Voices of Real Estate
NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., has released a statement on REALTORS® joining a new coalition to pass patent litigation reform and protect the real estate industry from frivolous lawsuits:
“NAR has joined the United for Patent Reform coalition along with a diverse group of American businesses to pursue comprehensive solutions to abusive patent litigation, which costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars every year.
“As a member of United for Patent Reform, NAR reinforces our efforts to protect Realtors® from so-called patent trolls who can drag unsuspecting real estate professionals into expensive and time-consuming litigation.
“Reform is crucial to our industry because Realtors® have become targets of frivolous patent infringement lawsuits for their everyday business practices such as using scanner-copiers and adding user-friendly online search features to their websites. Many businesses are forced to choose between not offering new features or potentially paying tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and displacing other activities like hiring people, research or expansion.
“Trolls are exploiting the patent system at the expense of Realtors® and other professionals who provide services that fuel the American economy; the problem has grown out of control.
“Along with the United for Patent Reform coalition, NAR will continue to advocate for commonsense patent litigation reform that fosters innovation and investment while benefitting the entire American economy.”
You can read more about the issue and the coalition in Thursday’s Washington Post.
Swanepoel has released its annual “SP 200″, a list of thought leaders that influence, impact, and lead the residential real estate brokerage industry. NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron placed #51 on the list:
Polychron is the 2015 President of NAR. He has served on the NAR’s Board of Directors since 2002, served as President of the Arkansas REALTORS® Association in 2003 and President of the Hot Springs Board of REALTORS® in 1996. He has over 25 years of industry experience and is an Executive Broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Joining Polychron on the list are 8 NAR staff as well as numerous CEOs, and state and local REALTOR® leaders.
You can view the full list here.
Writing an opinion piece for Housing Wire, NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron discusses the Obama administration’s decision to reduce the price of its mortgage insurance by 0.50 percent.
“Realtors support responsible lending to qualified buyers; this is essential for building strong communities.
“This mortgage insurance reduction is not about repeating the mistakes of the past, in which underqualified buyers received loans they could never repay. This 0.5% reduction is a good balance – it is the right policy at the right time.”
Read the full post on the REwired blog.
On Thursday, NAR President Chris Polychron flew to Phoenix, Arizona, as an invited guest to President Barack Obama’s speech on housing and the middle class. Before the speech, Polychron had the opportunity to meet the President one-on-one with a handful of other VIPs. So, what was it like?
“It’s a pretty efficient operation backstage,” said Polychron. “I was in a short line of folks and when my turn came, he knew who I was. I shook his hand and he said ‘You must be happy with how things are going right now.’ I told him ‘Yes, but we still have plenty of important work to do.’ He and I exchanged a few quick thoughts on policy and then I thanked him.”
Polychron is no stranger to meeting presidents, of course. Former President Bill Clinton installed Polychron as NAR President in New Orleans last November. In his own speech, Polychron recalled his first meeting with President Clinton after the former Arkansas governor took the Oval Office – a meeting that ended with Polychron riding with President Clinton to the NAR Midyear event near the White House.
But, this was his first time meeting the current president. Polychron said there were maybe 800 people in the room and a pretty diverse crowd overall, including a lot of students and young folks. “The suits were outnumbered,” Polychron said.
Speaking-wise, he saw Obama’s skills on full display. “He started very relaxed, but by the end, his vocal inflection rose and he really captivated the room. I’ve noticed he likes to lose the jacket when he speaks and even roll up his sleeves. I think that’s symbolic. Not sure I’ve seen a president do that before, at least not as much as he does.
“My impression of him was that he gets us as REALTORS®, and he understands that homeownership is vital to American families and to building wealth through equity. He led off his speech by talking a lot about his family, not just in personal terms, but also tying family stability to economic stability. Overall, I believe he wants to help the middle class and that it’s high on his list. I expect we’ll see these themes reoccur in his State of the Union address.”
NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., has released a statement on President Barack Obama’s housing speech today in Phoenix:
“The National Association of Realtors® applauds new policy initiatives announced today by President Obama that will enable more first-time and underserved homebuyers to enter the housing market while preserving strong underwriting standards and protecting taxpayers from unnecessary risk.
“As the leading advocate for homeowners, Realtors® strongly support the President’s plan to reduce annual mortgage insurance premiums on home loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, which are currently so expensive that in 2014, roughly 234,000 creditworthy borrowers were priced out of the market.
