VIDEO – National Flood Insurance Program Call for Action

With the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire September 30, Jon Broadbooks and Neil Malone discuss the importance of this program, and why it’s so critical that REALTORS® answer the call in helping make sure the program is extended.

Watch the video, then go to realtoractioncenter.com to answer the call and help preserve this important program.

Advocacy Program Defeats Transfer Tax, Home Rule Referenda

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) Advocacy Program was involved in several Nov. 2 ballot measures that affect the real estate industry and private property rights.

In six Cook County municipalities, IAR worked to inform voters of the pitfalls of home rule status. Home rule was defeated in Blue Island, Franklin Park, Indian Head Park, and Worth; it passed in Northfield and River Grove. Home rule units generally have significant powers to regulate real estate transfers through point-of-sale inspection programs, zoning certification, just to name a few. They can also assess impact fees on developers, impose “teardown” taxes and real estate transfer taxes.

Voters soundly rejected the Village of Riverdale’s proposal (77% NO) to enact a transfer tax of $2 per thousand (of the sale price) imposed on the seller. IAR and the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® strongly opposed this measure.

By a 2-to-1 margin, voters approved a REALTOR®-supported measure in Shorewood (Will County) for a one-cent sales tax sought by the village. REALTORS® supported this measure because it was coupled with property tax relief (a 25-percent rollback in the village’s portion of the property tax).

Voters rejected a proposal by Sangamon County to pass a one-percent county-wide sales tax that would provide additional revenue for the county’s school districts and to provide property tax relief. The Capital Area Association of REALTORS® supported the measure, however 55 percent of voters opposed it, 45 percent voted in favor.

Voters supported a REALTOR®-initiated advisory referendum in the Village of Bannockburn (Lake County) that asked voters whether to rescind an existing ordinance that requires a point-of-sale home inspection performed by the village. The North Shore-Barrington Association of REALTORS® initiated this ballot item and supports rescission of the ordinance. The issue might come before the village board in the future in light of the fact that voters supported rescission of the ordinance by a 3-to-1 margin.

Housing Issues Continue to be at the Forefront

IAR President-Elect Loretta Alonzo and IAR Housing Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell at the Governor's Conference on Affordable Housing

While there are many things on the political and policy agendas for the state of Illinois, housing is definitely one that ranks as a big priority on both. The dilemmas, thoughts on solutions and opportunities were all discussed at the 2010 Governor’s Conference on Affordable Housing on October 25th.  At the event put together by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) people from many different sectors of the industry attended educational roundtables, panel sessions, and a mini-expo to learn and network as the industry changes and the market conditions continue to fluctuate.

As a sponsor of the event, members of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) participated both as attendees and speakers. Mabel Guzman, chair of the IAR Equal Opportunity and Cultural Diversity Working Group was a speaker on a panel discussing homeownership programs. Guzman shared all that the REALTOR® organization and our industry is doing to service both buyers and sellers, including our public policy advocacy and tools such as HouseLogic.

John Kretchmar, the president of the Partnership for HomeOwnership foundation was a panelist on the topic of “Employer-Assisted Housing” which involves employers who create incentives for their employees to live near work. While down payment assistance can be a part of such a program, many employers “keep it simple” and allow buyer classes over the lunch hour, or give time off for closings and looking for property.

I also participated in a roundtable discussion on buyer and lender issues.  Topics discussed were municipal fees and regulations that add to the cost of purchasing and how credit scoring plays a role and how it does not paint the full picture of a purchaser.

Many in the group were amazed that so many municipalities have fairly large transfer taxes and municipal home inspection requirements and agreed that they can be an impediment when someone may want to live in a particular town.

The keynote speaker at the luncheon was Governor Pat Quinn himself, who stated that he would keep housing in the forefront of his mind and he has a lot of work to do if the voters “renew his contract next week.”

REALTOR® Party: Vote, Act, Invest

What are you waiting for? It’s time to join the party – the REALTOR® Party that is!

It’s never been more important for REALTORS® to get involved and speak in one voice about the political issues and efforts that have an impact on the real estate industry, private property rights and ultimately the dream of homeownership.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has launched a new political advocacy campaign, “Vote, Act, Invest.” Here’s what REALTORS® can do to help:

  • VOTE for candidates at the local, state and national levels who support the REALTOR® Party and make the right decisions for your profession and your customers
  • ACT by participating in Calls for Action, and if you are a broker, join the Broker Involvement Program.
  • INVEST in your business by giving to the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) and help RPAC build the bipartisan relationships necessary at all levels of government to ensure a sound and dynamic real estate market.

Learn more about the REALTOR® Party at the REALTOR® Action Center.