Divided, United We Stand

In a year of competitive pressure and contention, we remember a time when REALTORS® stood united.

September 1, 2011

REALTOR® Magazine has been producing a franchise report every other year since 2003. This year’s report, which ran in the July/August issue, raised ire from several quarters. One concern was that the number of offices for some of the franchise brands was reported inaccurately, and the other was that we compared apples to oranges by reporting the worldwide numbers of some brands and the U.S. numbers of others.

We regret the inaccuracies (see “Notes from Readers”); a corrected PDF version of the chart is now available at our Web site. On the second concern, the data was provided by the franchise brands. Most of the larger brands reported worldwide office and associate numbers, though Keller Williams reported U.S. numbers only, and that has been noted in the PDF version of the report. As we plan for the 2013 Franchise Report, we will revise the questionnaire to ensure all brands are reporting the same data.

As an overall indication of how the industry is changing, however, we stand by the substance of the chart and the reporting that accompanied it: Many franchises are contracting as a result of the weak housing market, but franchise brands are gaining in terms of the percentage of REALTORS® that are affiliating. What went unexamined in the story but became clear in the aftermath is that competition among the franchises is growing fiercer. Companies are vying for top salespeople and franchisees, and are scrutinizing one another’s claims, to an extent I haven’t seen in years.

And rivalry among the franchises isn’t the only discord we’re seeing in the real estate industry. The national association itself has been the subject of intense scrutiny and debate over how much em­phasis, and funding, should go toward advocacy. For this month’s cover story, we asked NAR’s Leadership Team to put themselves on the line and talk about why they believe NAR’s expanded advocacy initiative is needed.

Disagreement isn’t all bad; it has the potential to propel us forward. But we all need and cherish moments of unity, too. Witness the Aug. 1 tribute that Republicans and Democrats, still raw from the debt ceiling fight, paid to Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as she returned to the House for the first time since an assassination attempt in January. Unity is the theme of this issue’s other big feature. On the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, we recount how REALTORS® came together after the terrorist attacks. Just like the members of Congress, when it really counts, Realtors® stand united.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is director of content strategy for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor-in-chief of REALTOR® Magazine. In addition, she oversees the quarterly REALTOR® Association Executive magazine and manages a variety of e-communications for REALTORS® and REALTOR® association executives. She has been with the NAR for more 30 years, starting as an associate editor with Real Estate Today magazine, where she covered sales and finance topics.