NAR President John Smaby

© Kevin Berne

NAR President John Smaby opened the welcoming ceremony, known as NAR 360, with a moment of silence for victims of wildfires in California.

NAR Leaders Detail Association’s ‘Renovation’

November 8, 2019

The house that REALTORS® built—both literally and figuratively—has undergone a major renovation in the last year. From a remodel of its Chicago headquarters to a restructuring of key programs, the National Association of REALTORS® is rebuilding its “home” to better serve members. And on Thursday, many were given a virtual walkthrough.

NAR leaders presented the high-profile changes to thousands of attendees at the welcoming ceremony for the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco. NAR President John Smaby said that in the end, the association will have a stronger foundation and be more effective at advocating on behalf of the real estate industry. “We’re updating old technologies to make you more productive and successful in your business,” he said. “We’re building a more cross-functional team and becoming a more nimble and innovative association. We mean to help you feel the value of your membership.”

Likening these changes to a home renovation, association leaders explained how each “room” of NAR’s home has been remastered.

The Foundation: Member Data

Chief among the changes is a complete redesign of the member database known as NRDS. “Every home has to have a strong foundation,” said President-elect Vince Malta. “For NAR, that strong foundation means having accurate and reliable data.” Malta said the association is in the process of customizing member data to include such information as committee roles. He also said the association is working to clean up old and inaccurate member data.

The Living Room: Advocacy

“The living room is where we all meet to sit and connect,” said Vice President of Advocacy Tracy Kasper. “That’s what advocacy is all about.” NAR lobbyists are interacting more proactively with Congress, helping the association to be a leading voice on issues such as GSE reform, data privacy, and FHA condo rules, added First Vice President Charlie Oppler. “The living room is move-in ready,” he said.

The Master Bedroom: Member Development

A space for self-reflection, NAR’s “master bedroom” represents the association’s commitment to higher professionalism in the industry, said Vice President of Association Affairs Brian Copeland. NAR developed the Leadership Academy to help members hone leadership skills that they can use at their brokerage or in advocacy efforts. There’s also the Commitment to Excellence—or C2EX, as it’s known—which helps members refine their core competencies in real estate. More than 35,000 REALTORS® have started the C2EX challenge in the program’s first year. Additionally, NAR has partnered with tech startups Brevitas and CREXi to improve commercial members’ experience. The two companies, which enhance commercial listings, are available to REALTORS® at a discount and can be used in tandem with the Realtors Property Resource®.

The Kitchen: Technology

CEO Bob Goldberg said NAR’s “kitchen”—where bold ideas are cooked up—is stocked. The association’s annual Innovation, Opportunity & Investment Summit, which brings together real estate professionals, technology startups, and investors, has helped “position NAR at the forefront of technology and innovation moving forward,” Goldberg said. The Reach Accelerator Program, which provides mentorship to tech developers targeting the real estate space, has also helped more than 60 startups hone their products. And in a more literal translation of the kitchen, Goldberg said NAR’s partnership with the Food Recovery Network is helping to donate uneaten meals at association conferences to local food banks and homeless shelters.

The Dining Room: Consumer Ad Campaign

“The dining room is where we break bread and receive nourishment,” Smaby said. “I can’t think anything more nourishing than the ‘That’s Who We R’ campaign.” The campaign, launched at the start of the year, garnered more than 2 billion consumer impressions, association leaders said, revealing that the next iteration of the campaign will focus on “finding the R in your community.” NAR has also partnered with image-based app Photofy to create a special app for REALTORS® that comes preloaded with the That’s Who We R campaign assets.

“You make the REALTOR® voice heard across this country, and you make it matter,” Oppler said.

“What a wonderful house you’ve built,” Smaby added.