By David Wluka
MAR Past President 2006
As I travel across the state this year representing you, I have been asked on occasion by local association leadership how to better get the message across as to the value of being a REALTOR®. This becomes a topic of conversation particularly around dues time. To those who are active at the state, local or national level, the question is self evident. We see and hear - we are touched - more often than our fellow REALTORS® who are not active so we know firsthand.
Our associations at all levels actively promote the consumer value of your REALTOR® status. NAR has spent millions successfully promoting REALTOR® value to the public. That helps our members’ public image, but we all need to do a better job of reminding ourselves about the value…the “What’s In It for Me”. If “membership has its benefits” to paraphrase the old American Express tag line, what are those benefits for us? In wrapping up my year as your President I would like to share with you what I have seen:
* But for the REALTOR® organization….we could have lost the Mortgage Interest Deduction this year…as proposed by the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. How would THAT have affected your career success and financial bottom line?
* But for the REALTOR® organization….the Small Business Health Care proposal would be stuck in limbo somewhere instead of a REAL possibility in Congress. It has been the REALTORS®, NOT the Retail Merchants or the Chambers or others which have rallied the cause….and taken it way beyond anyone thought it had a chance of going…including an unprecedented meeting with Senator Kennedy…and the finish line actually is in view. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone working hard for you for affordable comprehensive health coverage…especially here in Massachusetts? You do. Your REALTOR® Association.
* But for the REALTOR® organization….Federal Banks would be competing UNFAIRLY for your clients and customers, with all the competitive advantages of the Federal discount window while putting taxpayer dollars at risk. That finish line also may be just over the horizon. How would your corner national bank listing and selling property affect your ability to make a living?
* But for the REALTOR® organization…we would have transfer taxes all over Massachusetts. Instead, while so-called “Taxachusetts” may exist in other areas, it is NOT so regarding real estate transfers…chiefly because we continue to go to the mattresses whenever a proposal surfaces in our cities and towns. How would adding 2% or more to the purchase price of a house impact your sales?
* But for the REALTOR® organization…the media would continue to try to roll over our profession and the realities of the marketplace. Just compare the May 2006 Boston Magazine article about real estate (the one urging folks that now IS the time to buy) versus the one about four months ago when real estate professionals graphically were depicted as untrustworthy “wolves”. While many were upset, it was the REALTOR® organization which met with the Boston magazine editor…and then again with the Globe, the Herald and others. How could having someone else define who you are impact your ability to practice your profession? Big time!
* But for the REALTOR® organization….we’d all be fighting it out in court over disputed commissions and the like…instead of agreeing in advance to arbitration, mediation and the Code of Ethics.
* But for the REALTOR® organization…real estate would be run over by the “Not in my Backyard” anti-growth battle. Instead, our REALTOR® Association is a leader in Smart Growth and economic development…at all three levels of the organization. MAR not only has a seat at the table with Harvard University, the Federal Reserve Bank, Northeastern University, MIT and other housing supply advocates….in many cases, it is our table. How would the continued lack of affordable homes, the inability to build well designed and attractive housing, the loss of our service workers, first responders and professionals to other parts of the country impact your ability to make a living? As industries move out, who is going to buy our homes? Homes need jobs and jobs need homes. If you’re not thinking about it, your association is and doing something about it...right now!
*But for the REALTOR® organization…. there would be legislation in Massachusetts that would dictate how, when and even how much you get paid for your services. We’re already among the most regulated industries in the nation. Who’s advocating every day for your ability to be an entrepreneur, to work hard, work smart and get paid what you are due? Your REALTOR® association.
*But for the trusted information I receive from the REALTOR® organization, I would be much less knowledgeable about the profession and current real estate issues affecting my business…and much less valuable to my customers and clients.
There’s lots more but it all boils down to this. You are a member of a professional organization whose primary function is to protect your ability to practice your profession in an ethical and profitable manner. You also may belong to networks, franchises and other entities, but it is your REALTOR® membership which is the core of your profession. Tied into that is the protection of private property rights and the promotion of home ownership and sound economic development. Otherwise there will be nothing to sell. That’s what your REALTOR® membership is doing for you while you’re out there listing and selling. It’s the dedicated league of volunteer leaders and staff serving every day as your business advocate…and it’s your active participation in that league. That’s the value proposition. Look over your shoulder, your association is there watching out for you and YOU are part of it. I’m proud of the ‘R’ and what it stands for, not just in the public’s eye, but for me.
Thank you all for allowing me the honor and privilege of serving you as MAR President.
MAR Past President 2006