$400 Million Drop in This Company’s Stock Could Signal Trouble for the Housing Market

(z), which runs brands such as Trulia and StreetEasy, reported positive figures for unique monthly web traffic to its sites and beat revenue and adjusted earnings estimates, but investors seem to be more focused on potential trouble on the horizon for Zillow, but also the housing market in general.

The housing market had a very strong 2016, but cooled off a bit as the year closed out. There were 5.45 million sales of existing-homes last year, the highest level since 2006, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. But existing-home sales fell 2.8% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million. The regression meant total sales only rose 0.7% from the previous year.

Part of the December decline can be linked to a drop in housing inventory, which fell 10.8% in December to 1.65 million homes on the market, the lowest level since NAR started tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. That drove the average sales price of a home in the U.S. up year-over-year for the 58th consecutive month to $232,200. The ever-rising prices will likely serve to push many buyers out of the market, and thus hurt Zillow’s bottom line.

If the Federal Reserve manages to raise interest rates this year, as it has indicated it would like to do, then that would certainly be another hit to the housing market. Higher mortgage rates would tack on another layer of cost to housing prices that already appear to be getting too high for many. And with the uncertainty that Donald Trump’s presidency brings, the housing market may be one of the first dominoes to fall if the economy turns south.

Jeff Hoffman appointed to national real estate board

Milwaukee real estate broker Jeff Hoffman, a partner with Cushman Wakefield | The Boerke Company, has been named to an advisory board for the National Association of Realtors.

Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman

Hoffman, who chairs the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin, will serve on the Commercial Legislation and Regulatory Advisory Board of the National Association of Realtors.

The board is responsible for developing, communicating and advocating public policy on behalf of NAR’s 80,000 commercial members.

“This appointment is in recognition of Jeff’s extensive knowledge about commercial real estate policy,” said Tracy Johnson, CARW president and chief executive officer.  “It is also acknowledgement of the importance of Wisconsin’s commercial real estate market at the national level.”

Hoffman has been involved in commercial real estate since 2000 and joined Boerke in 2014 as a partner where he and Chad Vande Zande co-chair the Industrial Services practice. In 2016, the Hoffman and Vande Zande completed $147 million in transaction volume encompassing 3.15 million square feet of space.

The national appointment runs through February 2018.

Ellen Mitchel Elected 2017 Broward President of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS

The MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI) has elected Ellen Mitchel, CRS, CDPE as its 2017 Broward Council president.

Miami, FL (PRWEB) February 08, 2017

The MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI) has elected Ellen Mitchel, CRS, CDPE as its 2017 Broward Council president. She and the entire Board of Directors were installed Feb. 3 during MIAMI’s 2017 Inaugural and Awards Celebration at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel Casino.

The Broward Council is dedicated to leadership, the real estate profession and the communities they serve. Broward leaders impact key policy decisions and stay informed about important issues affecting the industry. With 45,000 members, MIAMI is the largest local Realtor association in the nation.

“MIAMI membership has risen steadily in Broward County, and now includes more than 11,000 members,” Mitchel said. “As 2017 Broward Council leadership, we look forward to staying active and visible in local real estate issues while promoting South Florida real estate.”

Mitchel is the owner and co-founder of RE/MAX Executive Realty in Downtown Hollywood. She co-founded the firm in 2001. She works with home buyers, sellers and investors from around the world and has a dynamic team that is multilingual (Spanish, German, Russian, Polish and French).

In addition to her volunteer work with MIAMI, Mitchel serves as a director for Florida Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. She was inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame, The Chairman’s Club and The Master Broker’s Forum. She also volunteers for Broward Outreach Center and Children’s Miracle Network among others.

Ellen is a wife and mother of a blended family of seven. She is very active in the community where she lives, works and plays. Ellen enjoys horseback riding, boating, reading, playing with her three rescue pups and spending time with her family.

