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2008-12-30 22:49:46

The NAR Needs To Implement The Five Point Plan

As the National Association of REALTORS® points out, the most recent economic stimulus bill, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, was “a good first step towards stabilizing our nation’s economy.” 

If Congress considers a second economic stimulus bill this month, the NAR recommends some changes but leaves out a crucial step. This step is so important, the other measures won’t be effective without it. 

The NAR should be recommending an emergency summit of national lenders like Bank of America, HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the U.S. Treasury, and the Federal Reserve to work out new rules of engagement where all parties are cooperating, just like ordinary practitioners do using the regulations of state licensure, the codes of their associations, the MLS rules, and the Golden Rule.
I didn’t think of this idea first. I give full credit to Jeremy Conaway, CEO of Reconis,, a real estate consultant who advises association executives on how to improve their operations. In a phone conversation, Conaway told me that what is wrong with the housing market and the economy can be attributed to a simple fact – the traffic lights are broken. 

“The only reason why the real estate industry is successful is that it has established rules,” says Conaway. “This enables the top agents as well as the mediocre agents to do business. Everybody knows how to get through the intersections of a transaction the same way.” 

But in a market where 30, 40, 50 percent of the homes are in some phase of distress or bank-owned, that means too many homes on the market that are being offered under a different set of rules, which don’t include cooperation. 

NAR has urged Congress to include the following
·         Make the $7500 tax credit available to all purchasers and eliminate the repayment requirement.  The credit’s limited availability and required repayment terms have severely limited the credit’s appeal to potential homebuyers.  As a result, the credit has not been widely used or proven effective at stimulating sales. 
·         Make the 2008 FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits permanent.  New rules for 2009 would significantly reduce the FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limit from their 2008 levels. Now is not the time to limit the availability of affordable mortgages. 
·         Get the Emergency Treasury bank relief program back on track by targeting more funds to mortgage relief efforts and increasing efforts to mitigate foreclosures.  Don't just give the banks unrestricted cash. Make the program work to improve mortgage and housing markets as it was originally intended.
·         Permanently bar banks and banking conglomerates from engaging in real estate brokerage and management.  The banks have proven they have enough to do to simply properly manage their current lines of business.  Do we really want them to manage the home buying process?  Imagine what could have been the situation now if they already had the added ability to engage in real estate sales.
We can’t wait for a lame duck Congress to act on these initiatives. The NAR needs to call for a summit now. New temporary easy-to-follow protocols, or procedures for consumers to buy distressed homes is what’s needed right now. Not more bailouts. Not more handouts. 

Blanche Evans is CEO of Evans Emedia, Inc. and publisher of The Evans Ezine. As an award-winning journalist, Blanche has been named one of the "25 Most Influential People In Real Estate" by REALTOR Magazine, and twice recognized as one of the industry's most "Notables."  

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