By Bob Walsmith Jr.
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors
The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) conducts three business meetings each year, in January, in April and October. Unfortunately, this year, the January meeting was canceled due to COVID-19. I wrote about our April meeting a few weeks after I returned from that trip to Sacramento and following suit, I am now writing about our most recent Fall meeting in Long Beach.
Last week’s article was about two distinguished colleagues that won a very prestigious award at this most recent meeting. This week I will write about some of the other important issues that came out of that week including education, policy, and the new laws that will affect our daily lives as homeowners and REALTORS®.
I attended many seminars that will allow me and my fellow CA REALTORS® to better serve our clients and the public. These seminars are educational, interesting and helpful. No matter how long someone has been in our profession, it is always vitally important to continue to learn and strive for more and better ways to ensure our clients success and that we help them achieve the American Dream of home ownership. For when it comes down to it, that truly is our only charge!
Other important take-aways was that C.A.R. has adopted a new Strategic Plan for 2023-2025. This new strategic plan lays out our strategic priorities and the pillars for how those priorities can be accomplished;
1. Influence and Impact on California Real Estate – This is done through Advocacy, Impacting Housing Affordability and Supply, Fair Housing, and Environmental, Social and Governance Practices.
2. Member Success in a Changing Landscape – This can be accomplished with Business Resources, and Professionalism, and Professional Development.
3. Housing, Community and Professional Sustainability – This will be done through the CAR Brand, the REALTOR® Brand, Broker Relations, and Member Engagement.
4. Member Engagement, Development and Inclusion – Members must be more involved. I’m promoting our profession and being involved in our communities.
CAR has also adopted some new long-range goals for our members. These include;
Having CAR be the voice of California real estate and the champion of real property rights.
Supporting the creation of housing and pathways to homeownership in California.
Being a diverse organization that unites the strength and expertise of the real estate profession.
CAR and REALTORS® are respected leaders who foster thriving communities.
Fostering a culture of inclusivity and transparency.
Another major result of our recent meetings was the fact that C.A.R. issued a formal apology for past discriminatory policies.
Regrettably, the California Real Estate Association (CREA), now known as C.A.R., once played a leading role in segregation and exclusionary practices in housing, California communities still grapple with health and homeownership inequalities. For decades, CREA promoted policies that encouraged discrimination and the idea that neighborhood integration would negatively impact property values. The Association endorsed racial zoning, “redlining” and racially restrictive covenants.
In a statement by current C.A.R. President Otto Catrina, he apologized on behalf of all members, past and present, for fostering a practice of discriminatory practices towards minorities throughout the state of California. President Catrina said, “The Association was wrong. We apologize for these actions. We not only apologize for those actions, we strongly condemn them, and we will continue working to address the legacy of these discriminatory policies and practices.”
In the years since these practices were changed, CAR has done everything it can to make up for these transgressions and to foster inclusion and equality for all.
For instance, CAR recently sponsored a law requiring periodic implicit bias training for all real estate salespersons. Additionally, CAR helped shape a new law that strengthens consumer protection in instances of appraisal bias.
CAR is hard at work to address the legacy of discriminatory policies in a variety of ways. CAR will also continue to develop and strengthen programs that break down barriers to home ownership.
An example of REALTORS® working with our elected officials to help our communities is the fact that legislation is being introduced to raise the capital gains allowances from $250,00 for an individual to $500,000, and for families from $500,000 to $1,000,000. This would not have been possible without conversation and communication between REALTORS® and legislators.
A new law will also take effect next year in CA, that prohibits a landlord within a HOA from prohibiting renting out a portion of their dwelling.
One other interesting part of these meetings is the Business Expo that showcases many companies whose services allow REALTORS® to make better use of their time and to serve their clients and communities better.
As you can see, these meetings are not vacations for REALTORS®, but showcase real world issues that educate, guide and motivate REALTORS® to help everyone realize the American Dream of home ownership.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org