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2015 NAR President Chris Polychron honored with Walton College’s Lifetime Acheivement Award

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 09:34

The REALTOR® Community congratulates 2015 NAR President Chris Polychron, the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas.

Chris’ tremendous accomplishments as the 2015 NAR President were highlighted during the 23rd annual Walton Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 14, at the Fayetteville Town Center. The Award is presented annually to an exceptional and accomplished Walton alum. Past recipients include William T. Dillard, Sr., founder of the Dillard’s Department Stores chain, and Jerry Jones, owner, president, and general manager of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

Chris received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in marketing from the Walton College in 1967.

Congratulations, Chris, on this extraordinary accomplishment!

2015 NAR President Chris Polychron, accompanied by Walton Dean Matt Waller, and Associate Dean Anne O’Leary-Kelly

Evidence Points to Improving TRID Landscape

Tue, 04/05/2016 - 13:15

by Tom Salomone, 2016 NAR President

This time last year, everyone in our industry was talking about the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule. Also known as “Know Before You Owe,” the new rule meant new forms were coming to consumers – and with them, big changes to the mortgage process.

The idea was to make financing a home more transparent for consumers, aiding comparison shopping and preventing surprises at the closing table.

NAR worked hard in advance of the rule to ensure a clear path to success. We pushed for an implementation date that avoided the busy buying-and-selling season, and worked with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to roll out an online toolkit that walked consumers through the new disclosures.

Now six months into implementation, the industry is moving forward. There are still challenges to address, with Realtors® reporting some delayed and a few even cancelled transactions. That’s no surprise, and NAR said from the beginning that there would be bumps in the road and we continue to work with the CFPB to provide additional clarity in order to smooth out those bumps

But more and more we’re also hearing from brokers and agents who see “Know Before You Owe” rules putting consumers in the driver’s seat and helping avoid problems at the closing table. In an op-ed at Banker and Tradesman, broker/owner Anthony Lamacchia had this to say:

“While the extra time has certainly helped alleviate closing delays, the real reason is that, due to TRID, everyone is working together in a more proactive fashion. It had a trickledown effect; Realtors have been asked to negotiate longer closing dates, buyers are reminded more often to get their mortgage brokers what they want, when they want it. Real estate attorneys are contacting each other sooner and working together by pulling title earlier and doing whatever they can to be prepared for closing. Buyers seeing their numbers earlier has prevented last-minute freak-outs and fire drills, which in turn decreases closing delays. Now when there is a problem or a question, it is worked out days in advance instead of the morning of or even at the closing.”

That’s the kind of optimism and can-do spirit that I like to see as the industry continues to adjust.

We know there will continue to be short-term challenges, but the average consumer doesn’t spend their time thinking about regulatory constraints the way we do. They simply want a smooth ride on the road to homeownership.

As an industry, we have the tools and the talent to deliver. As professionals, that’s what we do.

 

New Phishing Scam: Don’t Get Hooked

Mon, 03/28/2016 - 13:17

By NAR 2016 President Tom Salomone

One member of the National Association of REALTORS® recently told how a client was scammed by a “phishing scheme.”  That’s when hackers lure unsuspecting consumers into giving up their hard-earned money.

In this case, criminals hacked the other agent’s account and sent a request to wire funds.  The scammer even diverted the client’s responses from the broker’s inbox!  The client wired upwards of $20,000 overseas right into the criminal’s hands.

This incident drove home to the REALTOR® that you should always tell your client you will never send an email asking them to wire funds.  It also illustrates the wisdom of using the brokerage firms’ firewall by going through the company’s domain.

Phishing scams can be hard to recognize because criminals build their phony sites to look like real sites.  About two years ago, Google did a study that showed phishing scams continue to work about 45 percent of the time.

According to experts, phishing attacks worldwide are happening more often than ever and hackers continue to go where the money is.  When hackers pose as agents or title companies, their target is someone’s down payment on a house.  If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account can be wiped out within minutes!

To avoid being scammed by phishing schemes, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers these tips:

  • Never e-mail your financial information.  E-mail is not considered secure.
  • Check the security of the website.  For any financial information you provide over the web, check that the site is secure.  The URL should begin with https.
  • Be careful what you click on.  Don’t click a link in an e-mail to an organization’s site.  Instead, look up the real URL, and type it in yourself.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading any files from e-mails.
  • Make sure your operating system, browser, and security software are up-to-date.

