On Thursday, May 17, Realtors® from across the country gathered on the steps of Capitol Hill to tell members of Congress that Home Ownership Matters – to people, to communities, and to America.
Why now? Because despite the heated rhetoric of an election year, Realtors® remain focused on homeownership, housing and real estate issues; we know that the challenges our country faces aren’t going away after November. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue the American dream of homeownership, and we will fight against obstacles that make it more difficult for people to buy, own and invest in real estate.
I’ve practiced real estate here in Johnston County for many years. During that time, I’ve had the privilege of helping families invest in their futures through homeownership. Over the past few years, however, I’ve also
seen buyers with good jobs and strong credit histories turned down for loans; hard-working families who are unable to refinance into lower monthly mortgage payments; and people lose their homes to foreclosure because their bank was too slow to process a short sale.
There are some who say we should turn our backs on homeownership – that the government should step away from insuring and purchasing mortgages, that homeowners shouldn’t be able to take advantage of certain tax benefits, and that maybe owning a home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, after all.
There’s no doubt that homeownership isn’t for everyone. The decision to own a home is a very personal one. But there’s a reason we’re a nation of homeowners, by-and-large. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “A nation of homeowners is unconquerable.” That’s because homeownership fosters stronger communities, creates social stability, and contributes to a strong economy.
Yes, Realtors® sell real estate, and cynics may view our efforts as self-serving. But in doing our jobs, we help people into homes that give them shelter, a sense of community, and the opportunity to build financial security over the long term. We help businesses find homes, too; commercial real estate is just as much a part of the fabric of our local economy as are homes for families.
As we look to America’s future, we must not lose sight of the values that helped make our country strong in the first place. Realtors® want our country’s current and future leaders to understand the vital role that real estate plays in both the long- and short-term health of this nation. And that’s why I went to Washington.
President of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS®