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Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m NAR

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A View from Inside

In the past month or so that I’ve been writing at Agent Genius, my employer, NAR, its volunteers and staff have  taken a lot of heat. I’ve watched mostly from a distance but this week I thought I’d offer my perspective from the inside. I offer my personal perspective both as NAR staff and as a professional who spends her days as an advocate—someone who endeavors to get a large, tradition-laden, often intractable organization to do what I want them to do. I’m talking of course about Congress, but the lessons can be applied universally.

Most importantly, I want Agent Genius readers to know that there are NAR staff and volunteer leadership who hear what you are saying, mostly agree with you and are working to affect the kind of change that will lead NAR into the future.  We offer new ideas, point out when the same old way doesn’t seem to be working and bring your perspective to the table.  This work is hard, not always popular and like in any organization, often met with fear and resistance. We do it anyway because we believe that it is the right thing to do.  We support each other but we could use your help too.
Help Us Help You

 
When I arrived at NAR a little over two years ago one of the first things I was told was that NAR is a member driven organization and one of the fastest ways to get yourself in trouble is to have your project or initiative labeled as “staff driven.” So I join the chorus of AG contributors and commenters who have already suggested that being involved is really the best way to solve the problems that you encounter. Having your thoughts and energy channeled in a constructive way inside NAR helps the “game changers” help you. If you don’t have the time or inclination to sit on a committee or attend a meeting, at least get in touch with committee leadership and share your views and concerns. (If you don’t know how to do this, see my offer of assistance below.)
Share your opinions, complain a bit…sure… but try to have a solution to suggest. Then, don’t be offended if it isn’t immediately adopted. Keep at it and savor the small changes that result. Keep your eye on the prize and understand that it’s a marathon not a sprint.
I know that NAR can sometimes be a difficult organization to navigate—so let me offer to be of assistance reach out to me here, on twitter or the old fashioned way…call me at 202.383.1234 and I’ll try to help you get in touch with a “game changer”. Hopefully we can all benefit as a result.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Maureen McCabe

    February 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Not a big reader of AG so I did not realize there was an NAR staff member writing for AG. I have spent more time checking back on the drama… to see if flames break out again.

    I am glad to hear of changes inside NAR.

  2. Ken Montville

    February 4, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Reaching out with the hand of conciliation, understanding and empathy go a lot farther than “deal with it”.

    I personally found the phone call from Vickie Cox Golder and then Laura Bowen after my “Open Letter” post on AG a few weeks back to be much more encouraging than the recent flame war. With staff such as yourself and Laura and leadership from the likes of Vickie Cox Golder, I can believe that change is possible and might even enjoy paying my dues (well, maybe not gripe as much).

    Pulling together rather than polarizing into us and them camps is so much more productive and effective.

  3. Joe Loomer

    February 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Melanie,

    What Russell said, times two.

    Thank you for your service to our industry.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    …..oh, and when’s that RPR thing rolling out again?

  4. Greg Cooper

    February 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you Melanie. Anytime we as members can have positive interaction with our organization it’s a good thing. We all realize that speaking up on issues carries a certain weight and to that end your time and efforts are appreciated.

  5. Kevin Tomlinson

    February 4, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Melanie,

    What a refreshing post. You see, your approach is elegant, and humane. Nice.

    People LIKE nice. They are over “deal with it.”

    Thanks for communicating in a way that is inclusive as opposed to exclusive.

    I really appreciate your post.

    (omg..is this a real comment from Kevin Tomlinson?)

    • Brandie Young

      February 4, 2010 at 11:56 pm

      (omg..is this a real comment from Kevin Tomlinson?)
      I was thinking the same thing!

  6. Jennifer Rathbun

    February 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Hey Mel,
    That what I tell my kids! We’re in this together. I can’t help if I don’t know. And I need your advice for a solution! Some ideas won’t work under current circumstances. So give me a few to choose from and help me implement one of them!

  7. Benn Rosales

    February 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    big SMILE to Melanie – I’m sure many will take you up on your offer.

  8. Ken Brand

    February 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Book – I echo Russell and Joe and well, all the positive people who’ve commented above me.

    Fight the good fight Melanie and thank you.

    Cheers.

  9. Melanie Wyne

    February 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Thanks for all the kind comments. While the title says “I” this really wasn’t a blatant and narcissistic plea for affirmation. I really want to point out the WE in the post. There is tribe of game changers at NAR so…on their behalf…I’ll say thanks.

    Speaking of the title of the post tho…I think I’ve unlocked the secret to having your post read and commented on. Just inlcude NAR and a negative verb.

    Finally, Benn, I got my first call within 10 minutes of posting this. Keep em coming.

  10. Janice Harper

    February 5, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Reaching out with the hand of conciliation, understanding and empathy go a lot farther than “deal with it”.

    I personally found the phone call from Vickie Cox Golder and then Laura Bowen after my “Open Letter” post on AG a few weeks back to be much more encouraging than the recent flame war. With staff such as yourself and Laura and leadership from the likes of Vickie Cox Golder, I can believe that change is possible and might even enjoy paying my dues (well, maybe not gripe as much).

    Pulling together rather than polarizing into us and them camps is so much more productive and

  11. Greg Cooper

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Melanie,

    Your grace and dignity in response are TRULY appreciated. You certainly deserve the profiles in courage badge for jumping into this pool of high blood pressure inducing posts. In addition to unlocking key for getting your post read through the words NAR and a negatie verb, you’ve clearly discovered another one. Treating the members nice. Again I say thanks.

    Janice, in all do respect do you know where that phrase comes from? It didn’t originate from Ken.

  12. Jacob Clayton

    February 5, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Hi Melanie,

    I’m just coming back to the land of the living after spending the last 5 months recovering from a blow from NAR and my local organizations that practically knocked me out of the real estate business. Based on my experiences and the responses (or in many cases, lack of responses) from staff at all levels, I did not renew my membership in 2010 and I’m happy with my decision. Our philosophies and values seem to be polar opposites and all I have witnessed first-hand is a group that is so impervious to members and consumers that I can’t believe it’s still in existence.

    But…your post was very timely on a personal level in that through all of this I have definitely lost sight of the fact that there may actually be decent, honest, empathetic, hard working people involved in the associations. Thank you for reminding me of that and for being one of those people. I think I’ll put down my rage journal and start paying more attention to the insight and advice you are providing here. Kudos to you for your efforts and to AG for providing an atmosphere for meaningful debate and growth.

    • Melanie Wyne

      February 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm

      Jacob,

      Thank you. Your comments are really gratifying. Continued good luck with the comeback.

  13. Fred Glick

    February 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Just an FYI. I had a great conversation with Melanie about something I wanted to bring up to NAR and she got me the right person.

    Yes folks, she is real and they do want to help!

    Yippie!

    • Melanie Wyne

      February 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm

      Fred–

      Glad Cliff Niersbach was able to help you.

  14. MorganHillRealtor

    February 7, 2010 at 12:52 am

    NAR has always been a source of frustration for a lot of real estate professionals. However, your point about offering solutions instead of complaining is something that a majority of us probably don’t do often enough. Taking in active role in our Association would strengthen it and hopefully help the healing between disgruntled consumers and our industry…which due to a lack of regulation now has a less than optimal reputation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  15. Mark Brian

    February 8, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m NAR https://ow.ly/155q4

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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