Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Opinion Editorials

NAR & Local Boards Should Go Back to Being Broker-Only Organizations

puntAnd Agents Should Form Their Own Membership (Union)

I think that maybe NAR and local boards in their zeal to capitalize on dues by a larger membership may have bitten off more than they can chew when they allowed regular agents to join the boards (as is evident by continued tensions between the boards and average agents on the ground).

The Punted Football That Has Become The General Membership

It’s true, in every instance we’re told to get involved, however, involvement has become to complicated, that one hand has no idea what the other is doing.  Rules are consistently created by Broker boards, and enforced and agreed upon by the NAR that have absolutely no Agent interest protected.

So Maybe It’s Time to Protect Ourselves

Once upon a time, the membership really was Broker only, and maybe it needs to be that way again.  The birth of an actual membership of agents could be born with a proper voice at the table, similar to a real trade union with real votes in our best interest.

Such representation could beat down costs for, and other services we’re producing content for, thus reducing costs to the agent.  Such representation could seek out better, more competitive boards that would spring up in contrast to existing boards and the NAR.  It’s conceivable that an opportunity such as this could fracture the entire MLS cluster flip, allowing for possibly a smaller more nimble MLS that could be provided to the agent membership at a much more fair price as it has now cut out the middle men.

The Time May be Near..

…that enough is enough, that when and if a rule greatly disrupts the agents’ ability to adopt new technology, that a simple vote of no says that the massive bureaucracy that has become the collective board needs to clean up, scale down, and take it’s policies back to the drawing board for a decision that weighs all things equally.

The Broker Can Pick Up the Shortfall for NAR

This would force the Broker to pay a larger premium to the board and the NAR I’m sure, but in reality, that in and of itself would force Brokers to become more competitive where the rights and interests of their agents were concerned.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

NAR would only need engage with Brokers, simplifying the conversation of progression.

The Agent Membership Now Represented

  • Has a larger voice, and choices.

Yeah, if they really want to go backwards in time, maybe we should. And yes, I am aware that there are independent versions of the current NAR that have never really taken hold, but if the current state of affairs continues, I can see a day in the future where the concept has a more stronger footing.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.



  1. Michelle DeRepentigny

    May 7, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    With the technology available now, my opinion is that all NAR policy & procedure items for consideration should be put to an all member vote with majority ruling, instead of being limited to a recommendation by committee and vote from board of directors. Our future within what is supposed to be our trade organization is mapped by very few hands, and it seems many of us feel very unrepresented by those hands.

  2. Paula Henry

    May 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    While the current system may be mapped by few hands, I’m not sure the answer lies in a majority rules vote. For those of us who grasp the technology, it seems a wise choice. Still -agents who want to keep things “the way they were” may actually outnumber us.

    In any other business,(insert field), an owner who failed to keep up with changes in their industry would be out of business. They languish for lack of knowledge and no drive to learn – they have no one to blame but themselves.

  3. Michelle DeRepentigny

    May 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Paula, it may not give us the answer we want/need either, but it would give us more opportunity and a reason to attempt to educate others, and a vehicle to at least attempt change. I was thrilled to see that NAR is giving “us” voices through yourself and Jay at mid year.

  4. Joe@Augusta GA Homes

    May 8, 2009 at 8:21 am

    A simple example of how this is failing us all can be found in the Tax Credit. Some states allow the $8,000 to be used as a downpayment on FHA loans, others do not. A Federal tax credit for downpayment on a Federal mortgage, and the rules are determined in each state? Why isn’t NAR involved in that to push it nationwide? What exactly are they doing to further our trade and increase our visibilty and reputation? The schmitzy NAR ads wouldn’t make me buy a house – and the whole “only Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors” line in the radio and TV ads begs the question – if that’s the case, then why aren’t they out front?

  5. Mary Englund

    May 8, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Oregon is an all broker state (no agents) so we have a lot of small broker businesses. Making NAR broker only won’t solve the lack of responsiveness NAR has to small brokerages (or independent brokers). Serving the Big national franchises seems to take precedence. NAR needs to get back to basics and remember why we organized in the first place. And it wasn’t to market to consumers, the internet, google, or anywhere else. NAR is an important lobby, one we need. One to serve all brokers and agents. The MLS is a vehicle not for the consumer, but for brokers to make business offers to each other to share commissions. NAR should facilitate our businesses, nothing else, whether you are a small independent business or a large one. Let us decide HOW we will market and do business–give us the tools to make cooperative offers to each other (MLS), provide a forum for disputes, and get out of the way on everything else. NAR, in creating, has created a monster, something way beyond the scope of our basic premise for the organization. Let the marketplace handle the technology and how it works, stick to the basics. NAR can’t stay ahead of the technology curve anyway. In creating RETS NAR missed the boat in prohibiting MLS’s from charging outrageous fees to small brokers who want to use RETS, thus preventing them from playing. All in favor of big offices with huge desk fees? Thank NAR for supporting this idea by failing keep an eye on how their actions will be manipulated by local associations to suit the dominant players at the expense of everyone else. I’m sick of paying MLS fees and Realtor dues only to be told that no one cares if I’m not getting my money’s worth–or even close. It’s a take it or leave it game, and the small brokers have no choice, or voice.

  6. Benn Rosales

    May 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Mary, 2 years ago, hell, maybe even a year ago, I was standing exactly shoulder to shoulder with you, but I fear that genie has escaped the bottle.

    The problem we seem to have now, is now…

    We railed about this out here in the public, and to be honest, got very little support from offline agents, and some online agents.

    The fight is still ongoing to frame the issue and reverse what damage that can be reversed, but without real help from offliners, it isn’t going to happen.

    I really feel your frustration in your words, I really do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.




The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.