Houston, We Have an Opportunity

In my new role, I’ll stay focused on your central role in the real estate transaction.

January 1, 2012

Since 1998, we’ve been to the moon and back.

Back then, Microsoft and others were pouring millions into Internet plays that they said would reinvent the way real estate is bought and sold. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® made a commitment to keeping REALTORS® central to the transaction. If Microsoft was NAR’s Sputnik, REALTOR.com—just a year old in 1998—was its first NASA mission. Over the years, Microsoft’s HomeAdvisor has become a footnote and REALTOR.com has maintained a steady No. 1 position among buyers and sellers. But it was in those early, anxiety-filled days that I landed at REALTOR® Magazine with three decades of business publishing experience. I had two goals: to make the magazine an indispensable business tool for you and to make it revenue neutral.

By 2000, we’d achieved the goal of revenue neutrality. When declines in print advertising and the economic downturn took their toll, we responded by cutting expenses and staff and by reducing our frequency (we’ll produce six issues this year). But we haven’t compromised in our effort to bring you practical, how-to information on core topics such as marketing, law, and ­technology. During the past 14 years, we’ve received more than 100 awards from publishing organizations. And while I enjoy the recognition, an award we founded is far more meaningful to me. The Good Neighbor Awards, launched in 2000 to celebrate extraordinary community service by REALTORS®, has funneled nearly $1 million to REALTOR®-supported causes. The magazine has also been the catalyst for a youth movement within the organization. In 2006, we started the Young Professionals Network as an offshoot of our “30 Under 30” feature. Today, there are more than 200 YPNs, and NAR has YPN members  on most of its committees.

Now, NAR has embarked on a new mission, again tied to keeping REALTORS® central to the transaction. It started five years ago, as CEO Dale Stinton and I talked about NAR’s second century as the “The Voice for Real Estate®.” We thought, why not be the voice for consumers, too? Imagine a marriage of common interest between REALTORS® and 80 million property owners to promote home ownership and private property rights. That dream now lives in HouseLogic.com, Real Estate Today radio, and our Public Advocacy Campaign, and that’s where I’ll focus my energy going forward. My role with the magazine moves into the capable hands of Pamela Geurds Kabati.  Magazines are my roots, and I’ll miss this one. Yet, I’m excited about the new frontiers we’ll cross together.

Frank J. Sibley

Frank J. Sibley is the senior vice president of consumer relations for the National Association of REALTORS®.