Realtors® from Cuyahoga & Summit Counties Take Their Message to Nation’s Capital

While Realtors® from across the country convened in Washington, D.C., last week to attend the Realtor® Party Convention & Trade Expo, members from the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors® (ACAR) met with U.S. Senators and congressional staff on Capitol Hill to advocate policies that protect and advance investment in residential and commercial property and that are critical to buyers, sellers and investors in northeast Ohio.

“Attending the Realtor® Party Convention & Trade Expo is an excellent opportunity for Realtors® to influence the public policy decisions that will directly affect consumers’ ability to buy, sell and own real estate,” said Seth Task, President. “In hundreds of meetings with elected officials and staff last week, Realtors® demonstrated the strength of the Realtor® Party and encouraged support for issues crucial to their business, clients, community and the future of the real estate industry.”

ACAR’s meetings with Sen. Sherrod Brown, and the congressional staff of Reps. Marcia Fudge, David Joyce, Marcy Kaptur, Tim Ryan, and Jim Renacci focused on important issues impacting the real estate market here in the greater Cleveland – Akron area, including, preserving the mission and accessibility of Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs home loan programs, protecting real estate-related tax policies, and reforming the secondary mortgage market.

ACAR representatives also urged Sen. Brown and other staff to reinstate an expired tax provision that provides relief to individuals following a loan modification, short sale or foreclosure. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act expired at the end of 2013, and assured individuals would not have to pay income tax on forgiven mortgage debt,” said Task. “Distressed homeowners who’ve suffered through the loss of their home should not be further burdened with additional income taxes; it’s not only unfair but harms families, neighborhoods and communities. We urge Congress to act quickly on this issue.”

National Association of Realtors® (NAR) President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors® in Dayton, Ohio, praised the Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS®’s efforts to address the important residential and commercial real estate issues that affect individuals, communities, small businesses and the nation.

“Home ownership and commercial investment help shape communities and strengthen the economy. With several significant real estate issues being debated in Congress this term, it was important that Realtors® met with lawmakers last week to share their views and positions on proposed legislation that could have a meaningful impact on consumers’ ability to purchase and own real estate,” said Brown.

Throughout the week, Realtors® participated in sessions with a number of government officials and industry experts who addressed many of today’s critical housing, mortgage finance and real estate investment issues. During one session, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced a blueprint for greater consumer access to credit through a new FHA housing counseling program. Donovan said the agency is taking additional steps to expand access to mortgage credit for under-served borrowers.

Realtors® also heard from political strategists David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt who previewed the upcoming midterm elections and provided insights into the issues currently being debated in Congress and their impact on Realtors® and the real estate industry. News anchor and political commentator Chris Matthews discussed the divided Congress and the Obama administration’s second-term agenda. Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move Inc. (operator of®), shared his vision for how the company will continue to provide consumers with the best content, tools and professional expertise they need to find a home through the site and by working with a Realtor®. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun shared his latest outlook for the economy and residential and commercial markets, and expects positive market improvements throughout 2014.

Last but certainly not least, those attending the convention also had the chance to explore the latest industry innovations and stay up to date on how new products are transforming the real estate business.

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