Staying Positive, A Message for REALTORS® Amidst Ongoing Challenges

“As we reflect on our journey, it’s crucial to acknowledge the external perceptions that sometimes attempt to cast shadows on our noble profession. In the eyes of some, we may be painted as the “bad guys” or even labeled as a so-called “cartel.” In the face of such criticisms, it’s imperative that we not only defend our integrity but also remember the unwavering commitment we hold-to put the consumer and community first, both as advocates and professionals.

Our detractors may attempt to obscure the truth, but our track record speaks for itself. While accusations may be hurled, let us remember the families we’ve helped secure homes, the individuals we’ve guided through the complexities of the real estate market, and the communities we’ve enriched through our service.

We are not a faceless entity; we are advocates for homeownership, guardians of property rights, and the bedrock of thriving communities. It is our duty to stand firm in the face of misconceptions and illuminate the truth-that our primary allegiance is to the consumer, and our purpose is to elevate the communities we serve.

In the aftermath of the housing crisis of 2008, our advocacy efforts were not driven by self-interest but by a dedication to stabilizing the market, providing assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure, and enhancing regulatory oversight through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. We stood as guardians of homeownership, ensuring that families had a fighting chance to keep their homes.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 marked another milestone in our commitment to consumer welfare. This comprehensive legislation addressed issues like predatory lending and established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an entity that has since played a crucial role in safeguarding consumers in financial transactions. The numbers speak for themselves – millions of dollars have been returned to consumers through CFPB enforcement actions.

On the homefront, our advocacy extended to ensuring the availability of flood insurance for homeowners. Reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was not just a bureaucratic task; it was a commitment to shielding homeowners from the financial devastation of floods. This program has stood as a safeguard, providing peace of mind to countless families across the nation.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 brought about significant changes to the tax code, impacting mortgage interest and property tax deductions. Our engagement during this period ensured that the interests of homeowners were considered, and we navigated the shifting landscape to provide accurate information to our clients.

And then came the unforeseen challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of this crisis, our advocacy took a new form – one that addressed the immediate needs of homeowners and tenants. The CARES Act and subsequent relief packages provided mortgage forbearance options and rental assistance, demonstrating our adaptability and unwavering commitment to the well-being of those we serve.

When the term “cartel” is tossed around, let us not be swayed by rhetoric but instead be bolstered by the knowledge that we operate within a framework of ethics, professionalism, and consumer advocacy. Our Code of Ethics is not a mere formality; it is a living testament to our commitment to transparency, fairness, and the highest standards of conduct.

In every legislative battle, in every negotiation, and in every transaction, we have exemplified the ideals of integrity and consumer-centricity. It’s not just about closing deals; it’s about opening doors to a better future for the individuals and families we serve.

So, my fellow Members, let us rise above the noise and continue to be beacons of trust and reliability. Let our actions and dedication drown out the mischaracterizations that attempt to tarnish our profession. As we navigate the challenges ahead, let our shared commitment echo loudly-that we are advocates, professionals, and community builders first and foremost.

Thank you for your unwavering dedication, and let us continue to march forward, united, in the service of our communities, proving that our allegiance lies firmly with the consumer and the greater good.”