Most of us are passionate about the real estate industry and would love to see things improve and change for the better. And though many of us would love to help make that happen, few actually get involved to help do so.

Why is that? The one reason I keep hearing over and over again is, “I don’t have time because I’m busy selling real estate”.

If you’re a full time Realtor, it’s easy to work 12 or 14 hour days, five, six even seven days per week. And that doesn’t include continuing education, seminars, learning about new business practices, laws, etc. To make things worse, many of us struggle in the “time management skills” category to begin with.

But what if you found out that there were bills, laws, policies or strategic plans being discussed and voted on that would directly affect the way you do business? What if your local or state association did something that made your life harder as a Realtor? What if it was harder to sell more homes every year which directly affected your income and overall livelihood?

You’d want to say or do something about it, wouldn’t you? That’s why you…I…all of us can’t afford to not get involved and help make a change.

“Can I really make a change?”

Up until about nine months ago, I thought “no way.” I thought that associations were all set in their ways and that no one would care what lil-ol-me had to say. But after being on several committees on the local and state level, I can tell you that you associations do care about what you have to say and you can help make a change.

It’s not always an easy task and can be mind-numbing at times. Sometimes associations run into issues of red tape and politics. But that’s in any line of business including your own brokerage firm. But even with some red tape and politics here and there, change is made and things do improve. In fact, you may be pleasantly suprised at how quickly some of the decisions can be made and the changes implemented.

“So how much time do I have to devote in order to get involved?”

Local association committee meetings typically meet up for about two hours every month to two months. In-between meetings, you’ll probably spend an hour or so communicating with other committee members via email and checking out updates and giving input on projects in the works. If the committee you’re on has a really big project in the works, it might take up an extra hour or two in-between meetings, but that’s the most time you’ll spend from what I’ve seen.

State association committee meetings vary. Some are a few hours while others are one or two days long every few months. But if it’s longer than a day, VAR takes good care of you. They feed you (well might I add), provide a hotel room if you’re coming from across the state and they have free access to WiFi, fax machines, printers, etc. I’ve been at Strategic Planning Committee meetings at VAR and still managed to send paperwork back and forth and close deals during breaks, lunch and before and after the meeting. In fact, almost every time I go to a committee meeting at VAR in Richmond, I end up selling a home just before or while there.

“What about scheduling conflicts?”

Yes, committee meetings sometimes convene at not-so-convenient times. I’ve had to schedule showing property, home inspections and settlements around committee meetings or conventions. But if I can schedule those things around personal vacations or family events, why can’t I do it around a committee meeting? After all, what happens in the committee meeting will directly affect my well-being as a Realtor. If I don’t have a livelihood as a Realtor, there won’t be any vacations in the first place.

I’m not trying to convince anyone to take my word for it and join a committee meeting tomorrow. No one could have convinced me of that nine months ago either. But if you’re even somewhat interested, at least inquire more about it and talk to those who are involved to see what their personal experiences are. You can also contact your local or state association and/or the Chairman of a committee you’re thinking about joining to get more information.

You may be surprised to find out just how much of a change you can really make while making money at the same time.

Special thanks to Jim Duncan for the great discussion we had about this a while back.