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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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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 urges HUD to withdraw misguided proposal on equal housing

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS) NAR calls on HUD to reconsider their position concerning who can submit claims, there may be too many faulty claims and slow the help to those in need.

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The NAR requests that The HUD withdraw its amended proposal of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard as deeply rooted systemic discrimination has the potential to result in tons of unintentional inequity claims.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) received a request yesterday from The National Association of Realtors (NAR) asking them to withdraw its recent proposal amending the “Disparate Impact” rule.

NAR believes that while the proposal is a needed and welcomed change, written in August 2019 to amend the HUD’s interpretation of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standards meant to close a segregational gap, (highly-segregated neighborhoods, unfair treatment for people of color, credit inequality, etc.), the proposal creates separation instead of unity between U.S citizens and the NAR, it’s businesses and Realtors, by implementing rules that allow for an overwhelming amount of disparate impact claims.

In support of the August proposal, HUD’s secretary Ben Carson stated, “There is a lack of affordable housing in America today. This proposed rule is intended to increase legal clarity and promote the production and availability of housing in all areas while making sure every person is treated fairly under the law.”

The change to the Disparate Act opens the door for more claims reporting unequal treatment and/or discrimination intentionally. The theory here is not that deeply rooted systemic oppression can be stopped, but that maybe the easier accessibility to submit a claim will force Realtors to make lawfully supported decisions based on industry standards instead of opinions, ultimately holding Realtors who ignore ethical guidelines accountable.

Without the organization receiving the necessary tools and education required to make an impactful change, it will likely result in an overwhelming amount of unintentional discrimination claims. It is also important that the NAR holds the ability to protect its Realtors, their liberty, and rights to a free real estate market.

While it might seem ridiculous of them to ask the HUD to work collaboratively on the Disparate Act in order to provide equal housing, and fair treatment and support of both the NAR and U.S citizens, it’s a necessary business move on behalf of the NAR.

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Real Estate Associations

NAR supports economic inclusion for equal housing opportunities

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS) The NAR is pushing to insure anyone who wants a home can get one through a combination of economic inclusion, and eliminating implicit bias.

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The National Association of Realtors® is working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Equality of Opportunity that addresses accessibility to housing based on economic inclusion. NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said,

“We believe that building a better future in America begins with equal access to housing and opportunity. With ongoing residential segregation contributing to many problems in our society, NAR recognizes that this nation cannot achieve true economic equality without first achieving true equality in housing. Our commitment to this cause and to Fair Housing has only strengthened in response to recent tragedies in America.”

What is economic inclusion?

According to the FDIC, economic inclusion describes the efforts to bring underserved communities into the financial mainstream. This could include things like making sure consumers have access to bank accounts and financial services; protections against discriminatory lending practices; and other types of consumer protections. Although the FDIC’s efforts seem to focus on unbanked and underbanked consumers, economic inclusion reaches around to all financial transactions, including housing.

Research from the Brookings Institution cites barriers to economic inclusion as slowing economic growth in local communities. Giving underserved communities access to financial products and opportunities actually spurs the local economy. The government bears the weight of services for the underserved. For example, childhood poverty costs the U.S. economy about 4% of the GDP annually. Nationwide, that is about $500 billion a year. Economic inclusion gives people a way out. It’s not a hand-out, but education and opportunities to change the future.

The NAR is making real change for the underserved

Last week, it was announced that the NAR introduced tools that would reduce implicit bias. Goldberg said, “NAR has spent recent years reexamining how our 1.4 million members can best lead the fight against discrimination, bigotry, and injustice.” The NAR isn’t just talking about it. They’re putting their money behind inclusion, and preventing unfair housing practices. These kind of changes matter for everyone.

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Real Estate Associations

NAR introduces meaningful tools and training to stop implicit bias

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS) The NAR has been taking steps forward to erase implicit bias, and recent events have made this that much more important. You should also take steps.

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implicit bias not found

The National Association of Realtors® is demonstrating its commitment to addressing housing discrimination and racial injustice through an Implicit Bias Training video that is being distributed to members. The online video proposes to “give (real estate agents) the tools to help override the effects of implicit bias. This means that the next time (they) work with clients from other cultures and backgrounds, (they) will be in a position to provide equal professional service, because (they) have embraced the work we all need to do to treat everyone fairly.” This 50-minute video is just one part of NAR’s work to reduce discrimination in housing.

The NAR is committed to fair housing

This video isn’t just a kneejerk reaction to the recent protests. In January, the NAR leadership announced a plan that emphasized Accountability, Culture Change, and Training (ACT) to protect housing rights, and uphold fair housing standards in the NAR’s code of ethics and in United States law.

Housing discrimination and implicit bias

In 1968, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, or national origin pertaining to housing. The Act has been strengthened over the past 52 years, but enforcement is still inconsistent. The problem isn’t that people are explicitly biased, but that there are many barriers and practices that are leading to continued housing segregation.

One practice that the NAR is responding to is implicit bias, which is an unconscious bias that affects how you interact with others. Consciously, you might never discriminate against another race, but you may unintentionally react differently with another race than you would with someone of the same race. This might manifest itself in many ways as a real estate agent. The Kirwan Institute or the Study of Race and Ethnicity research suggests that implicit bias can be showing black buyers fewer homes than a white homebuyer, even if they are pre-qualified.

Check your biases

The NAR is doing more than simply changing its social media status in light of #BlackLivesMatter. The NAR is working for real change for fair housing. I’d encourage you to watch the entire video to really understand implicit bias in real estate, and how it affects everyone. You can examine your own implicit biases through Project Implicit, a research collaboration project. We aren’t going to end housing discrimination through legislation without real reform by the people who act as guides into the real estate industry.

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