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Move Off The Blogs to Change NAR

Express Ourselves

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It’s time to get involved.

Background: Read Did Google Scrape My Website? You Be The Judge. Rules Threaten Realtors & IDX Providers.

This is a very real, tangible and definable threat to how Realtors do business in the 21st Century.

In light of the fact that the best response given is to the question of “how do we get involved?” is “get involved” …

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As Jay Thompson said:

So I guess an email to Cliff is our only option to “get involved” as we are so often told to do. That seems odd, as I thought there was a committee or some sort of governing body we could address our concerns to. I don’t know Cliff, but if Jim Duncan says he’s a good man, that’s all I need to know to trust that Cliff will take my email and express my concerns to whoever it is that listens to these things. I wish I could tell them directly, but I guess I’ll use Cliff as the “middle man”.

Now the real work begins. It seems that we have convinced each other and enough NAR staff to have the conversation – In Real Life – with the 112* members of the Committee.

Here is *how* to get involved – specific to this matter.

1a – is remarkably difficult to navigate. This isn’t new to anyone, but it’s worth noting just how frustrating it is.

1b – Go to the NAR Committees page and find out who your respective members are in your state. – or see this spreadsheet put together by Brad Nix.
2 – Find their contact information and call or email your reps. They may or may not be well-versed on this particular issue, and one assumes that some will be lost on the technical aspects of this argument. Debating technology minutae with policy folks may be an inefficient use of everyones’ time and energy.

a) Go to your state association page or call the state association and try to find their email address – neither NAR nor your state Association (assuming they are like mine, Virginia) will disclose email addresses due to privacy concerns. When you hit this roadblock as I did,

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b) Google them — Ironic, isn’t it, that this conflict arose partially due to of a fear of Google, yet our best option to find fellow Realtors … is Google?

Before contacting your fellow Realtors, for God’s sake, educate yourselves. Telling them “to fix it!” will not be sufficient. Tell them, and show them, how to “fix it.”

If you can, come to the NAR Mid Year meetings (it’s free). At the very least, email your representatives. Follow Benn’s excellent advice about whom to contact (have you emailed your local boards?).

Make no mistake, this issue has potentially *huge* ramifications.

Such as – if this rule were to be adopted by other associations, the power would shift from those Realtors who have embraced the internet to establish presences – a leveling of the playing field if you will – to those who have the deepest pockets and the best connections with the NAR. Read: the big brokers who have been fighting for relevance and to recapture their respective power and presences would be given – given! – a significant advantage that they have not earned.

Realtors are supposed to play by different – better – rules, unlike our competition. I was joking when I said in the comments that I suspected that someone from Zillow/Trulia/Cyberhomes/etc must have been guiding the committee’s discussions, because they (and are the second greatest beneficiaries. By taking away our proverbial weapons (IDX), the only ones with weapons would be our competition. ( is our competition – just like Z/T/C – they are neither our partner nor our friend – their goal is profit – on the backs of Realtors’ content and work)

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This cannot stand. If we want to ensure that our arguments, desires and opinions reach beyond the comments of blogs and beyond a very small minority within the NAR – staff and members – it is absolutely imperative that you speak out. Now. The absolute worst thing that could happen is for the members in leadership to hear silence from us. Policy is set by the  powerful and the vocal. We must be both.

But … Let’s also set our expectations appropriately. Changing NAR policy is akin to turning a battleship 180 degrees – it takes dedication, patience and persistence.

As noted on Twitter:

It’s too easy to ignore “those guys on the blogs” until they show up at your meeting to express themselves #narmidyear0229 #dontmesswithus

It’s time to move off the blogs.

NB: The steps for getting directly involved on National Committees is worthy of another lengthy post … and involvement is a decision not to be made lightly – involvement requires commitment, dedication and a fortitude that is nearly unmatched. It seems that many (not all, and this is not an indictment of all NAR leaders) “leaders” get to be called “leaders” by virtue of longevity. If you’re willing and able to make that commitment – at the local and state and eventually national levels, Start Now. If you choose to get involved, please don’t waste energy and oxygen because you think it’ll benefit you later; do it because you feel you can contribute positively to the membership to help guide and craft solutions.

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* Thanks to Michael Wurzer for the initial talking points in the comments and Brad Nix, Rob Hahn and Jay Thompson

** Extra special thanks to Benn and Lani – without whom this progressive action would never have taken place. Benn’s counsel and guidance has proven invaluable to me and others.


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Written By

Dad, Husband, Charlottesville Realtor, real estate Blogger, occasional speaker - Inman Connects, NAR Conferences - based in Charlottesville, Virginia. A native Virginian, I graduated from VMI in 1998, am a third generation Realtor (since 2001) and have been "publishing" as a real estate blogger since January 2005. I've chosen to get involved in Realtor Associations on the local, state & national levels, having served on the NAR's RPR & MLS groups. Find me in Charlottesville, Crozet and Twitter.



