THE NEW THIRD RAIL
I Bill Malkasian Vice President of Political Strategic Planning, NAR
Chief Operating Officer & In-house Legal Counsel, Cape Fear REALTORS®
6 INSIGHT • May 2017
t’s been a bumpy ride since the NAR Express switched us onto a new track in 2010. Dues increased, available tools expanded, and for those unwilling to partake, core rules were later adopted to force the entire organization into step with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Along the way, a third rail arose that may have gone unnoticed to many. The Association exists to maintain the agent at the center of the transaction and to be the "voice for real estate." We have been riding those two well-worn rails for over 100 years. The Association’s DNA changed in 2010 when NAR pivoted away from being a trade association to becoming an advocacy organization.
BY BILL MALKASIAN AND SHANE JOHNSON
Did you notice a hitch or a bump or two along the way? Have you noticed that the load has shifted from services to community-action based efforts? That’s the new, third rail: engagement in the community conversation. This new core value will build a new brand of relevance for local associations so members understand the importance of membership as the golden MLS handcuffs fade with technology innovation. The Association is committed to defending property rights, homeowner interests, quality of life and economic development. As the largest professional association in many parts of the country, the Association has a duty to engage on behalf of its 1
million-plus members, which includes thousands of small businesses and corporations. The NAR Board of Directors, in fact, has adopted as part of the Association’s Preamble to the Code of Ethics the requirement to engage in “the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms and the preservation of a healthful environment,” along with the Golden Rule. “As an advocacy organization, REALTORS® at all levels should show that they are invested in the community through acts of goodwill, while actively engaging in the community conversation,” said Walt Witek, NAR Senior Vice President, Community & Political Affairs Division. “In doing so, the Association is able to effectively influence the rules and decisions that directly impact the community.” For these reasons, like national, each state and local association should have a robust governmental and community affairs program, even going beyond Core Standards. This is important because real estate is the most regulated industry in America. Banking, for example, is regulated at the federal level, whereas real estate is regulated at local, state and federal levels. Action in the community, whether through a community action day or testifying at a town council meeting is