Scott’s bear-baiting entry based on the NAR’s economist’s market predictions was published the same day I got my Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) and NAR membership renewal bill. These are not sunny times for NAR, even though Dr. Yun saw better times ahead for the market. NAR and its State and local chapters are membership organizations; they depend on dues income to survive. During down times, the number of Realtors* drops along with the number of people in the business of real estate. (Not everyone with a license is a Realtor!) According to a report by Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University,** the number of people in the business of real estate in Massachusetts has dropped 7.5 percent (absolute change) and 17.4 percent (relative change) between December 2007 and September 2009. This is overall drop in membership, not the constant flow of newbies and drop-outs that we are used to. That’s a lot of $660 checks that GBREB and NAR are not going to get.
Since you are all just so fond on NAR, let me tell you about what I get for my $660 annual dues. (I listed them in order of value for me):
E-Forms by TrueForms ™ (this is a way to print out Offers and leases and all kinds of real estate forms), Right Tools (on-line resources), free mediation and low-cost arbitration, classes and one free class, technology hotline, networking events, quarterly and year-end market data, public awareness advertising campaign, “advocacy representation” -- I call this lobbying – which defeated these three legal initiatives: new sales tax on commissions, REALTOR liability for installation of smoke detectors and property transfer tax bills.
I like the people at the GBREB office -- especially Brenda and Christina, who are very well informed and helpful. I hope GBREB will keep the staff and services that I have come to enjoy. I recommend that they cut the advertising budget and PR efforts. As a buyer’s agent, it is clear to me that NAR supports property owners, and only supports my business as a by-product.
If you were inventing a National Association of Realtors, what programs and services do you think are needed for real estate professionals? There have been lots of good ideas on this blog about what real estate agents should know. What’s on your curriculum for us Realtors? How could the biggest professional guild in my industry better benefit those working in the industry as well as consumers?
*Realtor is a registered trademark.
**Also, for those who want to see a quick review of the economic impact of the housing bubble in Massachusetts, take a look at the PDF on the link above. It’s 92 pages long, but good reading!
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