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Opinion Editorials

Would you join the Association if you had free access to the MLS?

With new poll results in, we found that agents were very vocal on one specific topic, so let’s dive deeper into it.

mls

mls

Applying local logic to the national scene

Chicago Agent magazine recently sent out a comprehensive survey to our Chicagoland database of agents and posted it for our readers to take on our website. Our goal? To find out how things are changing and, hopefully, improving in the industry for our recent “Truth About Agents” issue. For instance, agents are making a higher average annual salary (it increased to $95k in 2011 from about $70k in 2010) and are spending more of their incomes on marketing (5.8 percent in 2011 vs 4.9 percent in 2010), which suggests to us that, in Chicagoland at least, we are creeping back towards a housing recovery.

But one of the more interesting questions we asked agents was if they had access to the MLS, would they still join an association? In 2010, 64 percent of agents said they would still join the association, and last year, 67 percent said they would. Keep in mind, NAR raised its dues last February, and still there was a 3-percentage point increase in favor of joining an association.

Agents were very vocal on the topic

Since agents were vocal about how they felt about that, as well as recently over an investment in Chicago that no one knew about, if a situation like this ever arose, what benefits that NAR does provide would agents miss out on? Here’s a quick list:

  • Financial protection: Realtors Federal Credit Union merged with Northwest Federal Credit Union to fill the “unique” financial needs of agents everywhere, according to NAR’s website.
  • Partner Benefits: there are various affiliates that work with NAR to give agents discounts at FedEx and FedEx Office, Budget car rental, phone lead tracker Ifbyphone and Lowe’s, among many others, to help agents in their business.
  • Insurance: NAR offers plans for individual agents and their families for health, cars and homes.
  • Educational opportunities: NAR not only has a library with thousands of digital books, audiobooks, instructional videos, journals, reports and guides, but the association also provides free monthly webinars, various courses and its own Realtor University to further agent education.
  • Advocacy: The chance to get involved in government affairs and help develop, advance, and implement the federal legislative objectives of agents and the association.

Even though members gripe about an increase in dues and wonder how exactly NAR is spending that money, at least according to Chicago agents, the benefits NAR provides is still worth hanging onto the membership, and clearly, people don’t typically join NAR only for MLS access.

But, since AG is a national website, what about the rest of the agents nationwide? Would you still join the association, even if you had access to the MLS without it? Why or why not?

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Written By

Stephanie Sims is the managing editor of Agent Publishing, which currently has online publications in Chicago, Houston and Miami. With expertise in evaluating housing markets, website content and social media strategy, and reporting information agents want to know about, Stephanie can be found at her desk with coffee that got cold or not eating lunch because she’s busy planning editorial assignments and interviews for the Agent Publishing websites.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. RussBergeronMRED

    August 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I don’t believe the original question included the word free.  This is a strangely worded question.  I think it would have been more effective had it been written as “If you did not have to join the association in order to gain access to the MLS would you still join the association?”.
     

  2. hempler

    August 28, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    No. Do I really need to say anything else?

  3. Eric Hempler

    August 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    no

  4. Katie Willson Cosner

    August 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Why not ?

  5. Velda Miller

    August 28, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Probably not.

  6. Catherine Del Rey Kolodin

    August 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    no

  7. Joe Loomer

    August 29, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Screw NAR, I’m moving to Chicago!  A better than 30% increase in average salary over ONE YEAR??!?!   Either the sampling size was so small as to make the results skewed, or a completely different class of agent took that survey.   As for the actual question?  Probably not. 
     
    Navy Chief, Navy Pride.  

  8. beachtowne

    August 29, 2012 at 9:15 am

    The question, as phrased, is meaningless and seems to have been so as to get a high percentage of surveyed agents to answer “Yes”…
    The question – “If you access to the MLS, would you still join the association?”
     
    It should have been, “If you access to the MLS, would you still (PAY $400/YEAR TO) join the association?

    • Erin Round

      September 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

       @beachtowne Agreed, its two different beasts

  9. rqd

    August 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

    How many agents collect a “salary”?   I sense the answer provided may have been gross revenue before expenses which may or may not include agency split.   The article also mentions marketing expenses were up over 18% from the prior year.  Did all expenses go up at a similar rate?

  10. RussBergeronMRED

    August 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    In the words of that great philosopher Dr. Gregory House “Everybody lies”.  And nobody lies more than people taking a survey trying to either say the right thing (of course I watch PBS) or inflate the truth to appear more successful, profitable, smarter…

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