June 2018

Celebrating National Homeownership Month

bobGoldberg_sm.jpge_mendenhall.jpg Throughout June, National Homeownership Month, we recognize the vital role REALTORS® play as stewards of the American Dream of homeownership. This is an excellent opportunity to encourage people around the country to learn more about homeownership opportunities and financial management plans. 

We are a key voice in promoting and educating consumers on the value of homeownership. NAR’s two consumer websites – Homeownership Matters and House Logic – are full of great housing-related tips, news, stories and policy issues to share with your clients, especially first-time home buyers.

The Homeownership Matters website also offers localized content for state and local REALTOR® Associations and their members. This is an excellent resource that can help mobilize the consumer on issues that affect homeownership and amplify our voice on Capitol Hill, and at state houses and town halls nationwide. As NAR’s consumer advocacy outreach program, Homeownership Matters also can help establish REALTORS® as experts before, during and after the homebuying experience.

Join the celebration all month long! Help us champion homeowners on social media by following the Homeownership Matters’ Twitter and Facebook pages and celebrate a #HomeownerHero in your life by using the hashtag on social media. Be sure to visit Homeownership Matters and House Logic, share articles and resources in your newsletters and on your websites.

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Kaua`i REALTORS® Use Grant to Engage More Brokers in Advocacy

If brokerages don’t understand the value of the Broker Involvement Program, they’re not likely to join. If agents don’t realize the importance of RPAC, they’re probably not investing. That’s why Hawaii’s Kaua’i Board of REALTORS® (KBR) set out to educate and engage broker-members at a recent information-packed breakfast presentation. Supported by a REALTOR® Party Broker Involvement Program Grant, the event spelled out the importance of supporting the REALTOR® Party, and the critical role that brokerages play, as the key point of contact with their agents. By 10 a.m., 15 firms had newly signed on, representing a significant percentage of KBR’s membership of 584 REALTORS®.

KBR Government Affairs Director Chad Deal, who understands brokers’ reluctance to crowd their colleagues’ in-boxes with automated messages, developed the morning program to dispel such concerns. “We needed to assure our broker-members that the Broker Involvement Program only issues communiqués and calls for action (CFA) for major, time-sensitive, real estate issues, and doesn’t ever abuse the privilege. It was also an important opportunity for us to emphasize the way issues advocacy benefits all members,” he explains.

The program fell within the normal scheduling of KBR’s Brokers’ meetings that take place three-to-four times a year. It featured the President Elect of the Hawaii Association of REALTORS® (HAR), as well as its RPAC Chair, who had everyone in stitches with their joint comic presentation on the importance of Broker Involvement and RPAC. Deal, who himself served on the Government Affairs Committee at the state level for many years, reported on federal, state, and local issues affecting private property and the real estate industry. Shining a spotlight on a serious situation of the sort that could imminently spur a CFA, a Coastal Land Use Extension agent from the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Foundation gave a sobering update on coastal erosion. In a region where properties are already being affected by rising sea levels, the timely topic held significant interest for all program participants.

The brokers in attendance were given a video on RPAC investing produced by HAR, as well as two PowerPoint pdfs to bring back to share with their agents: one on Government Affairs, and another on the affect of the rising sea level on coastal properties. The REALTOR® Party grant also provided for gift cards that were awarded to Major Investors, and to brokers who’d already secured 100% agent participation.

The feedback after the event was fabulous, reports Deal; he has already been invited to attend several upcoming Broker Caravans to appeal to agents directly. “Our brokers were clearly surprised and impressed by their board’s level of involvement in local and state legislation,” he notes. “Many more of them now realize how necessary their involvement is, in advancing real estate issues. Our goal is to sign 100% of our broker-members on to the Broker Involvement Program, so we’ll certainly be doing this again. We’re very grateful to the REALTOR® Party for all it does — and for helping us drum up business, in return, so to speak.”

To learn more about how the Kaua`i Board of REALTORS® is engaging its members in political advocacy, contact Government Affairs Director Chad Deal, at 808-245-4049.

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Residential Real Estate Council Invests in RPAC at Record Levels in 2017

You see the letters “CRS” and you know it identifies sales agents who’ve met the exacting standards of experience and education set by the Residential Real Estate Council (RRC).  So, it might not surprise you to learn that the more than 34,000 active REALTORS® who are members of the organization are also engaged at a high rate in industry advocacy: in fact, in 2017, their collective RPAC investment reached $4.5 million, up from $3.9 million in 2016.

This dramatic increase can be credited to a movement RRC (formerly known as the Council of Residential Specialists) calls Building the Complete REALTOR®, whose hashtag #morethanhouses refers to all those ancillary activities, like volunteering and civic involvement, by which its members improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods and strengthen and protect the real estate industry. The energetic movement, says Michelle Huffman, RRC’s Director of Communication, can, in turn, be credited to Leigh Brown, last year’s RRC President.

Brown, who is now 2018 RPAC Fundraising Trustees Chair, says “One of the biggest and most successful undertakings of the National Association of REALTORS® is our advocacy efforts. The members of RRC are already leaders in so many regards, when it comes to professionalism, education, achievement, etc., that it was a natural progression to examine and improve our efforts on the advocacy front as well,” she says, adding, “The members of RRC represent a large portion of the investment and volunteerism that leads to success. The focus on improving our reach among members is that of outreach and education:  I have personally found that many members WANT to do more once they know WHAT is being accomplished.”

In addition to emphasizing RPAC awareness at meetings and in email and social media campaigns, Brown also addressed the importance of investing in her President’s Letter at the front of The Residential Specialist, the group’s every-other-monthly magazine. Also in the magazine, RRC began celebrating its Major Investors in a high-profile list that’s become a popular bi-annual feature. Brown also initiated a new icon on the CRS.com website’s Find a CRS page, identifying RPAC Major Investors:

“There’s a growing movement among RPAC Major Investors to refer to one another, as that means the end consumer is more likely to be served by a REALTOR® who is involved in more than just their transaction. As such, we added a filter to the Find a CRS app, to help members locate CRS Designees who are also Major Investors. It’s been well received and becomes an ongoing effort to reach more members, so they can belong to the group and also use the app!” she says.

Huffman notes that “Leigh’s efforts were focused and tireless, and her message of investing in and protecting the industry really took hold with our members. Raising the visibility of those who invest has also been a successful strategy:  not only are they strong advocates, but great role models for their peers.” Says Brown, “Nothing makes me prouder as a REALTOR® than to know how many of my peers are engaged in changing this profession forever, while we also protect it from unnecessary and damaging regulation.”

To learn more about how the Residential Real Estate Council encouraged record investment in advocacy last year, contact Michelle Huffman at or 312-321-4428.

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