Are You a Big Toe or Entire Foot Member?

Real Estate Agent with Dirt Road Real Estate SA676002000

So you belong to a local Realtor Association. My question is do you have your big toe in it or your entire foot?


The reason for this question is I have once again discovered a lot of big toes and very few entire feet.


Each year Realtors pay hundreds of dollars to belong to their local Realtor Associations. Yet their participation is dismal except for possibly 20% who do 80% of the work. (Pareto Principle).


This leaves this old Swedish brain rather befuddled. Why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars and not:

  • Be active in the association?
  • Read the weekly communications?
  • Attend free events to expand their professional knowledge?
  • Interact with other Realtors?
  • Participate in special association events?
  • Expand their network of affiliates such as home inspectors, appraisers, etc.?
  • Decide to sit on the Board or a committee?


My personal philosophy is if I am going to pay to belong to any association, I believe it is my duty to know what is going on. Possibly this philosophy returns to my attitude toward “return on investment.” If I like what is going on, I become even more active. If I believe there could be positive changes made, I become more active to work toward those changes.


This personal philosophy helped me earn Rookie of the Year during my first year in real estate sales. This award was not for sales volume, but for being an active member within the Association.


Now going into my third year, I have been elected to the local Realtor's association board. Also, I currently chair the Professional Development Committee and sit on several other committees.


Finally, I have secured a couple of real estate sales referrals from other Realtors and have made some as well. These are a direct result of being active in my local Realtor association.


Years ago I heard this quote:


"You must be the change you want to see in the world."

Mahatma Gandhi


If your lack of involvement is because you have some issues with your association, then get involved. Be the change you want to see as Gandhi so eloquently said.


If you say you don’t have the time because you are so busy, then consider these words from one of my coaches:


If you don’t have the time to do it right,

when will you have the time to do it over?”


Graphics courtesy of

Posted by

Leanne M. Smith, MS, GRI, rCRMS

2018 KGVAR Rookie Realtor of the Year-55+
219.508.2859 MST
Life Begins Where the Pavement Ends
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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Leanne Smith this post brought a big smile to my face.... I've been paying dues for 42 years now, and not once did I ever go to any type of meeting or social event at my local real estate board....

I had my own system in place for securing business and expanding it.... I knew most of the rules because I always used "common sense" and when the rule made no sense, I probably broke it but never had an issue....never....

I paid and continue to pay because I was a Realtor and continue to be....I'm not active anymore but I'm affiliated with my office as a marketing agent for the team.... it's short money and I'll continue to pay it..... 

and to answer your question: I DON'T EVEN HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME MUCH LESS A TOE OR FOOT..... 

Jan 05, 2020 07:27 AM #1
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I pay local dues because I have to in order to access resources. The Association office is 45 minutes away from my office. As a busy agent who is juggling many personal responsibilities, it is sometimes hard to get time to run into the local office. Add to that the CE requirements and I'm trying to work on my GRI, I just don't have time to add another obligation to my to do list. I appreciate all those that do step up and work on the boards to keep our association moving in the right direction.

Jan 05, 2020 07:42 AM #2
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

The Association was downstairs from the brokerge office. For me it was another meeting place with clients and place to get Supra box key reset.  One gets to use the shower in the summer there. At least I did. I forget to mention they got great chocolate sweets. Guess who helped himself?

Jan 05, 2020 07:46 AM #3
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe



Jan 05, 2020 07:56 AM #4
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

When I was a director for the local board I when to almost all the meeting and events for 3 years.


Jan 05, 2020 08:37 AM #5
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Leanne - Different strokes for different folks but I think Anne Corbin summed up the feelings of many.  It's not a priority.   Thankfully there are those who get involved and benefit themselves and others because of their involvement.  

Jan 05, 2020 10:42 AM #6
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Leanne,
When I was active I was an entire body person.  I found a lot of people were in with their mouths but not the rest of themselves in order to understand why decisions were made or being part of the solution. 

When I became President of our local Association Board I made it known during my induction speech that I was open to all input BUT they needed to understand they would be on the agenda of the next Board meeting. I never got one complaint from anyone the entire year.  LOL

Jan 05, 2020 11:29 AM #7
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Leanne Smith - if I were a Realtor I would be in.  I am all in on the chambers where I belong. 

Jan 05, 2020 12:50 PM #8
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Leanne, I think time and priority are factors for many people.  I am active in many of the local events. 

Jan 05, 2020 05:59 PM #9
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Congratulations for being a part of your local board! It's all about priorities. Those who find involvement in their local association to be a priority, will attend meetings and get involved. Those who are juggling a million other things won't!

Thanks for sharing!

Jan 11, 2020 05:20 AM #10
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Leanne. I tend to agree with Barbara Todaro. Membership was never optional in the state where I practiced and I found better ways to spend the time and money many of these events cost.

Jan 11, 2020 06:28 AM #11
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I'm also just a toe person. I do appreciate those who serve and are active and they are generally the folks who belong to all of the chamber groups, etc. It's not my thing, but totally understand if it works for you. I'm glad we're not "all the same."  :) 

Jan 11, 2020 08:21 AM #12
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Leanne:

I was on the Professional Standards OCmmittee for several years and have done some teaching. More of my volunteer time has been spend at the state and national level for CRS in recent years.


Jan 11, 2020 10:44 AM #13
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 702-574-8102

Leanne,  So many parts to the body that is the national, state and local real estate associations.  Everyone has their part to play and it's rarely the same for any two realtors.  All are respected for acting on their priorities and best interests of their business.

Jan 11, 2020 12:51 PM #14
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I think most reasons revolve around available time for this. I have not been very involved - except for being on Professional Standards for the past 15 years. It's a commitment but one that I can handle.

Jan 11, 2020 02:56 PM #15
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Hmmm... when I was an agent we were required to pay, but I don't recall even knowing about events, etc. Our association wasn't good at bringing in instructors, etc. - we always had to travel outside of our area.

Jan 11, 2020 03:03 PM #16
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

We have a good Association, and  I'm all in! I think it's like everything else, you get out what you put in

Jan 13, 2020 10:08 PM #17
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

I have served on my local board for years.... President 3 or 4 times, vice president 5 or 6 times.... also served as RPAC trustee for 6 years,  currently I am on state legislative committee and chair of State Grievance committee 

We have a small community and small board so we pitch in and work together. I feel we have accomplished good things for our community and we do give back to our community. Our Christmas Party is also an auction where we raise funds for Hospice of Homer, Homer and Anchor Point Food Bank and 3 $1,000 scholarships every year 

I have always learned more from serving making the time I put in well worth it. 

I don't agree with the direction NAR has gone all politics and cocktail parties but our little board makes a big difference in our little community. 

Jan 14, 2020 01:56 AM #18
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Good afternoon, I am not present in the association at all. We used to go to the events they sponsored. We no longer are interested in attending any of the events or classes offered. We are members because that is what is required of us. We read the weekly emails that are sent. Are we a big toe or a little toe? 

None we have stepped out of the association and wish to no longer attend or be present. As stated we read the emails sent weekly we follow the rules. 

Other than that not interested. 

Jan 14, 2020 10:05 AM #19
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Leanne Smith

Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom
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