Does a real estate agent really need to be a REALTOR?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Catarra Real Estate, Inc CA BRE #01191946
http://actvra.in/XTW

We're about to lose a lot of our colleagues next month.  The annual renewal of local association dues is coming up for many agents.  Many associations will lose members who can't afford the cost of renewing - typically several hundred dollars in many places (over $700 for my association).  The membership includes many so-called "member benefits" including forms, business discounts, and political advocacy.  If they stay in business, is it necessary for them to be REALTORS?

In the State of California there are a large number of agents who opt not to be REALTORS.  I'll bet there are agents in other states too.  They get their brokers license, set up an office, get E&O insurance, and...they do just fine.  Their clients like them, they work ethically, and they do a good job of buying and selling homes.

Does that agent really need to be a REALTOR to do a good job?  This is just a theoretical question, not a justification for the expenses of organized real estate.  The cost of doing business is fairly high across the board.  When you consider the cost of being a REALTOR, getting MLS access, paying a desk fee, and then account for commission splits, it's really expensive to be an agent and also a REALTOR.  A smart business decision could be to simply not become or stay a REALTOR.  So, what's the difference?  Many of us talk about what makes being a REALTOR great and some of those aspects include:

ETHICS:  Often the defining difference is that a REALTOR would follow the Code of Ethics while a plain agent isn't required to.  However, I know of many agents who are REALTORS who violate the COE constantly in the name of doing business. Conversely, I know a few non-REALTORS who are very ethical and follow the COE anyway.  Is membership required to be an ethical agent?

LOCAL BOARDS:  Our local board has meetings where agents can network and present properties.  If they're not REALTORS, they can't have that engagement.  Is it necessary?  I dont' know.

SOFTWARE:  As far as I know, you can't get ZipForms without being a member.  In today's world of paperless offices, that's a major difference.  Is it important?  If you're only doing 1-4 transactions a year, it's cheaper to buy paper forms.

This is a philosophical debate.  I'm not, repeat NOT, advocating one way or another.  I'm a REALTOR and plan to remain one.  I'm just asking people to think about what happens when our colleagues drop off the membership rolls, are they really any different.  Can agents do just fine without being members?

 

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Show All Comments
Ambassador
627,242
Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties Realty - Pineville, LA
Your Pineville Louisiana Agent

In order to be a member of the MLS we are forced to pay Realtor dues. Nothing like a monopoly to "encourage" membership...

December 30, 2011 12:08 PM #1
Ambassador
1,655,161
Richard Weisser
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale

Bryan...

I would add "political action" which is one of the most important reasons to be a dues paying member.

Featured in the Group "Whacked!!!"

December 30, 2011 12:11 PM #2
Rainmaker
822,802
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 www.SpaceCoastHomesNow.com
Fontaine Property Group - Melbourne, FL
Your Space Coast Real Estate Expert!

Good post and really good distinction between a real estate agent and a Realtor...thanks Bryan

December 30, 2011 12:13 PM #3
Rainmaker
281,216
Melanie Ross
Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific - Benicia, CA
Benicia CA & Vallejo CA Real Estate, 707-319-2828

Bryan, In our office we often talk about this.  Bottom line I will always pay my dues and am proud to use the REALTOR behind my name.  It is part of doing business and I feel shows to others my commitment to be the best that I can be.  I am not sure if there is any profession out there that does not have some affiliation with like people. 

December 30, 2011 12:46 PM #4
Rainmaker
172,898
Ken Brandon
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage (Jacksonville, NC) - Jacksonville, NC
Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, NC

I think someone can do well at this job as a real estate professional whether they are a REALTOR or not. I have seen many examples that support this. I know people talk about the ethics portion...but to be perfectly honest...I operate my business with the highest degree of integrity anyway...I don't need the "ethics" to make me act right. (though it may be more significant in the minds of the consumers.) The political aspects of the association are extremely important...even though we may not see all of the results of their efforts. Like you, I am a REALTOR and plan on staying one.

December 30, 2011 12:56 PM #5
Rainmaker
887,799
Jane Peters
Power Brokers Int'l - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate scene

I don't use all the benefits but being without ZipForms, and consequently DocuSign would be like being without an arm.  

December 30, 2011 12:58 PM #6
Ambassador
1,148,351
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Bryan - I think it comes down to practicalities - we can't be members of our MLS without belonging to our local board, which requires us to belong to the state and national boards as well. So there's no real choice, but I feel like I'm taking a significant amount of money every year and flushing it down the toilet - I don't think NAR is really serving my interests, ditto state and local boards, COE enforcement is a joke, and half the time I think the industry is lobbying for the wrong side.

December 30, 2011 01:15 PM #7
Rainmaker
537,807
Cynthia Larsen
Safe Haven Realty - Cotati, CA
Sonoma County Real Estate Broker

Being a REALTOR® doesn't have any effect on how I do my job. As far as I'm concerned, the difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent is about $600 a year.

December 30, 2011 01:15 PM #8
Ambassador
1,088,741
Bryan Robertson
Catarra Real Estate, Inc - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

Doug - Around here, you don't have to be a REALTOR to have MLS access.  It's unfortunate that you're forced to do that.

Richard - Thanks for the feature!  Yes, political action is a major part of what NAR and the state/local associations spend our money on.  Some of it I agree with, some not.

Jeffrey - Thanks!

Melanie - That's true, there's a trade organization for nearly everything.  Which is fine.  Our trade associations have pros and cons.  It's just interesting to see what difference, if any, people see between members and non-members.

Ken - Thanks for understanding what I'm trying to point out in this discussion - lots of good agents, dont' have to be REALTORS, but nice if they area.

Jane - Yeah, I can't imagine not having Zipforms.

Dick - I dont' like the fact that you have not choice to access the MLS without being a REALTOR. 

Cynthia - For many agents, that's about right.  Being good have little do with having the REALTOR label.

