The True Value of REALTOR® Associations

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs TX Broker 0513551

I’ve read a number of blogs this week bashing the National Association of REATORS® (NAR) along with the state and local counterparts. Many of the comments on these blogs show that REALTORS® to not understand the value of the associations and what they do to protect the industry and the general public.

Full disclosure, I serve on the Board of Directors of our local association and I’m a Sterling R PAC Major Donor.

Most importantly, NAR gives us a single voice with almost a million members behind it. Elected officials take note and do listen to our million-person voice.

While I don’t agree with everything they do, it is a bottom-up driven process with input from the local and state associations. I can’t imagine too many things that a million people would all agree on when it comes to our industry.

Want to know what happens when you lack that large voice? Ask any mortgage loan originator about the Dodd-Frank bill. Dodd-Frank drastically over-regulated their industry, put a cap on their pay, and actually cost the consumer money.

What NAR does at the national level also happens on the state and local levels.

Last Saturday, about 40 of us from the local association attended a 2013 budget meeting in one of our local cities. The city was proposing a rental registration and inspection program for single family rental homes in the city. Because our Government Affairs Committee has developed good relationships with our elected officials, we not only heard about the proposal in its early stage, we were also able to attend the meeting and voice our concerns about it. This resulted in the proposal being removed from the 2013 city budget.

Membership dues are only part of the monies needed to fuel our voice. RPAC and the state PACs need money to operate. In Texas, we ask each REALTOR® to donate $35 to the PAC. We have a state-wide donation rate of about 40 percent. Basically, 60 percent of our REALTORS® get all the benefits without donating. The other 40 percent of us carry them.

I could give you hundreds of examples of the good our associations and the PACs do for the industry and the public. If you’re part of this industry, be thankful that we have a powerful voice in our national, state, and local associations.

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Tom Branch and Gina Branch, The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs, service the greater North Dallas suburbs including Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Lewisville, and Carrollton.  While Gina concentrates on traditional listings and buyer/tenant representation, Tom specializes in assisting distressed homeowners to avoid foreclosure.  Tom and Gina have published two books (Achieving Rock Star Status and The Field Guide to Short Sales) and are available for speaking engagements in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. Subscribe to The Branch Team Blog.

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  1. Harry F. D'Elia 08/21/2012 09:08 AM
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Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Tom I respect your views on the importance of your local association but in my opinion the issue of what NAR has done is much broader. I just put in a counter post.



Aug 20, 2012 09:50 AM #1
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador


It's all good. Like I said, I don't agree with them on everything but I do understand their importance in the grander scheme of things.


Aug 20, 2012 09:53 AM #2
Paula McDonald
CHEVAUX Group, PLLC - The Woodlands, TX
CHEVAUX Group ~ The Woodlands, TX 936-203-0279
I will be attending our state convention next month. I do appreciate the voice they have here in Texas.
Aug 20, 2012 10:14 AM #3
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I turned a corner when my opinion was they are doing more wrong than good.  I rarely agree with what the lobbyist are getting paid to push in congress.

Aug 20, 2012 10:29 AM #4
Andrew Mooers
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Real estate is local. State, local board control is where what affects us most happens. Every market is different and one size fits all won't work.

Aug 20, 2012 11:14 AM #5
Dylan Taft
Dylan Taft Broker/Owner Taft Street Realty, Inc. - Woodstock, NY
Ulster County Area Consultant

You make some great points, Tom!  I'll admit it, I have bashed NAR ( in the past.  But you're right; if what you say is true in terms of NAR being a bottom up organization, then we agent and brokers on the local level need to get more involved in serving on boards and committees so that our organization doesn't lose our voice in the years to come.  Just like in the mortgage industry, Realtors' income and relevance in general is under pressure from outside forces, including the likes of Zillow and Trulia, and the Internet as a whole.  The game is changing as we speak people...

