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National Association of Realtors

NAR planning big changes for local associations

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national association of realtors in DC

In the old days, eight years ago, when a newly licensed real estate agent was told by their broker that they needed to join the Realtor® organization, she might ask, “why do I need to join?”

The broker would answer, most likely, “because I said so.” Or, if she was involved with the local association and thought about it, she might say, “because the association protects our interests in politics, they enforce the Realtor Code of Ethics, and they run the MLS.”

Today, that same new member asks an entirely different question. Instead of asking “why” they now ask “what.” As in, “what do I get when I join?”

NAR is on the cusp of making a major shift

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is on the cusp of making a major shift for all members. For years, the NAR has applied minimum standards to every local association. These standards are… well… pathetically low.

The services that members receive vary dramatically depending on which local and state association they belong. Some were lucky and joined a local with great services that just happened to be in a state with a good statewide organization.

Others… not so lucky. The local association in their area offers little to no services outside of the MLS. But that’s all about to change… well, maybe.

Enter the #RTB movement

For the past few months, a special Advisory Group has been working on the details for raising the bar for local associations. The report was released this week. If the NAR Board approves this change, there will be a significant shift in what associations will need to do to remain part of the NAR family.

For years, members of the association have debated ways to raise the bar for Realtors. There is even a hashtag/acronym/Facebook Group #RTB that signifies the movement. To date, no significant changes have filtered through NAR to raise the bar for Realtors®.

NAR CEO Dale Stinton recently compared raising the bar for associations with how members deal with clients. To paraphrase, he said “no Realtor goes on a listing appointment and tells the prospective client that they will deliver a minimum level of service.” But, that’s what some associations have essentially been telling members.

Also, Stinton recently wrote in the 2014 Swanepoel Trends Report, associations “must raise our own bar as we ask our members to raise theirs. How can we ask change of our members without first stepping into the breach ourselves?” In another demonstration that this issue is front and center at NAR, the Winter addition of Realtor® AE Magazine’s feature story was Raise the Bar: 10 Ideas to Boost Member Professionalism.

The match that lit this fire was a program NAR launched two years ago called REThink. Members from across the country were engaged in a strategic thinking process that tested their willingness to embrace the needed changes that would keep NAR relevant for its second century of existence.

During REThink, members used words and phrases like restart, reinvent, blow it up, and nuke it when asked what whould be done with the current NAR organization. While this proposal does probably not nuke the NAR structure, it certainly will distrup the status quo… assuming the rather complex plan and compliance process can be implemented.

What’s next?

This idea appears to be moving quickly (after years of debate). NAR leadership is expecting the idea of raising the bar for associations to come up for approval in May at the Realtor® Party Convention (formally called the Mid-Year Conference). Considering the final report from the Advisory Group was just published this week, this issue is officially on the fast track.

However, do not expect overnight change. This organization is over 100 years old, so this ship will not establish a new course overnight. It will take at least a few years to implement some of the changes and the results of the changes may take even longer to appear… but change has to start somewhere.

Top 5 changes that will come from this initiative:

  1. The enforcement of the Code of Ethics will be streamlined so much that it will look more like Judge Judy than Law and Order (I think this is a good thing).
  2. NAR membership will grow because the “dues formula” and membership rules will actually be enforced in every jurisdiction. Licensees who should have been members will be required to join.
  3. The number of associations will go down from 1,400 to 1,000 over the next 10 years.
  4. To avoid a real merger, small associations will become chapters or councils of a larger association. This will allow them to operate much in the same way as they do now, but without the benefits (insurance and support) that associations enjoy.
  5. The percentage of members participating in political calls to action will increase 30% (from the current participation rate of 12.8% to 16%) and the percentage of RPAC investors will double.

Dave is a 20+ year veteran in Realtor® association management and leadership and is currently the CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®. He is a writer, speaker, strategic planner, and life-long learner with a passion for creative thinking. Dave has published his first novel For Reasons Unknown and will be publishing his second by the end of the year.

National Association of Realtors

What NAR’s senior management hires reveals about their strategy

(REAL ESTATE) The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has hired two powerhouses, and their choices speak volumes of what to expect from the trade group going forward.

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nar new hires

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) confirms two top hires – Victoria Gillespie as the new Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, and Shannon McGhan, the new Sr. VP of Governmental Affairs.

These two hires reveal two major signals from NAR.

First, and most unavoidable, these are two rising stars that happen to be women, putting more females in the boardroom which the industry has struggled to do, even in recent decades. In fact, McGhan is the first female in her role in NAR’s 110-year history.