December 30, 2011 01:42 PM #9
Ambassador
801,533
Fred Griffin Licensed Real Estate Broker
Frederick Griffin, Licensed Real Estate Broker - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Florida. Call 850-339-4861

Ethics -  NAR Lies about Housing Sales Reports; the Falsified Sales Data from NAR made national news this month.   I don't need a "Code of Ethics" from a  Trade Union that has no Ethics.

 

Local Boards - we have a great Local Board.  I wish I could join the Local and State without joining NAR, but the Local Board forces you to join NAR.

 

Software:  Nobody can match the Florida Association of Realtors online forms. A "must have" for Real Estate Business.

 

  I would add to the List:  

   GE Supra eKey and MLS

     I need both, however they are both Monopolized by the Local Board.

 

 

December 30, 2011 02:10 PM #10
Ambassador
293,451
Linda K. Mayer
License # 01767321 - La Verne, CA
Realtor, SRES, SoCAL, A REALTOR YOU CAN TRUST

Bryan, that's an interesting question.  I mean, some offices are dropping their franchises due to crazy fees and going solo.  Shouldn't an agent have the same courteousy?  And there are unethical people in every business, whether they have a code of ethics or not - that is simply a person to person thing.

December 30, 2011 02:14 PM #11
Ambassador
987,136
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

I know many "real estate agents" who are excellent at what they do, and highly ethical... and I also know "Realtors®" who are a total waste of skin.

No, you need not be a Realtor® in order to represent your client well.

(full disclosure:  I am a Realtor®)

December 30, 2011 02:17 PM #12
Rainmaker
645,176
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

This is a very interesting topic and question! As you stated, many Realtor's violate the code and many non-Realtors strictly follow it. The cost as you said is very high in many parts of the country and the economic times are forcing people out! Great question to ponder!

 

KW

December 30, 2011 02:18 PM #13
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

If only for the forms, I will remain a Realtor. 

December 30, 2011 02:26 PM #14
Rainmaker
506,898
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

Bryan....great debate.  I am a Realtor® as well, mainly because of the perception that Realtors® are bound by the COE, which I would follow anyway.  But NAR has done a good job of convincing people that they should hire an agent who is also a Realtor®.  So like many of us I suspect, I am a Realtor® because I feel I have to be.

December 30, 2011 02:27 PM #15
Rainer
90,309
Maya Swamy
Funds Available - Long Beach, CA
Ph.D. Long Beach, CA - fundsavailable.com

I belong primarily for Winforms and docusign. Nothing else they charge me for is worth it. If anyone knows a work around those issues I wouldn't renew. In California of course you can join the MLS without the board.

December 30, 2011 02:30 PM #16
Rainer
12,315
Bryan Stephens
Renown Realty and Property Management - La Sierra, CA
Looking for Homes in the IE Call Today - Inland Em

There is a lot of costs in doing business as a real estate professional.  Being a Realtor is just another cost.  If you are only doing 1 - 4 transactions a year then this is more a hobby than a career.  The cost is also tax deductible as it is a cost of doing business.  As for the benefits to us, well you can see from most the only thing we gain are tools of the trade and which are more state and local than National.  But as well all know it seems that vendors and NAR see real estate agents as making such huge commissions per deal that they should stick it to us with high costs because after all we are all so rich we can afford it (sarcasm intended).

December 30, 2011 02:31 PM #17
Rainer
277,179
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties

Brian -- as a Licensed Mortgage Loan Officer -- you have raised some excellent points about what it means to belong to the professional organization of your business.  I agree with you about the fact that people should not be forced/coerced into belonging to the organization.  In my mind, if you have to coerce them to join, there must be something wrong with the organization.

December 30, 2011 02:36 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,363,614
Andrew Mooers
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

The legal hot line for procedures to avoid mishandling a new situation is worth the price of admission to wearing the "R", the hardest working letter in the alphabet. Networking with thousands of others in the group and being active in state, local boards is the key. If you don't take advantage of the education, etc. you get what you put in. The renewal of real estate license continuing education is cheaper as a member and the perks far out weight the cost. Zip forms, procedures, mls, and a voice in Washington, at the state level make it a good deal. Not a franchise network, with the REALTOR group you have a connection to promote, tap in to.

December 30, 2011 02:36 PM #19
Rainmaker
509,509
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC

In Manhattan (NYC) NAR has very little presence less than 10% of the market. The major brokerages here do not belong to NAR a national trade association located in Chicago Second City. We have our own very powerful 110 year old real estate board (REBNY - Real Estate Board of New York) REBNY is not affiliated with any other trade association and it is not a REALTOR organization. REBNY has it's own mission and it is all about real estate and economics in New York. My membership is in the residential brokerage division but REBNY membership includes the entire real estate industry in NY. All the "movers and shakers" are members.

NAR does not have a monopoly here nor do their members have any more or less ethics than any other real estate agent or broker.

I'm proud to be a REBNY member.

December 30, 2011 02:38 PM #20
Rainer
157,536
Anthony Daniels
Coldwell Banker - San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area REO Specialist

In my opinion, the often mispronounced term "REALTOR" versus "REALITOR", is just another source of revenue for NAR.

Good post, thanks for sharing it.

December 30, 2011 02:41 PM #21
Rainer
99,299
Dave Leiderman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Ocean City, MD
ABR, SFR - Realtor - DE & MD Beaches

Great post Bryan.  I think I'm with Dick on this one.  COE enforcement is a joke.  There is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy in this business.  I'd rather we not have mandatory ethics classes and more (actual) COE enforcement!  But I digress.....I don't think you need to be a Realtor to be successful, ethical or anything else.  The difference is your affordability/spending and what you get from it.  In 14 years I have yet to see a single direct benefit from being a Realtor.  That said, like you, I plan on remaining one in part because my broker is a member and in part because the MLS requires it.  Very thought provoking post.  Well done!

December 30, 2011 02:42 PM #22
Ambassador
771,347
Robert & Lisa Hammerstein
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Bryan - We are Realtors®and will always be Realtors®.... That being said I find this a very interesting conversation. Will be interested to see what everyone has to chime in with. Wishing you a very Happy New Year from NJ

December 30, 2011 02:43 PM #23
Ambassador
942,463
Amanda and Jared Christiansen, YOUR Fort Wayne Realtors
Century 21 Bradley (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Century 21 Bradley.

