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National Association of Realtors

NAR sends strongly worded letter to House and Senate on tax reform

(ASSOCIATION NEWS) NAR President, William E. Brown has written a letter detailing the NAR’s concerns over the Blueprint tax reform plan. Here’s what you need to know about it and what NAR foresees for the future if it passes.

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nar writes congress about tax reform

Regarding the American Dream

President of the National Association of Realtors®, William E. Brown, wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, as well as the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Kevin Brady, expressing the NAR’s feelings about the challenges and opportunities Brown believes will be upcoming in the Trump administration. The letter was sent to all members of the House and Senate, but Brown primarily focuses on the House Republican Tax Reform Blueprint.

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More specifically, he writes, “the interaction of two specific features of the plan, which are designed to simplify the tax system” as they would have “the unintended consequences of nullifying the long-standing tax incentives of owning a home for the great majority of Americans who now are, or who aspire to become, homeowners.”

Problematic specifics

Brown goes on in the letter to detail the specifics of the Blueprint that could become problematic for homeowners. He states, “the Blueprint calls for the standard deduction to be almost doubled from its current levels. The plan also includes the repeal of the deduction for state and local taxes paid, as well as, the elimination of most other itemized deductions.”

He explains the gravity of this potential reform by stating, “Either of [the aforementioned] monumental changes alone would marginalize the value of the current-law tax incentives for owning a home. Unfortunately, the combination of these two revisions would cripple the incentive effect of the federal tax law for all but the most affluent of taxpayers.”

Protecting first-time homebuyers

Brown continues by explaining, “two potentially devastating problems in the aftermath of these modification (are anticipated). First, the impact on the first-time homebuyer could be enormous.”

In many cases, the tax incentives enable first-time homebuyers to be able to afford their very first home. Brown states, “at a time when the rate of first-time home-buying is well below the average of the past few decades, this could be particularly debilitating for the housing industry and the entire economy.”

Home and property value

If that weren’t enough of a reason to take notice of the impending possible reform, Brown goes on to detail the second reason.

He states, “the decimation of the mortgage interest and real property tax deductions would very likely cause a significant plunge in the value of all houses[…]the housing sector has not fully recovered from the thrashing it took during the Great Recession, this drop, even if temporary, could be calamitous.”

This would mean that millions of Americans might quickly find, “the value of their largest financial asset has dived below the amount of debt that is owed.”

NAR protecting homeowners

Brown realizes the Blueprint is aimed at modifying the tax system and attempting to “supercharge growth in our Nation.” He believes there has to be another, better way.

In a statement to The Real Daily, Brown said, “the NAR continues to believe that any tax reform proposal should respect and uphold our system’s longtime support for homeownership. That means avoiding changes that would negate the important incentive effects of the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local property tax deduction.”

He continues, “We’ll be making that case in the months ahead and look forward to working with policymakers in Washington to promote an overhaul of the tax system that engenders positive change for all Americans.”

Read it for yourself

This letter aims to bring this belief to the attention of lawmakers before any changes are made to the existing tax laws.

Read the full letter here (PDF).

If you are interested in learning a little more about the Blueprint, you can read an overview of it here (PDF).

#BlueprintReform

Senior Staff Writer at The Real Daily, Jennifer Walpole holds a Master of English from the University of Oklahoma. She has long been a dedicated business and technology writer, and she holds real estate close to her heart, as she comes from a family of brokers.

National Association of Realtors

Modern Family, NAR team up to humorously express what it means to be a REALTOR®

To further contemporize the REALTOR® brand, NAR teamed up with Modern Family and actor Ty Burrell to create ads and an integrated storyline.

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If you watched ABC’s comedy, Modern Family last night, you witnessed Phil Dunphy (played by Ty Burrell) wear his REALTOR® pin, express what it means to be a REALTOR®, and ultimately save the day with his REALTOR® skills. And that was no accident – the show teamed up with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and their new creative and media agencies Arnold and Havas, for what may be the most organic, natural ad integration to date.

