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Briefing: AE news, Winter 2011

January 1, 2011

New NAR outreach program for local associations complements REALTOR.com’s new international features.

NAR Ramps Up Global Focus

New NAR outreach program for local associations complements REALTOR.com’s new international features.

More than $66 billion in U.S. residential real estate was sold to foreign buyers and recent immigrants in 2009, which represents 7 percent of the overall housing market, according to research by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

To facilitate and increase international transactions, NAR is expanding member and association education efforts while REALTOR.com is adding new international listings in 2011, as well as translation and conversion tools.

NAR’S Global Business and Alliances Group recently published a white paper, “Local Market Assessment, Case Studies,” featuring a six-step process to help local
associations identify and reach their global buyers. The publication aims to challenge the idea that some areas don’t have global buyers by citing case studies in Alabama, Kentucky, and Colorado, where significant ties to international communities have been identified.

“In the past year, we’ve been sharing with members information to help them identify new potential international buyers and how to reach them,” says Janet Branton, NAR’s senior vice president of global business and alliances. “Our efforts now extend to state and local REALTOR® associations.”

NAR recently announced a new initiative to partner with local associations to produce globally focused business plans to provide members with education and programming. NAR’s Global department has also hired a new outreach manager, Zachary Benjamin, whose job is to help local associations and members develop a global mindset.

In March, NAR Global staff will be at the Association Executive Institute in Dallas to answer questions on the outreach program and how to establish global business councils. A series of Web seminars for association executives via REALTOR.org is also planned for 2011.

“While all real estate in the U.S. is local, the same is not true for property owners,” says NAR President Ronald Phipps. “The U.S. continues to be a top destination for international buyers from all over the world. Foreign buyers understand the value of owning a home in this country and can rely on REALTORS® to help guide them through the process of buying property in the U.S.”

Local associations, such as the Denver Board of REALTORS®, have taken note of this trend and are helping their members seize a share of the global market by establishing global business councils, extensions of local associations dedicated to globally themed education, programming, and networking. For more information, contact NAR Global at 312-329-8246, or visit REALTOR.org/global.

Group for Young AEs Launches

For association executives under 40, and others seeking insights into how younger AEs view the industry, NAR launched the AE YPN (Young Professional Network) with an inaugural meeting at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

“The current plan is to host an AE YPN gathering at all three NAR meetings, with the next opportunity being the 2011 AE Institute in Dallas,” says the group’s chairperson, Chris Carrillo, e-PRO, CEO of CRIS Regional MLS, Ohio.

The new AE YPN Facebook page now has more than 50 fans and is used primarily to communicate with young AEs who can’t travel to NAR meetings.

The AE YPN group aims to foster networking among younger AEs and help them stay engaged with the national association. “What we saw lacking was a place or group of younger professionals to come together, share experiences, and perhaps form a different perspective on issues and trends affecting the industry,” says Carrillo. “If you are newer to the industry, it can be intimidating to be thrust into a group of experienced executives and be forthcoming with your opinions and thoughts.”

Not surprisingly, much of the discussion at the first AE YPN meeting revolved around the use of next-generation technology, but the group also touched on generational diversity, how to do more with less in the current economy, and the importance of social media. “Our discussions seem to be more free flowing and open rather than having one speaker,” he says, and the focus is sharing and learning through each other.”

The next AE YPN meeting is at the AE Institute; all AEs are welcome to attend.

RAMCO UPDATE: Tech Support, Hosting Onboard for March Launch

RAMCO (REALTOR® Association Management System Cooperative) the feature-rich, comprehensive association management system being created for all REALTOR® associations worldwide, now includes robust tech support through the Florida REALTORS® Technology Helpline Service. This partnership with RAMCO leverages the existing call center services that Tech Helpline provides for more than 70 REALTOR® associations nationwide. “Service is one of the elements of a product feature set that is often overlooked but will be one of RAMCO’s strongest features,” says Pablo Maurelia, director of technology for RAMCO.

RAMCO also announced a partnership with Streamline Solutions LLC for its application hosting services. “Because RAMCO runs on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 platform, we have chosen to host RAMCO with one of the best Microsoft CRM hosting partners in the business,” explains Maurelia. For more information on RAMCO’s new partnerships, along with product details, pricing, and sign-up information, visit www.ramcoams.com.

Hicks Honored with Community Leadership Award

John Hicks, director of MLS training and outreach at Central Virginia Regional MLS, is the 2011 recipient of the Terry McDermott Community Leadership Award for his work with the Joni and Friends camps for children with disabilities.