“NAR first raised concerns about the costly premiums in an April 2014 letter to then FHA Commissioner Carol Galante, and we have worked in coordination with advocacy groups and members of Congress to educate the Department of Housing and Urban Development about the critical need to reduce the fees.
“We are optimistic that more affordable FHA loans will have a positive impact on first-time buyers who have been entering the market at a lower than normal rate. Over the past four years, as the fees increased, the percent share of first-time buyers using FHA-backed loans shrank from 56 percent to 39 percent.
“NAR estimates that a reduction in the annual MIP of 0.50 to 0.85 percent from the current 1.35 percent would price-in an additional 1.6 million to 2.1 million renters along with many trade-up buyers, resulting in 90,000 to 140,000 additional annual home purchases.
“The increase in volume of borrowers acquiring FHA-backed loans will also contribute to the solvency of FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund which is already on track to meet the 2 percent excess reserve amount required by Congress.
“NAR is a strong supporter of the FHA and its vital role in the mortgage marketplace for homebuyers. We will continue our work with the administration to help make the dream of homeownership a reality for millions more Americans.
“It was an honor to represent Realtors® and homeowners today in Phoenix and to personally thank the President for his work to make homeownership more accessible and sustainable.”
UPDATE: You can read the full text of the President’s remarks on WhiteHouse.gov.
NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., has released a statement on the House Reauthorization of Federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIA):
“Realtors® applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for prioritizing the reauthorization of the federal terrorism risk insurance program and quickly passing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which authorizes the program for six years. The program lapsed at the end of 2014 after the U.S. Senate failed to reach agreement on the legislation, which provides a crucial framework for economic recovery in the wake of a catastrophic terrorist attack.
“TRIA allows the U.S. to maintain a stable terrorism insurance market so employers can invest in properties and create jobs without assuming the risk and liabilities of a terrorist attack. Additionally, if the program lapse continues, many property owners with existing commercial mortgage balances that require terrorism insurance could be in technical default of their mortgage terms.
“Without timely Senate action, terrorism insurance will become scarce and expensive, causing construction projects to stall, commercial property values to drop and the ongoing economic recovery to slow. Realtors® will continue to work closely with senators and their staff to swiftly reenact TRIA and provide much needed certainty to the market.”
NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., has released a statement on the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to grant the first drone exemption to a real estate professional in the U.S.:
“The FAA has taken a positive step by approving Realtor Doug Trudeau’s application, member of the Tucson Association of REALTORS®, for an exemption to fly an unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) for commercial purposes. Images captured using UAV technology will provide residential and commercial property buyers with more information and visual insights than they’ve ever had before.
“NAR looks forward to the release of the FAA’s proposed regulations for UAVs, but in the meantime, the exemption process is a way for real estate agents to take advantage of the new technology. We are now compiling resources for our members who might want to apply for the Section 333 exemption so that they can legally and safely use UAVs for their real estate businesses. NAR will continue to educate our members about new technology and innovation that can enhance the experience of buying and selling real estate.”
The FAA is developing a regulatory framework that would integrate UAVs into the national airspace, while ensuring safety, privacy and national security. Currently, NAR still recommends that its members not use this technology for any purpose related to selling property, outside of such an exemption.
NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., says Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s new low downpayment program should improve access to credit for responsible buyers.
“NAR applauds Fannie and Freddie’s commitment to homeownership by serving creditworthy borrowers who lack the resources for substantial downpayments plus closing costs with its new downpayment program,” he said. “The new program mitigates risk with strong underwriting and ensures that responsible buyers have access to safe and affordable mortgage credit. Furthermore, NAR believes lenders must do their part to ensure loans are prudently underwritten and are made available to qualified borrowers.”
Read the full press release.
National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron issued the following is a statement on federal terrorism risk insurance:
“The U.S. Senate’s alarming failure to renew the federal terrorism risk insurance program before adjournment will stall commercial real estate development around the country. The Senate missed an opportunity to approve a six-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support.
“TRIA provides a crucial framework for economic recovery in the wake of a catastrophic terrorist attack and allows the U.S. to maintain a stable terrorism insurance market so employers can invest in properties and create jobs without assuming the risk and liabilities of a terrorist attack. Terrorism risk insurance is also a requirement of many existing commercial mortgage balances, so those whose coverage will lapse at the expiration of TRIA will be in technical default of their mortgage terms.
“Without action, terrorism insurance will become scarce and expensive, causing construction projects to stall, commercial property values to drop and the ongoing economic recovery to slow. Realtors® will work closely with Congress in the new year to swiftly reenact TRIA and provide much needed certainty to the market.”
