RISMEDIA, Nov. 18, 2008-The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, also known as ‘the bailout bill,’ has real estate leaders talking about its impact on the industry. Here, Dave Liniger, chairman and co-founder of RE/MAX International, offers his thoughts about the bailout, what it means to consumers and the government’s new role in real estate.
RISMedia: What are your overall thoughts about the bailout?
Dave Liniger: The fact that the House did not approve the first version of the bill tells me they were trying to listen to the public. I hope they continue to listen. This bill is likely to go through a few changes, and a new administration and congress in January will make a lot of changes that we can’t foresee right now. But if our legislators listen to the consumer and create legislation that is truly responsive, I think it has a very good chance of having a positive impact on our industry.
RISMedia: Will the bill help restore real estate consumer confidence?
DL: Consumer confidence is really difficult to gauge. Most often it’s based upon what the media is reporting and the media pays very close attention to what the government does. So, if the reporting on this bill demonstrates some real workable solutions, the public will take notice and it may restore some confidence. But when inventories go down and buyers come back to the market, that’s when we’ll really see its impact.
RISMedia: Will the bill help restore real estate practitioner confidence? How can industry leaders help steer brokers and agents away from pointing fingers and into positive action?
DL: If the final bill addresses relevant issues, keeps families in their homes and reduces our inventory, brokers and agents will certainly see a changing market and have a more positive outlook. Our role is to keep providing motivation and practical strategies for succeeding in this market.
RISMedia: How patient do we, as an industry need to be? In your opinion, when might real estate consumers and professionals start to feel some relief from the bailout?
DL: I think it’s important that real estate professionals focus on being productive in this market. It’s hard to predict when everything will turn around. We have to work with the hand that we’ve been dealt. For consumers, sellers either need to price their home right or consider staying off the market right now. And buyers should take advantage of the high inventory and lower prices. If they’re buying to occupy a home, we’re at or near the bottom and they probably won’t do much better by waiting.
RISMedia: How can real estate practitioners work with their clients in explaining what the bailout means and how it might help them with their housing concerns?
DL: They need to read as much as they can about the government’s plan. Become familiar with the details and the various programs available to homeowners and buyers. For example, the New Home Buyer’s Tax Credit is a great program for those who haven’t owned their primary residence in the last three years.
RISMedia: What role can the industry play in helping to prevent a similar economic crisis in the future?
DL: This is a critical time for our industry and a time when I think we need to provide some leadership. When we see workable solutions proposed, we need to point them out and make sure the public understands the situation. We also need to be advocates for all those who make a living in our industry. I think these two actions are the most important right now.
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