We’ve all seen hit shows like New Girl struggle to integrate awkward ads about Ford that painfully go against the grain of the show. But this storyline brand integration was natural to the existing brand of the oafish character who is actually quite good (and serious about) his real estate career.

The episode coincides with a series of :15 and :30 ad spots for television and online, as part of NAR’s gutsy “Get REALTOR®” campaign seeking to help consumers understand the value of a REALTOR®, and how that differs from a real estate agent.

The two spots already airing

The two spots, “Silence” (below) and “Ball” (which we call “Cat-Like Reflexes,” seen here) are already airing nationwide.

 

NAR’s involvement in the creative process

NAR Senior Vice President of Communications Stephanie Singer notes that Dunphy “always does the right thing,” making it a natural fit. At the shoot, she observed Burrell do a lot of improvisation with show creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan who directed the ads. She reports a lot of laughter on set.

The truth is that this was a collaboration between three brands – NAR (and their Consumer Communications Committee), Modern Family, and Ty Burrell – which means that unlike traditional advertising, no single entity had complete control (although NAR did have input into the scripts). In our assessment, the risk paid off.

Reactions have been positive, with members tweeting frequently about the idea that finally the public has been offered a definition of “REALTOR®” versus “agent.”

Singer notes that this is part of the “Get REALTOR®” effort to redefine the REALTOR® brand and contemporize it. Although they “protect the brand voraciously,” this integration is, indeed indicative of the trade group’s adaptation to modern culture.

One episode only, but Phil’s-osophies live on

Dunphy will only wear the REALTOR® pin for this one episode, as the ad integration was for one episode only, but in addition to the two aforementioned ads, there are nine more that have been produced (0:15 seconds each), which will be reviewed at the upcoming 2016 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo (“Midyear”) by the committee.

On top of all of that, NAR will be using the social and digital assets through May of 2017, so look for TGIP posts (“thank goodness it’s Phil”) and humorous posts of that nature.

Singer opines that it’s important for readers “to understand the strategic vision this campaign executes,” that they’re redefining the REALTOR® brand, updating it for today’s hyper-connected consumers who think they can DIY. They’re seeking to appeal to digital natives nervous about reaching out to a human (REALTOR®). This all “aims to overcome that reluctance, and demonstrate a friendly, approachable way that REALTORS® can help [consumers] succeed in real estate.”

Our favorite Phil scenes from the episode

Aside from the ending of the ad where Dunphy gets hit by a ball repeatedly (we’re all quoting “sexel fear kyle tac” around the office), there were two great scenes you should be aware of.

First, if you haven’t seen the full episode (go watch it, that would make things easier), Sophia Vergara’s character has a salsa line that is taking off, and they find a competitor has stolen her recipe. Here’s how Phil wins that fight (watch for the ninja REALTOR® skills):

Earlier in the episode, he’s upset that he was bumped at his niece’s career day for a periodontist. Gloria mentions his being an agent, and he responds, “first of all, I’m not just a real estate agent, I’m a Realtor. I’m a member of a national association, a brotherhood, sworn to the Realtor Code of Ethics. That’s what this R stands for,” he says, pulling out his jacket with the REALTOR® pin on the lapel.

“A brotherhood!” Perfect timing for the countless professionals about to hop a plane for NAR’s Midyear conference to celebrate that “brotherhood.”

phils-osophies

#sexelfearkyletac

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National Association of Realtors

NAR writes open letter to CFPB regarding ongoing issues with TRID

TRID implementation has caused confusion and frustration for many Realtors and banking professionals. The current NAR President has addressed this is an open letter to the CFPB.

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Since the integration of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule, confusion has ensued for many industry professionals. The new TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule, or TRID, implementation, also known as the Know Before You Owe rule, has been the subject of much confusion and frustration.

