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Real Estate Associations

What happens when Associations don’t comply with the new Core Standards?

(ASSOCIATIONS) If the real estate board you’re a member of is not in compliance with the Core Standards, what happens then!?

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In May 2014, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) approved a set of core standards, which were amended two years later, replacing the previous Organizational Standards. Now each year, REALTOR® associations must prove compliance or risk losing their charters.

Grants were extended through June 30, 2016 for mergers taking place after the adoption of the new standards. Further extensions were offered to the first 25 mergers that occurred after the June compliance cycle, with a third cycle running through December 31 of this year. But what happens if associations still don’t meet the new standards?

Enforcement is up to the local, state, territorial, and National Association. So basically, everyone. According to Sara Wiskerchen, NAR’s Managing Director of Media Communications, there is an appeal hearing process if compliance isn’t reached by the new deadline. If the hearing determines compliance is completely unachievable, the applicable association will lose their charter.

Since the adoption of the new standards, only 16 charters have been revoked. More than one revocation proves this program was necessary in the first place. The new standards are simple enough. Associations must meet or exceed core standards in six categories:

  1. Code of Ethics
  2. Advocacy
  3. Consumer Outreach
  4. Unification Efforts and Support of the REALTOR® Organization
  5. Technology
  6. Financial Solvency

Each category is further outlined on NAR’s site, with more detailed information about compliance. Every association is responsible for maintaining and enforcing a code of ethics, as well as providing mediation services as required, and issue citations. For advocacy, associations are encouraged to contribute to NAR RPAC funds (unless prohibited by state law), and participate in NAR Calls for Action efforts.

Consumer outreach requires at least four “meaningful consumer engagement activities” per year, with at least two demonstrating the association is a “Voice for Real Estate” in their market, and two specifically related to investment in local communities. Repeating the same activity four times will not count, nor will financial contributions to charities without further participation in the charity’s activities.

Unification efforts essentially state that associations must follow all applicable laws, and need to offer professional development opportunities. Leadership is required to complete at least six hours of REALTOR® association professional development annually. Additionally, associations
with paid staff must conduct annual performance reviews of their chief of staff.

The technology standard merely stipulates associations need to exist in this decade, providing an interactive website that includes state-of-the art features. Just kidding, they’re only required to have active links to products, services, standards, filling processes, and member programs. Oh, and the really tough part of this one is that members must have email or some other internet based communication.

Lastly, the financial solvency core specifies associations must ensure their fiscal integrity, report to CPA as necessary based on revenue, and get permission from NAR to file bankruptcy. If an association files for bankruptcy, that’s an automatic charter review.

“While some associations can meet these easily, smaller organizations might struggle with acquiring resources to complete all six segments.”

Fortunately for those that might be struggling, NAR provides Association Merger Procedures to assess if a merger would best fit member’s needs. NAR also suggests utilizing shared services for those anticipating difficulty, which help associations expand services and implement strategic partnerships to meet core standards.

If these steps don’t help, associations not in compliance by the end of the year will be subject to an appeal hearing, which includes a panel of at least five members of the NAR Association Executive Committee. The panel will report their recommendation to the Board of Directors, who will determine if the charter should be revoked.

According to NAR, the new standards are meant to “raise the bar for REALTOR® associations and ensure high-quality service for REALTORS®.” There are plenty of chances for associations to reach compliance before endangering their charters. Although it truly is a wonder that only 16 have been revoked so far, here’s to hoping everyone will be able to meet the new standards by the deadline to improve service across the board.

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Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Real Estate Associations

Here’s the nitty gritty on how to join a NAR committee

Real change begins with social activism, and being on a NAR committee is one impactful way to enact said change. It’s one thing to complain, but another to take action.

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Everyone says we all need to “raise the bar,” but many focus their efforts on just complaining on Facebook (don’t look at me like that, you know it’s true). Getting involved sometimes means dedicating your time to help the industry to change, to evolve. Realtors can join committees ranging from the diversity committee to professional standards to affordable housing.

Next month, committees will meet at Midyear (The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo) which is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy and the association. REALTORS® go to Washington, DC, every May for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.

Committees help shape the direction of NAR and its policies, thus evolving the industry. If you want your voice to be heard and want to contribute to the decision-making process, NAR’s committees are a great forum for debate and discussion.

Further, experience on national committees is beneficial for those interested in seeking a future leadership role.

According to NAR, there are three main stages in the committee selection process. The first stage is the committee application period from March to May the year prior to the appointment year. A member expertise profile is required to show NAR leadership the experience you have beyond what is written in the application form.

The second stage is the selection process. State Association Executives (AEs) have an opportunity to review and rank applications and provide feedback on applications for their state. All appointments are approved by the incoming President.

The final stage is the notification process. Chairs and vice chairs receive an appointment letter between mid-July and late August. All other positions receive an appointment letter via email in early October.

Unfortunately, with only 2,500 positions available, NAR is unable to appoint everyone who submits an application. They encourage members to try again the following year if not selected. Also, potential candidates should consider committee opportunities at the state and local level to gain experience.

Many of those serving on national committees have had years of experience at the local or state level, but that doesn’t mean first timers don’t make the cut, so put your hat in the ring. It’s a much more meaningful step than just commenting on Facebook, no?

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Real Estate Associations

Why NAR’s new Realtor Safety Network is so critical [personal story]

(REAL ESTATE) NAR has launched the meaningful Realtor Safety Network – here is a personal story, and an exclusive interview with NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg.

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It was a Wednesday evening, the sun would soon be setting, and I was exhausted after pulling an all-nighter the previous night. Our study group would continue, but as a safety-conscious person, I knew it was best to head out.

I walked alone, which was normal for a college student that lived on campus. I held my pepper spray at the ready, had my keys in hand before leaving the building, and was alert. Although tired, I knew I had enough energy to go to dinner with my grandparents.

