Internal News Service Special Report
Board Approves zipLogix® Platform as Member Benefit
The NAR Board of Directors at its Nov. 16 meeting in San Diego approved a partnership between NAR and zipLogix® to provide a software solution and transaction management platform benefit to all NAR members.
Also at the meeting, the board heard reports on a number of NAR initiatives—including advocacy successes in 2015. A recent Call for Action on guarantee fees was the most successful CFA in NAR’s history, with almost 19 percent of members nationwide responding. The CFA is still in effect and asks members of Congress not to use funds generated from the guarantee fees to fund federal initiatives that aren't related to housing. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac use the fees to manage their home mortgage credit risk. And Kit Hale, REALTOR® Party Fundraising Liaison, reported that more than 30 percent of NAR members had contributed to RPAC, which raised $30 million in 2015, 10 percent more than in 2014.
New Member Benefit from NAR
The new zipLogix® benefit means NAR members will get access, at no additional cost, to electronic forms libraries and transaction management tools from REALTOR Benefits® Program partner zipLogix. Members will get zipLogix Plus, which includes various forms libraries, as well as zipTMS, the company’s transaction management system with unlimited document storage. In areas where local and state associations license their forms to zipLogix, REALTORS® will also have free access to local and state forms libraries. Associations that don’t currently license their forms to zipLogix can contact Wendy Waldrep to set up a licensing agreement and submit forms.
Consumer Advertising Campaign
The board heard a report about the new “Get REALTOR®” advertising campaign. The millennial-focused campaign is currently in production. A social media campaign was kicked off at the San Diego meetings, and television spots will begin airing in February 2016.
The board heard a report that NAR has designated $2.8 million to an online public issue ad campaign to support 38 members of Congress who have supported NAR’s priorities on federal issues. Most of these members face competitive primary or general election contests in 2016.
In addition, NAR has provided $450,000 in grants to three REALTOR® associations for political advocacy activities. The grants include a $200,000 grant for the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® to support its campaign to defeat a proposed moratorium on market-rate housing development.
The board heard a report from Dale Ross, CEO of REALTORS Property Resource® (RPR®), on its new partnership with UpStreamRE to create a single platform for uploading and managing listing data. The platform is under development and will undergo testing next year in selected markets.
Bob Goldberg, president and CEO of the REALTORS® Information Network and a senior vice president for NAR, reported that the .REALTOR top-level domain (TLD) is one of the ten fastest-growing TLDs in the history of the Internet. NAR will launch the .realestate TLD in 2016.
Move Inc., which operates realtor.com®, plans to put advertising support behind its new RealRatings service in the first quarter of 2016, Move Executive Vice President Luke Glass reported. Glass said realtor.com® traffic is at record levels and that videos with ad spokesperson and actress Elizabeth Banks, intended to generate engagement with the site, have proven very popular with viewers.
The board voted to support the development by Congress of a private market for flood insurance as an option for home owners who lack access to affordable coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NAR will also support reauthorizing, building on, and improving the government-run program, not phasing out or replacing it. Flood insurance is required for a federally related mortgage in 20,000 communities nationwide, and while the private flood insurance market is growing, the NFIP is the only alternative for most of these communities. Congress will consider reauthorizing the NFIP next year and has until Sept. 30, 2017, to do so.
Military housing support
The board approved a resolution in support of a federal Basic Allowance for Housing that aims to ensure that members of the military who do not live on military facilities receive a fair amount of money to cover their housing expenses. The resolution positions NAR to engage in discussions about the importance of the housing allowance system as some lawmakers consider changing the system to save money.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The board adopted a policy statement that underscores the importance of complying with the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to protect REALTORS® and MLSs from copyright infringement liability.
Directors voted to simplify the requirements for disclosing the name of a REALTOR®'s firm in print and online advertising. Members may now comply with the requirements either in the advertisement itself or, in the case of online ads, via a link to a display with the required disclosures. The changes are intended to ensure uniform and consistent interpretation of the requirements and promote compliance with them.
The board also made changes to the scope and authority of the Grievance Committee when reviewing ethics complaints and arbitration requests. Among the changes:
- The Code of Ethics and Arbitration manual now requires the committee to review a complaint within 45 days of receiving it. Previously, the manual required the committee to review complaints in a timely fashion, but did not specify what that meant.
- Complainants are not required to prove their case when initially filing an arbitration request.
- An arbitration request may not be dismissed for lack of evidence if the arbitration request is otherwise arbitrable, filed in a timely manner, and meets the criteria described in the manual.
The board voted to require MLSs to provide non-confidential pending sale listing data in feeds for display at the discretion of MLS participants. Going forward, NAR will also authorize MLSs to sanction nonmember participants involved in an arbitration who fail to pay an award to the prevailing party or parties, or deposit a like amount with the association. This ensures consistency with similar requirements for REALTORS®.
The board approved $282,000 in legal assistance in two cases. One case involves enforcing association arbitration awards, while the other concerns the protection of MLS listing data.
Name and jurisdiction changes
The board voted to update NAR’s processes for handling contested applications for local association name or jurisdiction changes. The hearing process will be streamlined through improved use of technology such as online video conferencing.
Commercial overlay board
The board approved the establishment of a Commercial Overlay Board in Oklahoma.
NAR presented Distinguished Service Awards to two REALTORS®: Cynthia Shelton of Orlando, Fla., and Jean Crosby of Rockford, Ill. People nominated for the award have shown meritorious service to the association for at least 25 years.
The 2015 William R. Magel Award of Excellence for Association Executives went to Diane Ruggiero, chief executive officer of the Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS®.
The board also recognized Clifford Niersbach, NAR associate general counsel for Board Policy & Programs and former staff executive of the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee and the Professional Standards Committee. Niersbach was cited for his contributions to the evolution of MLS as a tool for cooperation among REALTORS®, and for keeping the REALTOR® Code of Ethics relevant as the real estate industry has evolved.
Finally, the board passed resolutions honoring longtime REALTORS® Ebby Halliday and Donald Henry Mason, both of Texas, who passed away in 2015.