2015 Real Estate Industry Changes
January 21, 2015
By Jim Sexton
The Arizona REALTOR® leadership team attended the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Conference and Expo in New Orleans in November 2014. Arizona was well represented at the Conference with 51 Arizona REALTORS® serving as NAR Directors or Committee members totaling 70 appointments overall. As we navigate through the first quarter of 2015, following are highlights of some issues that will have an impact on our industry this year.
REALTOR® of the Future
NAR responded to the request for more REALTOR® professionalism by creating a proposal including developing standards for agent evaluations. This proposal calls for real estate members to not only be held to the Code of Ethics, but also to a Code of Excellence. The Code of Excellence would cover the following competencies: stewardship of property listing data, privacy and security of consumer information, advocacy of property rights, community involvement and technological expertise.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
The CFPB’s actions will include further enforcement as well as the new Truth in Lending Act (TILA) forms and disclosure requirements to become effective on August 1, 2015. A summary of AAR’s plans to address this change and a variety of resources can be found at www. aaronline.com
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
NAR passed a policy for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s, aka drones.) The Federal Aviation Administration is scheduled to announce regulations for the commercial use of UAV’s later this year. Use of UAV’s for real estate marketing is currently prohibited.
NAR President, Chris Polychron, is focused on REALTOR® safety. Chris is from Arkansas which is the state where Beverly Carter tragically lost her life. Go to the NAR web page devoted to tips on REALTOR® safety for more information about this important topic.
Mortgage Debt Relief Act
NAR issued a Call for Action on the “Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act.” The provision expired December 31, 2013 and was imperative to get it extended before impacted homeowners have to file their 2014 income taxes. The Senate passed the bill just before adjourning for 2014. The legislation also included a one-year extension of the 15-year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements and the deduction for improvements to energy efficient commercial buildings.
Terrorism Risk Insurance Act
NAR issued a Call for Action on the “Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002” (TRIA) and pressed Congress to extend terrorism coverage available along with its property and casualty lines. This is crucial to commercial mortgage finance. TRIA expired at the end of 2014. Because of the importance of terrorism insurance coverage to commercial real estate, NAR supports its continued availability and affordability of coverage.
EPA Water Issue
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have issued a proposed rule that would redefine most water bodies as “waters of the U.S.,” which is a fundamental change to the Clean Water Act. The primary effect of the proposed rule would give jurisdiction of all water ways in the US to the EPA, when currently the EPA only has jurisdiction over “navigable” water ways and wet lands.
I am confident the AAR 2015 leadership team is prepared for this year. Together with Michelle Lind and our Arizona REALTORS® staff, we are ready for all the change that this market will throw at us in the coming months and we will “Lead the Way” to a successful 2015!
For more on the items outlined above go to: www.realtors.org.