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NAR dues could rise 50% – AG Report on member sentiment

NAR dues put to a vote

Last month, we broke the news that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) was putting the Realtor Political Party Survival Initiative (RPPSI) to a committee vote. The initiative, if approved on May 14, will increase NAR dues by 50% to support the $38.8 million per year RPPSI.

When asked if dues will be reduced by the amount raised if the Supreme Court ruling (which NAR pointed to as the reason for the increase) is overturned, NAR program director Liz Giovaniello told AGbeat, “The funds for this initiative are needed NOT ONLY because of the Supreme Court ruling, they are needed in order to help ensure the success of our state and local association advocacy efforts – to help them be as successful as possible. Even of [sic] the ruling had not occurred, we would need to bring our advocacy efforts to a higher level.”

Because publicly, people are willing to criticize and condemn or praise to get ahead, we set out to poll members in private. All answers are anonymous and we do not release user information to any entity. Because of that, there is no repercussion to being honest and no peer pressure. This poll is not scientific, rather is a flash poll to take a pulse, not diagnose.

The AG Flash Poll

We asked two simple questions, both of which had to be answered in order to submit an opinion:

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  • How do you feel about the potential NAR dues increase? (this question offered checkboxes, users could select multiple entries)
  • (a) The increase in dues is critical for NAR survival.
  • (b) The increase in dues is critical for Realtor survival.
  • (c) I am indifferent about the dues.
  • (d) The increase in dues is mildly upsetting.
  • (e) The increase in dues is very upsetting.
  • For what reason do you pay NAR dues? Please select the answer that most closely matches your sentiment. (this question allowed only one option to be selected)
  • (a) I pay NAR dues because I believe NAR represents me and the Realtor brand well.
  • (b) I pay NAR dues because it is important for homeowners and Realtors to have a political voice.
  • (c) I pay NAR dues because I have to, but I would even if they were voluntary.
  • (d) I pay NAR dues only because I have to in order to access the MLS.
  • (e) I pay only to access the MLS, I would prefer to only pay my local board.

Data results

More results insight

Because the first question about how people feel about a potential increase allowed for multiple answers, we dissected responses that offered multiple answers with the majority only selected one, and a small percentage choosing more than one. Of that small percentage, the majority indicated that the increase is critical to NAR or Realtors’ survival but also indicated that they were “very upset” in most cases. The dichotomy was very interesting to us that many see the increase to be “critical” yet are “very upset” about the potential rise in dues.

No respondents indicated they were “mildly” and “very” upset, resulting in 80% of respondents that indicated they were “upset” about a potential due increase. Despite the reason, those polled here are not in favor of the increase.

In order to evaluate why people pay their dues, we inquired with responses aimed to put people in two categories- (1) content dues paying members and (2) dues paying members that are discontent with or without a hike. This is important to note because when prices of any product someone buys as an essential (gas, groceries) increases, consumers get upset. If people see NAR dues as a luxury or something they don’t mind paying, an increase is more likely to be accepted, but for those people who see it as an essential like gas, they begrudge any increase. This is predictable and NAR is most likely aware of this notion.

What may be surprising, however, is that 61% of respondents indicated that they only pay dues because they have to and could not classify themselves in the category of paying dues for the greater good or a positive reason, rather as a begrudging essential for their business. We were surprised that 11% indicated they pay dues because NAR represents them and the Realtor brand well given that the May 2010 research seemed harsh toward NAR.

It is not shocking that the majority of respondents did not look favorably toward dues in the first place, but it is shocking that despite any value those that do place on current dues and that they see in the critical nature of raising dues, they are still “upset.”

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The bottom line is that most see NAR dues begrudgingly and are upset at a potential dues increase, but if 82% don’t see the hike as critical to NAR or Realtors, that’s still 18% that do. Is that 18% enough to get the RPPSI passed? Is that 39% of people that pay dues for positive reasons enough to pass the RPPSI? We’ll find out on May 14th at the NAR Mid-Year Convention in D.C.

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  1. Randy Landis

    April 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Don't get me started!

  2. Steve Nicewarner

    April 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    So, 7 out of 10 Realtors pay their dues because they feel they have to. Not a great vote of confidence on the benefits of NAR membership, is it?

  3. Sheila Bell

    April 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Though I am not surprised by the responses, I am curious of the number of responses your received. I do believe it is a critical time for the NAR to reposition itself (and therefore all of us Realtors) in the current political environment. We have always had a strong voice that is now diminished as a result of change in raising funds in 1/10. NAR is now below 37 in the list and, with MID and other issues on the cutting board, we need to have a strong voice on the Hill. Not unlike the rest of you, a dues increase doesn't please me either and I prefer to see the money from the Public Awareness Campaign that we've been paying for 15 years. Then, if we need an additional $5, I'd be much happier about that.

    Sadly, I am unable to attend Midyear next month since I anticipate a lively "discussion" at the Director's meeting.

  4. Judith Lindenau

    April 23, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Of course it will pass! It's being voted on in WASHINGTON, for heaven's sakes: that's like having a vote on Christmas Eve to see if we will have Christmas Day.

  5. Sig

    April 23, 2011 at 6:50 am

    There are many reasons to vote for this bill and many reasons not to vote for it. The reasons for are to reposition ourselves politically. Unfortunately, we aren't going to do that. All we will do is throw more money at the problems without any real change in tactics.

