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Realtors® Embrace Changes in Real Estate Industry, Lead Way in Online Innovation

Media Contact: Jenny Werwa / 202-383-1193 / Email

NEW ORLEANS (November 7, 2014) – Shifting political dynamics and emerging technologies will have a significant impact on the business of real estate over the next 12 months and Realtors® are ready for the changes, said 2015 National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron at a news conference today during the 2014  Realtors® Conference & Expo

“The process of buying and selling a home is forever changed by new websites and online applications. But online resources are not a substitute for Realtors®, and they never will be,” said Polychron, executive broker at 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. “It’s because we bring real insights and unparalleled knowledge of local markets, we can help navigate complex transactions, and we subscribe to a Code of Ethics.”

According to recently released data from NAR’s 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 90 percent of home buyers who searched for homes online ended up purchasing their home through an agent.

NAR is also leading the way in online technology and is one of the first associations to be approved to offer a top-level domain for its membership. Realtors® can now stand apart from other real estate professional and register to use .REALTOR for their websites. Only Realtors® are allowed to use the new .REALTOR domain, and having it in their website address shows prospects and clients that this agent adheres to NAR’s Code of Ethics and professionalism and is a trustworthy source of information.

The results of Tuesday’s election will also influence the real estate industry. As this Congress wraps up 2014 during the lame duck session, NAR will continue to advocate for provisions that have an impact on the residential and commercial real estate sectors.

Despite significant market recovery, more than 8 million homeowners (15 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage) are still underwater. The Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act would renew an expired section of the tax code that waives income tax on mortgage debt forgiven in a short sale or a workout for principal residences. Without this critical legislation, distressed homeowners will have to pay tax on “phantom income”, which is not only unfair, but discourages borrowers from taking steps that would save them from foreclosure.

“Mortgage debt forgiveness tax relief is vital for those families. Failure to act will force more homeowners into foreclosure, destabilizing communities and housing values,” said Polychron.

The commercial real estate landscape could look dramatically different if Congress does not act to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program before it expires on December 31. Because of the importance of terrorism insurance coverage to commercial real estate, NAR supports the continued availability and affordability of coverage made possible by the federal backstop program.

Looking ahead to 2015, Polychron said Realtors® will continue to work with the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to ensure that creditworthy home buyers have access to safe, affordable loan products. That includes advocating for more reasonably priced FHA mortgage insurance and opposing increases in FHFA guarantee fees.

Polychron also emphasized his commitment to Realtor® safety and discussed NAR’s efforts to educate Realtors® about potential threats and provide them with resources to protect themselves. “By the end of my term, Realtors® will be safer than they are today,” he said.

Polychron said he intends to spend the next year encouraging Realtors® to embrace changes in the industry, and help them take advantage of new opportunities.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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