Secondly, these two executives are extremely qualified and come from within their respective segments to serve their roles, and clearly prove CEO Bob Goldberg’s continuing to boldly restructure the corporate organization of the association since his taking the reigns last year.

McGahn will fill the very big shoes of Jerry Giovaniello who retires this year after nearly four decades at NAR and a stellar record of successes. McGhan is sharp and modern – she cut her teeth on the Hill as communications director for the House Republican Conference, and spent over six years serving in various policy communications roles for the House Republican Conference, the Office of the House Majority Leader, and Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn (R-WA). She served as counselor to the secretary of the U.S. Treasury, spearheading relationships with members of banking and tax writing committees alongside House and Senate leadership, managing legislative agendas and priorities.

“I’m excited to join NAR and bring my experience in the legislative and executive branches to support policies that not only benefit members, but promote property ownership for everyday Americans,” said McGahn. “On behalf of NAR’s 1.3 million members, I look forward to promoting the American dream of homeownership, bolstering private property rights and emphasizing the financial security and other associated benefits of owning real property.”

NAR has hired an up-and-comer that knows the intricacies of inside baseball to handle the policy nuances.

Equally impressive is the fact that they’ve also brought on a power player, Gillespie, who has owned her own real estate agency for over 12 years, and served as Sr. VP of Enterprise and Marketing Communications for Northwest Federal Credit Union. She’s extremely well versed in real estate and finance, a powerful combination for the next communications leader at NAR, as the trade group seeks to tackle the daunting and endless task of strengthening their relationship with consumers and activating the Realtor brand.

“I’m thrilled to take on this new role at NAR and put my knowledge of the real estate industry to use for our members,” said Gillespie. “Having spent much of my career in the industry, there are tremendous opportunities to increase the awareness of the value and services that NAR offers so that our members understand that NAR is a radically member-centric organization. I look forward to working with our talented team to do so.”

“The addition of Victoria and Shannon’s strategic leadership to our already powerful team will help us once again make real estate a topline issue,” said Goldberg. “Together, they will lead our strategic direction in Washington and around the country to better serve our members’ interests.”

The combination of these two hires strongly indicates powerful, modern communications and policy strategies in coming years. In short, these hires indicate that they’re not messing around.

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National Association of Realtors

NAR sends strongly worded letter to House and Senate on tax reform

(ASSOCIATION NEWS) NAR President, William E. Brown has written a letter detailing the NAR’s concerns over the Blueprint tax reform plan. Here’s what you need to know about it and what NAR foresees for the future if it passes.

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nar writes congress about tax reform

Regarding the American Dream

President of the National Association of Realtors®, William E. Brown, wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, as well as the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Kevin Brady, expressing the NAR’s feelings about the challenges and opportunities Brown believes will be upcoming in the Trump administration. The letter was sent to all members of the House and Senate, but Brown primarily focuses on the House Republican Tax Reform Blueprint.

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More specifically, he writes, “the interaction of two specific features of the plan, which are designed to simplify the tax system” as they would have “the unintended consequences of nullifying the long-standing tax incentives of owning a home for the great majority of Americans who now are, or who aspire to become, homeowners.”

Problematic specifics

Brown goes on in the letter to detail the specifics of the Blueprint that could become problematic for homeowners. He states, “the Blueprint calls for the standard deduction to be almost doubled from its current levels. The plan also includes the repeal of the deduction for state and local taxes paid, as well as, the elimination of most other itemized deductions.”

He explains the gravity of this potential reform by stating, “Either of [the aforementioned] monumental changes alone would marginalize the value of the current-law tax incentives for owning a home. Unfortunately, the combination of these two revisions would cripple the incentive effect of the federal tax law for all but the most affluent of taxpayers.”

Protecting first-time homebuyers

Brown continues by explaining, “two potentially devastating problems in the aftermath of these modification (are anticipated). First, the impact on the first-time homebuyer could be enormous.”

In many cases, the tax incentives enable first-time homebuyers to be able to afford their very first home. Brown states, “at a time when the rate of first-time home-buying is well below the average of the past few decades, this could be particularly debilitating for the housing industry and the entire economy.”

Home and property value

If that weren’t enough of a reason to take notice of the impending possible reform, Brown goes on to detail the second reason.

He states, “the decimation of the mortgage interest and real property tax deductions would very likely cause a significant plunge in the value of all houses[…]the housing sector has not fully recovered from the thrashing it took during the Great Recession, this drop, even if temporary, could be calamitous.”

This would mean that millions of Americans might quickly find, “the value of their largest financial asset has dived below the amount of debt that is owed.”

NAR protecting homeowners

Brown realizes the Blueprint is aimed at modifying the tax system and attempting to “supercharge growth in our Nation.” He believes there has to be another, better way.

