The National Association of Realtors will provide up to $2 million to fund "game changing" ideas submitted by state and local Realtor associations in fields ranging from education and training to marketing and social media.

More than 200 associations submitted proposals for funding to the NAR Game Changer Challenge, with 13 winners receiving funding for their ideas and a consultant to help them implement them.

Another 22 runners-up will get funding to put their proposals into practice, and all of those submitting ideas will get a $500 credit for professional development from NAR.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the number of winners in the Game Changer Challenge. The National Association of Realtors announced 14 winners.

The National Association of Realtors will provide up to $2 million to fund "game changing" ideas submitted by state and local Realtor associations in fields ranging from education and training to marketing and social media.

More than 200 associations submitted proposals for funding to the NAR Game Changer Challenge, with 14 winners receiving funding for their ideas and a consultant to help them implement them.

Another 22 runners-up will get funding to put their proposals into practice, and all of those submitting ideas will get a $500 credit for professional development from NAR.

All 200 submissions can be viewed from a dedicated Game Changers search page on NAR’s Web site.

The winning proposals were:

Auxiliary Membership, Sacramento Association of Realtors

This Auxiliary Membership program will allow buyers and sellers to sign up for temporary membership to the Sacramento, Calif.-based Realtor association and its Web site. Upon taking a listing, the seller’s Realtor will provide a membership to the seller.

Upon close of a transaction, the buyer’s Realtor will transfer that membership to the new homeowner. Membership would include access to a Web site with members-only information on preparing the house for sale, real estate statistics and demographics, and new legislation affecting private property rights. Access to affinity programs and discounts at local home improvement stores would also be included.

"The impact of including homeowners in Realtor calls for action and other legislative, regulatory and consumer-based activities of the association would significantly increase positive results," said project consultant Nancy Wilson Smith, a retired NAR senior vice president.

Realtor Finder, Houston Association of Realtors

The Realtor Finder system is aimed at helping consumers choose a Realtor based on relevant and reliable transactional data. The system will promote agents based upon actual performance in both listing and selling, showing relevant agent market performance, knowledge and transactional expertise.

"With increasing frequency, consumers are looking online for answers to questions regarding what to buy, where to buy it and who to trust with their business," said project consultant Jim Sherry, president of Innovative Solutions Inc. "Realtors providing data on Realtors is a far better solution than having third parties claim this important space." …CONTINUED

The Front Porch initiative, Missoula County Association of Realtors

The Front Porch initiative will seek to establish Realtors as local neighborhood experts through a community-centered Web site that includes blogs, photos, videos and other social media.

"Front Porch is an online community to create sustainable relationships between Realtors, neighborhoods and neighbors," said Jeremy Conaway, founder and president of RECON Intelligence Services, who will help implement the project.

Rate Your Experience, Peoria Area Association of Realtors

Rate Your Experience will build a rating site encompassing all service providers in a real estate transaction, including brokerages, real estate licensees, lenders and inspectors.

The system could also include a means of handling professional standards and dispute resolution. Members would be able to use insights from the rating system to improve their own performance and promote their services.

The site "has the potential to be a game changer in the consumer’s service provider selection process in any local market area," said project consultant Gregg Larson, CEO, Clareity Consulting.

Heroes Welcome Home, Chicago Association of Realtors

The Heroes Welcome Home program will educate Realtors about the difficulties members of the military face when returning home from duty overseas. Realtors will learn about servicemembers’ specialized housing needs and how to work with them to identify housing within the city of Chicago.

The Chicago Association of Realtors Foundation will provide additional financial assistance through scholarships to provide training and mentoring for servicemembers who wish to enter the real estate profession, said Judith Lindenau, the project’s consultant.

Regional Alliances, Chicago Association of Realtors and partners

Four Realtor associations in Northern Illinois — the Chicago Association of Realtors, the NorthShore Barrington Association of Realtors, the Realtor Association of Northwest Chicagoland and the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors — have formed an umbrella cooperative, the Community Alliance of Chicagoland Realtors, serving approximately 34,000 Realtors. …CONTINUED

This formal, collaborative venture is focused on information sharing and the creation of an environment for a "community of trusted real estate advisers." Sharing of talent, reduction of costs and duplications, faster resolution of issues, and a combined political voice will benefit all members while keeping localized structures and emphasis, said Jerry Matthews, project consultant.

The Chicago Association of Realtors submitted six entries to the Game Changer Challenge.

Realtor Resume, Bay East Association of Realtors

The goal of Realtor Resume is to create an integrated customer relationship management tool that provides transparency for the broker and agent community. It will track association member interactions, allowing a broker or office manager to view a subset of the data.

Realtor Resume will also establish data standards to allow agents to maintain a current resume of their education and professional training. The Bay East Association of Realtors is located east of San Francisco.

Real Estate Quick Smart, Pinellas Realtors Organization

Real Estate Quick Smart is an education program aimed at bringing newer agents up to speed quickly, instructing them in core elements of the real estate process. The program will be offered to brokers as a privately labeled internal education program, hosted and managed by the association.

The Quick Smart project will establish a base set of competencies, providing curriculum that can be customized for associations, companies and teams to focus Realtors on the consumer and provide a consistent experience for the consumer, said project consultant John Tuccillo, president, JTA LLC.

I-Learn Education, Institute of Real Estate Management

The I-Learn education program will use mobile learning, such as smart phone modules, podcasts, social media, webinars and facilitated classrooms, to help Realtor members fulfill their credentialing requirements.

Realtors will be able to design their own education programs according to their schedules, learning styles and technology preferences.

The program will also will also build Realtors’ fluency in new and social media, "a critical attribute in attracting and serving the younger customers that represent our collective future growth," said project coach John E. Featherston, president and CEO, RIS Media. …CONTINUED

Sharing Landscapes, Montana Association of Realtors

The Sharing Landscapes initiative will provide basic satellite hookups, equipment and education to allow Montana Realtors to make better use of social networking tools and other online tools, regardless of their location in the sprawling state.

Investing in technology and infrastructure will improve communications on important issues to the Montana Association and the 15 local associations and boards across this large state, said project consultant Kevin MCQueen, president, Focus Forward Consulting.

RE Worx Dashboard, West Volusia Association of Realtors

The RE Worx dashboard will be a virtual desk Realtors can use to log in to all Web sites, transaction software, e-mail, social media, news feeds, market statistics and other information.

"RE Worx will allow the Realtor to access to their own dashboard from any location with an Internet connection," said project consultant Jeremy Conaway, founder and president of RECON Intelligence Services. "It’s user-friendly and highly customizable … (allowing users to) add or remove applications, personal links and resources."

Realtime Membership Communications, Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors

The Realtime Membership Communications will be a multichoice messaging dashboard allowing a single message to be instantly delivered to all members through the channel of their choice. Functions in the dashboard will include a log of messages sent by association staff, alert messaging for emergencies, and information on key issues.

Virtual AoR, Inland Gateway Association of Realtors

The Virtual AoR initiative, from the Corona, Calif.-based Inland Gateway Association, would employ podcasts, legislative briefings and consumer programs to attract members and nonmembers to online services.

Broker Listing Cooperative, Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors

The Broker Listing Cooperative proposes to offer the trademark term ‘Broker Listing Cooperative’ or ‘BLC’ as a means to develop a competitive national brand that Realtors own and control, said project consultant Steve Murray, editor, Real Trends. In theory, the BLC could be adopted by all participating member MLSs as a term to be used when describing what it is and further what it offers.

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