Aug 20, 2012 11:23 AM #6
Jason Burkholder
Weichert, Realtors - Engle and Hambright - Lancaster, PA
Sales Manager, Assoc. Broker, Realtor, e-Pro

Im my opinion the very core of the issue is that feel good commercials trying to convince people to buy are a complete waste of time and money.  People buy based on needs, based on economic circumstance,s based on wants.  There isn't a single person out there who watched any commerial from NAR about how awesome owning a home is who then ran to the phone and called a realtor to buy.  NAR would be better serving us by spending all of our dues dollars on  maybe using that single voice to affect policy not on feel good commericals and bus tours. 

Aug 20, 2012 12:29 PM #7
Gary Frimann
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

Tom, I, too, support organized real estate.  Disorganized real estate would seem too unsightly to me.  I also disagree a lot with NAR, the latest being over complaining about appraisers.  They need to look inward at the mortgage fraud, aided by Realtors at various levels, and helping banks spread out the handling of REOs.

Aug 20, 2012 01:50 PM #9
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Tom, I really don't follow the politics of NAR as much as I should, but I don't think something as big as NAR is can do all "right."

Aug 20, 2012 02:30 PM #10
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Tom, thank you for the volunteer work you do. It may seem, when we criticize NAR that you are unappreciated.... not so. Keep up the good fight!

Aug 20, 2012 05:53 PM #11
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

P.S. BTW, I didn't "get" what was so bad about that video that they put out.              

Aug 20, 2012 05:56 PM #12
Michelle Cooks
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pace, FL
Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management

I turned against them when they sold out to the same company that manages the sites of Coldwell Banker, C-21 and ERA. Then they sell us leads that they wouldn't have if we didn't upload our listings. should be set up to be the MLS for the nation and it would be so easy t do but not the money they are currently scr.... us out of. I would pay double the dues if they did that.

Aug 20, 2012 07:46 PM #13
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

NAR hasn't done or said anything substanitive in years.  They were like Tommy -- deaf, dumb and blind -- during the bubble bust.  Now their ad campaigns are very condescending to renters and people who are childless, etc.  While your LOCAL board may be making things better, that's great.  The 40 people you mentioned compared to 1,000,000, doesn't equate well.  NAR does not speak for me and my voice is no where near their crappy TV commericals and radio ads.

Aug 20, 2012 08:53 PM #16
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Tom - Though I don't agree with a lot of what NAR does, it seems we've been more cushioned than the mortgage industry and the appraisers.

Aug 20, 2012 11:36 PM #17
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador


That is my point. Without our associations and their grassroots efforts and substantial voice, I think our industry and private property rights would be severely impacted.


Aug 21, 2012 03:03 AM #18
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador


It was a poorly executed ad--without a doubt. I don't think for one moment NAR set out to attack renters, they wanted to tout the benefits of home ownership.

I think national advertising should stick to national issues like the flood insurance problem a few years ago. Most real estate is local and the state/local associations are better engaged to deal with them.

Despite their issues, the associations still perform their intended roles of a unified voice which is critical to the industry and private property owners.


Aug 21, 2012 03:08 AM #19
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador


I'm not fond of what happened with either. That said, the associations still do plenty to help our members run their businesses and protect private property rights.


Aug 21, 2012 03:11 AM #20
Bryan Robertson
Catarra Real Estate, Inc - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

I just read and commented on Leslie's post.  I get where both of your are coming from.  My issue with NAR is that they seem to lack the necessary expertise to articulate the mission statement of the organization and reinforce the brand identity.  The public makes no distinction between agents and REALTORS, while at the same time they endorse a "Normal Rockwell" vision of homeownership.

Sure, they do a lot at the advocacy level but it would be nice if our dues were spent on building a strong brand image.

Aug 21, 2012 08:43 AM #21
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Homes

I think they are loosing their relevancy. Everything they have tried to do just seems to come out badly which puts a bad reflection on the rest of us. Lord knows, we don't need any more bad PR about miscalculations on sold numbers or this latest stupid faux pas with this commercial.

They lack overall sophistication with the media & consumers.

Aug 22, 2012 08:44 AM #22
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador


I agree with you that the media campaigns are less relevant because all real estate is local. I'd like to see them refocus on truly national issues.

However, their relevancy to the industry and the public has not declined. We need that unified voice now more than ever.


Aug 23, 2012 07:31 AM #23
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