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Approximately 9,000 REALTORSĀ® are gathered in Washington, D.C. this week for the REALTORSĀ® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, addressing members of Congress and regulators on key real estate issues, as well as participating in sessions delivered by industry experts and thought leaders.

“With a new president and Congress in office, it’s vitally important for regulators and policymakers in Washington to hear from the nation’s REALTORSĀ® about issues affecting their businesses, communities and clients,” says National Association of REALTORSĀ® (NAR) President Bill Brown. “Robust commercial markets and helping more Americans achieve the dream of homeownership are things we believe strongly in protecting, which is why we are here this week engaging with our senators and representatives and making our voices heard.”

Specifically, REALTORSĀ® are visiting the U.S. House and Senate offices to urge Congress to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). They are also advocating for responsible reform of the secondary mortgage market, as well as for improving consumer protections for energy efficiency improvement (PACE) loans and prohibiting the use of mortgage guarantee fees for purposes other than risk management.

Session speakers this year include Mark Calabria, chief economist to Vice President Mike Pence, and Ben Carson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Carson, who spoke Tuesday, told attendees that HUD is working to make improvements, with the goal of ushering in a new era of homeownership.

“It’s important to be able to learn from success and from failure,” said Carson. “That’s what wisdom is all about.”

Carson affirmed the importance of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) condominium rule, which, though still pending, but would lessen limitations on FHA financing for condos.

“I can assure you that this rule has very high priority,” Carson said. “I think it will make a big difference to a lot of Americans.”

In addition to the sessions, more than 140 REALTORSĀ® were inducted into the REALTORSĀ® Political Action Committee (RPAC) 2016 Hall of Fame, acknowledged for RPAC investments of at least $25,000, with one REALTORĀ® recognized for investing $150,000. (View a list of inductees.)

NAR also announced its continued support of Upstream, the real estate data management company, which unveiled an additional method of integration with multiple listing services (MLSs). The new option, developed with Upstream’s MLS Advisory Group, is a “broker input of choice model” that gives brokers the ability to enter data into the MLS, which will then send the data to Upstream. Brokers still have the ability to enter additional data in Upstream and manage its distribution.

“Upstream has harnessed the technology necessary to make this a reality as we shape the future of real estate,” said NAR CEO Dale Stinton. “This next inclusive step ensures that our REALTORĀ® members remain at the center of the real estate transaction.”

“Our objective has always been to solve problems thorough partnerships,” said Alex Lange, president and CEO of UpstreamRE. “Brokers can continue to leverage their current workflow while gaining all the enhancement and management features of Upstream. The MLS Advisory Group has been instrumental in determining easier ways for the MLS community to engage and integrate with us.”

NAR will continue to provide funding, resources and support to Upstream through RealtorsĀ® Property Resource (RPRĀ®) through 2018.

The REALTORSĀ® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo concludes May 20. Stay tuned to RISMedia for more developments.

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