Announcing the 2017 Broward County Board of Governors

Joining Mitchel are: Broward President-Elect Patricia C. Anglero of Galleria International Realty; 2016 Broward President Donna Reid, AHWD of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate; Governor Israel V. Ameijeiras, CRS, CRB, SFR of LMG Realty, Inc.; Governor Jimmy Branham of The Keyes Company; Governor David Dweck, ABR, CIPS, GRI, MRP of Southeast Regional Realty; Governor Saria Finklestein, CLHMS of Keller Williams Partners Realty; Governor Daniele S. Gordon, SRS of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate; Governor Jonathan Keith of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate; Governor Nathan Klutznick of The K Company Realty, LLC; Governor Sharon R. Lindblade, CIPS, PMN, PSA of Century 21 Hansen Realty; Governor Neal Oates Jr., CIPS, CLHMS, SFR of World Renowned Real Estate; Governor Thamara Pichardo, ABR, CIPS, GRI, SRS, AHWD of Realty World; Governor Venus Proffer of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate; Governor Patrick Simm, ABR, CRS, GRI, e-PRO of Keller Williams Realty; Governor Audrey Vergez, SFR, CNE, CSMS of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty; Governor Lisa Vizcaino, CDPE, CHS, CRS of Realty World South Florida; Governor Ron Hanks of The Keyes Company, Inc.

Danielle Y. Clermont is Senior VP of Broward, Palm Beach Martin Counties. Deborah Boza-Valledor, CIPS, CRB, CRS, GRI, TRC, RSPS, AHWD, serves as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer for MIAMI. Teresa King Kinney serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the organization.

About the MIAMI Association of REALTORS®

The MIAMI Association of REALTORS® was chartered by the National Association of Realtors in 1920 and is celebrating 97 years of service to Realtors, the buying and selling public, and the communities in South Florida. Comprised of six organizations, the Residential Association, the Realtors Commercial Alliance, the Broward Council, the Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound (JTHS) Council, the Young Professionals Network (YPN) Council and the award-winning International Council, it represents nearly 45,000 real estate professionals in all aspects of real estate sales, marketing, and brokerage. It is the largest local Realtor association in the U.S., and has official partnerships with 160 international organizations worldwide. MIAMI’s official website is http://www.miamire.com

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Realtors ask Trump to reinstate FHA mortgage insurance premium cut

The National Association of Realtors believes that the Trump administration’s recent decision to suspend a reduction in the Federal Housing Administration’s annual mortgage premiums will keep as many as 40,000 potential homebuyers from becoming actual homebuyers in 2017, and wants the premium cut reinstated “as soon as possible,” the trade organization said last week.

In one of the Trump administration’s first actions after President Donald Trump took the oath of office, the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs suspended a cut to the FHA’s mortgage insurance premiums, which was announced by the outgoing Obama administration in early January.

The cut had not taken effect when the Trump administration announced its intention to suspend the MI premium reduction, but in a letter addressed to Ben Carson, Trump’s choice to lead HUD, NAR said that the suspension of the FHA mortgage insurance premium cut caused “uncertainty and confusion” in the housing market and cost many consumers the opportunity to buy a home this year.

“NAR estimates that the premium reduction would have reduced costs for 750,000 to 850,000 homebuyers in 2017 with mortgages backed by the FHA. In addition, it would have made homeownership possible for an additional 30,000 to 40,000 homebuyers,” the trade organization said in its letter to Carson.

“The suspension of the premium reduction has created uncertainty and confusion for a significant number of borrowers, sellers, lenders and underwriters who entered into a new or refinance mortgage transaction in reliance on the reduced rates,” NAR continued. “These borrowers must face an increase in the cost of their loans and some may no longer qualify to purchase the home they intended to buy due to the increase in the premium rates.”

When the Obama administration announced the MI premium cut, some observers argued that the cut would put the FHA’s flagship fund, the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, in danger of becoming depleted again.

“It seems the Obama administration’s parting gift to hardworking taxpayers is to put them at greater risk of footing the bill for yet another bailout,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said at the time.

As Hensarling noted, the FHA needed a $1.7 billion bailout in 2013, due to the significant shortages in the FHA’s MMI Fund, but the fund then turned in four years of growth, exceeding its Congressionally mandated target in each of the last two fiscal years.

In its letter, NAR said that suspending the premium cut will have an impact the FHA’s MMI fund as well.

