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?