The Realtor®-Habitat Gulf Coast Recovery Effort
NAR’s Operation Home Delivery is moving forward quickly with 18 state associations, as of July 19, contributing their $70,000 to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity house in the Gulf Region. Since NAR President Tom Stevens issued the challenge at the Association Executives Institute in Reno in April, NAR has received a great deal of positive feedback and support, said Amy Eichhorst, manager of NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program. Project participants in each of NAR’s 13 regions across the United States are building two Realtor®-Habitat “Homes in a Box.” Habitat for Humanity will assist participants with project management, supplies, and blueprints, and will coordinate shipping of the framed house to a lot in the Gulf region. Homes will be moved to the Gulf Region for completion beginning in the fall and continuing throughout 2007.
NAR is urging state associations to send a “call to action” to members, affiliates, and vendor partners, asking them to contribute to the cause.
For more information on the program or fund-raising tools, contact Amy Eichhorst, 202/383-7560, or visit REALTOR.org, search: “Operation Home Delivery.”
Realtor® Associations Win ASAE Award
Four Realtor® associations have received the Associations Advance America award from the American Society of Association Executives. The awards are presented year-round to recognize associations that propel America forward with innovative projects in skills training and development; ethical, technical, or professional standards; economic development; business and social innovation; information and knowledge creation; public education and information; civic and community volunteer activities; and citizenship and democracy enhancement.
* National Association of Realtors®, Chicago. Program: Virtual Library eBooks Collection—free access to more than 300 digital and audio books from best-selling authors on subjects ranging from popular real estate and business management to personal development.
* North Carolina Association of Realtors®. Program: Suitcases for Kids—an international nonprofit organization that collects gently used suitcases, duffel bags, and backpacks for distribution to foster children.
* New York State Association of Realtors®. Program: Partnership with N.Y. State Emergency Management Office that positions Realtors® to help the office in identify housing and other facilities that may be needed following a natural or man-made disaster.
* Greensboro Regional Realtors® Association, N.C. Program: Established a ready-for-school kit--raised money to help local students get school supplies.
Realtors® Primed to Pump Millions into New Orleans Economy
At the 2006 Realtors® Conference & Expo in New Orleans, AEs not only have the opportunity to learn about the latest trends and issues in the real estate industry and reconnect with friends and colleagues, they also have the chance to help rebuild one of America’s great cities.
“Our annual meeting will help provide jobs for residents and revenue for the city to restore services,” says 2006 NAR President Thomas M. Stevens. NAR estimates attendees will pump $34 million into the local economy during the conference.
Renovations to the Morial Convention Center are well under way, and 29 conference hotels are back in business. Tourist attractions, restaurants, and shops are open. The city’s positive energy is growing on a daily basis, say Stevens and other NAR staff members who’ve visited the city several times. They’re confident New Orleans will provide a safe, healthy backdrop for the annual meeting.
Still, many outlying neighborhoods continue to suffer from the storm’s ravages. NAR is working with Habitat for Humanity and local groups to organize volunteer building opportunities during the conference. All-day rebuilding activities in the surrounding communities will give attendees a chance to roll up their sleeves and participate in the reconstruction effort. For more information, visit REALTOR.org/conference.
Louisville Launches Revamped Commercial MLS
The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors® in Kentucky built a new, enhanced listing service for commercial properties statewide, replacing its previous commercial Multiple Listing Service. According to GLAR Executive Vice President Lisa Stephenson, commercial practitioners now can post blueprints, site maps, and “wants” on the Kentucky Commercial Real Estate Alliance site, which is open to the public. The site, which also features searchable databases of companies, soon will feature commercial news and events. Additionally, the listings will be featured on a national commercial property listing site (www.ccimnet.com) in an effort to increase exposure and ultimately help minimize the need for numerous postings. Visit: www.kcrea.com.
Missouri Association to Offer Home Listings in 13 Languages
The Missouri Association of Realtors® will provide home listings in English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and two Chinese dialects. The translated listings will be posted on agent and broker Web sites in IDX format.
