What President Trump’s Tax Proposal Means For The Housing Market And The Value Of Your Home

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn(L) and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin take questions about tax cuts and reform during a briefing at the White House April 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Wednesday afternoon the White House released what it is calling a “first draft” of President Donald Trump’s promised tax-cut plan. The outline, which fits on a single page, largely adheres to pledges Trump made on the campaign trail, as well as to the details that have slipped out in the frenzied days leading up to the announcement.

The release does confirm that the president would like to preserve the home mortgage interest deduction, while doubling the standard deduction—two points of particular interest to homeowners, buyers and the real estate industry at large.

As it stands now homeowners can deduct interest paid on mortgages with values up to $1.1 million. This deduction lowers the amount of income a person needs to pay tax on and, in effect, lowers the cost of owning a home. (It was not immediately clear if Trump intends to change the cap.) In 2014, 32 million people claimed $279 billion in mortgage interest deductions. That’s about $8,718 in deductions each for a savings of $2,173, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The mortgage interest deduction is one of just two the proposal promises to protect. The other is for charitable donations. Both popular deductions can only be taken if a taxpayer itemizes. If not they take the standard deduction, which for an individual was $6,300 in 2016 and is adjusted annually for inflation. Under the proposal the 2016 deduction would have been $12,600.

While on the surface maintaining the mortgage deduction might sound like good news for the home-buying industry, real estate agents and home builders are not pleased.

In a statement released shortly after the proposal was made public the National Association of Realtors argued that increasing the standard deduction and erasing other deductions would “effectively nullify the current tax benefits of owning a home” for most people.

“The mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction make home ownership more affordable, while 1031 like-kind exchanges help investors keep inventory on the market and money flowing to local communities,” said NAR President William Brown. “Those tax incentives are at risk in the tax plan released today. Current homeowners could very well see their home’s value plummet and their equity evaporate if tax reform nullifies or eliminates the tax incentives they depend upon, while prospective homebuyers will see that dream pushed further out of reach.

National Association of Home Builders Chairman Granger MacDonald echoed this sentiment. Noting that “doubling the standard deduction could severely marginalize the mortgage interest deduction, which would reduce housing demand and lead to lower home values.”

More broadly, in a conversation last week Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at home search site Trulia, pointed out that tax cuts tend to increase housing demand. “Any time there are tax cuts and home buyers have more money in their pocket, some of that money they are more likely to dedicate to housing.”

Related from Forbes: 

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Calls Trump’s Tax Reform Plan ‘Biggest Tax Cut In History’

Under New Trump Tax Plan, We’ll All Become Freelancers

Trump’s Tax Plan Is Even More Dangerous Than It Sounded

About Those Huge Tax Receipts Secretary Mnuchin Mentioned…

How President Trump Could Affect The Value Of Your Home

Homeownership in the Crosshairs of Latest Tax Plan, Say Realtors®

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Major reforms are needed to lower tax rates and simplify the tax code, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of current and prospective homeowners. That’s according to National Association of Realtors® President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties.

Brown said that while the President’s tax proposal released today is well-intentioned, it’s a non-starter for homeowners and real estate professionals who see the benefits of housing and real estate investment at work every day.  By doubling the standard deduction and repealing the state and local tax deduction, the plan would effectively nullify the current tax benefits of owning a home for the vast majority of tax filers. In light of the plan’s release, Brown issued the following statement:

NAR President, William E. Brown (PRNewsFoto/National Association of Realtors)

NAR President, William E. Brown (PRNewsFoto/National Association of Realtors)


“For over a century, America has committed itself to homeownership with targeted tax incentives that help lower- and middle-class families purchase what is likely their largest asset. No surprise, real estate now accounts for over 19 percent of America’s gross domestic product, or more than $3 trillion in investment.

“But for roughly 75 million homeowners across the country, their home is more than just a number. It represents their ambitions, their nest egg, and the place where memories are made with family and friends. 