Buying a new home should be an exciting and happy event.  To keep it that way, REALTORS® should remind their clients to be extra cautious about the dangers of sending financial information over email, downloading attachments or responding to email requests to wire money.  When it comes to phishing scams, greater awareness of the threat is the best protection!

 

A Note of Support

Wed, 03/23/2016 - 13:15

By: Tom Salomone 2016 NAR President

A few thoughts from last night…

REALTORS® build and strengthen communities. It’s what we do day in and day out. Helping a young family find the perfect starter home, assisting a developer scout a location for a new office development; we are helping to provide bright futures not only for ourselves, but more importantly, for our families, for our neighbors, and for generations to come.

When you’re stuck in traffic and rushing to get to an open house, or when you’re on the phone talking to a disappointed client, you may not be thinking big picture. You’re tired, you’re frustrated, but at the end of the day, you’re always making a difference. I’ll be honest, this job, the role of NAR president, can be exhausting…but in the best way possible. To serve REALTORS® who serve communities is an honor. Other than being a father and a husband, this is the most important role I will have in my lifetime. Most nights when it’s finally time to go bed, I hit the pillow, and I’m out. But last night was different. I struggled to find sleep.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the people of Belgium, the people of Turkey, the people of the Ivory Coast- communities all over our beautiful world who are grieving. In this time of tragedy, I am struck for words. But on behalf of the entire NAR Community, 1.1 million strong, we offer our sympathy, our prayers, and our support to all those impacted by these horrific events.

As REALTORS®, we build and strengthen communities. And we will continue to do so. No matter what. It’s just what we do.

March Winds

Tue, 03/22/2016 - 09:04

By NAR 2016 President Tom Salomone

They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  While that may be true for the weather, the spring real estate market is indicating more of a mixture.

We see a steady headwind for real estate causing the number of existing home sales to fall in February by 7.1 percent to 5.08 million.  In 2016, existing-home sales are expected to increase around 2.5 percent in 2016, whereas over the past year, they increased 6.3 percent.

Prices have climbed in many markets, while the supply of houses and new construction remains low. In fact, low supply levels pushed prices up for the 48th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.  This year, we expect home prices to increase between 4 and 5 percent, following a 6.8 percent increase in 2015.

There’s also a perceived difficulty in getting a mortgage.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new disclosure rule—TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure, or TRID—has been tough for real estate agents, lenders and settlement agents.

According to a survey by ClosingCorp,consumers who are supposed to be helped by the rule find that TRID makes it easier for them to understand closing costs and fees.  However, the new rules are adding anxiety to the closing process.  National Association of REALTORS® Research finds that closings are being delayed about eight days.

Looking ahead, we’re hoping to catch a tailwind on consumer confidence and the economy.

A high number of homeowners are expressing that they believe it’s a good time to buy.  This sentiment is likely being fueled by the $4.4 trillion in housing equity accumulation in the past three years.

Seventy-nine percent of renters would choose to move outside an urban area.  This is expressed most often by millennials, who are now looking to move to the suburbs, something no one thought would ever happen!

Looking back, the housing market has done reasonably well over the past few months, showing surprising resiliency.  The U.S. economy is forecast to grow around 2 to 3 percent in 2016, although prices are still rising too fast, due to decreased supply levels.

REALTORS® are incredibly dedicated to helping their customers find the home of their dreams.  And like the weather, the market is changeable.

This is a good time to take stock and see what you can do to be more effective, whether it’s adopting the latest technology or growing your network.  Let’s all take a deep breath and recommit our efforts to doing the very best work we can, and then some!

It’s spring, the weather is fair, and we’re looking for business to grow.

 

 

 

A LIFE WORTHWHILE

Fri, 03/04/2016 - 14:04

By NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron

A year and-a-half ago, the untimely death of Realtor® Beverly Carter brought home to me that a person’s livelihood as a Realtor® should not put them in mortal danger.

As 2015 President of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), I made the safety of Realtors® a priority.  Since then, the Realtor® community has come together to increase job safety for real estate professionals.

I also sought to express gratitude to our nation’s police officers for their contribution toward keeping our neighborhoods safe.  During the 2015 Realtors® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, NAR honored police officers and made a donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

This week, we’ve witnessed the terrible shooting of three Virginia police officers and the death of 28-year-old Ashley Guindon the day after she was sworn in for duty.  Ashley bravely entered a domestic dispute situation because there was a child in the house.  Her decision was fatal, reminding us that many special people willingly put themselves in harm’s way to ensure our safety.

