Spring is upon us, and the bloom of the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. means the arrival of my favorite meeting of the year: the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo.
Members around the country have heard me say this many times, but it cannot be repeated enough. 2017 is not only for the political and policy arenas, but for our own industry. Advocacy efforts put forth during the Legislative Meetings in May will ensure future success for our members. Successful advocacy initiatives depend on visibility. The Capitol Hill visits during our time in D.C. ensure REALTORS® are included in vital conversations regarding commercial real estate issues important to both your businesses and our nation’s economy.
Over the course of seven days, close to 10,000 REALTORS® descend upon our nation’s Capital and make sure not only their voices, but also the voices of our entire association, are heard loud and clear. REALTORS® who practice commercial real estate help revitalize communities by facilitating investments and promoting the sale and lease of commercial properties, enhancing neighborhoods and creating millions of jobs across the country. Our presence is a reminder that commercial practitioners help create the business and services that power great communities.
When legislators and regulators sit down for a visit with our members they become keenly aware of the key role commercial real estate plays in the health of our nation and are more likely to fight to ensure government policies that safeguard a national interest in a healthy commercial sector. This year there are several issues we want to shine the light on during our conversations with key stakeholders.
We must ensure the tax code continues to reflect the values that make our communities strong and our country exceptional. As an association, we are committed to fighting on behalf of important tax incentives like the mortgage interest deduction and 1031 like-kind exchanges. REALTORS® will continue to educate legislators that 1031 exchanges are not a tax break, but rather a deferral encouraging further investment into our communities and our economy.
Our association also supports legislation and regulations designed to protect and enhance the flow of capital to commercial real estate. We can look to financing as one key element. We need regulators to realize how smaller lenders and banks are often the ones who suffer most at the hands of new regulations. When lending options are scarce our communities are stymied and growth slows to a trickle. We are going to need your help in order to weather some of the changes that lie ahead. We must come together, combine our voices, and be heard. One thing is certain, the work of motivated REALTORS® can change our country and our communities.
The advocacy we do in Washington this May is just one piece of the puzzle – there is a revolution occurring within all aspects of our industry altering the course of our business. Let’s look towards the future and act in the moment. I encourage all of you to remain engaged and energized, and I want to thank you for all that you do to support the REALTOR® family.