“Targeted tax incentives are in place to help people get there. The mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction make homeownership more affordable, while 1031 like-kind exchanges help investors keep inventory on the market and money flowing to local communities.

“Those tax incentives are at risk in the tax plan released today. Current homeowners could very well see their home’s value plummet and their equity evaporate if tax reform nullifies or eliminates the tax incentives they depend upon, while prospective homebuyers will see that dream pushed further out of reach. As it stands, homeowners already pay between 80 and 90 percent of U.S. federal income tax. Without tax incentives for homeownership, those numbers could rise even further. And while we appreciate the Administration’s stated commitment to protecting homeownership, this plan does anything but.”

“Homeowners put their hard-earned money on the line to make an investment in themselves and their communities, and it’s on them to protect that investment. Common sense says owning a home isn’t the same as renting one, and American’s tax code shouldn’t treat those activities the same either.                              

“Realtors® support tax reform, and it’s encouraging to see leaders in Washington doing their part to get there. We believe tax rates should come down to the degree that sound fiscal policy allows, and simplifying the tax code will help ensure fairness and transparency for individual taxpayers. It’s a goal we share with the authors of this tax plan, but getting there by eliminating the incentives for homeownership is the wrong approach. We look forward to working with leaders in Congress and the administration to reform the tax code, while preserving America’s long-held commitment to homeownership.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the “News, Blogs and Video” tab on the website. 

 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/homeownership-in-the-crosshairs-of-latest-tax-plan-say-realtors-300446570.html

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

Related Links

http://www.realtor.org

National Association of Realtor’s REach Accelerator Program Welcomes Pearl Certification into Prestigious 2017 Class

VIENNA, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) announced on Thursday that Virginia-based Pearl Certification will be participating in the prestigious REach® technology accelerator program. The 2017 REach® selection process was particularly competitive, as Pearl was one of only seven firms to be chosen from hundreds of innovative companies that applied.

Pearl offers a high-performing home certification that enables homeowners to recoup the value of investments in energy efficient features when they sell their home. The company also works with builders to certify new home construction.

“The REach® program will provide a tremendous boost to Pearl, enhancing our ability to bring our home certification benefits to homeowners and helping us to engage real estate agents from across the U.S.,” said Pearl CEO and co-founder Cynthia Adams.

2016 home sales were 5.5 million strong, with consumer demand for energy-efficient, high-performing homes continuing to grow. Pearl hopes to capture 20 percent of those transactions through certification of the homes’ high-performing features.

Each year, the National Association of Realtors® strategic investment arm, Second Century Ventures (SCV), selects a small number of applicants to participate in its REach® program. REach® companies receive extensive mentorship and support as well as access to new channels to engage NAR’s million-plus members.

“SCV is unique in its ability to leverage NAR’s industry connections and insights, which position REach® companies for ultimate success. This year’s class has tremendous potential to benefit Realtors® and the clients they serve, well into the future,” said Dale Stinton, president of SCV and NAR CEO.

Local home sellers are already experiencing the benefits of Pearl certification. One Herndon, Virginia property received a Pearl Silver Certification and sold for $36,000 more than the listing price with six offers. “Having the home Pearl Certified made a big difference for this home,” said the listing agent Julie Hawkins of KellerWilliams Realty-Dulles. “Buyers saw the Pearl report and wanted to know more. It was also very helpful in making sure we got the appraisal we needed.”

“I certify all of the high-performing homes I list – new and existing. Pearl verifies their high-performing features, provides great marketing materials and helps attract and educate buyers,” said Greg Slater, Nest Realty agent and former president of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors.

“The REach® program opens doors to the most influential and experienced real estate professionals in the U.S.,” said Robin LeBaron, co-founder and president/COO of Pearl. “REach® will help Pearl position itself as a leading national certification standard for high-performing homes.”

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170426005104/en/

US existing home sales surge in March, reaching highs not seen since 2007

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A real estate agent shows a home to a prospective buyer in Miami.


U.S. home resales rose more than expected in March to the highest level in more than a decade, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced on Friday.