In a statement to The Real Daily, Brown said, “the NAR continues to believe that any tax reform proposal should respect and uphold our system’s longtime support for homeownership. That means avoiding changes that would negate the important incentive effects of the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local property tax deduction.”

He continues, “We’ll be making that case in the months ahead and look forward to working with policymakers in Washington to promote an overhaul of the tax system that engenders positive change for all Americans.”

Read it for yourself

This letter aims to bring this belief to the attention of lawmakers before any changes are made to the existing tax laws.

Read the full letter here (PDF).

If you are interested in learning a little more about the Blueprint, you can read an overview of it here (PDF).

#BlueprintReform

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National Association of Realtors

Modern Family, NAR team up to humorously express what it means to be a REALTOR®

To further contemporize the REALTOR® brand, NAR teamed up with Modern Family and actor Ty Burrell to create ads and an integrated storyline.

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If you watched ABC’s comedy, Modern Family last night, you witnessed Phil Dunphy (played by Ty Burrell) wear his REALTOR® pin, express what it means to be a REALTOR®, and ultimately save the day with his REALTOR® skills. And that was no accident – the show teamed up with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and their new creative and media agencies Arnold and Havas, for what may be the most organic, natural ad integration to date.

We’ve all seen hit shows like New Girl struggle to integrate awkward ads about Ford that painfully go against the grain of the show. But this storyline brand integration was natural to the existing brand of the oafish character who is actually quite good (and serious about) his real estate career.

The episode coincides with a series of :15 and :30 ad spots for television and online, as part of NAR’s gutsy “Get REALTOR®” campaign seeking to help consumers understand the value of a REALTOR®, and how that differs from a real estate agent.

The two spots already airing

The two spots, “Silence” (below) and “Ball” (which we call “Cat-Like Reflexes,” seen here) are already airing nationwide.

 

NAR’s involvement in the creative process

NAR Senior Vice President of Communications Stephanie Singer notes that Dunphy “always does the right thing,” making it a natural fit. At the shoot, she observed Burrell do a lot of improvisation with show creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan who directed the ads. She reports a lot of laughter on set.

The truth is that this was a collaboration between three brands – NAR (and their Consumer Communications Committee), Modern Family, and Ty Burrell – which means that unlike traditional advertising, no single entity had complete control (although NAR did have input into the scripts). In our assessment, the risk paid off.

Reactions have been positive, with members tweeting frequently about the idea that finally the public has been offered a definition of “REALTOR®” versus “agent.”

Singer notes that this is part of the “Get REALTOR®” effort to redefine the REALTOR® brand and contemporize it. Although they “protect the brand voraciously,” this integration is, indeed indicative of the trade group’s adaptation to modern culture.

One episode only, but Phil’s-osophies live on

Dunphy will only wear the REALTOR® pin for this one episode, as the ad integration was for one episode only, but in addition to the two aforementioned ads, there are nine more that have been produced (0:15 seconds each), which will be reviewed at the upcoming 2016 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo (“Midyear”) by the committee.

On top of all of that, NAR will be using the social and digital assets through May of 2017, so look for TGIP posts (“thank goodness it’s Phil”) and humorous posts of that nature.

Singer opines that it’s important for readers “to understand the strategic vision this campaign executes,” that they’re redefining the REALTOR® brand, updating it for today’s hyper-connected consumers who think they can DIY. They’re seeking to appeal to digital natives nervous about reaching out to a human (REALTOR®). This all “aims to overcome that reluctance, and demonstrate a friendly, approachable way that REALTORS® can help [consumers] succeed in real estate.”

Our favorite Phil scenes from the episode

Aside from the ending of the ad where Dunphy gets hit by a ball repeatedly (we’re all quoting “sexel fear kyle tac” around the office), there were two great scenes you should be aware of.

First, if you haven’t seen the full episode (go watch it, that would make things easier), Sophia Vergara’s character has a salsa line that is taking off, and they find a competitor has stolen her recipe. Here’s how Phil wins that fight (watch for the ninja REALTOR® skills):

Earlier in the episode, he’s upset that he was bumped at his niece’s career day for a periodontist. Gloria mentions his being an agent, and he responds, “first of all, I’m not just a real estate agent, I’m a Realtor. I’m a member of a national association, a brotherhood, sworn to the Realtor Code of Ethics. That’s what this R stands for,” he says, pulling out his jacket with the REALTOR® pin on the lapel.

“A brotherhood!” Perfect timing for the countless professionals about to hop a plane for NAR’s Midyear conference to celebrate that “brotherhood.”

phils-osophies

#sexelfearkyletac

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