    Some reasons to vote against this bill is number 1. it is based on a bald face lie. This is NOT about our survival. If you go back in history, say, the decade before the civil war. the Real Estate business was good. It was smoking, both in the north and in the south. Fortunes were made. There was no NAR but there was a real estate community and many real estate agents. During the four years of the civil war, business sucked, but it didn't collapse. After the civil war, during reconstruction, the real estate business flourished in both the north and south. In the years since there have been many wars, hurricanes, tornadoes, earth quakes, recessions, depressions, some worse than the "30's and every kind of political crap imaginable thrown at this business. We survived it all. For Phipps to say we will not survive and flourish if we don't pass this bill is a lie. We will. The spirit of the American Realtor is much stronger than Mr. Phipps opinion of us or our abilities.

    The saddest part of all of this is that in spite of the members opposition, they will vote to pass this mess and laugh and slap each other on the back while lighting up the cigars. They will then spin it by saying the membership wanted it. Phipps should resign in disgrace for perpetrating this lie.

    • I totally agree

      April 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

      It's called MONEY

  6. Janet Johnson

    April 23, 2011 at 9:25 am

    NAR DUES could rise 50% This is the worst news. Realtors are struggling to
    make a living, We get hit every time we turn around. The lock box key, MLS
    and next the NAR dues,Omission and Errors.

  7. John J. Cooney

    April 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    My fellow Realtors, None of us likes to pay dues but I believe it is necessary to keep our elected government informed and let then know that we are strong and carry a big stick.

    I know that most of you may say that you cannot see where the money is spent but let me tell you that I am also a Certified Appraiser as well as a realtor with my primary focus on appraisal work. As an appraiser we have very little representation in Washington and most of our complaints about the pressure that was put on us thru the years fell on deaf ears. If our concerns about the appraisal process as it was practiced by most in the last 10 years, due to economic pressure to stay in business and make a living, had been heeded we most likely would not have had the melt down caused by overvalued real estate. Even know with the advent of new regulations and the rise of powerful AMC our voice is not heard!

    Realtors have a voice and a very strong organization let keep it that way!

    John J. Cooney
    State licensed Realtor and State Certified Appraiser
    ERA Rath Realtors
    Rocky River, Ohio

  8. Chris Caton

    April 24, 2011 at 7:43 am

    This is precisely why I refuse to join the NAR: as a real estate broker with a practice focused exclusively on the rental industry, the sort of lobbying efforts in which the NAR is involved are directly opposed to my business interests. The idea that the NAR represents the "real estate" industry is laughable; it represents the home-buying industry, which makes up less than 50% of housing units in my city.

  9. Peter

    April 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    NAR is the biggest waste of time and money ever!!! It's a for profit corporation, not a useful instrument to help realtors. Lobbying for special rights and interests and promoting insanely high commission rates is part of the reason we are in a housing price collapse. Raising the price of your home every time it sells in order to cover realtor commissions of 6%, raises prices at least 6% every time the home sells. Add-in the greed factor and you have a vicious spiral of increasing prices. Why real estate became a legitimate profession and has not remaind a hobby is amazing to me! A typical transaction requires about 15 hours of a realtors time. I don't know how you do math, but 6% of $500,000 ($30,000) is more tha a years worth of college tuition or a new car! I am a realtor and I think it's insane to pay an individual that's unable to hold a regular job, that much money for 15 hours of work! Not to mention how obnoxious an ego centric they are. There's a good reason why real estate is the second least respected profession in the USA… right behind Attorney!

    Realtors, and the NAR, suck!

    • Just Saying

      April 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      And yet, you are a REALTOR®.

    • Anne

      May 13, 2011 at 7:16 am

      I just want to clarify something. I don't know what area of the country you practice in, but my typical transaction requires quite a bit more than 15 hours of my time. In fact, I used to keep track of the hours just to see what I was making per hour once the sale was done. I stopped doing that when I realized there were some deals that I was making close to minimum wage on. As far as increasing the price of a home to cover commission, well that will only go so far as the lenders' appraisal. Doesn't matter what the the buyer is willing to pay. If the lender's appraiser can't find comps to justify the price, no loan, no sale. Also, the typical home single family home price in my area is well below $500k and certainly you must factor in all your splits. There's no way I'm taking home $30k unless the sale price is close to 2 mil. Actually, as I look to all the points you make to rebut them, I find it hard to believe that you are in fact a Realtor.

  10. George Studle

    April 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Justified and sensible. Realtor since 1970.

  11. sfvrealestate

    April 25, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Perhaps I've been living under a rock, but is there any data showing exactly where the NAR budget goes now? I might feel better than "mildly upset" if I saw the Y-O-Y budget and what I'm getting for my dollars at this point.

    • Mike Schmidt

      September 22, 2011 at 11:29 am

      That's assuming NAR would ever open its books to us.

  12. Starke Irvine

    May 3, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Yes, we need to be in a stronger political position. No we do not have to throw more money but if we're going to restructure our position , then do it by way of redirecting where the money comes from. As has been stated many times to date, take the money which was to have been an assessment for the image campaign and direct it to the political efforts.
    Also, publish economic projections of how the lost membership due to an increase in dues ,if that's what is done, will affect the bottom line.
    Our directors have been requested to vote against this measure. Maybe an idea should come from outside of those who are in DC, as there seems to be some sort of tax and spend disease /virus going on in that town!!!

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