“Missouri is the first state association to invest in making their real estate listings so widely accessible to all prospective buyers,” said R. Dennis McClelland, EVP and CEO of the Missouri association.
Multilingual listings are gaining popularity due to the anticipated expansion of Hispanic households by decade’s end, as well as an increase in real estate purchases by foreign investors.
Malcolm Young on Surviving and Thriving
Malcolm Young, rce, cae, CEO of the Louisiana Association of Realtors®, has received the coveted William R. Magel Award of Excellence in Realtor® Association Management from the National Association of Realtors®. The award is given annually to a person who has excelled in his or her role as an association executive. Young's work to provide immediate practical, monetary, and emotional support to Realtors® left in Hurricane Katrina's wake was only one of the accomplishments that led to this honor. With more than 26 years as part of the Realtors® organization, Young spoke to RAE about the most significant challenges and endeavors of his career.
How has the Katrina disaster changed the way you lead your association?
The most important part of managing since this crisis is to communicate to each Realtor® that you truly care about them and will continue to care in the future. I’ve found during the recovery efforts that meeting with people face to face is essential in understanding what they’ve gone through and what their needs are. Another key to surviving this crisis has been the trust from the association’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. I’ve had to make some tough decisions quickly, like rescheduling business meetings, revising the 2006 budget with programs and services essential to recovery efforts, and managing the Realtors® Disaster Fund, distributing more than $1.7 million to citizens and Realtors® in Louisiana.
LRA’s leadership role also has expanded since we also now partner with the two local associations that were destroyed in the hurricane and help them with everything from housing their Web sites to giving them space to run their offices remotely from our headquarters.
What has been the most challenging moment of your association management career? The most rewarding?
Now is without a doubt the most challenging and rewarding time. Not knowing what the true economy is going to be with regard to recovery and rebuilding for next year or the year after is a challenge when you need to plan for funding and staffing current and future programs, products, and services. Trying to predict members’ needs is also a challenge because what was normal or routine 10 months ago, such as accessing the Internet or helping customers with financing information can be hard to deliver today. We try to continue, day by day, making sure our members are supported and protected with the services they need.
I feel so proud to be a part of the Realtor® family when I look at the tremendous support we’ve received from across the country. When I read the “thank yous” from members who have lost everything, who say the small contributions we are sending have made a huge difference in their lives, that’s the reward.
What skills will association executives need to run the Realtor® associations of the future?
With the new trends in real estate, CEOs in our position have to be curious enough to dig and find out about the new business models and services our members are developing. Keep abreast through the news and governmental entities of what the changes in real estate will be.
AEs must learn to lead. The way we manage and work with our volunteers has changed and will not reverse. The members depend on our insight and knowledge to give them the background to make decisions. The members set the policy and it is our job to manage the financial and human resources to carry out our mission. AEs also need to remember to build trust and respect as peers and joint decisionmakers at the boardroom table.
Be ethical and truthful. When I say ethical, I mean follow the golden rule and business ethics in running your association. Members and the public are demanding honesty and integrity in managing the association.
New Virginia Agent Services Legislation
Virginia is the latest in a growing list of states to enact legislation regulating the real estate services that licensees perform. However, the state’s new agent services regulations, which go into effect July 1, 2007, diverge from the trend. The new regulations do not require brokers to provide a minimum level of services. Rather, they require real estate brokers to disclose the services that they will and won’t offer while preserving consumers’ ability to purchase a limited set of services.
The legislation was designed to ensure that consumers have a clear understanding of the services, while providing real estate brokers flexibility in their brokerage business models, the Virginia Association of Realtors® said in a statement.
Under the agent services regulations, “limited service representative” does not become an “agent” as defined under Virginia law unless he or she so specifies in writing. Unless a limited service representative agrees to become an agent, such an individual is an independent contractor and must provide only those services agreed to by the parties to the brokerage agreement.
Virginia association CEO R. Scott Brunner sought comment from the U.S. Justice Department Antitrust Division on the proposed legislation in January. The department, which has been critical of similar bills in other states, said in a letter that the Virginia association should be commended for supporting a bill that does not make illegal any type of limited service, flat-fee, or other brokerage model.