Good stuff Bryan, thanks for pointing out the difference.                                             

December 30, 2011 02:50 PM #24
Rainmaker
811,683
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Homes

Good post. I asked my owners if I could opt out of being a realtor because it is of no benefit to me & it's just too costly. Aside from spending my money like it was free is a different topic.  I will abide by the code of ethics which is all that we can hope for in our day to day dealings right? My company says we must remain members for arbitration on commissions. I disagree as that is a pre-suit that anyone can opt in for whether members or not. You elect to arbitrate which is even on our contracts.

The board is not proving value to it's membership or people across the country wouldn't be leaving in droves. As far as board forms - get Adobe Acrobat for a couple hundred bucks & it's cheaper than dues & your problem is solved. That's a ridiculous reason for membership - I get 'forms'.  I'm sure you can get a friend to give them to you? Hey, retype them in Word for c'sakes.

Richard - come off the RPAC is so worthwhile! Give money to the dems or repubs & not have some drone on a national level do it for you.

 

December 30, 2011 03:06 PM #25
Rainmaker
313,743
Michael Russell
Keller Williams Realty Partners, Inc. - Overland Park, KS
Overland Park Kansas Real Estate

I will tell you that I would pay NAR twice as much as I already do, if they would increase the educational standard for Realtors. This would eliminate the part time and major underacheivers who need to leave the business.

December 30, 2011 03:10 PM #26
Ambassador
1,427,777
Anna Banana Kruchten
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Real Estate Agent, CRB, CRS 602-380-4886

We are Realtors® and proud to be so.  Does an agent need to be in order to conduct a well run and ethical business? No. I do appreciate all that our board offers - which by far is one of the best around. 


Featured in BananaTude


December 30, 2011 03:11 PM #27
Ambassador
1,088,741
Bryan Robertson
Catarra Real Estate, Inc - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

Fred - Yes, the issue of ethics by NAR and others within organized real estate is a difficult one to reconcile.  The nature of being a REALTOR is because the license for the membership comes from NAR as licensed locally.  As far as I can tell, there's no way to be a local member without being a national member.  And yes, I'm not a fan of the MLS monopoly.

Linda - I've heard about offices dropping their membership due to costs.  Check out Christine's point below - NAR has convinced the public that working with a REALTOR is better than just working with a plain agent.  True or not, that could be a mitigating factor for a broker or agent.

Alan - That seems to be the general trend in the feedback.  Although being a REALTOR does have its perks.

KW - And we've got a great dialog going abou it.

Aimee - Yeah, I'd have a hard time living without the forms.

Christine - That's a good point.  The NAR PR campaign showing REALTORS as better than other agents does impact how the public perceives us.

Maya - I've looked into just getting forms and it doesn't appear possible.  And yes, it's nice we have MLS access in California without being members.

Bryan - I got the sarcasm and I'm with you 100%.  The agents doing 1-4 transactions a year are, typically, doing this more as a hobby.  But, we all hit hard times and perhaps a few just hit a rough patch.

Steven - Good point.  One form of that is requiring membership to obtain MLS access.  That seems like something of a restraint of trade.  We have no such limitation in California.

Andrew - Those are all good advantages.  Personally, I see access to others and networking as a major benefit.  The legal support is a nice option but I also have that with my company.  Good points.

Mitchell - I didn't know that and I really appreciate the insight.  That alone makes this discussion worthy.  Knowing that a major trade group like that exists, isn't a NAR associate, and has a large number of great members is good to know.

Anthony - I'd be happy if the fees were less or that I had the option to get things a-la-carte.

Dave - Thanks for the compliment.  Yes, I'll remain a member for all the reasons you say.  This has turned out to be an interesting discussion about what the real value is.

Robert & Lisa - It seems in general most folks don't see much difference in being a REALTOR but there are some benefits.  Biggest hot buttons seem to be cost and the MLS monopoly.

Jared - Thanks!

Lyn - We have agents in our area who get copies of forms and use them.  Our board gets furious about that but they seldom have much recourse.  Personally, I'd rather get what I need at a lower cost.  I'd like ZipForms and MLS access.  I don't need the rest.  Unfortunately, I can't do that.

December 30, 2011 03:11 PM #28
Rainmaker
895,352
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

Bryan,

in Ontario, it is very much the same, however the Act contains a Code of Ethics too, some ethical distinctions really don't apply here.

The key difference is access to MLS.

Without that, it is very difficult to function.

Brian

December 30, 2011 03:13 PM #29
Rainer
23,470
Adrian Kindred
Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Phoenix, AZ

Wow, what an interesting topic. I like the fact you brought this up, it gives Realtors(R) food for thought. I plan on remaining a Realtor(R), for all the pluses and minuses it entails. 

December 30, 2011 03:16 PM #30
Rainer
78,108
Chris Lewis
Gracious Living Realty - Front Royal, VA
Front Royal VA Home Sales

It is absolutely not necessary to be a REALTOR® in order to work ethically and professionally.  In Virginia it is not necessary to be able to access the MLS, but the quarterly subscription is higher (but still less than the combination of board fees plus MLS dues).

December 30, 2011 03:16 PM #31
Rainmaker
255,314
Mike & Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Windermere, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

First of all if anyone thinks that you must be a REALTOR to get MLS, you are wrong.

Many years ago there was a lawsuit in Georgia, over the very same thing...."tying" something needed for business survival,  like MLS, to a membership to something else.  Out of that suit came "Thompson Brokers" for the agent named "thompson" that sued.  "Thompson brokers are not members of anything other than MLS"

At one time, I became disgusted with the lack of ethics enforcement in South Florida and my whole office quit the board, FAR and NAR and just joined MLS as "thompson brokers".  Our dues for MLS at the time was about $220 a year. 

