NAR Settles Patent Troll Suit

September 2016 – The National Association of REALTORS® is declaring a major victory against patent abuse in a settlement with Data Distribution Technologies, a subsidiary of the patent enforcement firm General Patent Corporation. DDT sued and threatened several real estate businesses in the past over use of a technology-related patent, but NAR challenged the patent’s validity before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and filed a declaratory judgement lawsuit on behalf of NAR members.  Read more

S. 3083 Passes Senate

The U.S. Senate passed S. 3083 without objection, sending the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act to the President’s desk for his signature. Without you, the REALTOR® members, this huge success would not have been possible. First time homebuyers, thanks to your efforts, will now have a greater chance of reaching the American dream of homeownership.

Introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ), S. 3083 solved a number of concerns with the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) condo rules while also increasing access to rural housing loans for deserving families and improving federally assisted housing programs to make them easier to use for landlords and residents.

The reality is many first time homebuyers turn to condominiums as a more affordable option for homeownership. Condominiums make up about nine percent of the housing stock, but their share of the FHA portfolio is only 4.1 percent. Current FHA condo lending rules restrict the number of condos available to FHA homebuyers, thus limiting what is often the most affordable, appropriate choice for many families. Today, less than 10 percent of all condos have FHA approval.

Current FHA rules require that 50 percent of condo units be owner occupied. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have no such restriction when the home is being purchased as a principal residence, which all FHA borrowers are required to be. S. 3083 reduced the owner occupancy requirement ratio from 50 to 35 percent. The legislation also streamlined the FHA condo recertification process, offering more flexibility for mixed use developments, a type of development becoming increasingly popular nationwide.

Beyond condos, the bill provided a much better process for Rural Housing Service (RHS) loans and federal assisted housing programs. Many rural Americans rely on the 502 Rural Housing Guaranteed Loan Program to provide them with access to affordable mortgage credit. These loans are self-funded and budget neutral, meaning the fees paid by borrowers fully pay for the program. Additionally, easing burdens for  federally assisted properties will improve access to affordable rental housing.

The House version of S. 3083 (H.R. 3700) passed the House 427-0 with no objection. Because of your efforts the same unanimous support was echoed by the U.S. Senate and S. 3083 will soon be law. Thank you again for acting on the recent Call for Action. The National Association of REALTORS® and the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®, not to mention property owner across the nation, are better off today because of your involvement.

How is TREPAC Working for You?

If real estate is your profession, politics is your business. And no one protects the real estate industry or your bottom line like the Texas Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee (TREPAC). TREPAC is a voluntary, nonprofit group of Texas REALTORS® dedicated to preserving the private property rights of Texans. TREPAC supports candidates for federal, state and local offices who demonstrate their support for homeownership and the real estate economy.

TREPAC seeks to create a favorable business environment where REALTORS® can make a profit, protect the rights of property owners and enable the free exchange of property. It has a long history of defending your earnings, preserving the health of the real estate industry and advocating for property owners and real estate consumers.

In the past few years TREPAC has fought a host of damaging legislative proposals, including exceptions in the Deceptive Trade Practices Act for real estate brokerages as long as the broker or agent hasn’t committed an unscrupulous or illegal act. Measures eliminating most private transfer fees on real estate transactions and increasing consumer protections in eminent-domain proceedings can be attributed to TREPAC. It has also helped pass numerous HOA-reforms to increase homeowners’ rights and promote more efficient, transparent and effective HOA management. TREPAC has even prevented a property tax from being imposed on REALTORS®’ personal vehicles.

Simply put, without TREPAC, Texas would not be one of the best places to buy and sell real estate in the country. Americans are moving here to profit from our strong economy and staying because of our commitment to keeping it that way. San Antonio REALTORS® are a big part of that commitment and TREPAC will help you honor it.

Monitoring Local Legislation

August 10, 2015 – SABOR is dedicated to advocating for REALTORS® and their clients to create a stronger real estate market by protecting private property rights. Locally, there are several issues SABOR’s Government Affairs Department is currently tracking.

On August 5, a federal appeals court declared that Texas’ voter ID law had a discriminatory effect, and therefore violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

On August 7, an agreement was announced between the City of San Antonio and Lyft. Pending approval from City Council, the agreement will allow the ride share company to begin operating. City Council is expected to vote on this item on August 13.

Perhaps the most important issue is the City of San Antonio’s proposed city budget for the 2016 fiscal year: At $2.5 billion, it adds nearly 200 new jobs, increases funding for street projects and raises the starting wage for city employees. It even includes a property tax rate decrease of three quarters of a cent, which adds up to $6.1 million in savings for homeowners.

To learn more and get involved in these issues important to your business, contact or call 210-593-1200.

Props 1 and 7 Approved by Landslide

In last November’s election, Texas voters approved seven constitutional amendments, two of which are game changers for the Texas real estate economy – Propositions 1 and 7.

These two propositions accomplish several important things – increasing the homestead exemption, providing long-term sustainable transportation infrastructure funding and permanently prohibiting sales tax on real estate. Both propositions passed with over 85 percent of the vote, making it clear that Texans absolutely understand the importance of real estate to the overall economy.

Sadly though, this decision, good though it may be for Texas, was made by only 11 percent of the voting population. This means millions of Texans were not heard. In Bexar County, the numbers are even worse, with only eight percent of voters coming out to the polls. Propositions 1 and 7 passed, and they passed with overwhelming support. But, can we count on that support next time? Not if we take it for granted.

As REALTORS® we must do our part to change this culture of apathy. Fortunately, REALTORS® are uniquely suited for grassroots mobilization. You are a trusted source for your network of clients and vendors. Bring voter registration cards to closings, touch your database with reminders to vote and share articles like this on your social media. Working together, we can ensure Texas continues to be the best place to own real estate.

November 3 is past, but March 1 is coming soon. Vote. Let your voice be heard.

If you have any questions about the recent election or how you can get more involved in political issues, contact Justin Landon, SABOR’s Government Affairs Director, at

IMS Login MLS Login Feedback