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Politics

How Political is Your Real Estate Business?

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A unique time in history

Politics and business have never been so connected in the history of the real estate industry. From the bold home buyer credits and interest rate management to the subtleties of intentionally ignoring the non conforming load segments of the housing market, it’s all one big interlocking picture.

How does politics affect your business? Do you understand how strongly the two are tied together. If not, it’s time to consider the obvious or risk letting it affect your bank account in a big way.

Realtor, Speaker, former Indianapolis radio personality. Least prettiest person ever on HGTV. Crashed in a helicopter and a Cessna 182. Seven lives left. Blessed by an amazing family!

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Genuine Chris Johnson

    November 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    I would hope–sincerely–that people would take principle over their own pocketbook. When I was in the biz, it was presumed that I would support the confiscatory and socialist measures that the NAR supported (tax credits being one) because they benefited me. I didn’t want the nose in the barn.

    Self interest is no excuse for supporting bad politics.

  2. Debbie Kirkland, Realtor

    November 22, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Greg:
    I completely agree that the climate of business and politics have dramatically changed. As governmental affairs chair for our local board, I have been amazed at the changes that Realtors are making in their involvement locally, on the State and national level. gone are the days of complacency and the taboo that our elected officials are taking care of business. Politicians are actually having to dig in and work. They are being held accountable to those that are closely scrutinizing not only their knowledge of the “business” of government, but of the business men and women that fuel the government machine.
    Realtors are digging in as well, protecting not only their industry, but the people that support this industry. The “full-service” Realtor is indeed providing service and consultation to many who will hopefully remember the work done on their behalf and those that are in the trenches with lenders and mortgage companies as well as the local politicians who can make or break communities.
    We are bringing the issues to the table, and we are working together, as it IS the real estate industry that largely supports this country. We have no choice but to be involved, period. As heated as it is and as it gets at times, neither Realtors or politicians have an easy job. However, it is a job of commitment and dedication.
    It is my belief every Realtor should be educated and communicating regularly to their constituents.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post.
    Debbie Kirkland, Tallahassee

  3. daltonsbriefs

    November 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Many years ago I was worried about stepping on toes if I talked about politics, I was worried it would offend those that did not agree. I have really changed my position, obviously for those that read me every day, and found a niche as a writer and real estate finance professional with a strong political sense. Most of my borrowers are conservative and choose to use me because they agree with my politically. It has become my brand, and frankly I’m more comfortable in the transparency of being myself in my career.

  4. Terry@Charlotte Homes

    November 22, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Our PAC s have been effective- especially when it came to keeping banks out of RE. Recently the first home buyer tax credit- and the new “Move Up” credit work for us- even if they aren’t in the best interest of the country in the long run.
    That said, every housing recession I’ve seen is tied most closely to economics. Fed policy, which is supposed to be above politics, is directly responsible for the monetary policy- interest rates- within the US economy… They are supposed to be the wise arbiter-it was said for years the job of the Federal Reserve was to ” take the punch bowl away before the party gets out of hand.” …this time the party lasted too long and it got a little too screwed up.
    I’m more worried about game changing technology- i.e. Google. They have a much better chance of disrupting what we do in 2010.

  5. RealEstate Babble

    November 22, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    AgentGenius: How Political is Your Real Estate Business? https://bit.ly/6OIDHa Full https://bit.ly/5bJuvn

  6. Debbie Kirkland

    November 22, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    RT @LaniAR: realtors, how political is your real estate business? should it or should it not be? https://is.gd/51eIa (I commented,.. YES!)

  7. Real Estate Feeds

    November 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    How Political is Your Real Estate Business?: A unique time in history
    Politics and business have never been so conn… https://bit.ly/5j1vlL

  8. realdiggity

    November 23, 2009 at 12:13 am

    How Political is Your Real Estate Business?: comments https://bit.ly/5yrkCM

  9. Natasha Hall

    November 23, 2009 at 12:27 am

    How Political is Your Real Estate Business? – A unique time in history Politics and business have never been so con… https://ow.ly/163CWq

  10. Dave Woodson

    November 23, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Greg
    I really could not agree more with you. I used to keep my politics out of my business, but I have opened up about it here in the last year. I have seen more and more people that I thought were on the other side of the street from me, would agree with me. I did a weekly radio show, and I told everyone that would listen my views. Some would disagree with me, but they all respected that I put it out there and still continued to do business with me. There are those that would not, but really did I want to put up with those people anyway.

