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NAR Board Changes: MLS Standards, Tax Policies and More

In addition to Code of Ethics changes, NAR’s board approved 8 recommendations for consistent MLS standards and approved greater support for housing-shortage policies.

WASHINGTON – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Board of Directors met on Friday and approved a number of changes, including the new Standard of Practice 10-5 in the Code of Ethics, which was perhaps the most controversial. In addition, however, the board:

Approved MLS changes designed to make standards more consistent. In this case, the board voted to adopt eight recommendations aimed at strengthening accountability on the part of Realtor-owned MLSs, as well as their participants and subscribers nationwide. Under the new standards, participants must submit accurate listing data and correct known errors. MLSs must display customer service and technical support contact information on their websites and supply API data feeds that use the same access and information as other MLS data feeds. NAR provides a more extensive explanation on its website.

Greater support for policies and tax incentives to combat housing shortages. The board approved recommendations from the Federal Taxation Committee to help address housing shortages that plague markets nationwide. For example, the board approved a motion to support tax policies that would provide financial relief to older homeowners and others who have lived in their principal residence for decades – people who may be discouraged from selling because they would be subject to “excessive” capital gains taxes. The goal is to boost the current housing inventory so buyers have options.

The board also approved a recommendation that NAR support tax proposal policies aimed at increasing housing inventory. That could include tax credits to reduce the cost of converting commercial properties to residential units, or tax credits to encourage the hiring and training of residential construction workers.

Distinguished Service Awards: The board also recognized two Realtors with Distinguished Service Awards. For 40 years, NAR has honored members for outstanding contributions to the industry and leadership demonstrated within their local communities. Two Realtors with more than four decades in the industry were recognized this year as the 97th and 98th DSA recipients: Diana Bull, chief financial officer and broker-associate with Pacific Crest Realty in Santa Barbara, Calif.; and Michael Ford, broker-owner of Coldwell Banker Heritage Homes in Western Memphis, Ark.

Growing the industry’s virtual connections: NAR President Vince Malta recognized the real estate industry’s ability to quickly pivot as the COVID-19 pandemic began this spring in the U.S. At the onslaught of the outbreak, NAR relaunched its “Right Tools, Right Now” (RTRN) initiative, which was conceived in 2009 in the midst of the Great Recession. The program offers a collection of free or discounted tools to help members in their business, such as through access to education and training, real estate reports and more. Through RTRN, NAR and its subsidiaries have supplied members with $25.5 million in programs since the pandemic began.

According to NAR, membership has hit a new record high during the pandemic: As of Oct. 31, there were 1.422 million Realtors, NAR Treasurer Jon Flor said.

Malta also acknowledged the real estate industry’s ability to adapt to a virtual world and keep real estate thriving. In addition:

  • Thousands more Realtors got involved in industry activities via increased virtual training and conference offerings
  • NAR has had several recent advocacy wins
  • The association implemented new fair housing and homeownership initiatives to increase training

“2020 has marked a big year in real estate on multiple fronts, faced with racial tensions and a global pandemic,” Malta says. “Realtors have made history in many ways this year. Whether through our unmatched advocacy wins or the creative ways we’ve connected with one another, our clients, and our communities, Realtors have proven that we can pivot nimbly and decisively to sustain our industry.”

Source: National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

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