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:
- 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.
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.”
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.