Joni and Friends was established in 1979 by Joni Eareckson Tada, who at 17 was injured in a diving accident, leaving her a quadriplegic. Since its inception, Joni and Friends has been dedicated to serving people who are affected by disability, whether it is the disabled person, a family member, or friend.

Because of volunteers such as Hicks, the Joni and Friends camps can care for disabled children for a week, while giving their parents some much needed free time. “We were parents like these,” says Hicks. “My first son, Jesse, was born with severe disabilities.
His life, his personal and medical needs dominated our family’s lives for the next 10 and a half years, until he passed away in 1991.”

Hicks and his wife, Cathy, have taken their personal vacations to attend the camps for nearly 11 years. “We had been well trained in the 10 years of Jesse’s life to help care for children and for families dealing with disabilities,” says Hicks. “It is not a free vacation. You will work harder than you may have in a long time. But you will come away with far more than you were able to give.”

Back at his association office, Hicks shares his experience at the camp with his coworkers and posts photos on the staff intranet. “If I had the opportunity to speak to the REALTOR® community as a whole, in addition to encouraging them to visit the Joni and Friends Web site, I would also encourage them to reach out to a family they know that has a child with a disability. Offer to care for their family member for one day, or one evening, or even overnight. Someone did this for us once, and it was a miracle and a blessing.”

Hicks will be recognized at the AE Institute in Dallas, March 19. The $500 charity donation Joni and Friends will receive as a part of Hicks’ McDermott recognition is already earmarked for one family to attend next year’s camp.

NAR CEO Stinton Named to SmartMoney Power 30

The popular business magazine SmartMoney named NAR CEO Dale Stinton to its annual Power 30 feature of the “World’s Most Influential Players.” The magazine recognized Stinton for keeping the country’s largest professional trade association “on the offensive” while real estate was struggling to recover from the mortgage crisis.

Under Stinton’s leadership, NAR launched Realtors Property ResourceTM, a national property database that went live in September. Other significant milestones during Stinton’s five-year tenure as CEO include the creation of NAR’s “Game Changer” program, which provides grant funding to innovative REALTOR® association initiatives, and the formation of NAR’s technology incubator and venture capital fund, Second Century Ventures, which last year purchased a stake in electronic signature services provider DocuSign. On the political front, under Stinton, NAR successfully lobbied lawmakers to keep banks from offering real estate brokerage services, and to provide tax credits for homebuyers. Also named to the Power 30 this year are Steve Jobs of Apple, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, and Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve.

NAR Awarded Domain Names

An administrative law judge ruled that a broker acted in bad faith by registering two domain names, listonrealtor.com and listitonrealtor.com, and ordered the names transferred to NAR. The judge said the names were confusingly similar to REALTOR.com, which NAR owns. Furthermore, the judge said that the broker didn’t have a legitimate right to the names since they violated NAR’s rules for use of the term “REALTOR®.” The bad faith comes into play because, according to the judge, the broker was trying to capitalize on confusion people might have that would make them assume the site had a relationship with REALTOR.com, therefore allowing the broker to benefit from the goodwill in the trademarked term.

AEs on the Move

  • The Arkansas Association of REALTORS® in January appointed Mark G. Marchand as its new chief executive officer, replacing Andy Schaus. Marchand moved from the Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS® and was replaced by Richard J. D’Ascoli.
  • The Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® in September welcomed Anne Gardner, RCE, CAE, as the local association’s new chief executive officer. Gardner replaces Dave Phillips, who left in August to take over as executive vice president of the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®.
  • The Columbia Board of REALTORS®, Mo., in December announced G. Michael Brown is the new CEO, replacing Carol Van Gorp, who accepted a CEO position with the REALTORS® Association of the Palm Beaches, Fla., in April.

For more new AEs, visit the New AEs page.

Northern Virginia REALTORS® Go Green

The Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® cut the red ribbon on its new “green” headquarters building in September. The $11.5 million building project adheres to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines and features earth-friendly bamboo flooring, recycled construction materials, and large windows and glass office walls that maximize natural light. Plus, the association is committed to using less-toxic cleaning products and recycled paper products throughout the building. NVAR also held a successful Green Conference in October that covered the future of retrofitting and green features for new construction, and how to sell, appraise, and finance green homes.

Shooting Victims Honored at REALTOR® Association Community Event

Organizers of the 21st Annual Tucson Association of REALTORS® Shootout, a youth soccer tournament, took time during opening ceremonies Jan. 14 to honor the victims of the January attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords that killed six. The annual sports event, which has grown to more than 5,000 participants and 300 soccer teams, generated more than $2.5 million for the Tucson economy and has become a major community event.

