Vote. Act. Invest.

advocacystartswithyouMay is REALTOR® Advocacy Month, an opportunity to recognize the importance of REALTOR® advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. BRR celebrated by focusing on three different ways to be involved in advocacy: vote, act and invest.  Here is a summary of the topics discussed and resources shared by the Boise Regional REALTORS® during REALTOR® Advocacy Month.

 

VOTE WEEK

May 7 – May 13

Vote - REALTOR Advocacy Month 2017

  • Why is it important for REALTORS® to vote? From the REALTOR® Action Center website: “As a member of the REALTOR® Party, you vote for candidates at the local, state and national levels who support the REALTOR® Party and make the right decisions for your profession and your customers.”
  • REALTORS® get out the vote for pro-real estate ballot issues and candidates with the goal of protecting homeownership. If you’re not registered to vote, register today!
  • BRR members were encouraged to learn about the issues and vote in the local election for the Greater Boise Auditorium District (GBAD) on May 16, 2017.
  • Does your vote as a REALTOR® matter? Local school funding successes are the perfect example why. Thank you for voting YES and supporting local schools!

ACT WEEK

May 14 – May 20

Act - REALTOR Advocacy Month 2017

      • REALTORS® actively engage in government, and voting in the GBAD election on May 16th was the perfect opportunity to ACT by!
      • YES for Boise Schools thanks Boise Regional REALTOR® members and the REALTOR® Party for taking action by supporting the Boise School District Bond Initiative.

      • Get involved by signing up for REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts. NAR will send you short text messages when you need to act on important real estate issues.

 
INVEST WEEK

May 21 – May 27

Invest - REALTOR Advocacy Month 2017

      • The REALTOR® Party supports the issues that are important to your business as a REALTOR®, regardless of political party affiliation. Learn more about RPAC.
      • Wondering if RPAC investments make a difference? Ask the YES for Boise Schools campaign! Boise Regional REALTOR® members and the REALTOR® Party supported the Boise School District Bond initiative, which PASSED with a historic majority!
      • Do you have questions about the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC)? Find answers here, or contact BRR Director of Government Affairs Soren Dorius.
      • The financial commitments of RPAC investors allow REALTORS® to have a voice in important local, state, and national issues. Learn more here.
      • What happens when REALTORS® vote, act and invest? Read about REALTOR® Party successes.

 

2017 REALTORS® Annual Legislative Meetings

 

This post will be updated daily throughout the meetings.

Recap from Day 5 — May 20, 2017

The NAR Legislative Meetings wrapped up with a Board of Directors meeting.

Day 5 collage

Recap from Day 4 — May 19, 2017

Day 4 of the NAR Legislative meetings was busy for BRR leaders and staff. They attended a number of meetings including the Issues Mobilization Grant Workshop and Forum, Government Affairs Director meeting, a financial planning class, and the Region 12 Caucus in which Julie DeLorenzo presided as the Regional Vice President.

Day 4 collage

Recap from Day 3 — May 18, 2017

BRR leaders and staff spent Day 3 of the NAR Legislative Meetings working in NAR committee meetings, taking a tour of the Capital building, and watching Congress in session. Congressman Simpson presided as Chairman of the session, and they were able to watch every member of Congress cast vote from their front row view!

Day 3 collage

 

Recap from Day 2 — May 17, 2017

NAR Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Chief Lobbyist Jerry Giovaniello lead the discussion with expert panelists on tax reform and flood insurance. Chris Wallace of Fox News spoke on “America Under President Trump.” BRR and IR representatives met with Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson and Senator Jim Risch. BRR Vice President Phil Mount discussed government-sponsored enterprise reform with Senator Mike Crapo during their visit today.

Day 2 collage

 

Recap from Day 1 — May 16, 2017

Dr. Ben Carson spoke at the regulatory issues forum, Roy Wright from FEMA discussed national flood insurance issues, Kit Fitzgerald and Connie Fogle represented Idaho during the NAR Presidents Cup recognition. #NARLegislative #REALTORParty

Day 1 collage

 

2017 REALTORS® Annual Legislative Meetings — May 10, 2017

Next week, leaders and staff from BRR will be attending the National Association of REALTORS® Annual Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C. The purpose of this important conference is threefold: advocacy, committee service, and networking.