For more, visit the Virginia Association of Realtors®’ Web site, http://www.varealtor.com.
Awareness Campaign Gets Funding Boost
In May, the National Association of Realtors®’ Board of Directors approved an increase in the special assessment for the Public Awareness Campaign, from $20 to $30, starting in 2007. The increase will enable the association to run its national television and radio commercials year-round (with a spending cap of $40 million) rather than over eight months per year.
NAR Sends $70,000 for Tornado Relief
The directors of the NAR’s Realtors® Relief Foundation approved funding to provide temporary housing assistance to victims of tornados in Tennessee and southern Illinois earlier this spring. The local and state associations in the area are reviewing applications to provide mortgage and rent relief to victims and are forwarding the applications to NAR to issue the checks payable jointly to the victim and a lender or landlord. The foundation directors approved $50,000 to the Tennessee associations, $10,000 to the Greater Nashville association, and $10,000 to the Greater Capital Area association in southern Illinois. For more on foundation assistance, visit REALTOR.org.
AEC Strategic Issues Report: Consumers Driving Force in Real Estate
New online models that make it even easier for consumers to value, publicize, and sell their own homes could create a revolution in the real estate marketplace, according to “The Consumer: Catalyst of Change,” a new report by NAR’s 2006 Association Executive Committee Strategic Issues Work Group. In fact, consumer demands will drive new business models, new market specialization, and new technology in real estate, the report concludes.
Written by a work group of 16 Realtor® association executives in conjunction with an industry consultant, the report identifies emerging trends and issues that are likely to impact the industry in the near future. The information can help associations and brokerages with strategic planning. Access a free PDF of the report at REALTOR.org, search: “Catalyst of Change.”
REALTOR.com Debuts New Lead Feature
REALTOR.com and Move.com now feature a “What’s Your Home Worth” function, which allows prospective sellers to estimate the value of their home based on current public records of home sales in their zip code. Along with home sales data from public records, consumers receive contact information for local Realtors® who can help them more accurately price or increase the market worth of their home.
Web Company Joins REALTOR Benefits™ Program
Realtor® associations and their members qualify for discounts on Web services from Hostway Web Services, including Web site design, hosting, e-mail hosting, search engine marketing and optimization campaigns, and online desktop data backup. Two bundled packages, including site design, hosting, IP address, and support, have been created specially for NAR members. To learn more about the Hostway™ offering, visit www.hostway.com/nar or call 866/736-7654; be sure to mention your nine-digit NRDS number.
Program Turns Listing Data into Housing Reports
U.S. House Stats, a web-based electronic data collection and reporting system, translates raw listing data into more user-friendly housing reports. The program was acquired by NAR from the New York Association of Realtors® in 2002 and modified to meet national reporting requirements.
Access to the system is sold via subscription to state associations. Local associations and MLSs upload listing data which is used to generate reports to track existing-home sales and prices and compare data with the previous two years—all on a county-by-county basis.
The system continues to be maintained by NYSAR on NAR’s behalf. The minimum monthly charge for state associations with 25 or fewer reporting stations is $150 per month. For details, contact NYSAR Real Estate Services, 518/463-0300 x228.
Rockin’ Realtor® AE
Licking County Board of Realtors® (Ohio) association executive Phil Frye (far right in red) has joined with some of his members to form a rock and roll band called Foreclosure that raises money for charities and draws awareness to preventing foreclosures.
2006 Dr. Almon R. (Bud) Smith, rce, AE Leadership Society Inductees
This honor recognizes association executives who excel in the association management profession by demonstrating uncommon leadership, a willingness to help others, and acceptance of a responsibility to constantly improve themselves.
* Karen Gehle, rce, cae, CEO, Kansas Association of Realtors®
* Tom Quattlebaum, rce, cae, CEO, Anne Arundel Association of Realtors®, Md.
* Robert Sadler, cae, Ed. Dir., Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors®