I Never Thought I Would Associate With the Association!

Real Estate Agent with Nest Realty

nametagWhen I first started in real estate abut 11 years ago, I was told it was "company policy" that I apply for and become a member of the local, state and national Realtor Associations.

I've never been one who thrives on conformity.  I didn't like the "policy" and I let that be known.  Other than a Code of Ethics which a lot of agents seemed to ignore, the only other thing I really saw the Association doing was organizing and hosting the Circle of Excellence Awards Banquet (aka Realtor "Prom") each year.  Unlike most MLS's throughout the nation which are coordinated through the local Associations, our MLS is maintained and run through an outside entity.

It seemed the Association and I were just not on the same page.  After my first year in the business, I was told that I would not receive my "award" if I didn't submit my picture (I HATED that agents plastered their mugs on everything so I never had mine taken).  My Broker explained how thoroughly embarrassed she would be if I couldn't get my award because of a silly picture so I caved and went to a photographer the day of the deadline.

A few years later, I was personally invited to a Realtor/Lawyer Committee meeting by the Chairperson.  I enjoyed it and learned a few things and started attending on a regular basis.  We also got a free lunch out of it so that was a plus!  Then, I was asked to give a presentation on centralized showing systems and the various options.  As I spoke about the different programs and online options - I began to lose people and thought that maybe I was no longer speaking English.  Thus, I realized the majority of my peers knew very little about technology and were nowhere near ready to embrace it.  I withdrew back into my anti-Association shell.

For the next few years, I pretty much ignored NAR, VAR and HRRA.  I received my North Carolina real estate license and was then required to join more Realtor Associations (North Carolina, Outer Banks and Albemarle) which I had little use for.  I even stopped going to Realtor Prom when I found out my company charged us to go.  The Associations just seemed like a clique that I would never fit into.

ben martinThen, I met Ben Martin.

Ben is the Director of Communications and New Media at the Virginia Association of Realtors.  We met through the Active Rain Real Estate Network.  Ben was the only person I had ever met who was involved in the Association and embraced technology in real estate like me.  Slowly, Ben was able to get me to crawl out of my shell and start getting involved...but in ways that worked for me.  I became an author for VARBuzz, the Association blog.  I wore a "Virginia is for Bloggers" button at the Inman Conference in San Francisco.  And a HUGE step came a few weeks ago when I actually attended the VAR Conference in Baltimore where Ben recruited me to be a Social Media Correspondent.

I feel so fortunate to now know lots of agents embracing techolVARogy all over the Commonwealth of Virginia who are also active in their Associations.  Most, like me, were not involved until Ben Martin reached out and brought them in.  Some local Associations are now getting their own Techology Committees, New Media Directors and Social Media Trainers - mostly due to Ben's efforts.  VAR has been used as a role model for other State Associations throughout the United States and Ben Martin is a huge part of that recognition.

Through Twitter last week, I was recruited to be on the Professional Development Advocacy Group for VAR.  In fact, I think many appointments were nominated by Ben through Twitter.  I am truly excited to be involved with the Association and look forward to helping it grow and prosper because I now know that the Association represents all of us...including me.

Tina in Virginia


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realtor technology spotlight awardTina Merritt and her Associates. can be reached at email:  tina@nestrealtygroup.com or 757-287-6338.

Our Network consists of both buyer and listing specialists helping buyers and sellers in Southeast Virginia, Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, Hampton, Newport News and Poquoson, Virginia.  In Southwest Virginia, the New River Valley, Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Pulaski, Dublin, Floyd, Narrows, Pembroke, Pearisburg, Glen Lyn, Rich Creek, Check, Hiwassee, Indian Valley, Parrott, Newport, Shawsville, Pilot, McCoy, Long Shop, Fairlawn, Wythe, Draper, Willis, Sowers, Elliston, Eggleston, Ironto, Riner, Auburn, Rogers, Giles County, Montgomery County, Floyd County, Pulaski County.

Visit our website:  NestRealtyGroup.com


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Show All Comments
Michael A. Caruso
Surterre Properties - Laguna Niguel, CA

Great post. Really happy to learn of your evolution into involvement.

I have been volunteering my time at a National, State and local level since 1992 and I love it.

Please remember me if you learn of anyone moving to Orange County and I'll do the same.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

Nov 06, 2008 03:34 AM #1
Steve Payne
Keller Williams Realty - Virginia Beach, VA

Thank you Tina for your willingness to step up. I look forward to following your success.

Nov 06, 2008 03:41 AM #2
Justin Williams
Independent - Virginia Beach, VA
Loan Officer

Tina Great story you have here.  I am of course clueless when it comes to Real Estate Agent's Associations and I find it hilarious you call one of the meetings "Realtor Prom"  I too am not one to conform and hate being told what to do especially when it makes me feel uncomfortable or just not happy doing it.  I guess thats why they say, do something you love doing and not just because you have to.  I am so happy you found a place where you could call home with VAR, The VAR guys seem actually really cool and laid back on Twitter and its amazing how social media can bring people together huh.  Best of luck with you buddy!

Nov 06, 2008 04:46 AM #3
Tina Merritt
Nest Realty - Blacksburg, VA
Virginia Real Estate

Michael - thank you for your kind words.

Steve - nice to see you here!

Justin - social media is a great thing, isn't it?  btw - you rock!

Nov 06, 2008 05:13 AM #4
Ben Martin, CAE - VA Assn of REALTORS®
Virginia Association of REALTORS® - Richmond, VA

Tina, thanks for this really nice post. I'm just doing my job, but maybe doing it a little differently than others in my position.

Nov 06, 2008 06:06 AM #5
Tina Merritt
Nest Realty - Blacksburg, VA
Virginia Real Estate

Ben - thanks for taking time away from NAR to read my blog!  Have a great time down there!

Nov 06, 2008 06:38 AM #6
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate

Tina, that Ben is a swell guy, ain't he.  He's certainly played a big role here in Virginia and is a shining example to other associations around the country.

Nov 06, 2008 06:54 AM #7
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