Amarillo REALTORS® Deter Theft with Dots

The Amarillo Association of REALTORS® has partnered with local police to promote the use of DataDots to deter theft and retrieve stolen property. DataDots are tiny polyester tags, smaller than a grain of sand, that can be applied to any personal property. If an item with the dots is stolen, police, as well as pawnshops and scrap yards, can use a blue light to locate the dots and a special magnifying device to find the owner. Dot users register their dot kit online. The REALTOR® association decided to promote the product after a rash of air conditioner thefts from homes and vacant property vandalism. For more, visit: www.datadotusa.com.

REALTOR® Associations Receive Grants for Supporting Housing Opportunities

The Housing Opportunity Fund, a National Association of REALTORS® grant program, has presented $50,000 to 15 local and state REALTOR® associations to promote and expand affordable housing opportunities in their communities. Grants are awarded twice per year, in April and October. Since the program’s inception, nearly 140 grants totaling more than $450,000 have been awarded. The grants support a wide range of housing opportunity activities, including housing symposia; homebuyer education or housing fairs; counseling and financial literacy efforts; down payment or closing cost financial assistance programs; public opinion surveys; and REALTOR® affordable housing education for groups including seniors, veterans, and minorities. To view the 15 associations and their programs, or for more on NAR’s Housing Opportunity Fund, visit REALTOR.org/housingopportunity.

New Program to Bring Services to Members in the Field

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® recently rolled out a new initiative to bring services and education out to larger member offices during three-hour visits. The C.A.R.2U programs hopes to bridge the gap between the association and members who do not regularly read CAR’s communications, and to enable staff to stay in touch with member needs and industry trends.

Webinar Series, WebTV Takes Off in S.C.

When the South Carolina Association of REALTORS® opted to give webinar technology a try last year they weren’t sure if it would fly with members. Yet today, with hundreds of members tuning in twice a month (and 1,000 hits monthly on the archives), the program is now one of the association’s most popular and effective member education ventures. In fact, the “State of the State” presentation with the association president will now be an annual event. The webinar program has been such a hit that SCAOR recently launched a live broadcast called SCRtv, in which CEO Nick Kremydas gives a weekly update on real estate news, as well as legal and legislative issues. Visit: www.ustream.tv/channel/sc-realtors.

AE Institute Focuses on Member Programs, Trends

Inspirational ways to enhance members’ success dominates the array of offerings at the 2011 Association Executives Institute in Dallas, March 18–22.

“There will be sessions to help challenge seasoned AEs; sessions that will help keep your association true to its strategic plan; and sessions designed to motivate you, your employees, and your volunteers to that next level of association management and customer service,” says Chair of the 2011 AE Institute Advisory Board Rebecca Grossman, RCE, CEO, Virginia Peninsula Association of REALTORS®.

Debuting this year is the AE Institute “unconference,” where attendees set the agenda based upon what they want to learn more about.

Sessions are offered in four tracks: Best Practices in Association Management, where you’ll learn from the successes of your peers; Internal & External Resources featuring online “go to” resources you need to successfully manage your association; Marketing & Communications, which will examine the diverse audiences in your association and the different ways to reach them; and Strategic Issues & Trends, intended to help you hone in on the need-to-know trends so you can continue multitasking without missing a beat.

In addition to sessions, this year’s institute offers a Wi-Fi hot spot, free personalized consulting sessions with NAR staff experts, Sponsor Night Happy Hour, as well as ample opportunity to network with the more than 1,100 attendees.

For detailed session and registration info, visit REALTOR.org/AEI.

Sample Employee Manual Available

AEs: NAR has developed a sample employee manual that can be tailored to your organization. The manual includes policies on electronic communications and social media, harassment, alcohol and drug abuse, privacy, and safety. Be sure to have the manual reviewed by your legal counsel to ensure it complies with state law. For more, contact Donna Garcia, dgarcia@realtors.org, 312-329-8311.

Take Control of ID Theft

A new program for REALTORS®, AEs, and association staff aims to halt identity theft.

Identity theft is among the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Help cover all your bases by enrolling in the IdentitySecureSM Program for
REALTORS®, AEs, and association staff.

IdentitySecure is an advanced identity protection service offering a comprehensive suite of benefits that prevent, detect, and resolve identity theft. With triple-bureau credit reports and scores, 24/7 daily credit monitoring, identity theft insurance, and more, you’ll have all the tools necessary to manage and protect your identity. Try IdentitySecure for $1 for the first month and continue your monthly subscription at a special members-only rate.

