This is for all Virginia Realtors® from your fellow member Forrest Odend’hal of the Prince William Association of REALTORS®:

My fellow REALTORS®,

How do we know when it is time to take action? We certainly know in our transactions when we need to take specific tasks to keep a deal on track or when to make a call to request information. How do we know when it is time to take action in our industry, in our profession, or in our livelihood?

I believe the time to take action is now! And I ask myself if not me than who? Who do my clients expect to stand up for them and their rights and privileges of home ownership? If I am truly their champion, the answer is clear. There are so many of you that share my beliefs both with the passion for our industry and your clients. Please stand with me when it matters most, as we share in the moment, side by side in our Nation’s capital with one unified voice.

We love our profession because we are blessed, each day, to assist our family, friends, neighbors and all Virginians in buying and selling real property – in finding their homes for their family or business. We are being trusted to represent them in what will most likely be the most significant investment of their lives. When we meet with our clients to assist in selling their homes, we learn more often than not that the totality of their net worth is the equity that they have in the very home that we assisted them in purchasing only a few years before. By this time, they are immensely aware of the advantages of home ownership, in the pride of community filled with friends, neighbors, schoolmates, team mates, social clubs, events and all the memories in their home with family and friends each passing year. They are also aware of the huge benefit of the mortgage interest deduction, the secondary mortgage market which allowed them to purchase with little money down, their closing costs being paid by the seller, and the tax break they enjoy at the end of each year when preparing their income tax return. Our clients trust us. When it comes to real estate, we are the ones they call. They share their satisfaction with their friends and family as they send anyone, everyone even uttering the words real estate, our way to receive the same great service.  We give advice that they have come to count on.

I am now loving my twenty-third year in our great industry. It is only because of all who have trusted me with their real estate that I have enjoyed success and been able to provide my family with a respectable quality of life. For this I am honored and grateful. The trust that has been placed in me comes with a great deal of responsibility. I know that serving clients for life comes with the commitment of being their realtor for life. My clients expect my best and trust that I am looking out for their best interest and the very rights and privileges that I sold them with their property. So I fight the fight. I keep myself informed of the threats to our industry and to property ownership rights. When the opportunity presents itself, I take action. It takes time, it takes energy, and it does not come with a paycheck. Yet, I assure you – it is worth it! My clients expect no less from me, and they know I have their back.

Now, my friends, is the time! The opportunity is the NAR Realtor® Rally in Washington D.C. on May 17th.

This nationwide rally will bring REALTORS® to the Mall and Capitol area from staging points throughout the United States. Once there, we will have the attention of the press and elected officials as we join with one unified voice making it clear that we will not stand for the dilution of the rights and privileges of property ownership. We will make it clear that our industry will not stand for this fundamental right to be questioned, minimized or used as political posturing.

I am not asking for money, and I am not asking you to invest anything other than your time. Join me in making a difference for ourselves, for each other, for our colleagues, for our clients, for our community.

-Forrest Odend’hal
2011 President, Prince William Association of REALTORS®