As I thought about a topic for this week’s column, I kept coming back to all the rain lately – not just our area but across the country.
In addition to that issue, other communities have been battling wildfires. Recently, homeowners across the country have been evacuated due to both natural disasters, reminding me of the importance of Realtors continuing to work on behalf of all property owners.
When the Realtor organization lobbies on behalf of property owners, our efforts are known as the Realtor Party – a bi-partisan group of industry professionals monitoring laws and regulations and going to bat for consumers. We tackle a variety of issues ranging from preserving the mortgage interest deduction to improving federal mortgage programs, which allows more families to join the ranks of homeownership.
We also have our finger on the pulse of environmental issues, including flooding and wildfires.
Several topics related to environmental and property rights concerns are on the Realtor Party’s radar, including clean water, endangered species, energy efficiency, natural disasters, the National Flood Insurance Program, lead paint and wildfires, to name a few. What do these topics have to do with real estate? Each of these issues can have a significant impact on property owners and the costs to own and maintain those properties.
Did you know flood insurance is required for a mortgage in more than 20,000 communities nationwide? Millions of small business and homeowners depend on the NFIP, a federal program, to protect their property against flooding, the most costly and common natural disaster in the United States. Without it, more property owners could become uninsured and then have to turn to the federal government for taxpayer-funded disaster relief and rebuilding assistance after major floods.
It’s likely you or someone you know in another part of the country has faced raising insurance rates following a natural disaster such as a hurricane, wildfire or earthquake. Or worse, perhaps the policy was denied.
Without federal involvement, affordable property insurance will continue to not be available in many parts of the U.S. to protect against the next mega-catastrophe caused by a hurricane, earthquake, or other acts of God.
Without insurance, the taxpayer – not the property owner – pays when Congress reacts to the latest disaster by providing millions of dollars in financial disaster assistance to rebuild underinsured properties and communities.
What would it look like if energy efficiency were federally mandated? Realtors believe property owners’ ability to sell their home or building could be at risk without first having to conduct energy audits and improve its heating and cooling system, windows, insulation and lighting. Also, older homes that don’t meet adequate energy efficiency requirements or score poorly on energy use assessments might lose value compared to newer, more efficient homes.
Realtors support improving energy efficiency through voluntary incentives, commercially reasonable approaches and education in lieu of individual building mandates, and we oppose applying existing laws and regulations that are not designed for global climate change to try to address these issues, provisions that impose undue economic burdens on property owners or managers and triggering such requirements at the time when real property is sold.
As you can see, the Realtor Party identifies, analyzes and acts on a variety of issues that affect the real estate industry and private property owners.
It’s critical for Realtors to come together and speak with one voice about the stability a sound and dynamic real estate market brings to our communities. That voice is the Realtor Party working on behalf of you.
Greater Chattanooga Realtors is “The Voice for Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of some 1,300 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia.
More information: www.gcar.net; 423 698-8001.