Voice for Real Estate 82: Sales, IRS, ADA, Professionalism

Home sales and contract signings are down as affordability becomes a problem for more people. Commercial sales in the small cap market are doing well, although lack of inventory is a problem. The Commitment to Excellence is coming to help agents see how they stack up against must-know areas of their business. And the ADA Reform Act will help improve accessibility to the disabled while curbing abusive lawsuits against property owners. Also, the IRS confirms mortgage interest on home equity loans is still deductible for funds spent on home repairs and upgrades.

Featured Segments

  • Home sales
  • Commercial sales
  • Commitment to Excellence
  • ADA Reform Act
  • IRS on home equity interest deductibility


A slow start for home sales 
Are you ready to challenge yourself with a commitment to excellence?
And reasonable accessibility enforcement clears a hurdle

These stories and more on The Voice for Real Estate

Hi, I’m Stephen Gasque with the National Association of Realtors.

2018 got off to a sluggish start, with January home sales dropping 3.2 percent from the previous month and NAR’s forward looking pending home sales index pointing to continued modest performance. According to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, it’s not buyer demand that’s the problem; it’s too few homes for sale, especially among lower-cost starter homes. 


Contract signings in January are also down, which points to little improvement in home sales in the next month or two. 


The picture in commercial real estate is more upbeat. Here’s NAR’s George Ratiu on how the office, industrial, retail, and multifamily segments are faring. 


The latest data on both residential and commercial real estate is under the Research and Statistics tab on nar.realtor.


Last year the NAR Board of Directors approved a program that let’s you test yourself voluntarily against a standard of excellence in about a dozen areas that are crucial to your profession. One area of excellence, for example, is your understanding of the forms and contracts you use in your transactions. Another is your mastery of technology. A third is your knowledge of what’s right and what’s wrong under the Realtor Code of Ethics.  

This upcoming program is called Commitment to Excellence and it’s slated to roll out later this year. Here’s President Elizabeth Mendenhall talking about the program with other NAR leaders in a Facebook Live event she hosted at Fox News studios in New York City. 

[QUOTE] 1:47 – 2:49

You can learn more about this new program by searching “Commitment to Excellence” on nar.realtor. Also, you can watch that Facebook Live event on NAR’s YouTube channel. NAR’s leaders covered many topics in that event, including the impact of tax reform in markets around the country. 


An important hurdle is cleared in NAR’s effort to curb frivolous accessibility lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Commercial property owners have been hit with letters demanding they make accessibility changes to their buildings or face lawsuits. Often the building is in fact in compliance or just needs minor repairs, but owners, most of them small mom and pop operations, don’t have the resources to fight back and so they settle. But a bill that just passed the House would stop these abusive lawsuit threats. Here’s NAR’s Erin Stackley with more.


NAR is working with other organizations to get the bill considered in the Senate. We’ll keep you updated as that effort advances.  


Is mortgage interest still deductible for home equity lines of credit under the new tax law? The IRS last week released a memo that confirms homeowners can still deduct the portion of their home equity lines that’s used for home renovation and repairs. Confirmation by the IRS is in lime with what NAR has been saying since the law passed, but now it’s in writing—and that’s information you can share with your clients. 


And that’s our show for the week of February 26. You can get more on everything we talked about today at The Voice for Real Estate page on nar.realtor. Thank you for joining us and be sure to join us again as we bring you the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate.