Two local Realtor associations in Texas want to join forces to form what would become one of the largest such groups in the country.

The Greater Dallas Association of Realtors and the Northeast Tarrant County Association of Realtors are discussing a merger, which could become effective in January 2005, if members approve the plan in a vote later this year. Directors of both associations in March approved accelerated planning for the merger, and talks among the groups’ leaders began last year.

Both associations have multiple-listing services through North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, which serves about 16,000 MLS subscribers, 3,000 real estate offices and 18 Realtor associations throughout a large swathe of North Texas that includes the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Dallas association is “very pleased to be in talks with NETC about creating this new association. Their philosophy of service delivery to members and their innovative approach to discovering how to be the solution to their members’ business needs match our organizational goals,” said Rich Thomas, CEO of the Greater Dallas Association.

Claire Shahzad, CEO of the Northeast Tarrant County group, added: “Our organizations have worked together very well in the past. It is a great advantage to the members of both associations that we create an even stronger association with increased benefits for the membership.”

A merger could bring cost-savings through streamlined operations, leaders noted.

The merged association would have seven locations, including sites in Dallas, Coppell, Richardson, Mesquite, DeSoto, Bedford and Trophy Club. The Greater Dallas Association was formed in 1917 while the Northeast Tarrant group had its start in 1963. About half of the Greater Dallas group’s membership is in Dallas while the other half is in surrounding communities. The Northeast Tarrant group draws members from Grapevine to Roanoke along the Highway 114 corridor and south to the Richland Hills-Haltom City area.

Association leaders said in a statement that the merger “would be consistent with the growth of the real estate industry and housing trends in the Metroplex that now cover a larger geographic area than in years past.” The groups are asking their members to help select a name for a combined association. That name, they remind members, cannot include the words “Texas,” “Metroplex” or the letters “DFW” because they are already in use by other associations.

The combined association would have about 10,000 members, making it one of the top-10 largest local Realtor associations in the nation. Likewise, the Houston Association of Realtors grew its membership through a series of mergers that began earlier this decade and now stands as the second largest local association of Realtors in the country, with about 18,000 members. New York’s Long Island Board of Realtors is the largest local association, with about 19,000 members.

Bob Hale, association executive for the Houston association, said, the merger of the other Texas associations was “a great idea.”

The Houston association merged with the Bay Area Association of Realtors, the Fort Bend Association of Realtors and the Montgomery County Association of Realtors over a two-year period.

“Everybody wins in a merger. It worked fine,” Hale said.

The Houston Association was able to preserve locations and keep staff, while providing more services at a lower cost, according to Hale.

“I’m a big supporter of mergers if they make sense,” he said.

***

Send tips or a letter to the editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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