By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A few of us from NAR have been travelling the country to follow the Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour as it visited in Chicago, Denver, and Portland and made stops along the way. I’ve documenting some of these events with video that we post on the Home Ownership Matters Web site.
The truth is, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Would consumers understand the mortgage interest deduction (MID) is being threatened? Would they care about how Fannie and Freddie will be reformed? Do they understand how vital housing is to the U.S. and the economy? At REALTOR® Magazine, we don’t usually interview consumers, and so I wasn’t sure what I would hear.
I was tasked with finding out what the idea of “home” meant to participants in the Lowe’s Gift Card giveaway. The answers ranged from the sobering but comical “My home means bills,” to “My home means freedom.” Another woman spoke of her home like it was her castle, and she a queen. Home means memories for families as they redo rooms and share stories about how they had to take up the tile they had just installed, to put it all down again. But that was one of their favorite nights spent at home.
It isn’t surprising that houses evoke passion in their owners. And so this tour has been about educating consumers about the current political climate and its implications for home ownership, and empowering them to have a voice via our petition. This weekend our emcee, RET Radio Director Stephen Gasque, asked the audience if they would fight for their home. Of course, the crowd answered with a resounding yes. But when asked if they would fight for a rental, not so much.
The bus tour will continue to educate consumers about policy debates affecting home ownership, but those messages can also be spread by all of you. I think it’s as simple as letting clients and colleagues know what changes are being talked about in Washington. In addition, NAR has issued a call to action for its members to protect, preserve, and defend the MID. Make sure your voice is heard!