Why Is There an NAR?

The vigorous debate within the family of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® over our Political Survival Initiative has forced us to look in the mirror and reflect on some fundamental questions: What is the value of NAR? Why does it exist? And what's expected of its ­leaders--and you, its members--for the sake of our industry?

June 1, 2011

The most important question is the why because if we don’t have a strong reason to exist, no amount of value will convince you to be a member of our team. You may join because you have to—a phrase I’ve heard a lot these past several weeks—and if that’s the case, you probably don’t see your membership as a reflection of your core values. It won’t be something you carry with you as a badge that helps define who you are or who you want to be.

But speaking from the vantage point of a working broker and an ­elected leader (not a paid, but a volunteer position), my answer is that NAR exists to advocate for the conditions and policies that will keep our businesses ­vibrant.

The association also is the de facto advocate for the 75 million Americans who own homes and the 310 million Americans who require shelter. NAR is the champion of private property rights, and to our global partners around the world, it is a role model and a facilitator of international business. NAR exists because, as contentious as things sometimes get within our association, without organized real estate, both our industry as we know it and the ­concept of private ownership in this country would be diminished.

That sounds very noble during good times, but it feels like a big burden to have on our shoulders during difficult times. However, it’s our unity that enables us to carry the burden.

Our REALTOR® brand, our scale, and our leadership on issues that cross state lines have helped us thrive through many difficult times in the past. Today, in the face of serious challenges from all corners—from the banks making lending and short-sale decisions to the regulators and legislators who set our tax and housing policies to the companies that would like to commoditize what we do for their profit—our unity is more important than ever.

Thank you for being a part of the REALTOR® organization and for engaging in the political survival debate. The debate has been highly charged, but it will make us stronger as we continue to proactively engage with today’s challenges. Chief among our goals:  Helping to establish a successor to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that will preserve the secondary mortgage market; protecting the mortgage interest deduction and other tax incentives that drive home ownership; and defending the principles of sound underwriting versus government-imposed mortgage qualifications.


Learn more about the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative at REALTOR.org/politicalsurvival.

Take advantage of the benefits of membership at every level of the REALTOR® organization—including buying discounts that offset your dues. Visit the new online member guide, http://memberguide.REALTOR.org.

Ronald L. Phipps

Ronald L. Phipps was 2011 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.