  1. Matt Stigliano

    May 11, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Jim – Great “call to action.” I just went through Brad’s spreadsheet and emailed all my state committee members. Interesting how you find them on Google as you mentioned (one even came up with specific property information, which I noted in my email). I will not be able to attend the meetings this year, but this has all proved to me the need to get more involved both in local, state, and national associations. I am working towards the goal of being ready for next year, but in the meantime, I will continue to follow and do what I can from here.

  2. Colleen Kulikowski

    May 11, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I just went and got the contact information for the 1 NY Representative. Sigh… Google them find them on Linkedin and they link to the main page of ActiveRain as their BLOG. Shared with my local board and the technology committee that I am a member of. I hope to gain the attention of someone. But then again, most people here in Western New York are clueless…

  3. Paula Henry

    May 11, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Jim – This is a very serious issue and I am very appreciative of your comments and insight throughout the discussions here.

    You’re correct, this requires more than a one stop in DC, we must remain vigilant and diligent. You state it well:

    “But … Let’s also set our expectations appropriately. Changing NAR policy is akin to turning a battleship 180 degrees – it takes dedication, patience and persistence.”

  4. Matt Stigliano

    May 11, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I also added my voice to Cliff’s inbox as many have done.

  5. Joe@Augusta GA Homes

    May 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Serious, serious stuff. Found myself thinking of the old Internal Affairs motto “Who polices the police?” Will add my voice to those of the other dilligent agents in contacting my reps, local board, and state commission.

  6. Benn Rosales

    May 11, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Jim, kudos. You’re much like a surgeon in how you craft conversation, there’s no doubt that you get it.

    What concerns me is the disconnect between offliners and onliners, and how to bridge the gap, if neither is willing to meet the other 1/2 way to communicate. Both mindsets (online vs offline) seem to be poised against one another over issues they actually agree on, they just don’t know it yet.

    I think there’s a middle ground, and maybe that needs to be the focus- how and why you would want to step outside of your comfort zones to grab a handshake, digitally or in person.

    In the end, it’s all politics that divides.

    Great thoughts…

  7. Missy Caulk

    May 11, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Jim, I emailed Cliff last week and I already am on the MLS Committee locally and a Director.

    Not much else to do unless I want to get involved on a NAR or MAR Committee, unfortunately I am busy at the local level and with my team. I can’t fit it in at this stage for more travel etc.

    Speaking out can be done by email or phone calls. I know in Politics they say for every email or phone call they figure 100 people feel that way and just don’t do anything.

    I hope everyone here and on the original post are following up and not just chatting about it on line.

  8. Gail Tassey

    May 12, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Thanks for keeping up on this and providing the spreadsheet. I will be sending my state members an email today… and present it at the office in the hopes of getting a few more agents to follow suit. Truly right now, time is of the essence to get this done before Thursdays meeting.

  9. Patsy Snyder

    May 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Thanks, Gail. I’ll also send our state members an email today.

    Thanks for staying on top of this to protect us, the hard working agents who deserve to reap the rewards of our labor.

  10. Rachelle Anselmi

    May 12, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    If you go to, log in and search under associate executives – the emails are listed there. You can also search for a member once logged in. That is where we found the emails we needed.

  11. Bob Wilson

    May 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I have another option that requires far less work and no more banging of one’s head against the wall in another futile battle with a clueless organization.


    If I am not a Realtor, then NAR has no say over what I can do. I can pay to have MLS access and a RETS feed for my IDX or VOW. If NAR or any state or local Realtor group attempts to shut me down then it’s a restriction of trade lawsuit filed that week.

    I reject the idea that I need to volunteer in order for some common sense to be injected into the decision making processes that go on at NAR. Why do I need to get involved? Are the current volunteers devoid of common sense? If the Todd carpenters, Bill Lubins and Jim Duncans of the world can’t get through to them, why should I believe that they are going to listen to anyone else?

    I have spend an inordinate amount of time and emotional resources trying to resolve REAL problems for REAL sellers who are seeing their REAL lives turned upside down by an industry organization that looked the other way while some REALLY stupid things took place over the last 7 years.

    I am sick and tired of listening to NAR fiddle while peoples’ lives burn.

  12. Rafting Tips

    August 13, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I got the contact information of my state committee members through that spreadsheet. I have also send them an email regarding the issue. I will definitely try my best to attend that meeting this year. Lets do it.

  13. Nashville Grant

    March 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    I have a random question that is semi-related to this post. Is anyone else’s local MLS provider owned by your local association of Realtors? I suppose I was always under the impression that these were independently owned and not by our local association. That brings up a second question, is it a conflict of interest for someone on the local association board to also be on the MLS board? I’m not sure that it matters, but curiosity is getting the best of me today.

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