Fighting for current and prospective American home and property owners, Champaign REALTORS® converged on the nation's capital the last week to urge action on various real estate issues during the 2015 REALTOR® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo.
Over 8,000 REALTOR® attendees, members of the National Association of REALTORS®, focused on several major issues pertaining to both residential and commercial real estate during the legislative meetings.
Area REALTORS® in attendance representing the Champaign County Association of REALTORS® included: CCAR President Jeffrey Barkstall, broker with Century 21 Heartland Real Estate; CCAR REALTOR® Matt Difanis, broker/partner with RE/MAX Realty Associates; CCAR REALTOR® Max Mitchell, a broker with RE/MAX Realty Associates and who serves as the National Association of REALTORS® Federal Political Coordinator for U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis; Alex Ruggieri, broker with Sperry Van Ness Ramshaw Real Estate and Linda Green, CCAR Association Executive
REALTORS® were meeting with legislators, regulatory officials and top industry executives to ensure qualified buyers and investors have access to safe and affordable mortgage financing. Of top importance was opening access to safe and affordable credit for qualified buyers and protecting real estate-related tax policies, both of which are vital to the growth of homeownership and the national economy.
"It is crucial that our lawmakers understand the serious issues that face the real estate industry. REALTORS® lead the way in advocating for home and property owners in their communities, and we showed how we can do the same in the nation's capital with our elected officials," said Jeffrey Barkstall, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. "Investing in policies good for homeowners and property owners not only strengthens our communities but helps families build stable futures and drives a strong economy."
Champaign area REALTORS® joined other REALTORS® from across the nation in working to preserve current real estate-related tax policies and extend the recently expired Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, which stops distressed homeowners from receiving excess income tax bills on forgiven home loan debt. Other pressing matters included patent reform, the creation of nationwide data security standards and the passage of the Mortgage Choice Act to end discrimination against affiliated lenders.
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois took part in a Let's Talk Real Estate event on Wednesday, May 13th in Washington. Senator Kirk's discussion with REALTORS® included federal loan programs and the 1031 Exchange. Champaign REALTORS also met with U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis.
"Congress is set to take up legislation on several issues in which consumers and REALTORS® have a real stake, so it is very important our elected officials know the impact they have on our communities and nation as a whole," said Barkstall. "We have made known where we stand on key issues that affect home buyers, sellers and investors right here in the Champaign area."
During the week-long conference, REALTORS® participated in sessions with a variety of industry experts and government officials who discussed many of the critical housing, mortgage finance and real estate investment issues facing real estate today. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro provided a housing industry outlook to meeting attendees and referenced credit availability as the biggest hurdle to homeownership. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray discussed changes to loan closing procedures and documents, stating that the new mortgage rules are in place to educate and empower buyers to "know before they owe."
Attendees also heard from senior staff of the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office about drone technology and from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, who shared residential and commercial real estate market and economic outlooks.
The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade organization serving the Champaign County and surrounding areas and is the leading resource for REALTOR® members and an advocate for home ownership and private property rights.
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The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is the "Voice for Real Estate" in the Champaign County area of Illinois, whose over 400 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. CCAR was chartered in 1917.
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