First, for REALTORS® from around the country to share issues important to our industry, communities, and consumers with U.S. Senators and Representatives. Three key issues to be discussed include tax reform, the reauthorization of the national flood insurance program, and ways to protect sustainable homeownership. Talking points for each are available here and will be the basis for meetings that Idaho REALTORS® will be having with Idaho Senators Crapo and Risch, and Representatives Labrador and Simpson while in D.C.

Second, to serve on national committees and workgroups, helping shape policy and initiatives to benefit members. From Idaho, there are 16 REALTORS® who serve on committees, as well as four staff members, including BRR Chief Executive Officer Breanna Vanstrom. You can see a full list of those serving on national committees at NAR.realtor (login required).

And third, to network with dedicated real estate professionals from around the country, sharing best practices and bringing new ideas back to our local association. There are structured networking sessions focused on association management, leadership ideas, and brokerage management, as well as the informal networking that happens between sessions, at educational programs, and during the trade show. The Legislative Meetings are open to all REALTORS®, so if you’re not able to attend this year, please consider it for 2018.

Stay up-to-date on the Legislative Meetings by following the NAR Legislative Live Blog.

BRR Advocacy Update | February 2017

Advocacy Update Slider - Feb 2017

BRR Endorses Ada County School Bond/Levy Efforts

Three school districts within Ada County have bonds and/or levies they are putting before voters on March 14th. Among these endorsements are Kuna School District’s $40 million bond measure and $2.5 million supplemental levy; West Ada School District’s $160 million plant facility levy; and Boise School District’s $172.5 million bond initiative.

All of these bonds/levies will help address the rapid growth our region has experienced, ensuring our children have access to safe and modern schools. We encourage all of our members who live in these respective school districts to vote YES on March 14th. Learn more about early and absentee voting, as well as more info on these bonds and levies here.

Widen Chinden Boulevard?

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is proposing some big changes to Chinden Blvd., with the possibility of investing up to $350 million in order to add more lanes and modernize intersections. If you are interested in learning more, consider attending their next open house event:

  • Thursday, March 9th, 4:00-7:00 pm at Thomas Jefferson Charter School, 1209 Adam Smith Ave., Caldwell.

The Idaho Statesman has more information about the proposal which you can learn about here.

59 Minute Meeting Success!

Thanks to the many REALTORS® who joined us for our first 59 Minute Meeting of 2017, held on February 21st at BRR. We heard from our special guests Wendy Johnson (Superintendent of the Kuna School District), Eric Exline (Chief Communication Officer for West Ada School District), and Dr. Don Coberly (Superintendent of the Boise School District). It was a great opportunity to learn more about what is going on in their school districts, as well as how the upcoming bonds and levies will help address school needs in our rapidly expanding communities. Stay tuned for information on our next 59 Minute Meeting, to be held Tuesday, May 23rd at BRR.

RPAC Lounge is returning to our REALTOR® Awards Gala

We are pleased to announce that RPAC will once again be hosting an exclusive lounge area for RPAC investors at our upcoming Gala on Friday, March 10th. For more details on this exclusive VIP lounge experience, please contact Soren Dorius at soren@boirealtors.com or call (208) 947-7237.

BRR Advocacy Update | January 2017

brr-rpac2017 Idaho Legislature is in session!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as the Idaho REALTORS® will soon release their legislative agenda, noting bills they’ll need our help to support. Boise Regional REALTORS® will work closely with IR to ensure our industry has a voice with our state’s legislative body.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Mapping Changes

Changes to proposed 100-year flood maps could affect more homeowners in Boise, Garden City, Eagle, Meridian, and Star potentially requiring the purchase of flood insurance. To identify if a home is located in this impacted area, click HERE for an interactive map.  There are questions about these maps, the timeline for implementation, and options for homeowners in newly affected areas. We encourage BRR members and homeowners to attend the following public meetings to learn more:

  • February 1, 2017, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Ada County Courthouse, 200 W Front St in Boise
  • February 2, 2017, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Lowell Scott Middle School, 13600 W McMillan Rd in Boise

59 Minute Meetings are BACK!

Mark your calendar — our first 59 Minute Meeting of 2017 is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on February 21 at BRR. We’ll be talking about education and how it impacts our community. Between the Governor’s State of the State request for a 7.9% increase in education spending, and several local school districts running bonds and levies, we’ll let you know what’s happening and how BRR and IR are involved. Event details out soon.

