NAR Adds to Its Worldwide Ranks

NAR leadership travels to the Caribbean to strike a new partnership and welcome a new wave of REALTORS® to the global family.

March 11, 2014

The National Association of REALTORS® added a key overseas partner and expanded its International REALTOR® Membership during a visit to Caribbean nations Dominican Republic and Jamaica late last month. As with other trade missions like this, NAR’s aim was to build up a base of foreign practitioners with whom REALTORS® can do business.

Key members of the delegation included 2014 NAR Immediate Past President Gary Thomas; 2014 Florida REALTORS® President Sherri Meadows, CIPS, GRI, CRB; Carlos Fuentes, CIPS, CCIM, NAR Commercial and Global Services’ regional coordinator for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean; Larissa Ortiz, CIPS, who did much of the planning for the trip; and Carol Kairis, CIPS, managing director, professional development, NAR Commercial and Global Services.

NAR representatives traveled first to the Dominican Republic, a nation of about 10 million people that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. That leg of the trip was conducted in cooperation with Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development organization, and the Florida REALTORS®.

The focal point of the visit for NAR was the signing of a bilateral agreement on Monday, Feb. 24, with the Asociacion de Empresas Inmobiliarias (AEI), a real estate association in the Dominican Republic. That accord is centered around finding mutual benefits for their respective members on the basis of having similar codes of ethics and commitments to professional standards. With that agreement, NAR now has 81 cooperating real estate associations in 61 countries.

Apart from the business-generating aspects of this arrangement, the deal has helped AEI in its efforts to push legislation in the Dominican Republic that would require licensure for practitioners who manage real estate transactions. Right now, anyone in the country can sell any property to anyone else without any sort of license or credential. Having NAR as a partner has helped raise awareness of the need for professional standards and some measure of regulatory oversight in real estate, Fuentes said.

“They’re excited because they see the opportunities,” he explained. “The media attention they got on the signing of the bilateral agreement gave them a lot of help on that effort. The credibility this agreement brings is important to them.”

On the second half of the trip, NAR representatives welcomed nearly 400 new International REALTOR® Members (IRMs) with the REALTORS® Association of Jamaica (RAJ). That’s a majority of RAJ’s total membership of 520. They were given REALTOR® pins at a ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 27, in New Kingston, where Thomas gave a speech on behalf of NAR leadership.

“I am honored to be among the first to welcome you to an organization with more than a century of service to the real estate industry,” he said. “As members of the National Association of REALTORS®, you join a powerful force more than one million members strong. When you introduce yourself as a REALTOR®, your clients and consumers instantly know that you are a trusted professional with unrivaled market expertise. That is the power of the REALTOR® brand. It is a name and title you can be proud of.”

In addition to this partnership, RAJ stands to benefit from young, dynamic, and technology-oriented leaders like its own 2014 President Carlene Sinclair and 2014 Immediate Past President Howard Johnson Jr. The group launched a Multiple Listing Service in 2010 and, more recently, rolled out a corporate website. Also, Fuentes said the country’s real estate sector could gain more global prominence thanks to the revitalization of downtown Kingston, a renewed publicity push for international tourism, and the proximity of its ports to the Panama Canal, which is due for expansion.

Brian Summerfield is the former manager of business development and outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services.