National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron has issued the following statement on key legislation passed by Congress:
“The package of tax extensions approved by the U.S. House and Senate, and headed to the President’s desk for signature, includes important provisions that will help distressed homeowners and commercial property investors with transactions made during 2014. NAR applauds Congressional leaders in both chambers for their effort to pass this legislation before adjournment.
“Realtors® strongly supported the bipartisan Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, which was included in the package to prevent underwater borrowers from paying taxes on any mortgage debt forgiven or cancelled by a lender in a workout or after their home was sold for less money than was owed. We are grateful to Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Reps. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., for championing the provision.
“The legislation also includes one-year extensions of the 15-year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements and the deduction for improvements to energy efficient commercial buildings.”
Chris Polychron: Advocating for Brokers in 2015
Steve A. Brown, NAR’s Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations asks questions to Chris Polychron, a Realtor® for 27 years, who will bring his straight-shooting, passionate brand of advocacy for brokers and Realtors to his role as 2015 NAR President.
FHA actuarial report is a Rorschach test for Washington players
The National Association of Realtors is generally pleased with the implications of the FHA actuarial report and wants the premiums reduced as well.
Housing agency won’t need another bailout
“By lowering its fees, FHA could provide greater access to homeownership for historically underserved groups,” said NAR President Chris Polychron. During the past four years, the percentage share of first-time buyers using FHA-backed loans shrank to 39 percent from 56 percent. “A shift in policy would also increase the volume of borrowers acquiring FHA-backed loans and contribute to the solvency of the MMI Fund,” Polychron said.
Big News for Existing Home Sales: 1st Annual Gain of 2014
“Although distressed sales are trending downward, there are still areas (such as judicial states Florida, Maryland and New York) plagued by foreclosures, and homeowners faced with the awful choice between a tax bill they are unable to pay and losing their home,” says NAR President Chris Polychron. He said that the NAR was continuing to urge the U.S. House to vote on “The Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act.” Passage would extend an expired provision that exempts forgiven mortgage debt from being taxed as income.
REALTORS raise the bar with new code of excellence
“Times have changed, people have changed, and as a result, we as realtors always feel like we need to stay ahead of the curve in what we do as an association,” said Chris Polychron, NAR’s newly installed president. “We felt like we did need additional education and training to go along with our Code of Ethics, and these new policies get at doing just that.”
Why net neutrality matters to real estate
“If the FCC’s proposal went into effect today, new and small businesses, who cannot afford to pay the fees, would instantly be put at a competitive disadvantage,” NAR President Chris Polychron said in a statement.
Housingwire has a story on the Federal Housing Administration and the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund for single-family programs. According to the agency’s report, the financial health of the regulating agency improved dramatically but that it still has a way to go with its finances. The FHA boasted a $21 billion improvement since late 2012, after implementing a series of financing changes.
2015 NAR President Chris Polychron is quoted:
“Now that the MMI Fund is on a path to recovery, NAR urges FHA to lower its annual mortgage insurance premiums and eliminate the requirement that mortgage insurance be held for the life of the loan. Achieving homeownership has become more difficult with current FHA mortgage insurance premiums…NAR estimates that in 2013, nearly 400,000 creditworthy borrowers were priced out of the housing market because of high FHA insurance premiums. By lowering its fees, FHA could provide greater access to homeownership for historically underserved groups. To put it in perspective, over the past four years, the percent share of first-time buyers using FHA-backed loans shrank from 56% to 39%.”
The MMI Fund gained almost $6 billion in value in the past 12 months, printing now at $4.8 billion. This is a vast improvement from last year when it fell short by more than $1.3 billion.
In a separate story, Polychron discusses his 2015 presidential term with Steve A. Brown, NAR’s Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations. Among his priorities is data:
“One of the areas I want to work on is making sure members have availability to big data and understand how to use it effectively. All REALTORS® must have good technology training so they can use data for the benefit of the consumer. In the past, we gave away our data and got no value for it. As we move forward as an industry, our members will continue to accumulate accurate, timely data and gather insight into properties by using a wide variety of sources. More than any other group, these efforts will steer consumers toward REALTORS®.”
Check out the full interview published RISMedia.
NAR and the Leadership Team made news this week on a variety of issues, including increasing REALTOR® professionalism, expanding mortgage credit, and the News Corp acquisition of Move, operator of realtor.com.