Existing home sales climbed 4.4 percent for the month, while economists were expecting a smaller increase of 2.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

Sales have now increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million units as of last month, the NAR said. This is the highest level the gauge has seen since February 2007.

While the number of homes on the market rose 5.8 percent to 1.83 million units last month, housing inventory was down 6.6 percent from one year ago, implying that demand is outweighing supply.



Mortgage payment


Properties typically remained on the market for 34 days in March, compared to 45 days in February, the NAR added.

“The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month,” Lawrence Yun, a chief economist for the industry group, said in a statement. “Sales will go up as long as inventory does.”

U.S. home resales fell more than expected in February amid a shortage of houses on the market, which pushed prices up and sidelined potential buyers. The NAR reported February existing home sales declined 3.7 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million units.

Prior to that data being released, January’s sales pace remained unchanged at 5.69 million units.

The NAR’s existing home sales data measures sales and prices of existing single-family homes for the nation overall, providing breakdowns for the West, Midwest, South and Northeast regions of the U.S. These figures also include condos and co-ops.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

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What’s the biggest issue for Realtors right now? Lack of homes for sale

In Nevada, Idaho and Utah in March, companies were hiring and people were finding jobs; non-farm employment was 3 percentage points to 4 percentage points higher this year than in 2016.

So it’s no shock that those states were all in the “strong” or “very strong” buyer traffic sections of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR’s) latest Realtors Confidence Index report, which surveys 50,000 Realtors every month; 2,703 Realtors responded to March’s survey, and 1,484 of those respondents had closed a sale.

And it’s likely no surprise that those Realtors said the biggest challenge they faced in March was — wait for it — a lack of homes for sale.

Job growth means people want to buy homes

In March, 32 percent of homebuyers were first-time homebuyers, according to NAR. “Amid sustained job creation, the share of first-time homebuyers has been on a modest rise, up from 29 percent in 2014,” the report stated.

Nonfarm employment growth from March 2016 to 2017.

Nonfarm employment growth from March 2016 to 2017.

The buyer traffic index shows moderate, strong or very strong buyer demand in every state except Wyoming, where buyer demand is weak.

The buyer traffic index for March 2017.

The buyer traffic index for March 2017.

“Nationally, employment rose 1.6 percent in February 2017 compared to February 2016,” noted NAR in a blog post.

Employment did contract in a few states — “the oil-producing states of Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi, as well as in West Virginia,” according to NAR’s blog post.

… But sellers aren’t stepping up

“Respondents reported that demand is strong, but supply is lacking, especially homes that are affordable to buyers,” said NAR in its report.

The seller traffic index shows strong seller traffic in Louisiana, and it shows moderate seller traffic in North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and West Virginia — all states in which employment did not grow during March.

The seller traffic index for March 2017.

The seller traffic index for March 2017.

“In some of these states, the job cutbacks have led to ‘moderate’ seller traffic conditions,” NAR stated in its blog post. “Texas, which has a more diversified economy, has been more resilient than other oil-producing states, with employment growing slightly above the national average.”

There are also fewer new foreclosures, NAR noted, calculating that distressed properties accounted for 6 percent of sales, purchases for investment purposes comprised 15 percent of sales, and cash sales comprised 23 percent of sales.

“Amid tight supply, half of properties that sold in March 2017 were on the market for 34 days or less compared to 47 days in March 2016,” NAR noted in its report.

So there still aren’t enough affordable homes for all the buyers who want to buy, in short.

Haven’t we heard this song before?

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5 HouseLogic Resources for Low-Cost Home Improvements

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Giving a home a fresh, updated look does not have to cost and arm and a leg. This month’s ‘Tiny Change, Big Impact: Cool Looks for Dollar-Store Prices’ spotlight from HouseLogic.com, the comprehensive website for homeowners from the National Association of Realtors®, features four articles and a bonus video offering inexpensive tips and tricks for homeowners on how to renovate and revitalize their home. 

See the whole spotlight at www.houselogic.com/spotlight/tiny-change-home-looks/.