While no one can force you to join the board, the state association or national association, what they can do is JACK THE PRICE OF MLS TO BE EQUILEVENT TO THE SAME DUES AS IF YOU WERE A MEMBER PAYING FOR ALL OF IT.

I have NEVER used the word Realtor, with or without the R behind my name or in describing myself (yes, I am one) and in 20 years I have never had one consumer ask me if I were a realtor...in fact, I have gotten some buyers because they thought that a Buyers Broker was NOT a realtor.

Eve in Orlando

 

December 30, 2011 03:19 PM #32
Rainmaker
111,122
Jerry Morse
The Morse Company - Janesville, WI
BBA,GRI

I guess I learned something; that you can join MLS without being a Realtor!

December 30, 2011 03:35 PM #33
Rainmaker
496,139
Cal Yoder
Keller Williams of Central PA East - Lititz, PA
Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744

Like many others, we need to belong to NAR in order to have access to our local MLS. No, from a philosophical point of view, one does not need to belong to NAR to be a good real estate agent or ethical. However, the benefits and dues far outweigh every person for himself or herself. Without a code of ethics somewhere, and no centralized organization creating one, how would we know what is ethical as independent agents? In other words, if NAR just left the face of the earth and there was no code of ethics which NAR created, what would define that code? Somewhere there does need to be a centralizing force, IMHO.

Cal

December 30, 2011 03:39 PM #34
Rainmaker
237,324
Roger Johnson
CENTURY 21 American Homes - Hickory, NC
Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate

As many have already said, Bryan, in lots of areas, being a Realtor is NOT a choice, it's a requirement.  They have created a monopoly in the area and the only way to do business is by becoming a Realtor.  The only way NOT to be one here is to find a real estate company that isn't already a member (good luck) and sign on with them (OR you could simply start your own office, I guess).  Problem there is a) you have no access to property info (at least no more than the average customer has) and b) you have no other agents that will deal with you because you aren't a member of the local MLS and therefore, barely more than a FSBO).

 

December 30, 2011 03:40 PM #35
Rainmaker
170,644
Dale Samples
304.741.4705 • www.dalesamples.com - Charleston, WV
REALTOR -Homes for Sale Charleston, West Virgini

Same goes for my board, I am required to be a REALTOR for access to the MLS.

 

December 30, 2011 03:46 PM #36
Rainmaker
1,086,506
Bryant Tutas
Bryant Tutas-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc - Poinciana, FL
Broker/REALTOR, Tutas Towne Realty, Inc

I guess it depends on how you have your buisness set up. I don't think the consumer cares one way or the other as long as you get the job done. In my MLS you can get partial membership without being a Realtor(R). You can input listings but I don't think you have complete access to sold data.

I'm not a big fan of NAR but am a big fan of FAR (Florida). The benfits and tools I get as part of membership are very good and would cost me far more than the $535 I paid this year for my annual dues.

So you do have to be a Realtor to be successful at real estate. But I do believe it helps. 

December 30, 2011 03:47 PM #37
Rainmaker
438,898
E.J. "Mike" Carlier
CENTURY 21 MarketLink Realty - Lakeville, MN
Lakeville MN

It seems that there are many real estate professionals who feel that NAR is not giving decent value for its price.  Professional organizations exist to establish and enforce professional standards of their members, and to promote their professional image and reputation.  I feel that the NAR is doing neither adequately. 

The only reason the association is able to get away with overcharging for underdelivery is that there is no organized opposition.  It's time for a grass roots watchdog group to pressure the association to perform up to the standards we deserve.  Who's in?

December 30, 2011 03:57 PM #38
Rainmaker
311,666
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

Only because our local board says we can't be MLS members w/o joining all the way up through NAR. Otherwise we wouldn't. To say that because an agent belongs they will do better is nonsense. No one holds any of us to "a higher standard". No one checks or, really, cares.

December 30, 2011 04:00 PM #39
Rainmaker
650,960
Evelyn Kennedy
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Bryan:

I am a Realtor and will remain one without qualification.  It is primarily because of the Code of Ethics and the forms.   I know that there are agents who have very high ethics and there are Realtors who have no ethics but the code is an insurance policy for me and my clients that Realtors will do the right and ethical thing. 

December 30, 2011 04:11 PM #40
Rainmaker
1,267,262
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
BuyersAgentPortland.com | (503) 810-7192 Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% o... - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

The situation here in Portland is similiar to Doug's #1 comment.  I've always thought it odd that as a business owner (an LLC), and a state licensed Principal Broker, I can't do my job in my real estate practice unless I'm a "member" of NAR via the membership rules of the RMLS. I pay over $1,700 in dues to the RMLS/year.  I pay about $500/year to NAR AND I have to pay for online ZIP forms (annual fee).  For the CONVENIENCE of showings (the Supra Keypad) and accessing the RMLS I am a Realtor(r).   The alternative, save $2,300/year and search listings on REDSPIN or ZILLOW for my clients, then call the listing agent to open the door for me to show . . . LOL.  Yup it's the cost of doing business. 

December 30, 2011 04:12 PM #41
Ambassador
2,360,950
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

For many, opting out of the NAR and locals is because of the fees. 

However, I'm not sure they save anything.  E&O is much more expensive for a non-realtor.

Also, the cost of CE, which is required to license renewal costs more for non-realtors.  Same with forms, etc.  Licensees can join our MLS without Realtor membership, but the fee is higher. 

I'm not sure they really save anyting.

In past years, I would have said that national dues are worth it because of the PAC.  HA!  Considering the events in Congress in the past several years, I don't see where they're doing anyting.  Our state PAC published a report of their successes in the past year and sadly, I disagreed with about half the politicians they supported.

I'll pay my dues but not contribute to the PACs any longer.

December 30, 2011 04:36 PM #42
Rainmaker
217,753
Chris Sloan
Group 1 Real Estate - Tooele, UT
Tooele Utah Real Estate

Guess I'll be in the minority. I've had the opportunity to serve as local Board and State President, as well as currently serving on the National BOD. Do I like everything that NAR does? Far from it. However, if all I get out of them is saving the MID, I win. At the State level, we've held off attempts to impose transfer fees and professional tax on services for the last decade in Utah. That alone justifies my membership, as I can pay my dues with the savings from 1 transaction if we had either of those fees. 

