In preparation for the upcoming advent of extended family members gathering around one table and giving thanks while eating disproportionate amounts of traditions foods, as well as in celebration of the recent election, let’s talk about politics.

It’s always fun to bring the subject of politics to the table of people that you see obligatorily one time during the year and have little to nothing in common with. It is even less politically correct to talk about it in public among strangers.

At this point, however, I don’t consider you strangers. I consider you friends, which means I can broach the subject. Bear with me, it’s relevant to real estate. In fact, that is the very reason I want to bring it up. Many people really have no idea HOW relevant this subject is.

As Realtors, we have our very own Political Action Committee. This is a committee that raises funds from Realtors, who voluntarily contribute, in order to battle legislation that could hurt homeownership and property rights of the consumer. This is a direct benefit to all people who want to live with a roof over their heads — literally.

One recent example would be the protection against transfer taxes. If the proposed transfer tax had been passed, this could have prevented many potential homebuyers from being able to obtain the dream of homeownership. This is a tax that could not be financed into a mortgage. This would require an extra 5 percent cash be produced upon purchasing a home. That is an extra $15,000 on a $300,000 home. Significant.

A consistent battle that has been fought by RPAC (Realtor Political Action Committee) on behalf of the consumer has been the mortgage interest tax deduction. Many a time, good ol’ Uncle Sam has attempted to take this benefit away from homeowners, to no avail. Thank you, RPAC.

Speaking of Uncle Sam, he tends to be the uncle who arrives late to the dinner, forgets to bring dessert and takes home the leftovers; but he’s still our Uncle and we have to invite him. At this point, no one else is going to. He has, quite literally, worn out his welcome everywhere else. We may as well make the conversation productive.

RPAC has been in existence since 1969 and is funded, as mentioned, through voluntary contributions that are not tax deductible. It’s worth it. RPAC supports policies surrounding community growth and revitalization, impact fee and transfer fee limitations, fair housing policies, property tax exemptions, capital gains exclusions, clean water, national flood insurance programs, and transparency and simplification of lender and settlement services. The list goes on.

Any realtor who is in this business for the long haul and has a passion for the industry and all that it includes (which is a lot) contributes. This is not a solicitation for funds; it is simply an educational moment. We are on the front lines in the civil war on housing rights. Now, let’s gather around the table. We’ll feed Uncle Sam. But this year, he’s not leaving with the leftovers.

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jenkirchh@gmail.com.

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