Participation builds on Call for Action on Flood Control Program; act today

As of early Monday, nearly 10 percent of Illinois REALTORS® members have responded to a Call for Action urging Congress to renew the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

NAR launched the Call for Action last week to urge lawmakers to pass a bill which would extend the program for another six years. NFIP is critical for the association’s membership because without the federally-backed program, flood insurance premiums would soar in communities nationwide.

Do your part by following directions outlined in REALTOR® Party mobile alerts, emails or by going to the REALTOR® Party webpage to send messages to policymakers. In previous Calls for Action, more than 20 percent of Illinois REALTORS®‘ membership has participated.  

REALTORS® can also ask their congressional representatives to push for more accurate flood maps and better risk mitigation policies which would help keep rates affordable.  

4 questions: REALTOR® Silvano to be sounding board for NAR global efforts

Vicky Silvano

During the Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., REALTOR® Vicky Silvano was presented as the 2018 NAR Global Business Alliances Liaison.

Silvano, a broker associate for Century 21 SGR in Chicago, is one of 16 NAR committee liaisons who will start their new duties after the NAR Conference & Expo in Chicago in November. Appointed by NAR President-Elect Elizabeth Mendenhall, the group is collectively known as the president’s enlarged leadership team.

Silvano began learning about her new responsibilities by shadowing the current Global Business Alliance Liaison, Mark Kitbayashi of Seattle, during the week of legislative meetings and NAR activities in the nation’s capital.

As Chair for the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) in 2016, she helped successfully lobby for the U.S. Census Bureau to gather separate information on behalf of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) instead of under the heading of “other.” She also serves on the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Global Council, and she joined the Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program as a consulate general for the Philippines.

“I am very excited about the new position,” she said.

Q1. What does a global business alliances liaison do?

In the global arena, I will be the eyes and ears of NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall and let her know what’s happening in several areas – the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Advisory Board, the Global Business Council Forum and with the Global Business Alliances. Using my feedback, she can look at our current programs and depending on the specific issues, evaluate if we need to do something different to better serve the general membership.

Q2. Global has long been a passion. Why do you think it’s so important for members to be aware of cross-border opportunities?

In 2016, global business transactions created 102 billion business opportunities, and to not highlight them means lost business opportunities for our members. The more our members can take advantage of these opportunities, the better off they’ll be.

Q3. Your work with AREAA resulted in the successful “No Other” campaign. What impact did that have on the industry and why was this so significant?

The “No Other” campaign resulted in the disaggregation of data by the US Census Bureau which has been much needed to understand the housing challenges and needs of the AAPI community. Prior to July 2016, the quarterly housing report lumped Asian Americans into a category with mixed races and various ethnic groups that are very different from AAPIs. With a stand-alone category, the data is much more accurate for our community.  From an industry standpoint, real estate professionals and service providers can better understand what’s going on with housing trends for AAPIs and provide better support to increase the rate of homeownership for our community. From a Policy perspective, the government can now focus on the issues and needs of the AAPI community and address them accordingly.

Q4. What’s the best thing about being in real estate?

I’ve been a top producer and achieved a lot in my career, but my legacy is what I accomplished through AREAA for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. For me, the greatest success is making sure the needs of those communities are being served, and that issues are being heard and resolved to expand the homeownership rate in the AAPI community.

 

Learn how to protect your business from cybercrime at IDFPR conference

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Worried about hackers, computer viruses and wire fraud?

If you aren’t, you should be.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has put together a presentation on cybersecurity for real estate practitioners that should help protect your business.

The Cybersecurity Conference is 8:30 a.m.-noon June 6, in Chicago at the James R. Thompson Center auditorium and is open to all Illinois REALTORS®.

The session features presentations from an FBI special agent, industry leaders and includes a demonstration on how easy it is for hackers to get into your systems.

In light of the recent “Wannacry” computer malware infestation, this session could save you money and a lot of hassle. The agenda for the conference is here.

