By Steven Sharpe, ABR, C2EX, ePRO, GRI
2023 President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®
Real estate is all about three words: location, location, location. Speaking for myself, I think it’s easy to focus on our own area. We sometimes forget we are a part of a much larger group. I do spend a lot of time focusing on all things in the greater Chattanooga area. As the 2023 President of Greater Chattanooga Realtors®, I spend the majority of my time thinking about real estate issues that fall into our area, which is Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. There are 2,700+ Realtors® who serve the real estate of this area, and many different housing issues that impact each area differently.
But it’s also important to take a step back and zoom out. Realtors in our local market are also a part of the state and national associations. Some of our members are part of the Georgia REALTORS®, which represents 46,000+ Realtors. The bulk of our members belong to Tennessee Realtors®, which represents 36,000+ Realtors in the state. Put those numbers together, and we’re talking about more than 80,000 Realtors.
Something that really drove this home occurred a few weeks ago when members from our association joined with 500+ Realtors® from all over Tennessee to participate in the Tennessee Realtors® Day on the Hill. (Georgia Realtors®- your Day at the Dome Conference is coming February 28 – March 1). This event was an opportunity for all Realtors, no matter from what part of the state they’re from, to visit with their elected officials and speak about matters concerning real estate and possible hindrances to homeownership. This year, Realtors across the state had three main issues we wanted to address:
1. Opposing the expansion of the County Powers Relief Act. Why would we take this stance? Tennessee REALTORS® supports keeping the County Powers Relief Act in its current state so more Tennesseans can realize the dream of homeownership. Affordable housing is an issue in Tennessee, particularly in today’s market with high prices on building materials and the current interest rates. The addition of impact fees on new development will only compound the problem and place affordable workforce housing even more out of reach for Tennesseans.
2. Assisting Supportive Housing Initiatives. What does this mean? In short, Tennessee REALTORS® is part of a supportive housing coalition, which is committed to promoting measures to house and support Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents. The Coalition hopes to create housing opportunities and initiate policy changes that will set Tennessee on a path to become a national model for scaling up evidence-based models and addressing critical housing needs now and into the future.
3. Opposing proposed legislation that would require landlords to pay an additional registration fee for information that’s already public record. Tennessee REALTORS® opposes this measure and sees it as merely a money grab for the local government as most of this information is already public record. Tennessee REALTORS® does not see a rational basis for requiring landlords to register with the local government.
Our state association, and its 36,000+ Realtors, believes that these issues impact current and potential homeowners. But aside from real estate, I think that we would all do well to remember that no matter what our occupation might be, or where we might live, we are stronger together. It doesn’t take a tragedy or a natural disaster to remember that individuals have the most impact when we act as one group. REALTORS® work in their individual communities, but we also work together to assist homebuyers achieve the dream of homeownership. That’s Who We R®.
Founded in 1912, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® is the voice for real estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,700 members, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® serve Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. The Association is one of approximately 1,100 local associations/board of REALTORS® nationwide that comprise the National Association of REALTORS®. Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® owns and operates a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is one of approximately 600 MLSs in the country and services more than 3,000 MLS users. Local Association membership is comprised of REALTORS® servicing the Greater Chattanooga area and specializing in a variety of disciplines – appraisal, commercial, industrial, land, multi-family, property management and residential. Working alongside REALTORS® are our Affiliate members, who represents related industries in sympathy with the objectives of the Association. Our Affiliate members include mortgage lenders, home inspectors, title and closing services, pest inspection and control and insurance.