If you had asked me a little over 10 years ago what benefit I see in membership to the National Association of Realtors, I would have vaguely responded by saying something about strength in numbers.

  • NAR has the world’s largest real estate library that houses over 500,000 historical documents, books, videos, journals, reports, guides and images.
  • The code is the cornerstone of the Realtor organization and the most distinguishing characteristic of being a member.
  • Realtor.com is the leading website for Realtors to use, and it's NAR's official national listing database.

If you had asked me a little over 10 years ago what benefit I see in membership to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), I would have vaguely responded by saying something about strength in numbers.

I was a producing agent then, but I didn’t really understand what the benefits of membership in our national association were. Today, I see things a little differently as I have witnessed firsthand how impactful belonging to the NAR has been for my business.

In my 21-year career as a Realtor, I have experienced the peaks and valleys of the Spokane, Washington, market and have emerged stronger and wiser.

My first year, I did quite well and won the John L. Scott Rookie of the Year award.

Unfortunately, my volume stayed at that level for many years following, and I never reached the goals I had set for myself. In fact, almost six years into the business, I decided to take a mental break and became one of those “part-time agents.”

I went to be the PR coordinator of a brand new company, but I missed selling, so I came back to being a full-time Realtor.

Coming back into the fold, I realized that things had changed. Technology had greatly improved the way we sold homes. More agents were joining our local association.

The defining moment for me, however, was when my local association’s president-elect called upon me to be part of his strategic planning committee.

I was immediately thrown into the Realtors world. From that point on, I became aware of what it meant to be a Realtor.

Fast forward to present day, I have been on multiple committees at all levels — local, state and NAR. I have been a local president, as well local and state directors, and I am now a director for the National Association of Realtors.

I am the first to admit that this is my personal journey and does not reflect any other viewpoint other than my own.

Here are the top seven membership benefits that I have personally experienced.

1. Networking

Our annual Realtors conference was the first week in November this year. It’s the best place to meet other real estate professionals from all over the world.

I have received many referrals from Realtors whom I met while attending this annual event.

The Realtors Legislative Meetings, every May in Washington, D.C., bring together agents who have a passion for advocacy. It’s impressive to watch how our Realtors association works with Congress and the executive branch to develop, advance and implement the federal legislative objectives of NAR.

2. Education

NAR has the world’s largest real estate library that houses over 500,000 historical documents, books, videos, journals, reports, guides and images. When I toured the library, I got to view some of these items firsthand.

NAR offers the ability earn continuing education credits, certifications and designations. I have taken many courses and benefited by earning a few designations along the way. I have not undertaken the master of real estate degree through Realtor University, but it does intrigue me.

3. Big data

There are three reports I find particularly helpful:

  • NAR provides a profile of homebuyers and sellers, and the buyers home feature preferences. (This report helps me refine my client snapshot target.)
  • Monthly existing and pending homes sales data.
  • Commercial real estate market research, outlook and reports.

4. Benefits program

I enjoy the discounts on electronics, travel, office supplies, services, gifting and marketing resources. I find it quite curious how many agents don’t take advantage of all that is offered when there are so many opportunities to save money.

5. Realtors Property Resource (RPR)

Access to a national database on every property in the United States is invaluable.

The Spokane Association of Realtors was an RPR test market before the national launch. It is so helpful when I need to see the bigger picture, with all of the property records, including zoning, permits, mortgage, liens, schools and foreclosure information.

6. Code of Ethics 

The code is the cornerstone of the Realtor organization and the most distinguishing characteristic of being a member. As a current member on my local grievance committee, I see the impartial and fair enforcement of the Code of Ethics by our local association.

The Golden Rule still applies, and cooperation between Realtors is the norm because of the rules that the code establishes.

7. Branding

Realtor.com is a leading website for Realtors to use. It is NAR’s official national listing database. It includes listings from more than 40 countries. I find that it tends to be more accurate than any other site.

.Realtor is a new way for agents to market their affiliation. It helps create awareness and promotes trademark by the use of the domain and the high standards the word represents.

This year is our 100th Anniversary of the Realtors trademark. It is true back then as much as it is today: Realtors are people who are committed to integrity, community and protecting the American dream of property ownership.

When I pay my annual dues, I am reminded less of the expense to my business and more to the value I am bringing to my work and my clients. It makes a measurable and lasting impact on who and what I am. I am proud to be a Realtor!

Marianne Bornhoft is a Realtor and broker for Windermere Real Estate in Spokane, Washington.

Email Marianne Bornhoft

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