News Corp CEO Vows to Turbocharge realtor.com
“In partnership with the National Association of REALTORS® and its one million members, we look forward to turbo-charging realtor.com and making it the most popular and profitable property site in America,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp.
REALTOR® Changes Will Heighten Professionalism
“These policy changes will raise the whole bar professionally,” says Chris Polychron.
NAR Won’t Rate Members or Impose New Standards of Entry
“The Code of Ethics is over a hundred years old. The way we sell real estate has changed and in order for us to remain at the heart of every deal REALTORS® need to adjust,” says Chris Polychron.
Questions Answered About NAR’s New Code of Excellence & Standards for REALTOR® Ratings
“The Code of Ethics tells us what we should not be doing. The Code of Excellence is going to tell us what we should be doing,” says Steve Brown.
National Mortgage News
GSEs’ Low-Down-Payment Loans Must Have Compensating Factors: Watt
“We were encouraged to hear Director Watt reiterate his position to make prudent, low-down-payment mortgage products available to consumers,” said NAR President Steve Brown.
In New Orleans at the NAR Board of Directors meeting during the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, 2014 President Steve Brown passed the gavel to Chris Polychron, installing the Hot Springs, Ark., REALTOR® as 2015 president of the National Association of REALTORS®, along with his leadership team.
Polychron has been a REALTOR® for 27 years and is an executive broker with 1st Choice Realty, specializing in both commercial and residential brokerage. Polychron has served on NAR’s Board of Directors since 2002, and was 2005 regional vice president for Region IX. He has served on numerous national committees, was the first Member Mobilization chair in 2008 and was a liaison to State and Political Issues in 2009. Polychron was president of the Arkansas REALTORS® Association in 2003, Arkansas’ REALTOR® of the Year in 1996 and president of the Hot Springs Board of REALTORS® that same year.
Tom Salomone, a REALTOR® from Coral Springs, Fla., is the 2015 president-elect. He is a second-generation REALTOR® and broker/owner of Real Estate II. Salomone has been a REALTOR® for 38 years and serves as a member of NAR’s Executive Committee and on the newly appointed Corporate Investor Council. He has served on several national committees, was director of NAR’s REALTOR® Party Activities in 2012, and was 2007 regional vice president for Region V, serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Salomone was president of the Florida REALTORS® in 2003 and was Florida’s REALTOR® of the Year in 2005.
Bill Brown, a second-generation REALTOR® from Oakland, Calif., is the 2015 NAR first vice president. He has been a REALTOR® for more than 35 years, and is the founder of Investment Properties, a division of the family real estate business founded by his father, William H. Brown, in 1964.
Michael McGrew, a REALTOR® from Lawrence, Kan., is the 2015 NAR treasurer. A REALTOR® for nearly 30 years, he is the CEO/Chairman of McGrew Real Estate. McGrew was 2014 treasurer and 2013 vice-chair of the Finance Committee and has served on NAR’s Board of Directors for nine years.
Michael Ford is 2015 NAR vice president. He is a broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Heritage Homes in West Memphis, Ark. Ford is a long-standing member of NAR’s Board of Directors, having served since 1994. Ford is a member of the REALTORS® Political Action Committee Hall of Fame.
Charlie Oppler is also 2015 NAR vice president. Oppler has been a REALTOR® for more than 30 years and is CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. He has served on NAR’s Board of Directors since 2003.
In addition, NAR’s 2015 regional vice presidents are:
- Thomas Riley, Bedford, N.H., Region I
- Max Gurvitch, Brooklyn, N.Y., Region II
- Brenda Small, Washington, D.C., Region III
- Sandra O’Connor, Greensboro, N.C., Region IV
- Dean Asher, Orlando, Region V
- Beth Foley, Holland, Mich., Region VI
- Sheryl Whitehurst, Peoria, Ill.., Region VII
- Jeff Nelson, Sioux Falls, S.D., Region VIII
- Brian Jones, Pittsburgh, Kan., Region IX
- Bill Jones, Temple, Texas., Region X
- Linda Rheinberger, Las Vegas, Region XI
- Dan Wagner, Billings, Mont., Region XII
- Steve Goddard, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Region XIII
In front of an audience of some 300 brokers at the St. Louis Association of REALTORS® Future Shock (#SLARshock14) event Oct. 16, NAR President-elect Chris Polychron enjoyed the opportunity to participate on a panel that included other industry and REALTOR® experts. The question at hand: to syndicate or not to syndicate? The panel helped bring clarity to the ongoing syndication debate. At the event, Chris reiterated the need for a Bill of Rights to help protect REALTOR® interests in listing data, saying “We must continue to stand up and remind everyone that the service we provide in accumulating property information is very valuable.”