The CFPB issued a response to the Mortgage Bankers Association in an effort to clarify the current industry expectations concerning the new TRID (also known as Know Before You Owe) rule.

Know before you owe

Since the rule’s integration on October 3, 2015, many industry professionals have struggled with the changes. The response from the CFPB to the Mortgage Bankers Association came in the form of a letter from the CFPB’s Director, Richard Corday, to the President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, David Stevens.

In essence, this letter aimed to clarify that loans with minor technical errors should not hold up the mortgage process.

We previously covered the full extent of the CFPB’s response.

Now, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) President, Tom Salomone, has issued a statement in response to the CFPB’s letter in an effort to further clarify the confusion concerning the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule.

Acknowledging Concerns

Solomone stated, “the real estate industry has responded well to the implementation of ‘Know Before You Owe,’ but there’s still work ahead. Today’s announcement from the CFPB is a recognition that there are lingering challenges to address, and I appreciate Director Cordray’s commitment to hearing those concerns.”

However, there are still problems with reporting and knowing exactly what issues need to be addressed. Solomone wrote, “Realtors® continue to report issues in the post-TRID environment with gaining access to the Closing Disclosure, despite years of access to the substantively similar HUD-1.”

He adds, “NAR remains committed to ensuring Realtors® have access to the CD so they can put their expert advice to work guiding clients throughout the homebuying process uninterrupted from beginning to end.”

Addressing future concerns

In an effort to soothe the minds of those fearing repercussions for violating TRID rules, the CFPB made it clear that minor errors were to be expected and the bureau would focus their efforts on whether or not companies had made good-faith efforts to comply with the new rule.

Solomone addressed future concerns stating, “We look forward to addressing remaining TRID-related concerns as part of the rulemaking process in the months ahead and thank the CFPB for an opportunity make the Realtor® voice heard on this issue.”

Have you encountered any issues with TRID implementation?

#TRID

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National Association of Realtors

NAR members have new health insurance options (good to know)

The NAR has given members two new healthcare options, both of which are currently available to members through the healthcare marketplace.

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young realtor

Being a Realtor often means you’re faced with some of the unfortunate drawbacks of being self-employed: higher taxes, less selection/benefits when choosing health insurance, and no paid benefits. The National Association of Realtors® has just released two new healthcare options from which NAR members can choose.

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Vision and more

NAR members now have access to these additional options through the Realtors® Insurance Marketplace.

Members have the option to select vision insurance plans and TeleHealth (a telemedicine service plan).

This is in addition to the health, dental, and supplemental plans already being offered through the Marketplace.

The vision option offers member who have no, or insufficient, coverage for vision services the option to provide coverage for themselves and their dependents for annual eye exams, frames, lenses, and contact lenses. This is definitely worth looking in to if you are currently without vision coverage, as those costs can quickly add up.

TeleHealth

The TeleHealth option is quite unique. It gives members round-the-clock access to MDLIVE, a network of over 2,300 U.S. state-licensed and board-certified physicians and therapists who may be consulted for non-emergency medical issues.

The next time you feel a sore throat coming on and don’t fancy waiting in the doctor’s office, you can use the TeleHealth option.

A doctor or therapist will be available through phone, smartphone apps, web chat, or email to diagnose, treat, and when needed prescribe medications all from the comfort of your home. This is an excellent option for busy real estate professionals who are tapped on time and cannot afford to pick up another illness while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room.

Year round sign-up

NAR President, Tom Salomone stated the additional options came because “as self-employed professionals and small business owners, Realtors® know the importance of finding affordable, comprehensive health care. NAR understand the unique needs of Realtors®, so we are pleased to be able to provide our members access to the health and wellness coverage options they need, with many plans designed and priced exclusively for them.”

While open enrollment for major medical has ended, Realtors® Vision and TeleHealth are available for sign-up year round. For more information, or to enroll, visit the Marketplace, here.

#RealtorInsuranceMarketplace

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