At today’s Board of Directors meeting at the National Association of Realtors’ annual conference, four of five policy recommendations went before the Board and were passed with slight amendments. What were those adjustments that got them pushed through, and what were the most contentious topics? Does the new Code of Excellence mean the Code of Ethics is faulty, how will this code be enforced if it is aspirational, and how will the Board execute so many subjective phrases from the recommendations?
To answer some of these questions, we spent time today immediately after the Board meeting, discussing the policy recommendations and what’s next with 2014 NAR President, Steve Brown, newly installed 2015 NAR President, Chris Polychron, and VP of Media and Consumer Communications, David Greer.
About the meeting itself
With a room packed with nearly 1,000 people and roughly 850 voting members of the Board of Directors, four policies were discussed and voted upon, all passing with slight amendments (which we’ll get into shortly). When we broke the story, we reported that the BOD had passed a new Code of Excellence, which is technically true, but deserves clarification.
Greer tells us that today’s meeting was a vote to move forward with developing an aspirational Code of Excellence. Polychron’s team will now work to develop the framework for what the COEx looks like and will bring it back to the Board in May at NAR Midyear. Polychron added that a Presidential Advisory Group (PAG) has yet to be tasked with the framework, and that PAG will consist of members from across the nation.
When asked what the most contentious issue was, Brown asserted that this meeting was more about the process and extending discussions that have taken place since May, and that the Board needed to be reassured that these recommendations were well thought out, researched, and any other unknown implications were discussed.
Does this mean the Code of Ethics is faulty? Do members have to take an oath now?
When the new COEx was first introduced as a concept, and the proposal was leaked, several people told us they thought it indicated that the seasoned Code of Ethics was faulty.
Brown clarified, “The Code of Ethics tells us what we should not be doing. The Code of Excellence is going to tell us what we should be doing.”
“The Code of Ethics is still the foundation of our association, still a foundation of our identity, so there’s no failure in it,” Brown said, adding, “We’re simply taking it to another level.” He notes that the COEx simply educates members beyond the Code of Ethics and reminds us that we have a responsibility to be more, to be better.
Brown points out that in 1913, the original COE was an aspirational code until fully adopted in 1920 – we took this a hint that the ultimate goal is to make the COEx coexist with the COE as mandatory for all members. “This is a starting place for us,” he stated, reflecting back on the recent 100 year anniversary of the COE, wherein members wore “I live by the Code” shirts to celebrate. “I’d love to see people do the same here.”
Mandatory education for all members
Currently, members are required to take courses every four years to educate themselves on the Code of Ethics, and today’s approved proposal added the Code of Excellence into the mix and increased the frequency of required education to every two years.
The biennial requirements will start in the regular education cycle. Brown noted, “Starting in 2016, the two year requirement will go into place.”
Are Realtors supposed to be data experts now?
One of the less controversial, but slightly confusing proposal addresses data. The policy to be set is that Realtors “will strive to be proficient in data content having efficient access to the broadest range of data available,” with the objective being that they should “adopt policies that promote a broader data reach, embrace efficiencies and strive for cost effectiveness so as to position the REALTOR® as the source of all information that pertains to their real estate practice, thereby better serving the consumer in their real estate investments.”
The Board added the provision that NAR will strive to ensure REALTORS® have the best data available by using its size and scale to help members compete in a complex environment. That’s really what this policy is all about. “NAR will also be a part of providing systems of good data information so we can better explain data, helping people make wise property purchases,” Brown stated.
Originally, the policy stated that one goal was to “eliminate unnecessary or duplicative costs,” which has yet to be defined (and was stricken), but leadership assured us that the ultimate goal is to strive to be cost effective with data delivery systems and not develop out new tools to dip deeper into member pockets.
Further, we noted that the word “experts” was edited out of the original proposal, which we applaud, as it is a Realtor’s job to practice real estate, not become data experts (and the term “expert” has real definitions and implications).
Brown responded that this isn’t just about MLS data, but all big data associated with real estate. “The key to that proposal is that it lays out that NAR will have a mandate to provide those information delivery systems to members on a cost effective basis. [Striking the word “expert”] put that in a broader framework. I don’t think any one of us can be an expert in all data areas, but we can be data knowledgeable.”
