May 21, 2018

NAR Set to Vote on Core Organizational Standards

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NAR Set to Vote on Core Organizational Standards

REALTOR® leaders meeting in Washington, D.C., this week are poised to vote on a proposed set of core standards—not for themselves but for the state, local, and territorial associations that operate on their behalf.

Update: NAR approved the new standards. Get all the news that came out of the Board of Directors' meeting May 17.

The standards are meant to ensure that REALTORS® get a solid value proposition for their dues dollar. Today, there are 1,400 REALTOR® associations operating in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  Under the proposal, every association would need to maintain standards in the following areas:

  • Code of Ethics. Local associations would be expected to have a viable professional standards process for enforcing disputes.
  • Advocacy. Local associations would be expected to strive for RPAC “fair share” contributions through dues billing or other means and to participate in state Calls for Action.
  • Consumer Outreach. Associations would be asked to demonstrate their role as the Voice for Real Estate® in their communities through plans to share market data with the public, issue press releases, or sponsor community-building activities.
  • Unification and Support of the REALTOR® Organization.  Associations would need to adopt a business or strategic plan with an advocacy component; maintain corporate documents, policies, and procedures; and enforce dues billing.
  • Technology.  Every association would need the ability to communicate using contemporary electronic resources, including a website with links to the other levels of the REALTOR® organization.
  • Financial Solvency.  An annual review or audit by a certified public accountant would be expected to ensure each association’s financial health.

NAR’s Board of Directors will vote on the proposal at its May 17 meeting. The directors’ meeting caps off the REALTOR® Party Convention and Trade Expo, where 8,500 REALTORS® have gathered to discuss key issues with legislators and congressional staff. If the proposal is accepted by the board, all associations must demonstrate their compliance by June 30, 2015, or be subject to the revocation of their charter.

Both the core standards and the means to enforce them were developed by a presidential advisory group convened by National Association of REALTORS® President Steve Brown.

“This is an issue of professionalism in our industry,” said Andrea Bushnell, executive vice president for the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, who chaired the advisory group. It is not, however, an issue of size, said Bushnell, echoing assurances that Brown and NAR CEO Dale Stinton have made amid speculation of upcoming consolidation.

According to NAR, roughly 1,100 local associations have fewer than 300 members. At a meeting of association executives in Baltimore in March, Stinton predicted many small associations would have no difficulty meeting the standards. For those that do, some would likely find their best option is to consolidate with another association. Under the plan, NAR would help fund compliance in the first year and provide support, if needed, for consolidation.

The organization’s long-term survival as a trade association and advocate for its members and the industry depends on maintaining and strengthening the so called three-way agreement, by which members join the local, state, and national association, said the advisory board proposal. “We want to ensure unity within—and the long-term viability of— the 100-year-old REALTOR® organization,” Bushnell said in a presentation to state presidents in April. “All three levels of the organization must thrive together as a true and strong association, rather than acting as group of independent but federated organizations.”

—By Wendy Cole, REALTOR® Magazine