STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (May 2016) – Representatives of the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR) recently joined with nearly 8,900 Realtors® from across the nation to meet in Washington, D.C., to advance issues critical to their businesses, communities and clients.
The initiative took place May 10-14 during the 2016 REALTOR® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. During their visit to the nation’s capital, SIBOR members attended meetings and visited with regulators and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss the legislative and regulatory environment and its effect on residential and commercial real estate.
“It is imperative we 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,” said Sandy Krueger, CEO of SIBOR. “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 capital with our elected officials.”
Attending Realtors®, all members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), focused on several major issues pertaining to the industry during the legislative-focused meetings. Of utmost importance was protecting real estate-related tax policies, which are vital to expanding homeownership to more Americans.
“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,” said Claire Bisignano Chesnoff, president of SIBOR.
SIBOR ON CAPITOL HILL
While in Washington, SIBOR members met with Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles (Chuck) Schumer (D-NY) to influence public policy decisions that will directly affect consumers’ ability to own, buy and sell real estate.
Specifically, Dawn M. Carpenter, a SIBOR past president and New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR) president-elect, urged Sen. Gillibrand to preserve current real estate-related tax policies and extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, which prevents distressed homeowners from receiving excessive income tax bills on forgiven home loan debt.
Other pressing matters included reforming key Federal Housing Administration condo rules and ensuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage guarantee fees are not extended, increased or diverted away for 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 Greg Sokol, SIBOR 2017 president-elect. “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 on Staten Island. That’s the benefit of coming together and speaking with one voice to our nation’s lawmakers.”
STUDENT LOAN DEBT
During the week-long conference, Realtors® heard from industry and political thought leaders, including U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who discussed student loan debt and its impact on homeownership. Castro shared some of the regulatory changes coming soon to make sure younger Americans have housing opportunities, as many of them are bogged down by loans they borrowed to earn a college degree. Those changes, which pertain to condo rules, could broaden the number of condos available to FHA homebuyers.
In addition, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), shared her perspectives on housing finance and student debt; political pollsters Peter Hart and Bill McInturff offered insights into the mood of the country and its impact on the 2016 presidential and congressional campaigns; investigative journalist and author Bob Woodward shared his thoughts on the presidential elections; and Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner discussed financial and commercial real estate markets.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun also shared residential and commercial real estate market updates and forecasts. Realtors® also had the opportunity to speak with several regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, among others.
LATEST INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS
Aside from the informational legislative sessions, SIBOR representatives also had the opportunity to explore the latest industry innovations and get up to date on how new products are transforming the real estate business by visiting the almost 120 exhibitors showcasing the newest real estate products and services for the industry during the trade expo.
In addition to CEO Krueger, President Bisignano Chesnoff, NYSAR President-Elect Carpenter and SIBOR President-Elect Sokol, SIBOR was represented by Dil Gillani, immediate past president; George K. Wonica, a past president of both SIBOR and the New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR); Sari Kingsley, SIBOR past president and NAR President’s Liaison to Israel; John Vernazza, SIBOR past president and NAR liaison to Congressman Donovan; Phyllis Cangro; Richard Mohr; Kawing Chiu; Erica Orlando, and Aleksandr Stolyar.
About The Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR)
Having marked its 100th anniversary in October 2015, the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) is the largest not-for-profit professional and trade association in Staten Island, N.Y.
SIBOR exists to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business successfully and ethically, and promote the preservation of the public’s right to own, transfer and use real property.
Comprised of approximately 1,800 members, SIBOR serves real estate agents, brokers and affiliated professionals throughout the borough and surrounding areas.
SIBOR is the provider of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service Inc. (SIMLS), which works as a clearinghouse through which more than 250 local real estate firms exchange information on properties they have listed for sale. Together, its members participate in over 3,700 real estate transactions every year.
All SIBOR Realtors belong to the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
SIBOR may be reached at 718-928-3220 and viewed online at www.SIBOR.com. SIBOR may also be visited on Facebook at “Staten Island Board of Realtors” and on Twitter via @SIBOR.