    D

  11. Matthew Rathbun

    November 24, 2009 at 8:02 am

    I support a lot of what RPAC has supported, but not all. Still not a fan of the tax credit, but for selfish reasons like not wanting my daughters to have to be encumbered with overwhelming federal debt in their generations…

    Can you do a vlog on your view of RPAC? If you have, I’m sorry I missed it.

  12. Missy Caulk

    November 24, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Greg, you know how I feel about this, I put myself out there quite often on political issues. I can’t separate who I am as a Realtor. ( my occupation) Balance in all things I post, I am a Realtor who sees the necessity of standing up for issues facing our Nation.

  13. Charlotte Real Estate

    May 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I personally hate that the RE business has become so dependent on politics. But as a Realtor I guess I need to be thankful because we need folks to look after the interest of those in our profession. Wonder what's going to happen with folks like google that have stronger political ties and lobbying power than we do?

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Politics

The House Judiciary antitrust investigation holds big techs’ feet to the fire

(POLITICS) CEOs of Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon set to testify in House Judiciary Committee antitrust investigation hearing today.

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house investigation

The House Judiciary Committee is closing in on the end of a year-long investigation into tech giants Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, to evaluate possible antitrust abuses. CEOs from all four companies were set to testify on Monday, July 27, 2020. The hearing has been pushed back to Wednesday, July 29, to allow members of Congress to pay respects to civil rights leader Representative John Lewis (D-GA) who died of pancreatic cancer on July 17.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have all agreed to testify. This will be Bezos’ first time in front of Congress, whereas all the others have testified before on different matters. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was invited to testify by Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), but is expected to not attend.

The Antitrust Subcommittee began the investigation in June 2019. Each business has been the subject of scrutiny for their roles in dominating their respective industries and playing an outsized role in market competition for smaller businesses. The Committee is interested in evaluating current antitrust laws and whether they apply to, or should be updated for, these mega corporations. They have already heard testimonies from smaller companies like Sonos and Tile about these companies’ alleged monopolistic practices.

The focus of the investigation for Apple is on the App Store, and whether it has implemented policies that are harmful for app developers. Google has a tight hold on the online advertising market. Amazon – which during a five-week period early in the pandemic saw an increase in value equivalent to the total value of Walmart, the world’s largest firm – has been criticized for its treatment of brands that sell on its e-commerce platform. Facebook is being investigated for its acquisition practices, cornering the social media market with purchases like Instagram.

Amazon is expected to face additional scrutiny for its treatment of warehouse workers during the pandemic. Facebook and YouTube (a subsidiary of Google) have been the subject of regular criticism about monitoring hate speech on their platforms, and their treatment of the workers responsible for doing so (Facebook in particular).

The hearing is set to occur virtually in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Watch the hearing live at 12:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, July 29 on the House Judiciary Committee’s YouTube channel. Please do note the hilarious irony of streaming a Congressional antitrust hearing on YouTube, which is owned by Google, which is owned by Alphabet, which is testifying at said hearing. God Bless America.

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Politics

Additional unemployment benefits outside of the CARES Act

(POLITICS) Unemployment is at an all time high in the United States and individuals need to be aware of reapplying for additional benefits.

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unemployment broke

June saw some additional jobs in the US and unemployment fell as of early July, but CNBC advised pausing on any celebration just yet, saying that “The employment crisis is still worse than any time since the Great Depression, the country’s worst economic downturn in its industrial history.”

