On Your Side, Every Step of the Way

Even with today's difficult economy, REALTORS® remain remarkably optimistic. Yet many real estate professionals and consumers are suffering.

March 1, 2009

Dr. Dean Ornish, writing for Newsweek magazine late last year, said something that really struck me. "Suffering," he said, "can be a powerful catalyst for transforming our lives for the better." Boy, don’t I know it!

Even with today’s difficult economy, REALTORS® remain remarkably optimistic—yet I know many of you are suffering, and your clients are suffering.

In the Newsweek article, Dr. Ornish talked about ways that we as individuals can reduce our stress in tough times—meditate, exercise, reach out to friends, stop watching the news.

One thing Dr. Ornish didn’t address was the power of collective action to make things better. That’s what the REALTOR® family offers, and that’s why your association membership is more important than ever. I and all the officers, committee chairs, and directors of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are committed to working on your behalf to bring that power to bear.

One of the primary ways we’re working together is through legislative advocacy, fighting for federal policies that will improve affordability and spur sales. When I talk to members of the 111th Congress, I see a recognition that more needs to be done.

In early February, House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank, D.-Mass., introduced a bill—H.R. 703—that would revamp the Hope for Homeowners program. The program was designed to help home owners refinance into safer mortgages, but its use has been extremely limited. The changes would encourage broader use of the program by making it more lender-friendly while retaining benefits for home owners. Separately, we’re working to extend and improve the homebuyer tax credit so that it provides a real affordability boost.

Our work in Congress is never finished. We’re always looking for ways to stabilize and revitalize real estate markets, and we need your help. Keep us informed about the challenges you’re facing and contact your members of Congress to reinforce our message that housing and commercial real estate must be among their top priorities.

Legislative advocacy is something you expect from NAR. But our support for you can’t stop there. We’re also in the business of helping you change with the times. Today, that may mean closing short sales, using new technologies, or staying abreast of changing RESPA and lead-paint regulations.

But critical as personal development is, we realize that it may be difficult today to justify spending money on it. That’s why this month, we’re rolling out a new initiative—Right Tools, Right Now—to make hundreds of valuable publications, education, services, resources, and tools available to you free, at cost, or at significantly reduced pricing.

Watch for specifics about Right Tools, Right Now at REALTOR.org/RightToolsRightNow, in our e-newsletters, and in the pages of REALTOR® magazine. I sincerely hope you’ll take advantage of this new initiative and let us know what else we can do to assist you.

Charles McMillan

Charles McMillan was 2009 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.