During her funeral service Prince William County Police Chief Stephan Hudson said that she lived and died for the service that meant so much to her.  He said, “That was her desire; to serve, to be involved in the things that mattered, to give her life to something worth giving it to.  And that’s exactly what she did.”

Her short life sets a truly inspiring example.  We, at NAR, would like to express our deepest appreciation to Ashley and her fellow officers for their service.   Our sympathy and our prayers go out to the families, the survivors, and all those impacted by this tragedy.

NAR will continue working diligently to make sure members have the information and training they need to stay safe on the job.

Nothing in life is certain, but those who dedicate themselves to serving their communities, whether by opening the door to homeownership or protecting our neighborhoods, will know the satisfaction that comes from giving their lives to something worthwhile.

 

2016 Advocacy Agenda

Mon, 02/22/2016 - 14:36

Working together we can be great!!

By: Tom Salomone 2016 NAR President

Earlier this month, REALTOR® federal policy leaders, from around the United States, gathered in Washington, DC to discuss our Association’s policy agenda. Facilitated by 2016 NAR Vice President Sherri Meadows, from Ocala, FL, in conjunction with NAR’s dedicated staff, this meeting of the minds proved to be tremendously beneficial.  Its key takeaways will help guide the Associations’ advocacy initiatives throughout 2016.

The meeting’s agenda was ambitious, yet well-constructed. Leading housing and real estate industry stakeholders, political prognosticators, and policy and research experts provided incredible insight on issues impacting homeownership and commercial investment, as well as conversations focused on the future of the housing market. These discussions provided attendees with a comprehensive industry outlook. Additionally, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun shared results from NAR’s 2016 Public Policy Survey which gauged Realtors® views on various federal policy issues.

Based on REALTORS® feedback and priorities, NAR will focus the Association’s 2016 advocacy efforts on the following public policy initiatives:

HOMEOWNERSHIP & REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TAX POLICIES

  • State and Local Tax Deductions
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • Mortgage Debt Cancellation Tax Relief
  • Capital Gains

CREDIT, LENDING AND INSURANCE POLICIES

  • Credit Availability
  • GSE (Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac) Restructuring, Liquidity and Lending
  • FHA Lifetime Mortgage Insurance Premiums
  • FHA Condominium Requirements & Financing
  • National Flood Insurance Reauthorization

BUSINESS OPERATIONS

  • Dodd-Frank Act Regulations (TRID Implementation)
  • Technology Issues (Patent Reform, Net Neutrality, Data Privacy & Security)
  • Appraiser Independence Regulations

COMMERCIAL

  • 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges
  • Basel III
  • Lease Accounting
  • Waters of the United States

From an advocacy perspective, 2016 is going to be an important year for REALTORS®─ we have a lot of work ahead of us. More often than not, during an election year, policymakers tend to focus on the election, rather than the issues. But we have to keep pushing. It is critical for REALTORS® to come together and have our opinions heard. We need to speak with one voice, loudly and clearly, about the stability a sound and dynamic real estate market brings to our communities.

I need your help! While our REALTOR® federal policy leaders and NAR staff make an incredible team, we need the backing and involvement of our grassroots to ensure that issues important to REALTORS® stay first and foremost in the minds of legislators.

How YOU can help:

The good news is that the REALTOR® Action Center makes participation simple.

1.  Register to Vote.

If you are not already a registered voter, the REALTOR® Action Center will link you to the voter registration form for your state. Each state has different registration deadlines; don’t delay!

2.  Elect REALTOR® Champions.

Property ownership is not a partisan issue. Before you cast your vote, understand the key issues  impacting our industry. Support candidates that support REALTOR® issues!

3.  Act on REALTOR® Party Issues. 

When Congress is considering legislation that affects the real estate industry, NAR calls on its members to act, ensuring that the REALTOR® voice is heard. Through the REALTOR® Action Center, you can respond to our call, and with just a few quick clicks of your mouse, you can communicate directly with your member of Congress.  Sign up for REALTOR Party Mobile Alerts, and in mere seconds, you can respond to a Call for Action from anywhere.