“The last FHA premium cut helped to shore up the FHA’s books and restore the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund’s capital ratio above the statutory 2% level,” NAR writes. “Lower fees helped FHA to retain better borrowers from refinancing to private mortgage insurers who had re-entered the market, but more importantly, it helped to improve affordability allowing many previously sidelined borrowers to qualify for a home purchase.”

NAR argues that while bringing the MI premium cut back will reduce the FHA fund’s economic value, that decline will be made up by the expected increase in FHA lending going forward.

Additionally, NAR also asks for the FHA to suspend its life-of-the-loan policy, which stipulates that borrowers whose loans exceed 90% loan-to-value ratio at origination must maintain mortgage insurance throughout their entire loan term, regardless of the loan’s current LTV ratio.

“Once a borrower reaches 78% LTV, there is sufficient equity in that home that even if the homeowner eventually defaults, the value of the home in combination with the premiums paid in advance will cover any losses to the MMIF,” NAR writes.

“Why should FHA borrowers be denied the same relief from excess insurance? The life of loan premium essentially penalizes any homebuyer without the means to put down a larger down payment,” NAR continues. “Eliminating the life of loan requirement will reduce the borrower’s monthly payments, providing with them more cash on hand so they may better withstand economic shocks and thereby reduce defaults.”

NAR asks the FHA to allow for cancelation of annual mortgage insurance premiums for all borrowers that reach 78% LTV, as long as the borrower paid the annual mortgage insurance premiums for at least five years.

“NAR urges FHA to reinstate the 25 basis point premium reduction and remove the life of loan premium as soon as possible,” NAR concludes. “Homeownership is a key element of the American Dream and FHA makes that dream possible for millions of Americans. We look forward to working with this Administration to ensure FHA’s continued health and necessary participation in the housing market.”

Hudson Gateway Realtors Merge with Manhattan Association

The Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS® is beginning its outreach to real estate professionals throughout Manhattan now that it has merged with the Manhattan Association of REALTORS®.

The merger became official on Jan. 1 after it was approved by HGAR, MANAR and the National Association of REALTORS®.

The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing over 1.1 million members, involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. These agents, brokers and property managers belong to more than 1,200 local associations and 54 state and territory associations. Members of these groups are known as “REALTORS®.”

“What sets REALTORS® apart from any other real estate professionals is their adherence to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice,” Richard Haggerty, HGAR CEO, said in the announcement. “Not everyone in the real estate industry is a REALTOR® and now we can offer that opportunity to thousands of real estate agents and brokers doing business in Manhattan.”

Haggerty said the merger deal began earlier this year when chief officials of MANAR approached the organization about a possible merger. After discussions with MANAR and with HGAR’s Board of Directors, negotiations were initiated, leading to the merger. Both HGAR and MANAR have subsidiary Multiple Listing Services and the plan of merger also calls for an eventual merger of the two MLS’s.

The Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS® is a not-for-profit trade association covering some 10,300 real estate professionals doing business in the lower Hudson Valley and now Manhattan.

It is the second largest REALTOR® Association in New York, and one of the largest in the country. The Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, owned and operated by HGAR, offers some 24,000 properties in the Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties. It is among the top 50 largest MLSs in the country.

For information about joining the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®, please visit www.HGAR.com.

3 Tips For Snagging A Spot On Realtor Magazine’s 30 Under 30

If you are in your 20s, the National Association of Realtors’ 30 Under 30 award, featured in Realtor Magazine, is a phenomenal honor to strive for.

The first time I applied, I had personally sold over 300 homes and my team was just shy of 1,000. Those are good numbers! I was a shoe-in.

Notice that I said, “first time I applied.” Yeah, that’s because I didn’t get the award the first time I applied.

I assumed my success was enough, so when I found out I wasn’t a recipient, I was pretty shocked (and, honestly, a bit pissed off).

If you know me, you know I’m highly competitive, so I took my frustration from losing and let it fuel my ambition.

I realized I couldn’t just bank on the fact I had an outstanding business. I had to go full-throttle. Here are the three things you should do if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Do your research

The NAR website has bios and stats on all the 30 Under 30 alumni.

Read through them. Take a look at each honoree and consider what is highlighted. Many of them do work in their community, hold leadership positions in professional groups, or have a unique marketing technique.

