Oklahoma Realtors recap 2019 at CapCon 2020
CapCon 2020 — the Oklahoma Association of Realtors' annual Capitol Conference, held this week — was as much about 2019.
“The real estate industry in Oklahoma has been transformed in several great ways throughout the past year. With new laws in place for 2020, Realtors are getting the opportunity to explore new territory in how they operate their businesses, interact with their audience and more” association CEO Jessica Hickok said.
Realtors at the conference, held Tuesday and Wednesday at the downtown Embassy Suites, discussed how laws passed last year are affecting their business: the legalization of remote online notarizations, the creation of home buyer savings accounts, and clarified marketing regulations. They also heard from legislative leaders and Oklahoma pollster Bill Shapard of SoonerPoll.
“Realtors help shape public policy so we can protect property ownership for all Oklahomans,” Hickok said. “This conference is a must for any Realtor looking to expand their knowledge of public policy, grow their network and learn more about what’s changed in the industry within the past year.”
The conference started with a panel on state issues that included House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, discussing economic development and continued diversification. Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt updated local issues. Shapard talked about the elections. Jack Greacen from the National Association of Realtors gave a national update.
Throughout, the Oklahoma Association of Realtors, with 11,500 members, highlighted 2019 as a banner year in the state Legislature, which passed three measures directly affecting property owners and the real estate business.
The measures were (these were last year's bill numbers):
Senate Bill 961, home buyer savings accounts:
The law allows first-time home buyers in Oklahoma to create a home buyer savings account "specifically designed to pay for eligible closing costs" — down payment, escrow account, inspection fees, lender fees, appraisal fees, and so on — when purchasing a single-family residence in Oklahoma.
The savings are income tax deductible up to $5,000 a year for individuals and $10,000 a year for joint tax filers. Earnings on the funds are also excluded from taxable income. An account holder may claim the deduction and exclusion for a total amount of principal and earnings no more than $50,000.
Senate Bill 104, marketing clarification language on buyer inducements:
The law, which took effect Nov. 1, "clarifies language on inducing buyers to allow Realtors to properly market themselves and their businesses," the Realtors said. Previously, real estate license holders could not "provide prizes or any other items of value to influence a purchaser or prospective purchaser of real estate."
The law now says licensees "may not use these types of items to induce buyers to purchase specific property, but clarifies what valuable consideration may be used for marketing purposes, as long as receiving the item is not contingent on individuals making an offer or purchasing a specific property."
Senate Bill 915, remote online notarizations:
Previously, all notarial acts had to be performed in person with a notary public serving as a witness to the signing event. Remote online notarization allows notaries to perform the service online over secure audiovideo calls.