Special Series: Liniger Receives a Call-Back as Industry Players Respond

By: Andy Beth Miller 11/02/2012

Rapid and overwhelming responses have been pouring in to our editors after the open invitation for dialogue was issued with the write-up on RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger’s decidedly pointed, yet earnest letter to the presidential hopefuls.

Liniger challenged both candidates to step up to the plate for progress and lay out definitive plans for righting America’s housing market. While the presidential nominees have remained mum on solutions to the housing crisis, DS News readers have not. We’ve been both impressed and inspired by readers’ passion and by your conviction to stand up and speak out for your ideas and ideals.

The vast majority of emails we received heavily supported Liniger’s remarks, even to the point of a subject line that read: “Hail Liniger!” Safe to say this pre-election debate has sparked some extreme enthusiasm. The overwhelming majority of respondents found much to agree with in the RE/MAX co-founder’s letter.

One supporter, Peter Cooke, Jr., aligns with Liniger in his disdain for the candidates’ avoidance of important issues. “I agree with the statements from the chairman. Both candidates have to be asked about many more of the issues in this country that are not being discussed.”

As a licensed CPA, Cooke offers his staunch support of Liniger’s “first, do no harm” decree, along with examples from his daily professional life to directly back Liniger’s views with substance.

“Do no harm first is a powerful statement I fully support,” Cooke said. “I am a CPA who prepares taxes and have seen firsthand the devastation foreclosures and liar loans have done to black and Hispanic communities.”

Cooke harkens back to the famous “a little less conversation, a little more action” mentality with his belief that proposals made thus far by the candidates are purely rhetoric. “The talk of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction is just that: political talk,” he said.

“The AICPA [American Institute of Certified Public Accountants] and ABA [American Bankers Association] will never allow it to happen. These organizations via [their] members write most of the tax legislation at the federal, state, and county levels,” Cooke stated.

Jim Moran, a licensed broker with Coldwell Banker Morris in Bend, Oregon, also wrote in, saying that he is simply grateful that someone is finally talking about this obvious housing debacle for a change. “[Liniger] states the issue very well. Love the quote, ‘ignoring housing at your peril,’” Moran said.

He goes on to expound on the need for more across-the-aisle efforts. “We simply need to move beyond partisan politics and address the housing issues head on. We’ve suffered long enough on all housing fronts.” In a prediction that points to housing as not just important, but vital to the victor, Moran describes housing as “the elephant in the room” that will “determine the outcome of this election.”

In his letter, Liniger decried the two candidates’ dismissal of housing in lieu of focusing on only the economy and jobs. Like Liniger, licensed Realtor Stephen R. Kass connects the two as inextricably linked. “Like most all facets of the economy the revitalization of the housing industry is reliant on the creation of jobs, and the next four years will showcase the foreseeable future of the housing industry,” Kass wrote.

Kass goes on to say, “Each elected president has a strong area, a facet of his background that is best suited for a defined challenge to his presidency. I believe that Romney is best suited for the challenge of creating jobs and getting the economy moving and the housing industry along with it.”

Debbie Ferrero, a licensed broker with Henry Homes and More, Inc., weighed in on the issue of mortgage lending requirements and their effect on the market, which Liniger also addressed. “Mr. Liniger is spot on!” Ferrero said.

She goes on to relate her firsthand experiences in her local market and the frustration she encounters with today’s credit criteria. “I am a broker of a small, independent firm in Stockbridge, Georgia, [a suburb of Atlanta] and cannot find houses for first-time homebuyers as they are being bought, sight unseen by investors,” Ferrero said. “[W]hen our potential buyers cannot qualify because of stringent requirements … they become renters.”

Ferrero continued, “It is teaching them the wrong message. The pride a homeowner has in their property is not there in a renter and it brings a neighborhood’s value down, and I believe the family suffers in the long run. Making it terribly difficult for young couples starting out and so easy for foreigners [to buy property] is just un-American.”

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