Driving through Marshall County, it is easy to note “For Sale’ ” signs dotting the landscape in front of several homes, and behind most of those signs is a realtor.
While it may be easy to dismiss realtors as someone simply trying to sell a home, the work of a realtor is much more than that, as they are constantly working to support and advocate for their community in a number of ways.
The Kentucky Barkley Lakes Board of Realty is composed of 95 members from Marshall and Lyon counties. These realtors are actively working to protect the rights of homeowners through statewide efforts to bring forward legislation that ensures the safety of the consumer.
“It is important for the community to understand, just like the chamber is here for small business and the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau is here for the businesses that deal primarily with tourism, we are not just your individual realtors, as a group, we are protecting your rights to own a home,” said KBL board president Monti Collins.
This year, the KBL board has been advocating at the statewide level to protect the consumer from unlicensed wholesalers. The passing of HB 62 has prevented several homeowners from getting scammed in the process of selling their home, as unlicensed wholesalers have a penchant for low-balling unsuspecting property owners and pocketing a hefty profit at their expense, according to the KBL.
The bill passed through the Kentucky House and Senate unanimously and was signed by Governor Andy Beshear on March 23. Collins is proud of this effort and notes it is something the board has been working towards for over a year.
As next year’s chair of the governmental affairs committee for Kentucky Realty, Collins and his fellow realtors will be pursuing an addition to Kentucky’s first-time homeowners program.
Although there is already a down payment assistance program through the Kentucky Housing Corporation, there is an income cap, so not all first time homeowners can utilize the program. Collins notes there are several young people with great jobs that do not meet the income-related requirements, but still have not been able to accumulate money in their savings account for a down payment. The board is looking to help alleviate this strain.
Many other southern states have successfully implemented a program to allow those who do not meet the income requirements to open a tax-free bank account, which will encourage them to save for their futures. They will be able to use that money for a down payment when they are ready to own a home.
Eliminating obstacles by creating new legislation that allows for accessibility to home ownership is important to realtors. “It (realty) is not just about ‘hey, I want to sell your house.’ We (realtors) are doing this collectively, working together, to pass legislation that will allow for homeowners and homebuyers to have more access to programming that they need,” said Collins.
A majority of the leadership for the KYR and the National Association of Realty comes out of more populous areas, like Louisville and Lexington. One of Collins’ focuses this year is on increasing the amount of leadership coming from the Purchase Area. He believes Marshall County has something to bring to the table.
“I believe in the work, not just what our local board is doing, but also KYR and NAR. This particular go-around I felt it was important to focus on members of our board and getting them more involved on a statewide level,” said Collins.
He has been focusing on leading by example, showing fellow board members how important getting involved within the community is, rather than just telling them. And it seems to be working, noting that he has been impressed at the number of fellow realtors who have stepped up to accept a larger role within the community.
Realtors have a vested interest in the community, they advocate for it and they also look for opportunities to serve it. Following the December 2021 tornadoes, a large group of realtors set out to provide relief to those whose homes had been destroyed.
The Kentucky Realtors Relief Foundation committed $1.5 billion towards tornado relief, the largest amount of money committed towards disaster relief within its history, in the wake of the December 2021 tornadoes. And they continually take opportunities every year to serve the community as a group and individually, as it is written within their code of ethics.
“It is kind of interesting because you have folks (realtors) competing with each other individually on every single one of these deals, but when it comes to helping out our community, we are all one organization,” said Collins.
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