By Bob Walsmith Jr.
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors
One of the many privileges of being the 2022 Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR) President is that I’m able to attend various meetings during the year sponsored by the California Association of Realtors (CAR) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This past week was the 2022 Spring CAR meetings in Sacramento. This was the first time that I was able to attend any of these meetings in person. I was so glad that I was there. The number of like-minded deeply caring Realtors that I met was inspiring. This is our political process at its finest. People caring enough about what is right for their clients and neighbors to go to Sacramento and speak with our legislators to facilitate real change and progress.
One of the main purposes of these Spring meetings is the ability for Realtors to meet with our elected officials in Sacramento in person to discuss the topics, subjects and legislation that are important to us both as Realtors, and also as residents of this great state.
This is what we call Legislative Day. An entire day dedicated to listening to and then speaking with our elected officials, in the hopes that they will see the importance of what we as Realtors do for our clients and neighbors.
We were honored to listen to James Gallagher, the California Minority Leader of the State Assembly, Bob Hertzberg, the California State Senate Majority Leader, and finally California Governor Gavin Newson. Regardless of your political affiliation, it was an honor to have these officials speak to over 2,000 Realtors.
After this part of the day, I was honored to speak with our State Assemblyman, Steve Bennett, whose district covers parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, and our local State Senator, Monique Limon, who covers all of Santa Barbara County and a good portion of Ventura County. We discussed a subject that is vitally important for all Californians: although they work hard and have good jobs, they simply can’t save enough for a home to call their own. We, as an association, are fighting for money in this upcoming state budget to be specifically earmarked to assist Californians in their pursuit of the American Dream.
I was also highly inspired by the many people that are behind the scenes, non-Realtors, that are working with us and our legislators to strike common ground and enhance everyone’s way of life by ensuring home ownership can be had by all Californians.
Subjects such as affordable housing, more housing, fair housing, tenants’ rights, and taxes were just a few of the very important topics that were discussed this past week.
Affordable Housing – I know more than most because I live in Santa Barbara, just how expensive it is not just to buy a home, but to even afford a decent rental. With the average home price in our area last year approaching $4.0 million and the median sales price being around $2.2 million, how can the average family afford the ‘American Dream?’ This is a topic that is of vital importance and needs to be carefully thought out and discussed so that more families can achieve what a great many of us take for granted.
More Housing – It is estimated that in California alone, there is a shortage of over 4.0 million housing units. That is a staggering number. And it is only getting worse. There seems to be no easy answer to this problem. What if a community wants to stay ‘small’ and doesn’t want to grow too much? Don’t they have the right? However, don’t residents have the right to want to not cram in a small apartment? California ranks third in the country for occupants per household.
Fair Housing – April is Fair Housing month, and this topic was front and center all week. It is a continuing struggle to make sure that landlords, real estate agents, home sellers, builders, mortgage lenders, etc. treat people fairly and void of discrimination. A lot of us take this for granted or don’t think it exists, but it does, and we need to eliminate it all together.
As you can see from this list, Realtors are not just worried about where to position their open house signs or how to spend their next commission check. They are deeply concerned and fighting for the same topics that are important to the rest of the public.
The next time you talk to a Realtor, ask them about any of these very important topics, or anything else that might be on your mind. You might also want to thank them for all that they do for you and your neighbors!
Bob Walsmith Jr. is a native to Southern California and a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Santa Barbara. During his work with the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Bob has served on the CORE Committee, Education Committee, been Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, and the Multiple Listing Service Committee. He also is on the Board of Directors of the Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara. Bob lives in Goleta with his beautiful wife Julie. When not working, Bob enjoys playing golf, fine wine, fine dining, and walking our beautiful coastline. Bob can be reached at 805.720.5362 and/or email@example.com