What's Most Important Now

With membership Is down and housing policy debates at a fever pitch, NAR tightens its focus on advocacy, technology.

April 1, 2011

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has seen its membership decline 21 percent from its peak of 1.35 million members in 2006 to 1.06 million in 2010. The numbers will likely be down in 2011 as well.

So, just as you’re working to regain your sense of balance in the "new normal," NAR is too. The association, in looking at the most important choices it should be making to serve your long-term success, is putting a strong focus on advocacy and technological innovation.

It’s always been critical to have a well-funded political lobbying operation. If you were around during NAR’s successful eight-year battle to keep big banks out of real estate brokerage and management, you know that advocacy takes constant monitoring, patience, and money. You may also know the stakes were raised by the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission. The decision enables corporations (including not-for-profits like NAR) to make independent expenditures on behalf of political candidates, resulting in a lot more dollars flowing into the political system. If NAR were taking on the banks today, it would be hard-pressed to sustain an eight-year battle. That’s why the association has been concentrating more of its resources in recent years on advocacy. And in a bold new initiative to be voted on by the Board of ­Directors in May, NAR leaders are seeking to raise the association’s political capital even further—at every level of government.

NAR is also focused on staying one step ahead of the technology curve. Information is becoming more ubiquitous—but not necessarily more reliable. That’s why NAR is nearly two years into a five-year plan to make sure you have the best market intelligence available through the Realtors Property ­ResourceTM.

With those kinds of priorities, every dollar must be scrutinized, and the magazine isn’t immune. We reduced our frequency in 2010 and again in 2011. However, we retain our mission to help you succeed in your business—through the magazine, Web site (REALTOR.org/realtormag), and e-newsletters.

Adjusting to this new normal means learning a new set of basics. For us, that involves delivering information in new ways. We’re working feverishly to move our Web site into a new content management system that facilitates interaction and more frequent updates.

For you, the new basics means thriving in market conditions that are anything but predictable. That’s the theme of our List Issue.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is executive editor of publications for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor in chief of REALTOR® Magazine.