The best way to support local legislative efforts is to make it personal. When a legislative issue you have a strong opinion on arises, craft your narrative. For example, a number of communities have updated sign ordinances. In some situations, local governments have proposed amendments that are broad and applicable to all temporary signs including real estate signs. These regulations could significantly impact real estate transactions, if for example, temporary signs have a short time limit for placement or there are heavy restrictions on the location within the public right of way.
Personalize your connection to the proposed sign ordinance and how it impacts your business. Determine how long a typical commercial transaction takes place. Emphasize how much the sign helps you to market the property and what is at stake if you are unable to use it properly. This personal connection can be very compelling to local governments. Further, consider expanding your thought process to include the potential loss of revenue to the local government if the ordinance means more properties like yours will sit vacant.
Your local REALTOR® association has the capability to influence public policy as a major stakeholder, so it’s wise to familiarize yourself with its structure. Typically, local REALTOR® associations hire professional staff, such as Government Affairs Directors (GAD), Political Coordinators, or the Association Executive to ensure your interests are represented in your market. Your REALTOR® association also likely has a legislative committee with volunteer REALTORS®. These members shape the association’s policy priorities and advocacy for legislation on real estate issues. Sharing your personal story with your legislative committee or GAD can be very useful as they formulate policy recommendations.
REALTOR® associations also have access to NAR’s REALTOR® Party resources such as the Land Use Initiative, Issues Mobilization Grants, and Smart Growth Grants. These programs assist local association efforts to engage the public and lawmakers throughout any legislative stage. The end goal is to position REALTORS® as experts and industry leaders.
As a final thought, the time is ripe to engage in local legislative efforts that increase your city’s desirability. Think about the impact of a new park, bike trail, or other amenities with great potential to attract new businesses or services. Engaging in the legislative process by sharing your perspective can have a long-lasting effect on your market. Ultimately, you and your local association can drive public policy. When you share your personal story on legislative issues, you help strengthen the REALTOR® message.