This simple DIY project will transform your kitchen and bathroom to boost return on investment.


Here are some ideas from HouseLogic on how homeowners can make their home look like a million bucks without spending a bundle. 

5 Tricks to Rejuvenate a Run-Down Patio on a Budget. Outdoor living spaces are easy to overlook when it comes to taking on home improvement projects, but there are several quick and easy ways to bring new life to a patio and make spending time outside fun again. Try out HouseLogic’s tricks to update a neglected patio cheaply, including mimicking the appearance of upscale stone on concrete patios with some paint and stamps.

7 Painting Hacks to Get the Look of a Pro – Without the Pro Price.  Do-it-yourself paint jobs do not have to end up full of crooked lines and with paint blotches covering the floor. Follow HouseLogic’s hacks for painting like a professional, such as putting petroleum jelly on screws and hinges to keep them protected from paint smudges.  

10 Cheap Remodeling Ideas That Look Anything But. There is no need to spend a fortune on a large-scale remodel; sometimes small changes or additions can have a huge impact. Check out HouseLogic’s 10 low-cost remodeling suggestions, including installing lightweight urethane medallions to recreate the look of traditional plaster ornaments in turn-of-the-century homes.  

Online Marketplaces to Sell Your Unwanted Stuff. Sometimes the easiest – and cheapest – way to update a home is to get rid of all of the useless stuff taking up space. See HouseLogic’s infographic for ways to exchange your clutter for cash, with suggestions like listing items on social media marketplaces and posting flyers around college campuses.  

DIY Cabinet Knobs. Changing out kitchen cabinet knobs can be a simple DIY to update the look of an entire kitchen or bathroom. Watch HousLogic’s video to see what a difference this small change can make.

For more information on economical and easy home improvement projects, visit HouseLogic.com.

HouseLogic is a free source of information that helps consumers make smart, confident decisions about all aspects of home ownership. Made possible by Realtors®, the site helps owners get the most value and enjoyment from their existing home and helps buyers and sellers make the best deal possible.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.                                                    

Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the “News, Blogs and Videos” tab on the website.  

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/5-houselogic-resources-for-low-cost-home-improvements-300445319.html

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

Related Links

http://www.realtor.org

Pittsburgh housing market outside national trend – Pittsburgh Post

 While home listings have dropped dramatically across the nation over the past five years, making it harder for prospective buyers to find a house, Pittsburgh has actually seen a slight increase, according to data from one real estate website.

The data on housing inventory — the number of homes being listed for sale — comes from real estate website Trulia and was released by the Associated Press, then analyzed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The slight increase in housing inventory means that people looking to buy a home in Pittsburgh should have an easier time than people in other major metropolitan areas, such as Portland or Charlotte. That means that sellers in those markets might get more offers and better ones.

 

“In some markets, there is this cat-and-mouse game, where there are some home sellers who wish to list … but they are afraid that they might not be able to find a home and, therefore, they change their mind and say, ‘I’m not going to list,’” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors. The result is that people who are selling their homes often get multiple offers, and buyers are less likely to be able to negotiate concessions or lower prices.

In Pittsburgh, Mr. Yun said, “There appears to be an equilibrium.”

He said median home prices tend to be lower than the national average in Pittsburgh, and the job numbers he’s seen for Pittsburgh tend often to be around the national averages. He said statistics on housing permits show that new home construction has not declined as much in Pittsburgh as it has in other areas in recent years.

Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist for Trulia, said he thought Pittsburgh might be faring better than other metropolitan areas, in part, because it has a sizable number of vacant homes. “That means that there is a slack in the housing market, so to speak. There’s a cushion for when demand increases,” he said.

 

Mr. McLaughlin, the Trulia economist, said much of their data comes from multiple listing services, which real estate agents use to spread word when houses go on the market. The data, he said, includes single family homes, condos and co-ops. 

The Trulia data is one of many sources that local real estate agents consider when trying to gauge how the market is doing; but they caution that it shouldn’t be considered an absolute source of information.