The original question was whether you need to be a Realtor to be an effective agent. Of course you don't. Ethical people will still be ethical. Unethical ones will still be unethical. However, if NAR or your State Associations went away, being an effective agent would likely become much more difficult, just from a regulatory standpoint. I think I'll continue to be a member, thanks.

December 30, 2011 04:39 PM #43
Rainmaker
1,049,597
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

An interesting discussion.  I think if one want to work with a firm, then being a Realtor is a necessity.  NAR has also made the public aware of the code of ethics, so there is some recognition by the public.  As for the pacs I'm with # 42.

December 30, 2011 04:42 PM #44
Ambassador
709,247
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Dyersburg Tn Real Estate

Bryan, I am losing one agent who is making that jump. Personally I choose to remain a Realtor.

Congrats on the feature and the thought provoking post.

December 30, 2011 04:45 PM #45
Ambassador
2,360,950
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland
From the membership counts on Realtor.org, it appears that California is loding about 5,000 member a year. http://www.realtor.org/wps/wcm/connect/550c63804891c54db639fe0c8bc1f2ed/MembershipCountbyState-Historicalyearend.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=550c63804891c54db639fe0c8bc1f2ed
December 30, 2011 04:50 PM #46
Rainer
39,995
Allen Deaver
Sky Realty - Kyle, TX
Allen Deaver

Like it or not most Boards require agents/brokers to be a member of NAR. For us dues are just part of doing business. Prior to becoming a REALTOR I was a Union Electrician and had to pay dues to the local IBEW. NAR declares they are looking out for our best interest and they may be. But I choose to be in the real estate business so unless I decide to go back to turning wrenches I will keep paying my dues.

December 30, 2011 04:57 PM #47
Rainmaker
190,139
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ

It's just a trade organization for the broker paid for by the agents. I belong because I want to work local and need access to the MLS.

 

BTW - there are more disparaging blogs written by Realtors about those "unethical" Realtors on Active Rain than just about any other subject. Things that make you go Hmmmmm............................

December 30, 2011 05:04 PM #48
Rainmaker
668,793
Pamela Seley, REALTOR®
REALTY EXECUTIVES OTF - Temecula, CA
Menifee Lakes California Real Estate

Bryan, great post and hot topic. Maybe your post is intended for brokers only, but as I am an agent I have to follow my broker. My office is a member of our local board and so I am too. Some may laugh at this, but I am proud to be a REALTOR®. I've earned it, not because I pay big bucks every year for my membership, but from the time I've put in going to orientation, ethics and other seminars/workshops at my local board. 

CAR is the greatest thing since sliced bread (I mean that). I couldn't do business without the CAR forms, which are updated on a fairly regular basis. I don't understand how a non-member could keep up. Not only is it frowned upon to use another member's forms, I've seen offers rejected because of it. How would that be to the buyer client? Not too good.

Second, I have used the CAR Legal Hotline on numerous occasions to get answers to my questions and/or concerns. That service is provided because I am a member.

Without access to the MLS I wouldn't be able to market my listings to other brokers/agents. That's how I sell my listings. Although I am disappointed that NAR got the numbers wrong, I will give the benefit of the doubt that there was a problem getting the correct information from all the MLS groups across the country. That could be a local board problem? 

As far as ethics goes, it's true that non-member can be more ethical and vice versa. But, not having the COE, IMO, may encourage the more unscrupulous to be more unscrupulous. At least the existence of COE is a constant reminder. 

December 30, 2011 05:21 PM #49
Rainer
45,860
Christian Bastian
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Sayville, NY
Christian Bastian - Douglas Elliman Real Estate

With or without NAR, I would still conduct my business in the same ethical and professional manner. What I believe NAR can do a better job at in marketing us as professionals is to step away from that business suit and perfect hair look that pervades many of the TV ads, and let our clients and customers know the diversity of people and talents that we embody.

December 30, 2011 05:39 PM #50
Rainmaker
540,930
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

I'm a Realtor® and have no plans on ever Not being one. I don't think you have access to our MLS if your just a "regular" agent though. That could make things quite tough.

December 30, 2011 05:45 PM #51
Rainmaker
1,070,066
Ginny Gorman
Phillips Post Road Realty ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Bryan, this is a great post on that dilemma and issue...personally I respect that I abide by the COE and am expected to for my clients...money doesn't buy that does it?

December 30, 2011 06:11 PM #52
Ambassador
1,231,651
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

I'm with you. I personally think the COE should be how we all do business, not just because we are "realtors". I have run other businesses and a COE espoused by a trade group doesn't make me any more or less ethical.


In our area we have to be a member of the loca and state and NAR to have access to our MLS. If we didn't have to join I personally would not. I don't need them to do business. I just need access to the MLS.

 

December 30, 2011 06:18 PM #53
Rainmaker
563,333
Corinne Guest
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington's Country Suburban Home Matchmaker

Like #1 we have to be Realtors to be able to join the boards. I personally do not have a problem with it but I do understand it's not a real necessity. I have just stopped paying my annual ABR fees. I consider I got the designation and should be allowed to keep it, another discussion I know but there seem to be too many  other "businesses" reliant on us agent/Realtors.

December 30, 2011 06:46 PM #54
Rainmaker
409,845
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease

Bryan, 

It's a very interesting debate and will certainly continue as the economic environment is challenged.  We are Realtors.  However, I have no issue if folks that we co-op with are not.  it doesn't guarantee that you are a great real estate agent.  

In Georgia, they are just about to charge for access to forms if you are not a member of the board.  Board membership includes this.  My biggest concern is that today all folks virtually use the same forms.  Now, we will see many different forms and it will be more work for all to make sure we know what they say.  The uniformity probably benefited both agents and clients alike.

All the best in 2012, Michelle

December 30, 2011 06:49 PM #55
Rainmaker
300,021
John Marshall - FORE!
John Marshall - Cherry Hills Village, CO
Specializing in Golf Course Properties

Interestingly, the three companies in Colorado that have had the most significant growth in new agents, all offer the option of belonging to a board or not, most of the agents joining these companies are from oother board carrying brokerages.

Perhaps even more interesting is that a couple of the MLS's here in Colorado still allow you to participate even if you do not belong to a board, they charge a few dollars more per month, however you save several hundred per year by not joining a board ????? 

As many of you have commented, I know several great agents that are not Realtors, recently some of my craziest transactions were with Realtors that supposedly follow the code of ethics, if these were my agents I would have cut them loose immediately!

December 30, 2011 07:04 PM #56
Rainmaker
808,325
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

My broker and my MLS require me to be a REALTOR.  I do use the legal counsel at my state level REALTOR organization and I love Fran, who heads up my local REALTOR organization.  Paying the dues creates a barrier for entry and I would like to see the barriers even higher, so I have no problem with it.

December 30, 2011 07:07 PM #57
Rainer
63,823
Lang Premier Properties
Lang Premier Properties - Clawson, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Group

I am a Realtor and I strongly support that decision for other agents.  I am bound by a higher code of ethics and while I would still abide by these codes if I was only an agent, I believe that not everyone out there does or would.  Therefore, it is another tool to set us apart.  Ultimately it is one's own decision to obtain the Realtor status.  Of course I know real estate professionals that aren't Realtors and are wonderful agents too.  And even some Realtors that are just awful! 

 

I don't think this debate will ever be truly solved!  

 

December 30, 2011 07:18 PM #58
Ambassador
1,326,457
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Bryan,

The interesting part is that we're all REALTORS to the general public. If I wasn't working in a brokerage that requires all their agents to belong to NAR, I'm not all that sure I would. The benefits to agents aren't all that apparent.

Rich

December 30, 2011 07:20 PM #59
Rainmaker
510,892
Rob D. Shepherd
Coldwell Banker Coast - Florence, OR
Principal Broker ABR, GRI

On our board you are a Realtor or you aren't a mamber. Our benifits are a lending library for lockboxes. Check them out and bring them back later. We also get our subscribtion paid to have computer access to county records.

December 30, 2011 07:39 PM #60
Rainmaker
156,802
George Bennett
Inactive - Port Orford, OR
Inactive Principal Broker, GRI

In Oregon you can't join the MLS if you are not a realtor.

December 30, 2011 07:51 PM #61
Rainmaker
247,740
John M. Scott
BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties - San Francisco, CA
Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area

Bryan, as far as I can tell in San Francisco - you can't get MLS access without being a Realtor. Go figure.

December 30, 2011 08:04 PM #62
Rainmaker
542,709
Gretchen & Mel Ahrens
ColumbiaGorgeFSBO.com - Hood River, OR

I think where you are is a large variable in whether you need to be a Realtor or not. I once lived in a small Colorado town where almost no agents were. There were other associations that made up for what these agents missed. In other areas, it's essential to be a Realtor to stay competitive with all the Realtors in the area.

Gretchen

December 30, 2011 08:12 PM #63
Rainer
171,630
Luis Iniguez
Option One Real Estate - Fontana, CA
Search Inland Empire Homes For Sale - Short Sale Agent

I believe if you're going to be in real estate you have to be a Realtor.  This is one of those things you just don't do half a**.  You need to be part of an organization that represents your industry.  It has it's pros and cons, but I believe at the end you will benefit from it.

December 30, 2011 08:16 PM #64
Rainmaker
85,347
Ben Blonder
Broker/Owner, Kapital Real Estate Inc - Fort Collins, CO
Buyers, Sellers, Investors!

I feel like the MLS is the biggest resource you get. This can help the hunt and listings and make you look more professional by having the resource.

December 30, 2011 08:38 PM #65
Ambassador
409,476
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Not so much a philosophical debate as a mandatory one. When I was an agent in WA our entire brokerage had to subscribe to be a Realtor. If he didn't none of us could or did. So it was the fact of whether we chose to be at the brokerage or not. I didn't see it as a benefit since we had all the forms and I had all the support I needed. Many "regular" people don't know the difference either.. but I have learned since that it really depends on the state or brokerage...

December 30, 2011 08:53 PM #66
Rainmaker
477,913
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Michigan

Oh well it could be worse. You want to play you must pay. I've been doing it for over 25 years. It is the cost of doing business.

December 30, 2011 08:56 PM #67
Rainmaker
341,279
Dawn Maloney
RE/MAX Haven - Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist - Hudson, OH
330-990-4236 Hudson Stow Cuyahoga Falls Silver Lak

We can't join the board without being a REALTOR®. I just wish the NAR would do more for us in the direction of our requests...and stop soaking us with www.REALTOR.com.

December 30, 2011 09:54 PM #68
Rainmaker
293,958
Brian Morgenweck
Power Realty Group, LLC Bergen County, NJ - Hackensack, NJ
Broker/Owner, GRI, CRS, ABR, SRS

Simple answer = No.

It'd be nice if we could order a la' carte, but boards, mls & associations are all in bed together. (which may seem like some sort of ethics violation to many of us!) The sad part is, it's made very difficult to operate without being a member, all-in or nothing. I think New York City has the right idea...

As far as the COE, I've always thought that aspect was laughable, at best. You either have a moral & ethical compass...or you don't...period. The public should blindly trust one over another due to a "code" one paid for?! ...as if the buying & selling public had an aggregate IQ of 12.

That said, all of my dues are paid in full, along with the $40 in additional protection money that was tacked on in 2011.

Thanks for having the stones to write a controversial piece, Bryan. Happy New Year!

Who Is John Galt?

December 30, 2011 10:01 PM #69
Rainmaker
484,879
Christine Bohn
RE/MAX Professionals - Gainesville, FL
Realtor, Gainesville FL

I am proud to be a Realtor, and plan to remain one also.   Locally, I think our roster will be shrinking too....but that does NOT bother me a bit.  Our profession is Just That....a profession...not a J O B.