The unemployment statistics in our country right now are really scary – especially for individuals and families that see a looming deadline of July 31 for the supplemental $600/week provided by the Federal Government through the CARES Act put in place in March. There are discussions on extending these benefits as many families have not been able to replace their incomes or find new employment opportunities, but it doesn’t seem like anything has been finalized there yet. Congress is in the middle of a variety of options:

  • Discontinue the additional $600/week but allow those on unemployment to continue to file and receive their state benefits (usually up to 26 weeks or possibly extended up to 39 weeks by The CARES act)
  • Send out additional stimulus checks (Congress is currently exploring a $X Trillion stimulus package)
  • Extend the additional funding (on top of the weekly amount allotted by state) but cut it from $600 to $200
  • It’s also been put on the table in the House of Representatives “The Heroes Act” to extend the additional $600/week until January 2021 ($3 trillion).

There are some additional benefits that are available (different than the funds by the CARES Act), but you may have to reapply for them. So, make sure to check your state’s unemployment pages and your filing status. Some states do not require you to reapply and you can continue on with extended benefits.

According to CNBC, “The additional aid expires after the end of the year. (This is a different program than the one paying an extra $600 a week through July 31.) For some reason, the [Department of Labor] has taken the position that people have to file for the additional PEUC benefits,” said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.”

No doubt that this can cause additional stress and uncertainty especially when you have questions about your filing and are unable to get through to someone on the phone. With the way that the unemployment cycle is setup, technically July 25 is considered the last date for that cycle (and July 26 for New York), so be sure to check and see what the next steps are for you if you are currently filing.

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Politics

How will pausing the reopening of states impact the recovery of the economy?

(POLITICS) The resurgence of COVID-19 has left Americans with a lot of questions about our nation’s economic future. That ambiguity is seemingly a feature, not a bug.

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COVID-19 reopening economy

The rest of the world watched as the United States dramatically reopened “the economy” last month. Now, it seems we’ve changed our minds about that.

The White House has repeatedly said that it will be up to individual states to form their own pandemic response plans moving forward. But letting local governments devise their own solutions has produced large gaps in their preparedness, as well as profound confusion around the best practices for balancing the country’s public and economic health.

California, which represents the largest economy in the US and the fifth largest in the world, was one of the first states to put serious quarantine restrictions in place. The decision to relax those orders only came after anti-lockdown protestors demanded that Governor Gavin Newsom reopen the state’s beaches, businesses and churches. Newsom may now regret this capitulation as California just called for a second round of statewide lockdowns.

Other state legislators are slowly following their lead, as the threat is becoming very dire in some places. Florida, for instance, is now a global hotspot for COVID-19 and Miami is being called “the new Wuhan”. The state is also currently struggling against another wave of unemployment, partly because their economy is heavily dependent on summer tourism (which has persisted despite the spike in cases, but not nearly at pre-pandemic levels).

Florida, California and Texas are altogether responsible for 20 percent of all new COVID-19 cases globally.

Every state is fighting two battles here. Coronavirus relief efforts in the US are still seriously underfunded, and most health organizations here lack the resources to effectively test and treat their communities. But the problems that have emerged for workers and small business owners, like evictions and layoffs, have also been devastating in their own right.

In essence, the United States reopened in an effort to curb the nation’s financial freefall and ballooning unemployment. Economists predicted at the beginning of July that reopening would allow the US to avoid a recession, and all would go smoothly. These projections likely did not account for a spike in cases that would halt this economic rebound.

That’s not to say the circumstances here haven’t improved at all over the past months; currently there is no acute shortage of ventilators, and doctors have had some time to refine their strategies for treating the virus. Overall, the national unemployment rate is slightly declining, while working from home is going so well for companies like Twitter and Facebook that they will be permanently switching much of their staff to remote work.

By comparison, though, New Zealand took the pandemic much more seriously than the US did, and they are objectively in a better position now in all respects. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cracked down hard and early, closing the country’s borders completely, and instituting rent freezes nationwide. As a result they have virtually eradicated COVID-19 within their borders. A report from S&P Global also expects New Zealand’s economy to recover quickly compared to the rest of the world.

While this tradeoff seems like a zero sum game – as if we have to pick either our health, or our wealth – it is not. In fact, we could very well end up with neither if our lawmakers don’t proceed with caution.

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