Customize, Print NAR Brochures Online

Now REALTORS® can access, customize, and professionally print NAR’s most popular brochures and guides using the new Print on Demand program. Through this online service, members can add their own biographical, photo, company, and Web site information to most of NAR’s consumer- and member-centered pieces and order from 50 to 1,000 pieces. Customizable brochures include “It Pays to Work with a REALTOR®” and “Why Rent When You Can Buy.” For more, visit the Realtor.org Store or https://nar.imprivia.com.

Communication Success Stories Posted

The AE Committee’s “Next Generation Communications Workgroup” recently launched online a group of innovative communication initiatives from REALTOR® associations across the country. These communication success stories, ranging from a video to encourage online dues payment to a continuously updated member blog, show how associations are using technology to deliver member service. The stories that were collected and submitted were entered into the REALTOR® Association Resource Exchange (RARE) database are accessible here: REALTOR.org
/association_executives_secured/success_stories_main.

Marketing Tips with Karen Bebart, NAR’s Managing Director, Marketing

NAR Boosts Brand Value with New Logos

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ marketing department manages and maintains the association’s branding and graphic standards. And prior to June 2010, NAR’s branding and graphic standards hadn’t been updated for 10 years, and didn’t cover the needs of newer communication channels, such as e-mail newsletters and banner ads. Additionally, a substantial number of new logos had been developed for NAR programs, services, and even departments in the last few years without any consistent format. This flood of logos was beginning to dilute and undermine the strength of the parent NAR logo, jeopardizing the value of the $3 billion REALTOR® trademark. It was definitely time to update and expand these guidelines to be more user-friendly.

When information about an NAR program, product, or service is communicated to the REALTOR® family, it must be instantly recognizable as coming from the national association and appear in a consistent way. That’s why the ultimate goal of our latest update was to visually connect all that NAR does and allow the REALTOR® family to see one multifaceted association.

After engaging a branding agency partner, we set out to understand member perceptions through both quantitative and qualitative analyses. We found that members best associate the NAR logo when they see both the block “R” membership mark and the words NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. We also learned that 85 percent of members are more likely to trust and open information about a program or service if they know it’s from NAR.

We then conducted meetings to understand what each NAR department and program communicates, through which channels, and to which major audiences. Armed with research results, we set to work developing a new, overarching brand architecture that consistently leverages the NAR master brand. This was a challenge because the block “R” and words NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® take up a lot of space.

The branding agency remastered the NAR logo as a stronger, more compact mark, and helped develop a new branding architecture. Some of the changes include eliminating department logos, and introducing a new sub-brand treatment for specialty resources and a co-brand treatment for designations. The new branding was fully implemented throughout all areas of NAR by November.

The increased visibility of the NAR logo and the new branding structure will increase the value of the NAR logo, what it represents, and the block “R” membership mark.

For more on branding from NAR, check out the AE Institute session in Dallas, March 19, “If They Don’t Know It’s from You, Brand It!”

Send your marketing questions to kbebart@realtors.org.

Meet the New RCEs
These 14 REALTOR® association executives earned their RCE (Realtor® association Certified Executive) designation after an extensive course of study and exam in November. RCE is the only professional designation designed specifically for Realtor® association executives. It exemplifies goal-oriented AEs with drive, experience, and commitment to professional growth. Candidates earn the designation by accumulating points through an experience- and education-based application form and a comprehensive written exam. For more on the RCE designation, visit REALTOR.org/RCE. Not pictured: -
Byron King, RCE, South Carolina Association of REALTORS®.

Alicia Barras, RCEAtlanta Board of REALTORS®, Ga.

Christine Bauder, RCE Ocean City Board of REALTORS®, N.J.

Carolyn Blanchard-Cook, RCE, Greater Baltimore BOR, Md.

Lynn Bunn, RCE, CAE Southern Indiana REALTORS® Association

Claudia Crowell, RCE Seattle King County REALTORS®, Wash.

TracyLee Elmore, RCE, Sussex County Assoc. of REALTORS®, Del.

Diane Herrick, RCE Helena Association of REALTORS®, Mont.

Colleen Loeffler-Phonwiang, RCE, CAE, CCIM Institute, Ill.

Michael McDonagh, RCE Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®

George Postletheweight, RCE, Evansville Area Assoc. of REALTORS®, Ind.

Adam Sanders, RCE REALTOR® Assoc. of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Linda Stoeckicht, RCE Minneapolis Area Assoc. of REALTORS®, Minn.

Anne Tokareff, RCE Sawtooth Board of REALTORS®, Idaho