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That’s Some Baaad Sausage!

How does this …

Making Sausage …  Become this???The "Finished" Product?

With the caveats that:

– Picking and choosing lines from an amendment is probably not fair,

– I have not read the entire bill nor amendment (nor have any of our elected “representatives”),

– Compromises and selling constituents’ best interests are accepted best practices and that,

– I’m no politician …

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What in the world was Congress thinking?

Would you have your clients sign a contract that you never read? Or that you had been “advised of the changes” (as was my Representative) without ever actually reading this?

This is business as usual, but it’s not OK. Just because “that’s the way it is” doesn’t mean “that’s the way it should be.” We try to demand more of our Association – are we demanding more of our politicians?

Have a look at just a few of the snippets from H.R. 2998 (the former H.R. 2454)

Regarding retrofitting houses to make them more energy efficient:

such retrofits not shall not be used to justify any increase in rents charged to residents of such housing; and

But … what if said retrofits warrant increasing rents?

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The scale of bureaucracy that may be created is nearly unfathomable (at least by someone who works for a living) :


(1) AUTHORIZED USES.- Amounts from grants awarded under subsection (a) may be used by the grant recipient to supplement existing State or local funding for administration of building code enforcement, or to supplement allowance value received pursuant to this Act for implementation and enforcement of energy efficiency building codes. Such amounts may be used to increase staffing, provide staff training, increase staff competence and professional qualifications, or support individual certification or departmental accreditation, or for capital expenditures specifically dedicated to the administration of the building code enforcement department.

(2) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENT.-Each building code enforcement department receiving a grant under subsection (a) shall empanel a code administration and enforcement team consisting of at least 1 full-time building code enforcement officer, a city planner, and a health planner or similar officer.

This is fun –


(a) REGULATIONS.- Within 180 days after the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, shall issue regulations
(1) to prohibit any private covenant, contract provision, lease provision, homeowners’ association rule or bylaw, or similar restriction, that impairs the ability of the owner or lessee of any residential structure designed for occupancy by 1 family to install, construct, maintain, or use a solar energy system on such residential property; and

(2) to require that whenever any such covenant, provision, rule or bylaw, or restriction requires approval for the installation or use of a solar energy system, the application for approval shall be processed and approved by the appropriate approving entity in the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to the property, and shall not be willfully avoided or delayed.

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Frankly, I’m not sure I want the Federal government determining what green building means – building codes by necessity vary regionally. (page 96)

(4) GREEN BUILDING STANDARDS.- The green building standards under this paragraph are as follows:

(A) The national Green Communities Criteria checklist for residential construction that provides criteria for the design, development, and operation of affordable housing, as such checklist or successor checklist is in effect for purposes of this section pursuant to paragraph (7).
(B) The gold certification level for the LEED for New Construction rating system, the LEED for Homes rating system, the LEED for Core and Shell rating system, as applicable, as such systems or successor systems are in effect for purposes of this section pursuant to paragraph (7).

Lastly, lest I copy and paste all day – from page 296 of H.R. 2454 (bolding mine) … read this entire section at least – it will impact Realtors’ businesses.

(1) IN GENERAL.— Except as provided in paragraph (2) or (3), the national building code energy efficiency target for the national average percentage improvement of a building’s energy performance when built to a code meeting the target shall be —

As an aside, I heard at least two Representatives say during the debate that the National Association of Realtors supports this bill! (exclamation point theirs, not mine) One wonders … why?

Photos courtesy of:

Gluehwein Effects

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Written By

Dad, Husband, Charlottesville Realtor, real estate Blogger, occasional speaker - Inman Connects, NAR Conferences - based in Charlottesville, Virginia. A native Virginian, I graduated from VMI in 1998, am a third generation Realtor (since 2001) and have been "publishing" as a real estate blogger since January 2005. I've chosen to get involved in Realtor Associations on the local, state & national levels, having served on the NAR's RPR & MLS groups. Find me in Charlottesville, Crozet and Twitter.



  1. Chris Griffith

    June 30, 2009 at 6:52 am


    Representatives would have had all of nine hours to study the text, assuming they went without sleep. The manager’s amendment made even that impossible, because you had roughly 1,200 pages of text — containing, at last count, 397 new government regulations and 1,090 new economic mandates — followed by over 300 pages of text with no index that amended the previous legislation on paragraph by paragraph basis.

