Wendy Cole is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.
It’s Not About My Legacy
2020 NAR President Vince Malta is counting on member involvement to run the association at the speed of business.
January - February
You’ve hit the ground running as 2020 president. What’s your approach to leadership?
I’m a consensus builder by nature. I prefer not to focus on what I will do as president but rather how can we draw upon ideas from a wide range of people with great ideas and vision. The power of our association is in listening and working together to solve problems. Housing affordability challenges, excessive regulations, and other barriers to home ownership and community development are high on our radar.
How does your professional experience shape your vision for the real estate industry?
I’m an active broker working in San Francisco, the city that’s at the center of our technological revolution. Today’s consumer-centric, on-demand economy requires real estate professionals to work quickly and flexibly. As REALTORS®, we know how to manage change on behalf of our clients. Consumers seek us out when they approach a time of change in their own lives. Our business is all about managing change. I’m committed to seeing that our association acts at the speed of business.
Read more about Vince Malta’s path to NAR leadership.
You have deep association leadership experience, including two terms as an appointed NAR vice president in 2010 and 2011. Tell us more about the team approach to your presidency.
All of us on the leadership team take a long view when to comes to planning and taking actions that prepare our industry for the long haul. We’re not viewing the presidency in single-year increments. We can accomplish much more working collaboratively. Yes, I have a lot of experience providing guidance, but I’m regularly relying on views from REALTORS® with diverse backgrounds and industry interests. I want to hear ideas from as many members as possible. I’m not trying to build a personal legacy at all.
How will you address the fears members may have about disruptive new business models?
There’s no doubt we are in an evolving era. Technology and new business models mean we need to be proactive in our business. While we should be embracing the efficiencies that come with change, we are continuously mindful of our fiduciary role with clients, providing step-by-step, trusted guidance through complicated, high-stakes transactions. Consumers need the services we provide that protect their interests. No algorithm can replace who we are. As a leadership team, we’re here to set a course with the future, your future, in mind. But it is on each of us as REALTORS® to enhance and communicate our value proposition.
NAR’s leadership team has been officially encouraging members to “own it” for the past two years. How will you incorporate the theme into a strategic vision?
We know the difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent and the value we bring. Our highly successful ad campaign, “That’s Who We R,” has helped millions of consumers understand that better, too—on television, radio, streaming services, and social media. In the next iteration of the campaign starting in February, we’ll continue to “own who we are” by making sure consumers know to look for the “R.” This year we’ll also put a spotlight on our role in commercial real estate. Not only do we help people turn houses into homes, we’re there to help transform vacant storefronts and other commercial spaces into vibrant businesses.
How is NAR tackling policies that support the work brokers and agents are doing on behalf of consumers?
I’ll give you one recent example. Frustration from brokers and agents has been rising about listings held off the MLS for various reasons. When properties for sale aren’t input into the MLS, it skews market data, makes it harder for our members to serve their clients, reduces buyer choice, creates a potential fair housing risk, and often hurts sellers’ interests. I’m pleased to say the NAR Board of Directors decided that’s not who we are, and approved a new Clear Cooperation Policy in November, following the recommendation of the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee and the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board. We allowed plenty of time for people to air their views on the policy before the vote. There were a few dissenters who feared it would limit agents’ ability to use innovative marketing techniques, but I think when you read about the policy, you’ll realize there’s plenty of flexibility and freedom in how MLSs choose to implement it.
Updated: August 08, 2022