Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour Stops at Lake in the Hills

The National Association of REALTOR® (NAR) Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour took a stop today in McHenry County at the Lowe’s in Lake of the Hills. We thank Jim Haisler, association executive for the McHenry County Association of REALTORS®, for sharing some photos from the event. You can find more posted to the association’s Facebook page.

Tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the bus will be parked at Navy Pier outside Festival Hall B during opening day of the high-traffic Chicago Flower and Garden Show. NAR President-elect Moe Veissi and Illinois REALTORS® will be on hand to talk with Chicagoans about what housing issues matter most to them. Those who come by the bus can also register to win prizes worth up to $2,500.

The month-long bus tour travels to Chicago, Denver and Portland.

Hop on Board—Support the Homeownership Bus Tour Coming to Chicago

It’s on four wheels and is a moving billboard promoting the value of homeownership and is not something you’ve probably ever seen before—but is coming your way soon.

Photo of Homeownership matters busIn March the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) leadership team will kick off a three-city bus tour to promote the benefits of homeownership. First stop? NAR headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

If you are in the city—you will see the NAR bus perhaps parked at a local Lowe’s store.  The three-city Home Ownership Matters Campaign tour includes Chicago,  Denver and Portland. Each location will host two events designed to engage REALTORS® and consumers on key issues.

The goal of the tour is to educate the public on issues such as preserving the mortgage interest deduction (MID) and ensuring smart reforms for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Another goal is to invite the public to join NAR’s efforts to keep housing first and to show members of Congress the depth of the REALTOR® association’s reach in local communities. The program will also attract consumers to Houselogic.com and “Real Estate Today” radio program.

Moe Veissi, 2011 NAR President-Elect, will host a REALTOR® Town Hall meeting at the NAR headquarters on March 4 at 9:30 a.m. Members interested in attending should RSVP to kstouffs@realtors.org by Monday, February 28. Discussion topics include the MID, GSE reform and other issues.

REALTORS® are encouraged to bring their clients to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show on Saturday, March 5 at Navy Pier in Chicago from 10:00 a.m.– 1:00 p.m. NAR representatives will be at the show giving away food and prizes while celebrating the benefits of homeownership to communities and the American economy. Consumers can enter to win one of three Lowe’s gift cards, valued up to $5,000. Escape the winter doldrums by stepping instead the transformed Navy Pier full of lush landscaping and gardening ideas to get in the mood for spring.

So put aside your snow shovels and head to Chicago to support the NAR campaign at the Home Ownership Matters event on March 5 at Navy Pier.

Fight to save the mortgage interest deduction

There’s a move afoot in Washington, D.C., to scale back the mortgage interest deduction, a valuable and popular tax break that has benefited middle-class homeowners for decades.

Tinkering with the mortgage interest deduction isn’t just bad news for homeowners, it’s a poorly timed idea that could have a negative impact on a subdued housing market that is working toward a recovery.

Charged with finding ways to cut government debt, members of the federal Deficit Reduction Commission are considering a recommendation to pare down the mortgage interest deduction and are expected to vote for or against the final report by Friday, Dec. 3.

Among the suggestions:

  • Restricting it to principal residences only;  second homes and home-equity loans would no longer qualify.
  • Capping the qualifying mortgage amount to $500,000 instead of the current $1 million
  • Converting the mortgage interest deduction to a 12 percent non-refundable tax credit.

The mortgage interest deduction is not only one of the simplest provisions in the tax code, it is also a powerful incentive for home ownership. The suggested changes would not only make homeownership less appealing to buyers but could hurt existing homeowners by eroding home prices and values by as much as 15 percent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

“Any further downward pressure on home prices will hamper the economic recovery, raise foreclosures and hurt banks’ abilities to lend and likely tip the economy into another recession resulting in further job losses for the country. It will effectively close the door on the American Dream,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, in a statement today.

Read this NAR blog post to learn more about this latest challenge to the mortgage interest deduction, a vital tool for homeownership and the overall economy.