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Realtors Coming Out of the Closet

realtor closet

What I Discovered

A few short years ago when I was doing my original research for (when I first became enraged with I found something very interesting.  There was a site (a rather stupid looking site with an even more stupid, long and impossible to remember URL) hosted on AOL that was beyond critical of  That site is no longer up (and I have since removed shaftingrealtors, when NAR politely asked me to).  What was interesting was that it was impossible for me to find the person who had put up that site on AOL.  Their name showed up nowhere on the site – or anywhere else.  They were afraid of reprisals from NAR.

As recently as fall of 2006 I  had numerous people writing to me, telling me I was “very brave” to openly speak out against NAR’s handling of

Things have changed…

My my, how the playing field has changed.  No one writes stuff like that to me, anymore.  Seems the only thing stopping anyone from saying anything these days is they are busy trying to make a living (that thing NAR is supposed to actually help us with).  Thanks to Jim Duncan for unearthing these gems from

For nearly a decade, has helped REALTORS® thrive in the Internet age. was created to be an Internet site that would always be owned and controlled by REALTORS®

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Protected members against business models intended to disintermediate them or force unfriendly tariff models upon the industry

No “For Sale by Owner” properties may ever appear on

It would be wonderful if the four quotes above were actually true.  Unfortunately, they are not correct statements.  But it doesn’t have to stay that way.  I believe NAR is populated by nice people who will wind up doing the right thing.  Even if it takes a while.  I also believe I have a lot of company now.  So there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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Written By

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at and



  1. Joe Loomer

    May 29, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Spot on Russell. Visionaries like you are leading the way to the way back.

    I recall when NAR first allowed to post FSBOs and there was just a mild murmur in my neck of the woods. At the time, I was with a small local firm – albeit one with an established reputation. I looked to my broker to take the lead and let us all know what we should be doing. Fast forward and I’m with a national brand, national resources, extensive training, and a focus on staying ahead of the competition. I now take it upon myself to educate my broker (and our market center) – whose schedule may not allow her the leeway to navigate these posts. Keeping my fellow associates at the firm informed about the NAR issues is my way of ensuring they can make the choice to have their voices heard on this and other outstanding forums.

    If it was not for your diligence – and that of the many other contributors and commentors on this and the host of other informative sites – the rest of us would continue to plod along in lock-step with the old guard.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Kim Hannemann

    May 29, 2009 at 9:43 am

    If and when you turn out to be mistaken – and believe me, I don’t want you to be mistaken – this quote will resurface for ridicule:

    “I believe NAR is populated by nice people who will wind up doing the right thing.”

    Of course, by then you will probably be beyond caring!

    Thanks for being uplifting!

  3. jim little

    May 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I’m with you on this one. It is because of you and several other members of AG that many others, including myself, think there may be hope.

    I have always had mixed emotions about NAR, believing that it is more of a money pit than a trade organization seeking to benefit its members.

  4. BawldGuy

    May 29, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Russ, you are to optimism what Chicken Little is to panic. 🙂

  5. Thomas Johnson

    May 29, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Russell: That is one helluva cat skin on your closet floor!

  6. Lani Rosales

    May 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Russ, the crazy thing is that I’ve now been accused of being a NAR cheerleader as well as a NAR hater. Ironically, I’m not a member so I shouldn’t even care, but I care about the industry, I care about consumers and ultimately what people may not understand about you is that you feel the same and if NAR functions well, there’s no obstacle to this. So for those who don’t know Russ, please understand that he (as well as the rest of us here) just wants NAR to function well so the industry can thrive and consumers can benefit.

    When NAR does a good thing, we cheer. When NAR puts up walls, we jeer. I chose not to whine over beers about it, I’m with YOU in mobilizing the crowd to become more educated and to KNOW what’s happening BEFORE the wool is pulled over their eyes.