If there is an honoree who lives in your area, give that person a call and see if you can pick his or her brain. It’s even better if you know someone who can introduce you.

Honorees are a tremendous help and can provide you with their personal tips and tricks. The bonus of connecting with a former honoree is that you get to do a little networking. Their insight is invaluable and your connection to them may be beneficial in the future.

Doing your research can give you a leg up when it comes to applying. Use the information you obtain to help you craft a more thorough and thoughtful application

Think beyond the numbers

It’s not all about gross commission, sales volume or units.

Sure, being a top producer is helpful, but there are thousands of top producers. It’s likely that there will be agents who have sold more volume or have more transactions than you.

Think about it like a college application — it’s not just about good grades. Don’t put all your eggs in the numbers basket. You’re gonna need more than that.

Funny thing is, I actually had better numbers the first year I applied than the year I received the award.

Questions to ask as you fill out the application include:

  • What sets you apart from the crowd?
  • How do you positively reflect the real estate industry?
  • What are you doing that others are not?
  • What is your specialty — referrals, leveraging social media, community service, innovation?
  • What are you doing outside of buying and selling homes?
  • Who are you helping? How are you helping? How are you giving back?

For me, it was the infamous pizza box (I even sent the judging committee the pizza boxes). I had a robust and repeat referral business because I focused on exceptional and unique client service.

I had also recently started SkySlope, a digital solution to transaction management. It was in its infancy at the time, but it illustrated that I was an innovator in the real estate sphere.

Bottom line: You need a compelling story to help you stand out from the crowd.

Let others tell your story

Although they are not required, do not overlook letters of recommendation. A generic endorsement won’t hurt you, while a glowing review from a respected colleague or mentor can make all the difference.

I recommend selecting two people who care about you and can speak highly of you. Explain what you are applying for. Anyone you ask should be more than willing to vouch for your real estate acumen.

And to give them a leg up, you can provide them with some points in regards to what you would like them to mention. This is going to give even more credibility and support to the rest of your application.

Being named top 30 Under 30 is truly an honor — but don’t think that it’s going to drastically change your world. For many, the recognition is given to people who already have an excellent book of business.

No one is going to use you simply because you were named as one of the 30 Under 30. Sure, it’s another credit to hang your hat on, but it doesn’t come with the promise of more business.

Personally, the biggest takeaway was the relationships that I made with the other recipients. I still keep in touch with friends I made — and to me, that’s priceless.

Tyler Smith is founder and CEO of SkySlope. You can follow him on Twitter or on his blog.

Email Tyler Smith.

Realtors Association of Maui Gifts 60 ʻUkuleles to Boys & Girls Club

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      Members of the Realtors Association of Maui delivered 60 newly purchased ʻukuleles to the Boys Girls Clubs of Maui Central Clubhouse in Kahului on Wednesday, Jan. 25, as part of a yearlong ʻukulele drive sponsored by RAM.

      The ʻukulele drive, which is still ongoing, is part of a national fundraising initiative launched by the National Association of Realtors. In 2016, NAR and the Boys Girls Clubs of America joined forces in an effort to support youth and strengthen communities across the country.

      In accordance with the national campaign, RAM member Moana Andersen, who also served as the president of the Hawaiʻi Association of Realtors, kicked off the ʻukulele drive at one of RAM’s general membership meetings last year. Andersen said RAM members were eager to donate the funds to purchase 60 top-of-the-line ʻukuleles and ʻukulele cases from the Mele ʻUkulele retail store in Wailuku. “It only took one ‘ask’ to get the funds for these instruments,” she said. “RAM’s generosity is already evident through its scholarship program for college-bound students—this was one more way for RAM to give back to the youth of Maui County,” said Andersen.

      NAR, which represents more than one million real estate professionals nationwide, decided to partner with Boys Girls Clubs of America last year in recognition of the organization’s lasting impact in communities across the country.

      For more than a century, the Boys Girls Clubs of America has provided a home away from home for millions of young people. There are currently more than 4,100 clubs serving nearly four million kids each year through club membership and community outreach.

      Maui County’s six clubs, collectively known as the Boys Girls Clubs of Maui, serve more than 9,000 young people annually through after school and summer programs. Club members between the ages of 9 and 17 years old (some clubs serve kids as young as six) can do homework, develop social skills, express themselves creatively and participate in sports—all in a safe place. And now they can play music there, too.

