Abortion Rights Throw Midterms Outlook Into Question

Protest at Supreme Court

© Graham Wood - REALTOR® Magazine

Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night.

REALTORS® around the country are in Washington, D.C., this week to confront the biggest issues facing the industry and meet with lawmakers to craft future housing policy goals. Here’s what’s coming out of the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings that you need to know for your business.

Experts: Abortion Rights Controversy Changes Midterms Landscape

Republicans appeared poised to unleash a red wave in this year’s midterm elections—until late Monday night when news broke of a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court that would overturn abortion rights in America. Now, with this issue sure to galvanize Democratic voters in November, it’s anyone’s guess what the results of the elections will look like, Capitol Hill reporters said Tuesday during the General Session at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C. Read more. –Graham Wood

Tackling the Inventory and Affordability Crisis

New construction is not keeping pace with demand for homes. In fact, Freddie Mac has found that the country currently has a deficit of 3.8 million homes. There are more members of the National Association of REALTORS® than homes available in the market nationwide, currently estimated at only a little more than 1 million. Meanwhile, average home price appreciation went up 19% last year, but income growth has not kept pace. So, how did we get here, and how can REALTORS® help? Dan Ticona, director of housing solutions at Freddie Mac, offers three actionable ideas that real estate professionals can pursue to create more inventory in their markets. Read more. –Erica Christoffer

Being a Sustainability Leader

Sustainability Advisory Group breakout sessions

Rod Helm, vice chair of NAR’s Sustainability Advisory Group, led a breakout group Monday to create a toolkit during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. The toolkit would help guide the formation of sustainability committees, advisory groups, events, and outreach strategies at local and state associations throughout the country. Helm stressed the need for an easy-to-use resource with cut-and-paste options that allow associations to create their own documents and sustainability initiatives. “We envision the end product being a web-based interface that associations can use to pull materials and resources,” he said. The toolkit would also provide ideas for messaging and communication of the value of sustainability and how it applies to REALTORS®’ businesses.

In a 2019 National Association of REALTORS® survey, 59% of REALTORS® said their clients were interested in sustainability. Many associations are already stepping up to meet that demand. For example, Columbus REALTORS® has set up a Sustainability Forum and a Sustainability Ambassador program where members can attend training sessions, offer energy assessments to their clients, download a green guide for new homeowners, find sustainable closing gifts (such as a composting service), and more. They regularly hold events and tours of sustainable homes and properties and advocate for legislation at the state and county level. –Erica Christoffer

Broker Challenges

Retaining agents in the current market, addressing market inventory issues, and communicating—to agents and to clients—the value of working with their real estate brokerages are some of the concerns brokers discussed during RLM’s Idea Exchange Council for Brokers Forum Monday. Looking at inventory, brokers said it’s time to change the narrative and speak from a positive perspective, especially since 6.12 million homes were sold last year, a level not seen since 2006.

The overarching issue discussed, though, was professionalism, and the desire for more standardized professional requirements within the industry. Members cited the minimal requirements needed to become licensed compared with other industries. Within the topic, brokers spent time discussing who is responsible for ensuring that agents act in a professional way when dealing with clients and colleagues. During audience discussions, brokers said agents reflect on their brokerages and reinforced the importance of training agents and establishing a culture where agents are motivated to return phone calls, texts, and emails to stay in communication with their clients and other real estate professionals. They also cited the need for more agents to take NAR’s C2EX training and discussed ways to reinforce the Code of Ethics to improve professionalism. –Nicole Slaughter Graham