March 2018 The Legislative Minute

Brought to you by the Carroll County Realtors®

Maryland Realtors® Launch First-Time Buyer Site

On February 26, the Maryland, REALTORS® launched an advocacy campaign in support of HB 436, the First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account bill.

HB 436 allows first-time homebuyers to save up to $5,000 tax-free annually, up to a total of $50,000. These funds can be used towards the purchase of a home, including down payment and closing costs. Family members may also contribute funds to the account of a first-time buyer.

The campaign will include social media ads, Calls for Action to members as well as consumers, and a consumer-facing web page (www.marylandfirsthome.com) with an advocacy portal for members and consumers to contact their legislators, encouraging support. Be on the lookout for the REALTORS® Call for Action in your email inbox

General Assembly Update

In addition to the First-Time Homebuyers’ Savings Accounts bill, REALTORS® are also supporting the following measures:

HB 1608 – Third-Party Escrow Accounts (Hearing 3/6) Maryland REALTORS® support legislation to regulate third-party companies holding real estate earnest money deposits, which are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as real estate brokers.
SB 843 – Real Estate Guarantee Fund (On Senate Floor), The Maryland REALTORS®, would like to give the Real Estate Commission authority to transfer up to $500,000 to the Guarantee Fund when it is close to falling below the statutory minimum. Such authority would help licensees avoid a special assessment if the Commission’s general fund is already flush with real estate licensing fees.

SB 846 – Brokerage Succession Procedures (Pending) Current law provides direction regarding the continuation of a brokerage after the death of the broker but has no corresponding language providing direction when a broker is disabled. REALTORS® support a technical change to the Maryland Brokerage Act to include broker disability.

NAR Lists 2018 Federal Priorities

The National Association of REALTORS® recently released their 2018 Federal Advocacy Priorities. They include:
•Regulations to Implement the New Tax Law
•Reauthorization and Reform of the NFIP
•Preserving Federal Mortgage Finance Programs
•Reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
•Providing Association Health Insurance Plans
•Amending Federal Fair Housing Act Provisions

You can read more about these and other priority issues at NAR’s Federal Advocacy page.

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