Act now!

Each month, CREA will invite an industry expert outside of CREA to contribute to CREA Café under the “Open Mic” banner. This month, we are pleased to present the following from the 2013 President of the National Association of REALTORS®, Gary Thomas.

Greetings to all of our friends in The Canadian Real Estate Association from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Every day, our elected officials are making decisions that have a huge impact on the bottom line for REALTORS® and their customers. As these issues are debated, it’s crucial that REALTORS® come together and speak with a unified voice about the benefits that real estate brings to families and communities.

That’s why, at NAR, we created the REALTOR® Party—an energized movement of real estate professionals fighting for the issues that matter to REALTORS®.

Our motto is “vote, act, invest.”

Members of the REALTOR® Party vote for candidates that represent the interests of real estate, act on issues vital to REALTORS® and their customers, and invest in the REALTORS® Political Action Committee to back candidates who support the real estate profession.

Of course there are differences in the political and lobbying systems of our two countries. CREA cannot make, solicit or encourage political contributions, but there is still so much you can do.

There are many ways to act in support of public policies that promote homeownership and investment in real estate. These include staying engaged; responding to “Calls for Action,” or CFAs, and fostering community relationships.

For example, when the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that affects the real estate industry, NAR calls on its members to participate in a Call for Action. That means simply contacting their Member of Congress through an e-mail or a phone call.

NAR members joining together to speak with one clear, powerful voice is how REALTORS® can ensure that our businesses remains strong. Recent CFA issues include preserving access to safe and affordable mortgages, keeping the housing recovery on track, and “do no harm” to housing.

In 2012, NAR had an average advocacy participation rate of 12 percent. Compare this to a 3.8 percent average participation rate in other nonprofits. On the “do no harm” CFA, we had a 17.9 percent response rate. That equaled 143,000 letters sent to legislators on Capitol Hill.

When Congress hears from us in numbers such as this, they know that our position is in the best interest of the nation. This is why the overwhelming majority of the issue we fought for were protected during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations over tax hikes and spending cuts.

Keep up all the great work CREA is doing to advocate for the stability and prosperity that a sound and dynamic real estate market brings to our communities.

Let’s act to keep the dream of homeownership alive, and good luck on launching the REALTOR® Action Network.

Gary Thomas is the 2013 President for the National Association of REALTORS®, America’s largest trade association, representing one million REALTORS® involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. A second generation real estate professional, Gary is the Broker/Owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, California. He has been in the business for more than 35 years and has served the industry in countless roles at the local, state, and national level.

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