TAR leaders meet with U.S. Sens. Corker and Alexander, U.S. Reps.’ staffs

Friday, May 16, 2014 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Leaders of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS® (TAR) met this week with U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R, Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R, Tenn.), along with key staff members of Tennessee’s U.S. congressional delegation, to discuss vital real estate-related legislative issues.

As a part of serving its members statewide, TAR champions legislative priorities that help to protect homeowners, buyers/sellers and private-property owners from Memphis to Knoxville, Jackson to Chattanooga, Nashville to the Tri-Cities.

Nationwide, the real-estate industry is facing monumental issues—such as the future of mortgage finance and keeping housing affordable—and elected officials are making decisions that will affect America’s 75 million homeowners and those who aspire to own a home.

As part of its annual visits with elected officials in Washington, TAR officials Neal Clayton (2014 president), Pat Beech (2014 President-Elect), Randy Durham (2014 Secretary-Treasurer) and Steve Harding (Executive Vice President), leading a delegation of 60 Tennessee Realtors®, met with Sens. Alexander and Corker, along with staff designees of several Tennessee congressional leaders (who are in recess). Note: Clayton also serves as a federal political coordinator for Sen. Corker.

The TAR delegation expressed its appreciation for the meetings.

“As always, we are grateful for the chance to sit down with our elected officials in Washington and discuss timely real-estate subjects that affect so many Tennesseans,” Clayton said. “Sen. Alexander, Sen. Corker and the congressional staff members we spoke with also noted how much they appreciated the opportunity to talk about these key issues.” 

The topics that TAR raised during this week’s conversations included the need to:

  • Preserve the Mission and Purpose of the FHA Program. Ensure that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family program has the tools and policies in place to meet its mission of providing access to safe, affordable mortgage financing to qualified borrowers nationwide, without imposing burdensome limitations.
  • Preserve Real Estate-Related Tax Policies. Remember the vital role that real-estate tax provisions play in the nation’s housing markets and economy. Tax reform is important but should first do no harm. Several tax provisions vital to distressed homeowners and commercial real estate have expired and need to be extended.
  • Reform The Secondary Mortgage Market To Provide Certainty In The U.S. Housing Market. Restructure the secondary-mortgage market to ensure that affordable mortgages are available to consumers in all types of markets, and avoid a major disruption to the nation’s economy that would result from the total collapse of the housing-finance sector.

    TAR is “committed to identifying, analyzing and acting on issues that affect the real-estate industry and private-property owners throughout Tennessee,” Clayton said.

    “From city hall to the Tennessee General Assembly to Washington, governmental leaders are engaged in debate and making decisions that have a huge impact on real estate,” he added.

    “Homeowners and the housing industry continue to face a number of challenges. Tax incentives like the mortgage-interest deduction are targeted for change; affordable insurance is harder to find; mortgage credit is still tight, even for well-qualified buyers; communities are increasingly burdened with transfer fees and higher property taxes; and dedicated state and local housing resources are being diverted to offset budget shortfalls.

    “It is essential that we continue to help our elected officials understand the importance of these issues and of the need to protect the rights of homeowners, buyers and sellers.”