      “Kids learn so much when they have music in their lives,” Andersen said. “I can tell you from experience that a musical instrument creates so many opportunities. Everyone should have one.”

      That’s why the purchase of the 60 ʻukuleles was just the beginning, she said. Andersen plans to continue fundraising until she can purchase an additional 240 ʻukuleles. “My goal is to have 50 ʻukuleles at each of the six clubs in Maui County,” she said. “I know it’s a big wish list, but it’s doable. With the community’s support, I know we can make it happen.”

      For more information about the ʻukulele drive or to make a donation, call Andersen at (808) 283-1775. To learn more about the Realtors Association of Maui, visit www.RAMaui.com.

      (L to R) Mele ʻUkulele owner Cheryl Rock and Realtors Association of Maui member Moana Andersen

      (L to R) Realtors Association of Maui member Moana Andersen and Boys Girls Clubs of Maui CEO Kelly Pearson

      Boys and Girls Clubs of Maui Central Clubhouse.

    Realtors ask Trump to reinstate FHA mortgage insurance premium …

    The National Association of Realtors believes that the Trump administration’s recent decision to suspend a reduction in the Federal Housing Administration’s annual mortgage premiums will keep as many as 40,000 potential homebuyers from becoming actual homebuyers in 2017, and wants the premium cut reinstated “as soon as possible,” the trade organization said last week.

    In one of the Trump administration’s first actions after President Donald Trump took the oath of office, the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs suspended a cut to the FHA’s mortgage insurance premiums, which was announced by the outgoing Obama administration in early January.

    The cut had not taken effect when the Trump administration announced its intention to suspend the MI premium reduction, but in a letter addressed to Ben Carson, Trump’s choice to lead HUD, NAR said that the suspension of the FHA mortgage insurance premium cut caused “uncertainty and confusion” in the housing market and cost many consumers the opportunity to buy a home this year.

    “NAR estimates that the premium reduction would have reduced costs for 750,000 to 850,000 homebuyers in 2017 with mortgages backed by the FHA. In addition, it would have made homeownership possible for an additional 30,000 to 40,000 homebuyers,” the trade organization said in its letter to Carson.

    “The suspension of the premium reduction has created uncertainty and confusion for a significant number of borrowers, sellers, lenders and underwriters who entered into a new or refinance mortgage transaction in reliance on the reduced rates,” NAR continued. “These borrowers must face an increase in the cost of their loans and some may no longer qualify to purchase the home they intended to buy due to the increase in the premium rates.”

    When the Obama administration announced the MI premium cut, some observers argued that the cut would put the FHA’s flagship fund, the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, in danger of becoming depleted again.

    “It seems the Obama administration’s parting gift to hardworking taxpayers is to put them at greater risk of footing the bill for yet another bailout,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said at the time.

    As Hensarling noted, the FHA needed a $1.7 billion bailout in 2013, due to the significant shortages in the FHA’s MMI Fund, but the fund then turned in four years of growth, exceeding its Congressionally mandated target in each of the last two fiscal years.

    In its letter, NAR said that suspending the premium cut will have an impact the FHA’s MMI fund as well.

    “The last FHA premium cut helped to shore up the FHA’s books and restore the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund’s capital ratio above the statutory 2% level,” NAR writes. “Lower fees helped FHA to retain better borrowers from refinancing to private mortgage insurers who had re-entered the market, but more importantly, it helped to improve affordability allowing many previously sidelined borrowers to qualify for a home purchase.”

    NAR argues that while bringing the MI premium cut back will reduce the FHA fund’s economic value, that decline will be made up by the expected increase in FHA lending going forward.

    Additionally, NAR also asks for the FHA to suspend its life-of-the-loan policy, which stipulates that borrowers whose loans exceed 90% loan-to-value ratio at origination must maintain mortgage insurance throughout their entire loan term, regardless of the loan’s current LTV ratio.

    “Once a borrower reaches 78% LTV, there is sufficient equity in that home that even if the homeowner eventually defaults, the value of the home in combination with the premiums paid in advance will cover any losses to the MMIF,” NAR writes.

