When it comes to public perception regarding REALTORS®, I sincerely doubt that when asked, most would describe us as community-minded or even concerned about much else besides our commissions. Truth is, most of us devote a ton of time trying to make our island home even more perfect than it already is. About 1% of Hawai`i’s population hold a real estate license including many members of our State legislature. Most REALTORS® are passionate about preserving the rights of property owners so much so that we “put our money where our mouth is.”
Our Pack? No, RPAC!
Supported by non-tax deductible donations, our REALTOR Political Action Committee (RPAC) primarily focuses on forging relationships with elected officials to whom we can communicate concerns. Certainly, our most direct contact is at the State and local level. A quick look at some of the issues that did not move forward this past session will illustrate the need for this important work. Approximately 20% of all bills introduced at the legislature related to real property.
- One proposal suggested a 25% tax on the net proceeds (profit) when a home is sold within 5 years of purchase. I don’t know about you, but my life is clearly different than it was 5 years ago. It’s impossible to predict the future. If passed, a homeowner could be hit with a median penalty of $157,000.
- Another bill would have prohibited the sale of residential homes to foreigners altogether. In 2019, foreigners spent approximately $416 Billion on residential properties. Upon sale, foreigners are hit with huge capital gains. At the very least, the State would lose that money.
- The sale of an empty home would have created an automatic tax of 5% of the assessed value. As a listing agent, it’s always easier to sell a vacant home than one that’s occupied. This would cost an owner an average of $31,500 (based on a sales price of $630,000).
- Solar rooftop (Photovoltaic) would have been required on all new construction. This would add to the approximately $8,000 for solar that recently became a requirement. Keep in mind, any increase in the cost of construction is simply added to the sales price.
- An additional bill would have required solar charging stations in new construction. While a lofty goal, only a very small percentage of homes currently need charging stations. On the Big Island, many electric vehicles don’t yet even make it to Kona without recharging!
Our Government Affairs Committee (GAC) is working with the County to ensure building codes are tailored to meet the needs of our community, and working on availability of insurance coverage (especially in Lava Zone 1&2) is a huge issue! Currently, HPIA (quasi-governmental agency) policies seem to be the only coverage available. In the most affordable area of the State, the cost of these policies is affecting the ability of local buyers to qualify for a home loan.
These are but a few examples of how your favorite REALTOR® contributes. Feel free to ask them what they do to contribute to the betterment of our island home. Most of us feel that living here is a unique privilege, so it’s an honor to help in any way we can!