Congrats to Jessica Perreault, on her appointment to the Meridian Planning and Zoning Commission!

The Meridian Planning and Zoning commission is responsible for the policies and issues related to zoning, transportation planning and development, among other things.  Jessica is a BRR member and REALTOR® with Silverhawk Realty. She will serve a 3-year term.

Have questions about advocacy?

Contact BRR’s Director of Government Affairs, Soren Dorius, at soren@boirealtors.com.

REALTORS® Announce 2016 Endorsements

Boise Regional REALTORS® is pleased to announce its upcoming elections endorsements, for November 8th.  A committee of volunteers comprised of REALTORS® and Affiliate members, the Political Affairs Committee, reviewed upcoming ballot issues and a number of local election races to determine this election cycle’s endorsements.  After careful review of candidate interviews and issue presentations, the Political Affairs Committee made the following endorsements of candidates and ballot issues:

  • TJ Thomson – Ada County Commissioner District 2 (4 year term)
  • David Eberle – ACHD District 2 (4 year term)
  • Sara Baker – ACHD District 5 (4 year term)
  • Support – W.A.R.D. (West Ada Recreation District) Aquatics Centers Bond Initiative

“Each election cycle we have the privilege of giving our association and industry a voice on key issues and political races,” said Phil Mount, Chair of the Political Affairs Committee.  “This year was no different from previous years, where a committee of volunteers with diverse backgrounds and political party affiliations join together as the REALTOR® Party to determine the best course of action for endorsements.”

Speaking to the decision-making process, Boise Regional REALTORS® President Carey Farmer stated, “We are proud of the thoughtful deliberation and selection process, and also thankful for the time spent by our members to determine who the REALTOR® Party should support this election.  Committee members took time away from their businesses and family, to ensure our industry continues to have a voice in the community’s future.”

Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 8th.  For information on registration and where to vote, please visit http://www.idahovotes.gov/ or https://adacounty.id.gov/elections/.

REALTORS® Travel to Washington D.C. to Advocate for Housing and Property Rights

Earlier this month, leaders from Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. Senators Michael Crapo and James Risch, and U.S. Representatives Raul Labrador and Michael Simpson, to discuss pressing housing and property rights issues as part of the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Legislative Meetings.

Idaho REALTORS® Meet with Sen. Jim Risch in Washington, D.C.

Photo Caption: Idaho REALTORS® Meet with Sen. Jim Risch in Washington, D.C.
Photo Source: Idaho REALTORS®

“It is imperative to connect with our lawmakers to ensure they understand the issues that face the real estate industry, markets and their constituents — many of whom are home and property owners. REALTORS® are on the ground every day fighting for home and property owners in their communities, and we demonstrated we will do the same here in our nation’s Capitol with our elected officials,” said Boise Regional REALTORS® President Carey Farmer, who attended the meetings. “Supporting homeowners and property owners through smart legislation is so important for families, communities and the nation’s economy, so we will continue to work with lawmakers to ensure they are protected.”

 

Idaho REALTORS® at Meeting with Sen. Mike Simpson in Washington, D.C.

Photo Caption: Idaho REALTORS® at Meeting with Sen. Mike Simpson in Washington, D.C.
Photo Source: Idaho REALTORS®

The group from BRR was among the nearly 9,000 REALTORS® from across the country who attended the meetings. During visits to the Hill, REALTORS® urged their Senators and Representatives to preserve current real estate-related tax policies; extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, which prevents distressed homeowners from receiving excessive income tax bills on forgiven home loan debt; reform key Federal Housing Administration (FHA) condo rules; and, ensure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage guarantee fees are not extended, increased, or diverted to unrelated government spending.

“Congress is considering legislation that will have a very real impact on the industry, market and buyers and sellers, so it is important our elected officials hear from us,” said Farmer. “Through the voice and strength of the REALTOR® Party, we made it clear where we stand on key issues that affect home and property buyers, sellers and investors right here in the Boise region. That’s the benefit of coming together and speaking with one voice to our nation’s lawmakers.”

