A Plan to Build on REALTOR® Party Successes

November 3, 2017
NAR CEO Bob Goldberg and 2017 President-Elect Elizabeth Mendenhall reiterated during NAR 360 that now is the time to expand the REALTOR® Party’s impact on state and local advocacy for real estate issues.

Earlier this year, REALTORS® in Ohio helped defeat a proposal that would have included real estate commissions in a state service tax. In Mississippi, Iowa, and Minnesota, REALTORS® worked with lawmakers to create tax-exempt homebuying savings accounts, making homeownership a reality for more first-time buyers.

These legislative victories are just a few examples of the more than 1,600 ways state and local associations have used resources from the REALTOR® Party program to generate wins for members and consumers since its creation in 2012. Now REALTORS® want to apply lessons learned to help ensure more of these victories in the years ahead.

“The REALTOR® Party Initiative has been a great success, but there’s room for improvement,” Elizabeth Mendenhall, National Association of REALTORS® 2017 president-elect, told members at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago Thursday.

Mendenhall and NAR CEO Bob Goldberg spoke at NAR 360, the opening forum at the conference. Mendenhall pointed to an advisory group 2017 NAR President William E. Brown created earlier this year to look for ways to improve the REALTOR® Party programs that state and local associations use to elect real estate champions to office and support pro-community advocacy efforts.

The advisory group’s 142-page plan calls for dozens of changes that would make the program simpler to use, better at communicating and measuring successes, and more useful to associations, no matter how large or small they are.

“We propose to make the REALTOR® Party program even better by customizing the resources,” said Goldberg. “One size does not fit all.”

Under the plan, Mendenhall said NAR would develop additional performance indicators to help members gauge the impact REALTOR® Party resources are having and how well their use fits the program mission. She also mentioned a revamp of the program website, realtoractioncenter.com, with better information for members and associations about what the program offers. The initiative would also increase the number of political races at the national level eligible for get-out-the-vote support, helping candidates who back property rights.

The advisory group has proposed a $25 increase in the REALTOR® Party assessment, which is currently $40. There will be a discussion in March at NAR’s budget review sessions. If it advances, the NAR’s Board of Directors will consider the proposal at the 2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Expo, which, if approved, would go into effect in 2019.

—By Rob Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine