Kathy's Accessories from Marietta GA has been a fixture at NAR conventions for 16 years. Her business is directly affected by how much money people have to spend on non-essentials like jewelry. You might say that no one understands more about real estate market conditions than she does. Today, I had a chance to talk to Kathy, one of my Expo favorites, and she said that her business was negatively impacted by the real estate downturn of the past 5 years. The Mid-Year conference was especially difficult due to the smaller number of attendees and the high cost of coming to Washington DC.
Whether on the bus, stopping for coffee or a drink at the bar, I heard conference attendees talking about how busy they are. Even more telling, Kathy, with her infectious smile and southern accent, declared that jewelry sales at Midyear were going just fine. Expect to see Kathy in San Francisco in November.
Visits to Capitol Hill resume today. Yesterday, Realtor delegations from around the country met with their US Senators to discuss Federal Priority Issues important to real estate.
Connecticut Association CEO Cindy Butts meets U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Iowa Realtors Mike Romig and John Goede meet retiring U.S Senator Tom Harkin.
Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney, wearing his “Homeownership is Not a Loophole” lanyard meets with Realtors from Eastern Connecticut.
ReachTM, a real estate accelerator, has a mission to help companies connect with the real estate industry. Reach accepts 6-10 companies per year and Treater made the cut in 2013. I certainly understand why they were selected.
Treater is a mobile social gifting app that allows you to give a gift to a client, friend or family with just a few clicks from your mobile phone. The demo I attended showed how quickly you can send a gift via email or text. I received my gift, a treat from TGIF Fridays, in a matter of seconds. Treater makes saying thanks or hello quick and easy. I'm sold!
First thing Wednesday morning, Realtors from around the country will be briefed for issue discussions with their Members of Congress during their Capitol Hill office visits.
Federal Priority Issues include:
1. Preserve the Mission and Purpose of the FHA Program. Ensure that the Federal Housing Administration single-family program has the tools and policies in place to meet its mission of providing access to safe, affordable mortgage financing to qualified borrowers nationwide.
2. Preserve Home Ownership Tax Policies. As congress considers proposals to reform the federal tax code, lawmakers should consider the vital roll that real estate tax provisions play in the nation's housing markets and economy, as well as the financial well-being of Americans and their families.
3. Restructure Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and Encourage the Return of Private Capital. Restructure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure that affordable mortgages are available to consumers in all types of markets, and to avoid a major disruption to the nation's economy that would result from the total collapse of the housing finance sector.
If you are not in Washington, be sure to thank the Realtors in your Board upon their return, for carrying your message to political leaders.
In the local leadership idea exchange for medium boards, there were some comments that came up about knowing your NRDS number. There was a concern raised that REALTORS can't access Realtor.org without it and as a result are not taking advantage of the benefits. I was a bit surprised at the comments as I am a card carrying NAR member and always have it in my wallet. If you don't carry your card, it is just a click to look up your number. Is this really a serious concern?
Moving on to more important issues, there were plenty of comments about Realtor.com losing ground to the other big listing aggregators. Opinions in the audience ranged from questions about high costs and value of enhanced listings to the sense that Realtor.com is not keeping pace with current technology like the competition.
Low inventory around the country is creating “pocket listings” (listings off the MLS), or the advertising of listings “coming soon”. For those areas dealing with these issues, the concerns are being handled legislatively, along with language in listing forms detailing what it means to be excluded from the MLS. As inventory drops, it is a problem that could be coming to an MLS near you.
Calling the Hilton Washington home, the events start on May 15th with “Buyer Legends“, a popular all-day educational opportunity with the single focus of working with Buyers. Thursday is a day of meetings and roundtables followed by the Welcoming Reception from 6:00PM – 9:00PM. Friday and Saturday offer more governance meetings but also several educational opportunities. Sunday wraps up the event with more governance meetings.
Despite now living in a small town, I was born and raised in the city and always thought that the Washington DC area would be an exciting place to live. As a military family, we were stationed in Maryland for awhile and came into DC quite often to enjoy all the sights and sounds of the city.
Who knew when we decided to take a cab ride to ChinaTown for dinner, that the streets would be filled with rabid Washington Capitals fans waiting for game time at the Verizon Center. The combination of Realtors gearing up for Midyear, Police Officers in town for Police Week, and Capital fans celebrating the playoffs, created quite a bit of energy tonight. I still think I would love living here, especially since I have politics in my blood. I bet I could find a Realtor or two that would show me some housing this week.
When the Fire Chief of my small Town of Ledyard posted on Facebook that he was leaving today on a train to Washington DC, I commented that I would be leaving by train Monday to join about 10,000 other Realtors also in Washington, DC. He shared that we should be very safe while there.
According to the National Police Week website, May 15th is Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week during which that date falls is known as Police Week. Since 1962, National Police Week has attracted between 25,000 to 40,000 attendees who will participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is located in the 400 block of E Street, NW.
I suspect we will see a number of men and woman in uniform while there. They will be representing towns all across the United States. If you have the opportunity, thank them for their service.