Additional information on the federal, state and local advocacy priorities of the REALTORS® Associations are available here:

Idaho Homeowner’s Exemption Aims to Create Stable Tax Base

On Tuesday, March 8th the Idaho Senate voted to approve HB431 sending it to the Governor’s desk for signing into law. The bill changes the Idaho Homeowner’s Exemption to a set amount of $100,000, rather than tying it to the Federal Housing Price Index.

What is the Federal Housing Price Index?

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) which manages the index, “The HPI is a broad measure of the movement of single-family house prices. The HPI is a weighted, repeat-sales index, meaning that it measures average price changes in repeat sales or refinancings on the same properties.” However, due to how the Index is calculated, there is an 18-month lag in reflecting actual economic conditions.  Therefore, when there are drastic changes in the market—as we experienced in 2008—the Index is not an accurate reflection of prices. Additionally the current tax law shifts the property tax between the different property categories. For example, when residential taxes are up agriculture, commercial, utilities, and other property types have lower taxes. Then when taxes for these categories are down, residential taxes go up.

Who gets a Homeowner’s Exemption?

As the Homeowner’s Exemption currently works, each owner-occupied primary residence (house or manufactured home) and up to one acre of land is eligible for a Homeowner’s Exemption. To qualify, applicants must own, occupy, and use the dwelling as of January 1 but before April 15. The annual deadline for applying for the Homeowner’s Exemption is 5:00 p.m. on April 15th. The exemption allows a maximum of 50 percent of the value, regardless of price, of the primary residence and up to one acre of land to be exempted from property taxes.

Where do I learn more about the Idaho Homeowner’s Exemption?

The Idaho State Tax Commission is the best resource for homeowner’s interested in learning more about Exemption. On its “Homeowners & Property Tax” page, the Commission explains how the Exemption works now, without the set amount: “Since taxes are based on the budgets of taxing districts, those districts can budget the same amount from property tax from one year to the next, but when property values go down, the levy rate goes up automatically to compensate. If one property’s value increases more than others, its taxes go up faster than others.”

Over the past 10 years, the Idaho Homeowner’s Exemption has been as high as $104,471 and as low as $81,000,due to fluctuations in the Index. The exemption amount for 2016 is $94,745.

Home Value Current Exemption Amount New Exemption Amount
$100,000 $50,000 $50,000
$200,000 $94,745 $100,000
$500,000 $94,745 $100,000
If decreasing 18-month lag in decrease $100,000

 

Going forward, the set exemption amount of $100,000, as outlined in HB431, aims to stabilize the Exemption, create a predictable tax base and provide certainty to homeowners and others who own real property in all categories.

Key points to remember:

  • Idaho is just one of a handful of states that provides a homeowner’s exemption.
  • The $100,000 exemption is actually higher than what we have currently, and higher than what most other states with an exception offer.
  • Both current and future exemptions are capped at 50% of a home’s value, regardless of that price.

Still have questions? Contact Miguel Legarreta, Director of Public Policy at Boise Regional REALTORS®.

RPAC Golf Tournament – Registration Open

Registration is now open for the 2nd Annual RPAC Golf Tournament on Wednesday, September 23rd at The Club at SpurWing. This 9-hole tournament is a 4-person scramble with a shotgun start at 9am followed by lunch at approximately 11:30am (the event should be done by 1pm).  If you are a current investor in RPAC or are interested in learning more about or becoming an investor in RPAC, this tournament is for you!

The tournament is open to all ACAR members.  Major Investors at the Sterling R ($1,000) level and above are invited to play for FREE! All other ACAR members are invited to play for $75. Or join us just for lunch for only $20. REGISTER NOW.

Registration includes:

  • 9 holes of golf on Spurwing’s new Challenge Course
  • golf cart
  • drink ticket
  • raffle ticket
  • awards lunch

All tournament proceeds benefit RPAC which works to protect homeownership and the real estate industry by fighting issues and electing pro-REALTOR® and pro-real estate candidates. RPAC dollars are used on the federal, state and local levels to support issues critical to the future of real estate and REALTORS®.