  2. Lani Rosales

    June 30, 2009 at 9:49 am

    @jimduncan GRRRRR- regardless of my leanings, this looks like (surprise) MORE governmental control. Like you said, this is typically regional for a variety of reasons, why would blanket rules be placed that limit what is actually green and not just Uncle Sam’s definition of green?

    And lastly, if I own a unit and I dump 50k into it to make it a completely green unit, hell yeah I’ll charge more, how dare my investment be limited?

    Am I wrong here? Way to pee in my cereal this morning, Jim!

  3. Todd Carpenter

    June 30, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Jim Said>> “As an aside, I heard at least two Representatives say during the debate that the National Association of Realtors supports this bill! (exclamation point theirs, not mine) One wonders … why?”

    NAR is working on this bill. It now goes to the Senate. Then if it passes, goes to a committee to be reconciled. The details of the bill could change significantly.

    We have a weekly government affairs report that covers the association’s work.

  4. Jim Duncan

    June 30, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Thanks, Todd. I find it astounding that NAR could support this in any form. How could this possibly benefit Realtors?

  5. Todd Carpenter

    June 30, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Jim, I think if you look at the link I posted, you will see that NAR is trying to make changes to a bill with a lot of momentum. Changes that better serve REALTORs.

    I’m not the most qualified person to answer exactly what NAR’s strategy is here. However, here’s a slightly dated summary of what the association is trying to do.

  6. Joe Loomer

    June 30, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Frankly, I’m amazed you didn’t see this coming, Jim. It has been the stated purpose of this administration to increase the size of government since day-one. If they cannot create jobs in the private sector – what’s the fastest way to reduce the jobless rolls?

    The close-within-a-month days are fast coming to an end. It’ll take ten codes inspectors, three termite inspectors, a solar energy inspector, a building codes inspector, a solar water heater inspector, a chinaman, and an abacus to get something new construction closed here shortly. Hey, I got an idea ! The middle-Realtor! Get a government grant to mediate in between the mediators – we’ll call it the “M.I.M. Agent.” They’ll be government sanctioned, paid from federally-mandated closing costs, be the go-between for the List Agent and Selling Agent, and answer only to nearest Congressman’s office. The MIM – also known as Monkey in the Middle – is the perfect answer for the future of Realtors – GOVERNMENT MONEY!!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  7. MIssy Caulk

    July 1, 2009 at 9:51 am

    This bill is NOTHING more than an increase in Gov’t intervention into our lives. NOTHING.

    Why was the EPA Research Scientist hushed up when he said we are not global warming but global cooling.

    I just finished Atlas Shrugged, the longest book I have ever read except for the Bible. It took me a month, and I normally read 3 books a week. Yea I know…lame but I love to read.

    This bill was larger than that.

    In the name of “change” is this what folks wanted. Al Gore will be a billionaire, so will the electric companies.

    They will set a standard for my house, IF I go over that and I do when my kids are home and leave T.V.s on every night I will pay triple from my normal cap.

    Someday the people will wake up and realize they have been duped but to what expense.

    All I can say is IF NAR is supporting this……..god help us.

  8. Brian Brady

    July 2, 2009 at 12:07 am

    “such retrofits not shall not be used to justify any increase in rents charged to residents of such housing; and”

    Beautiful! Tacit rent control provisions combined with mandatory capital investment. Show me a company on the NYSE with the inability to raise prices and a government regulation to retool its plants so can short it.

  9. Jay Thompson

    July 2, 2009 at 10:03 am


    One step closer to Socialism for the country, one step closer to Libertarianism for me.

  10. Henderson NV Homes

    March 2, 2010 at 4:32 am

    That’s a very good point. Why would NAR support this. Sounds like there’s some under the table negations taking place behind closed doors. It never surprises me how one day a senator will be against something, then without any provisions to the original bill, all of a sudden they’re on-board. Man, it sickens me when I think about how we let these bureaucrats play with the future of our economy. Nice comment Jay, libertarianism all the way.

  11. Patrick Flynn

    March 2, 2010 at 10:00 am

    WOW Jim-This is some great research! I’d have to agree with Lani…except for the cereal part…about how this looks and feels like more G’ment control.

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