    “Why should FHA borrowers be denied the same relief from excess insurance? The life of loan premium essentially penalizes any homebuyer without the means to put down a larger down payment,” NAR continues. “Eliminating the life of loan requirement will reduce the borrower’s monthly payments, providing with them more cash on hand so they may better withstand economic shocks and thereby reduce defaults.”

    NAR asks the FHA to allow for cancelation of annual mortgage insurance premiums for all borrowers that reach 78% LTV, as long as the borrower paid the annual mortgage insurance premiums for at least five years.

    “NAR urges FHA to reinstate the 25 basis point premium reduction and remove the life of loan premium as soon as possible,” NAR concludes. “Homeownership is a key element of the American Dream and FHA makes that dream possible for millions of Americans. We look forward to working with this Administration to ensure FHA’s continued health and necessary participation in the housing market.”

    Health Care Reform in a New Political Landscape

    With the 2016 election behind us, how the incoming administration and new Congress will govern will be closely watched, especially when it comes to health care reform.

    Lawmakers have been either defending or fighting against the Affordable Care Act since it was enacted in 2010. With Republicans controlling both Houses of Congress and the administration, health care reform is imminent, but details of replacement plans are unclear, remaining of significant interest to consumers, the self-employed, small and large employers, insurers, and those advocating on behalf of these groups, including the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

    For example, while repeal of the individual and employer mandate is favored by many, without a strong inducement to influence the purchase of insurance, only those with health problems may obtain coverage. This increases costs for all participants, as the high demand for care and payment of claims outweighs offsetting revenue provided by healthy enrollees filing fewer and less expensive claims. How will consumers handle such costs? Additionally, if revenue-generating taxes are repealed, how will individuals’ (and insurers’) financial incentives to participate be covered? Another concern is how long transition to a new system will be and whether insurers will continue to offer coverage in the interim.

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    While lawmakers have wrestled with these uncertainties, NAR has adopted essential health care advocacy principles that center on providing affordable, quality coverage to self-employed and small employers purchasing in the individual and small group insurance markets. The following health care policies have guided NAR’s advocacy efforts in the health care debate through the years:

    1. The nation and its health care system are best served by having all citizens covered by health insurance.
    1. Health care coverage and/or insurance should be made available to all.
    1. Individuals should have health care coverage that is continuous.
    1. Individuals should be able to choose their preferred health insurance plan from an array of options that offer a variety of covered services and policy costs.
    1. Health care coverage should enhance health and well-being by providing preventive health and chronic disease management services.
    1. The health care delivery system must provide cost-effective, quality care in an efficient and timely manner in order to be affordable and sustainable for society. Cost containment must be a component of any reform effort.
    1. A “single payer” health care system where the government pays for and allocates health care services should not be implemented.
    1. Employers should not be required to offer employee health insurance programs.

    Access and affordability are top priorities for REALTORS® who are primarily independent contractors paying out of pocket for coverage or are on a spouse, partner, or family plan. NAR is therefore cautious of any proposal that would make it more expensive to obtain health insurance and supports reforms that increase the availability of a variety of reasonable insurance options.

    With many real estate professionals falling in the baby boomer generation, maintaining protections for pre-existing conditions, ensuring coverage for preventive health and chronic disease services and prioritizing fiscal accountability are essential in any health care reform initiative in order to reduce overall health care expenditures and improve welfare.

    Realty firms, like other small businesses, also face financial difficulties when it comes to regulatory compliance and searching for affordable coverage for employees. Reducing unnecessary regulations, promoting affordable credit opportunities and allowing states to merge individual and small group markets will result in reduced overhead costs, greater competition and increased flexibility for self-employed and employer-provided benefits.

    As the health care reform debate continues, NAR will strongly advocate for the aforementioned principles that promote universal access to high-quality, affordable insurance options and remove burdensome regulations that drive up costs. As a leading representative of independent contractors and small- and large-firm interests, NAR will fight for common-sense reforms that address ongoing issues impacting members’ health care needs.

    Christie DeSanctis is a policy representative for Business Issues at the National Association of REALTORS®.

    This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group.

    For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

    For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

    NAR Infographic: Groundhog Day and Real Estate – PR Newswire

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