WCR leaders from across the country meet during Midyear to participate in NAR events and conduct governance sessions along with offering plenty of educational opportunities. For most of us though, the highlight of the WCR events is the annual awards banquet.
The Michigan chapter had huge representation at Midyear, and almost all of our chapters won major awards. President James Cristbrook helped Michigan grow to the state with the fifth largest WCR membership in the country, and our theme was “The future’s so bright, we’ve got to wear shades.”
My local chapter, Birmingham Bloomfield, won top honors for national recruitment for mega sized chapters and a Gold Award for Chapter Excellence. Chapter President Sara Lipnitz led the way as we grew from 23 REALTORS® 18 months ago to 116 national members today. The chapter was well represented with nearly 20 members present in DC for the awards banquet!
We proudly cheered for our sister chapters as they walked the stage, picking up awards for recruitment, retention and chapter excellence.
But it wasn’t all fun and games.
I also attended excellent sessions lead by Amy Chorew, Heather Ozur, Juanita McDowell and Amy Smythe Harris. Though I consider myself an early adapter and “tech savvy,” these women shared tips that will make my job easier and help me to serve my clients better.
With a great spirit of camaraderie and a wonderful environment for learning, WCR offers an incredible opportunity to advance professionally, build a referral network, and develop as a leader.
This was my second year of Hill visits at the Midyear Meetings, and what a day I had! We started off in the morning with 14th District Representative Gary Peters, who has always shown strong support for housing issues and REALTOR® initiatives. At least 15 of us were on hand, with discussions lead by our Federal Political Coordinator, Sara Lipnitz. We asked Peters to protect the mortgage interest rate deduction, which is in its 100th year this year and is used by 75% of US homeowners.In the afternoon I was extremely fortunate to be included in meetings with Senator Carl Levin and Senator Debbie Stabenow.
Nanci J. Rands, Levin’s FPC guided Levin through real estate issues like the GSEs and further emphasizing the importance of the interest rate deduction. Levin is currently concentrating on sequestration and ways to get America’s largest companies to pay their fair share of taxes to cover current deficits. Pat V. Combs, former NAR President, and Bill Milliken, current Michigan Association of REALTORS® President, helped to focus Levin on the important role that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA play in our economic recovery.
We made our way through the underground tunnels over to the offices of Senator Debbie Stabenow, who candidly felt that that the mortgage interest rate deduction should be safe, but there are certainly proposals that are being discussed to put in place caps or reduce the deduction for second homes. Stabenow and the other Michigan legislators understand that in Michigan the average second home owner has an annual income of 97K, so this is a deduction that is protecting the financial investments of our middle class. Furhad Waquad, Stabenow’s FPC guided discussion on protecting the 30 year mortgage, which provides stability to the US housing market.
I felt so honored to be included in the meetings with our senators and tremendous pride in the REALTOR® Party for the influence we hold in the nation’s Capitol, and the role we chose to play in protecting homeownership. The REALTOR® Party truly is an energized movement of real estate professionals fighting to keep the dream of homeownership alive for this country!