Realtor association exec-turned-consultant Jerry Matthews says that when he’s working with associations that want to explore mergers, he can "get them to the preacher," but "it’s up to them to get married."

Although there are compelling reasons for Realtor associations to consider consolidation, there’s also no shortage of issues that can derail merger talks — even after they’re well under way.

Having an objective third-party mediator "is probably the biggest thing" determining whether merger talks will succeed or fail, he said.

"When one member tries to drive the process, they are biased or perceived as biased," Matthews said. "When you have negotiations between parties, one of the parties can’t be the facilitator. This is not a (for-sale-by-owner) deal — you should have somebody who’s been through it, and knows the nuances."

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