Is NAR getting into the Realtor ratings game?
The fourth policy proposal originally stated that “NAR should develop a methodology to rate Realtors,” which was passed with the wording changed to “NAR will develop an industry standard for models to allow consumers to fairly and more accurately evaluate Realtors.”
That’s a significant difference. We’ll dive deeper into the topic in a separate story, but the idea is that the trade group will be creating a framework to put for standards suggested for third parties, since consumers are “already rating us,” Brown noted.
NAR won’t be rating Realtors any time soon, but they plan to get more involved by creating data standards, just as they did with RETS.
Why didn’t they dive into raising the bar of entry into the field?
One of the nagging questions we were left with is why the fifth policy proposal was never heard. It read, “NAR will explore increasing the standards of entry into the Realtor Association, by improving the education, credentials and professionalism of all Realtors.”
Brown tells us that the Executive Committee considered this policy to already be covered by the other four, as they all ask members to be highly educated, and offer to supply the systems and frameworks to be more data knowledgeable.
By next year, the COEx will be fleshed out and we’ll know more details – right now, without a framework, the only thing we have to go on is objectives. Many industry insiders complain that raising the bar must be done at a national level, and this appears to be NAR’s way of taking that challenge very seriously.
We suspect that by 2020, the new COEx and systems surrounding it will no longer be aspirational, but will be part of the fabric of the industry. In coming weeks, we’ll bring you experts to weigh in on what this framework should look like, what it might include, and how it will impact the practice of real estate. Stay tuned.
NAR Announces 2021 Leadership Academy Class
[REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATIONS] NAR offers annual Leadership Academy to help participants enrich their leadership skills. Applications for the 2022 academy opens December 2, 2020.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Leadership Academy identifies, inspires, and mentors emerging leaders from local and state levels. The Leadership Academy aims to give participants the opportunity to enrich their leadership skills while learning the history, structure, and inner-workings of NAR leadership. The 11-month program includes twelve interactive online courses and in-person experiences designed to prepare graduates to represent the 1.4 million NAR members.
2021 NAR President Charlie Oppler, a Realtor® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and broker/owner of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty said, “NAR’s Leadership Academy provides one-on-one experiences and tools that equip volunteer leaders for the critical roles they will play shaping American real estate in the years ahead.” Oppler continued, “Volunteer leaders are vital to our industry, and by better understanding the needs and strategies of our association, Leadership Academy graduates can affect change at the national, state and local levels of this organization.”
The program runs from January through November, concluding at the 2021 REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego, CA. Course summaries, applications, and resources are available at the NAR website. The application period for the 2022 class will be open from December through March 2020.
The 25 Realtors® selected from across the country to participate in the 2021 NAR Leadership Academy are:
Brian Anzur (CO)
Michelle Bailey (ID)
Jaime Caballero (FL)
Cheri Daniels (WA)
Ryan De Guzman (Guam)
Nina Dosanjh (CA)
Gaspar Flores (IL)
Andrew Fristoe (VA)
Karem Gallo Garcia (KS)
Christy Gessler (TX)
Michael Gobber (IL)
Alisha Harrison (WA)
Cynthia Haydon (FL)
Michael Inman (KY)
Bakhsish Khalsa (CA)
William Klein (MO)
John LeTourneau (IL)
John McPherson (NC)
Gonzalo Mejia (FL)
Eileen Oldroyd (CA)
Lorena Pena (TX)
Jairo Rodriguez (NJ)
Derek Sprague (CA)
Peggy Todd (VA)
Heather Zimmaro (OH)
The session topics participants will cover during this course include: How NAR Leads Real Estate from Washington, D.C.; Leadership Skills: Basic- Intermediate; Becoming a Better Spokesperson; Leading NAR From Chicago, IL; and Building Your Legacy: Taking the Next Steps in Your Leadership Journey. In person meetings are designed to provide opportunities for open dialogue and will be located in Washington D.C., Chicago, and San Diego.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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