I get to the full parking garage, and halfway to my car, I hear steps behind me. I look back, and no one is there. I didn’t even see someone duck behind a car. “I’m being paranoid,” I think. “Why is no one around? It’s a full lot!”

I take a few more steps, and I am confident that I hear someone coming up behind me. I turn around, and nothing. I’m ready to use my pepper spray because there is definitely someone following me and I needed to make a decision quickly.

I had three choices – run quickly to my car where I may or may not be able to close the door fast enough, turn back and walk with authority the way I came (risking confrontation), or just straight up confrontation.

I quicken my pace, they quicken theirs, and I know what is about to happen. I turn around so I’m not blindly ambushed by someone I cannot later identify, and it is someone I recognize. Someone I had a class with. But not someone I had ever spoken with before. I hadn’t calculated how I would react in that situation and it slowed me down.

My hesitation meant he was able to shove me, and I fell backwards.

I re-calculate my choices, but this time there was no hesitation because I already knew I was in danger. As I tried to get up, he poised himself to pounce, and I used the pepper spray, knowing I’d probably get a dose, too. I missed his forehead (which is the ideal target as it drips into their eyes, extending the impact), and mostly got his mouth, but enough got into his face that it stalled him.

I rolled over before he could fall on me, and I ran. I was only yards away from a large, densely populated building.

This was nearly 20 years ago, before cell phones were mainstream, and I quickly found help from the school who called police. I won’t go into how they brushed me off and nearly refused to write a report, didn’t want to look for the guy, and so forth.

But I notified my professor as to why I couldn’t possibly go to class the next day. She was the one who insisted the University get involved, and the city police take action. She knew his name and gave it to all entities. And she was the one who never made me step foot in that classroom again, just in case. I got a restraining order, and it apparently scared him enough to stay away, but I knew he could violate it at any moment, so I remained on alert. I’m still on alert today. For him or others that think I might be an easy target.

I later learned he had stalked dozens of students, and attacked several before and after he tried to get to me. He has been in and out of jail since then.

But I always had a nagging thought… what of the other potential victims? Back then, the schools didn’t have any sort of alert system (for school closings or mass shootings). An alert system of systemic attackers could have saved others from being harmed.

It is for this very personal reason that I was moved to hear of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) new Realtor Safety Network, which was inspired by a Realtor’s child going missing (who is now safe).

NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg took the time to talk me through what the network does – it’s not a pointless group where people whine about missing pets, no, it is activated when there is a potential safety issue, be it physical or online.

NAR is now able to gather information about potential safety issues and either issue a national alert, or share the information through local and state associations via social media, email, and text where applicable.

At this time, it is not set up like an Amber Alert where you can opt in for texts (although I do hope this is ultimately an option), so we encourage members to read any email that is sent to them as an alert, and follow the social media hashtag, #realtorsafetynetwork.

They do have criteria that must be followed prior to a Realtor Safety Network alert being sent out by NAR. It must be a widespread threat impacting Realtors. Qualifying incidents include a pattern of assaults on Realtors, a Realtor or immediate family member going missing (and there is an open police investigation, and the family asks for NAR’s aide), or an association name is being used fraudulently to scam members out of money or identifying information.

Members and Association Executives can fill out a simple incident form, and Goldberg notes there is dedicated staff ready to respond.

While they are going to “continue to perfect” the program, it can be invoked immediately. Goldberg says that members are “our family,” and that the goal is to coordinate with local authorities to keep members safe physically, and keep their identities secured.

Goldberg notes that they intend on using the network sparingly, which makes perfect sense – remember when car alarms came out and you’d jump when one went off, but now you ignore all car alarms as a nuisance? The association has long offered Realtor Safety reports and statistics, as well as safety guidance and classes, but to see this meaningful step taken is one worthy of applause.

My inner 18 year old that still remembers the heart-in-my-throat fear of an impending attack thanks NAR. Truly.

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Real Estate Associations

NAR adds sharp new execs to expanding team

(ASSOCIATION NEWS) NAR is in the middle of a massive restructuring, and any rebuilding means attracting new executive talent. Here’s what you need to know about the two newest executive additions.

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Starting today, two new hires will join the National Association of Realtors with the goal of enhancing the association’s relationship with consumers and members.

This move is part of NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg‘s vision for restructuring the association, and comes on the heels of NAR’s major ad campaign announcement.

Susan Welter is NAR’s new VP of Creative and Content Strategy and brings 25 years of experience and publishing in marketing, and over a decade of working with over 50 associations on their communications and non-dues revenue growth. Welter most recently consulted with associations on content strategies and programming designed to increase member acquisition, engagement, and retention.

“Having served the association market for most of my career, I’m excited to put that collective experience to use at NAR to better engage with our members and deepen our relationships with our industry partners, providing an exceptional experience for all,” said Welter.

Mantill Williams is NAR’s new VP of PR and Communication Strategy, and has over two decades of media relations, speechwriting, and advocacy communications experience. For the last 12 years, Williams served as director of advocacy communications for the American Public Transportation Association, and previously led the communications team for AAA. His role will be to develop strategic communications campaigns at NAR.

“I am thrilled to begin this new role at NAR using my previous association experience to enhance the ways in which we reach and connect with our current and prospective members,” said Williams. “I look forward to promoting the value and services offered to our members and advancing NAR’s position as the leading voice in the real estate industry.”

Both will report to NAR Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Victoria Gillespie.

“Mantill and Susan bring more than 40 years’ combined experience developing and executing major marketing and communications campaigns both within the real estate industry and for other professional associations,” said Goldberg. “They will elevate member communications and help us tell more creative and compelling stories about Realtors® and property owners.”

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