Our government wants and needs to hear from investors.
The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author. Make your voice heard on this topic on the Think Realty forums.
Our own federal government has no idea who we are.
That may sound like absolute heaven to a lot of you reading this, but the fact of the matter is that our government does not understand real estate investors. This is hurting us legislatively when local, state, or federal governments pass policies and regulations that are directly counter to investors’ interests. It hurts us financially, directly in the wallet, when lenders are discouraged or even prohibited from making wise, secure loans to fund our proven projects. Perhaps worst, it hurts our communities and our families because the retail perspective of real estate overwhelms every discussion about crucial issues like housing affordability, obliviating the solutions only the real estate investing community can offer.
Real estate investors must have a voice. It is time we take responsibility for ourselves and our sector and make our professional point of view public and accessible.
Most investors I know are not necessarily interested in stepping into this kind of spotlight. Because they tend to believe that less federal intervention in real estate is better, they assume they do not need to speak up for their needs in Washington or on a state level unless there is a specific, actionable issue at stake. For a long time, I believed that was probably true as well. However, what I have learned through my personal experiences in policy construction and research is troubling:
The federal government has no idea who real estate investors really are, and they want to.
Legislators and policy-makers are watching Wall Street dollars pour into our industry. That money indicates like nothing else that our sector is important. When we speak, if we choose to speak, they consistently listen. I have routinely watched seasoned, even jaded, politicians respond with amazement when they encounter investors who are experienced and involved – highly, highly successfully – with their craft. I’m not just referring to large-scale new-construction developers. I mean investors on every point in the scale.
We are poised at the edge of something important. If we fail to speak up now, we will permit the retail side of the industry to continue to dominate and skew the conversation and that will affect the policies that directly impact our portfolios. Is the retail and real estate agent population at fault for this skewed perspective of the industry? Of course not! They have done (and done well) what, so far, the investing community has simply not done: established multiple influential voices conveying coherent, compelling messages.
Now, it is time for our voices to be heard. It is time to speak up and change the concept of real estate.