December 30, 2011 10:15 PM #70
Rainmaker
681,025
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

If NAR was actually representing its membership this question wouldn't come up so much and the dues wouldn't be a source of so much anger.  Personally, if I pay dues to an organization that is supposed to represent my  interests - I expect them to do just that.  NAR fails on so many levels that no one comment can cover that topic.   But organizations that fail to represent those that foot the bill are eventually destined to die. 

December 30, 2011 11:29 PM #71
Rainer
201,577
Mary Macy
Top Agents Atlanta Metro - Roswell, GA
Top Agents Atlanta Metro

NAR dues went up in our area and I opted out.  We don't have to be a Realtor to have access to MLS and I believe there was a court case that changed that nationally, but everyone needs to check.  I do not need to have the REALTOR behind my name to feel proud, I am professional, work hard and represent people with ethics, fairness and a lot of hard work and marketing skill.  The only thing the board ever did for me was charge me a lot of money every year.  I opted out this year for the first time in 25 years.  I don't think that lobbies in Washington are going to be tolerated as the way to run this country and people still buy and live in homes in Canada that does not have a tax deduction, the agents there seem to be doing better than the US agents.  I am a professional and do not need to pay to prove it, a lot of the responses to this blog are really brainwashed that they have to spend money to prove who they are professional, think about that!!! Being a member of a group does not make you any better than anyone else, it just makes your budget several hundred dollars higher for something that may not give you anything in return. I really don't feel that my interests are being represented anywhere politically in todays enviornment.  Great Post, lots of people stuck in paying dues both from a requirement and mindset.

December 30, 2011 11:47 PM #72
Rainmaker
328,781
Mike McCann - Nebraska Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

I am one of those who is not a Realtor.  I left because in 2007 I joined a company selling farms in rural Nebraska.  The state board wanted all 50 agents to join NAR, NE NAR, the local board and the Mls if I wanted to stay in my local Board...We donot have time here to discuss the stupidity of that when NONE of them lived within the borders of our local Board.

I do believe to do a great job selling residential you should belong to the local board...ag and farm mot needed.

There is a place for both and the highest paid Brokers in Nebraska are not Realtors.

In regards to the C of E.  I firmly believe that is no more than a cover for some and is totally disregard by more than just a few for the sake of a commission.  NO... don't argue with this until you read this months Nebraska Real Estate Commission newsletter and see some of the names that have been reprimanded and or disciplined...and fined.

December 31, 2011 01:55 AM #73
Rainer
48,637
David Myre
VIP Realty - Dallas, TX

The fees are outrageous, but there's no other way to access the MLS.

December 31, 2011 02:02 AM #74
Rainmaker
826,135
Marc Swartz
Toronto, ON
CPA, CA - Toronto, Durham & York Regions, Ontario

In my part of Ontario, you need to be a board member to be a Realtor® and to obtain access to the MLS.

December 31, 2011 02:03 AM #75
Rainmaker
106,090
Christie Lane Craven
Long & Foster - Odenton, MD
Your Anne Arundel County Agent

We are required to be members.  I truly believe 99 out of 100 of the general population don't know the difference between the having the designation or not. I also believe you can't buy ethics.  I had them before I ever got my license and will continue to do so whether I have a big blue R on my shirt or not.  

It seems a bit ironic to me to be taught ethics by a group that requires me to be a member to earn a living.  

December 31, 2011 02:04 AM #76
Rainmaker
134,415
Paul Francis
Prudential Americana Group - REALTORS - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate - Summerlin Homes - 702.592.

Hmmm....  I have several good friends and Fraternity Brothers from college that are in Commercial Real estate and they do just fine not being REALTORS...

I think the big question is if the value of paying these fees are worth it?

$610 here in Southern Nevada just for REALTOR dues... that does not even include MLS / Lockbox key fees.

I'm only paying because I have to.... Certainly not by choice.

 

December 31, 2011 03:49 AM #77
Rainmaker
1,818,929
Gabe Sanders
the BlueWater Realty team specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Interesting post and I enjoyed reading the comments.  Like with any real estate I guess it still depends on your area and how the MLS is run.  If being an effective agent requires access to the MLS (and in many areas it does) then not being a Realtor may indeed be an issue.

December 31, 2011 06:06 AM #78
Rainmaker
284,664
Charlie Dresen
Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty - Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro

This is a very thought provoking post and like Gabe, I've enjoyed the variety of comments. While I have no intention of not being a Realtor, I question if buyers and sellers really even know the difference between a Realtor and a non Realtor? The term has become so generic that it's really most useful to us and the access it gives us to the MLS, forms, processes and procedures. I would guess to the average buyer and seller every real estate agent out there is a Realtor.

December 31, 2011 07:52 AM #79
Rainmaker
330,406
Kat Palmiotti
Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty, Monroe NY Real Estate, 914-419-0270 - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

You don't need to be a REALTOR® to be ethical, and just because you are one doesn't mean you ARE ethical. 

That being said, for practical reasons, most REALTORS® are forced to become one because access to MLS isn't allowed without belonging to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

It then becomes a necessary cost of doing business, whether you agree with the process or not.

 

December 31, 2011 08:18 AM #80
Ambassador
683,384
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Gee Bryan you sure know how to strike up a conversation.  As many have stated, our arms may be twisted into becoming Realtors® (must be member of NAR in order to be member of local board).  I look at being a member of NAR as the cost of doing business and have never sweated it not once have I complained about it.  I just have to do what I have to do in order to be able to maintain that membership if I chose do do and I DO CHOSE to do so.

December 31, 2011 08:31 AM #81
Rainmaker
892,536
Michael Setunsky
Michael's Commercial LLC - Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Bryan, in my area the Association controls the MLS and the lockboxes. I would think it would be hard to work with clients if you can't get into a house to show it. I did pay my dues this year, but the ROI seems to be very low. Happy New Year!!

December 31, 2011 08:45 AM #82
Rainer
5,191
Dr. Tameka Bryant
The Real Estate House - Kansas City, MO
Helping you close more deals!

