You know that Texas Realtors® are the experts in representing homebuyers and sellers in real estate transactions. But did you also know that Texas Realtors® fight for your rights at the state Capitol?
That’s right… Texas Realtors® are supporting a wide range of consumer-protection legislation, and on April 12, thousands of us from around the state will swarm the Capitol to visit with our elected officials. We’ll be asking lawmakers to support bills that benefit private-property owners and the real estate industry.
Keeping you in your home – One of the reasons Texas was able to avoid the real estate bubble that other states experienced is a strict policy on home-equity lending. According to the Texas Constitution, a homeowner can only borrow against 80% of the appraised value of his home, less any amount owed on the mortgage. This kind of protection doesn’t exist in other states – and many homeowners have found themselves upside down on their loan.
Curtailing HOA abuses – We recognize the role homeowners associations serve to protect property values, and support laws to ensure HOA operations are transparent and consumer-friendly. Texas Realtors® also support maximum fine amounts, reasonable payment schedules and the prohibition of expanding the powers of the association beyond those powers specifically granted.
Ending the scam – Right now, there is Realtor®-supported legislation moving through both chambers of the Texas Legislature that would prohibit most private transfer fees on real estate. These fees are scams that force the buyer of a property to remit a payment to a private entity each time the property is sold.
Preventing eminent-domain abuses – While necessary, eminent-domain powers are sometimes abused, and private-property rights are threatened whenever an eminent-domain taking is contemplated by the government. Texas Realtors® favor legislation friendly to property owners that reforms the limitations, process and other aspects of eminent domain and property condemnation.
Stopping new taxes – With a big budget shortfall, everything is on the table. This may include new taxes on real estate transactions and services – both would raise the cost of buying and selling a home. Texas Realtors® oppose proposals that make it more difficult for Texans to buy or sell a home. Period.
Focusing on what matters right here – It’s not just what happens in the Legislature that matters. Many real estate-related issues crop up at the county and city level, too. We’ve got you covered. There’s a committee of Realtors® from all corners of Texas who discuss local issues and develop strategies to protect the rights of private-property owners around the state.
Focusing on what matters “up there” – Realtors®’ advocacy isn’t just limited to state and local issues. Realtors® fight for homeowners’ rights in Washington, D.C., too. For instance, there is talk of eliminating the mortgage-interest deduction on federal tax returns. This long-standing deduction is one of the most fundamental advantages of homeownership. And while we understand the nation’s economic situation, we oppose any effort to take this deduction away.
Under all is the land – Aside from the specific issues mentioned above, we also follow legislation that deals with water rights, transportation, sustainable energy production and more. If you think this makes for a wide legislative agenda, well… I’d have to agree. But real estate can mean a lot of things – in fact, the preamble to the Realtor Code of Ethics begins with, “Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.”
I believe Texas Realtors®’ legislative efforts embody this statement, and I’m proud to be heading to Austin to fight the good fight.
For your real estate needs, contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000.