4.  Invest in RPAC.

RPAC’s mission is to identify candidates for elected office on the local, state and national levels who will work with REALTORS® to promote and protect the American Dream of property ownership. Candidates that receive support from RPAC are not selected based on their political party or ideology, but solely on their support of real estate issues. While a third of NAR’s 1.1 million members contribute to RPAC, I know we can do better. Your participation is crucial─ especially in this important election year. Today is the day to invest in your future!

It has been said that America is the indispensable nation. The same can be said about real estate. We are the indispensable sector of the American economy.  As such, we cannot afford to have any harm done to homeownership and commercial investment. Our communities and our nation depend on the success of the real estate sector─ our communities and our nation depend on you.  Working together we can be great!!

 

Honoring Beverly Carter

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 11:13

A Note from 2015 NAR President Chris Polychron

As many of you may already know, on Friday, January 15, 2016, Arron Lewis was found guilty of abducting and killing a Realtor® from Arkansas, a beloved member of our community, Beverly Carter. Justice has been served, and Lewis will spend the rest of his life behind bars, with no hope of parole.  I pray Beverly’s family, friends, and community will find peace with this closure.

I pen this note to you, my fellow Realtors®, with bittersweet sentiments. We owe so much to the Carter family, who despite their unfathomable grief, have done a tremendous job bringing safety to the forefront of our industry. In the 16 months since Beverly Carter’s murder, NAR; local and state Realtor® associations; and, brokers and agents from all across the country, have worked together to develop professional safety protocols. I want to thank, personally, all those who have helped to create and promote the resources now available through the REALTOR® Safety Program. Your contributions are making a real difference.

I urge all REALTORS® to honor Beverly Carter’s memory by remaining vigilant. Ours is the best profession in the world, yet there are some real risks associated with it. Please take the time to understand potential dangers, and take precautions to protect yourself and your colleagues.

Learn more about the REALTOR® Safety Program by visiting www.realtor.org/safety

MLK & Fair Housing

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 08:57

By: Tom Salomone, 2016 President

Monday, Jan 18th 2016, marks MLK Day, honoring the memory of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In thinking about Dr. King’s many, many heroic contributions, I am reminded of the tremendous impact he had on our industry, including our Association.

In the summer of 1966, Dr. King moved to Chicago and engaged in a series of marches, appealing to the city’s real estate practitioners to end discriminatory housing practices. King’s demand for open housing led to the 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act.  The Act declared a national policy of fair housing throughout the United States. The law makes illegal any discrimination in the sale, lease or rental of housing, or making housing otherwise unavailable, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

Demonstrating the National Association of REALTORS® commitment to civil rights and making property ownership viable for all Americans, King’s call for fair housing was incorporated into the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Article 10 states,

“REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

Let Dr. King’s legacy be an inspiration to us all- to work even harder – both in our businesses and in our communities.

In the words of Dr. King, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

**********

If you are looking for ways to get more involved and make a difference within your community, I encourage you to check out the incredible work REALTORS®, from across the country, are doing in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Club of America!  

Global Opportunities – French Connections

Wed, 01/06/2016 - 06:57

By: Chris Polychron, 2016 Immediate Past President

Bonjour et Bonne Année!  Hello and Happy New Year, my fellow REALTORS®!

Just before the holiday, I had the privilege of representing NAR, and speaking at the Federation Nationale de l’Immobilier’s (FNAIM) General Assembly. FNAIM, NAR’s bilateral partner in France, is the premier association for French real estate professionals. The association’s mission is similar to NAR’s mission. Working on behalf of French real estate practitioners and property owners, FNAIM is committed to ensuring that real estate is practiced professionally and ethically throughout France. Like REALTORS®, members of FNAIM must adhere to a strict code of ethics, setting FNAIM members apart from other French real estate practitioners.

The NAR – FNAIM partnership was established in 1999. As associations laboring towards similar goals, our collegial alliance has strengthened over the years and our organizations have collaborated globally on a number of occasions. When the heinous terrorist attacks in Paris occurred this past November, there were a number of FNAIM delegates attending the REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego. Our French colleagues commented that being far away from home during a national crisis was extremely difficult, but the outpouring of support REALTORS® displayed to the FNAIM delegates, was overwhelming. Living in post 9/11 America, naturally, we could all sympathize. But if you attended the General Session during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, you can attest that the bond we share with our French colleagues moved us beyond mere sympathy. As part of the NAR Global Alliances Flag Ceremony which opened the General Session, Yves Boussard, Past President of FNAIM, carried the French flag onto stage. Spontaneously, all 6000 general session attendees stood up and gave a boisterous and extended standing ovation. From my vantage point, back stage, looking out, I couldn’t see one dry eye. Mine certainly weren’t. The NAR community stood in solidarity- a gesture illustrating how ours is so much more than just a profession, it’s a brotherhood.

