Shouldn’t We All Know More REALTOR History?

Recently, I stopped-in at my local association (the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS), because my wife and I had to exchange our lock box keys. Due to the fact that Supra was having some network difficulties (big surprise), the process took more time than expected.

As we were milling about the office, I noticed a book I had never seen before. I like books, and this book was particularly interesting to me. It was, National Association of REALTORS: 100 Years in Celebration of the American Dream. The book caught my attention for two reasons–

1) It was big, blue, shiny, and had a nice cover graphic.
2) I had no idea that such a book even existed.

I spent a few minutes flipping through the book and quickly realized that I had been waiting for a book just such as this one.

Why Don’t We Know More REALTOR History?

As I flipped through the book casually, browsed the photos, and even read some of the passages that caught my attention, it occurred to me– why didn’t I already know some of this stuff?

This is my 5th year as a REALTOR, and up until the point that I picked up the book and started reading, I had no knowledge of just about anything that was in it. NONE. NADA. ZIP.

In my mind, that is a travesty. Part of it is my fault, admittedly, since I never really took the time to search this type of historical information out. There is also another issue at play here, though. One that I have become particularly aware of in recent weeks– there is no discernible culture of REALTORS. By “culture” I mean that there seems to be very little that we share that binds us together. No sort of shared knowledge of the past that ties in with the present. Other professions have this. A few examples:

First– Name me the first President of the National Association of RELTORS way back in 1908. Or how about the year that the word REALTOR first became a registered mark.

Can’t do it? Why not?

When I was studying to go to law school, just about any law student could give you the names of DOZENS of historically prominent attorneys. The same goes for doctors, scientists, writers, you name it. Heck, up until I picked up that book, I could name more prominent auto manufacturers than I could historically significant REALTORS. That’s not good.

What I Plan to DO About This Problem

So here’s what happened. I picked up the book (pretty much by accident), and quickly realized that it is filled with a lot of great information. I also quickly realized that if I didn’t know about the book’s existence, it would stand to reason that there are a whole bunch of other REALTORS who are similarly unaware. Like I said, I like books, so I bought my very own copy of this one.

Maybe you like books, maybe you don’t. Maybe you will by this one, maybe you won’t. Point is, you should still learn some of the lessons contained inside. That is exactly what I aim to do here.

Every week, as I make my way through the book, I will highlight the stories or issues that I find most interesting, and most critical. I won’t just re-print them straight from the book (that would be a copyright violation, and even worse, potentially boring). What I will do is share some of those stories in my own voice and with my own insights and editorializing, good or bad. Of course, I will reference them in the book, that way you can find the source, if you want.

My hope is that, first and foremost, you will learn something about the history of our organization and our profession. I also hope that you will come away with a greater understanding and appreciation for those who have come before us and the issues that have shaped the organization into what it is today.

And hey, who says we can’t have a little fun along the way. . .

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8 Responses to Shouldn’t We All Know More REALTOR History?

  1. Brian Block says:

    Daniel, thanks for sharing. I look forward to your highlights of the REALTOR book. I may just have to get a copy for myself.

  2. Daniel,
    I enjoy mine/our associations’ book also and have it integrated extensively into our New Agent Orientation. Good history is a corner stone of respect.
    Unfortunately, when new agents join and attend orientation they are overwhelmed with information. I am just hopeful they walk away understanding the purpose of becoming REALTORS® and the benefits of belonging. Sometimes they complain about the time I am taking regarding the NAR/VAR & Local history. There is so much pertinent information the new agent is looking ahead to that they don’t pay attention to the past.
    I had not thought about “pushing” the book to seasoned Realtors as education they were lacking.
    But I will now.
    I am glad you found the book, too.

  3. I think most REALTORS are oblivious to the impact organized real estate (Read: the REALTOR organization) has had in creating the organized marketplace that exists today…and hence, its members’ ability to be profitable in that marketplace and property-buying consumers’ ability to afford their home or place of business or recreational land or investment property.

    Glad you found the book, Daniel. Here at VAR, we also have a cool video NAR produced for it’s Centennial (this year) that summarizes its contributions. I’ll see if we can get it posted on the website or You Tube (may already be at You Tube for all I know).

  4. Daniel, I look forward to your updates/stripes in your own words! If I see this book, I may have to pick it up myself and maybe post my own spin on it! You see, the e-age makes us smarter and I actually feel a strong sense of community with the small 7% or so who have chosen to participate in blogging/social media! Thanks for “paying it forward.”

  5. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I think one of the purposes for doing this is to show that despite the way we may feel at some times, we aren’t the first people to be dealing with some of the issues we face. Some of them have been around for a long time. Some of them have been around for too long. There are plenty of issues that were addressed by the REALTORS who came before, enabling us to focus on new things. It’s all connected. No one, and nothing exists in a vacuum.

  6. Pingback: 100 years of REALTOR history in 15 minutes | VARbuzz

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  8. Ray Carman says:

    Daniel, thanks for sharing. I look forward to your writing and also to picking up a copy of your book. I consider myself a history nut, but never once gave a thought to reading into the history of my profession. Looking forward to it and to your upcoming post!

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