
The association has a long history of pitching in to help colleagues and residents in disaster areas. Its members donated heavily in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
In addition to responding to the hurricanes, Illinois REALTORS® has distributed nearly $79,000 for flood victims through its disaster relief foundation, Illinois REALTORS® Relief.
REALTOR® Mike Drews meets with U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren in Washington, D.C., to discuss tax reform proposals which could hurt Illinois property owners.
Illinois REALTORS® past president Mike Drews is in Washington, D.C., today to press the case for responsible tax reform.
Drews is visiting the Hill as part of an effort to make sure Illinois lawmakers know that the current House version of a tax code overhaul would unfairly hurt property owners in Illinois by eliminating tax deductions and ultimately lowering home prices by as much as 10 percent.
Drews is a Federal Political Coordinator for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren. FPC’s, as they are called, serve as a valuable conduit for information between REALTORS® and federal officials.
Drews said Hultgren was interested in the data REALTORS® provided. “We gave him a lot of information,” Drews said of the Tuesday morning meeting.
The visit is part of a nationwide push on the part of REALTORS® to make sure the message gets through to the House members who could vote later this week on a package of reforms.
Nearly 30 percent of Illinois REALTORS® have responded to a Call for Action urging lawmakers to proceed with care when reforming the tax code. (Take part here).
REALTORS® are not against tax reform, but are concerned about protecting the Mortgage Interest Deduction and deductions for state and local taxes. As drafted, the proposal now would:
- Increase the standard deduction on tax returns, which could put home ownership incentives beyond the reach of many families.
- Limit capital gains from the sale of a primary residence. Homeowners would have to live in a property five of eight years, rather than the current two of five years to realize this benefit.
- Important deductions disappear, most notably the state and local tax deduction, which would unfairly hit a high-tax state such as Illinois. The loss of deductions ranging from interest on student loans to medical expenses to even moving expenses further chips away at home ownership.
Illinois REALTORS®’ Global Business Council facilitated a meeting with Serbian real estate professionals and members of the title industry at the Chicago Association of REALTORS® on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. At left are Mike Randick, Illinois sales manager for Stewart Title; Michael Maksimovich with Maksimovich Associates; Carmen Carbonara, business development officer for Stewart Title. On right are Serbian real estate professionals including Ervin Pašanović; Branislav Petrovic, Slaviša Pešik and Zana Petrovic.
A delegation of Serbian real estate practitioners got a chance to learn about best practices in the title industry this week.
The meeting was facilitated by the Illinois REALTORS®’ Global Business Council, and was held at the association’s offices at the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. Joining the meeting were attorneys for Stewart Title and Maksimovich Associates.
The delegation continues to build relationships in Illinois. With building and other economic development, members of the delegation said it was important to be able to share information back in their country.
The group also hoped to be able to increase cross-border relationships and investment.
Chicago Association of REALTORS® CEO Ginger Downs is honored for her service and as being named the recipient of the William R. Magel Award for leadership. Her association presented her with flowers at the Illinois REALTORS® reception on Sunday.
Chicago Association of REALTORS CEO Ginger Downs was recognized for being the recipient of the 2017 William R. Magel Award for association leadership at the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors meeting Monday.
Downs, who will retire next year, was honored for a lifetime of work guiding associations in Chicago and in the Seattle area. The award is one of the highest NAR can bestow on an association leader.
Ginger Downs is presented the 2017 William R. Magel Award by NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall at the national association’s Board of Directors meeting on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.
Downs had been honored at the Illinois REALTORS® reception on Sunday. The announcement she had been named to get the award was made at the NAR Midyear Meetings.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get this honor,” Downs said at the board meeting held in Chicago as part of the NAR Conference and Expo.
Downs was executive vice president of the Seattle/King County REALTORS® and the Portland Board of REALTORS® before coming to Chicago in 2005.
In her speech, Downs had a list of things association executives should do, including:
- Treat each other with dignity
- Be a life-long learner
- Be prepared and understand the roles of an organization and its elements.
- Seek diversity
- Learn to forgive.
- Guide others to realize their potential.
- Look at yourself before criticizing others.