The 2015 FNAIM General Assembly in Paris was scheduled for the second week of December, hardly a month after the attack. I wondered if FNAIM would cancel. News stations predicted that there were more attacks to come, and Parisians, rightfully so, were on edge. If I am honest, I too was a little bit nervous at the idea of traveling abroad. But FNAIM persevered; they made the decision to proceed as planned. And I am so glad they did! The conference was tremendous.

Every day the world continues to get smaller. We live in a day and age where our next business deal may not be in the next neighborhood or town, but an ocean or continent away. Consumers are more mobile than ever before. And technology has connected us in ways we never imagined possible.

Similar to the relationship that NAR has established with FNAIM, NAR has built alliances with prestigious real estate associations worldwide. These relationships can help REALTORS® tap into, and profit from, this growing global market.

If you are interested in learning more about global real estate, I encourage you to look into NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. The designation taught me how to explore global opportunities in my home state, Arkansas. You may not think of Arkansas as being an international destination, but as they say in France, L’habit ne fait pas le moine. Literally- Don’t judge a monk by his clothes, or as we say it here in the US, Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Global business is everywhere- New York, Miami, Paris, Hot Springs, Arkansas. You just need to know how to look for it. NAR has resources to help you.

Home for the Holidays [Hold the tripe]

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 13:40

No matter which holiday you celebrate, or even if you don’t celebrate any holiday at all, the end of the year provides most of us with a well-deserved opportunity to slow down and reflect. Lightening your foot off the gas pedal isn’t easy– after all, as a Realtor, it’s your strong work ethic and unwavering commitment to customer service that sets you apart. But now as the year is winding down, it’s your turn to unwind with it- even if only for a short while.

This year I’m going to do my best to avoid the hustle and bustle that often accompanies the holiday season. It’s been a wonderfully busy year with the US real estate market in full recovery mode, but now I’m ready to hunker down at home. It’s time to relish in a brief, but acceptable, moment of being unplugged. For me, discovering the magic of the holiday season means being able to enjoy undistracted, quality time with those that matter most- my family and close friends.

When I was child growing up in New Jersey during the 1960’s, times were different. My universe was encompassed in a one mile radius. We weren’t connected to the world via internet or cell phone; if your mom was looking for you, she’d open the door and shout.

Christmas celebrations, along with every other holiday, including birthdays and Sunday dinners, were spent at my grandparent’s house, just down the street. As a child, the magic of the holidays had less to do with Grandma’s house, and more to do with waiting in line to take a Polaroid picture with Santa. But as an adult looking back, my fondest memories are focused inside my grandparent’s home.

I grew up in a traditional New Jersey Italian Family where every Christmas Eve my grandmother would cook an old-style La Vigilia dinner. My parents, my older brother, my cousins, my aunts & uncles, and I would all cram around the dining room table. And over the commotion that accompanies any family gathering, talking, laughing, occasionally- shouting, my grandmother would serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Don’t let the name fool you, there were many more than seven fishes served- anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels, clams, etc. Her menu also included pastas, vegetables, and the kid’s least favorite course-tripe. (If you’re not familiar with tripe, google it; you’ll understand my aversion.) As a kid it felt like Christmas Eve dinner was endless. Why couldn’t we have turkey and potatoes like the Murphy Family next door?

It’s becoming less and less common for generations of families to live in the same neighborhood, more or less, the same town. As the world gets smaller, opportunities get wider, and geographically, we are now more spread out. For real estate professionals, this is a great thing; movement keeps us in business. But distance makes it hard to recreate those holiday memories we hold so dear.

They say home is where the heart is and while I’m in Florida now, my heart is spread around the United States. It’s back home in NJ with my father and my extended family, and it spreads between Las Vegas and Pittsburgh where my grown children live. This holiday season it’s unlikely that I’ll dine on seven (thousand) fishes, but I will make time to reconnect with my loved ones.