John Petrack, executive vice president of the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh, said that housing inventories vary greatly within the greater Pittsburgh area and can change quickly. In areas such as Ross and McCandless, the number of houses on the market is relatively low, making it a seller’s market. But along some of the river communities, in Pittsburgh’s West End and most of the South Hills, they have a solid inventory, Mr. Petrack said.

“All real estate is local,” he said.

The Current is a new series that uses data to provide new insight about life in Western Pennsylvania. It will appear every Monday — alternating between sports and news. Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.

US pending home sales surge to ten-month high ahead of spring


WASHINGTON Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes jumped to a 10-month high in February, pointing to robust demand for housing ahead of the busy spring selling season.

The report on Wednesday from the National Association of Realtors suggested higher home prices and mortgage rates were having little impact on the housing market for now, underscoring the economy’s resilience despite an apparent slowdown in growth in the first quarter.

The NAR said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, surged 5.5 percent to 112.3. That was the highest reading since April and the second best showing since May 2006.

“This bodes well for home sales this spring,” said Misa Batcheller, an economic analyst at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Contract signing last month was likely boosted by unseasonably warm temperatures. The gains reversed January’s 2.8 percent drop. Pending home contracts become sales after a month or two, and last month’s surge implied a pickup in home resales after they tumbled 3.7 percent in February.

Economists had forecast pending home sales rising 2.4 percent last month. Pending home sales increased 2.6 percent from a year ago.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data as investors assessed comments from Federal Reserve officials on further interest rate increases this year. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, one of the U.S. central bank’s most consistent supporters of low interest rates, said he supported additional monetary policy tightening this year.

The Fed raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by a quarter percentage point earlier this month and has forecast two more rate hikes this year. The dollar was trading higher against a basket of currencies while U.S. stocks were mixed. U.S. government bond prices rose.

TIGHT INVENTORIES

Demand for housing is being driven by a strong labor market, which is generating wage increases, as it nears full employment. Sales activity, however, remains constrained by tight inventories, which are driving up home prices.

“The good news is that warm winter weather has led to a surge in construction that will hopefully result in a bloom of new homes for sale this spring,” said Joseph Kirchner, senior economist at realtor.com.

A report on Tuesday showed home prices increased 5.7 percent in January on a year-on-year basis. The NAR expects sales of previously owned homes to increase 2.3 percent this year to around 5.57 million units.

Existing homes sales increased 3.8 percent last year. Housing market strength suggests an apparent sharp slowdown in economic growth early in the first quarter is likely temporary.

The Atlanta Fed is forecasting gross domestic product increasing at a 1.0 percent annualized pace in the first quarter. The economy grew at a 1.9 percent rate in the final three months of 2016.

Given labor market strength, economists expect only a modest impact from higher mortgage rates. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is currently at 4.23 percent, below a more than 2-1/2-year high of 4.32 percent hit in December.

In a separate report on Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for home purchase loans rose 1.2 percent last week from the prior week. It was the fourth increase in the past five weeks.

Last month, pending sales of existing homes increased 3.4 percent in the Northeast and jumped 3.1 percent in the West. Contracts surged 11.4 percent in the Midwest and rose 4.3 percent in the South.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

NAR: Personal Safety Company Guard Llama Scores Deal on ABC’s …

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — With an offer of $100,000 from investor Barbara Corcoran, 2015 REach real estate technology accelerator participant and personal safety device company, Guard Llama, is officially a part of “Shark Tank” television history.

Guard Llama offers a mobile personal security system that expedites the 9-1-1 dispatching process when dialing 9-1-1 is not possible. This technology caught the attention of the National Association of Realtors®‘ strategic investment arm, Second Century Ventures, which announced in 2015 that Guard Llama had been added to its growth technology accelerator program known as REach.

NAR President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, congratulated the company on making their case before the Shark Tank panelists. “The Guard Llama team should be proud of their accomplishment,” he said. “Pitching a product is no small task, especially in front of well-known business leaders on national television, but the Guard Llama team did fantastic.”

