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Capitol Report: All REALTORS® Must Speak With One Voice

January 15, 2013

When Daniel L. Goodwin, chairman and CEO of The Inland Real Estate Group in Oakbrook, Ill., began developing and selling single-family homes and apartments 35 years ago, he joined the Chicago Association of REALTORS® “because it gave me the opportunity to cooperate with other brokers and stay informed about industry issues.”

Today, Inland-related companies have 1,400 employees who oversee $20.2 billion in commercial assets and manage 115 million square feet. The company has issued more than $19 billion in loans on commercial properties and raised more than $18 billion in real estate securities. Yet, Goodwin remains active in NAR for many of the same reasons he first joined: networking, education, and—most importantly— the ability to make his voice heard on the critical legislative and regulatory issues affecting the commercial real estate industry.

Goodwin, who is a member of the NAR, Illinois, and Chicago REALTORS® Halls of Fame, as well as the RPAC President’s Circle and its Hall of Fame, shared his views on why more commercial brokers need to join NAR.

CC: Why should commercial practitioners become NAR members?

Goodwin: I don’t think commercial brokers have any other practical choice. They can try to influence legislation and policy individually, or they can become part of one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country. The real estate industry must speak with one voice in order to protect our industry, and NAR is very effective at getting our message out.

CC: Any other reasons commercial brokers should consider NAR membership?

Goodwin: A close second to the value of association lobbying is broker education—getting the latest on trends and creative approaches to business. Professional organizations like NAR also give you a chance to make contacts and increase the likelihood of making and closing deals.

CC: What do you do at Inland to encourage your employees to become active in NAR?

Goodwin: We talk about the benefits of being a REALTOR® during staff meetings. We also subsidize a portion of individual NAR dues. And we often discuss industry issues in which REALTORS® are involved.

CC: What do you say to commercial practitioners who think NAR supports only the residential side of the business?

Goodwin: Some commercial brokers don’t appreciate that many regulatory and statutory changes affect residential and commercial businesses equally. Issues such as licensing requirements, tax policies, and financing regulations have a serious impact on real estate transactions—both commercial and residential. Brokers also may not recognize how much NAR focuses on commercial broker specific issues at the local, state, and national levels.

CC: What do you think NAR could do to attract more commercial practitioners to the organization?

Goodwin: NAR has to make more commercial practitioners aware of the issues that affect them, especially at the state and local levels. Then NAR needs to publicize all the beneficial results NAR has accomplished for the commercial real estate industry. Our association fights just as hard for commercial interests as it does for residential ones, but commercial brokers often aren’t aware of that. The reality is that today we need a professional organization like NAR to protect our entire industry.