It’s been a tremendous year both personally and professionally, and there is a lot to be thankful for. Last month I was sworn in as your 2016 President of the National Association of REALTORS. Last week, on December 13th, my wife Diana and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. And in just a few weeks, my family will welcome to the world a new generation of Salomone’s. What a privilege it is to hold these humbling titles, 2016 NAR President, Husband, and Grandfather.

On behalf of the National Association of REALTORS 2016 Leadership Team, I want to wish you and your families a peaceful and happy holiday season.

All year long you have helped others find the homes and businesses of their dreams. Now is the time for you to relax and recharge. Savor this holiday season!

Social media highlights from NAR 360

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 15:13

At the 2015 REALTOR Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, NAR360 provided a one-hour showcase of the hottest issues affecting the industry.

The program featured NAR’s legislative talking points, RPAC, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, the new promotional campaign from realtor.com (starring Elizabeth Banks), and Realtor Safety with a surprise appearance by the family of Beverly Carter.

Courtesy of Twitter and Storify, here are some highlights of NAR 360.

[View the story "NAR 360 at the 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, in Washington D.C." on Storify]

Polychron testifies in House on RESPA/TILA

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 11:46

On Thursday, May 14, 2015 NAR President Chris Polychron testified before the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance on the need for a grace period before enforcing the new regulations on the real estate settlement process.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and Truth in Lending Act (RESPA/TILA) integrated disclosure rule is set to take effect August 1. A trial period with restrained enforcement and liability would allow the industry and CFPB to address implementation issues and minimize costly home closing delays for consumers

First and foremost, NAR has asked that the CFPB make August 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 a trial implementation period of restrained enforcement,” said Polychron in his oral statement. “During this period, industry will operate under the rule and new forms, but be held harmless in terms of enforcement and liability as long as they act in good faith.”

You can read the full oral testimony here.

PODCAST: Episode 3 of “Unscripted” on selling your first house

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 12:09

“Unscripted”, a monthly audio podcast featuring conversations with members of the NAR Leadership Team, returns with an episode on selling your first house.  For Spring homebuying season, NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron, along with Immediate Past President Steve Brown and Treasurer Mike McGrew, look back on the first house they ever sold and what lessons they learned from those experiences.

Direct link to Episode 3 here.

You can listen to the all episodes on the Leadership Team Podcast page.

 

New safety course set to officially debut at Legislative Conference

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 15:13

On April 20th, “Real Estate Safety Matters”, a new safety course for Realtors was presented publicly for the first time through the Arkansas Realtors Association.

NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron called for the creation of the course after North Little Rock Realtor Beverly Carter was killed last Fall showing a listing. The course will have its official unveiling at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo on May  12. (To attend, registration is required and the class is filling up fast.)

“If you can attend the May Meetings this year in Washington DC, I urge you to see the showing of this new Realtor Safety program,” says Polychron. “It will be available to all of your associations and boards this year.”

The 3-hour course was developed in partnership with NAR’s REALTOR® Safety program, and serves as an essential primer on how real estate professionals can limit risk to preserve safety—their safety, their clients’ safety—and for positive business outcomes.

For the latest on safety, visit the Realtor Safety Program page.

Polychron urges Senate to ease regulatory burdens

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 11:38

On Thursday, April 16, 2015 NAR President Chris Polychron testified before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on the need for regulatory reform and increased access to credit.

2015 NAR President Chris Polychron testified along with Tom Woods (left) from the National Association of Homebuiders and J. David Motley (right) from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“Since 2008, we’ve seen good-intentioned but over-corrective policies severely hamper the ability of millions of qualified buyers to purchase a home,” said Polychron in his opening statement. “We have yet to strike the right balance between regulation and opportunity.”

Polychron outlined solutions related to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, specialty markets, short sales and foreclosures, and lending policies

You can read the full oral testimony here.

Upcoming webinar: REALTOR® Safety from a Law Enforcement Perspective

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 11:03

On April 21, NAR is offering a webinar on safety awareness, REALTOR® Safety from a Law Enforcement Perspective. The course will be led by Adrian Manzanares, a REALTOR® in Colorado with more than 20 years of law enforcement experience. Prior to leaving law enforcement, he was a certified instructor in Field Training, Interview & Interrogation and Firearms.

Signup for the free webinar here.

