Heated Debate: National Association Of Realtors Dues Increase

By
Real Estate Agent with Starlight Realty Certified REO & Short Sale Specialist

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) voted to raise dues by $40 starting in 2012 to fund  political efforts. This dues increase is called the Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative.

How much will if cost you to be a REALTOR(r) in 2012?

Starting in 2012 the National Association of Realtors dues will increase from $80 to $120. This does not include the current $35 assessment for NARs public awareness campaign that expires in 2014. Bottom line, agents will be paying the NAR $155 per year starting next year.  Of course, agents will also have to pay their state association and in some cases local board dues as well. All in, agents will pay between $300-400 per year to maintain their memberships to their local boards and the NAR.

(Don't forget any anual dues charged by your franchise, broker, or other branding)

Where does all the money go? NAR's Political Action Committee (RPAC) spent over $6 million on federal political campaigns last year - 61 percent of the recipients were Democrats and almost all of them were incumbents. The NARs due increase will collect an added $40 million dollars based on the current number of REALTOR members. On an interesting side note, not all of the money will stay in Washington. 2/3s of the money collected will go directly back to the state associations of REALTORS.

NAR President Ron Phipps:

"Earlier today, the NAR Board of Directors voted in favor of the Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative and agreed to fund it through a dedicated dues increase of $40 per member, beginning in 2012. The initiative will allow NAR to provide millions of dollars in additional support to state and local boards, which are facing a cadre of policy proposals that would restrict private property rights and drain home owners' pocketbooks.

As the only organization speaking on behalf of America's home owners, NAR must remain strong and influential at all levels of government. During the past week, we have heard from dozens of industry and government leaders about the broad challenges facing our markets and the growing desire on the part of federal, state and local governments to implement policies that would hurt home owners and the economy. In passing this initiative, Realtors send a clear message that we are ready and willing to protect the home owners and communities we serve.

On behalf of the entire organization, we thank the directors for their feedback and guidance, as we refined this initiative, and we are grateful to all Realtors who engage in an informed debate prior to this vote."

If you have been following this topic you know that the most vocal among us seem to be against the dues increase. There has been considerable heated debate about the lack of forethought raising dues during the worst real estate market in the history of the US. On the surface, it does seem like ‘poor planning' to ask REALTORS to contribute more money in the form of dues when so many are feeling financially pinched.

Did the NAR really have any other options?

The NAR had to increase dues inorder for our collective voices to be heard in Washington. There was a change in the law that governs how businesses and trade groups can lobby politicians. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, removed the requirements that  only use "hard dollars" to fund political campaigns. Now lobbyists can use so-called "soft dollars" to influence policy makers. This means that the NAR can use our anual dues dollars for political purposes. This is not a subtle change. Consider the fact that the banks will use this same change for their purposes....and you can be assured that their purposes are often in conflict with ours.

Agents, please be clear. If it weren't for the NARs efforts the banks would of long dealt us (REALTORS(c) ) out of the game. Remember the HAFA Guidelines that the NAR co-created in an attempt to get the banks for follow uniform rules for processing short sales? Regardless of your opinion of the success or failure of HAFA, did you know that in the first iteration of the approved HAFA Guidelines the banks had made it so agents commissions would of been ‘negotiable' or more specifically, controlled by the banks? The NAR caught that change early on and due to their lobbying efforts had the guidelines changed. That is just one small example of how the NAR is proactively protecting our industry.

It might not be trendy or politically correct to say this but, support the National Association of Realtors.

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