Leslie Rouda Smith

@ NAR

On Your Side

We’re telling your story in the media—and in Washington.

Spring
2022

Leslie, what is NAR doing for its members this year?

So much. For one thing, through our consumer advertising campaign, we’re continuing to educate consumers about the REALTOR® difference. In February we rolled out four new ad spots. One follows a man biking through a neighborhood. He arrives at a home, pulls out his mobile phone and—in a surprise twist—lets his buyer know that he found her a shorter biking commute. Isn’t that just like a REALTOR®? Catch all the spots at ThatsWhoWeR.realtor, or on TV, radio, social, and streaming platforms. Don’t forget to take advantage of turnkey campaign assets in your marketing. REALTORS® have a great story. Let’s tell it!

You’re also telling REALTORS®’ story in Washington. You recently testified before Congress about the importance of the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program. What was your message?

VA home loans give our nation’s veterans the opportunity to build wealth through homeownership. But there’s misinformation about the program that causes some sellers to avoid offers with VA loans— and gives some buyers hesitation about using them. We have to change that. This program is critical to our veterans’ financial security; they’ve sacrificed for the opportunity to use this benefit. VA borrowers are well qualified across the income spectrum. Veterans’ average credit score is 722, and eight out of 10 VA loans close, a rate that exceeds that of other loan types. The time it takes to close a VA loan is competitive with that for FHA and conventional loans. The Department of Veterans Affairs continues to make improvements to the program; for example, we appreciate the agency’s recent changes to increase the allowance for appraisal fees and streamline turnaround times. NAR will continue to work closely with the VA to address concerns and help our members serve this population. In fact, we recently released a two-part educational video series with the VA that looks at the program and shares solutions to challenges experienced by our members, buyers, and sellers. Watch at nar.realtor/veterans-affairs.

Sustainability is an important mission for you personally and professionally. In keeping with the format of our “List Issue,” would you share a few of your favorite sustainability tips?

That’s easy. Let’s start with plastic water bottles. They take eons to decompose. They clog our seas, harm marine life, and cram our landfills. If you’re in the market for a reusable water bottle, show your REALTOR® pride with one of our branded, insulated bottles from the REALTOR® Team Store. If it’s your first time buying REALTOR® merch, you can get 10% off your order at NARTeamStore.realtor.

Next, how about starting a garden in your yard or on your balcony? Gardens are natural air purifiers— plants absorb carbon dioxide and pollutants and allow for water absorption—and they attract the little powerhouses of our ecosystem, pollinators. Plus, how great are gardens for resale? Bonus points for using native plants.

Finally, you can team up with REALTORS® in your area to bring a sustainability focus to your community. NAR offers placemaking grants to support public space enhancements, like trails and parks. We also have smart growth grants, which can jumpstart redevelopment and preservation of open spaces. Find out more, and read about successful grant projects, at realtorparty.realtor.

Christina Hoffmann
Senior Speech Writer

Christina Hoffmann has covered real estate and homeownership for two decades, including as REALTOR® Magazine managing editor and HouseLogic.com’s content manager, with added expertise as owner of a demanding 100-year-old house. She is currently a senior speech writer at NAR.

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