Originally Published in the October 2020 Edition of North DFW Real Producers Magazine
It may not rev your engine to talk about politics, much less trade associations or political action committees, but what about the down payment options available to first time home buyers or the ability to purchase a home in a flood zone? Neither would exist without Realtors like you putting their time, energy, and money behind Realtor-led advocacy efforts.
Realtors who vote, act, and/or invest in the Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC) or Texas Realtors Political Action Committee (TREPAC) are considered members of the Realtor Party, a non-partisan political grouping of our members for the purpose of advocacy—a group that is entirely member driven.
RPAC plays a part in electing Realtor Party champions at the national level and joins with TREPAC to ensure Realtor-minded representatives are elected at the state and local levels. Candidates who receive PAC funding are individuals who run for office and are identified to be interested in real estate issues after being interviewed by the Realtor Party. Funding is distributed to both democratic and republican candidates alike.
Most recently, RPAC fought to ensure independent contractors are eligible for pandemic unemployment assistance. An unprecedented victory for the Realtor Party, yet they allowed no time for victory laps. RPAC is now actively advocating for Paycheck Protection Program funding, which was utilized by many brokers, to become forgivable.
“[Realtors] don’t often times understand that the form they are using was created with the cooperation and governance of the trade association…somebody getting a fixed-rate 30 year mortgage is because [RPAC] supports the GSEs that make sure it is available. Or think about FHA and realize that we help create the down payment programs that tie with FHA, and flood insurance—if you are in a flood zone you can’t get a mortgage. If the flood insurance program doesn’t work, there’s not a lot of private flood insurance available and your client isn’t going to get an opportunity to get into housing…and now we find ways to make sure it is funded and operational,” said Bill Malkasian, NAR Chief Advocacy Officer, during a recent interview for CCAR’s “Welcome to the Top” podcast.
Tray Bates, Vice President of Government Affairs for Texas Realtors, applauds the headline grabbing wins like property tax reform, ending forced annexation, and solidifying a constitutional ban on transfer taxes, but draws attention to victories that remain out of sight. “TREPAC fought to make sure some bills never saw the light of day. For example, in 2017 we fought a bill that would have changed the title insurance marketplace because it would have raised cost, and in 2019 we fought to ensure an amendment that would mandate sales price disclosure would not get snuck into another bill.” Texas Realtors remains committed to helping voters understand what is on the ballot and opposing legislation that would be harmful to real estate consumers.
These efforts will be critically important next legislative session as Texas is estimated to be faced with a $4.6 million budget deficit. “It will be a strain on everyone how we solve the major problem. Real estate is often looked at in these circumstances to add transfer taxes and other fees to fix the deficit. We will be vigilant in making sure there will be no harm done to real estate. Real estate has always led us out of an economic downturn, an unfettered real estate market will always lead us out of a slump and build a stronger future,” said Bates.
The Collin County Association of Realtors is thankful for the advocacy done on our industry’s behalf by RPAC and TREPAC, and is proud to be a part of the Realtor Party. Members of the Realtor Party vote, act by encouraging others to do the same and participating in Realtor Call to Actions, and invest in the PAC. Do one, or all, and you are a member of the Realtor Party.