  7. Fred Romano

    May 29, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Yes – let’s boot all the alternative business models off!!! No more flat fees, no more “discounters”, no more fsbos (listed with flatfee)… lets just lock up all the info and force the public to deal with full service traditional brokers. Heck why don’t we restrict the display of “street address” too, that way the buyers will HAVE to contact the broker. Forget all the stuff about transparency.

    Oh wait … what about the DOJ Antitrust Ruling… oh well I guess we cant 🙁

    As I heard someone else say on here… the horse is out if the corral. Done. Move forward now.

  8. Karen Rice

    May 30, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Fred – I really couldn’t care less about the alternative models on Personally I think it’s offensive to let FSBOs post on there.

    Furthermore, my biggest beef with is that it is SO limited unless you are willing to pay mucho bucks….when other sites like Zillow and Trulia give you so much more free.

    Have I gotten any business from Zillow or Trulia? No idea – people don’t know what site they found me on.

    Have I gotten any business directly from enhanced listings on A few inquiries, and sold one listing myself, an office worker sold another one of my listings. In two plus years, I have had two sales that were directly a result of

    Wow. Pardon me if I’m underwhelmed. I would expect a much bigger ROI from the “#1 Real Estate Site in the World.”

  9. Paula Henry

    May 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I, too, have been accused of being a NAR hater – not so! I believe Realtors should have the same rights to publish our information as I do not see any benefit from, Trulia or Zillow, not because I don’t like them, I’ve just never seen any business from it.

    None of it is actually free – it costs us everyday. The wool is sufficiently in place over many eyes!

  10. John Wake

    May 31, 2009 at 2:44 am

    NAR’s decisions about the internet have been absolutely HORRIBLE (yes, I’m screaming).

    First they let a company founded by a guy who is still on trial for fraud to use the “” domain name!

    Even more unbelievable, NAR still lets that same company (under a new name, Move Inc.) have the contract to provide NAR’s web site.

    That was bad enough but then in 2003 NAR’s leadership created a blatantly illegal internet policy which the Department of Justice jumped on, of course… but not until after the DOJ warned NAR for a long, long time they were going to jump on it. By taking on the DOJ and losing, those rocket scientists at NAR did more to hurt the image of Realtors than any image-building B.S. NAR has ever aired. Thanks guys.
    “Cendant Real Estate Division CEO Richard Smith, along with other franchise leaders, including Dave Liniger of RE/MAX International and Bill Powers of Realty Executives, lobbied the NAR for a broker opt-out option that would enable brokers to choose which VOWs would be able to publish their listings.”

    Today, I suspect Byzantine NAR politics explains why NAR lets provide the web site for NAR. I suppose gross incompetence is another possible explanation (look at NAR’s internet track record). And bureaucratic inertia is certainly a factor.

    NAR should ask Zillow, Trulia, Google, et al. for proposals on what they could do if they were to provide the web site for NAR.

    I have absolutely no doubt that Realtors would get phenomenally better results at phenomenally lower prices with a different vendor providing the web site for NAR.

    Ya know, things are tough out there guys and NAR is absolutely wasting what could be a spectacularly useful tool for Realtors by giving the contract to

    On the other hand, would be very unhappy if they lost the NAR contract.

  11. Ken Horst

    May 31, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    I have to agree with John, is NAR the problem or is it Move Inc. Think about it folks, who couldn’t take an Internet property like and put it to good use? God only knows how much money they blew on the Activerain debacle. That money could have been spent on attracting more home buyers if nothing else.

  12. Atlanta Real Estate

    August 31, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    NAR, ABR, XYZ…all the $400/year orgainzations with a zillion (forced) members.

    I never “donated” so much money to nothing in my entire professional life, prior to becoming an agent.


  13. Jacci - Austin Realtor

    January 6, 2010 at 12:22 am

    It is hard to gain alot of business from, Trulia or Zillow without paying an arm and a leg. I get better results from my own personal site. It would be nice if NAR would hold themselves to their own quotes.

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