NAR is committed to the safety and well-being of its members, and established the REALTOR® Safety Program to empower and inform members of the potential risks they face in this profession as well as how to navigate them safely. According to NAR’s 2016 Member Safety Report, while 95 percent of Realtors® have never been the victim of crime, 39 percent have found themselves in situations where they have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information. Smart phone apps and devices are among the popular safety tools for real estate agents.

Guard Llama CEO Joe Parisi said that while the “Shark Tank” experience was intense, the event marked a real opportunity for his company.

“Anytime someone recognizes the value in your product and says they want to put an investment behind it, that’s a good day,” he said. “Having a celebrity businessperson do it on a national stage like “Shark Tank” is just extraordinary. This represented a chance to showcase what Guard Llama is doing to help make the world safer, and we’re looking forward to the good work we have ahead of us.”

Additional information on Guard Llama’s products and services is available on their website, guardllama.com/how-it-works/.  

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the “News, Blogs and Video” tab on the website. 

 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nar-personal-safety-company-guard-llama-scores-deal-on-abcs-shark-tank-300440204.html

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

Related Links

http://www.realtor.org

Maui Now : Realtors PAC Collects $18K in School Supplies for Maui

Realtors Association of Maui member and Wishing Well… for Maui students founder Sarah Sorenson poses with a few of the school supply-filled backpacks donated by attendees of the annual President’s Circle Conference hosted by the National Association of Realtors’ Realtors Political Action Committee.

Hundreds of real estate professionals from towns and cities across the country convened at the Grand Wailea Resort March 5 through 8 for the annual President’s Circle Conference hosted by the National Association of Realtors’ Realtors Political Action Committee.

This year, conference attendees packed a little something extra in their suitcases: backpacks filled with school supplies for students on Maui, Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi.

The idea to collect the school supplies was conceived by Idaho Association of Realtors President Connie Fogle after she learned about the Wishing Well for Maui Students program. Since its inception 10 years ago, the Wishing Well program has collected furniture, school supplies and other items with the goal of improving the educational experiences and opportunities for Maui County’s public school students.

Run entirely by volunteer Realtors Association of Maui members, organizers say the nonprofit organization has contributed more than $1.5 million in goods, services and cash donations to every school in Maui County.

RAM member and Wishing Well founder Sarah Sorenson was one of five recipients of Realtor Magazine’s 2016 Good Neighbor Awards. The awards program honors NAR members across the nation who have made a difference in their communities through volunteer work; Sorenson was the first winner from Hawaiʻi.

Fogle, who was in attendance when Sorenson accepted her Good Neighbor award at a convention in November, successfully rallied support for the Wishing Well program through the President’s Circle Conference. It didn’t take much convincing: Conference attendees donated 133 backpacks filled with $18,000 worth of school supplies—running the gamut from pencils and pink pearl erasers to playground balls and scientific calculators—along with $2,700 in cash and gift cards.

These contributions will go a long way for Maui County students, said Sorenson, who was surprised to learn that the Wishing Well program had been chosen as a beneficiary. “I was shocked,” she said. “I was very honored when I realized this was the first time they’d reached out to a nonprofit.”

Since 1969, the RPAC has promoted the election of pro-Realtor candidates across the US through voluntary contributions made by Realtors. RPAC enables Realtors to support candidates that support the issues that are important to their profession and livelihood. The annual RPAC President’s Circle Conference is intended to provide President’s Circle investors with the opportunity to learn and discuss policy concerns affecting the real estate community.

The Wishing Well program accepts donations year-round. Sorenson said many teachers have requested items that would help them in their classrooms, like office chairs, flat screen televisions, bookcases, gardening tools for school gardens, file cabinets, chairs, carpeting or clean area rugs so students can gather for learning or quiet time.

Organizers say that if anyone is looking to offload any new or gently used household or office items or would like to purchase school supplies for the program, they can call Sorenson at (808) 283-3969. For more information about the Wishing Well for Maui Students program visit them online at www.ILoveMauiSchools.com.