In the meantime, you can also review the Staying Safe While Meeting Strangers video and read the 2015 Member Safety Report.

 

Chris Polychron Throws Out First Pitch

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:02

Today is Opening Day 2015 for Major League Baseball. According to the Baseball Almanac, Open Day dates back to 1876 and the game’s first officially recognized franchise, the Cincinnati Reds. It’s also become an occasion intertwined with the U.S. Presidency:

A national event, Opening Day has also become a “political pitcher’s” arena for U.S. Presidents to show their “stuff.” On April 14, 1910, President, and baseball enthusiast, William Howard Taft attended the home opener in Washington D.C. Since then, eleven sitting U.S. presidents have tossed out the season’s ceremonial first pitch. One standout, Harry S. Truman, showcased his ambidextrous talent when he threw out balls with both his right and left arm in 1950. 

For NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron, throwing out the first pitch offered a lesson in decisiveness last year at the NAR Leadership Summit. Polychron got the chance at the White Sox — Orioles game last August during the Leadership Summit:

“I’d never done anything like that before. I was told, ‘whatever you do, make sure you don’t bounce the pitch. If you bounce it, you’ll get booed.’ Booed? I’ve never been booed in my life. So, I told myself “let’s do this and do it fast.”

I walked quickly out to the mound, waved a bit to the crowd, and as soon as I got into position, I let my pitch fly. I’m not sure the catcher was even ready yet. But, he caught my pitch – CHEST HIGH. It was fastest 50 mile-an-hour fastball you’ve ever seen.

You can plan for a lot of things, you can think and overthink every decision, but at some point, you just have to do it. You have to let it rip.”

Check out @NARleadership on twitter for more about Opening Day and Presidents.

Chris Polychron hosts Credit Access Symposium

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 14:10

Chris Polychron, 2015 NAR President, hosted a Credit Access Symposium today at NAR headquarters in Washington DC.

A diverse group of housing industry stakeholders came together to discuss how alternative credit scoring models could expand access to mortgage credit for responsible borrowers who may have thin credit histories or extenuating circumstances like medical debts.

The event was organized by NAR, the Asian Real Estate Association of America and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. It included two roundtable discussions and a keynote address from Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro.

NAR first called on federal regulators and the credit and lending communities in 2011 to reassess the entire credit structure and look for ways to increase the availability of credit to qualified borrowers who are good credit risks.

Polychron praised the efforts of NAR’s partners, pressed Secretary Castro on new FHA regulations for condos, and encouraged more discussion to maintain momentum for credit access reform in Washington.

“We still have hurdles to clear,” said Polychron. “Constrained supply and supply mismatch continue to hold us back. Government-sponsored enterprises have to open up their book of business to more qualified buyers.  We also need more research on the impact that current credit scoring policies impact the availability of credit to consumers with “thin” credit files. And finally, we need to better evaluate scoring models and methods that rely on non-traditional credit histories.”

Talkin’ Bout Your Generation

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 08:06

Last week, NAR released a report on generational homebuying trends. NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron offers his thoughts on the report:

“Generations come and go. The author George Orwell one pointed out that ‘Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that came before it and wiser than the one that comes after it.’

That’s why it’s so great when NAR Research sets us straight by providing “just the facts.” Their latest report, the 2015 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, examines the generational differences among recent home buyers and sellers.

It’s enlightening. Just when we thought the millennial generation was going to ring the death knell of the housing market by opting out of it, the latest generation of breadwinners is defying our expectations by jumping into homeownership with both feet. (SPOILER ALERT:  In fact, millennials, who are 34 years old and younger, were the largest group of buyers for the second year in a row.)

We thought the American Dream of homeownership might be fading for this younger generation. Instead the desire to own their own home was cited most often by millennials at 39 percent.

We thought they didn’t believe housing was a good financial investment. Yet 79 percent of homebuyers considered their home purchase to be a good investment, led by millennials at 84 percent.

And we thought millennials weren’t using Realtors®. While they join the majority of buyers in shopping for homes online, they still choose an agent to help them close the deal. Actually, millennials lead all buyers in being most likely to use a real estate agent.

So thank you to NAR Research for throwing some much-needed light on the subject.”

The report has been covered in Forbes, MarketWatch, and Realuoso, as well as numerous local outlets.

You can find the full report at:  http://www.realtor.org/reports/home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends.

 

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