As we enter a new year, the winds of change blow in our direction. The 2016 election cycle proved to be nothing less than rollicking. The wisest counsel may be “brace yourself.” As a cautious optimist, however, I like to equate change with possibility and opportunity.
Without a doubt, 2017 is going to be a year of transition, not only in the political and policy arenas but also within our own industry. There is a revolution brewing on almost every level of organized real estate, driven by legislative, MLS, and market forces. As REALTORS®, we have a lot of work ahead of us, and we have to rise to new heights in 2017 to ensure our interests are safeguarded.
With new leadership at the local, state, and federal levels, we must anticipate and prepare for possible changes in policies that affect housing, homeownership, and real estate investment. It’s impossible to know right out of the gate what those proposals will be, but our priorities remain the same. Homeownership is still an aspirational achievement for millions of Americans, and we will not compromise when it comes to protecting tax policies like the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local property tax deductions that help homeowners reach their financial goals.
The same is true for 1031 like-kind exchanges, which are critical for real estate investment. As REALTORS®, it’s our job to remind lawmakers that 1031 exchanges aren’t a tax break; they’re a deferral that encourages investment back into the economy. They’ll surely be part of any major tax reform considered in Congress.
We also expect discussion of Dodd-Frank and GSE reform. The bottom line is that while legislative changes are brewing, nothing about our role has changed and we are well-prepared to defend the issues important to our industry. REALTOR® champions posted big wins in the 2016 elections at all levels of government, putting us in a strong position to advance measures that strengthen real estate markets and protect private property rights. Our focus has, and always will be, nonpartisan. We are committed to building dynamic communities accessible to all.
I am honored to serve as your 2017 president. Even against this backdrop of inexorable change, I feel confident that we have the ability to work effectively in support of homeownership and real estate investment. Rest assured that no matter what the winds bring, the National Association of REALTORS® will strive tirelessly to safeguard our interests and protect our livelihoods. Success, however, depends on your involvement. Join me in taking an active role in the REALTOR® revolution by supporting the REALTOR® Party, responding to Calls for Action, and becoming more engaged at the local, state, and national levels. We need you now more than ever.