Wednesday
October 22, 2014

Veissi Looks Back on Big Year for REALTORS®

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Veissi Looks Back on Big Year for REALTORS®

In remarks at the NAR Board of Directors meeting Monday, Nov. 12, during the 2012 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, President Moe Veissi reflected on a year of great accomplishments for the association before officially passing the gavel to 2013 President Gary Thomas.

Highlights of the year included a rally of nearly 14,000 REALTORS® on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in May in support of home ownership and the passage of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act in July.

"You got a five-year flood insurance extension passed in an environment when no one would have bet a plugged nickel that you could do that," Veissi said. "That was enormous."

He said the long-term flood Insurance extension would benefit many of the millions of victims of the extensive destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeastern U.S. -- even if those victims never really understood exactly who was behind that benefit. 

Immediate Past President Ron Phipps said Veissi's character was a big driver of these achievements. "Great leaders lead with something very important: heart," he said. "This year, we had a lion-hearted leader." 

Veissi was quick to turn his attention back to his Leadership Team and the members of NAR.

"Every time I've asked you to do anything, whether it was asking you to connect with Congress or implement a new idea, you've done it," he said. "To you, I give you my very best for the years to come and appreciate so very much the opportunities you've afforded me to do in the past 12 months. God bless you."

Political Advocacy

Despite 2012 being another difficult year for real estate practitioners, participation and fund-raising records for REALTOR political advocacy programs were "shattered," Veissi said at the Board of Directors meeting.

He singled out the RPAC "fab five" -- REALTORS® Rhonda Tompers, Marbury Little, Cynthia Shelton, Mike Ford, and Daryl Braham -- for their efforts in helping raise approximately $7.2 million in 2012, an increase of 17 percent from last year. RPAC major investors and President's Circle donors each went up 35 percent. 

Additionally, initiatives to grow grassroots involvement saw major gains this year. For example, the Broker Involvement Program had risen to 11,490 participating organizations, representing more than 400,00 agents, by October 2012. 

"This was an extremely competitive year," said Ford, the chair of RPAC's Major Investor Council. "We asked you to step up to the plate, and you've done that at a time when you've worked extremely hard for every commission dollar."

Future Leadership

Thomas, a practitioner from Villa Park, Calif., was installed as 2013 president at an inauguration ceremony Nov. 8. In addition, Steve Brown of Dayton, Ohio, was installed as the association's president-elect and Chris Polychron of Hot Springs, Ark., moved into the first vice president role. Treasurer Bill Armstrong continues through 2013.

At the board of directors meeting, the NAR Nominating Committee announced its recommended slate of officers for 2014: They include Brown for president; Polychron for president-elect; Tom Salomone of Coral Springs, Fla., for first vice president; and Mike McGrew of Lawrence, Kan., for Treasurer. Former NAR Treasurer Jim Helsel of Camp Hill, Pa., is also running for first-vice president in 2014, and the Nominating Committee announced Helsel was found qualified to serve. Elections will take place in May, and the vote will decide who serves as 2016 NAR president.

Online Resources

Representatives of the REALTORS Property Resource® and REALTOR.com gave updates on their respective platforms at the Board of Directors meeting. Dale Ross, RPR CEO, discussed the recent all-member launch of the database. He emphasized that RPR is not intended to be a national multiple listing service, but rather seeks to partner with MLSs to ensure REALTORS® get the full benefit of the system.

"We add value to the MLS," he explained. "This is a system that [REALTORS®] can utilize to show buyers and sellers they have a best-in-class way to show [property] value."

Errol Samuelson, president of REALTOR.com, focused on the site's continued push into the mobile and social media spaces. Also, in a Move Inc. update, NAR Past President Cathy Whatley emphasized the timeliness and accuracy of the property information on REALTOR.com in relation to competitors such as Zillow and Trulia. 

"REALTORS® are the most comprehensive, accurate voice about real estate," she said. "I'm not afraid to compete. I'm proud of REALTOR.com, and I want to continue to make sure we can compete in the online space."

-- Brian Summerfield, REALTOR® Magazine