REALTORS® From Cleveland Bring Housing Policy Priorities to Capitol Hill

Independence, OH (May 18, 2012) – REALTORS® from across the country met with their members of Congress this week to advocate public policies that promote sustainable homeownership and help stabilize the struggling housing market during the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2012 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. Members of the Cleveland Area Board of REALTORS® (CABOR) had an opportunity to connect with the country’s leaders about the housing issues that matter most in their area.

“REALTORS® are actively engaging with lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week to provide perspectives and insights on important industry issues and urge for policies and initiatives that help move the real estate market forward toward a full recovery,” said CABOR Chair Elect Joanne Zettl. “Homeownership is an investment in your future and we want to ensure that anyone able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home continues to have the opportunity to pursue that dream.”

Zettl, along with CABOR Chairman Dick Sweda, Treasurer Seth Task, members Sara Calo, Mike Fanous, Dianna Hosta Stickney, John Lynch, Karen O’Donnell, and Government Affairs Director Jamie McMillen and Marketing Director Mike Valerino met with Senator Sherrod Brown and Representatives Marcia Fudge, Dennis Kucinich, Steve LaTourette, and Betty Sutton. Discussions focused on critical issues impacting the real estate market here in Cuyahoga County, including improving the short sales process, supporting the independence and integrity of appraisals, improving liquidity in the commercial and multifamily market, enacting comprehensive reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and having regulators establish rules that allow reasonable access to credit for home buyers.

CABOR representatives also urged each of the legislators to pass a 5-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, and extend the tax relief provided to individuals following a loan modification, short sale or foreclosure.

“Long-term reauthorization of the flood insurance program must be a top congressional priority,” said Zettl. “The program ensures access to affordable flood insurance and is essential to a properly functioning real estate market. We hope that Congress will act quickly and not let the program lapse, which would force many real estate transactions to be put on hold or even cancelled.”

“There is also an urgent need to extend the mortgage cancelation relief provision set to expire at the end of 2012, which assures individuals will not have to pay income tax on forgiven mortgage debt after a loan modification, short sale or foreclosure,” said Zettl. “Struggling families who’ve suffered through a great economic loss should not be further burdened with additional income taxes.”

NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami., praised CABOR’s efforts to address critical and urgent housing issues with their members of Congress and help secure the future of homeownership.

“REALTORS® are the leading advocate for homeownership and private property rights and by bringing their legislative priorities to Capitol Hill this week they helped remind our country’s leaders that housing issues affect individuals, communities, and the nation and plays a critical role in the long- and short-term health of this nation,” he said.



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