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Real Estate Associations

COVID-19: What NAR is doing politically to protect members

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS) NAR is fighting for Realtors be they in an association, self-employed, or independent contractors. The relief package should encompass them all.

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realtor relief package

As the U.S. government worked to draft the historic $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package, Americans across the country voiced their concerns and hopes that the package would offer them some economic relief as many have, and continue to, lose their income. Small business owners, the self-employed, and independent contractors have been particularly vocal about their need for economic relief during this crisis.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been hard at work in Washington speaking with Congressional leaders to ensure that realtors across the nation are included in the relief package. The President of the NAR, Vince Malta, spoke recently about the organization’s efforts saying, “Over recent weeks, NAR has worked tirelessly with Congressional leaders to ensure small business owners, the self-employed and independent contractors were included in the federal response to this national crisis. With every two home sales generating one job in this country, the real estate industry will represent a key piece of our national recovery, and NAR will continue fighting for key provisions in a fourth relief package expected in the coming weeks.”

While you may have more free time on your hands than usual, there are infinitely better ways you could us that time than attempting to read an 880-page legislative bill. A few of the key items in this bill include a loan program for small businesses which will be managed by the Small Business Administration, an expansion of unemployment insurance for self-employed and independent contractors, an employee retention tax credit, rebates of various amounts depending on tax filing status, and a 60-day foreclosure moratorium and up to 1 year of mortgage forbearance.

In order to keep members in-tune to recent happenings, the NAR has published a comprehensive guide to the COVID-19 relief package. The guide is intended to aid realtors in understanding how the relief package will impact them, their business, and their clients. Topics include: housing, credit reporting and student loans, SBA provisions, infrastructure, tax, unemployment benefits for self-employed, and FFCRA Amendments. These topics will be updated as new information is released. Now, more than ever, it is important for realtors to stay knowledgeable about changes to legislation.

Staff Writer, Natalie Gonzalez earned her B.A. in English and a Creative Writing Certificate from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a writer and social media nerd with a passion for building online communities.

Real Estate Associations

NAR ad campaign aims to show importance of Realtors amid COVID-19

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS) The NAR have run ad campaigns in the past about the importance of Realtors, and things are no different even in the midst of COVID-19.

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Gillespie realtors

Last year, the NAR launched its new ad campaign titled “That’s Who We R” with the goal of promoting Realtor values in local communities both in residential and commercial properties. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the real estate market has experienced changes along with the rest of the economy. We followed up with NAR Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Victoria Gillespie on the state of the campaign since the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We have been working diligently with our agency partner Havas to ensure that the Consumer Ad Campaign (CAC) is responsive to the current environment and directly addressing the concerns of both Consumers and Members,” said Gillespie. “When it comes to our mass advertising (TV), we are currently fast tracking a new message that will speak to how REALTORS® are continuing to actively help Americans achieve their dreams of property ownership, even in uncertain times, with an optimistic look toward the future.”

Gillespie also explained how the campaign is producing new national radio spots and working with other content partners to share the ways in which Realtors are addressing recent housing issues such as advocating to Congress, to fighting for homeowners, and advising consumers directly. The NAR hosted an interactive online Q&A featuring President Vince Malta to answer questions largely catered towards first time homebuyers (the main target of the campaign).

NAR is also focusing on social media messaging by highlighting the value of Realtor expertise during uncertain times.

“Real estate has changed, however the dream has not and REALTORS® are still trusted advisors. We have transformed the way we do buying/selling with the same commitment to consumers; however, our lane and our voice is broader than that,” explained Gillespie.

“REALTORS® fight for mortgage relief, emergency loans, e-notaries and more. REALTORS® are good neighbors helping in communities across the country. Consumers will remember those brands and businesses that are doing something during and after this pandemic and will reward them with loyalty and future business.”

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Real Estate Associations

NAR and MBA urge Congress to help troubled homeowners hit by COVID

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS) NAR and MBA wrote a letter to Congress seeking more emergency mortgage and rental assistance for homeowners because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Emergency mortgage

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) sent a letter to Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed and California Representative Maxine Waters on May 7. The letter supports legislation that funds emergency mortgage and rental assistance to Americans facing financial hardships due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Waters is the Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees banking, public and assisted housing, and insurance. Reed is a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and a minority member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs committee.

Mortgage lenders and REALTORS® are working through unusual and adverse circumstances to provide vital housing security,” the letter states. “Across every state and local community, we have seen the need for Congress to help homeowners and renters faced with the sudden loss of income…A comprehensive response by Congress to these needs would include direct emergency mortgage and rental assistance to advance housing stability.”

According to the letter, 3.8 million homeowners have requested mortgage forbearance since the beginning of the pandemic. Payment forbearance and lowered interest rates are crucial to the housing sector’s ability to survive the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. As of April 29, 2020, the Federal Reserve has announced it would maintain a mortgage rate of 0 to 0.25% until the economy returns to a trajectory towards maximum employment.

The letter lauds the Housing Assistance Fund created to support homeowners ability to make mortgage payments and lenders ability to create flexibility for payments.

The NAR has been engaged in a series of legislative activism to protect Americans’ homes and keep people housed in a time when income has been significantly impacted. In just the last two weeks, NAR wrote two letters to Congress including this one and also supported two coalition letters. The coalition letters also supported emergency rental assistance for Americans with lost or reduced income. They also advocate for creating a comprehensive portal for consumers to access that emergency mortgage and rental relief. The fourth letter was to the Federal Housing Administration about increased premiums.

Though it is unclear the extent to which lawmakers have been economically impacted by the pandemic, they like everyone else have been impacted by the coronavirus. Waters’ sister died of COVID-19 in Saint Louis, Missouri last week.

It is never quite certain what it will take for Washington to stay connected to the needs of the average American and respond accordingly. Sweeping legislation has been passed in record time in response to the economic shutdown, but the government has a long way to go to prove to the American people that it is trustworthy enough to protect both lives and livelihood all together.

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Real Estate Associations

NAR pushes politicians for more PPP, EIDL funding

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS) While COVID-19 is hanging around, you may need some help. The NAR has your back with the CARES act to ensure you can keep what’s yours up and running.

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CARES act

Congress approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act at the end of March, giving the American public and businesses much needed aid. Two weeks later, as this is being written, many people have already received their $1,200/person stimulus. Forbes estimates that over 70% of small businesses have applied for an emergency loan under the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Although payouts are lagging, there is concern that the money will run out. Congress appropriated $349 billion for PPP loans, and another $10 billion for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EDIL). High demand is straining the resources of the SBA, which is the agency responsible for administrating the loan programs.

Will the CARES Act be enough?

Given the demand, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is urging Congress to “to provide additional funding for the PPP and EIDL programs in future COVID-19 response legislation, ensuring the need for these loans is met as this crisis continues.” According to a letter sent by Vince Malta, 2020 President of NAR, there are “legitimate concerns that necessary funding will quickly become depleted.”

In addition to the high demand for loans, SBA lenders don’t have clarity from the Treasury Department and the SBA on how to process the loans. Given that many banks are operating without full staffing teams, the system is being taxed. The NAR is also asking Congress to “clarify implementation to resolve issues with added limits and requirements that are not in accord with legislative intent.”

For more information about PPP, EDIL and other coronavirus funding options for small businesses, the SBA offers Coronavirus Relief Options here. The SBA is offering loan relief for some SBA loans and additional relief for disaster loans. There are added resources for small businesses on this page.

We have also covered many resources as well.

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