Stop Patent Trolls – Avoid Future Lawsuits

REALTORS® across the country receive threatening demand letters and lawsuits alleging patent infringement based on the use of common business tools such as drop down menus or search alert functions on websites and the scanner function on a copier. These patent trolls buy vague patents and use them to turn everyday business practices into potential lawsuits. TAKE ACTION NOW

How does it work? Patent trolls -– or, to call them by a less disparaging name, “patent assertion entity” –- is a person or group who tries to enforce patent rights against infringers in an attempt to collect fees, but who doesn’t actually produce any product or technology related to that patent. A patent troll might buy a patent from a bankrupt company, then sue another company, claiming that one of its products infringes on the patent.

IS MOBILE YOUR THING? GET THE REALTOR®PARTY MOBILE APP BY TEXTING “APP” TO 30644

When there is a Call for Action, you will receive a standard push notification alerting you. The mobile action alert allows you to take action immediately. The new mobile action alert format will make your participation a snap!

ACAR Legislative Wrap Up

It’s already more than half way through the year and ACAR has been working on a number community involvement and public policy programs.

ACAR led a campaign to support the passage a bond for the West Ada School District that brought $96 million in needed funds to build 4 new schools and renovate a high school.  After failing last summer the supermajority bond passed with 71% approval, relieving overcrowding in elementary, middle and high schools throughout Ada County.

ACAR has been meeting with the College of Western Idaho on their plans on expansion in Ada County and downtown Boise (we were also very pleased to have CWI Trustee and former IR CEO Mark Dunham present at our 59 Minute meeting).  In 2007, we were very supportive of the original bond campaign to create the college and which has seen remarkable growth to over 20,000 students (more than any community college in the history of community colleges).   REALTORS recognize education is vital to ensure a healthy environment for education and business.

This year ACAR has worked with the city of Meridian on downtown redevelopment and planning through a placemaking project that was highlighted by NAR .  Additionally, we are working on several other community projects that add value to homes and that improves communities we live and work.  Our work as a whole received national attention by NAR, as we were awarded the 1st ever Community Outreach Award.

The Idaho Legislature adjourned on April 10th (with a special one-day session on May 18th).   There were several impactful issues on the table including additional funding for transportation and education.   Funding in education included increases in teacher pay to make salaries more competitive in addition to ensuring adequate broadband/internet connectivity to students throughout Idaho.   Overall, public schools received a 7.4% increase, colleges and universities received a 3% increase, and professional-technical education received a 5.9% increase.

In addition, the Legislature addressed growing concerns about the condition of roads and bridges by increasing funding through registration fees ($21) and fuel tax (7 cents). These funds are utilized through a 60-40 split between the State Highway Account and local units of government and provides for about $136 million of the $540 million dollar annual shortfall.

Some of the issues concerning REALTORS and real estate include:

Several pieces of legislation passed by the Idaho Real Estate Commission, including cleaning up real estate statute (spelling, errors), changing the certification period for education providers, and clarifying an agent must be the owner of an LLC if they want to be paid through an LLC.

In response to ongoing debate over Urban Renewal Agencies, an Urban Renewal Study Committee was authorized to study urban renewal plans and issues and addressing concerns such as more sideboards and transparency.  ACAR works with a number of Urban Renewal Agencies on economic development, so this issue is important related to economic development.

There were several land use planning bills, but only one passed which prohibits the use of eminent domain by local government for obtaining land for greenbelts and trails, preferring the use of eminent domain for roadways.

There was a rule change by the Idaho Tax Commission clarifying the Homeowners Exemption as follows;

Part Year Ownership. For qualifying taxpayers who claimed the homeowner’s exemption on an eligible property, the homestead that qualified on January 1 of the current tax year shall continue to receive the exemption, provided however, the assessor may remove that property’s exemption if, by April 15 of the tax year, the taxpayer owns a different homestead and requests that the exemption be transferred to the second homestead.

For additional details on passed legislation download the Idaho REALTORS 2015 Session Wrap Up.

It has been a very productive year for real estate and real estate issues, we will continue to protect your business, enhance the communities we live and improve opportunities for home ownership