By Sarah Trzepacz, Content Strategist, REALTOR.org
At this morning’s town hall meeting on land use, property rights and environmental issues, REALTORS® from all across the nation gathered to discuss the challenges facing their local markets and the home buyers and sellers in their communities. Participants hailed the forum as the ideal place to: express concerns; seek advice from each other and NAR experts; compare strategies for addressing challenges; and share success stories. Here’s a list of a few of the highlights or recurring themes from the forum:
Road Maintenance Agreements
REALTORS® from communities as far apart as Hawaii, Washington State and Alabama expressed common concerns about lender requirements for road maintenance agreements in the purchase of homes located on private, rural or unimproved roads.
Natural Gas Wells
Other members came together from Ohio, Colorado, Texas, and Pennsylvania to discuss how natural gas drilling—in rural, suburban, and urban communities alike—has affected property values in their areas and raised health concerns among their neighbors.
Another recurrent theme was concern about the recently enacted Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rule and the shortage of EPA- certified contractors available to complete renovation projects in compliance with the new rule. Although the new rule is of greatest concern to contractors themselves, forum attendees stressed the need for further education among their peers about the new rule, particularly property manager members who employ their own in-house renovation specialists.
Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs
Members from California, Colorado and Hawaii discussed how voluntary energy efficiency incentive programs present opportunities to homeowners, looking to make their homes more efficient and more valuable. These programs, however, present particular challenges to state and local governments which struggle to find the seed money to administer the fledgling programs.
Importance of REALTOR® Engagement
Several members spoke about the importance of REALTOR® involvement in community planning in ensuring that land use, property rights, and environmental issues are addressed in ways that are good for the earth, good for the community and good for business. Said one member from Colorado who attended 172 of 182 town planning meetings in her community over the last three years: “Build coalitions in your communities. You’ve got to start attending meetings before you can be at the table when decisions are made.”