I've been a Realtor for 10 years and each year I happily pay all of my dues.  I see agents that aren't Realtors in the market, but they aren't nearly as productive.  I utilize the benefits of any organization I'm affiliated with and NAR is no different.  Every year I do a cost benefit analysis and can see my investment net me more than $8,000 in referrals and other perks. 

December 31, 2011 08:47 AM #83
Rainmaker
433,149
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Great discussion. I wrote a blog a few years back called "I am now a REALTOR, the World is Safe" after I paid my $407 to the local Board, got my receipt and went back to business as usual. It certainly didn't change who I was or how I ran my business, and the 3-hour "ethics" class which consisted of mostly one sales pitch after another was a joke. Seriously - I'm going to be "ethical" (or not) because I took a silly class or paid a membership fee (or not)? Besides, in Colorado anyway, what I agree to as a licensed Broker Associate via the Real Estate Commission is pretty much the same thing as the REALTOR COE.

I've never much cared for NAR after dealing with them as an exhibitor in the 2007 National Convention. It was a freakin' nightmare and I'm not sure I've ever felt so ripped off and taken advantage of. And the whole idea that they force agents to belong (in many areas) in order to access the tools to properly do their jobs is just wrong. If you want someone to join your Club, make them WANT to join your club, don't force them to!

December 31, 2011 08:49 AM #84
Ambassador
1,091,473
Joni Staples
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®
Personally, I am proud to be a RAeALTOR and would be a member even if it were not required to access MLS. Why? The same reason I have taken so many additional classes... To go ge extra mile and be all that I can be!
December 31, 2011 09:44 AM #85
Rainer
169,694
Dave Sullivan
www.TheCreditGuy.TV - Birmingham, MI
The Real Story on Your Credit Score - TheCreditGuy

great post happy new year...

December 31, 2011 10:04 AM #86
Rainmaker
313,710
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Congrats on the feature and great post. You have posed an interesting question. I had not known about all the major differences before.

December 31, 2011 11:13 AM #87
Rainmaker
95,149
Lorraine Santirosa
Keller Williams - San Diego Metro - San Diego, CA
#1 San Diego Military Relocation Expert!

This is a great post because it makes us take a hard look at our professional organization and the benefits of being a member. 

December 31, 2011 12:43 PM #88
Rainmaker
194,108
Krystyna Baty
The Real Estate Group - Torrance, CA
Torrance, Redondo Beach & Greater South Bay CA

Great post! Good to see that I'm not alone in raising those same questions. 

December 31, 2011 12:49 PM #89
Ambassador
535,655
JO SOSS
HOMEFRONT Realty - Bremerton, WA
Kitsap County WA Real Estate - HOMEFRONT Realty

I am not a Realtor.  I was for years but once I went out on my own I opted not to join or have my office affiliated.  Our MLS is not a Realtor MLS we are owned by our member brokerages - which I an one.  We have Express Forms .  My office does subscribe to the COE - and each agent must adhere to it as well.  Anything the Realtors in my area have I have - except the option to attend a WAR meeting - never attended one when I was a Realtor.

Happy New Year! 

December 31, 2011 01:14 PM #90
Rainmaker
282,406
Alan Brown
Coldwell Banker Montrose Colorado - Montrose, CO
24 Years of Real Estate Experience .

In the world of Trade Unions its called a closed shop. Many local boards make you be a member of your State and National associations in order to get MLS access (closed shop)

Although I am a member of NAR and my Local and State organizations I do so because as an office my broker wont opt out, even though we could have MLS access without being members. I know the vast majority of the agents in my office would opt out if they could.

Make it voluntary to join all thes assocaitions and lets see how many people pay their dues. Many of the positions that NAR  take are counter to the best interests of the membership. I for one would opt out if I could.

December 31, 2011 01:18 PM #91
Ambassador
1,231,651
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Interesting how in some parts you do NOT have to be a realtor to have MLS access. I wish this was true in my area.

December 31, 2011 02:28 PM #92
Ambassador
1,554,208
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Bryan - I think you can get ZipForms without NAR/CAR membership.  It just costs more.

December 31, 2011 09:58 PM #93
Rainmaker
99,947
Mike Grumbles
Exit Realty of the South - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Real Estate

Bryan,

 

Good post. The issue is coming up more and more. Personally i choose to be a REALTOR and it means a lot of thing like you said but the forms (contracts) are typically provided to REALTORS form the state or local boards exclusively for REALTOR members.

 

The political advocacy is part of our dues but it will continue if one member drops off the membership they still will receive the benefit of our joint effort. Just like this year when the rates increased because the membership is down the rates go up for those of us that remain.


The issue i see without being a MLS member , which in our area requires REALTOR membership means your listings will have to be marketed on your own without cooperation from other brokerages.   Lock boxes to provide security for sellers is (in our area) associated through the board. What do you do for a new client that wants to know more about homes for sale without MLS access?  Obviously the setup of boards varies from state to state but looks like in my area not being a member would impact opportunity to make a career in real estate. 

January 01, 2012 01:41 PM #94
Rainmaker
338,401
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley R since 1976;408-565-8177

Bryan,  NAR has not done a good job distinguishing Realtors from non-Realtors. CAR does an excellent job providing valuable products and services.  This industry would be a mess without a strong Code of Ethics.

January 01, 2012 05:36 PM #95
Rainmaker
280,001
Marnie Matarese
J Wood Realty - Sarasota, FL
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL!  How many times has that been drummed into your head?  I think that NAR is totally not needed, am happy to be a member of my local MLS and the Florida Association of Realtors.  NAR is like the old union set up that needs to be disbanded.  What a mess with this last snafu and outright lying about statistics.  I am proud to be a realtor, will continue to be one but wish I could opt out of NAR!

January 02, 2012 07:48 PM #96
Rainmaker
849,410
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY
Broker-Owner

Association member ship is required to be in out MLS so the decision is made for me. That said, our local association is, in my view, excellent. 

January 02, 2012 10:22 PM #97
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Bryan Robertson

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