“Every broker has a choice. They have models that can fit your choice. Take advantage of that.” – Chris Polychron, NAR #SLARshock14
— STL REALTORS® (@STLRealtors) October 16, 2014
The other panelists who participated were:
Russ Cofano | Senior VP of Industry Relations, Move, Inc.
Rene Galvan | Executive Vice President, HAR.com
Saul Klein | CEO, Point2 Technologies Inc.
Elizabeth Mendenhall | 2018 President, NAR
Chris Polychron | 2015 President, NAR
Joe Pryor | NAR MLS Committee Member
Paul Prince | President, MARIS
John Whitney | Director of Business Development, Trulia
More images and tweets from the event below…
Future Shock at SLAR! Incredible discussion about syndication, Zillow, and the future of the industry. #SLARShock14
— Maureen McDonnell (@mem421) October 16, 2014
— Carolyn Mantia (@carolynmantia) October 16, 2014
Last week, NAR President Steve Brown hosted the election preview webcast, “Getting Out The REALTOR® Vote.” The webcast looked at key races in both the House and Senate for the midterm elections, when turnout is traditionally lower and voter participation more urgent.
Joining Brown for the webcast were Jerry Giovaniello, NAR’s Chief Lobbyist and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, as well as Scott Reiter, Shannon Burke, and April Brown from the political field team.
Some of the issues covered were:
- The process that NAR uses to select candidates its supports
- How NAR’s participation in individual races affects RPAC fundraising
- What independent expenditures are and why they are used in certain races
Remember, REALTORS® should go to the polls on November 4, before joining NAR in New Orleans for the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo!
If you need to register to vote, or if you are already registered and need to find your polling place, please visit www.realtoractioncenter.com/pollfinder.
In an interview with The Washington Post, 2014 President Elect Chris Polychron discusses risks REALTORS® face on the job, and emphasizes safety training going forward.
The association’s incoming president, Chris Polychron, pledged in an interview with The Post on Tuesday that he would make safety a top priority when he is installed in his post in November.
“My heart goes out to her family, friends, her co-workers,” said Polychron, himself a longtime Arkansas real estate agent. “The sad part is that when you work in real estate, it does involve risk. But as an industry we have got to promote better safety awareness.”
Polychron said making training mandatory might require convincing licensing boards in all 50 states to make changes to their rules. At the association, he said, amending ethics regulations to include safety requirements would require a board vote.
“Is it worth it if it saves one life? Absolutely,” he said.
“As both a REALTOR® and an Arkansan, I am saddened by this morning’s news of Beverly Carter’s untimely death. My heart goes out to her family, her friends, her co-workers, and everyone whose life Beverly touched in her 49 years with us.
Working in real estate involves risk and, unfortunately, that risk takes many forms. As an industry, we collectively work very hard to promote safety awareness among our members. We are fully committed to educating REALTORS® about potential threats and providing them with resources to protect themselves.
I urge all REALTORS® to honor Beverly Carter by keeping safe and looking out for each other.”
The Arkansas REALTORS® Association is collecting donations in Beverly Carter’s name through their Hearts & Homes program. For more information, visit arkansasrealtors.com.
NAR’s REALTOR® Safety resources include articles and blog posts, presentations and videos, webinars and training courses, and tools at realtor.org/safety.
News Corp is staking a claim in the online real estate world, and betting on the REALTOR® brand. From REALTOR® Magazine:
The global media and information services company that owns such venerated titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s announced Monday its intent to purchase Move Inc., operator of realtor.com®.
The company is News Corp, a top-in-class media and publishing business with experience in real estate through its newspapers and its majority ownership of the REA Group Ltd, the leading Australian residential property website, which also has a presence in Europe and Asia. With Monday’s announcement, News Corp made clear its intent to plant a major stake in the U.S. online real estate space. And the company is putting its considerable weight behind the REALTOR® brand.
“This partnership will help shape the future of real estate,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Steve Brown. “News Corp’s ability to reach and engage consumers, combined with realtor.com®’s quality content and the real insights REALTORS® provide will transform the current landscape.”
Join us November 7-10 in the Big Easy, New Orleans, for the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo!
Over 17,000 of your REALTOR® colleagues will be there. Why should YOU attend? Industry trends? Best practices? Great city with even better entertainment?
2014 NAR President Steve Brown shares his top 5 reasons for heading to the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo.