Pro-REALTOR® or Pro-Homeowner?

I had the pleasure of attending the NAR YPN event at NAR Mid-Year.  Shortly after arriving I was asked if I would mind being interviewed by the REALTOR® Magazine.  I chatted with the NAR representative briefly before starting the interview.  Once the camera was turned on she asked me her first question.  It was something along the lines of "do you feel that the government is effectively passing pro-REALTOR legislation?"  I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for this question.  I stared at the interviewer for a few seconds and then said that her question was actually pretty complicated and I wished she had given me time to prepare an answer.  I’ve had a night to think about the question now and I don’t think it was the most appropriate question.

I believe NAR should have asked the question, "do you feel the government is effectively passing pro-homeowner legislation?"  There has been a lot of talk in the past few weeks over NAR’s policy on protecting the REALTOR® and the REALTOR® business and reputation, but maybe they should think about focusing on the homeowner instead.  I understand that NAR is here to protect my business and my business model, but let’s face it, concentrating on the "what can Congress do for my (the REALTOR’s) pocketbook" and "how can I keep MLS information from getting into the public’s hands" mentality is not helping the REALTOR® cause.  It actually makes us look shady and sneaky.  In an day and age when consumers have and expect access to information with a few strokes of the keys on their keyboard, why is NAR spending so much time hiding information from them?  Why is NAR so focused on pro-REALTOR legislation instead of pro-homeowner legislation?  If Congress and local municipalities are pushed to pass pro-homeowner laws, doesn’t the REALTOR® community reap some of these rewards?  If consumers know that NAR is pushing for their rights and fighting for them, wouldn’t more consumers trust a local REALTOR® to help them buy and sell property?

This may boil down to semantics.   The NAR representative may have phrased her question wrong.  But, it definitely concerns me if NAR is only focusing on protecting the REALTOR®.  If the homeowner abandons the REALTOR®, NAR will have nothing left to protect.

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9 Responses to Pro-REALTOR® or Pro-Homeowner?

  1. NAR is a trade organization and as such it’s job is to protect the interest of the members of that trade, not the public. The UAW isn’t lobbying on behalf of the consumer. Every other lobbyist on the Hill is lobbying for their own particular client. Not sure why NAR has an obligation to be any different.

  2. Yes, I understand that NAR is a trade organization and I am not discrediting what they do for the profession. However, I do think that many issues go hand in hand. NAR has taken several stances lately that may not meet today’s market expectations and could effect the REALTOR (R) image with consumers in a negative way. I also should have been more detailed in my post. I asked the representative to explain her question so I could answer it appropriately and she referred to the tax credits and stimulus package that is consumer and bank oriented. This confused me a bit further. The fact is that many consumers are not just blaming the banking industry for the current market. They are also blaming REALTORS (R). We walk a delicate line, and again, I think many of the issues go hand in hand.

  3. bryan says:

    IEEE is working in the best interests of an overall industry, thereby ensuring long term prosperity of the engineering population, not just lining their pockets.

    Jonathan wouldn’t be my real estate agent.

  4. Tim Johnson says:

    “This may boil down to semantics.” Yes, exactly, that’s why it’s so key for Realtor to work dilgently at repairing a public image that’s been pummeled the past two years.

  5. Tony Arko says:

    Amen Sarah. The message that comes out of NAR is so confusing that even their own lackeys can’t get it straight. They champion the interest deduction for homeowners and would empty their coffers to defend it but that is a homeowner benefit (for a lucky few able to take the full deduction). Then they give a half-hearted effort to get insurance for its members but get trounced by the insurance lobbyists every time. They ask about pro-REALTOR issues even though they don’t even know what those are (or don’t care).

    And then their own members want to compare them to the UAW, a fine group of individuals that have bankrupted Chrysler, almost bankrupted GM and still can’t figure out that they are killing the very companies they work for. But they do get health benefits and retirement benefits unlike NAR members.

    My advice is to ignore NAR. If our generation maintains indifference to their efforts and causes, one day there will be no one left on their committees, no one attending their events. I can only hope.

  6. I agree about ignoring NAR. While we’re at it, can we Californians ignore CAR, too?

  7. I don’t think we should ignore NAR just becuase they don’t always back our personal agendas. How will they know they are in conflict with you if you don’t tell them? As REALTORs we need to remember that the staff at NAR, and the leadership for that matter, aren’t on the streets hearing the consumer complain about the real estate industry. They also don’t necessarily see how some of their stances and policies negatively affect the practitioner. Ignoring may make you feel better on a daily basis, but it doesn’t bring about change. What if Paula Henry and Jay Thompson had remained silent regarding indexing IDX?

  8. Tony Arko says:

    The fact that they make unilateral decision on topics they know nothing about and only respond when their membership becomes enraged tells you everything you need to know about NAR. They did nothing regarding the indexing of IDX even after the case was made that it is good for the consumer and that is a slap in the face of Paula and Jay who took time out of their lives to educate them on a topic. NAR is a horrible organization and the day it is disbanded/replaced/destroyed/shut down will be a better day for consumers and real estate agents.

  9. Pingback: Single Agent Dual Agency - Do Consumers Care? | Real Central VA

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