The IDFPR Cybersecurity Conference is sponsored in partnership with Illinois REALTORS®, the National Association of REALTORS® and a host of industry-affiliated organizations and firms.

The Thompson Center is located at 100 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601.

‘Experiential retail,’ 1031 exchanges, MIPIM among commercial issues discussed in DC

(l to r) REALTORS® Christopher Schramko, Deena Zimmerman and Mark Goodwin.

Illinois REALTORS® commercial members are busy in Washington, DC at the NAR Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo alongside their residential colleagues.

Illinois REALTOR® Global Business Council Chair Alex Ruggieri, CCIM led the NAR Commercial Real Estate Forum where items such as the MIPIM conference in Cannes, France next March and the Swanepoel Commercial Alert Report were presented. CAR member and NAR Commercial Liaison Deena Zimmerman shared her thoughts on an emerging commercial real estate trend called “experiential retail” where shopping now has become more than just a transaction, it is an experience.

NICAR leaders Mark Goodwin and Christopher Schramko attended the forum and then headed to Capitol Hill to meet with U.S. Reps. Randy Hultgren and Mike Quigley. Their expertise on 1031 exchanges, depreciation and infrastructure was an added value to the conversation.

Illinois REALTORS® Treasurer Dan Wagner also was on hand at the meeting with Senator Dick Durbin to explain the 1031 exchange and its importance to real estate and the U.S. economy.

Why homeowners, REALTORS® should be concerned about proposed federal tax overhaul

Source: Bigstock

The Trump administration released on Wednesday its initial sketch of what tax reform might look like.

Two specific areas to pay attention to as the debate develops would be the Mortgage Interest Deduction’s continued viability as a way to incentivize homeownership and a provision that would eliminate state and local tax deductions.

  • According to the Wall Street Journalthe tax package as outlined by the administration on Wednesday, would essentially double the standard deduction to about $24,000.

That means itemizing deductions including the Mortgage Interest Deduction would be less enticing or useful for those filing. That’s an issue since having the MID at full impact is an incentive to get people to buy homes. And homeownership, in addition to being economic bedrock, also serves to stabilize communities and gives families a shot at wealth creation.

By one measure, the average itemized deduction is about $26,000, so it’s not hard to see why doubling the standard deduction to $24,000 could make itemizing obsolete in many cases.

  • Also troubling is a move to eliminate local and state tax deductions.

Illinois reportedly has the highest property taxes in the state, and with an as-yet unsettled budget situation, it’s possible these taxes might increase over time. If the deduction for state and local taxes vaporizes, that means Illinois taxpayers will take a greater hit than states with lower taxes.

Illinois has a 3.75 individual state income tax rate, having decreased from 5 percent a few years ago. Neighboring Indiana has a 3.33 percent tax rate.

According to a CoreLogic study in 2016 the state had a 2.67 percent median property tax rate, versus a 1.31 percent median average for the U.S. as a whole.

Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter noted that for years REALTORS® have been urged to be vigilant about protecting the Mortgage Interest Deduction. Now is the time for the association’s 44,000-plus members to get involved in making sure policymakers understand how watering down the MID could have serious economic effects.

“As REALTORS®, we see daily the worth that this policy has had for millions of Illinois families who invest in their communities through homeownership,” Carpenter said. “Eroding the value of the MID is bad policy, and won’t serve the best interests of consumers. We should promote tax polices which encourage homeownership rather than make it less attractive.”

NAR President Bill Brown called the proposal is a “non-starter” for the real estate industry and homeowners. (His full statement is here.)

“Major reforms are needed to lower tax rates and simplify the tax code, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of current and prospective homeowners, ” he said.

It’s important to note that this is just the first step in the tax reform debate which is expected to last many months.

Illinois REALTORS® have a chance in less than a month as part of Capitol Hill visits during the REALTOR® Midyear Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo to tell lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to maintain the the MID’s impact.